In the tricky quest to find some value winners in the first round of the football qualifiers you may find some worth in noting the market movers. Here I’ll talk you through our thinking on some of the price changes made in the run up to today’s games.
A question I’m often asked is “How much money does it take to change a price?” To ask the question is to misunderstand the dynamic of the market. As John Maynard Keynes retorted when challenged about his shift in position on monetary policy: “When the facts change, I change my mind.” In the case of the Sligo vs Wicklow game, the changing fact is that Sligo travel to Wicklow missing a significant number of players who would be expected to deliver the top level of performance that the county team is capable of. In the absence of these players our original price of 11/8 against a Wicklow victory was overly generous, so without seeing any significant amount of money for Mick O’Dwyer’s side we took the measure to reassess the game and move Wicklow in to 11/10.
Our price of even money Sligo is the best in the industry today. It’s not so much that we’re ‘out to get them’ but an under-strength side having been beaten by Leitrim then having to travel the breadth of the country for a first round qualifier tie look a selection that we’d struggle to lay at odds-on.
Another side that we are now stand-out against is Offaly. Having suffered a brutal beating against a county that they historically wouldn’t feel inferior to when Wexford wiped the floor with them, they were then dragged in to the controversy surrounding their county’s hurling counterparts when a high profile pundit – and a platoon of internet gossipers – questioned how they ‘refuelled’ between games. John Reynolds and Thomas Deehan quit the panel, and of course Offaly would not be renowned for blazing a trail through the qualifiers.
Even with a home draw things are stacking against Tom Cribben’s side. Monaghan on the other hand were nobly defeated by Tyrone, perhaps exceeding expectations as a new-look championship side took the game to the Ulster champions. A hard luck story in Dick Clerkin’s sending off presents an opportunity to ponder what might have been; they seem to be a unified and focussed panel that expects to improve through the qualifiers. We have the Ulster side in to 4/11 with Offaly now available at 3/1.
One selection that has been moved by market forces rather than team news is Down on the handicap against Clare.
We went up with a six point line on this game, Down at 10/11. It didn’t last so long. We saw interest from some customers whose view we respect and it became apparent that we were going to end up in an extreme position if we didn’t alter the prices. We cut Down to 4/5 and saw yet more money, so we went 4/6 and also opened up a new line at 7 points for customers who wanted odds closer to even money on their handicap pick.
Teams like Clare can be difficult to assess. They don’t get a lot of airtime or a lot of column inches. Their team news or reports on camp morale tends not to displace any of the headlines on the sports bulletins. What does reveal everything we need to know about Clare however is the weight of money opposing them. The punters penny is the key indicator, and we haven’t seen many notes cross the counter accompanying a docket with Clare +6 or Clare +7 on it.