On May 1—during a global pandemic that paused almost every major professional athletic competition—Colorado became the 18th state to officially allow legal sports betting. 

Even with a dearth of traditional betting opportunities, though, Coloradans still found a way to get their fix, putting more than $25 million down on everything from MMA to golf during the first month of operations. But the most surprising stat from the first 31 days of legalized sports betting in Colorado? Centennial Staters wagered around $6.6 million on pingpong, more than any other sport. 

What kind of table tennis can you gamble on? Are you crazy to think that betting on Ukrainian matches sounds a little sketchy? Is it time to quit your job and become a professional pingpong plunger? We’ve got answers to those questions and more to help you decide whether you should ante up for the most gambled on game in the (albeit brief) history of Colorado sports betting.  

Professional table tennis leagues are actually still going on during a worldwide pandemic?

The sport’s major governing bodies, including the International Table Tennis Federation and the European Table Tennis Union, have canceled or postponed all events. But a few small leagues in places like Russia, Ukraine, and Brazil have been streaming hundreds of matches daily.

Russia, Ukraine, and Brazil? Not that those countries are cesspools of corruption or anything, but how do we know these matches are legit?

We don’t. A recent ESPN investigation, in fact, called into question the integrity of the matches. Many of the leagues that are still supposedly holding events—including the Moscow Liga Pro and the Ukrainian Setka Cup—stopped posting on their websites and social media feeds around March. Typically, they would have updated those sources regularly with results and rankings. It’s also unclear who is overseeing some of the leagues. In other words: Are the matches supposedly playing under the Moscow Liga Pro and Ukrainian Setka Cup banners really part of those leagues? Plus, the locations of matches are often undisclosed, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. But many U.S. bookmakers claim they’ve done their due diligence and also have not seen the type of irregular results or betting patterns that would raise red flags.

I’m a trusting person (and gambling is the one thing that makes me feel alive during this carbon-copy-of-a-carbon-copy-of-a-carbon copy infinite time loop we’re stuck in). How do I place a bet?

The easiest way is from the comfort of your own home. Currently, there are 20 apps that have permission to operate in the state, including FanDuel and DraftKings. Many casinos are also reopening, such as the Golden Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, so eager gamblers also have the option to place wagers in-person at one of Colorado’s brand new sportsbooks.

When it comes to pingpong, what types of bets can I place?

Like with many other sports, the most common bet is on who will win. Such bets are typically accompanied by odds. For example, on Tuesday, July 21, Evgeniy Glazun had -200 odds—meaning you had to bet $200 to win $100—in a match against Dmitry Petrochenko, who had +163 odds (which specifies that wagering $100 wins you $163). The negative sign indicates who is favored, while the positive sign designates the underdog. You can also do over/under bets on things like how many points will be scored in the match or how many total games will be played.

Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan is the former digital editor of 5280.com and teaches journalism at Regis Jesuit High School.