New Delhi: While Euro football fever struck city bars and pubs, with spirits soaring on discounts and big screens, bookies had their eyes glued to the India-Australia clash in the Champions Trophy Hockey final in London.
India’s prior best position in this six-nation tournament was the bronze — way back in 1982, in Amsterdam. At present, however, hockey has taken centre stage in Indian betting circles, bypassing both, the more popular cricket and the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016.
A decent run coupled with some good luck — Britain’s 3-3 draw over Belgium after trailing by two goals on Thursday — pushed India into the final of the Champions Trophy. The bookies simply followed. Before the final on Friday night, an Indian win over Australia had 3:1 odds, fetching a punter Rs 3 for every rupee. On the football field in Europe, a Delhi-based bookie said bets on the Euro Cup will witness a jump once the elimination stage kicks in. “Those who bet strategically will look at the performance in the qualifiers and then take a call,” he said. Current odds in India place Germany as the favourites to lift the Euro Cup, with bookies offering 60 paise on the prospect.
For hosts France winning the title, the payoff is Rs 1.50, with Italy Rs 2.50. Defending champions Spain get the punter a payoff of 5.50. With India’s cricket tour of Zimbabwe being a dud and Euro fever yet to reach fever pitch, hockey ruled, said another bookie.
“There was a Rs 5 pay-off on a draw between Britain and Belgium and India making it into the final. Since that went through, the stakes changed,” he said. As for whether punters lost or won money over an India victory last night, we’ll know by Saturday morning.
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