Mars Mission Betting Odds Unchanged by SpaceX Test Flight

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Mar 23, 2018
There is a simple rule that governs most all bookmaking and line-movement in London and in Sin City. Opening lines are set based on what information the house handicappers have at the time. As more information comes to light, the resulting flow of the gambling action causes the sportsbook to adjust the numbers, in order to balance out the wagers on either side of a line.

Bettors have the opportunity to throw a wrench in the works by simply not wagering any differently once fresh news breaks. But that wouldn’t actually happen, right? The public would not essentially throw dollars away by ignoring the headlines, especially when it comes to current-events odds.

Think again.
Bovada Sportsbook and MyBookie, SpaceX’s gambling odds to engineer the first manned mission to the planet Mars remain almost totally unchanged from where they sat weeks ago. Musk’s company is still a 2/7 favorite at Bovada and a 1/3 wager at MyBookie to pull off the historic feat. Likewise, MyBookie’s proposition market “Will Humans Land on Mars During Trump’s Presidency?” is still a 10/1 long-shot for “yes” and a minuscule 1/20 payout on winning “no” bets.

Those facts are significant, because on March 3rd a SpaceX flight successfully docked at the International Space Station. The capsule Crew Dragon – which ironically does not carry a crew – is the first private-sector funded and engineered spacecraft which could transport people back and forth to the satellite. SpaceX is now hoping to get a go-ahead to follow through on a manned mission in summer of 2019.

Perhaps the odds were a tad too short on SpaceX and the Mars mission as of January. Until last week, Musk’s Mars mission project was nothing more than a charming inventor, a lot of invested capital, and some prototypes. That all changed on 3/3. Musk is now clearly at the forefront of private space travel in the 21st century, and will be for quite some time. Only the betting lines aren’t budging.
There are a couple of likely reasons why the successful space flight hasn’t caused Mars mission gambling lines to jump like rockets and sink like parachutes.

For one, there is probably not much current action on the SpaceX markets at either Bovada or MyBookie. Secondly, bookmakers have set the lines to entice action, and will keep them where they are until forced to adjust when taking more bets.

If Musk’s line to conquer the Red Planet was too short before the SpaceX triumph in early March, it’s a little too long now. But bettors should remain cautious about handing money over to the sportsbook with gambles on futures markets that may not reward winning picks for several years, especially odds that involve spaceships and as-yet-unnamed astronauts.