Latest Cases - May 2012

3rd May 2012

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict

  • Harry Redknapp – what I want to know…
  • The press experts – a great contrarian signal…
  • 3 lessons to go forward with…
  • Don’t fall for this FREE BET email scam…

Harry Redknapp – what I want to know….

So after weeks of being told by the market that colourful Harry Redknapp was a nailed on cert for the England job and that you could safely bet your house or maybe even a kidney on him filling the post, the grey man that is Roy Hodgson takes over the reins of the National team for the Euros and beyond.

Now I don’t give a monkeys how the FA reached that decision – or whether it’s the right one or not.

I don’t give a hoot whether Redknapp’s appointment was blocked because a Machiavellian Trevor Brooking bears a grudge dating back to when Billy Bonds resigned as West Ham manager.

Or whether Redknapp ought to have been at least interviewed or not.

Or whether Hodgson got the nod because he’s considered a bit more of a ‘Yes’ man than Harry or a better fit for the FA’s development programme at Burton-on-Trent.

Frankly, I’m bored to tears of the England-manager storyline. The only thing that interests me now is the answer to the following question….

How come the market was so certain that Harry Redknapp would get the job – so certain that he was backed into long odds-on prices?

The press experts – a great contrarian signal….

The answer to that question is that too many punters playing in the market made the mistake of listening to mainstream newspaper pundits.

In the days following Fabio Capello’s desertion of his post and Redknapp’s heady acquittal in court on tax avoidance charges the newspaper men force fed the public a carbohydrate-rich diet of stories based on just one idea repeated over and over again…. ‘Harry’s the man’…. ‘Harry’s the fans’ choice’…. ‘Harry’s the player’s pick’‘Harry’s ahead in a one-runner race….’ ‘Harry’s got the England job….’

These newspaper guys are influential. Their musings and thoughts inform the opinions of thousands of readers – many of whom place bets. And that makes the newspaper scribes dangerous. Especially when they get it wrong. Which they frequently do.

In markets like ‘Next Manager’ markets the punter is working in something of a ‘direct knowledge’ vacuum. He knows diddly squat about the inner workings of football club boardrooms. He knows sweet FA about the FA or how it works. And he has no personal experience of the personalities, politics and motives involved in making managerial appointments.

The punter has nothing concrete to work with. And in the absence of any direct working knowledge of his own he becomes vulnerable to the ‘indirect knowledge’ that seemingly better-connected people pump daily into the public domain like so much industrial sludge. People like the newspaper columnists whose very survival as a species depends on having an opinion at any given time of night or day – regardless of its provenance, relevance or potential longevity.

In his clueless state the punter, if he isn’t extremely careful and strong-willed, is in severe danger of misinterpreting what is mere newspaper talk, opinion, conjecture, speculation, hearsay, fabrication, hyperbole or bullshine for HARD FACT – and acting accordingly. Many do. Many will never be cured of the condition.

That’s why (or at least one reason why) we get situation after situation where one manager or another is backed into a ‘cert’ price for a job but is subsequently overlooked like he’s the invisible man…. because the day to day pronouncements of self-assured windbags and bloated egos in the press are taken way too seriously by the punters who read them.

3 lessons to go forward with….

There are 3 lessons we can take away from the ‘Next England Manager’ market:

  1. Don’t bet on markets to which you bring no personal knowledge.

  2. Don’t assume that some guy working for a newspaper knows more than you do. The likelihood is that he doesn’t. In some instances he will know less. And in others he is just guessing, making it up as he goes along or saying something…. anything…. that enables him to fill space and meet a deadline. Just because it is printed in a newspaper doesn’t make it a FACT that you should be backing at rapidly diminishing prices with your hard-earned.

  3. Go one step further. When newspaper columnists appear to be in agreement across the board and the market is reacting in sync – then work on the assumption that you’re witnessing GROUPTHINK in action. Don’t try and jump on the bandwagon. It’s already left town – along with any value in the prices. Instead look to oppose the GROUPTHINK position. Over the long-term you will experience more joy and make more profit from your betting.

Don’t fall for this FREE BET email scam….

Whatever you do don’t fall for an email scam that’s doing the rounds at the moment.

I’ve got to admit I almost got caught out myself – because I wasn’t fully switched on at the time and the ‘offer’ looked good. Too good to be true as it turned out.

The offer purported to come from Sky Bet – that’s how the sender’s name appeared in my email box. The Subject Line read: ‘£10 completely Free Bet’.

As you know when bookmakers say FREE BET what they really mean (at least 99% of the time) is MATCHED BET – i.e. you bet £10 and we’ll give you another £10 bet free. So, when I saw what looked like a top bookmaker offering a ‘completely’ FREE bet I sat up and took notice – clicking on the email and opening it.

The body copy in the email contained the typical Sky Bet logo. And the offer looked like it was linked to Monday night’s Manchester City v Manchester United game – with a picture of Wayne Rooney and references to various match markets and prices.

‘There's a £10 completely free bet waiting for you and it's only a few clicks away!

Click Join Now, register and £10 will be waiting in your account
Place 5 x £10 bets and get an extra £50’


It was only when I noticed that the sender’s email address was that I realised something was amiss.

That’s not a bona fide Sky Bet address. Sky Bet use the and domain names when they send out communications to customers.

I don’t know who is behind this FREE BET email. And I’m not sure how the scam works in practice. When I clicked on the links provided in the email my Internet Security package flagged the page up as dangerous – and blocked access to it. The people behind the scam might be seeking to collect personal details and credit or debit card numbers. They might have some other purpose….

But I raise the issue for two reasons:

  • So that you are aware of it and can bin it if something similar turns up in your email box.
  • As a reminder that a good-looking offer can temporarily blind us to a scam. When you see a good looking offer – just check out the devil in the detail before diving in and possibly doing something you’ll regret.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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