Brazil brings betters out for Cup kickoff

By Derek Cheng

Lots of first-timers get small return on host’s expected victory, a lucky few strike it big on scoreline as TAB calls it a day for the punters

Dancers and fans Gabriela Guimaraes and Aline Silva entertain a big crowd at Ponsonby's Santos Cafe watching their home side play Croatia yesterday. Photo / Greg Bowker
Dancers and fans Gabriela Guimaraes and Aline Silva entertain a big crowd at Ponsonby's Santos Cafe watching their home side play Croatia yesterday. Photo / Greg Bowker

One lucky punter went home $11,000 richer by betting big on the right scoreline of the opening game of the Fifa World Cup.

TAB spokesman Mark Stafford said there was a high turnover on the game, which went almost exactly as predicted. The final scoreline - a 3-1 victory to Brazil over Croatia - had the lowest odds at 12 to one.

"One guy had $1000 on that scoreline, and won $12,000. Another had $10,000 on Brazil to win, at $1.28, so he pocketed $2800.

"We've taken a bit of a [bath] on this one. It was a great game for punters. We predicted what would happen, and all the punters agreed, and they reaped rewards. That's fine, there are 64 games to go."

He said the total turnover for the game was $460,000.

"We're pretty happy with it, being a one-sided match price-wise before kickoff. It attracts a few bigger punters."

The biggest losers were three large bets - two of $5000 and one of $6000 - on Croatia to stay within one goal of Brazil.

Nine lucky people bet the opening score would be an own goal, which returned a handsome $22 per dollar.

Usually, own goals are not counted for the "first goal scorer" bet, but for this game the TAB counted both Marcelo Vieira, who scored the own goal, and Neymar, who scored Brazil's first goal.

"We counted both as a goodwill gesture, because we had so many first-time betters," Mr Stafford said.

Neymar was the favourite at $4, and Marcelo paid out $20 per dollar.

Almost all - 88 per cent - bets were placed on the head-to-head result, overwhelmingly in favour of Brazil.

He said no one had yet put any large bets on the dark horses to win the tournament.

"Yesterday someone put $10,000 on Germany to win, at $6.50. Most of the bets to win the whole thing are on Brazil and Argentina, with a few on Portugal and Belgium."

The chance to win $5 million by predicting the winners of all 64 games is still open to 26,867 punters out of an original 33,630.

The next big pool matches include Spain and the Netherlands today, and England and Italy tomorrow.

"England games are always popular, just because we identify with the team. It's that colonial link as well. People love them or hate them."

- NZ Herald

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