The most highly-anticipated episode in the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones has come and gone. The Battle of Winterfell finally took place in the third episode of the season. This post is going to contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to hold off on reading any further.
There weren’t as many notable deaths during the Battle of Winterfell as some expected, but some key characters did meet their end. Game of Thrones betting has grown in popularity as the show has progressed. Time is running out, though, so here’s hoping you placed most of your bets before the final season began.
How have some of the most popular prop bets fared to this point? And is there any value in future bets? Let’s dive in.
As mentioned, the Battle of Winterfell didn’t wind up featuring as many high-profile deaths as many had anticipated. Most of those that did perish were anonymous White Walkers, Dothraki, or others defending Winterfell.
The betting favorites to be the first to go were Tormund and Jorah, who were each listed at +110. Jorah did wind up dying at the hands of the White Walkers, but his death came later in the episode. So, betting Jorah at +110 to be the first to die wasn’t a bad idea, but the bet didn’t wind up paying out.
The first notable character to die was Dolorous Edd. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a major enough character, because he wasn’t even listed by BetOnline as a betting option. Theon dutifully volunteered to defend Bran Stark from the Night King, so his chances of making it out of the battle alive were always slim. As was the case with Jorah, though, Theon’s death wound up coming later in the episode.
If you found a Game of Thrones betting site that listed Dolorous Edd with odds, congratulations. Lyanna Mormont was another of the notable characters to perish at the battle, but she was another one without odds.
Arya wound up being the hero for the living, as she came out of nowhere to pounce on the Night King before stabbing him in the gut. It looked as though the Night King was about to kill her before she was able to get her shank in there, but it was not to be for the leader of the army of the dead.
“No” on Arya dying in episode 3 was the heavy favorite at -1000, and that wound up being the right option.
Hodor and Khal Drogo were a couple of beloved characters that met their demise earlier in the series. There was always a chance that one of them could wind up storming Winterfell as a part of the army of the dead, but if they were there, we didn’t see them.
It was always unlikely that we would see either character in the episode, which is why “no” was such a massive favorite at -2500.
I was a bit surprised to see the dead listed as heavy -240 favorites to win the battle. Sure, they outnumbered those protecting Winterfell, but the living had two dragons on their side, plus they were the protagonists. I know Game of Thrones hasn’t been shy in the past about killing off some of our favorite characters, but it always seemed a bit unlikely that the living would get completely wiped out.
I wrote last week that I liked the living as the underdog bet to win the battle at +160, so hopefully you jumped on those odds while they were still available.
Now that the Night King has been vaporized, the last major villain left alive is Cersei Lannister. The leader of the Lannisters has been holed up at King’s Landing waiting for those up north to try and come for the Iron Throne.
After killing the Night King, Arya Stark jumped to the top of the list of likely candidates to get Cersei. Melisandre appeared in the last episode and essentially reminded Arya that she’s destined to kill the Night King. Melisandre told Arya, “I see darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes sealed shut forever. We will meet again.”
Arya realizes the blue eyes are the eyes of the Night King, and right after Melisandre’s reminder, she goes out there and takes out the leader of the army of the dead. If Melisandre’s prophecy comes true, Arya’s next job is to do away with Cersei who happens to have green eyes.
Cersei is atop Arya’s kill list, so one would imagine we’ll see a confrontation between the two over the season’s final handful of episodes. So, if you want to bet on Arya at +130 to be the one to kill Cersei, I think it makes for a reasonable value option.
If Arya doesn’t do the deed, I have to imagine one of Cersei’s brothers will. Both Jaime and Tyrion have essentially turned on Cersei at this point. Tyrion killed their father, Tywin, but he’s generally not a character that has done much killing on the show. Jaime seems like a far more likely candidate, especially when you factor their own salacious history into the matter. Jaime at +150 is an excellent option, while Tyrion at +700 is more of a flier.
Jon Snow has essentially been the show’s main protagonist throughout, so it’s easy to see why he is the odds-on favorite to wind up ruling Westeros at season’s end. It was revealed a couple of episodes ago that Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, which makes him the last living male Targaryen. As a result, he has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne ahead of Daenerys.
Jon is a fine bet at +135, but I feel like the showrunners probably have more curveballs in store over the series’ final few episodes. Jon finishing the series as the ruler of Westeros is probably the safe bet, but the show’s unpredictability has been one of its hallmarks. As a result, I’m inclined to bet on some of the options with longer odds here.
One that stands out to me is Cersei Lannister at +2500. I do think she’s more likely to die than to wind up ruling Westeros at the end of everything, but Cersei has also been a step ahead of everyone else for most of the series to this point. Who’s to say she can’t outsmart the Starks and Targaryens and wind up on the Iron Throne once the dust has settled? The value speaks for itself at +2500, so I really like betting on Cersei at that price.
Daenerys is probably the most driven to get there, but questions about her leadership ability and her right to the Throne now that we’ve realized Jon is actually her nephew may thwart said efforts. I think Dany is a pretty strong option at +550, but it’s a bet I would’ve been more inclined to make before the season began. She does have dragons on her side, but their potential allegiance to Jon could complicate things.
The potential conflict between Dany and Sansa is another thing that could get messy. Sansa is clearly skeptical of Daenerys’ intentions, and she is right to wonder whether Jon may be a bit brainwashed by her. Sansa isn’t someone I really think is a serious threat to sit on the Throne, though, so at +650 that’s a bet I’ll happily pass up.
Arya is becoming more and more of a focal point, but she is one of the few characters that doesn’t seem to have her eye on ruling Westeros. It’s not an awful idea to take a flier bet on her considering the +1400 odds are pretty favorable, but Arya taking the Iron Throne seems rather unlikely.
At this point, I’m willing to bet it’ll be either Jon Snow (+135) or Cersei Lannister (+2500) atop the Iron Throne once Game of Thrones season 8 comes to a close. Jon is the safe bet, Cersei is the long shot value option.
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