Could you bet on Stoke to win – and live with yourself?

Stoke City FC V Arsenal 02Ronnie Macdonald

There is a bookie at the end of our street and the exact score odds on at least one forthcoming match are usually on display in the window or on a billboard outside.

I am not a great better. Even when I do gamble on anything, I rarely win. But today’s offering could hardly escape the eye: £190 on a £10 bet on Stoke to beat Sunderland 3-1.

It is an interesting moral dilemma. A few people have said here how badly we always seem to play at Stoke. Pete Sixsmith remembers a scrappy win under Mick McCarthy but our experience as away fans there is not, in recent memory, great.

But what if you loyally want Sunderland to win, and would be thrilled to see a win as emphatic as the one at Stamford Bridge, but succumb to the temptation to hedge your bets? And say it was 2-1 near the end and you’d put £10 on at my bookie’s shop. Could you live with yourself if they got a last minute penalty and you started mentally spending the winnings?

Most of us would answer No like a shot. But I know from personal experience of SAFC supporters who have put money on a result or first scorer, or whatever, even if it went against their real hopes for the outcome.

I was not tempted. Exact scores are extremely tricky to forecast. And even if they weren’t, the honest truth is that yes, I’d feel thoroughly ashamed as I pocketed and spent the £190.

The last time I looked twice at the bookie’s window – this one wasn’t out on the pavement – they were offering even better odds, something like 25-1, on a scoreline that I thought possible, but highly unlikely:

Wolves 0 Liverpool 3.

Monsieur Salut

5 thoughts on “Could you bet on Stoke to win – and live with yourself?”

  1. Years ago we used to run a sweep on the coach going up to Sunderland from the Midlands. You had to predict things like – the total number of goals, number of substitutions, red cards and yellow cards. If no one won the money rolled over till next time. One week the pot had got up to nearly two hundred quid and with about two minutes to go I had the right number of goals, substitutions and red cards. I needed (or thought I did) one more yellow card to scoop the pot. I started screaming book him ref for every innocuous challenge that went in from players of either side but my pleas went unheard by the man in black (or green or yellow etc.) Just as well though because when we got back on the bus I’d put down one less yellow than I thought I had. Happy days!

    But predicting scores is a mug’s game unless you are happy to lose your tenner or whatever. In the long run it’s the bookies who end up in profit. Which makes me wonder about the psychology in the Paddy McGuinness advert for Victor Chandler where he claims his tenner off the bookie then exits with the line “he’ll probably get it back next week.”

  2. Betting on football matches should not be encouraged, particularly if you are at the game, and the game is preceded with drink.

    Went to Portugal v Turkey at Euro 96 at the City Ground. My mate says to me. “I’m having a bet on this. 1-0 to Portugal with Fernando Couto as the goal scorer. I can see it now,” he says. Portugal corner, up comes the big lad with a header. Right in the net.”

    We get in the ground and he goes down to put the bet on. Really daft odds for goalscorer and final result. Back he comes. Crap game follows. Turkey looking canny but no real threat in the box. Game for all the world is looking like a scoreless draw.

    Portugal get a corner right in front of us. The ball comes over and just like he’d said, Couto rises above the Turkish defence and boom it’s straight in the net. I just looked at him in disbelief.,

    “I told ya” he says. “I’m in the money!” He couldn’t wait for full time. So at the whistle he goes off to collect his cash. I’m stood waiting for him to come out. Soon enough he appears with a face like a fiddle, head shaking. “I’ve got nowt” he says. He’d only gone and put his “X’ in the wrong box on the match day betting coupon. He’d put his money on some bloke we’d never heard of! The irony of course is that should he have really won, he would never have realised, still thinking that his money was on Couto!

    There’s a moral there somewhere!

  3. The only benefits will be that if you win the bet it softens the blow of gettin beat. But if sunderland were to win i dont think you’d be to bothered. I wouldnt be

  4. Betting against your own team puts you in the middle of a dilemma of sorts. Say you went for the 3-1 to Stoke and we are 2-1 down with ten minutes to go, and are well out of the game with the home side well on top. Do you really want to put yourself in a situation where you think to yourself. “Come on Potters! You might as well get another one now!”

    Of course you don’t! Any real supporter would still be hoping against hope for an equaliser. Don’t put yourself there unless circumstances which you can’t control take over.

    A few seasons ago when Liverpool were playing Chelsea in the later stages of the Champions League there was attention on Peter Crouch’s Dad: a ST holder at Chelsea for many a year. The medial latched on to this and wanted to know his view and what he hoped for. What could the man say and come out of it right. His son was playing for the opposition.

    This is considerably worse than the betting situation. What choice?

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