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MLB Lockout 2022 – Betting on When Baseball Will Resume

| December 7, 2021 10:15 am PDT

On December 2, 2021 at 12:01 am ET, the MLB went into a work stoppage for the first time since 1995. The 2016 collective bargaining agreement expired, and the players’ union and owners couldn’t reach a new deal.

Among the issues with the agreement are tanking and compensation for younger players.

Bovada has odds available for when we might see the end of the lockout. Let’s check them out.

Odds for How Long the MLB Lockout Will Last

  • December 1 – February 26 (-120)
  • February 27 – March 31 (+280)
  • April 1 – July 19 (+150)
  • July 20 or Later (+400)

Each of these represents a critical period for the 2022 MLB season.

December 1 through February 26 is essentially the MLB offseason. It won’t officially end in February, but that marks the end of non-game action. The end of February will mark the beginning of spring training.

The regular season will begin on March 31. July 20 isn’t an important date, but that would mean the lockout cost the MLB over half their season.

I briefly discussed in the intro why the MLB was in a lockout. Let’s take a more in-depth look at it.

Why Is There a Lockout?

The MLB collective bargaining agreement expired on December 1, 2021, without the owners and players’ union agreeing on a new one.

Following the expiration, the owners unanimously voted to lock out the players. This means that teams cannot sign free agents, make trades, or access the team facility.

Even with the lack of agreement, there doesn’t need to be a lockout. The offseason could continue as usual until both sides reach a deal. It’s the owners that have enacted the lockout.

It’s possible the players would’ve gone on strike, but that likely wouldn’t have happened until closer to the start of the season.

One of the biggest reasons for the lockout is money and economics.

The MLB isn’t like the other big four sports where you sign a draft pick for a certain amount of years. The draft pick needs to have six years of service time to reach free agency.

A full year of service time is 172 days. Teams will purposely wait until the player can only be on the major league roster for 171 days.

Kris Bryant is the biggest example of this. He dominated spring training in 2015 with these numbers.

  • .425 batting average
  • 9 home runs
  • 15 RBIs

Even as one of the top prospects in baseball, the Cubs held him in the minors until he couldn’t reach a full season.

The players’ union wants to eliminate service time manipulation while reducing it to five years before becoming a free agent. They would also like arbitration to begin after two seasons instead of three.

Ultimately, MLB players would like the opportunity to hit free agency at a young age. That way, they have a chance to cash in during their prime.

They would also like the MLB to raise the luxury tax and expand the playoffs to 12 teams.

What Needs to Happen to End the Lockout?

The easy answer is the owners and players’ union need to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. Obviously, it isn’t that easy.

Whether it’s the owners or players’ union, someone will have to budge. It seems like the owners have the upper hand here. The service time and arbitration rules have been in place for a while, and the owners can use that as an argument to keep them in place.

Also, the players won’t receive game checks once the season begins. If it gets that far, we could see them give in.

In addition to service time and arbitration, tanking has become a big issue in baseball.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen teams’ tank to build up their farm system. The Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs both won a World Series after tanking.

Lately, the Baltimore Orioles have been the poster child for this. Check out their record since 2018.

  • 2018: 47-115
  • 2019: 54-108
  • 2020: 25-35
  • 2021: 52-110

There have been talks of implementing an NBA-like draft lottery to discourage teams from tanking.

The players’ union also wants an expanded playoff field. In addition to increased revenue, this would give worse teams a better chance to make the playoffs.

Owners will likely need to agree to some anti-tanking measure to pass the new collective bargaining agreement.

Right now, the owners are in control. The last collective bargaining agreement worked in their favor, and the players’ union is pushing for change. They’d like to keep the previous practices in place.

In order to end the lockout, one side is going to have to ease off their demands. Neither wants to do that, but someone eventually will.

MLB Teams Most Impacted by the 2022 Lockout

It’s hard to answer this question because the lockout affects every team. If we don’t see spring training, a young team like the Baltimore Orioles could have trouble developing their players.

Baltimore has the No. 1 farm system, led by Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez. Those players could play their way onto the Orioles opening day roster with a strong showing in spring training. The lockout could affect their rebuilding timeline.

Service time manipulation could also become a factor with Rutschman.

The lack of offseason certainly won’t help teams looking to upgrade their team with a big trade or signing. I’m looking at the New York Yankees.

Every offseason, it seems like they make a big move. We didn’t see that before the lockout.

There were talks of them signing Carlos Correa or trading for Matt Olson, but I think the odds of that happening decrease if the lockout continues into January and February.

Even if they don’t make a move, the Yankees are among the early World Series favorites.

If you want to look at this in a different light, we could talk about how a new collective bargaining agreement could impact other teams.

An expanded playoff format will obviously benefit fringe playoff contenders, and it could lead to some surprise World Series champions.

In the shortened 2020 season, we saw an expanded playoff field. Despite finishing the regular season under .500, the Houston Astros fell one win short of making the World Series. We could see something like that if they expand the playoff field.

The potential draft lottery could also add intrigue. It should increase competition, as the worst team is no longer guaranteed the first overall pick.

Right now, the 2022 lockout is taking a toll on every team. I’m sure it affects some teams more than others, but it’s hard to say.

I think teams like the Orioles and Yankees are in a tough spot.

Predicting When the 2022 MLB Lockout Will End

I can’t imagine a scenario that involves missing the entire 2022 season, so we can rule out after July 20.

Unless one side quickly gives in, I don’t think we’ll see this resolved in the next month. That leads me to February and March.

Spring training is likely when we’ll see each side back off their stance a little bit. At the end of the day, nobody wants to miss regular-season games. It’s not good for the players, owners, or baseball.

Because of that, I think we’ll see the lockout end between February 27 and March 31.

We’ll likely lose some of spring training, but it gives us enough time to start the regular season on time. Each side should have one or two things go their way.

Betting on that time frame gives us a nice value bet.

We don’t know when the MLB season will begin, but there are plenty of other sports betting options. Make sure you use the top sports betting sites to check them out.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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