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Top-10 snow day prop bets

2 February 2015

For the third time in the last week, my town's schools are closed due to a snow day. The Boston area has been pelted with about three feet of snow in that time, so it's not that surprising. As a result, my wife and I are home with all three kids, trying to get in a normal work day and letting the kids watch way too much TV and play way too many video games.

If you're a parent with school-aged kids, snow days can add some major stress to your professional life, unless, of course, you're a teacher and you get to celebrate snow days just as much as the kids. There's no better way to relieve that stress (or revel in the unexpected day off) than by placing some friendly wagers.

Of course, if you have inside information, you can't ethically make these wagers. If you're a school superintendent, who is in charge of making these decisions, you have to sit on the sidelines for this one. Or if you unplug all the buses the night before the weather was forecast to be -20 degrees like my old classmate Duke Brown once did when we were in high school, then you can't ethically bet on the outcome, either.

Here are 10 great snow day prop bets you can make with your significant other, friends who live in town, or your coworkers.

10. Number of snow days for the season
Before winter weather even begins, predict how many snow days your school will have this year. Up until a week ago, a low number was looking pretty good, as we hadn't had one through mid-January. But they can pile up quickly here in New England, so this is a bet that won't have a certain outcome until mid-April.

9. Cancellation, delay, or normal schedule
Depending on the nature and timing of a storm, schools will sometimes delay their openings instead of cancelling entirely. Sometimes those delays turn into cancellations if the weather doesn't end up becoming favorable a little later on. Pick a path for your school (normal schedule, delay, delay that turns into cancellation or outright cancellation) and watch the weather to see what happens.

8. Number of snow days for a given storm
Sometimes you get a real whopper, like we did in Boston last week. The snow started on Monday night and continued for about 24 hours. If someone had asked me if I thought school would be closed on Wednesday when I finished shoveling on Tuesday night, I would have said no way. But there was so much snow that crews had to work throughout the night and into the next day to clear it all, so they weren't ready to open back up. Thankfully no one offered to make a wager with me.

7. Time of day snow day is announced
When I was growing up in northern New York (think less New York City, and more Canada), superintendents never preemptively cancelled school. There were days when we knew there was a storm coming that would bring three feet of snow, and we still had to wake up at 6 a.m. and listen to the radio to find out if school was closed.

Today, early closings are apparently all the rage. We got a call from our school district at 6 p.m. last night, informing us that school had already been cancelled, six hours before the storm even arrived. My wife maintains that this was a courtesy so that kids (most of them being New England Patriots fans) would be allowed to stay up late to watch the Super Bowl. I still think it's "weak tea."

Regardless, it's a good thing to bet on. And if you're betting with me, you'll likely win, because it's still hard for me to believe that schools decide to close before a storm has even arrived.

6. Method of delivery
As I mentioned previously, the only way we could find out about school closings when I was a kid was to listen to our local radio station, which would run through the cancellations every 5-10 minutes. Nowadays, you might find out because of a school district's robo-call, or through the local TV news, or through e-mail or Facebook. The main factor determining how you'll find out may be the time of day the message is delivered. With so many outlets to reach you, this bet is a great one.

5. Madden scores
If your kids are anything like mine, an unexpected day off is sure to yield some time in front of the Xbox. Bet on the outcome of the games they play, who will win if they're playing each other, or if your kid can beat the computer.

4. What movie will play in the home theater?
Another typical snow day activity is to curl up under a blanket with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie. Which one will the kids pick? Will it be Phantom Menace, again? Or will they mix things up with The Princess Bride (please, dear God, pick this … if I have to listen to Jar Jar Binks again, I'm going to lose it).

3. How long will they "help" you shovel?
In addition to our eight-year-old, we also have twins who will turn four in March. Every time it snows they come out to help shovel. "Help" is a relative term; they usually last for about 4-5 minutes before they forget about the shovels and are making snow angels, which is fine with me, to be honest. But it still cracks me up that they are so insistent that they come out to help.

Make a bet on how long the kids will actually keep on shoveling before they give up and enjoy what snow days are really for: playing in the snow.

2. Time spent outside
Once the kids have given up all pretense of helping, wager on how much longer they'll stay outside. Much of this depends on the weather conditions. If temperatures are in the single digits and the wind is howling, they're going to be back inside with a hot chocolate in front of their face in the next five minutes. If it's sunny and the snow is packy and good for building, they could be outside for hours, especially if you've got a good hill to sled down.

1. Height of the snowman
There's no snow day activity more wholesome than building a snowman. Make a bet on how tall your kids can build Frosty and challenge them to achieve record heights.
Recent Articles
Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.