Chris Paul’s situation could doom the Phoenix Suns and futures bettors alike.
The NBA All-Star is currently in the NBA’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19.
Those protocols require multiple tests and an isolation period before returning to play.
Paul is out indefinitely, which could jeopardize his status for the Western Conference Finals.
The Suns finished the regular season with the second-best record in the entire NBA.
The team has been dominating this year, but now gamblers that bet on the NBA Playoffs are wondering what will happen to their pending wagers.
Chris Paul out indefinitely
The Suns are heading to their first Western Conference Finals since 2010.
Back then, two-time MVP Steve Nash was running the show.
The team has a new maestro running point these days, but going without him would seriously jeopardize its title hopes.
The Suns have been dominating in the postseason. Paul and company just swept MVP Nikola Jokic out of the playoffs in the second round.
The NBA is wide open, and the Suns are one of the favorites to win the NBA title at Indiana online sportsbooks.
But how long will Paul end up being out of play?
The Suns will play in the Western Conference Finals against the winner of the Jazz vs. Clippers matchup. That series is currently tied at 2-2.
That series going the distance will give Paul a valuable time cushion to sort this thing out.
The NBA has also been a little more lenient recently when it comes to its COVID policies.
Lakers star LeBron James recently broke protocol, but the league allowed him to play anyways.
Removing a big star in a big market obviously hurts the NBA as a league, so Commissioner Adam Silver isn’t eager to do that if there isn’t a real safety concern.
Paul is following the league’s rules, but we don’t know if he has actually tested positive for the virus yet. His vaccination status is also unknown.
Both of those will play a huge role in how long he is out of the playoff hunt.
If he’s in the clear, then that will be great news for Suns fans and gamblers. If Paul is out for an extended period of time, then things will get complicated for those who have wagers on the Suns.
Will sportsbooks follow the Jon Rahm blueprint?
You might be in some trouble if you bet on the Suns to win the Western Conference Finals or NBA title.
The only situation we really have to compare this with is what happened to Jon Rahm bets at the Memorial Tournament.
Rahm was leading the field of golfers after the first few rounds, but then a positive COVID test came in.
That left Rahm unable to play for the rest of the tournament due to health protocols. It’s a similar situation to what Paul is facing right now.
When the Rahm news came through, most sportsbooks refunded gamblers that bet on him to win the tournament. Some even counted those bets as wins.
Suns bettors might not be so lucky in Paul’s situation.
Since basketball is a team sport, the Suns still have a chance to compete without Paul.
Their chances of winning might be significantly worse without him, but it’s not as if the entire Suns roster is unable to play because of this.
That team sport vs. individual athlete status could be the major difference-maker between Rahm’s situation and Paul’s.
Sportsbooks aren’t as likely to offer that good will to Suns gamblers this time around.
A ton of players missed time this NBA season due to COVID protocols, and sportsbooks didn’t offer refunds for any of those games throughout the year.
BetMGM Indiana has this specific rule regarding NBA futures bets:
For all season long match wagers and division betting, all wagers stand regardless of team relocation, or a change to team name, season length or playoff format. Unless stated otherwise in the market, team(s) must play in all of their scheduled regular season games as determined by the league’s governing body at the start of the season for wagers to have action. If team(s) do not compete in all scheduled games, then wagers will be refunded, except for those wagers which have been unconditionally determined.
So as long as the Suns play, futures bets will likely remain valid, regardless of whether or not Paul is in the lineup.