Sports betting

Spanish World Cup flop sets up “bookies’ dream” of a Sunday

Kindred hails low-scoring draws as bet365 are forced to return £1.6m in Penalty Payback promotion

The knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup got underway in dramatic fashion this weekend with bookmakers enjoying a weekend of two halves.

France and Argentina got the action underway in a nightmare start for the bookies, with favourites France winning a thrilling contest 4-3 thanks to two goals from 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe.

Kindred Group’s Ali Gill said: “France v Argentina was the stuff of nightmares with the favourite winning, both teams scoring, a heap of goals and goals in both halves.

“We were never getting away from that one as it came in as our third biggest loser of the competition so far.”

On Saturday night, Uruguay defeated Portugal 2-1 thanks to two brilliant goals from Edison Cavani as Cristiano Ronaldo exited the tournament on the same day as Lionel Messi.

The fixture saw a new leader emerge in BetVictor’s The Million Pound Bet competition, with one lucky punter landing a 17,042/1 shot.

BV’s Charlie McCann said: “How anyone could have correctly predicted that, amongst other factors, Uruguay would receive zero cards in a tight World Cup last 16 tie is beyond me but fair play.”

Sunday provided one of the shocks of the competition so far as 2010 champions Spain were eliminated after losing to hosts Russia in a penalty shootout.

The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes in a mixed bag for bet365. The bookmaker would have been delighted with the low scoring draw and strong favourite tumbling out of the competition, but the operator’s Penalty Payback promotion was triggered on both of Sunday’s matches, resulting in a £1.6m refund.

Croatia also progressed to the last eight with a penalty shootout victory over Denmark following a 1-1 draw in a brilliant result for Nordic-facing Kindred Group.

Gill said: “Yesterday at the World Cup was somewhat of a bookies dream, especially one with our player base as the hosts and one of our key markets were all in action during the knockout stages.

“Croatia v Denmark took top honours on the day, as well as coming in as our biggest match of the World Cup so far in terms of turnover and gross win,” he added.

The Croatia clash also proved popular with exchange customers according to Betdaq’s Eamon Moran. He said: “It was an exciting weekend of World Cup betting, with £6.8m being staked on the four Round of 16 matches.

“Sunday night’s match between Croatia and Denmark proved to be the most popular game of the weekend, with £1.86m bet on it.”

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