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Top-10 degen sportsbook bets

17 October 2011

A degenerate gambler is someone who has a real problem. True degenerates bet on anything and everything. They gamble with more money than they can afford to lose. And when they win, it doesn’t take long for a degenerate to lose it all back.

A “degen” bet, on the other hand, has the fun of being a bet made just for the fun of making a bet, while lacking the life-sucking qualities of betting too much or the inevitability of losing it back if you win.

In this week’s top-10 list, I thought I’d take a look at some of the more “degen” bets you can make in a sportsbook. But remember – make these bets at your own risk. Do it only occasionally, for entertainment and a laugh, and never with more money than you can afford to lose. And if you win, take your significant other out for a nice dinner instead of losing it back with another degen bet.

10. Betting on a sport you know nothing about
Regular listeners of the Casino City Gang know I’m fond of picking winners in sports I’ve never watched, or in some cases, never even heard of, during our “Best Bets” portion of the show. Usually, I dub that pick my “Degen Bet of the Week.” And for good reason. I’m sure there are people out there who have an edge when they pick winners in hurling, cricket or bowls, but I’m not one of those people. Sometimes, if the schedule is light and you’re just looking to have a flutter (to borrow a term from my friends across the pond), a bet on a game that you know nothing about can be very entertaining. And if you get a chance to actually watch the game, rooting for an outcome in a game that you don’t know the rules for can be entertaining for the people watching you, too.

9. Picking a horse based on its name
There are people who study loads of information about a horse’s previous results, his/her pedigree and racetrack conditions before making a bet on a horse. Once again, I’m not one of those people. If I’m going to bet on a horse, I’m going to pick the one I think has the coolest name. It hasn’t turned out to be a winning strategy, but knowing as little as I do about horse racing, it’s probably just as effective as any other system, for me. It’s a degen bet, but it can also be loads of fun, especially if you’re betting right at the track.

8. Political futures
Lots of online sportsbooks offer political futures. Paddy Power Sportsbook has one of the most robust offerings. You can bet on U.S. elections, Irish elections, European politics and almost anything else you can think of. There are a lot of political pundits on cable news, and I’d like to see them put their money where their mouths are, to see who they’d pick with the odds that online sportsbooks offer.

7. Pick a winner for every game on the schedule
One of the regulars in my poker game has a great tradition when he goes out to Las Vegas with his buddies. They go to a sportsbook for the day and place a $10 wager on every single MLB game scheduled that day. Then they sit there and watch the games, have a few beers and collect whatever they’ve won at the end of the day. I like this because it’s a way to have a lot of action on the line without being too risky – it’s pretty hard to go 0-for-15 on your picks for the day. Most likely you’re going to finish up or down less than $50, and you got an entire day’s worth of entertainment out of it.

6. Hooker/Not a Hooker
After you’ve made 15 baseball bets, you’re inevitably going to get a little bored in the middle of the day. One of the most fun ways you can spruce up the down time is to play “Hooker/Not a Hooker.” Note: Sportsbooks will not take your action on this game – you’ll need to take sides with your friends. Look around the room (or better yet leave the sportsbook and watch the games at one of the bars in the casino) and try to find a woman or group of women where it’s unclear whether or not they are “working.” When you think you’ve got the situation figured out, get someone to go over and find out who’s right.

5. WSOP futures
Recent regulatory changes in Nevada made it possible for books to offer prop bets on entertainment and other types of futures markets. One of those markets is the World Series of Poker. Las Vegas sportsbooks now offer odds on who will win the WSOP Main Event (after the November Nine is determined), how big the field will be and all sorts of other betting options. If you can predict these things, more power to you. But if you just want to throw down a few bucks and make a degen pick to entertain yourself while you watch the final table coverage, go for it!

4. Baseball double result
Once again, regular Casino City Gang listeners will already be familiar with this one. The double result bet is most commonly offered in soccer. You pick who will be winning at the half, and who will win the game. Picking a tie/draw is also available for both results, giving bettors nine possible choices to back. That’s too many outcomes for me, and I also don’t know squat about soccer. So I prefer the Major League Baseball double result bet, which allows you to pick who you think will be ahead after five innings, and who will be ahead at the end of the game. Since baseball games can be tied after five innings but can’t be tied at the end, there are only six possible positions to back. My go-to degen bet for the MLB double result is to look for a game with two solid starting pitchers and make two bets, selecting a tie after five innings for both bets, and the home team to win on one side and the visiting team to win on the other. Usually the payoff for tie-winner is somewhere around 7-1 to even 10-1, so if the game is tied after five innings, you win about 4-1 no matter who wins the game. I’m pretty sure I’m 0-for-12 (or worse) on this bet, so I’m not sure it’s a winning strategy. But it is a degen bet.

3. Lottery
The lottery in itself isn’t a degen bet (okay, maybe scratch-off tickets not received as a gift are). But making lottery picks at an online sportsbook is a degen bet. And you can do just that at bet365 Sportsbook & Racebook. You can pick numbers in the Irish, Spanish, New York, German, Canadian and Australian lotteries. The payouts are fixed, however; you’re not buying tickets to the actual lottery, you’re betting on what the numbers picked in the lotto drawing will be, and if you’re right, you get paid a fixed amount.

2. Virtual sports
Maybe you really like to bet on soccer, and there aren’t any games going on right now. What’s the most degen thing you could bet on, then? Well, a virtual soccer game, of course. There are loads of online casinos that offer virtual sports, especially virtual racing (virtual greyhound racing is particularly degen). Paddy Power Casino has one of the most diverse offerings, with a virtual contest kicking off in one sport or another every minute. The outcome is decided in the space of a minute, and there’s great animation of the race or game for the bettor’s enjoyment. It’s quick, fun, and most certainly degen.

1. Five (or more) team parlay
The number-one rule in sports betting is to avoid parlays. While the payoff on parlays skyrockets when compared to betting on single events, the odds of winning shrink dramatically. If you assume a 50/50 chance of getting a single pick right, you have a 1-in-8 chance to win if you bet on a three-team parlay. No wonder the house is willing to pay at 6-1. Make it a five-team parlay and your chances drop to 1-in-32, which generally pays 25-1. Of course, the huge payoff for a small wager is attractive. Who wouldn’t want to be the guy holding the $5 ticket that won $100,000 for getting all 15 picks right on an NFL parlay bet in Delaware yesterday? Don’t expect to win this degen bet, but have fun with it if you get the first few picks right and get to really sweat a big payday on a small bet.
Top-10 degen sportsbook bets is republished from
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.