Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

April 2019

My old friend Eli had many “Eli ratings,” which he would proclaim and then argue that any who would disagree was a fool.

For instance he rated sports fans. The most knowledgeable fans — that is, those fans most able to understand and appreciate the sport they participated in as spectators — were track and field fans. The worst fans — those with Eli’s lowest rank — were professional wrestling fans.

No one, I would think, really considers professional wrestling a sport. It is best described as an entertaining performance requiring athletic ability. It’s staged, rigged — everyone knows that, right?

So: Would you bet on a pro wrestling match? More to the point, would a pro wrestling fan bet on a match?

Here’s what I bet: Not every pro wrestling fan is sure who’s going to win a bout. If fans paid any attention at all and followed the performances for a time, I think 80 percent would be able to forecast the winner.

Let’s set up a pari-mutuel system. There’s $100,000 in the pool with $90,000 to split by the winning tickets.

Assume everyone bets on the favorite. Each bettor would lose 10 percent if the favorite wins. (That’s because I take 10 percent vigorish to run the book.)

However, assume the bets were 70 percent on the favorite and the favorite wins. Then the winning bettors would receive a $20,000 gain. Imagine if the long shot won! Those who risked $30,000 would make $60,000.

Sports betting is legal now. Why not make book on pro wrestling?