Betting On Fictional Football Is Life!

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When Ted Lasso showed up on the Apple TV+ streaming service in August of 2020, it served as an uplifting oasis in our collective desert of pandemic misery.

Word spread slowly at first about this comedy with a premise both ridiculous (American college football coach is hired to lead an English Premier League soccer team despite knowing nothing about soccer) and derivative (the wealthy owner lady hired Lasso to tank the team, a mere 31 years after the movie Major League came out).

Oh, and it was spun off from a series of commercials for NBC Sports. But the charm and characters were more than enough to overcome the flimsy concept. And before long, nearly everyone had sought out someone with an Apple TV+ password and binged it, situating the show right in the heart of the pop-cultural zeitgeist by the time the Season 2 premiere dropped on July 23 of this year.

And that’s where it remains heading into this Friday’s season finale. Maybe Netflix’s Squid Game has more buzz at the moment. Maybe NCIS has a higher audience head count. But Ted Lasso, the reigning Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series, wears the combination social-media/critical-consensus/general-popularity/scripted-TV crown … at least until Succession and the Roy family return to HBO in the middle of October to grind Ted Lasso’s bones to make their bread.

You cannot legally bet on soccer games involving AFC Richmond because it’s a fictional team, and you can not legally bet on what will happen on this week’s episode of Ted Lasso because regulated mobile U.S. sportsbooks don’t allow wagering on scripted entertainment.

But that won’t stop us from considering some pretend props on the season finale, which is titled “Inverting the Pyramid of Success.”

During Season One, Ted quipped, “If God had wanted games to end in a tie, she wouldn’t have invented numbers.” And since we know Ted is a betting man — see his gamble vs. Rupert Mannion over a game of darts — we can assume he feels the same way about pushes and half-points.

God (or someone) invented numbers, so let’s post some. And by the way, if you happen to lose a few of these bets, follow Coach Lasso’s favorite piece of advice: Be a goldfish. Forget about it and move on.

ted lasso goldfish sign
Photo: Aaron Doster/USA Today

Props on the new Sam and Rebecca

Did you know that George Wendt, better known to most as Norm Peterson from Cheers, is Ted Lasso star (and Best Actor Emmy winner) Jason Sudeikis’ uncle? Don’t feel bad. Neither did Drew Barrymore.

Perhaps it’s just coincidence that on Norm’s nephew’s show, a character named Sam and a character named Rebecca got together. Perhaps not. We’ll know more if Sam Obisanya hooks up with a woman named Diane in Season 3. For now, some Season 2 finale props on Rebecca and Sam and related romantic entanglements:

  • Rebecca and Sam go public with their relationship in the season finale: +400
  • Futures: the Sam-Rebecca relationship is public by Season 3 and she becomes mired in a sexual harassment scandal: +200
  • Sam decides to leave AFC Richmond to play for Richard Splett’s — er, Edwin Okufu’s — Casablanca team in Africa: -125
  • Parlay: Sam leaves for Africa and Rebecca follows him there: +1000
  • Okufu buys AFC Richmond in a deal that both lands him a club with Sam on it and keeps Sam in England, where he and Rebecca can continue shagging, no longer as employer and employee: +1500
  • Rebecca and Ted finally hook up in the season finale: +800

Other kissing/relationship props

  • Ted doesn’t hook up with Rebecca but does hook up with team psychologist Dr. Sharon: +2500
  • Ted hooks up with both Rebecca and Sharon: +7500
  • Ted hooks up with both Rebecca and Sharon at the same time: +30000
  • Nate kisses Keeley again: +5000
  • If Nate kisses again, Roy decks Nate (void if Nate doesn’t kiss Keeley again): -2000
  • Roy hooks up with Phoebe’s teacher: +1500
  • Keeley gets back together with Jamie: +600
  • Roy proposes marriage to Keeley: -150
  • Mae the bar owner hooks up with one of the three Richmond superfans: +2500
  • Coach Beard and Jane Payne break up (again): +100

Soccer-related markets

  • AFC Richmond wins the final game of the season and is promoted to the Premier League: -200

Winning goal scorer odds (void if Richmond doesn’t win):

  • Sam: +140
  • Jamie: +350
  • Colin: +600
  • Dani: +700
  • The field: +700

Other assorted props

  • Curse words uttered by Roy Kent in finale: over/under 8.5 (-110 both ways, not available for PointsBet-style wagering because of the possibility that it goes over by 100 or more)
  • When Ted confronts Nate about leaking his panic attack to the press, they have a physical altercation: +500
  • When Ted confronts Nate about leaking his panic attack to the press, they work it out and hug it out: +250
  • When Ted confronts Nate about leaking his panic attack to the press, Nate spits on Ted the way he now spits on everything else: +1000
  • No matter what Nate does apropos Ted, my wife and daughter comment at some point in the episode about how much they hate Nate now: -500
  • Rupert purchases a football club and appoints Nate head coach: +600
  • Rupert purchases a football club and appoints Nate as the head coach and that club is the African Casablanca club and Sam has been transferred to Casablanca already and that means Sam now plays for a team owned by Rebecca’s ex-husband and coached by Ted’s turncoat nemesis: +3000
  • If Trent Crimm makes an appearance, he utters the words “The Independent” after his name: -100000

Photo: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY

Author: Wanda Peters