Leicester’s incredible Premier League title success has bookmakers’ counting the cost of some of the boldest bets seen come in, with odds of up to 5,000/1 being offered at the start of the season for anyone brave enough to predict that the Foxes would triumph come the end of the campaign.
Leicester clinched the title on Monday night without actually playing, given Tottenham were unable to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to keep the title-race alive. The result triggered mass celebrations across the city of Leicester, including in Jamie Vardy’s home where the squad had gathered together to watch the game and celebrate in wild scenes that were released through various social media accounts.
Bookies were immediately regretting the generous odds offered on Leicester nine months ago, with their chances of winning the Premier League as realistic as Elvis Presley being found alive this year.
However, one brave soul put £20 on Claudio Ranieri’s men to prove all the doubters wrong and showed their own nerve throughout the season by refusing to cash-out, the recent betting addition that offers punters the chance to take a lower sum than their total pay-out if they get the jitters.
As a result, bookmakers’ will face paying out a total of £25m with the biggest winnings reported to be a whopping £100,000 – a live changing figure that simply adds to the magic of Leicester’s title glory.
The pay-outs break the record for the biggest loss in British sporting history, and equate to nearly half of what Leicester’s entire squad this season cost the club – a reasonable £54.4m when compared to the hundreds of millions spent by the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Odds like that seen available for Leicester at the start of the season will likely never be offered again, at least when football comes into the equation. But were bookies to slow to cotton on to Leicester’s Premier League credentials? As BetVictor spokesperson Jack Milner admits, Leicester were still available at 1,000/1 in early November, though that figure came in on Christmas Day to a remarkable 25/1.
“When we started betting on the Premier League last spring we were 2,500/1 for Leicester City to win but we quickly pushed them out to 3000/1 and for a three-week period in August Foxes fans, and Mystic Megs, were able to gorge themselves of that price,” said Milner.
“On Bonfire Night Claudio Ranieri's men were still 1,000/1 although they were into 25/1 on Christmas Day. The Foxes becoming the first side in the history of the Premier League to be bottom of the Premier League (2014) at Christmas and top the following year.”
BetVictor will end up paying out over £1m in winnings on Leicester, yet it appears they might not have learnt a lesson from the season’s events as they are offering an enticing 40/1 on Leicester to retain the title next season, with Manchester City currently favourites at 6/4 as the new Pep Guardiola era begins.
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