The Psychology Behind Betting on Absurd Things

For a long time, scientists and doctors have argued that humans are of two worlds: the physical and the psychological. The physical world is the one we interact with daily, while the psychological one is the world as we perceive it. Naturally, the two are constantly interacting.

For as long as people have been around, we’ve engaged in gambling. Therefore, something within our psychology must prompt us to do so. Even more bizarre is that humans often bet on the most absurd things. In this article, we’d like to explore why.

Defining the Absurd

The absurd is often difficult to define. What may seem entirely logical, indeed normal to one group of people, be completely bizarre, strange, and downright absurd to another. For example, if one told you that from the dawn of time, men have made wagers on the outcome of a confrontation between two near-naked men grabbing each other, you might find that absurd. But, indeed, we’ve just described betting on wrestling.

However, sports and wagering on them have become normalized today. This means any absurdity that may exist therein goes unperceived by the greater society. Therefore, when discussing the absurdity of betting, we discuss things you’d not expect somebody to wager on. Indeed, we can find examples of funny Super Bowl prop bets, odds on political upheavals, and much more. However, as these things are uncommon, we can view them as “the absurd.”

The Psychology of the Absurd

Whether we’ve been aware of it or not, absurdity has followed humanity from its inception. We might find plenty of behaviors funny, crazy, or absurd. The question we ought to pose is whether behaving in a way deemed as “absurd” is necessarily bad. Well, some studies claim “no.”

Recently, researchers, psychologists, and doctors have been doing a lot to uncover how surrealism and the absurd affect us. According to some recent findings, they’ve determined that viewing surrealist art can have an effect “akin to physical pain.” While this may seem bad initially, the aftereffect is a reaffirmation of our individuality.

Not only that, but the absurd helps us polish our thinking and reasoning skills. By being introduced to a world that does not make sense, we, viewers, do our best to make sense of the nonsensical. In doing so, we engage with the piece of art on a deeper level and improve our cognitive skills. In other words, the absurd has a positive effect on our psychology.

How Does That Translate to Betting?

The gambler’s psychology has long fascinated and puzzled researchers. Tons of researchers study how the brain behaves when gambling, the aftermath of gambling, and the way gamblers think. Psychoanalysts have done so much research into gambling that they’ve even come up with a logical fallacy, which most of us have likely heard of.

In other words, we are aware, for the most part, of how gamblers behave when they wager. However, what happens when gamblers bet on something absurd? Indeed, what even qualifies as an “absurd bet?” As of yet, no studies exist that delve into the psychology of absurd bets. However, we can certainly make some extrapolations based on what we know about the psychology of absurdity and gambling.

What Might Drive People to Bet on the Absurd?

One reason why a person might want to bet on the absurd is because it is something new. An undiscovered market where said person can get a head start. We could compare this reasoning to a smart tech investment a small business might make. Though the business can’t compete with giants, they’ve gotten to the root of something earlier than everyone else, and therefore, they will have more experience once everybody discovers that something.

Another reason is simple curiosity. Humans, by nature, are curious creatures. We’ve explored all of the known world and have even gone beyond. While our collective consciousness seeks curiosity on the grand scale (such as space exploration or marine exploration), on an individual level, we constantly seek out smaller curiosities, in this case, absurd things to bet on.

Finally, absurd things fascinate us. We talk about how the absurd positively affects our cognition and thinking skills. Why can’t that same principle apply to absurd proposition bets? They make us think about things that we’ve never thought about before, which in and of itself is fascinating. Certainly, that drives us to explore more about these things and even attempt to “conquer” them, in a sense, by attempting to predict their outcome.


Do bookmakers that cover the Super Bowl offer absurd bets?

For the most part, Super Bowl bets are pretty straightforward. However, some oddsmakers create bizarre odds for the Super Bowl halftime show or even the main game.

Why do absurd bets appeal to us?

While we can’t say for sure, we can guess that it combines curiosity, intrigue, and a desire to “get ahead.”

Can I bet on the Super Bowl halftime show?

Indeed, there are quite a few prop bets you can wager on when it comes to the Super Bowl half-time show. Some are absurd, and some are quite reasonable.

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