|BETS AND WEATHER: SPORTS, HORSE RACING
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Betting is a huge industry. Popular forms include poker, horse race gambling, bingo, lotteries,
and sports betting. Some of these forms of betting have very little to do with the weather but
certain ones have a huge influence. This is true for outdoor sporting events such as horse racing. This
essay will give information on how some bettors look at the influence from weather. Betting is a risk. There
are no sure things. There is always risk no matter how much it seems things should go a certain way.
Football is a popular sport to bet on and it is usually played outside, exposing the players
and play execution to the elements of weather. When a line is created for a game it is made
several days before the playing of the game. If a bettor can properly forecast the game-time weather
then that bettor could possibly bet at an advantage. A game played in the rain, snow or high wind will
often reduce the advantage that the favorite team has. Excessive heat or cold will also play
a role. These inclement conditions tend to
produce more turnovers, a worsening of play execution and less scoring. For example, if a team is favored
by 21 points and it is likely there will be bad weather during the game this could result in the
game being closer than expected. When the field is wet the players have a more difficult time
running as quickly and making their cuts. The defenses will often do better in wet sloppy conditions and this can
result in lower scoring and the game being closer than expected. On the other hand, the offensive players,
since they know where they are going, can get a jump on the defense. There is a tendency though for the game
to be played a little more conservatively in bad weather. It helps reduce turnovers. Anything can happen
though. There have been high scoring games in wild weather conditions. Some fields drain water much
better than others and some fields will have more of a problem with mud. Bettors keep in mind the
quality of the field the game is being played on. A poor field tends to even the teams out
a little more than would be the case on a perfect field. The favored team would prefer to play
on a great field.
Horse race gambling is influenced heavily by the weather. The horses and jockeys have to deal with wind, the
running surface, the temperature and the elements. A horse that is more comfortable running in
muddy and rainy conditions will often do better than expected. In past horse races leading up the
current race bettors will note what weather conditions each race was run under. They note track conditions,
temperature, wind speed and weather.
Golf is a sport that will certainly be influenced by the wind and conditions of the playing surface. Better
scores result when the playing surface is softened with moisture. A very dry green tends to allow the
ball to roll too far or bounce off the green. Wind will wreck havoc on scores. A light wind will
just about ensure better scoring. A betting strategy is to determine how different golfers do when the course
or the weather is not optimum for quality golf.
Other outdoor sports such as tennis and baseball can be influenced by the weather but these events
tend to be cancelled when the weather is bad.
Weather forecasting itself is bet on. It is a "game" of skill and chance just like a sport.