If you’re an avid sports fan, you may have experienced the excitement and suspense of online sports betting. Your favourite sports to have a flutter on might include football, tennis, or cricket, but did you know that people have also enjoyed betting on some rather “strange” sports over the years?
You’re probably not going to find betting lines for most of these odd or questionable sports at popular sportsbooks, but someone, somewhere has seen fit to place their money on them: they must have that “something” that sparks so much enthusiasm about the outcome. Just what are these strange sports? Let’s find out!
1. Arm wrestling
It’s likely that some of us have placed a few quid on a mate during a friendly arm-wrestling match at the pub, but in 2017 in the US, huge amounts of money were placed on NFL players (including James Harrison and Marshawn Lynch), who were taking part in an arm-wrestling tournament in Las Vegas. Fortunately, the money all went to charity and the event was very friendly, though it did spark controversy within the League when the American football players involved were fined by the NFL for taking part.
Cornhole, unsurprisingly, involves tossing small bags of corn kernels into holes carved into “dummy boards”. It’s a game that’s played at county fairs across the US, though it has also become rather popular in Hong Kong. In 2015, the Shekou Cornhole Federation, which is based in Hong Kong, published a list of odds for the upcoming tournament. Team names included “Game of Throws”, “Breaking Bag”, “Natural Corn Killers”, and “We So Corny”, adding to the entertainment of the already strange game.
3. Cow chip tossing
Just when you thought Americans couldn’t get any more, well, American, you hear about cow chip tossing. And if you thought this was a funny name for a far more civilised game, you’d be wrong.
Cow chip tossing is a glorified poop-scooping event – we kid you not – that takes place at the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival in the Midwest each year (although its website tells us Covid caused “udder chaos”), as well as at a few other events throughout the country. Participants must choose a dung pad no less than six inches in diameter, before tossing it as far as they possibly can. Each participant gets two turns, and the farthest throw wins. Spectators place their bets at the event and look forward to watching who will reign supreme each year. The current record holder is Drew Russell, who managed to throw a chip 188ft 6in in 2015.
If you’ve never heard of curling you’ll be surprised to learn that this sport is actually part of the Winter Olympics (look out for it at Beijing 2022)! So unlike cow chip tossing, it’s totally legitimate. While the premise is simple enough – to slide a granite stone along a strip of ice towards a target area (a bit like bowls on ice) – the terminology and rules can, at times, feel like an indecipherable riddle.
Much like croquet, curling is an exceptionally slow sport, consisting of 10 rounds in each match. This means punters need to be very familiar with the rules, and be extraordinarily patient throughout the game to find out whether their bets at an online casino were successful.
Esports is to gaming nerds what football is to sporting fans, and makes for high-intensity, action-packed sports betting – even though it takes place on a computer, not on a field, track or court. Esports is effectively professional video gaming, and has fast become a billion-pound industry, with millions of spectators across the globe – around 435.9 million viewers, to be exact.
The most popular video games to bet on include League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and Dota 2. What’s more, unlike many of the other odd sports on this list, you can actually place your bets on esports at many of the best online casinos!
6. Harness racing
Also known as “trotting races”, harness racing involves horses… except the jockey sits in a two-wheeled wagon behind the horse, instead of on its back! This hilarious sight makes betting on the sport all the more fun, and harness racing is actually extremely popular in Sweden and Finland, though there are races in the US, Australia, and New Zealand too. Each country has its own set of rules and betting odds. Who knows, maybe this was a top sport to bet on back in Ancient Rome, too!
Muggle quidditch is based on the fictional game in the Harry Potter series, except it’s played by muggles (not witches or wizards), the broomsticks don’t fly, and the “snitch” is just a tennis ball placed in a long yellow pouch hanging off a runner’s shorts. It may sound ridiculous, and it is, quite frankly. That’s not to say it’s not good fun.
In the game, two teams of six players each compete against each other on a hockey-sized field that has three hoops of varying heights at either end. There are chasers, keepers, beaters, and seekers. Players score points for their team by getting the “quaffle” (a slightly deflated volleyball) through the hoops, and the game ends when the snitch has been caught.
Betting markets for the Quidditch World Cup first started to appear in 2011.
8. Reindeer racing
Unless you live in the northern parts of Norway, Finland, or Russia, where reindeer live in their natural habitat, it’s unlikely that you’ll find reindeer-racing odds at your local sportsbook. In these regions of Scandinavia, however, reindeer racing is a widely followed competitive sport, involving jockeys wearing speed suits who are dragged by fully grown reindeer along a snowy course. And the speeds are impressive: up to 37mph, which is quite a mean feat considering these 29-stone animals are notoriously difficult to train.
9. Rock, paper, scissors
The competitors are dedicated (even at “amateur level”, let’s face it) and the fans are invested in their firm conviction that rock, paper, scissors is an actual sport. So much so that the World RPS Society has inaugurated a World Championship, complete with a betting system. In fact, the former pro basketball star, Michael Jordan, was said to have wagered $100,000 (around £74,800) on the humble game of chance!
Place your bets and play online casino games at Grosvenor Casinos
Whether you’re more traditional or unconventional, you’re sure to find something that sparks your interest when you register at Grosvenor Casinos. From classic table games and modern, live casino variants, to retro-style online slots and progressive jackpot slots – as well as online sports betting – you’ll be able to take your pick when you sign up with us!
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