With sports shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic, bettors are turning to something that can never be canceled – the weather.

Fluffy clouds
In the absence of sports, sportsbooks have begun taking bets on the weather. (Image: Unsplash)

Highs and Lows of Temperature, Precipitation Bets

A few operators have turned to such things as temperatures and precipitation as the basis of wagers to tempt players to bet on the weather. BetOnline, known for a bevy of offbeat wagers – you can take odds on the first character to get killed off of the third season of the Netflix series “Ozark,” premiering at midnight Friday, for example – is now allowing sharps (weather sharps, if that is a thing) to bet on the weather in six North American cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto. A line is set and players bet the over and under.

BetOnWeather.io, now in beta testing, is shooting for loftier goals, allowing users to bet on the weather in more than 100 cities, with six different types of wagers that include precipitation totals and long-range seasonal weather. It puts forth the tagline, “Beat your local meteorologist. Make money.” There’s even a box on the website that allows users to challenge their local meteorologists to wager on their forecasts.

BetOnWeather offers tools for, er, weather sharps, with access to the U.S. National Weather Service’s long-range forecasts, alerts, and observations.

Sportsbook and online poker operator Bovada is also providing its own slate of temperature wagers, allowing players to bet on the maximum highs in cities like Houston and Philadelphia.

Weather Wagers Bring Levity to Situation

Pat Morrow, Bovada’s head oddsmaker, told the New York Post the sportsbook is operating at just 5% of normal capacity – not that Bovada expects bets on the weather to make up for that shortfall. He compared the bets made on the weather to what players might wager on single-game NBA props.

“You’re probably talking about an individual loss of freedom, people are going to start feeling a little cooped up more sooner than later and if we can just have those little breaks, whether it’s betting on something silly … we’re all just trying to find different outlets to forget what’s happening,” he told the newspaper.

“We’re allowing ourselves an opportunity … to not take ourselves too seriously, to try and inject some levity in there, we’re trying to put some stuff out there that’ll be a little fun,” Morrow continued.

Morrow told the Intelligencer that Bovada is studying weather analytics in hopes of adding bets on precipitation rates or yes/no bets on the possibility of rain occurring. He quipped that his team consulted Farmers’ Almanac, but didn’t find it particularly useful.

Online sports bettor Will Donaldson of Louisville told the Intelligencer the ability to bet on the weather is a nice addition with sports out of the picture.

“It lets me come home from work and have something to watch, something to pay attention to,” he said. “Without that, there’s a void in my life.”

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