Weird Bets – A List of the Strangest Things You Can Bet On

Weird BetsNo one knows for sure where it all first started, but many people accept that William Hill first popularised the idea of novelty bets back in 1980, when they offered odds on the whole Who Shot JR commotion, a huge cliff hanger at the end of the 3rd season of a famous TV show at the time, called Dallas.

Novelty bets really found their feet in the 2010s, though, and as time went on, they got more and more… well, weird.

Yes you could still bet on TV shows and politics and the like, but bookies started offering odds on the strangest of things, some completely laughable, and stranger yet, people were backing them.

PaddyPower were well known for their novelty markets for a time, and at points it was like they were having a competition with other bookies to see who could offer the weirdest markets.

Events like alien invasions, the existence of God, the end of the world – and they had a field day with Donald Trump.

For posterity, and because everyone likes reading about weird stuff, many of those weird bets have been documented on this page, and you can read about them in greater detail by clicking on the links below.

Weirdest Bets Offered by the Bookies

Betting Markets on Alien Life

Betting on the Discovery of Alien Life Forms

Betting on alien life has always been a popular weird bet for the bookmakers. It pops up time and time again, often riding the wave of a big news story, but sometimes they create markets around the subject of extra terrestrials too. We have seen bets on when alien life will be discovered, where in the world they will land first, the storming of Area 51, and even who would win in an Alien vs Human war.

Russian Spy Betting Markets

Betting on the Next Country to Deport a Russian Spy

The Next James Bond is a well known novelty bet from the film world, but there have been markets opened on the spying game in the real world too. Understandably, given that the UK is a Western Country, the market pertained to spies from the East - Russia to be precise - and for good reason too, since spies were all over the news at the time.

Donald Trump Betting Markets

Betting on Donald Trump

Donald Trump was the subject of so many headlines that it was inconceivable the bookies would not get involved, and when they did, they really went for it. There were so many weird Trump themed betting markets that they can't all be covered here, but the best of them are contained in this post, covering subjects as varied as his penis, his ego, and his skin tone.

Betting on the Existence of God

Religion is one topic that will always spark debate, especially when it comes to the existence of God. Betting on some sort of omnipresent existence though, is another matter, because you would need hard proof for your bet to pay out. It didn't stop PaddyPower offering the market though, and it didn't stop people from betting on it. Saying that, you might be surprised at how low the odds were given how weird the market was.

End of the World Betting Market

Betting on the End of the World

It will definitely happen one day, and it's probably safe to say that you wouldn't want to be around when it does, but the end of the world isn't an obvious market for a bet. It has existed though, and at long odds too - which you would expect really - but the big question is why anyone would make the bet in the first place? Is the end of the world a bet you would actually want to win?

Betting on Bigfoot

Bigfoot, also know as the sasquatch, a yeti, or the abominable snowman depending on where he is spotted, has been a recurring news item over the decades, fascinating people who believe there could be a giant wild man hiding out there somewhere. It wasn't until the early 2000s that betting markets on Bigfoot opened up, but they have popped up a few times since then.

Betting on the Tesco Horse Meat Scandal

In 2013, Tesco was found to be selling beef burgers with up to 29% horse meat in them. This turned into an international scandal that took an age to get to the bottom of, but it took PaddyPower approximately eight and a half minutes to open a market on what animal would be next to contaminate beef burgers. Anyone for a squirrel burger?

Betting on Barack Obama

When Barack Obama became President at the beginning of 2019, it was momentous, causing a big stir in America and beyond, and the bookmakers were all over it. You could bet on everything from his tie colour, speech length and even the name of the White House dog. One bet in particular hit the headlines though, and that concerned a possible assassination before his first term was over.

Why Would Bookies Offer These Weird Bets?

Why Bookmakers Offer Weird Bets

This is a very good question – why would bookies waste their time creating markets on events that no one is even looking for?

What bookies had learned from more vanilla novelty bets, was that punters liked to place wagers on outcomes that were not necessarily sports related, and the more press those events were getting, the more bets they would attract.

It’s not so much the case now, but in the early days of weird bets, the very fact that the weird market existed in the first place was newsworthy. So if a bookie creates a market for the real Santa Claus to get stuck in the chimney of 10 Downing Street one December, they are going to get talked about in the press, and that is free publicity.

What’s more, that free publicity might even attract people to take the bet, so not only does the bookie get new customers signing up, they also see money pouring into a market that is incredibly unlikely to come in.

Weird and funny betting markets do still get attention in the media, but not on the scale that they used to.

It’s also a good way to make the brand stand out from the crowd, which has been of the utmost importance since the online betting industry became so overcrowded from around 2005 onwards, when the laws around betting in the UK were liberalised.

PaddyPower are the best example, because their line of weird novelty bets just added to their image as the joker of the bookmakers, giving them real personality and brand identity.

For most bookies then, weird betting markets are nothing more than publicity stunts with added benefits; they cost next to nothing to run, they may attract a lot of attention if the story is picked up, and therefore a lot of new customers will join the site, and the bets themselves may even bring in a little bit of money too.

Why Would Punters Take These Weird Bets?

Why Punters Bet on Weird Markets

This is an even better question – why would someone part with perfectly good money when the market they are betting on is absolutely bonkers?

Following on from the section above, people enjoy a good story.

You can totally see how someone might read about some weird bet at a bookie and find it funny, then show their friend, then they egg each other on to bet on it for a laugh.

Other than for a bit of a giggle though, they might actually bet on something weird because they genuinely think it has a chance of coming in.

If you take the discovery of alien life, for example, it might sound crazy, but NASA and others are out there specifically looking for life on other planets, so they clearly think it’s a probability. The only question then, is when they find it.

Others, such as Joe Biden punching Donald Trump in the face (it was a real market, see above) might not be very likely, but they are not impossible. John Prescot lamped a guy in Rhyl for throwing an egg at him, so why couldn’t Biden slap the wig off Trump given the right provocation?

Believe it or not, you might actually be able to find betting value in some of these weird bets. Ok, betting on the end of the world is utterly pointless and a waste of your money, but Italy to deport a Russian spy at 40/1? Perhaps not such a bad bet if you are well read on foreign politics.