As a general rule, sportsbooks offer a wide range of prop bets, although limits are sometimes imposed in the name of good taste. Out of curiosity, I scoured a number of online sportsbooks to see if any were offering prop bets on the coronavirus. While most shied away from the disease that’s infected 95,000 and killed an estimated 3,286, there was one exception.

My Bookie is currently accepting wagers on a number of scenarios involving the novel coronavirus. Some may find this decision to be appalling, while others may smell a juicy betting opportunity. Either way, these coronavirus prop bets are open through March 11th and include the following:

Will the coronavirus kill more than the Black Plague?

  • Yes +3000
  • No -10,000

Prediction: The Black Plague took place in the 14th century, which wasn’t exactly a high point for human intellect or medicine. The disease wiped out around 50% of Europe’s population, and the body count across Eurasia is estimated to have been between 75 and 200 million.

Given the mortality rate of the coronavirus so far, there’s no way it’s going to reach those kind of numbers. The “no” wager is the obvious choice, although risking $10,000 to win $100 isn’t especially appealing.

What will be the population of the Earth in 2021?

  • Over 7.4 Billion -4000
  • Under 7.4 Billion +1500

Prediction: The world’s population was estimated at 7.7 billion in 2019. Prior to the coronavirus, that number was expected to rise to 8 billion by the end of 2020. If there was no increase, the disease would still have to kill more than 300,000 to pay out the under.

It should be noted, however, that the 2009 swine flu killed between 150,000 and 575,000. Therefore, the under and its +1500 might be worth a shot for punters with excess cash (assuming you can live with yourself).

Will President Trump declare a national emergency due to the coronavirus?

  • Yes +150
  • No -200

Prediction: Just last night, President Trump downplayed the reported statistics for the coronavirus. Also, there’s the case that only one U.S. president has ever declared a national emergency over a health-related crisis (Obama for the swine flu in 2009).

This all adds up to a likely “no” result. Then again, the former reality star can be highly unpredictable.

Japanese women wear protective masks while walking in front of an Olympic logo.

 

Will the 2020 Olympics be cancelled due to the coronavirus?

  • Yes +500
  • No -1000

Prediction: The Olympics are scheduled to take place this year from July 24th to August 9th in Tokyo, Japan. At least one member of the International Olympic Committee has urged for a decision to be made by the end of May.

Options include cancelling the event, moving it, or postponing it. I doubt any of these are likely, though, as a tremendous amount of money has been invested in the games. Also, the end of May is almost three full months away, and I’m guessing that the disease will have largely run its course by then.

This is another case where I’d take the “no” option. Of course, risking $1,000 to win $100 isn’t that appealing.

Will the UEFA Euro 2020 be cancelled due to the coronavirus?

  • Yes +1000
  • No -2500

Prediction: Considered Europe’s flagship international competition, the UEFA Euro is scheduled to take place this summer. Football has always struck me as an especially corrupt sport, so I doubt they’ll let a possible pandemic stand in the way of a massive payday.

In fact, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has already stated his confidence on the event taking place as planned. At a recent media conference in Amsterdam, he even went so far as to say, “Let’s be optimistic and not talk about dark scenarios.”

Will the 2020 World Series of Poker be cancelled due to the coronavirus?

  • Yes +1000
  • No -2500

Prediction: The 51st WSOP event runs from May 26th to July 15th at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The potential for cancellation was first brought up by three-time bracelet winner Doug Polk when he said, “There are just so many countries that fly in and with severe travel restrictions it might not be realistic.”

True to their gambling roots, it wasn’t long before Polk and others were laying odds on the outcome. As for officials, WSOP exec Seth Palansky said, “At this time, all our events and schedules remain intact and are planned to go on without interruption.”

This is another option where I’d predict the “no” option. However, it’s being held sooner than some of the others on this list, so a “yes” bet might be more reasonable.

Will Coachella 2020 be cancelled due to the coronavirus?

  • Yes +500
  • No -1000

Prediction: This annual California music festival is scheduled to run from April 10th until April 19th. I consider this the most likely event on the list to be cancelled, and here’s why:

  • California just declared a state of emergency following the first coronavirus death within its borders.
  • Several other upcoming musical events in the state have already been cancelled.
  • This event occurs sooner than the others, giving the organizers less time to make a decision.
  • Coachella routinely draws celebrities and the social media crowd, which provides plenty of opportunities for negative publicity if things go wrong.
  • It’s just a freakin’ music festival.

I’d wager the “yes” option on this. According to the current odds, a $100 bet will get you $500. While it’s not the biggest payout, I feel it’s a relatively safe wager.

Additional Reading

If you’d like to read some more news stories involving gambling, be sure to check out the following entries: