Weekly Blog – Betfair, Unibet, X Factor, Skiing & Snooker

Roy The Boy's weekly blog looks at Betfair Exchange, Unibet’s welcome offer, X Factor, World Cup Skiing and Snooker’s UK Championships.

Is Betfair Exchange Drying Up?

Betfair’s turnover on horseracing seems to have shrunk dramatically.  Once upon a time even a mundane mid-weekwintertime race on the all-weather would see £1m in matched bets.  Nowadays the exchange is doing well when £650,000 is matched.

I’m not sure how Betfair’s exchange figures are standing up in other sporting markets as I don’t look at them that closely.

As a punter it is easy to think that Betfair’s exchange is the only place to bet but that is not essentially true.  Playing the layer’s role is not all it is cracked-up to be either. To explain: a 5/2 shot can invariably be backed at 3.7 on the Betfair exchange.  That’s a greater price obviously but once the commission is taken out of winning wagers the benefit is negligible. But when you factor in the ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ initiative, which all major bookmakers now offer, you may well conclude the value call is to back your selections with traditional firms.

As for being a layer: opposing a 5/2 shot at 3.7 (over the odds) makes little sense and that’s before you too pay commission on your gains.

A Serious Gameshow, Please!

X Factor?  I think they should change its name to Mess Factor.  Wild cards and a constant changing of the rules means: A) producers are doing all they can to remedy ratings which are plummeting and B) beyond laying outright favourites, this is no longer an event to be gambling on.

At the start of Sunday’s show, with no prior announcement (not even during Saturday’s show), viewers were informed two acts would be leaving the show.

Betfair were unprepared and following Bupsi’s elimination no new market was formed for the sing-off between Alien Uncovered and Kiera Weathers. It’s become shambolic for the betting firms and punters alike. If I sound like I’m speaking through my pocket, I am!

Thankfully ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ is starting in a fortnight (November 15th) and that particular gameshow has been a cash-cow in previous years.

Coral, WilliamHill and Ladbrokes have already opened a book on the show despite the contestants being a strongly guarded secret. Admirably, they have come up with a list of 28 potential contestants and have offered odds on them all. Not so admirably, all but four of those ‘names’ are offered at 16/1 or less.

For the record I’ll be looking for a contestant not aged between 35 and 45. I will also be giving the best known celebrity as well as any soap stars a big swerve. However, identify a male Londoner or Essex born/based contestant with a background in the music industry and, to use a poker term, I’ll be ‘all-in’.

Uni Unique Welcome Bonus

I’ve been moonlighting lately – writing a few ‘bookmakers reviews’ for sites other than BetSwot – it’s been an eye-opening task.

I always knew Unibet took themselves too seriously. Well I didn’t, but I did when they dispensed of my poker commentary services after having the audacity to state, on air to their online viewing audience numbered in the hundreds, that 100/1 about the winning hand (in one of their live poker tournaments) – being a Royal Flush – represented poor value and was an unattractive betting proposition.

When it comes to their ‘new player bonus’ I’d like to reiterate those thoughts and multiply them several times over. In an era when most firms are offering new clients something like ‘Deposit £/€10 and Receive £/€30 in Free Bets’, Unibet, who claim to have over 10 million customers, are bucking the trend with ‘Risk Free Bet of up to £/€15’.

What that means is:  Should your first bet, which has to be a minimum of £/€10, win there is no bonus to be had.  If that opening bet does lose you can claim back up to a maximum £/€15 as a free-bet.

Before you can have that free bet, where the stakes will not be included, you have to fulfil a ‘wagering requirement’ which is the small matter of betting your bonus amount 15 times over.

To clarify. To claim Unibet’s maximum free bet of £/€15 you need to place an additional £/€225 in bets, that’s a minimum of €240 in total.  Oh, one more thing, if you place any bets on selections at odds of 1.4 (2/5) or shorter these will not count towards your ‘wagering requirement’.

I was going to phone-up Unibet to ask what drugs they were taking but when I saw they expected me to pay for the phone-call I chose to phone a sex-line instead.  Money better spent.

Vonnderful 10Bet

Our long-range 5/2 Woman’s World Cup Skiing selection, Lindsey Vonn, is as shot as 5/4 for the title following the predicted season ending injury to chief rival Anna Fenninger.  Boylesports do go 7/5 but 10Bet are offering an unbelievable 19/10 about her.

They are also going 19/10 about Mikaela Shiffrin who is 5/4 joint-favourite alongside Vonn with all other firms. Meanwhile Lara Gut and Tina Weirather are rated 4/1 shots with 10Bet, all other firms go 7/1 and 8/1 about them.

I’m not sure who compiled 10Bet’s book or how much they will take at such prices but the bottom line is … they are wrong and there’s value to be had.

Higgo is Back

John Higgins looked back to his brilliant best when taking his 28th ranking tournament in China last weekend. He was majestic in all of his matches; never looking in doubt en-route to the final (which he won by 10 frames to 5). Defeating Dave Gilbert in the final, he also accounted for Mark Selby (9-4) in the semi-finals and whitewashed Shaun Murphy 6-0 in the third round.

Given his display, and the fact that so many of the established name players are performing dreadfully, I think his 16/1 price (WilliamHill, Betfred and other select firms) for the UK Championships is massive. It starts November 24th so get in early before the price goes!

William Hill