***[This article will contain spoilers for Game of Thrones’ eighth season, including the recently aired third episode “The Long Night. It will also lay out some current Game of Thrones betting odds across a number of different wagering markets.]***
Last Sunday saw 17.8 million viewers worldwide tune in to HBO to watch the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell, setting a new record for Game of Thrones episode viewership.
Officially titled “The Long Night,” the third episode of Season 8 spanned 82 minutes of classic Game of Thrones set pieces, each showing off the battle between the army of the dead and humanity’s last hope. Beloved characters like Jorah the Andal and Dolorous Edd fell on the battlefield, an entire regiment of Dothraki screamers was destroyed, and dragons danced in direct combat with one another for the first time in centuries.
All in all, Game of Thrones served up the fantasy fueled spectacle fans have been waiting eight seasons to finally see.
But while critical reception to “The Long Night” has been decidedly mixed – owing to an unusually dark color palette that distracted from the action, and perceived plot armor protecting key characters – the episode generated unprecedented interest from the sports betting market.
Online sportsbook Bovada has capitalized on the intense interest in all things Game of Thrones by spreading several futures wagering markets on the show’s final season.
Between the “death pools” designed around which main character would see their head on a spike first, and “championship” betting on who will claim the Iron Throne when it’s all said and done, TV’s biggest hit has been a boon to bookmakers and bettors alike.
Now that we’re halfway through the final season, with only three episodes to go including the epic series finale scheduled for May 19, the time has come to check in on Bovada’s best betting opportunities for Game of Thrones. Last month may have been all about record-setting March Madness action, but May’s betting landscape will be defined by the march to King’s Landing.
For all the talk of White Walkers and the Night King over eight seasons, Game of Thrones has always been about the palace intrigue inherent to medieval feudal society. Kings and queens, courts full of lords and ladies conspiring against them, and great houses competing to carve out a homeland and defend it from invasion – those stories have always defined the show.
That much was clear near the end of “The Long Night,” as Arya Stark plunged her dragonglass dagger into the Night King’s heart, killing him and his millions of undead minions instantly. This unexpected twist cleared the proverbial board for a final fight in King’s Landing, where Cersei Lannister and her sellsword army await.
Fittingly then, the major betting attraction going forward is a proposition wager asking simply “Who Will Rule Westeros at the End of Season 8?”
In the fine print posted underneath, this bet is defined as follows:
“Wager will be settled based on the confirmed ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of the Andals and the First Men.
If there is no King or Queen, whomever rules or controls King’s Landing will be deemed the winner.”
And according to the latest Game of Thrones betting odds, Jon Snow is the consensus (+135) favorite to conquer King’s Landing and dethrone Cersei. Budding assassin Arya, on the other hand, is a longshot option at (+1400).
Remember though, when online bookmakers were accepting action on the “Who Will Kill the Night King?” prop, Jon Snow and Arya were similarly priced at (+110) and (+1400), respectively. With that in mind, a double dose of Arya-themed shockers could certainly be in the cards.
Jon Snow is followed by Bran Stark at (+450), but the newly christened Three Eyed Raven refuses to identify as human any longer, let alone a lord, so his rule over Westeros would likely be more abstract in nature.
Jon Snow’s real competitor, both in terms of storyline lineage and Game of Thrones betting odds, is Daenerys Targaryen at (+550). The “Mother of Dragons” brought armies and winged weapons to Westeros specifically to take the Iron Throne, but subsequent battles have left her understaffed in both regards.
To see where fan favorites like Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Samwell Tarly stand, check out the full Game of Thrones betting odds in the table below:
|Character||Westeros Ruler Odds on 4/30/19|
|Jon and Daenerys’ Baby||+1200|
|Brienne of Tarth||+10000|
Another fun way to get involved in Game of Thrones betting centers around the great houses, and which members aren’t long for this world.
You can bet on “Which Lannister Will Die First,” with Jamie favorited at even money, followed by Cersei (+120) and Tyrion (+300).
As for the Starks, Arya is a (-105) favorite while Bran (+175) and Sansa (+200) follow quite closely.
And if you’ve been hyped for “Clegane Bowl,” Sandor “The Hound” is a big (-230) favorite to defeat his brother Gregor “The Mountain” in single combat.