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2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee Odds: You Can Bet on Whether the Winner Wear Glasses, Be a Boy/Girl

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Will the winner wear glasses? Will the winner have braces? These and other prop wagers are being offered by BetOnline on the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Photo: Scripps National Spelling Bee Logo.
  • The 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee is slated for May 27-30
  • BetOnline is offering a series of prop wagers on the annual event
  • Will the winner wear glasses or have braces? Those are just two of the creative betting markets

In a world where people invent new short forms in text on a daily basis, there’s something comforting about the old-school nature of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. There’s no technology to help these kids other than the grey matter of their own brains. It’s the brainiac version of the Little League World Series.

Is it any wonder that there would be betting markets on such a long-standing, traditional event?

BetOnline is offering a series of prop wagers on a variety of outcomes in the competition. Below, we will dive into each prop. But first, here is a full list of the wagers available.

2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee Props

Prop Scripps National Spelling Bee Odds at BetOnline
Number of letters in the winning word Over 9.5 (+100) / Under 9.5 (-140)
Will the winner have braces? Yes (+200) / No (-300)
Will the winner be wearing glasses? Yes (-149) / No (+100)
Will there be co-champions? Yes (+250) / No (-400)
Will the winner be male or female? Male (-130) / Female (-110)

*Odds as of May 23rd.

Number Of Letters In Winning Word

Total Number Of Letters In Winning Word Odds at BetOnline
Over 9.5 +100
Under 9.5 -140

One prop offering is on the length of the winning word. You might think that the word that ultimately decides the competition will be massive and, in some years, that’s certainly the case.

For instance, in 2015, Vanya Shivashankar earned a title by spelling the 15-letter word scherenschnitte.

Going long isn’t always how an outcome is reached. Back in the old days of the competition, winning words included fracas in 1930 and therapy in 1940, which some of these kids might need after the conclusion of this stress-filled competition.

Lately, shorter words have come into play again. Last year, Karthik Nemmani won with the eight-letter word koinonia. Including ties for the title in 2015-16, it marked the third time in six words that a winning word was under 9.5 letters.

Factoring in the three ties, since 2000, the winning word has gone over 9.5 letters 11 times and under 9.5 letters 11 times.

Play: Over 9.5 (+100)

Will The Winner Have Braces?

Outcome Will The Winner Have Braces Odds at BetOnline
Yes +150
No -200

Will the National Spelling Bee champion be spelling their words through teeth equipped with braces? Probably not.

None of the last seven champions wore braces. It’s only happened twice since 2010 and three times since 2006.

The odds are strongly against it happening this year. Of the 144 competitors entered in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, just nine wear braces.

Play: No (-200)

Well, guess what? Sometimes, stereotypes are based in reality. The National Spelling Bee confirms this to be so.

National Spelling Bee: Will The Winner Wear Glasses?

Outcome Will The Winner Wear Glasses Odds at BetOnline
Yes +110
No -150

On the surface, this seems like a stereotype. In the movies, the smart kid always wears glasses.

Seven of the last 11 winners have worn glasses. In this year’s event, 45 of the 144 competitors are bespectacled.

Since 2000, there have been two champions who both wore glasses and had braces – Sriram J. Hathwar (2014) and Snigdha Nandipati (2012).

Play: Yes (+110)

National Spelling Bee: Will There Be Co-Champions?

Outcome Will There Be Co-Champions Odds at BetOnline
Yes +250
No -400

A tie can occur when the list of words to be spelled is exhausted and more than one speller remains in the competition. It’s happened six times in 91 Scripps National Spelling Bees but on three occasions since 2014.

When Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe deadlocked in 2014, it was the first tie since 1962. The following year, Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam also emptied the word list and were declared co-champions.

Six years earlier in 2009, Shivashankar’s sister Kavya was National Spelling Bee champion. They are the only siblings to have won the title.

In 2016, Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Saireddy Janga also finished in a draw.

The other tie outcomes came in 1950 and 1957.

Play: No (-400)

Will The Champion Be Male Or Female?

Outcome Will Champion Be Male Or Female Odds at BetOnline
Male -130
Female -110

This market might be the toughest call of all the prop wagers out there on the National Spelling Bee. The title has bounced back and forth between males and females with regularity

Nemmani won it for the boys last year but in 2017, Ananya Vinay took the title for the girls. Lately, the edge has gone to the guys. Including the seasons where ties created two winners, seven of the last nine champions were boys.

That stretch followed a four-year run from 2009-12 where every title was won by a girl.

Including ties, there have been 95 champions declared. Among that group, the girls hold a 48-47 edge.

Of this year’s 144 finalists, 76 are female.

Play: Girl (-110)

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