Bizarre bets are just par for the course for many bookmakers. But with the rise of political and novelty punting in the wake of the American Elections and Brexit, the floodgates have opened.
So here are our picks of some of the strangest bets in history, and five of the weird and wonderful bets you can take a punt on now.
Five Strange Historic Bets
Despite football being a non-contact sport, it is inevitable that some players just decide to take things a little too far. The 2014 World Cup saw a run on punters betting on Luis Suarez sinking his fangs into players, in a bizarre example of sports punters following form. Suarez had previously bitten Otman Bakkal as Ajax captain and did so again to Branislav Ivanovic during his tenure with Liverpool. Spotting a gap in the market, Bettson put up a novelty punt offered at 175/1 odds for Suarez munching of someone and – to the bookie’s horror – the Uruguayan obliged and took a chunk out of Italy’s Girogio Chiellini during his team’s 1-0 win; resulting in a temporary ban for him, and a £44,000 pay-out from Bettson.
Proof positive that a weathered punter will put money down on anything, Paddy Power offered up 5000/1 odds for punters looking to place a stake on the end of the world. With the Mayan calendar prophesying the date of the destruction to be 21.12.12, Paddy Power offered odds on us meeting our end. Surprising even the famously unflappable PP publicity teams, some punters actually took the company up on the offer, prompting the company to offer compensatory 1/5000 bets that we will all be alive and kicking by the 23rd of December 2012. The number of subsequent takers is still unconfirmed.
Literally Everything The Royal Family Does:
It should come as a surprise to no-one that our obsession with the Royal Family does not end at the betting shop. Companies have been milking the aristocracy for years on with punts on what outfit the Queen will wear, the genealogy of Prince Harry, Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, when Charles will be coronated or if the Queen will abdicate. Although, with the Queens lifetimes worth of visits to Cheltenham, it’s perfectly legitimate to wonder if someone has cultivated one’s edge and is quietly manipulating the market.
The Super Bowl In General:
With over $4.2bn wagered on last year’s Super Bowl it was inevitable that some of it would become a bit…weird. How long would Lady Gaga’s performance be? What colour of Gatorade would be dumped over the winning team’s coach? How many buffalo wings will be consumed in the stadium? And what are chances of an earthquake hitting the stadium? Truly, no bet was too small or bizarrely specific for dollars to be put down.
The ‘White-Whale’ Accumulator:
This is the famous one. The semi-legendary accumulator that a friend of a friend’s Dad’s uncle put on a series of events that actually resulted in a pay-out. Except, in many cases, these have been proven to exist. After Leicester’s meteoric rise to claim the premiership, several super-fans made out like bandits – one fan cashed in an accumulator offering a £15,000 return on a £3 bet. Another famous accumulator saw stable hand Conor Murphy win a £1m accumulator in 1989 by betting on his employee’s horses on Cheltenham.
The truth is, these bets are out there. So, what are some weird options that can see you getting a solid return.
Five Strange Bets You Can Make Right Now
1. When Will Alien Life Be Proven
The first of Paddy Power’s entries on this list, one of their most popular ongoing novelty bets is on the search for extra-terrestrial life, predicated on the United States President making a public statement about the existence of “alternative intelligent life being from another planet”. Cleverly, the current options start at 2019 at odds of 22/1 and end with 2020 or later at 1/7 return, showing a degree of optimism alongside wording that gives the company more than enough wiggle room to get out of paying if the life is not ‘intelligent’. And speaking of intelligence and the US President-
2. Trump Specials
PaddyPower’s series of novelty bets has propelled the company to new heights in the US press. Much was made of the company’s ‘Joe Biden Special’ that saw a 100/1 return if the former Vice-President just walked up to Trump and punched him in the square in the face. Current opportunities include a voluminous section dedicated to the currently under-investigation President. Punts offered include what Trump will ban next (stairs and Irish people top out the table at 500/1), if an American state will secede and declare independence (66/1 if you’re interested), and if the French will request the Statue of Liberty be returned (a merde 50/1).
3. Next Pope
Often religion and gambling do not go hand-in hand, but if you’re clued in about internal Vatican politics, placing a punt on the next Pope may prove to be a potent pick. William Hill has gone into great depths about the potential contenders including sixteen different options ranging from the current favourite Luis Antonio at 6/1 and outsider like Albert Malcolm Ranjith clocking in at 50/1. So, place punt if you’re feeling confident. But probably not best to bring it up in the parking lot after church.
4. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
When it comes to alternative sporting events, it’s hard to get more full-on than Coney Island’s famous hot-dog competition. Held on the board walk, and broadcast live on ESPN, it allows viewers to watch the surf lapping against the shore, and the humiliation of competitors that experience an unpleasant ‘Reversal of fortune’. William Hill offers good coverage of the event, with the best odds currently applied to regular attendee and local hero Joey Chestnut. The odds of him eating over or under 70.5 hotdogs in ten minutes are currently 1/4.
5. Katie Price Boxing
And ending on a classy high, the bout of the century between Katie Price and Bianca Gascoigne is picking up interest with the bookies. The event will be held in the Royal Lancaster in London on 13th October. With Price recently promoting her single ‘I Got U’ at a nightclub in a PVC catsuit and Gascoigne spotted attending a magazine launch at the Mayfair Hotel, preparations are obviously very much underway. But with Price the current favourite at 1/4 Gascoigne has her work cut out for her.