Online sportsbooks have offered odds on everything from the weather to Esports, and people are betting on some of the obscure leagues still playing
Not only has the shutdown of major professional sports leagues due to the coronavirus deprived fans of an escape from their daily lives, it has seriously impacted the sports betting sector and resulted in a unique paradigm shift.
“We were faced with a March without March Madness and now we’re into an April without NBA playoffs or NHL playoffs on the horizon,” said Pat Morrow, head oddsmaker for the online sports betting website Bovada. “That created really large gaps in significant betting handle and essentially revenue attached to that. So, once it became clear that these sports were going away and not coming back anytime soon, it’s led us to where the website today has a variety of different things to wager on that we wouldn’t have had going back six weeks ago.”
Right around the time Bovada and other sportsbooks typically would have been posting over/under lines and point spreads for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Morrow found himself taking bets on the weather and the stock market. People were actually wagering on whether the temperature in a city like Houston or Chicago would be higher or lower than the established line (81 degrees and 42 degrees, respectively, back on March 17th).
“It had its highs and lows and for the first couple of weeks it was something that was popular with players,” Morrow said. “But we realized really quickly that there was a significant amount of players with a meteorological background and we realized we were a bit out of our element, and we were mostly attracting ‘weather sharks’ so to speak. We had to put the pause on it for now but it’s something we do want to revisit.”