It was a quiet betting weekend what with no Premier League action, the Six Nations taking a break, and England’s cricketers finding form and polishing off Pakistan without much bother in the desert.
I learned the hard way to beware the boredom bet. When there isn’t a market on which you have a strong line, often it is best just to leave well alone. Even worse is to punt for the sake of it, to scratch an itch as it were.
Things started to go wrong on Saturday morning. On my way to play rugby for the mighty Shooters Hill 2nd XV, I was casting round for a bet on the Chelsea/Birmingham cup tie. None of the prices seemed especially attractive until I noticed a market I’ve never had occasion to use before hiding at the bottom of one of SpIn’s new drop-down menus: ‘Stop @ goal’ – a prediction on the number of shots on target before a goal is scored. The spread is 3-3.5, and, as I bumble through Welling on the top deck of the 486, I think that seems rather low; I buy for a fiver and am punished when Birmingham score after only one attempt on goal. It serves me right for playing a market with an abnormally wide spread (a Jordan/Denise Welch/Katona in the trade) and one for which I had no feel – I didn’t even bother to check if ‘shots on goal’ included headers or not.
To make matters worse, Shoots lost 10-3 to local rivals Foots Cray in miserable driving sleet, which, for ten minutes, I had to experience shivering on the sidelines after my 3rd yellow card of the season.
Things don’t get much better on Sunday when a trade that looks to be going rather well (buying Hull FC over London Broncos in the Super League) falters when the fantastically named Sam Moa (sadly from Tonga) is dismissed and the home side are forced to cling on for a narrow victory rather than the handsome margin I’d hoped for.
I managed to fluke a profit on the FA Cup though, buying Liverpool’s shirt supremacy over Brighton. I did have a moment of panic when I though og’s might not count; thankfully, they do and Liam Bridcutt has the decency to wear 26 on his back as well as be shit.
Monday was the bleakest of the lot. It was my 26th birthday (bad enough), but being a ‘school night’ I thought I’d delay celebrations until the weekend. Seemingly the only sport happening in the whole world was a thoroughly unappetizing League 1 clash between Brentford and Carlisle – oh the glamour. I flick over to it 17 minutes in, see it’s nil-nil and idly sell goals at 2.3.
I have no interest in watching the match so I turn over to watch, well, anything else. When I peak back 20 minutes later Brentford are in the process of celebrating their 3rd goal and the bet is already dead in the water. I spend the rest of my birthday evening trying to construe a strategy to minimize my losses; fortunately, I do get out before Brentford score their fourth in the second half.
The moral, if there is one? Don’t feel you have to bet just because you can. Wait your moment and pick the right market.