Falcon Points

Handicapping the Game of Thrones odds list: Let's make money by betting on who will rule Westeros

Game of Thrones has become one of those water cooler shows that everyone talks about. The final season on HBO kicks off in April. And, like all great things, it has a gambling element to it.

Odds Shark put out its current odds on who will wind up sitting on the Iron Throne at the end of the series. There are some surprises to say the least.

First off, I am a nerd. I make no apologies. I love this series. So we will break down the field for the throne just as we would a horse race and come up with some bets:

We will start off by fading the favorite. It is hard to see a scenario where Bran gets the throne. Plus-150 offers zero value, and besides, who wants a three-eyed raven on the throne? We will pass.

There is good value in Jon Snow and Daenarys at +400 and +450, respectively. You have to figure one of them dies, but if you guess right, that's a nice payoff.

Sansa at +800 is a pass as well. A lot of characters ahead of her in line have to die. While it's possible, it's highly unlikely. In short, the race does not set up for her. She did make a nice middle move, but will fade late.

My personal favorite is The Night King at +1000, and not just because I am rooting for him. It would be a dark way for the series to end, and a shocking one at that. If there is anything we have learned from GOT, it's that the show loves to shock us. He has an ice dragon now and looks like a serious contender. Has the lead turning for home and will have to be caught.

While Tyrion would probably make a good king, he also seems to be a stretch. Too many deaths would have to occur and he will likely come up...short...in the stretch? We will pass.

Why is Littlefinger still on the board at all? The last we saw of him, he was dead. That has not stopped characters in the past, but are we really only getting +1200 on the Barbaro of Westeros? Hard pass.

Arya at +1500 would be fitting and there might be some value there, but again, a lot would have to happen. She has sneaky speed, but hard to see her holding on. Pass.

Gendry at +1500 seems like a waste of money. He, like some of the others, will need a lot of help in terms of deaths ahead of him. He is the equivalent of the "wise guy horse" who everybody touts but never wins.

The Snow Dragon baby at the same price is intriguing, however. He/she could easily be on the throne as an infant if both parents die. But then, he actually needs to exist first. Hard for an unborn colt to win a race.

I wouldn't throw out Cersei at +2000. She seems to be two steps ahead of everyone and would we really be shocked if she holds on to win? I know the prophecy says she will die, but count her out at your own risk.

There does not seem to be a scenario where Jaime or Sam wind up winning so I will be tossing both from my tickets.

So I think we can narrow this down to a five horse race - Jon, Dany, Night King, Snow Dragon baby and Cersei. I think my favorite plays would be the Night King and Dany, and you can bet both and catch a profit with either one.

I will play those two; if you toss the favorite, you can play any two of the five listed and come out with a profit. Hey, it gives you an extra rooting interest, right?

We will all find out in a few months who is left standing at the end.

And more importantly, whether or not we cash.

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Thunder defeat Rockets, 123-110. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points and Chet Holmgren added 29 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 123-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

The Thunder won their fifth straight to move into a tie with Minnesota for first place in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault was impressed with how his team responded after falling behind by 16 points in the second quarter.

“We had some poise, but it was more urgency,” he said. “I thought tonight was a recognition of, if we kept playing like that, they could have run us off the floor.”

Oklahoma City was up by eight points with less than seven minutes left before scoring the next nine points, capped by 3-pointers from Jalen Williams and Gilgeous-Alexander to push the advantage to 115-98 with 3 ½ minutes to go.

Fred VanVleet and Jabari Smith Jr. had 20 points apiece for the Rockets in the first of consecutive games between these teams. Alperen Sengun added 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Smith led the team with 17 boards.

“They tightened up a little bit and we didn't execute as well as we needed to,” VanVleet said. “That's the way it goes sometimes.”

The teams meet again Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder held a four-point lead to start the fourth and used a 12-2 run to push their advantage to 99-85 with 9 ½ minutes to go. Holmgren had the first nine points in that span and had two dunks and a 3-pointer.

Houston got within 104-95 a couple of minutes later. Dillon Brooks and VanVleet both made 3s for Houston to trim the deficit, but the Rockets were unable to get any closer.

“Once we got the ball churning and moving… that got us flowing,” Holmgren said. “But it started with defense, getting stops and allowing us to get out in transition.”

The Rockets were up by nine with about eight minutes to go in the third before Oklahoma City used a 16-2 run to take an 80-75 lead with less than three minutes left in the quarter.

“The physicality we really amped up midway through the second quarter,” Daigneault said. “That was the game right there and we really kept it going in the second half.”

Williams started the run with a 3-pointer and Isaiah Joe added a 3 in that stretch to allow the Thunder to go on top.

The Rockets scored the next six points to regain the lead, but Oklahoma City ended the quarter with a 7-2 run to take an 87-83 lead in the fourth.

“Obviously you have to execute better offensively to give yourself a chance,” VanVleet said. “Scoring 21 in the third hurt us a little bit momentum-wise.”

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