by Chris, the Impaler - 05/02/2005
The next time you hear American Idol judge Paula Abdul tell a contestant that she loves them it might carry a whole new meaning.
Here at the home office we were shocked that Constantine Maroulis was eliminated from American Idol last Wednesday before perpetual bottom feeders Anthony Federov and Scott Savol. We did not, however, cry like judge Paula Abdul.
Perhaps she V-chipped her way to a unit on Constantine?
Today, Entertainment Bets, or wagers on popular culture are still a cottage industry for offshore sportsbook. Gambling on pop-culture is not going away and as the popularity of offshore betting grows so will betting on popular culture. This means that the reality television junky can enhance their enjoyment of their favorite reality program by having action on a television program. A look at reality television investment or "entertainment betting" shows that there is a lot of value if you put in the time to do your research.
This huge money making opportunity is given to us by the popularity of such shows as American Idol, Survivor, Big Brother and the Amazing Race. And for the many disinterested in sports, or who can't make it to Vegas and enjoy the exhilarating sawbuck ride, laying 9/4 on Bo Bice to win American Idol can do so at home at online parlors such as Bodog. The best part is that these "proposition bets" are not limited to television either. You name it and you can probably find a place hanging lines. Recently, betting on the next Pope found enormous popularity. For the first time in Papal history could citizens of the world bet on Francis Arinze of Nigeria, listed at 11-4 odds. For four bucks to win 15 and make the incessant conclave coverage that much more interesting, why not?
Another interesting prop bet that Bodog offers is on a child molestation trial, West Coast style. Will Michael Jackson serve a jail sentence for his current child molestation trial? Good question. You have to lay 1.25 if you don't think so and it will only cost a nickel if you think he'll do time. If you just want to bet the money line in the Jackson trial you'll lay $1.10 on no and $1.20 on yes.
By the end of 2004 approximately 5.8 million individuals bet online and the online sportsbook market is only increasing. However, pop culture betting still makes up a very small percentage, about one percent of one percent of total revenue. Therefore, you can take advantage of weakness in entertainment betting lines if you feel you have the pulse of a particular show or event. (I am unhappy to report I lost a nickel when I laid the favorite Aviator in this year's Oscars). Generally the line will not move unlike when the Patriots play at home against the Bengals.
But you don't have to bet that much to make a long boring awards event exciting. At Bodog, for instance, the minimum required wager is extremely low for most online betting. The minimum for all types of betting is $5 at Bodog.
The maximum entertainment bet that can be placed on Bodog is $100, whereas the maximum sports bet is $5,000. Reality is subject to many more factors than sports -- and is no less exciting -- and therefore there have been several instances in the past when unusual betting patterns have prompted sportsbooks to take down reality propositions. Recently there were unusual betting patterns for the program, The Amazing Race. When books began noticing heavy action on Survivor super couple Rob and Amber, the bets were no-actioned and lines were not restored. But you take a similar risk when you bet the money line in baseball and the pitcher does not start and your bet is no-actioned.
Survivor Palua BettingWhen Richard Hatch banked $1 million for winning the first season of Survivor betting on pop culture was in its infancy. Now there are offshore betting parlors by the thousands where you can invest your ducats and bet on your favorite reality series, movie, or song.
Bodog provides excellent odds and some of the highest betting limits on entertainment bets. For Survivor Palua these are the odds courtesy of Bodog on the remaining Survivors: Ian 4/1, Caryn 10/1, Katie 3/1, Tom 7/5, Jennifer 8/1, Gregg 6/1.
Last week, NYC Firefighter Tom surprised no one when he revealed his secret; that he was really strong but wanted the tribe to think he was weak because he was old. Perhaps. But my thinking is that his tell was when he said he was an NYC firefighter. Tom is the obvious choice to win, and normally in Survivor the obvious choice loses. This season it is different.
More than the domination of one tribe over another, this season was significant because the Rokor tribe was never penetrated by interlopers (read they did not merge). Now Rokor has to feast on their own tribe with nobody left to beat but themselves.
With six remaining, if you are betting on Survivor, like anything else, you have spent hours on the Survivor boards gleaming every nugget of every conversation of every traveler that visited Palua last year trolling for evidence that was not destroyed by the Tsunami a few weeks later. You've probably amended your boot list several times and by now the boot order is inevitable. To find the winner by throwing a dart, you'd have a 1 in 6 chance of winning your bet, but the odds negate that impulse wager.
We need to develop a boot order. This is how I see it.
Gregg 6/1 - sucker bet. He goes this week. Viewed as "strong." Later.
Caryn 10/1 - Made it farther than we thought. Good job but you are not in the final four.
Jennifer 8/1 - Wow. Coasted to the final four, now contempt sets in you're fired. Oops.
Ian 4/1 - Evil dolphin trainer or just creepy stare? This Palau OG played it, but in the end was not as hated as..
Katie 3/1 - The only reason she is here is because everyone on the jury hates her.
American Idol BettingKeep in mind that like a stock, it is best to get in on the ground floor with reality television (and all props). You get your best odds. There are generally larger arrays of prop bets the first few episodes of the program - like gender bets. I usually wait three or four episodes before wagering. There are currently five contestants (and three judges) remaining on American Idol. Bodog has hung these odds on the contestants: Carrie Underwood 2/5, Bo Bice 9/4, Anthony Federov 12/1, Vonzell Solomon 5/1, and Scott Soval 15/1. Several names should be crossed off as soon as possible.
Soval and Federov have the fat vote and the nazi vote but little else going for them. And while getting 32 million votes might sound impressive it is probably 3.2 million people voting ten times each. So when you are betting your hard earned sports investment cash and decide to foray into entertainment betting keep in mind the fickle American Public - that awareness alone should give you a huge edge. It is not who you personally like. Hence Savol and Federov still in the competition.
Then there is Bice. A great rocker living the rock-n-roll dream (well sorta). Luckily for him the Abdul controversy has overshadowed his rap sheet in which Bolivian Marching powder and Alabama play prominent roles. So lets discard Bo. Bad boy turned good won't sell. This leaves us with Vonzell at 5/1 and Carrie at 2/5. Two weeks ago we took Carrie at 8/5 noting her "it" factor and she has countrywide appeal.
We love Vonzell and hope she wins, but that 5/1 is too steep for our blood. By process of elimination Carrie Underwood (2/5) will win next American Idol.
There are many factors to consider, and least of which is how the contestants are portrayed on camera. The voting public is no doubt influenced by what the judges say and do. While nobody would confuse Abdul with an East German judge, the tears streaming down her cheeks as Maroulis exclaimed, "I'm gonna keep rocking" last week was reminiscent of losing ten dimes on the Yankees when you owe your man 24.
It just isn't Paula Abdul's year. In March, Abdul was tagged with a hit and run charge for allegedly leaving the scene of a minor auto accident last December. Then there was her weird on camera behavior; hugging and kissing Simon slurred words, during episodes and now there is a tell all episode on ABC's "Primetime Live" regarding "explosive claims" about the show. And while we could careless about trite phrases, we do see an incredible betting opportunity.
American Idol judge Paula Abdul allegedly had a relationship with a contestant will have to wait until Wednesday for confirmation. However, the prospect that Abdul might be the next "Idol" to get the boot from FOX Television's runaway hit program had me scanning my offshore providers for odds. Will Abdul be the next person kicked off American Idol?
Bodog hasn't hung that prop line yet.