Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It was all just speculation when there were 238 cities begging -- some in an unseemly fashion -- to host Amazon's new HQ.

But now we have a 20-horse race.

Which means that bookies can really hone their handicapping skills. 

And, of course bettors can seek more precise inside information -- or more intestinal feeling -- to which they can commit their money.

I've been following the betting with disturbingly religious fervor.

All along, Atlanta has been up there. So has Austin.

But just before Amazon made its announcement of the finalists, I relayed how Boston had crept into the reckoning.

It suddenly became a joint favorite, together with Atlanta and Austin.

After the announcement, it's now the clear favorite. 

Not by much, you understand.

It sits at 3/1 with bookmaker Paddy Power. Atlanta and Austin have drifted to 4/1. 

But Washington D.C is now at 6/1, with Pittsburgh and Montgomery County, Maryland at 8/1 and 9/1 respectively.

All these places have something in common -- nearby reputable universities that can churn out the young and the hopeful straight into Jeff Bezos's welcoming arms. 

Of course, there might be some emotional bias in the bettors' financial commitments, as Paddy Power is an Irish-based company and Boston does love its Celtic types. 

The thing with speculators, though, is that they're permanently twitchy.

They'll be looking for any sign -- which sometimes will be entirely imagined -- in order to harden the belief that they they'll win.

Of course, the secret truth with bettors is that they do it for the excitement, not for the victory.

I wonder if Bezos is having fun with the long-drawn spectacle, too.

Published on: Jan 19, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.