Online sports betting companies are not rejoicing over German’s early exit from the World Cup: they’re worrying that a win for Brazil is more likely.
Football fans – especially in England – might be over the moon about Germany’s early exit from the World Cup, but the bookies are taking a different view. The early elimination of Joachim Low’s team means that online bookmakers could be facing a potentially much greater payout if favorites Brazil win the tournament.
Germany has been bad news for online betting companies at this World Cup. Having lost its first game to Mexico, it had to beat Sweden in the second group game to stay in the tournament. Sweden scored first and with a minute to go, it was 1-1. Then Toni Kroos scored a spectacular winner, leading to William Hill’s biggest loss of the tournament so far.
“The German winner was our biggest single change of fortune,” said a spokesman. We were two minutes from winning £2m ($2.64m) and we ended up losing £4m ($5.28m).
No Ode to Joy for the bookies
… And the bookmakers didn’t get the money back when the Germans slid feebly out of the tournament against South Korea. With the 2014 winners long odds-on before the kick-off, there was no heavy betting on the game, leaving the bookmakers worried that Germany’s exit has increased the chances of favorites Brazil winning the tournament. “Germany being knocked out hasn’t really affected us in terms of payout,” said Peter Spencer of Betfred, “but it has increased the chances of Brazil winning, which has got us sweating.”
There were no such worries among the fans. “What is the German for Schadenfreude?” asked several papers in the UK, remembering far too many ignominious exits at German hands.
And you can’t expect the fans to feel sorry for the bookies, with Germany’s late winner costing plenty of the online betting companies hefty pay-outs. In fact, Bet365 reported losing eight figures (over $13m), and Kindred was another firm to report heavy losses as England, Belgium, and Mexico all won as expected – with plenty of punters having combined them in doubles and trebles.
It could be an expensive Boot…
In the UK the bookmakers are also facing heavy liabilities over Harry Kane. Originally a 16-to-1 chance for the Golden Boot (the leading scorer in the competition), the Spurs striker is now as low as 7-to-4, thanks to a hat-trick (including an outrageous deflection) against Panama. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa both on four goals, this looks like another market that could go badly wrong for the bookmakers.
The tournament now enters the knockout phase, with the first game – France vs. Argentina – kicking off on Saturday afternoon. The game the bookmakers will really be watching though is on Monday afternoon when Brazil take on Mexico. A win for Mexico would see all the betting companies breathing a huge sigh of relief and – having beaten Germany – who is to say that Mexico cannot do it again?
Meanwhile, turnover in England will rocket on Tuesday night when England play their last-16 game against Colombia. What would the bookmakers like from that game? A patriotic win for Gareth Southgate’s men to keep turnover high through the rest of the tournament – but obviously no goals for Harry.