As anyone who has ever experienced the inside of a trading room will tell you, compilers live in fear of the dreaded “Arb”. The world is full of sharks who will happily spend ten grand to make fifty quid on a 99.5% over-round, and so match betting markets are watched carefully to ensure that no such openings are offered.
However when it comes to outright betting, the presence of a bigger field and the longer settlement time makes it much less dangerous to fall out of line. Of course to the punter looking for value rather than a guaranteed win, that’s no problem at all. We don’t want to back all sides, we just want to back the winner.
Hills are currently way out of line in the Airtricity League, with 2/1 available from them about current champions Sligo Rovers retaining their title. To put that into context, we need only look at the three main Irish firms – Paddy Power are laying 6/5, while Boylesports and Ladbrokes are each 5/4.
At the start of the season, it made sense that bookies would try to take on the favourites and champions. Shamrock Rovers were on the back of a disastrous season in 2012, but they still had one of the four nominees for the PFAI Player of the Year Award – and they promptly went out and signed the other three! Sligo’s main striker, Danny North, was likely to miss a big chunk of the early part of the season due to injury, while Shamrock Rovers still had the biggest budget, due in no small part to their exploits in reaching the champions league group stages in 2011. Consequently, the Dublin side, and the 2010 and 2011 league champions, started the year as favourites.
However while Shamrock Rovers bought heavily, Sligo Rovers bought well. English journeyman striker Anthony Elding has been a revelation, scoring six goals in five starts, while Shamrock Rovers haven’t yet got off the ground, with one win and three 0-0 draws in their first four games. Already they’ve six points to make up and that’s despite only playing one team that’s currently in the top half of the table. Sligo are sitting pretty on top with four wins from four games, and that’s despite already playing away from home to both Derry City and Dundalk, the two sides that are currently occupying second and third.
It’s far too early to say that Sligo Rovers are a lock for the title, however we can say that the expected “third force” – St Patrick’s Athletic – haven’t looked convincing, while new Shamrock Rovers manager Trevor Croly is clearly struggling with the step up from assistant manager and coach to being the true gaffer. We can say with certainty that in a league with so few potential winners, 2/1 is an incorrect price and it won’t be long before real opportunities to lay itback and guarantee a profit become apparent.
At the time of writing, there are a plethora of international games waiting to be played, and that’s attracting all the attention of the compiling community. Soon those games will be played and the focus will return to domestic games – and once it does, Hills will realise that they’ve made a mistake here. Make sure your money is down on Sligo Rovers before then.
Sligo Rovers to win the Airtricity League @ 2/1, 3pt stake