Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Want $5m? Easy - pick 64 winners

TAB puts up its biggest prize to mark World Cup, but fans will have to be lucky.

The TAB is offering its own free kick for next month's soccer World Cup - and the winner will net $5 million.

But landing the richest prize ever offered by the TAB will take an extraordinarily lucky punt - not only do you have to correctly guess the winner of the final, but the winners of the other 63 games as well.

TAB bookmaker Mark Stafford said the probabilities of winning the free competition had not been calculated, but he admitted it was a "slim chance".

"It's gettable, but it's hard - that's why it's five million dollars."

Despite the odds, he expected strong interest from punters, who will also get a shot at a $1000 prize for the top five most accurate picks.

"People love their football and are absolutely fired up about it."

As no one could enter the contest more than once, Mr Stafford also expected a level playing field.

"I'd argue the regular sports viewer could even have a better chance than the experts, because the experts just won't be able to see Brazil losing to Iran."

The World Cup is the TAB's busiest event, attracting even more betting than a Rugby World Cup.

While the All Whites, the unbeaten fairytale team of the last World Cup, won't be in Brazil, New Zealand soccer will still be a big winner from this year's tournament.

More than $26 million was bet in New Zealand on the last World Cup, and the TAB gave more than $500,000 to New Zealand Football in the fee paid to local sporting bodies when the TAB takes bets on their sport.

"The contribution of the TAB makes a major difference to the development of our game at grassroots level," New Zealand Football boss Andy Martin said.

Brazil are the $3.75 favourites to win the tournament, ahead of Argentina at $5 and Germany at $6.50.

The World Cup starts with hosts Brazil against Croatia on June 13, and entries for the TAB's contest close the day before. To enter, visit www.tabchallenge.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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