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Charlie Austin to Newcastle? Don’t take a bookie’s word on it

7 years ago

After the usual daily nonsense yesterday surrounding whether Charlie Austin and/or Aleksandar Mitrovic are coming to Newcastle, there was a ‘development’ in the afternoon.

Excitement levels ramped up as supporters believed that the latest news meant Charlie Austin had all but signed.

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The basis of the raised levels of excitement was that various bookies reported that they had taken a lot of bets on the QPR striker coming to Newcastle, the odds dramatically falling, then some of the bookmakers suspending betting altogether.

Amongst the media reports, this appeared in the Chronicle:

17 July 2015

‘SkyBet have also suspended betting on Austin coming to Newcastle.

SkyBet’s Chris Spicer:

“It has come as somewhat of a surprise to see such interest in Charlie Austin’s future amid a lack of media reports surrounding his future.

“The size of the bets also imply that they came from sources that know something that we don’t, forcing us to cut the odds significantly and eventually pull the market.”

However, if you go back only a month then you would have seen the following across the media, this typical from The Mirror:

20 June 2015

‘Bookmakers have suspended the betting on Charlie Austin’s proposed move from QPR to West Ham going through.

A flurry of bets saw the odds cut significantly, before the market was closed altogether.’

Whether Charlie Austin does eventually sign for Newcastle, or anybody, who knows?

What I do know is that the bookies are having a laugh here.

To understand what they are doing, you first have to understand betting.

If you wanted to put £100,000 on a horse to win the Epsom Derby then the bookies would happily take your cash. Indeed in the past, high rollers have at times staked a million or more.

Or how about casinos, our very own loveable owner notoriously placed £1m on the spin of a roulette wheel, whether it would fall on red or black.

When it comes to betting on who will be the next manager or which club Charlie Austin is going to, you are talking seriously low amounts of money, in terms of what the bookies deal with on other betting markets.

Try to get much more than £100 on a player or manager signing and the odds are likely to then fall and if you are betting online then very quickly the bookie won’t take any more bets from you.

The point being that the difference between a premium horse race or a spin of a roulette wheel, compared to which manager will go where, or which club will sign Charlie Austin, is that in the first two examples nobody can know the outcome. Whereas people can/could find out Charlie Austin is signing for whoever and so the bookies aren’t going to leave themselves open in any way to losing serious money.

The bookies of course though love the attention and publicity that these next manager or next club for a player markets drive.

They don’t seriously expect to make big amounts of money on where Charlie Austin is going, it is just a bonus. It is pretty much just a cheap form of advertising to draw people in to gambling on more regular stuff with each particular bookmaker.

So when the bookies suspend the market, they might have taken a decent number of bets but they stop taking them just as a precaution when they see a pattern forming.

Charlie Austin was only a little better than even money before yesterday and when the betting ‘surge’ happened, the overwhelming majority of punters will have backed him at odds on (which to non-gamblers, means you are risking more money on the bet than the bookies).

In this case it is a dream for all the bookmakers, they took all the bets on Charlie Austin going to West Ham and the resultant publicity at the time. Now they have got the same with Newcastle.

Charlie Austin may well come to Newcastle (I hope) but don’t take a bookie’s word on it.


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