We're sure your viewers will find this interesting! Groundhog Day is tomorrow, February 2nd, and with a winter like much of the U.S. has seen this year, we're sure your viewers are anxious for any news (or signs) of how much longer this winter will last.
This year, there is an interesting twist. Online sportsbook, BetUS.com (pronounced “Bet U.S.” ) has begun accepting bets on if the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow and return to his burrow on February 2nd, which according to the tradition and legend, indicates 6 more weeks of winter.
According to the oddsmakers at BetUS, Punxsutawney Phil is heavily favored to NOT see his shadow on February 2nd, according to BetUS spokesperson, Tim Williams. “Our oddsmakers crunched the numbers extensively and the ‘NO’ side of this bet - meaning if you want to bet that the groundhog will not see his shadow, is favored heavily at -365. That means a person would have to stake $365 just to win $100 if they wanted to bet the ‘no’ option,” Williams explains. “That also translates into odds of 9/4 and an implied probability of 78.49% that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow.”
But not so fast, Williams explains. BetUS oddsmakers have also posted odds on if there will be 6 more weeks of winter “regardless of Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction.”
And surprisingly, the oddsmakers came to the conclusion that there will be six more weeks of winter, regardless of the groundhog’s prediction. The ‘yes’ option to that wager is priced at –220, meaning one would have to stake $220 to win $100, because this is viewed by oddsmakers as the most likely outcome. If you’re convinced that spring will arrive early, regardless of the groundhog’s prediction, you can place a bet that spring will arrive early, which carries odds of +155 and will return $155 in net winnings for a $100 stake. Of course, in all options, the amount risked is also returned along with the net winnings.
So why the discrepancy in the odds? “Basically, what our oddsmakers have found is that Punxsutawney Phil has actually failed in his prediction more than he has gotten it right over the last several decades many decades. According to our oddsmakers, Phil the groundhog’s predictions are wrong about 60% of the time, so you would do far better over the years betting against the Groundhog than with him,” Barger explains.
So, do people actually bet on the weather? “Absolutely,” Williams explains. “In fact, as of February 1st, 61.5% of our Groundhog-betting customers have bet that the Groundhog *will* see his shadow. And while this is the first year that BetUS has offered odds on Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, BetUS has offered betting odds on other weather-related events throughout the company’s 29 year history. Last year the company even offered betting odds on which airlines would suffer the most cancellations and delays during Thanksgiving week. “And believe it or not, people really do bet on these things. It’s fun!” Barger says.