Tag: Fun

The Most Fun Things To Bet On In The US

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Looking for some action? Of course, everyone is familiar with betting on NFL football, baseball, basketball and hockey but things start to get interesting when those are in their offseasons or it’s just a quiet day, and there are not as many lines on the board to choose from.

We’ve all been there: the Hawaii game on a college football Saturday, the quiet day that ESPN hosts the ESPY Awards or Independence Day, which is usually a quiet sports day. There aren’t many things to choose from in those situations but there’s still that itch that needs to be scratched. That’s when bettors start to look at things that are a little more obscure.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the oddest things that we’ve seen odds on, so here’s a look at some of the weirdest things you can bet on:

1 Darts

Although darts are a massive sport for general viewership, six-figure prizes and copious wagering across the pond, it’s still a pretty weird thing to bet on from an American’s perspective.

It just feels like it’s a few people in a bar – usually drinking a pint or two – throwing darts at a board. We’ve even developed the saying in sports betting that someone is “just throwing darts at a board” when they’re blindly betting a side. That’s why for us, it’s hard to grip that it’s a sport of skill and talent. At any rate, it sure is but it’s still a bit weird for us.

2 Chess

If you thought this was just a game for nerdy types, you’d be mistaken. Yes, you can bet on chess. And if you think this sport is just a niche type of thing, tell that to Unibet – one of the biggest books in the world – who just hired Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen to be a global ambassador for the next two years.

Like betting on many other weird sports on this list, the challenge with betting on chess is that you really have to do a deep dive to handicap the matchups.

There’s not a ton of information out there and it’s often hard to find a broadcast that carries it. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for some action to see who’s king gets cornered first, you’ll find some books that have lines on it.

3 Quidditch World Cup

Harry Potter fans worldwide have united to carry on the quidditch tradition from J.K. Rowling’s series of books. While the real-life version doesn’t include players flying on brooms or a magical golden snitch, the game has blossomed into an exciting competition that pulls a number of traditions and rules from the game in the books.

If you think that this is some kind of ruse, you’d be mistaken. The sport has a full federation known as the IQA (International Quidditch Association) with a big tournament that takes place every two years.

So far, 29 countries have competed in the event. The United States is the best team to bet on, as they’ve won three of the four Quidditch World Cups and their lone miss was a second-place result in 2016 when Australia won.

For the first time ever, the United States will host the tournament in 2020, which will take place in Richmond, Virginia.

4 WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is not weird in the sense of the sport – or form of entertainment – itself. What’s weird is that you can bet on it. Remember, this is a scripted form of entertainment; this isn’t exactly mixed martial arts or boxing where fighters do try to inflict as much physical damage as possible.

At the same time, WWE wrestling is one of the most-watched shows on television on a weekly basis and that has led to sportsbooks posting lines on some of the Pay-Per-View events. If you’re looking for lines on the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, you’ll find them in plenty of shops.

Keep in mind that the limits will be low on these bouts. The outcomes are predetermined, so they don’t ever want to be in a situation where someone knows what’s going to happen and then drops $100,000 on the result.

5 Westminster Dog Show

You’ve heard the saying it’s “a dog and pony show” but did you know you can bet on it? The Westminster Dog Show is the biggest dog show of the year and yes, sportsbooks across the country will carry betting lines on the pooches.

The show has quite a history as it started back in 1877. Nowadays, there are about 3,000 entries per year as the dogs compete in grooming, presentation and gait – among other things.

The recent winners have been all over the place, making this even tough to handicap. However, Wire Fox Terriers have now won twice in the last six years while Beagles have won in two of the last 12 competitions. Those dogs see to have a leg up – pun intended – on the competition.

6 Sumo Wrestling

If you thought betting on WWE wrestling was odd, what about the Japanese brand of sumo wrestling? What’s interesting is that gambling in Japan is mostly illegal but people find ways to get in their bets underground. What’s even more interesting is that online sportsbooks will post lines as players all around the world have had a small craving for getting in on this action.

In Japan, sumo wrestling isn’t just a sport; it’s a way of life. Wrestlers must grow their hair out a specific length (so that they can tie it in a knot) and they’re not allowed to ever drive. They live a very strictly regimented life with training, a 10,000-calorie diet and sleep patterns. And because of their diet and lifestyle, sumo wrestlers’ life expectancy is only between 60 and 65 years.

But hey, if you’re looking to get in on the Haru Basho tournament or any other major events, you’ll find lines online.

7 Hot Dog eating competition

One of the most popular sports betting events of the year is actually one of the weirdest to bet on. That’s right, we’re looking at you Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition. Sure, Joey Chestnut has been a monster of late and Kobayashi was incredible before him. At the same time, what we’re really betting on here is how many hot dogs a human being can wolf down – with the buns – in a set period of time.

What makes this so popular is it takes place July 4th – Independence Day – and there’s usually not a lot of action on the board besides this event.

8 Little League World Series

The Little League World Series is one of the biggest baseball events of the year. It’s so big that sportsbooks will post lines on the games – even if there’s very little information out there about these kids from different schools or countries.

At the end of the day, it feels a little bit odd to be betting on children play baseball. We’re talking about kids aged 10 to 12; do you really want to be putting your hard-earned money on the performance of these youngins?

9 Super Bowl coin toss

Though it’s one of the more popular events to bet on, there’s no denying that the Super Bowl coin toss is a weird one. The reason for it is the math simply doesn’t work out in the bettor’s favor yet bettors worldwide continue to bet on it for some reason.

The odds of getting the Super Bowl coin toss right is 50/50. However, the odds are usually – at best – -102 on both sides. Sometimes it’s much higher at -105, -110 or -115. At -110, you have a 50/50 chance to win back 90.9% of your money. Does that sound like good value to you?

Sure, it’s a fun one but the math doesn’t add up.

10 Wife carrying

Yes, you read that right. Although lines on this “up-and-coming” sport are quite rare, we have seen times where different books will post a line or two on “wife carrying.”

In case you missed it, there’s a sport where husbands put their wives on their backs and go through an obstacle course. Maybe this sport, which has roots in the Nordic countries, started off as a couple’s therapy of sorts. Nowadays, with the spread of viral videos and the like, this sport has grown to the point where there’s a world championship each year.

If you’re looking to pick a winner, consider the Lithuanians, as a Lithuanian couple has now won this event two years in a row.

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PlayUSA’s ‘On The Record:’ A Cinema Expert On Why Oscar Betting Is Fun But Often Tricky

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I’ve always had a fascination with movies. Growing up in a small West Texas town, you spent Saturday night at a movie complex with only six screens. You arrived early to claim the best seat, grabbed some popcorn, a drink, and enjoyed the next two hours.

Now, with the legalization of sports betting across the US, you could say my film obsession is becoming more entwined with the daily fabric of my other vice — sports. In 2019, gaming regulators in New Jersey gave sportsbooks the go-ahead to accept wagers on the Oscars. The closest sportsbook to the south side of Chicago was 820 miles away in Atlantic City. However, since the rapid spread of legal betting, things have changed.

This year, Indiana has been granted permission to allow wagering on the 92nd Academy Awards, which arrives Sunday, Feb. 9.

My curiosity sent me on the hunt down for a film expert. Someone who could provide their perspective on this new type of betting. What better place to begin my search than my own backyard?

A conversation about Oscar betting with a cinema expert

I reached out to Tom Fraterrigo, a Professor of Instruction at Columbia College Chicago in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts. Fraterrigo has a list of credentials a mile long, so I was very fortunate when he called late Wednesday afternoon to provide a few thoughts on the subject.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Broadly speaking, what’s your opinion on wagering on the Academy Awards?
I’m fine with it. I know we don’t do it in this country, but I’m fascinated with the overseas sportsbooks and who they have winning political elections. So if [elections] are up for grabs overseas, I don’t think something as trivial as an awards show shouldn’t be up for wagering as well. So I don’t have a problem with it.

Does something like betting on the Oscars diminish the art form?
No, I don’t think it does. Cinema began early on as cheap entertainment for the masses and then evolved into an art form throughout cinema history. So I think the two can coexist.

Can someone who studies film gain a competitive advantage when it comes to betting?
I know film, I study film, I teach film, so I may have an advantage in terms of historical context, but I can tell you numerous times where perhaps my judgment would have been clouded by my knowledge of the art form. Over the years, there were certain films that I was shocked they didn’t win, and I probably would have wagered on them and lost.

What’s an example of such a situation?
In 1980, Martin Scorsese’s film Raging Bull was up for Best Picture, and it didn’t win. It was Robert Redford’s film, Ordinary People. That year, Redford won Best Picture and Best Director. Now, [Ordinary People] was a really good film and it was one of the best films of 1980. But in my opinion, and if you look at the AFI top-100 or other polls of great American films, Raging Bull is around the 4th greatest film ever made, and it didn’t win Best Picture that year and Scorsese didn’t win Best Director. I would have bet everything on those things at the time. So I don’t know if there would have been an advantage to someone in cinema education.

Is there any advice you can give to someone looking to place a bet on a film this year?
Bettors beware — because the voting that takes place with the academy members, they don’t necessarily screen all the films in their category that they are supposed to vote on. An example, a couple of years ago when Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Phantom Thread came out, that year Jennifer Lawrence, who is a voting member, said she turned off the movie after three minutes. The process itself is somewhat questionable.

Will the award betting trend spread?

DraftKings and FoxBet are the only two sports betting operators providing Oscar odds so far. This week, Indiana, which has two sportsbooks in close proximity to Chicago, became the second state to allow wagering on these prestigious awards.

The driving factor is the clout DraftKings has in the betting industry. Just look at New Jersey, where they dominate the space and over 80% of wagers are placed on a mobile device. Pivot to the midwest where Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois (which in my opinion will become the future gambling mecca of the US) are all slowly starting to get sports betting up and running. Oscars betting will go as far as DraftKings’ reach, which in this case appears to be unlimited.

Money aside, if the second year of wagering on the Academy Awards is a hit — meaning people enjoy it and want to do it again — then I expect it to spread. But like Fraterrigo said, overseas books wager on political outcomes, what’s the harm in placing a bet on the film 1917 to win Best Picture?

For more information on this year’s Academy Awards betting, check out PlayUSA’s Oscar Betting Guide 2020.

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