Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

The Punter: Stoke up a few quid on Potters

Roll up all Stoke City season ticket-holders wherever you are.

I know of one in Ballymena but how many others in the province, is anyone’s guess.

But they have the chance of picking up a free £50 bet with Paddy Power, no strings attached, after the firm decided to pay out on The Potters being relegated following their opening 3-1 defeat at Bolton.

This is the first time a bookie has paid out on a season-long bet after just one match.

Stoke, managed by Tony Pulis, were always expected to struggle with their pre-season relegation odds as short as 4-9.

In view of being beaten by fellow relegation candidates, those odds have now tumbled to 2-7 with rival firms.

But it is not all doom and gloom for Stoke fans at least where Paddy Power is concerned.

Hence the free bet to those who can send a photocopy of a season ticket by Sunday August 31.

Power are renowned for their early payouts, paying out on Derby’s relegation last season on August 31st.

Previous early payouts have included Chelsea as Premiership Champions in September of the 2005-06 season (the earliest ever payout on a team winning The Premiership) and Chelsea punters also collected early the season before when the firm paid out in January of the 2004/05 season.

However, they haven’t always got it right.

They declared Arsenal as Premiership champions in March of the 2002/03 season only to see Manchester United pip The Gunners to the title.

Previous early payouts have included Chelsea as Premier champions in September of the 2005-06 season (the earliest ever payout on a team winning the Premier League) and Chelsea punters also collected early the season before when the firm paid out in January of the 2004/05 season.

However, they haven’t always got it right. They declared Arsenal as Premier League champions in March of the 2002/03 season only to see Manchester United pip The Gunners to the title, forcing Paddy Power to pay out on the Red Devils as well.

Power’s gamble on Man United failing to make a winning start against Newcastle last Sunday, paid off.

They went 30-100 while others were no better than 2-9.

United started last season with a 0-0 draw with Reading before going on to take the title. Chelsea are now clear favourites at 11-10.

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