'Crazy' bets on Germany pay off for UK punters

Robin Millard

London (AFP) - Germany's stunning 7-1 World Cup semi-final victory over hosts Brazil left British bookmakers reeling Wednesday as some punters lined their pockets betting on the freak result.

Of the major betting chains, Paddy Power and William Hill priced the astonishing result at 500/1, while Ladbrokes had it at 1,000/1.

While nobody predicted the 7-1 thrashing at Ladbrokes or William Hill, four Paddy Power punters predicted the scoreline. One from Essex in southeast England had £5 ($8.50, 6.30 euros) riding on it, and is now £2,500 the richer.

"If you think it was a tough night for (Brazil striker) Fred, you haven't seen the state of Paddy's book," spokesman Josh Powell said in a blog.

"There were some stupid-looking punts that look like a stroke of genius now," he said, elevating some of the bets into the "Punting Hall of Fame".

Some 82 punters correctly backed Germany midfielder Toni Kroos to score two or more goals at 80/1, with one from Shropshire in western England staking £20.

"If someone in the pub had told you they had backed one of those other bets before kick-off you'd suspect that the real ale had sent them crazier than a bag of raccoons," said Powell.

"They don't look so silly now."

- Consolation goal costs fortune -

At William Hill, while one customer bet on the Germans to score six, no bets were placed on a 7-0, 7-1 or 8-0 result.

That said, one punter from Altrincham -- home to a string of footballers from teams in nearby Manchester -- did correctly back a half-time score of 5-0 to Germany.

Their 80 pence bet at odds of 300/1 means they can walk back into the shop to collect £240 plus their 80 pence stake.

"That's the only correct score bet that we had," spokesman Joe Crilly told AFP.

"All in all, it was a pretty bad night for us. Germany were incredibly well backed," he added, saying more than 65 percent of all bets were placed on the European side.

"Also, the injury-time consolation goal for Brazil sparked a million-pound pay-out on both teams to score, which, more than the correct score or the first goalscorer, is our second-most popular market after the match result."

He said it could be the most expensive consolation goal ever -- and not just for the bookmakers.

One Ladbrokes customer's £2 bet on Germany to win 7-0 at odds of 1,000/1 was ruined by Oscar's late strike.

Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott told AFP the chain was left feeling Wednesday "much like (Brazil manager) Phil Scolari: with a bit of a sore head".

One German online punter has £140,000 staked with William Hill on Germany to win the tournament at 5/2, which would see them bank £490,000 if the team wins Sunday's final.

Germany have now moved from 5/2 to become the odds-on favourites at 4/6, even before the result of Wednesday's second semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands is known.

Ladbrokes said Scolari was 9/2 to resign before Saturday's third place play-off match.

"We're not prepared to offer huge odds about Scolari walking before the third place play-off," said spokesman Alex Donohue.

"When it comes to a major shake-up in the post-mortem, all bets are off."

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