Different isn’t always necessarily better. More intriguing? Sure, sometimes. Like in a can’t-look-away, rubbernecking type of way. But not necessarily better.
As one of sports betting’s “national holidays” – Week 1 of the NFL regular season – fast approaches, we’re reminded of that with a glance at some offshore sportbooks’ bets that are (thankfully) nowhere to be found on the boards of their legal, regulated stateside counterparts.
The longest offseason in major U.S.-based professional sports belongs to the NFL, which goes just over seven months between the Super Bowl and the opening week of the following regular season. That’s quite a stretch of time, but it’s usually a favorable recipe for sportsbooks.
When that slow, steady build of anticipation for those who like to plunk down money on pro football reaches its crescendo in that second Sunday in September, the cash – gobs of it – flows freely.
Offshore books = off-the-rails props
For the first time, sportsbooks outside of Nevada will enjoy some of that windfall when it comes to the regulated U.S. market. But offshore books still have an abundance of U.S. customers – bettors that they can leverage the eager anticipation of with a number of … ahem … questionable prop wagers.
This year, those unregulated entities are even heavily gravitating toward props that are a hell of a lot more “CNN” than “ESPN”. For example, you can now place action on whether:
- The NFL will settle out of court with Colin Kaepernick.
- If Nike will produce a signature Kapernick shoe.
- If President Donald Trump will take a swipe at Nike chairman Phil Knight over the entire Kapernick issue (“I’ll take scenarios with a –Gazillion line for 500, Alex”)
- What team will have the most players refuse to stand for the national anthem in Week 1.
And then you have plenty of other options where the oddsmakers at least make a faint attempt at pretending there’s a sports-based connection to what’s being offered. Have a gander at these other fine “investment opportunities”:
- How many games does the infamous “Madden curse” cost Steelers receiver Antonio Brown this season?
- Post-2018 retirement future props for prominent players such as Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.
- Total suspended players during the 2018 season.
- Odds on the Super Bowl LIII halftime artist (The Chainsmokers, Pink and Rihanna are the favorites)
- The “first head coach to get fired” – whether in-season or afterwards – prop (hint: Dirk Koetter, light a fire under your guys early and often).
A bad look for entire sports betting industry
The absurdity of some these wonky betting props belies the very real drag they represent on sports betting’s overall image. Namely, they help give weight the abundance of negative narratives often spouted by anti-gambling activists – those that say some are so addicted to the feeling of having action on something, they’ll wager on the outcome of almost anything.
In that regard, a regulated industry that has a sense of boundaries, even if those are sometimes partly imposed out of caution and self-preservation, is far from the worst thing in the world. In fact, given the scrutiny any newly legalized activity is bound to be under, it’s likely a winning proposition — unlike many of the ones you’ll find offshore these days.