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The smart money

New Aston Villa Manager Alex McLeish poses for photographers after the press conference at Bodymoor Heath Training Ground, Sutton Coldfield.


Alex McLeish: lucky for some

40/1 Kent to host the biggest Royal Wedding street party | Fri 29th Apr

“A huge amount of money was riding on every aspect of the Royal Wedding, particularly ‘which region will host the biggest street party’, which was to be judged on reported headcount. London was 2/5 favourite and the amount of money we took on the capital had us worried we were about to pay dearly for something which was meant to be a bit of harmless fun. Thousands of pounds were riding on the outcome and some chunky wagers made for tense times. Thankfully 600 schoolchildren from Gravesend rode to our rescue, rendering Kent the winner at 40/1 and leaving the masses scratching their heads, while a few loyal Kentites cashed in.”

33/1 Alex McLeish to become manager of Aston Villa | Fri 17th Jun

“Next-manager markets are always interesting for bookies as you live in fear that someone knows more than you do. Equally, you get punters queuing up to ‘buy money’ on ‘done deals’ which end up going up in smoke and can be quite lucrative for us, so you take the rough with the smooth. We had a spate of sackings in the early part of the close season and we take our hat off to punters who nailed Birmingham manager Alex McLeish’s colours to arch rivals Villa’s mast so far in advance. We laid some cash bets in Birmingham shops at 33/1 a week before the appointment but still couldn’t see it happening whilst Hughes, McLaren and Benitez stole the limelight. But the trickle turned into a downpour. We carried on laying the bets and cutting the odds before flicking over our TVs to see angry Villa fans marching on the Holte End. An honorary mention also goes to those who backed Villas-Boas at 4/1 on the morning of his appointment and swerved the 1/6 about Hiddink taking over.”

12/1 Jai MacDowall to win ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ | Sat 4th Jun

“There was more money riding on this year’s ‘BGT’ than in any previous year – over £1 million and that’s despite those ridiculous ‘fixing’ allegations. In fact, the idea that the outcome of the show may have already been arranged whipped TV punters into a betting frenzy and we shared the opinion that angel-faced warbler Ronan Parke was the likely winner. The blanket coverage and the suspicions of a double bluff ensured wall-to-wall coverage for the Bieber clone, sufficient enough to send his odds into freefall and the pint-sized sensation had a lot of money as a sure thing – 1/6 when the final went live. But then Scotland got on the phone. The singing care worker, Jai MacDowall, pulled in the high votes and rode to in at12/1 in one of the biggest upsets in reality-TV betting of all time.”

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