The Most Unusual Sports to Bet On

The Supreme Court ruling in May changed the entire landscape of sports betting in the United States. The court ruled that states had the power to decide for themselves whether to allow sports gambling. In the past, the federal government had jurisdiction over gambling in the United States. Congress passed a law in 1992 that outlawed gambling in nearly every state. However, New Jersey successfully argued that the Constitution gives the federal government the right to control commerce between states, not inside them.

With the new betting landscape in place, people currently have the freedom to place bets on sport in seven different states. While many people bet on football, basketball, baseball, or soccer, there are other unique sports to place bets on. Interested? Here are some of the more unusual sports you can bet on.

Arm Wrestling

Arm Wrestling

Unbelievably, arm wrestling is a sport. It was not invented for that horrible Stallone movie in the late 1980s. Many people really enjoy watching arm wrestling live, as evidenced by the furor that erupted when NFL players participated in an arm wrestling tournament in Vegas in 2017. All of the player’s winnings went to a charity of their choice. However, side betting on who was going to win infuriated the NFL, and the players were fined by the league.

Arm wrestling tournaments are staged live all over the world, and bets on who will come out on top represent a nice sum of money. The sport is not the most dramatic, and the pace of these tournaments makes it difficult to cover via television, they have found a following in the betting world.

WWE Professional Wrestling

WWE Professional Wrestling

Yes, professional wrestling is more theatre than actual sport. That being said, people enjoy betting on it, because they enjoy wagering on the outcome of the theatre. They like to bet on heroes and villains. There is also a little competition going on between wrestlers. For example, a wrestler who is supposed to be the good person must get cheers and adulation from the crowd in order to remain a top performer. The bad person better be being booed by the crowd. If wrestlers cannot keep the crowd’s attention, they will lose their airtime. The wrestlers also have to be in good physical shape as well, or they will quickly work themselves out of a job.

While it may seem that wrestling is just a theatrical sport, it is also an opportunity to make real money on wagers. People who follow all of the fan forums in wrestling, online magazine and social media sites of their favorite wrestlers appear to have theedge over people who are just making a bet for the fun of it. Experts cite the Hulk Hogan-Shawn Michaels match as an example. The promotional material for the match appeared to favor the younger Michaels. However, wagerers with knowledge of Hulk Hogan and the sport knew Hogan controlled his own bookings. For that reason, the smart money was on Hogan, as his hatred of losing is legendary.

Cornhole

Cornhole

Yes, betting on cornhole tournaments is a thing. Many people played cornhole as children. While the original idea for the game originated in Europe, it has been popularized in the Midwest and South. In fact, cornholing is a staple at many football tailgate parties in the fall. County fairs and state fairs also feature cornholing contests. Cornholing involves a pair of players throwing bags of corn kernels or beanbags at boards, trying to get the bags through the holes. After a certain period, the team that has the most bags in the whole wins.

While wagers over cornholing have been taking place at tailgates, barbecues, and county fairs for years, there are also larger wagers being placed. First, Vegas actually have odds on cornhole tournaments, especially when they are being played on ESPN. In Hong Kong, where cornhole tournaments are a huge deal, odds are taking on the largest cornhole tournament in Asia, and the payouts for the lucky wagerers are not too shabby.

Curling

curling

Until the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, not a whole lot of Americans who did not live in the Upper Midwest had ever heard of curling. It is not the most exciting sport to watch, but it tends to grow on you. Especially when the Americans won their first gold medal in curling ever during the 2018 Olympics.

Curling consists of ice, sweepers, big rocks, and teams. The object of curling is to get as many of your stones in the circle at the other end of the lane as possible. Knocking the other teams’ stones out of contention is fun also. In the 2018 Winter Olympics, bettors were drawn to the brother and sister team, the Hamiltons. Many wagers were placed on the Hamiltons to medal, especially since they routed Russia in their first match. However, their dominance did not continue, and they fell to seventh out of eight teams. Vegas cleaned up on those wagers quite nicely.

However, the foursome from America in the curling men’s event beat the long odds, some wagerers took, winning gold in curling for the first time ever. They had not been expected to medal. The casinos who raked in money with the mixed-doubles curling event lost big to those people who were smart enough to bet on the American male team.

Harness Racing

Harness Racing

This is not your Uncle Louis racetrack betting. In some areas of Europe and the United States, harness racing is a big deal. In harness racing, a horse is hitched to a small racing buggy, and is controlled by a jockey sitting in the buggy. Harness racing is descended from chariot racing from the Greco-Roman era, so it has been a fan favorite for a long time. Many people enjoy harness racing for its beauty and elegance. Other people like the race because in some places, any kind of horse can race, pedigreed or not. This makes harness racing different from the traditional thoroughbred racing.

Harness racing is a huge gambling sport in some areas in Europe. In Sweden and Finland for example, a popular wager is called V75. Gamblers pick five or seven horses to win in a row. If they win, wagerers get to take home a lovely wad of cash.

Cow Chip Tossing

Cow Chip Tossing

We should be making this up—but we are not. Cow chip tossing is actually a thing, and people actually bet on the outcome. People throw cow chips—petrified cow turds to see who can throw the farthest. There are even specifications on how long and wide the proper cow chip can be for tossing.

People all over the Midwest and South bet on cow chip tossing contests. There are wagers for the farthest toss. There are also wagers on how far the three farthest tosses will go. People wager on the tossers themselves. In Wisconsin, at the annual state fair, wagers are taken in a bingo format based on where the chip lands on a grid pattern.

So the next time someone laughs at you when you make a silly, out-of-this-universe bet for the Campbell Camels to beat Duke in the NCAA March Madness tournament, it could be worse. You need to step right up to that bet and be proud. After all, you could be betting on cow chip tossing instead.

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Richard Holmes was born in Tampa, Florida and studied computer science at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola Florida. A devout Baptist, volunteer Sunday School teacher and online gaming fan, Richard works as a part-time systems administrator at Baptist Hospital and part-time professional blogger specializing in statistics, probability and computer science issues. He is an ardent believer in the future of artificial intelligence as a tool for transforming human society for the better, particularly in the area of health care and modern medicine. A chess player, and competitive online gamer Richard actively participates on online gaming tournaments in his free time.