The Hugo Awards: what are the odds?
August 15, 2014 2:07 PM   Subscribe

I thought bookmakers would take bets on just about anything, bookish competitions included—Ladbrokes has Haruki Murakami at 6:1 for this year's Nobel Prize for Literature—but I'm not finding anyone offering odds on this weekend's Hugo Awards. Are there any "official" odds on the Hugos? And if not, why not?

Note: I'm not looking to place a bet. I'm just interested in how objective professionals are handicapping a slate of Best Novel nominees that pits Ann Leckie (who's swept the field this year) against Mefi's own cstross against the entirety of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I know how I'd vote, but I don't know what to expect the outcome to be, and I can't seem to find anyone offering odds.
posted by mumkin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: FWIW, in those Nobel-prize pools (as in sports betting, etc.) the odds move with the betting; they're not fixed permanently by the book, they just set the opening line. And the Nobel odds tend to have thin and weird enough action that they're swayed pretty fast by dumb money (e.g. Bob Dylan was apparently such a popular bet in the last Nobel Literature pool that he ended up as almost the favorite, which was self-evidently silly and conceivably could've even been a promotional gambit). This may be the answer on the absence of Hugo odds — if the international media darling Nobels only get light action, then the genre awards are probably even less of a moneymaker — but in any case, I would not be confident that these odds were actually a good predictor of the outcome.
posted by RogerB at 2:31 PM on August 15, 2014

Best answer: Here is how you do it: go to a betting shop and ask for odds. Call their customer sales line if you want. My friend is a Ladbrokes manager in Birmingham and they have bets for many people hoping mum or dad will live to 100. You might get better odds if you think there is as clear favorite so keep your bet a secret for best results.
posted by parmanparman at 3:35 PM on August 15, 2014

Response by poster: Interesting. I'd assumed there were more punters placing these sorts of bets—probably because when there is a flurry of interest in the Booker Prize, say, and an unexpected odds-on favorite emerges, it's pounced on for quirky news stories.

Shows what little I know of the betting world. I was expecting to find pages-upon-pages of weird non-sports odds listed online, but I'm gathering from parmanparman's example that those are mostly custom bets made by an individual, hey?

Oh well. In 23 hours we'll know who's won this year's Hugos, but I guess we'll never empirically know who the consensus favorites were.
posted by mumkin at 1:48 PM on August 16, 2014

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