Online gaming operator Interwetten are now an official sponsor of the Lotus F1 Team. I have to tell you, despite three decades in and around the bookmaking/gaming industry, I have never heard of them.
I’m sure they are trustworthy and reputable but the same was thought of FullTilt, the online poker operator which sponsored the Virgin Team during the 2010 season. That’s before they were closed down by America’s Department of Justice who uncovered $150 million had been embezzled from tens of thousands of FullTilt customers.
The first online gambling company to get involved with F1 was Eurobet.com whose striking livery decorated the TWR Arrows team in 2001. Similarly this ended up as ugly as Wayne Rooney complexion with accusations of breached contracts and non-payment between the two parties. Check-out Eurobet.com now and you will see they are no longer trading as a bookmaker.
For our needs betting with the major companies is the only prudent advice but that too is problematical. Many moons ago, when bookmakers stood on an orange box before a sign that said ‘Honest Joe’ or operated in a shoebox of a shop which issued you printed cardboard tickets featuring nothing other than a number as a receipt, the layers may not have been over-generous with their prices but they were prepared to take a sensible bet.
In this modern era a plethora of betting markets are available to you and their margins are unbelievably generous. But try placing anything other than the sum cost of a child’s school lunch on any of them and you are shirked like a heroin addicted hooker residing in an Amish community.
Trust me reams could be written as to why Bet365 are known as Bet3-point-65 (in reference to their websites famous reply to the request of a £50 bet which often reads: You may place only £3.65 only on this selection).
Betfred (who operate 1,350 betting shops and whose owners understandably feature annually in the Sunday Times Rich List) are known as Betfarce with their farcical £10 offering to a request for a £100 bet.
SKYBet are SLYBet with refusals to take any bet but they’ve no hesitation in clipping prices on your selections with/using the benefit of your judgement. Nevertheless outwitting and beating the old enemy can be and is still fun.
Odds compilers are clearly swayed by the number of completions there have been so far this season and therein the line on the total number finishers race-on-race has crept ever higher.
Opening corner trouble is a distinct possibility in Barcelona. There have also been a number of cars leaving the track at some of the bends during free practice (and Bruno Senna in qualifying) which has given us a reminder that the heavily stoned run-off areas are very narrow. Even the main straight’s parking areas are as slender as Jordan’s legs and we know anything parked-up there is considered in hazardous danger these days.
Expecting incidents and hoping for a lack of finishers kind of contradicts the belief the Marussias will both be deemed ‘classified finishers’. But, alongside the less reliable HRT’s, they will be so far behind any opening bend incidents their drivers could stop to take pictures.
Statistically the Marussias have completed 7 out of 8 races this season and statistics do not lie. Like the Seven Dwarfs for example… it is impossible to keep all of them happy!
Naturally I’m not happy with the bookmakers who have, since the introduction of this column and after an ignorant 18 months, brought their prices in line from odds against down to huge odds-on (the pair of Marussia cars are 2/5 and 4/9 to complete this weekend) and so the value in this market has probably gone forever.
In the immediate aftermath of Lewis Hamilton’s pole setting qualifying lap – later to be penalised for basically finishing the qualifying session with an insufficient amount of fuel and now starts in last position – the Englishman was trading at 2.6 on Betfair. Some well-informed players quickly managed to lay him for plenty and have let him slide out to his current odds of 19 (18/1).
Pastor Maldermaniac, who qualified second, will now find himself staring at a clear track when the lights go out and a front row in Barcelona is normally a passport to outright success.
However, with the euphoria surrounding his impressive qualification lap and all the expectations on him we could easily see and the Venezuelan be over-ambitious if/when within harpooning distance of any driver who has found himself in his path following pit stops …and we are expecting plenty let’s not forget.
At 10/1 he is currently rated as fifth favourite for the race win and so it appears others also have a dim view of his abilities and/or question marks over his Williams car which appears to have improved beyond all recognition this weekend.
As predicted Romain Grosjean outpointed Lotus F1 teammate Raikkonen in qualification once again (ultimately only Bet365 priced-up that match-up and at odds of 5/4 we got on all that we could). On Sunday afternoon we will see if team orders are in place. You would have to suspect they are and that’s a shame as I’d love to wade into Grosjean at 15/2 but the favoured Raikkonen, a place behind him on the starting grid, is trading as the 3/1 race favourite.
On the theory the occasion could easily get to him it is possible Maldermaniac will make a hash of the start. Meanwhile Alonso can over-perform before his own people and Grosjean will obviously not be yielding so early on in the race. I therefore believe the lap 1 leader may quite possibly not be the pole setter.
Safety Car to be deployed: 30 points 11/8 (Bodog, SKYBet, Bet365)
19 or less race finishers: 25 points 5/4 (BetFred)
All cars NOT to complete the first lap: 15 points 7/4 (888Sport, BlueSQ)
Race winning margin under 6.5 secs: 10 points 4/6 (Ladbrokes)
Leader after lap 1: Alonso 7 points 6/4 (Stan James)
Leader after lap 1: Grosjean 3 points 10/1 (Stan James)
This week’s investment: 90 points
Current profit/loss: +124 points.