After Will Smith walked on stage and open-hand slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night, my sports betting brain immediately wandered as it tends to do.
What would the price be if Rock and Smith met in the squared circle?
I’m not a professional bookmaker by any means, but after scrolling through the Twitterverse for 10 whole minutes after the slap heard ’round the world and seeing all the pro-Rock reactions, I took a crack at lining a hypothetical fight:
Will Smith -275 ($275 to win $100) / Chris Rock +225 ($100 wins $225).
There was very little homework put into those numbers — it was more for laughs than anything — but that -275 / +225 betting line stirred up quite the conversation.
My mentions were flooded with people saying they would put their money on Chris Rock. And that was sort of what I expected. We all just watched Will Smith strut up to Rock with a little momentum and stick him square in the jaw with an open hand. Rock barely budged and basically laughed it off.
“Rock took that punch like a champ,” one person said. “I’m taking that +225 and running with it. Plus, Will Smith was tearing up afterwards.”
“Max wager on Rock,” The Sports Hub’s Dan Lifshatz wrote.
My true price is probably more in the ballpark of Smith -500 and Rock +375. Not only does Smith have four inches and around 30 pounds on Rock, he trained like a maniac to play the lead role in “Ali.”
Eventually, Las Vegas bookmaker Jeff Sherman joined the party and changed everything.
“I would lay -275 so fast,” Sherman told me. “Will Smith would smoke Chris Rock. He played Muhammad Ali in a movie and he definitely has some decent training. Smith is a huge favorite in my eyes.”
Sherman took to Twitter and posted his own odds: Smith -2000 / Rock +1000.
Wow … -2000! I was purposely on the low end with -275 / +225, but -2000?!
Don’t quit your day job, Sam.
Honestly, though, I don’t think Sherman would write many bets on Smith at -2000. If so many people were excited about Rock +275, you would think the public would sprint to the betting window to take Rock at +1000. The Rock liability would build up so quickly and the house would desperately need Smith.
“Just like Mayweather vs. McGregor,” Sherman cracked. “All I know is I wouldn’t want to need Rock.”
I’m going to take editorial control of this betting price and meet in the middle. Let’s take my way-too-low price of Smith -275 and Sherman’s way-too-high price of Smith -2000 and come together.
Will Smith -1100 / Chris Rock +775. So $1,100 wins $100 on Smith and $100 wins $775 on Rock.
Sherman clearly knows what he’s doing and he was very adamant that he would book the fight needing Smith to be victorious. And while a -1100 / +775 split still feels a little high to me, that’s the final answer.
If Rock mentions Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, right before the fight, though, it might not be high enough.