Coronavirus: How it’s affecting sports betting?

The Chinese authorities tried the impossible to stop the spread after the virus came to life in Wuhan, Hubei province, in December last year, but it was hard to control every flight, car or train passing the borders. Hubei province has been the hardest hit by Coronavirus, known as Covid019, but the virus has been spreading fast of late with several cases reported in the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world. The virus has now infected more than 80,000 people around the globe, killing at least 2,700.

The spread of the virus has had a serious impact on a number of departments, with the most important one being the economy of China, which is one of the biggest importers in the world. This also affects the prices of food and goods around the globe. The panic caused by this virus has also affected the world of sports, especially in Italy where it has been reported the highest number of infections outside Asia. The Italian government has confirmed 322 cases of the virus, with 11 people dying so far. The regions of Lombardy and Veneto are the affected areas so far, but there have been a couple of cases reported in Sicily also.

Bad news for the Italian football fans

The outbreak in Northern Italy has led to four Serie A games at the weekend being postponed, which have caused a couple of problems for the Italian Football Federation. In order to avoid a scheduling crisis, the Italian league president Paolo Dal Pino decided that the upcoming Serie A games, Coppa Italia and European matches will be played behind closed doors. However, Serie B is still contemplating if to postpone the games or play them without fans. The Italian minister of Sports, Vincenzo Spadafora has confirmed in an interview that they have allowed football matches in the areas affected to be played behind closed doors:

"In these regions, the prohibition of sporting events remains, for some events we have given the availability to carry them out behind closed doors," Spadafora told Tg2.

This means that six Serie A games are expected to be played in empty stadiums this weekend, which isn’t such good news for the home teams as they won’t have the support of their own fans. This will also be the case for the highly anticipated clash between Serie A leaders Juventus and league contenders Inter Milan.

In addition, Inter will have to play their 2nd leg match from the Europa League round of 32 against Ludogorets behind closed doors this Thursday and have recently announced that all the tickets sold for this clash will be reimbursed. This will be their second home game in a row without the fans being able to watch their favorite team, after their home match with Sampdoria last weekend has been postponed. The good news is that Inter did well to secure a 2-0 victory in Bulgaria last week, so they should be able to qualify further in the Europa League with ease.

Another good news is that Italy’s sports minister said that the ban could be lifted soon, but this only depends on how the Italian government will be dealing with the virus spread.

"If the data doesn’t give us different indications, it may be well that from March 2 we will not extend the ban on sporting events." sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora told reporters.

According to a report from the Gazzetta Dello Sport, none of the ten clubs that had their games postponed or forced to play behind closed doors doesn’t want to reimburse fans, and we definitely understand Juventus’ position here as they recorded a revenue of more than £3 million for this weekend’s clash with Inter.

In terms of football betting ahead of this Serie A games behind closed doors, we might see some surprising results as the home teams won’t have the same advantage they usually have in normal conditions. This might be the case for Juventus v Inter Milan fixture, with the Nerazzurri being priced at odds of 12/5 with William Hill to produce an upset at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.