Knowing Things (& Drinking Wine): Finding the Value Bets for Game of Thrones Season 7
Published on July 15, 2017
[For those lost souls beyond The Wall who aren’t fully caught up through Season 6, this is your SPOILER ALERT. There will be many!]
HBO’s mega-popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones is set to premiere its seventh season on Sunday, and like the Super Bowl in football, the anticipation and excitement grows each day as we come closer to Sunday evening.
While most of this buzz each year comes from the armies of fans worldwide and the media, this year we can add another faction — gamblers! That’s right, GoT is now so popular that there are multiple betting sites offering odds on the show’s outcomes, and bettors are all too happy to place action on their most loved (or hated) characters to meet their demise or ascend to the iron throne.
While placing a bet on said characters is all in good fun, any decent future’s gambler will tell you that there’s always value to be found for those clever enough to look for it. And this year’s Game of Thrones odds offer plenty of value (and traps).
So on that note, we’re here to break down the best values for character odds of being on the iron throne when the season 7 ends two short months from now and give you some fun but useful analysis into which bets will give you more bang for your precious Lannister gold.
[Note: The odds discussed in this article are via the good folks at Pinnacle, though you can find other odds at other sites such as Ladbrokes or Bovada]
(In no particular order)
When we last saw Sansa she had not only escaped the horrid clutches of Ramsay Bolton, she proved capable of serving up revenge on an oh-so wintry dish. Even Joffrey would have applauded! On top of that, she reunited with Jon Snow and is now in great position by Jon’s side as he was hailed King of the North.
The Jon Snow line is at +376, which is respectable considering his popularity (though I wouldn’t bet on Snow; more on this below). The great value for a Sansa bet here is the odds of Snow battling a weakened Lannister clan and taking a fairly torn and battered capital city, then either:
Snow getting the Throne this season is highly plausible, but as more drama is needed for the final season, scenarios where Jon is gone for whatever reason is perfectly in play. Sansa represents this exact parlay, and at 48 to 1 on your money it is perhaps one of the most fantastic big risk / huge reward entertainment bets in a long time. Count me in!
Haven’t swayed you on the longshot? Still need proof? How’s about this: Bovada is listing Sansa at +2000, and Ladbrokes has her at a strong 9/1 to be the last overall character on the iron throne. But if you like that Sansa action or just like huge betting dogs that have an actual shot to hit, get over to Pinnacle and get your action in at +4825. +4825!!!!
This is another betting line that plays into the North rallying behind the Snow / Stark / Baelish forces and taking the capital from the Lannisters. And like the Sansa parlay above, this line gambles that Littlefinger makes his move once he tastes King’s Landing a second time.
When you think about it, it’s not a bad reasoning: if Baelish were finally decide it was time to strike, wouldn’t make sense that it would be in the newly taken capital, amidst the political turmoil, and when he is closer to his dream throne (and lady) than ever before? It’s perfectly good reasoning from Baelish fans (as perfectly good as these things go), and the +913 line gives you a very nice payoff on top of those devilish bragging rights. Way to climb that ladder my friends.
Will the Kingslayer become the sister Queenslayer? We find Jamie doing his duty for the family only to return to a burning city. Add the newfound grief he’s about to experience over losing Tommen right after losing Myrcella, and fans gambling on that grief finally turning to anger towards Cersei may have a very hefty payday ahead of them. Some questions we’d love to see answered: could the one-armed man defeat the mountain? Will he have to? And if he does the deed, can he hold the throne as the last Lannister in a Westeros that hates Lannisters more than ever?
Big time questions to be answered for sure, but this is one of the more riveting character development storylines in the show (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been excellent throughout), and fans who have a feeling that Jamie’s big moment comes this season have some great odds to cash in on should they be proven correct.
Yeah, it’s a dark horse pick. Super dark. But it could just be too perfect to resist. It’s a pick that gambles more on the overall storyline of the next two seasons than just on this season’s maneuverings. And who’s the biggest, baddest, evilest villain of them all? How’s about the evil threat to humanity that started it all way back in the first scene of the first episode of this masterpiece television show.
Who knows what mayhem would remain if winter came all the way down to the Landing, but I know that if the mayhem starts looking likely by mid-season, folks will be giving themselves the old “Doh!” smack upside themselves for looking past this pick. And missing out on a 15/1 payout may just let you know what it feels like to dismiss the white walker threat… and end up paying dearly for it.
Since the beginning, this has been A Song of Ice & Fire. This season, it might be prudent to look into finally placing that big bet on Ice.
The iron throne future is a fantastically fun bet that lets you tickle your brain with your wildest fan theories, except now you can put your money where your mouth is on said crazy theory. Considering how epic these final seasons are expected to be, we should all have a great time no matter where we place our action.
But before you part with that coin, make sure you’ve covered all your bases, even those that extend into the real-life production of the story. Here’s a couple of big picture factors that should be considered in any educated bet:
If you’re one of those folks who’s read every page of George R.R. Martin’s GoT novels, you may have a leg up on some brilliant character theories…. or be wildly out of touch thanks to the show’s recent deviations.
Mr. Martin passed on his plans for how the Game of Thrones concludes to HBO’s showrunners; only they and the man himself know how it all ends. But before Martin did that, HBO was desperate for content as the show was catching up to the last finished book. Not knowing if Martin would give them the goods, they wrote some endings of their own, resulting in some deviations from the official lore that will have consequences all the way through to the final episode.
Will these changes result in HBO’s version coming to light, or will they try to stay true to the book version now that they know what it is? The answer, I think, will be a bit of both, as I think HBO may try to get things in keeping with the book version if it’s convenient for them, while still throwing enough curveballs to keep sophisticated fan theorists off balance. So I ask you, my wagering friends… do you think you can read the author’s minds?
A lot of folks thought that this was the last season, and with decent reasoning; there was a big delay to this season’s start date compared to past seasons, and there will be fewer episodes than the usual ten (this season will have seven episodes, and next season is rumored to have as low as five – argh!).
Thankfully, there will be one last season after this (so far as we know), and that should factor heavily in your betting strategy. Let’s say you think Jon Snow is destined to be the rightful ruler of Westeros when the final bells toll. How would that affect Jon Snow as a bet for this season? Probably poorly. If you think the world’s favorite bastard is going to win the last and ultimate battle for the iron throne, then my advice to you is to save that bet for next season (though the price might not be as generous as this year).
The same should apply for every other character you might like most in the odds field. If you think they’ll be the very last one standing, it could mean that next year is your year. This year might just go to their archenemy to build the drama.
Now that you have some great tips to add to your Game of Thrones betting arsenal, go forth and be bold with your picks! And don’t forget those I told you so’s when you’re basking in your payday glory.