Oscars 2009 Betting: Making Money on Short Shots (By Betfair.com)


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Dec 2, 2008
Oscars 2009 Betting: Making Money on Short Shots

By Brian Gold for betfair.com

Everyone looks for the big payout including myself. When a 100/1 shot wins golf and you wagered on it, you feel like king of the world.

Mind you those huge longshot winners are few and far between and more importantly they are difficult to pick. There is a reason a golfer, tennis player or horse is 100/1. Most likely when the bettor looks at the form they toss out the 100/1 shot as a pretender and look for a 10/1 or 20/1 shot which is more realistic. What about the 1/5 or even 1/10 favourite? Most people won't even give it a second thought because the odds are too small to justify the bet. If you win, great but if you lose then you are kicking yourself for betting so much to win so little. In U.S. horse racing the bettor who wagers on a horse to show to get back the minimum pay out on the tote of $2.10 on a $2 bet is called a bridge jumper. The reason is clear; if the horse loses you feel like jumping off a bridge. And betting on horse racing to win such small amounts is indeed foolish given that anything can happen in a horse race; just think of Barbaro and Big Brown. But sometimes even at atrocious odds the bet is worthwhile.

Consider the Oscars this year for Supporting Actor. The winner is Heath Ledger, make no mistake about it. He ran away with every award handed out so far and by all accounts won the SAG Awards in a virtually unanimous vote. He will not lose the Oscar and the posthumous award is already engraved with his name on it. The only question is who will accept the award on his behalf. There is a better chance that George W. Bush will become an English Professor at Harvard than there is that Heath Ledger will lose that award. And Heath Ledger has about $5,000 available on him at odds of 1.12 and more is added all the time on Betfair markets. If someone had the guts and money to take the 1/8 odds on Ledger every time someone puts it up they could easily wager $50,000 to win $6,000. That may not sound too tempting but it is a sure thing. This is not a horse race. Banks nowadays are paying less than 1% on savings accounts and guaranteed certificates pay about 3%. The days of 20%-30% returns on the stock market are gone. One could lose that much in a short period of time as can be witnessed by the decline of my retirement savings plan but making that kind of high percentage profits in financial ventures is gone.

So lets look at these types of bets realistically and there are many bets like the Heath Ledger available at Betfair all the time. For example, a game between Manchester United and a very poor team in a game Manchester United starts all their regulars; a bet on the financial markets when there is clearly no way it can do anything but go down; a bet on a golf tournament where Tiger Woods is 2 shots up with 2 holes to go and he is still available at 1.1 odds etc.

The bets will have to be held for a while but eventually they settle. In the case of the Ledger bet, the Oscars are on February 22nd, so the bets would be held at Betfair for about a month. In that instance the bettor would essentially be gaining 10% interest in a one month period. Wow. Who wouldn't put money into a guaranteed investment certificate or savings account that pays 120% per year (10% in one month)? And if a person can find say 10 bets like this every year at the 1.1 odds even though they know they are sure things they can essentially double their money. Imagine doubling your money without even breaking a sweat.

Naturally, this method is only useful for those who have large amounts of funds to justify the expense but even to a bettor who has $5,000 in their account, they can guarantee a $5,000 in a year by just betting on those events they know for almost 100% certain can't lose. Mind you that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a shot on the 100/1 shot once in a while also.

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