Cash Out? A feature for the Bookmaker

Several bookmakers now offer and heavily promote their 'cash-out' feature on TV and online, and big sports accounts often open up the debate when followers send in their 'cash-out dilemmas'.... Should someone cash out after winning 8 of their 9 games in an accumulator or should they take the risk and see if the final team can win too. The answer is simple, but is becoming less and less clear due - NO, you should NEVER use the cashout option.

The Situation

Using the example in the image above, you can see that this guy has done a £500 five fold. The first four bets have won, leaving him with Arsenal to win tonight at Aston Villa - at a price of 1.57. Betfair have been generous and said "you know what, we'll give you £2674.44 and settle the bet right now". Wow, the bookmaker is willing to pay out on his bet before he won!

Also, as anyone who bets on sports will know, there is no such thing as a banker, and should Arsenal struggle and not get the win at Villa Park, the guy will end up with absolutely nothing except the regret of not cashing out when he had the chance. This fear of regret is the reason this is proving successful with the bookmakers that use this facility. People see a decent number and take it, but a serious bettor should know to look a little deeper.

Say No - Work it Out

You don't have to be a whizz kid at maths, but you should be looking at whether or not the bookmaker is actually offering a good deal. Like anything in life, don't be dazzled by the big numbers or promise of something exciting, delve deeper and have a proper look. Is what they are offering good value for money, or are there any alternatives?

You have three options at the end of the day...

Accept the Cash-Out from Mr Betfair, enjoy the £2674.44. You'll be annoyed if Arsenal win, but delighted with your choice if Villa get a result.
Reject the cash out and let it ride. You backed Arsenal because you think they're going to win, just because you've got the option to cash out half your winnings shouldn't change your opinion on the game. If Arsenal win, happy days! If they draw or lose, you lose the £500 stake.
Reject the cash out from Betfair, and cash-out yourself. Go the the Betfair Exchange and LAY Arsenal at a price of 1.53 for £1,568.25 liability and GUARANTEE yourself £2958.96.

Option three is the manual version of what Betfair (and other bookmakers) offer on the cashout feature. The manual version earns you an extra £284.52 profit, which equates to an additional 13.1%. 

Betfair have taken 13.1% of your profit for doing nothing, don't let them do it! In this instance, the best value is actually option three, as the price you are opposing Arsenal is less than the price you backed them at...



League Cup Fever

by Guest...

Sunday's League Cup final gives Sunderland and Manchester City a welcome break from their vastly different respective Premier League ambitions, the welcome distraction of a showpiece final, and of course gives their fans an even more welcome Wembley day out. Beyond that, it offers Sunderland the opportunity to earn Europa League football next season, although that is almost guaranteed anyway, given the more than likely prospect of City earning a Champions League spot.

While not blessed with the same romance and sense of history as the FA Cup, it has thrown up just as many exciting and unexpected triumphs, especially in the earlier years when the more glamourous clubs deemed it not worth entering, the first two losing finalists being Rotherham United and Rochdale.

As a child, my first encounter with the competition was a grainy black and white highlights package on ITV's Star Soccer on a wet Sunday afternoon in March ( no blanket live footie in those days - only the FA  and European Cup finals and the Home Internationals received such an honour). It was 1969 and the mighty Arsenal (yes, they of Double-winning glory only two years later), were humbled by then Third Division side Swindon Town 3-1 on a Wembley quagmire, after the pitch had staged the Horse of the Year Show the week before, and the two-goal extra-time hero Don Rogers became forever a hero in the annals of Swindon history. Another quirk of antiquated rules denied Swindon the chance to compete in the following season's Inter-cities Fairs Cup (subsequently the UEFA Cup and now the Europa League) because such a privilege was only bestowed on top division sides in those days.

Lower division underdogs have met with disproportional success in this competition. As a fledgling Aston Villa fan in the 1970's, I was rewarded with my team reaching three finals in six years, losing to Tottenham 2-0 as a Third Division side in 1971 (after beating the mighty Manchester United in a memorable two-legged semi), and then winning it in 1975 as a Second Division team, and then again two years later as a top-flight outfit in a thrilling 3-2 Old Trafford second replay (remember cup final replays, anyone?) after dour 0-0 and 1-1 draws against Everton. Anyone who saw it will never forget no-nonense centre-half Chris Nicholl letting fly from 35 yards, the ball still rising as it hit the back of the net. Ahhh, happy days.

The eighties saw the big clubs get more interested in the competition as a path to European riches, with Liverpool making the cup their own for four consecutive seasons, but nevertheless the proliferation of less prestigious clubs in the honours lists (Norwich City, Oxford United, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday et al) kept the lower leagues interested, and indeed Manchester United and Chelsea only once each graced any of the first 30 League Cup Finals. Things have changed a little since the turn of the millennium, with United, Chelsea and Liverpool sharing eight of the 13 cup wins, but even as recently as the last two years, Cardiff City and Bradford City have represented the lower divisons in the final, albeit unsuccessfully, while it is only three years since the unlikely and unfancied (and soon to be relegated) Birmingham City toppled the mighty Arsenal with a memorable last-minute winner.

So while Manchester City might be odds-on to claim the first leg of their much-vaunted "quadruple" - although Barcelona might have something more to say about that next week - Sunderland can cling to the fact that many a giant has stumbled at this stage before them, and with nothing to lose they might just upset the Sky Blue applecart on Sunday.   



Bet365 In Play Offer - Man City v Barcelona

Today we have another opportunity to guarantee a nice free bet for tonight's Champions League fixture at the Etihad between Man City and Barcelona. Bet365 are offering a 100% risk free £50 in play bet to all users that stake £50 on the Man City v Barcelona game in a pre match market too. There is only one correct way to use this promotion to your benefit...

All you need is funds in your bet365 account (get a bet365 account here) - £100 to be precise. You need to stake £50 before the match and £50 during the match - should the in-play bet lose, bet365 will refund it as CASH, not as a free bet. From experience, they are busy immediately after the game so this process can take up to 2 hours, although it is usually resolved within 20 minutes of the final whistle...

OK, so here is the juicy information - how to get a £50 bet for less than £2 liability:

How to get a £50 free bet for less than £2

  • Bet £50 on over 0.5 goals at Bet365 (odds: 1.03*)
  • Use another account such as Bet Victor and back 0-0 correct score (odds: 16.00) for £3.34.
  • If the game ends 0-0, you return £53.44 (+£0.10)
  • If there is 1 goal or more, you return £51.50 (-£1.84)

Doing the above limits your liability to £1.84 maximum, but means that your first in-play bet (up to £50 in value) is no-risk and will be refunded should it lose!!

You can then use the bet on bet365's in-play markets, of which there are over 70. You could go for a correct score, first goalscorer, anytime scorer, or a simple bet on the Home/Draw/Away (1X2) market. The £50 is as close to risk free as you will likely get, so make the most of it! 

Be sure to let me know what you have gone for on Twitter

*odds were valid at the time of publishing this article

n.b. Some people suggest using the £50 in play to bet against your pre-match bet, but this is against Bet365 terms and conditions. This means they would be within their rights to cancel your participation in the promotion - which would ultimately leave you out of pocket.


Bundesliga - Tips and Predictions...

The Bundesliga has already taken shape this season, with the title race seemingly all but over already thanks to the tremendous form of Bayern Munich. If you remember my post from earlier this year, I gave my prediction as to where each team would finish, how many points they would accrue, including W/D/L and goals for and against. My prediction was a bit of fun, as season long bets can be tricky at the best of times. However, I am quietly pleased with how it appears to be panning out. I have correctly got the top 6 in the top 6, with 4 in the right place (Dortmund are 3rd, with Leverkusen 2nd). I also went with Braunschweig to be bottom...

To analyse it a little more, I decided to look at the current points per game (PPG) each team has achieved, and compare it with my season-long predictions to see who I got close and who I am out on. There are 8 of the 18 teams that have a PPG differential of 0.21 or less:

Bayern +0.21
Augsburg +0.20
Braunschweig +0.13
Schalke +0.11
Werder Bremen +0.09
Gladbach +0.06
Hannover -0.09

I never expected to get it spot on at all, and there are ultimately  a few teams that I have got massively wrong...

Hertha Berlin (+0.76 PPG Differential)

Hertha have been the biggest overachievers from my prediction, by quite a long way too. The main reason for this is the value I put on points in the second tier, and the fact that it is always tough to know how a promoted team will cope in a higher division. They’ve performed very well and competed with the top sides – often making light work of the weaker sides in the league.

They have a real chance of European qualification now, and it would be great to see them continue their form to get there too.

Mainz (+0.65 PPG Differential)

I expected Mainz to struggle this season, but they have managed to grind out 9 wins from 20 already (I predicted 7 wins and 8 draws). They’ve only drawn three, which is low, so this partly explains their over achieving points per game total. I expected them to be scrapping for survival at the bottom of the Bundesliga table, but my prediction was wrong and they seem more likely to finish in the top half.

Recent form of 9 points from their last 4 games has skewed this slightly (after 16 games, they had a -0.19 PPG differential!). The form of their Asian players has contributed to this, especially Shinji Okazaki who has popped up with 9 goals so far this season.

Hamburg (-0.58 PPG Differential)

Hamburg, well... There is not much to say about them. They have been pretty woeful throughout the season and are by far the biggest under achievers. They’re on their second manager, and he (Bert van Marwijk) is under pressure having not been able to improve results. They’ve lost their last 6 at the time of writing this post, and don’t really look like pulling themselves out of this slump.

If they manage to avoid relegation, they will have done well from this position, at this stage of the season when confidence must be at a real rock bottom.

(To view the full league prediction image just CLICK HERE)


The managerial merry-go-round - When will it stop spinning?

The managerial merry-go-round - When will it stop spinning?

The sudden departure of Michael Laudrup from the helm at the Liberty Stadium after only 18 months in charge is probably sending shock waves around the Premier League, since it would seem that now no-one is safe from the chairman's axe. Yes, Swansea have not been enjoying the best of form recently, but that could go for any of the bottom half of the Premier League who are separated by only a handful of points. And now for one of the league's bright coaching lights, guiding his team to League Cup honours less than a year ago and with a tasty looking Europa Cup tie with Napoli just around the corner,  to suddenly be cast on the managerial scrapheap seems knee-jerkingly premature, bordering on the ludicrously irresponsible.

Of the bottom nine clubs, six have now parted company with their managers since the start of the season, with Rene Meulensteen probably avoiding being a seventh casualty only because Fulham are too embarrassed to sack two managers in the space of two months for not making a silk purse from a pig's ear. Dimitar Berbatov couldn't desert the sinking ship for the French Riviera quick enough, and who could really blame him?

Of the three managers in that bottom nine still in a job, probably only Steve Bruce can feel secure. Big Sam has been staring down the barrel since before Christmas, while Chris Hughton was reportedly only one timely win away from the chop just a few weeks ago. Chairmen's memories seem to be getting shorter, while their demands for instant success grow beyond the scope of patience and loyalty and common decency.

But what of the teams at the top? Poor old AVB didn't survive his first slump, if heavy defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool sandwiching a 5-game run of 4 wins and a draw can be called a slump. Every other team in the top half seems to be meeting or exceeding expectations - with the one glaring exception of course.
What, oh what is the Mata at Old Trafford??!! (did you see what I did there?). If this had been anything other then David Moyes' first season in charge, he would undoubtedly be long gone by now. He can only play the "transitional period" card for so long, although to be fair he has always spoken with refreshing honesty and hasn't made excuses for his players' deficiencies on the pitch. Of course it doesn't help that every time he looks up in the stand, he sees Sir Alex looking back at him like Banquo's ghost, his nemesis for years, and now haunting his misfortune game by tortuous game - a bit like having your dad turn up at work every day, tutting and shaking his head as you struggle over a spreadsheet and break the photocopier.

And he is now under real pressure, not only to make that coveted 4th Champions League spot, but indeed to reach Europe at all. With Liverpool, Everton and Spurs all vying for 4th as well and showing now signs of their form diminishing, the chances are that one of them could just as easily claim 5th place too, leaving Moyes' boys stranded and putting their passports away for a year. Indeed, with no hopes of domestic cup honours either, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that United's best hope of reaching Europe next year is to win the Champion League itself this season (no pressure, David).

The ramifications of United failing to reach Europe would go way beyond the immediate embarrassment and the sudden loss of expected Champions League revenue. The knock on effect would be a failure to attract the best players for next season, as well as a potential exodus of current topline players anxious to play on the biggest European stage, and not patient enough to take a year's sabbatical. 

Empires rise and empires fall, and maybe, just maybe,  there are just a few signs of crumbling dust in the Old Trafford brickwork.