This week, at the age of 50, I did something I’ve never done before: I went into a bookmaker’s and placed a bet.
I’ve done plenty of betting in the past (I wrote about it here), mainly on football, but always online. I didn’t have anything against the idea of going into a betting shop; it was just easier, particularly with the kind of small bets I was putting on matches, to do it at my desk at work on a Friday lunchtime.
This week, though, I decided it was time to step it up a notch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a growing conviction that Watford really are going to be the dominant force in the Championship this season, and I decided to back that conviction with some cold hard cash. A savvy colleague at work pointed me towards the Oddschecker site so that I could find the best odds on Watford to win the Championship, and then directed me towards the nearest branch of Coral. (It turned out to be 100 yards from the office – I’d walked past it hundreds of times without ever noticing it.)
In case you’re interested, I got 12-1, and you can still get those odds at Coral and one or two other places. According to Oddschecker, over 20% of online bets placed on the Championship winner have gone on the Hornets, and we’re as low as 9-1 with some betting sites, and falling.
It’s that, as much as the strength of our squad, the skill of our manager and the acumen of our owners, that gives me such confidence about the coming season. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that the bookies will do anything to avoid losing money.