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Bet on the NFLWith only 100 days left until kickoff of the regular season, football fans are getting understandably nervous about the NFL lockout.

Will opening weekend's games be played at all? Or will they be delayed for several weeks? Unfortunately, while the lockout is going on, and the two sides battle in court, the upcoming football season looks less likely to begin on time and feature as many games as we have become accustomed to throughout the years.

On June 3, the Friday after Memorial Day, the players union and owners go back to court at the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals. The league wants the lockout to continue, as their bargaining position is better with it in place. The NFLPA, on the other hand, wants it ended so the players can start getting back to preseason training utilizing the teams' facilities and resources. Essentially, the players want to go back to work with their teams, while the owners want the negotiating leverage.

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If the appeals court decides that the lockout can continue, then the upcoming football season will be even less likely. Experts are predicting that the season will not start on time, but there will be a 2011-2012 NFL season in some form or another. Games may be shuffled around a bit, or the season shortened, or some combination of the two. But many are expecting that we will have a football season in one form or another.

But if the June 3 hearing results in a continuation of the lockout, then the two sides will have to work out an agreement over how to split the money from the lucrative sport. And in that case, it could take weeks or even months before any real decisions are made. A new collective bargaining agreement could take on the order of several months to conclude, time in which the players will not be allowed to use the teams' workout facilities. And rookies will not be able to work out with their new teams.

While the hearing is on Friday, June 3, the appeals court may take several days, weeks, or even up to a month to issue a decision. Every day that they delay is another day to speculate on how the upcoming NFL season will finally play out.


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