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Top-10 weather bets

1 December 2014

The weather plays an important role in our lives. Think about what you’re wearing right now -- odds are it was influenced by the weather. Winter coats, sweaters and sweatshirts come out during cold weather. It’s shorts and sandals during warm weather. And don’t forget the umbrella if it’s raining. But the weather is about more than how warm it is outside and whether or not you need to wear a coat. It’s a social convention. It’s something people talk about in a variety of situations.

Friends can use weather to start a conversation. “Boy is it cold out there. I don’t know how people deal with it.” Complete strangers rely on talking about the weather because it’s a completely neutral topic that people have in common. “How about that weather we’re having. Can you believe how much it’s snowing?”

Weather also serves as a conversation barometer (you see what I did there). If you’re talking extensively about the weather on your first date, you might want to consider brushing up your online dating profile -- or getting some more game.

Because weather permeates our lives, we don’t think about betting on it. But the reality is weather is one of the easiest things to bet on. The data is out there and easy to find. And betting on the weather is an easy way to entertain yourself. Each day has the potential affect a weather bet. When you watch weather reports, you actually have a rooting interest in the outcome. You also learn some things about weather along the way, which is a nice bonus.

With that in mind, here are 10 weather-related bets you can make. Remember, before you place a wager, make sure you agree on a weather station. That way, you know which set of data to look at in order to determine the winner of the bet. Also, Price is Right rules apply here. Closest without going over (or under) wins the wager.

10. Coldest temperature
This is a pretty standard wager, but it’s fun to make in the midst of a cold winter. Just how cold will it get this year?

9. Hottest temperature
This bet is more fun in places like Las Vegas, where the temperature routinely cracks 100 degrees. When I visited Las Vegas last year, it hit 124 degrees a couple of times. Betting on how high the mercury rise turns a hot situation into a fun one.

8. Latest snowfall
It happens almost every year. The weather starts to warm up. The birds start chirping. A couple of flowers bloom. Then bam, snow starts falling. It’s never fun to get that last snowfall. So bring some levity to the situation by turning it into a wager.

7. Days with rain
This feels highly speculative, but it isn’t. Do the research and find out how many days of rain does your area normally get. Then get all geeky with the different long range weather models and pick your number.

6. Highest wind speeds
This is highly speculative. It’s also a lot of fun. Location matters a lot here. Do you live in a hurricane or tornado zone? Do you live in an area that sees a lot of wind gusts? Or is wind generally not an issue on your side of the mountain? Local knowledge is key here.

5. First day to crack 60F
If you’re in Florida, this wager makes no sense. If you live in the Midwest or New England, this bet is perfect for you. Cracking the 60-degree mark is usually a sign that winter is over. But beware. Every now and then, you get a weird mid-winter day in the 60s that just throws everything off. How you account for that determines your success in this wager.

4. Days above 100F
This should be a fun wager regardless of where you live. In some places, it rarely cracks the 100-degree mark, so your wager is going to be on the low side. In other places, it routinely cracks 100 degrees, so the wager is going to be on the high side. I like it when it’s more than 100 outside, so I’m rooting for a bunch of these days.

3. Days below 0F
Anytime the temperature dips into negative numbers, it’s a special kind of cold. It’s the type of cold that requires 2 layers of clothes indoors and a lot more outside. There’s nothing brisk about this type of cold, and where you place your wager on this says something about you. A low number indicates hopefulness (or reality depending on where you live). A high number indicates either pessimis or the very real fact that you should probably move.

2. Snow days
Why should kids have all the fun a snow days? They get the day off from school and the time to frolic in the snow, go sledding and get into snowball fights. What’s in it for adults? Money. Place a wager on how many snow days the kids will have this year. And don’t forget to do your research. Some school districts are much more likely to cancel school than others.

1. White Christmas
This is a simple Yes/No bet. And a great excuse to play this song.

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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.