Taking Bets on the Nobel Prize

September 5, 2013 | 4

Popular bookmakers Ladbrokes have announced their opening odds for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Smart money seems to favor Haruki Murakami, who would surely take the prize if it depended on recent book sales. Meanwhile the next two favorites are Joyce Carol Oates (6/1) and Hungarian author Péter Nádas (7/1). All signs point to this being another year of disappointment for Philip Roth’s fans – his odds of winning stand at 16/1.

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.


  1. None of these people will win. For years they’ve picked an obscure writer that no one actually likes to read.

  2. That’s the thing about betting that everybody always forgets: the odds are less about who they expect to win than they are about who they expect people to bet on.

  3. I think Transtromer emerged as a betting favorite shortly before he won the prize, but that’s pretty rare. Yeah, the betting line is more a reflection of the bettors than anything else.

    If I were on the Nobel committee, I’d pick Vollmann to send the national security state a message in the wake of his Harper’s article. It’d be mischevous, but why not?

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