Latest Cases - August 2012

The pick of the new-season cherries

17th August 2012

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • Can 188bet possibly stay in business?
  • The pick of the new-season cherries….

Can 188bet possibly stay in business?

That might sound like a strange question. But I ask it for good reason.

The new football season starts on Saturday and like every other punter laboring under the sun I’ve been busy staking out my positions in the various football ‘Outright’ markets.

Where these kinds of bets are concerned I tend to be a dedicated exchange player – for good reason.

  • For one, the prices available about my selections are generally better on the exchanges.
  • For another, once my back bet is placed on the exchanges I’m positioned to lay the bet back and trade once the price contracts (always assuming it does so) without having to cover the lay liability  (because the exchange platform takes the notional returns from my original back bet into account).

But, in the interests of thoroughness, I always check what prices the firms are offering about my selections – using the Oddschecker odds comparison site. And it was on Oddschecker that 188bet attracted my attention – for all the wrong reasons.

The firm is a relatively new addition to the Oddschecker site – and has only been in business since 2006. On their website they promote themselves by saying: ‘Our odds are up to 20% better than those on offer from a betting exchange (after you've paid commission on your winnings).’

And that would be great. If it were true. And it may well be true in isolated instances. But the Outright market for this season’s Premiership title is certainly not one of those instances. Just take a look at it.

Look specifically at the prices they offer about Sunderland, Aston Villa, Fulham, QPR, Stoke, West Brom, Swansea, Norwich, West Ham, Wigan, Southampton and Reading.

I’m not seriously suggesting that any of these clubs has even the remotest chance of winning this season’s Premiership. And the prices offered by 95% of the bookmaking firms reflect this – ranging from 1000/1 to 8000/1.

But look at the prices 188bet are offering about these teams – 200/1 across the board!! Disgracefully short prices – so bad you wonder if 188bet are on some kind of commercial kamikaze mission.

Now these prices might well be ricks – mistakes owing to a tired data in-putter. I haven’t been able to establish whether or not this is true because despite contacting the firm multiple times and despite their promotional claims which state that ‘The customer always come first…. Your satisfaction drives our business…. We will always strive to exceed your expectations….’ I haven’t received the courtesy of a response.

They might well change the prices – bringing them in line with the rest of the industry – as and when this column lands on the right desk. But if you were daft enough to take 200/1 about any of the teams mentioned above – and no doubt some punters will have been daft enough – will the firm admit to the palpable error and revise bets taken at those skinny prices – amending them to the ‘right’ price?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

The pick of the new-season cherries….

With the new season set to get underway tomorrow all the bookmakers are frantically competing for your business – and it is good to know which bookies are offering what deals, concessions and enhancement so that you can make sure you’re getting the best possible bang for your betting buck. Here’s what I found – and my take on it – in no particular order of importance or significance.

  • If you play the exchanges then – like me – your first port of call is probably Betfair where market liquidity tends to be better. But Betdaq should also be on your radar – particularly this weekend because for opening day of the season they’re charging 0% commission on all football markets. That’s a decent cherry.
  • It’s not often I praise Ladbrokes – but I’m going to make an exception here. If you haven’t put your Premiership Outright money down yet then consider doing so with the Magic Sign – if the price is right, of course. If you put down a £20 bet on your selection to win the Premiership they’ll give you a free £5 bet on the FA Cup. That’s the kind of cherry I like – something real for nothing. No frills and no messing about. Good work, Laddies. 
  • Playing the First Goalscorer markets? Then think about the fact that bet365 are now paying out each-way on the market – 1/3 on unlimited places. That means you’ll get paid out at the place odds if your man scores 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. That’s not a bad effort from the Staffordshire firm. And if, like me, you bet bigger-priced selections in this market (I’m sweet on center halves that get up for set pieces and show an inclination to get on the end of things) then taking advantage could be a very worthwhile exercise.
  • Bet365 offer bonuses up to 100% on their European Soccer Accumulators (depending on the number of selections in your bet) – but, to my eyes at least, this is just window dressing. Bookies love accumulators because 99% of them fail and so in more cases than not a ‘bonus’ is an illusion. Sure, there’s the odd fairytale – but they are such rarities we read about them in the newspapers when they happen. If I have an accumulator then I don’t get too ambitious. Three or 4 selections is my limit. Any more than that and I know I’ve missed taking my medication.
  • Of much more interest to me is the BetVictor offer that says if you back a Premiership treble with the firm this weekend then they’ll give you a FREE treble next weekend. Two bites of the cherry. This weekend your correspondent is trusting to Arsenal and Chelsea with newcomers Reading as my wildcard selection.
  • Bet365 and William Hill are both offering something called the Bore Draw – where they return stakes on selected bets if the game ends up 0-0. Is this a case of great minds thinking alike? Or is one firm guilty of shamelessly copying the other? I know where my money would be going because one of these firms has ‘form’ for duplicating the efforts of the other. Bet365 are returning stakes on Correct Score, HT-FT and Scorecast bets. Hills are returning stakes on Correct Score and HT-FT bets – and their offer specifically targets new users of their Mobile platform.

There’s also the usual plethora of money-back concessions – which add an extra dimension or an element of insurance to specific bets:

  • Paddy Power will return stakes on losing First/Last Goalscorer bets, Correct Score bets and Scorecast singles if there is a red card shown in the match concerned. Offer applies to Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2 games.
  • Coral will give you your money back on losing First/Last Goalscorer bets and losing Correct Score bets in televised games this weekend if a team comes back to win from a losing position. Applies to all televised domestic matches.
  • Boylesports offer what they call 1st Assist Cashback. If your First Goalscorer fails to score the first goal but assists the first goal your stake on your selection will be refunded.
  • Hills offer a 2nd chance with your First Goalscorer bets – if your selection fails to score first but scores the 2nd goal of a game then your stakes is refunded as a free bet.

Of course this is not a comprehensive list of offers. The bookies will really go to town on trying to win your business overnight and in the morning. So be sure to shop around and get the deal that best suits your bets.

And always be sure to check out that you’re eligible for an individual offer. Read the Terms & Conditions. Ask the individual bookmaker to confirm that the advertised concession has been applied to your bet. These bookmakers are slippery devils and if they can wriggle out of a commitment then they will. Get them nailed down. It avoids heartache later.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge 

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