Monday, April 10, 2006

Props Betting is not all Fun-n-Games

Popularity in non-conventional Props Betting has exploded the last couple years. Props bets historically were additional, more exotic betting options on major sporting events. But lately, we've seen them gain popularity in the non-sports arena. For instance, you can now make money on whether Britney Spears will bear a baby boy or girl. Or even, what fruit will Gwyneth Paltrow name her next baby?

(If you bet the house on these types of props, please visit

It’s no surprise that Sportsbooks make a mint on these bets. Because they are less liquid and less scientific in nature than conventional bets, the house requires a larger margin of safety. The majority of the participants in props betting are leisure gamblers. Thus, Sportsbooks use these bets as a sort of “gateway drug” to lure in the occasional gambler to more conventional/high-stakes betting. (This year: $5 on Britney having triplets. Next year: $10,000 on the Final 4.)

So why would anyone waste their money on these bets? The main reason is for fun; the average prop bet is much less than conventional bets. But as explained earlier, because these bets are less scientific in nature, you can find some amazing deals with the proper research. This is nearly impossible in conventional betting with millions of professional gamblers creating the accurate line (Efficient-Market theory). Would you rather take on the professionals or Grandma Ethel?

Browsing through Bodog’s Sportsbook, I found some potential money-makers:

Will Sony release the PSP2 by September 30th, 2006? (Playstation Portable 2)
Yes +105
No -145

Last month, Sony announced it was delaying the release of the Playstation 3 until November of this year. It appears all of its manufacturing resources will be concentrating solely on the PS3 to make this happen. The original PSP continues to sell & just received a few upgrades to continue this popularity. Nowhere will you find any prototypes of the rumored “PSP2”. With only 6 months left before the bet’s deadline, an announcement could happen, but an all-out launch appears impossible. At only -145, it’s easy money. Bet the max.

Will Whitney Houston be charged with a drug related offense by May 31st, 2006?
Yes +125
No -165

These are the “media-hype bets” that I love. The National Inquirer a couple weeks back released a supposed picture of Whitney’s “drug lair”. Thus, rumors are flying that Houston will be arrested in the near future. First check the source. This story originated from not from a respectable news source, but the National Inquirer!

Now I’m not saying Whitney Houston isn’t hitting the crack pipe. But an actual arrest by May 31st seems highly unlikely (~5% probability). Yet the “No” is priced only at -165! This type of hype-bet always garners dumb-money on the “Yes” after the rumors are published in some gossip column. But the actual event rarely occurs. I especially like the short-window deadline on this one. Bet big!

Who will be the winner of American Idol?
Ace Young 40/1
Bucky Covington 65/1
Chris Daughtry 5/7
Elliot Yamin 20/1
Katharine McPhee 2/1
Kellie Pickler 12/1
Paris Bennett 15/1
Taylor Hicks 11/10

The title of this bet is deceiving. When considering these bets, you shouldn’t ask yourself “Who will win?” What you want to figure out is who is the best value! I’m fairly certain the Final 2 will be Katharine & Chris. But their odds don’t give a good enough payout. Also don’t bet with your heart. I love Taylor Hicks--and if I’d ever hit rock bottom in my life & actually dial the 1800 number to vote--he’d be my man. But he ain’t winning.

Best deal? Even though I hate the guy, Ace Young at 40/1 has fantastic odds. After a few struggling weeks, look for Ace to lose the cheese & try to appeal to an audience other than hormone-crazed 14-year-old girls.

What about Bucky at 65/1? Sorry Bucky, but you’d have to give me 20000/1 before I’d take an interest. Unless American Idol plays only in Arkansas, he ain’t winning.

Good value is the key to futures bets!

Will the winner of American Idol be Male or Female?
Female -110
Male -130

Staying with the American Idol theme, here’s a simple 2-option bet. Katharine is the Female’s only chance for a winner. The men, on-the-otherhand, have Taylor, Chris, Ace & (maybe) Elliot who could all win (Sorry Bucky Boy). -130 looks pretty solid here.

Will Apple discontinue the iPod Shuffle by July 4, 2006?
No -120
Yes -120

I was quite surprised when I originally saw this bet. After its initial rocky debut, the iPod Shuffle has caught on among those who could not afford the $400 price tag of conventional iPods, and for those who needed a less bulky alternative when exercising. After doing some research, I saw no indication Apple is even considering discontinuing the Shuffle until after this year’s Holiday season. The deadline for this bet is only July 4th. Keeping in mind that the iPod shuffle sells very well during the summer months, the “No” looks like a sure bet.

What will the FOMC decide to do with the Fed Funds rate when meeting on May 10?
Leave at 4.75% +120
Increase of .25 basis pt. -155
Increase of .50 basis pt. +170

Who’s actually betting on anything other than the 2nd option? The FOMC has raised rates by 0.25% for a dozen consecutive times since 2004 & indicated in its “Fed Minutes” that it sees a need to continue this measured pace to keep inflation in line. All other economic indicators also point to a continued climb. Interest-rate futures show traders see the Fed lifting its benchmark a quarter-percentage point to 5% at its next meeting with 85% certainty. Chances are 46% of another increase to 5.25% in June (looking to the Futures traders is historically accurate).

The 2nd option has roughly a 85% chance of occurring. At only -155, you’re getting huge value. As I did before the last FOMC meeting, bet the house!


At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article. Some of the betting online has gotten a little out of hand, in my opinion.

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