What are the Odds: Scouring a barren gambling landscape


Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

Following the cancellation of most sports, and thus sports betting, betontheweather.io allows you to place bets on meteorologists’ high or low temperature predictions.

By Ben Bobeck, Senior Staff Writer

There’s no time like the insular present to kick that betting “habit” — which seems impossible to rid yourself of when there’s normally something to wager on at any time of the day. If you’re allowed, take a nice walk outside, find something interesting to watch online or maybe try to recreate some of your all-time bad beats in your sports video game of choice.

But if you find yourself desperately looking to scratch the itch, here are a few options that might satisfy your gambling urges.

Vysheyshaya Liga: Belarusian Premier League (Odds from MyBookie)

Long live the Belarusian Premier League. With nearly every other professional football — erm, soccer — league suspended or shut down, the Eastern European competition is the last outstanding hope for fans of the beautiful game worldwide.

Despite the nation’s recent first casualty from the COVID-19 disease, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has resisted calls to enact more careful measures in the country, declaring “There are no viruses here. Did you see any of them flying around? I don’t see them too. This is a fridge. Here are no viruses,” in reference to the country’s frigid temperatures.

That would be the same leader who said that “People should not only wash their hands with vodka but also poison the virus with it” per The Times of London. This stance has obviously attracted the ire of many, including the head of Fifpro, a global players union. 

“We’re appealing for it to be taken with the same cautionary measures that have been taken in the rest of football,” Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, the organization’s general secretary, said. “It is frankly not comprehendible how this could be going on.”

As for the actual games on the pitch, many online sites have picked up odds for the league due to the shortage in anything else available. The game of the week is surely Sunday’s top of the table clash between local rivals FC Minsk (-156) — not to be confused with Dinamo Minsk, who currently leads the league in goal differential with two wins in as many games — and the current runners up in FC Energetik-BGU (+112). Another team to keep an eye on is FC BATE Borisov (short for Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics), who won the league a stunning 13 times straight between 2006 and 2018 before finishing second in 2019. BATE has gotten off to a rough start this year, dropping its first two league matches of the season to BGU and Slavia-Mozyr 3-1 and 2-1, respectively. Look for Borisov’s best (-335) to bounce back Saturday morning against Ruh Brest and take the over of 2.75 goals at -109. 

Marble racing

Here’s one way to get around social distancing — sports with no humans. That’s right, the hottest name in racing is now marbles.

You may have seen the viral clips (or my on-point analysis of it) but the world of marble racing is incredibly detailed and in depth, thanks to the fantastic work of Jelle’s Marble Runs. Over on their YouTube channel, they have created an all-encompassing series of events based on — yep – marbles. The different types of races include Marble League, Marbula One, Sand Rallies and the MarbleLympics, with detailed stats and commentary available for your viewing pleasure. Pick your team, pick your favorite event and prepare to get more invested in the rolling adventures of glass rocks than you ever thought possible.

While there’s no betting apparatus for these competitions currently in place, it’s simple and easy to set one up with you and your fellow socially distanced degenerates. Just have each bettor pick a team or marble, decide the wager, seal it with a remote handshake and glue yourself to the computer screen as the most intense race you never dreamt of unfolds before your very eyes.

Nature taketh and nature giveth

In these bizarre times, we can only seek out the constants around us. In this case, that would be the weather. 

That’s right — through a specialized app or books with weather lines on offer, bets can be placed on whether it will rain or not as well as comparisons. The aptly named betontheweather.io allows you to take on local meteorologists and bet over/under their high or low temperature predictions. Keep an eye on Bovada as well — despite having a site listing for weather odds, the Vegas oddsmaker currently has none posted, though that could change. 

Virtual sports

If you find yourself desperate for the familiar sports that once captured your attention and financial backing, there are many e-sport competitions still happening.

For football, the crew over at B/R Betting have been setting lines for their daily Madden simulations and live-tweeting the games and lines as they happen. In basketball, the NBA and 2K are partnering with ESPN for a NBA player 2K Tournament to be streamed on ESPN and ESPN2 starting Friday, April 3. And that’s right — Bovada has lines up for which player will win the tournament, plus prop bets on scoring by round, which conference will have more representatives advance to the second round and whether or not we’ll see overtime in the opening round.

Devin Booker of Phoenix is tied with Kevin Durant of Brooklyn as the odds-on favorites, with other hot names including Atlanta’s Trae Young (+750), another Sun in Deandre Ayton (+850) and Hassan Whiteside of Miami (+1000). This might be the perfect scenario to pick one of the longshots with +1800 odds and root for them to go for a surprise run and bring in some value. Your options there include the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Washington’s Rui Hachimura and Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis.