July 2010
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Heads up

I have to admit I’ve been really slack about capitalising on betting offers for this year’s World Cup.  It’s one of the best promotional times for bookmakers and I just haven’t been scouting for them, or pretending to be various members of my family, as I rightfully should.

In fact, I even received a similar offer to the one I’m playing this weekend before now and completely let it pass me by.  I’m a disgrace to the profession of bonus whoring right now.

Sporting Index miss me so much that they’ve given me 25 quid to bet with, and this time I’m going to use it.  I still have a bit of a balance left with them from previous offers, and although they said this is promotional money for a free bet, it’s actually been all lumped together into one balance.

Such is the fun of spread betting that you can think you’re gambling with £25 of someone else’s money and end up owing them much more of your own if things don’t go your way.  With a stop-loss limit of five goals, a £25 per goal bet on the winner of the World Cup Final – which is what it seems like they’re offering at first – is far from a risk-free opportunity with this offer.  You could lose the free £25 and have to cough up another £100 out of your own pocket.

It would appear that it’s similar to their previous promotions that give you a refund on losses, except instead of give you the money back when you lose, this time they give it to you first to bet with, then take it away at the end if you win.

However, with no interest in or knowledge of the football whatsoever this year, I clearly didn’t want any more exposure than the free £25 this weekend.

Which was quite a challenge, if you want to place a no-risk bet that actually has the chance of a significant upside.  Obviously, I do.

My selection process involved looking down the list of markets for small numbers.  Assuming that I could buy low and hope for some kind of miracle that would result in at least a two-figure payoff.

Buy total goals a@ 2.3?  To limit the risk to £25, that’s £10.87 per goal.  A three-goal match wins £7.61, four goals £18.48, five goals £29.35.  That doesn’t sound so great.

Multi-corners, buy @ 27.  This used to be a regular favourite of mine when I wanted to bet on a match and didn’t care who was playing.  Spending 90 minutes cheering for nothing but corners makes for quite an interesting game, and as the result is based on number of first-half corners multiplied by number of second-half corners, if things got busy early on it made things really exciting.  But this time, I’d have to buy at less than £1 per point, and we’re looking for a result of at least 50 to make things worthwhile.  That’s more than 7 corners needed in each half before things get interesting.

The winner, though, came in the form of one of the most ridiculous bets I’ve done yet.  Headed Goal Minutes.  The result is the sum of the minutes on the clock for all the goals scored by headers.

I don’t remember ever seeing this market before, so I don’t know if it’s fairly new and available all the time, or just wheeled out for big games.  If I can actually be bothered to watch the game, this bet will bring a whole new energy to my support for both teams.  Buying @ 22 means I can put more than a quid per point on it, and all I need for a decent win is one headed goal in the second half.

Two or more headers in the back of the net, and I’m totally laughing.

Easy money, right?