This Week’s Odds: Loser MVPs, the Sixth 'Game of Thrones' Book, and ‘Star Wars’ at Comic-Con

The future, by the numbers.

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What a week. The NBA Finals alone are a gift that keeps on giving (for gamblers) and, though action remains slow on the Stanley Cup front, radio play is heating up the song of the summer hype. But here on The Odds we’ll give you some insight into other longshots and best bets that are one our cultural radar.

1. The Cavs Will Lose the NBA Finals, But LeBron Will Be the Series MVP Anyway

Last week we told you that the Wonder from Down Under, Matthew Dellavadova, would win the MVP award for the NBA Finals after capping off a few games with a level of scrappy grit not ever seen in this hemisphere. But we’d like to apologize. There’s no way Delly is going to be the MVP because he’s deviated right back to something below the mean. LeBron is going to be the MVP and the Cavs won’t even win the series. He’s put up such crazy numbers that it’s inevitable. King James joins Michael Jordan, Shaq, and James Worthy on the short list of players to put up at least 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists in an NBA championship series, but he’s doing that in every single game. He’s also the only person ever to have 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in the Finals, and he’s done it three times in this series alone. Like the man said himself, he’s the best player in the world, and he’ll be the second person ever after Jerry “The Logo” West to be an Finals MVP on a losing team. Odds that the Cavs lose and LeBron is named MVP: 11 to 10.

2. Paid Parental Leave is Great, But Companies Won’t Budge on New Policies

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As John Oliver hilariously put it on his show just last month, maternity leave policy in this country has some serious problems. According to federal law, workers are granted just 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you want to start or add to your family, and that’s only if you have a full-time salary at a company with 50 or more employees and you’ve been employed at that company for a year or more. But billionaire Richard Branson and his company, Virgin, threw a jumbo jet-sized curveball right in the face of that law. Last Monday, Virgin Management announced a new company-wide policy for up to a year of fully paid leave for employees about to become new parents or adoptive parents. Employees with company for at least four years will receive 100 percent of their pay, while those with the company for up to two years will receive 25 percent. Will this kick off a trend of other American companies following suit, or will we continue to basically kick mothers to the curb for doing something dumb like want to bring a child into this world with the miracle of birth? Odds American companies will adopt Virgin’s parental leave policy: 30 to 1

3. People Will Have to Wait Forever for The Comic-Con ‘Star Wars’ Panel

The Force is about to awaken at this year’s geek Mecca, San Diego Comic-Con. Like other huge tentpole releases before it, Star Wars will have a prominent panel there that will be held in the hallowed grounds of the San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H, the grim reaper of geek souls that seats a little over 6,000 people and usually forces would-be attendees to wait ungodly amounts of time just to get in despite its Radio City Music Hall-sized capacity. Horror stories of waiting in Hall H lines are so commonplace that parody Twitter accounts have been made and guides to surviving it  have been written, but this isn’t some superhero movie or YA adaptation—it’s a new Star Wars movie we’re talking about here, and Comic-Co wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Star Wars. Nerds trying to get an exclusive sneak peek at Episode VII better bring their sleeping bags. Over/under on hours attendees will have to wait in line for the Comic-Con Star Wars panel: 18 hours.

4. The Crystal Pepsi Revival Will Be Short and Disgustingly Sweet

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, as Pepsi is poised to re-introduce its caffeine-free ‘90s throwback, Crystal Pepsi into stores once again following an online petition calling for the clear cola to make a comeback gathered nearly 35,000 signatures. Largely seen as a marketing fad that tried to cash in on a clear-products-equals-pure-products craze twenty years ago, Crystal Pepsi’s brief existence in the U.S. lasted a single year, and since then has existed as en E-Bay oddity currently fetching bids for over $100. So will we get to point to Crystal Pepsi in bodega coolers and say, “Oh, wow, look at that,” while buying a regular Pepsi sometime soon? Coca-Cola brought back Surge, so it’s only a matter of time before its rival resurrects an old brand to stir up some publicity and ironic #TBT hashtags. What was new became old, and is now new again. Over/Under for how long the Crystal Pepsi revival will last: 6 months.

5. The Sixth Game of Thrones Book Will Be Published Next Year

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If you’re a non-book reader like me who watched the season 5 finale of the show last night, you were rightly pissed off that (MAJOR SPOILER) the best character on the show, Jon Snow, was killed. In a show that’s notorious for killing off the most important people, it surely killed off its most important person narratively speaking, and that sucks. Who else is going to end up on the Iron Throne, Daenerys? Boring. Gendry? Only if he figures out how to row that boat we last saw him in. But the more important thing to come out of last night’s show is the fact that Jon dying was the final scene in A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, meaning book readers and show watchers are on an even playing field now. We’re all fiending to find out what happens next, and that won’t happen until Martin decides to quit basking in the glory of the show and publish the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, which he’s been writing for four years. He’s waited about five years between publishing the more recent books, which means he’ll most likely get the next Westerosi adventure out by next year. Over/under on when the next Game of Thrones book will be released: April 2016