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Beat the Summer Bookies: Week One

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 04/06/2006

WELCOME to a new series of Beat the Bookies called Beat the Summer Bookies. In the last series over the course of the regular season a profit of around 40% was recorded, meaning the bookies were not just beaten but whipped! Can it be repeated?

Home > 2005-2006 Season > Beat the Summer Bookies > Week 1


This summer, or most of it anyway, we don't have to pretend to be interested in tennis or cricket (Rugby League, in case you are wondering, is an irrelevance - an irritating waste of airspace on Radio Humberside) as there is the small matter of the World Cup!

The most important thing about the World Cup is the second word, it's a cup. Anything can happen in our wonderful game, especially in one-off matches. It just so happens that the World Cup has only ever been won by one of a handful of teams. The last World Cup and Euro 2004 both showed that literally anything can happen, but the markets all overstate the probability of usual suspects doing well. Don't be conned by this: there have not been enough World Cups to see the true range of likely winners yet. From a betting point of view the secret is not to back the favourites - that, in my opinion, is a mugs' game.

Given the above comments my tactic is to avoid betting with the markets on the popular bets and look generally to bet in the opposite direction to the prevailing "wisdom". Betting exchanges, of whom the market leader is Betfair, are my preferred means of doing this for the simple reason they offer better odds and give you the chance to cover your bets - from your potential winnings - without having to fork out huge sums.

Here are my Week One betting tips for the World Cup.

  • Avoid betting on England, in fact do just the opposite. The odds with the British bookies are poor whatever the market because the market is saturated with occasional gamblers betting on "their" team like sheep. I will be betting on England to lose every game as a matter of principle! The fact is because of our fans and our reputation we are one of the most hated teams in the competition and decisions may well go against us. There are many markets in the World Cup: whatever your chosen market is, go against Sven's boys!

  • Identify unfancied teams who are likely to make it through the first phase and have a decent chance of progressing. My tips here are Poland and Croatia, but the recommendation applies whatever the nation. I especially fancy Poland as they will have massive support in Germany. They may be England's opponents in the first knock-out game, which makes their odds even better as nobody is betting on them! Back your tip to win the whole tournament on the betting exchanges and then lay them if they make the quarter finals. You can then sit back with a winning position whatever happens.

  • Look for upsets, starting with the first game! Germany v Costa Rica could well go the way of other opening upsets (Argentina 0 Cameroon 1, France 0 Senegal 1). Laying Germany is the best bet; then you will collect if the outcome is a draw or a Costa Rica win.

  • If you are betting in running, try and bet in the opposite direction to the market. For example if a team scores the first goal, immediately lay them to win. The market tends to over-react to events and often the best time to bet is just after a key event such as a goal or sending off.

    Recommended bets (all on Betfair). I will be placing around £10 on each recommendation. In some cases I am likely to effectively close the bets by placing opposite "covering" bets to either limit losses or guarantee profits, and are therefore am unlikely either to win or lose the maximum amount. The general principle is if there is a profit to be made then take it.

    1. Back Poland to win the World Cup - around 180.0
    2. Lay Germany to beat Costa Rica - around 1.31
    3. Back Paraguay to beat England - around 7.0


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    This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!


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