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REMEMBER THE 9/1?

14 February 2014

Punting perspective

Once upon a time, many moons ago, Luton Town were 9/1 to win this season’s Skrill Premier.


It was a time when goals were scarce and the manager once admitted he’d picked the wrong team. The Hatters were 14th in the table and a million miles off the Play-Offs, let alone top spot. Boo, hiss and all that.


But it was only September, and the Town had lost at Wrexham. Any long-in-the-tooth Town fan will tell you that losing at Wrexham is usually par for the course.


That defeat Friday night in North Wales was broadcast to the nation. Hundreds of thousands of football fans all mumbling in front of their flatscreens that the Hatters were rubbish. Written off. Play-Offs is they’re lucky.


BUT…There were a few people out there – some very, very shrewd people – who saw bookmakers pump the odds on the Hatters winning the title to 9/1 and grabbed it. They took that 9/1 and ran for the hills. Ever since they’ve hidden away and won’t say a word until April.


It’s likely that betting slip is under lock and key. Somewhere safe. The occasional glance at it every now and then to check it’s still there and that it actually reads “9/1”.


Why? Because since the Wrexham defeat something happened. Luton Town started winning. And winning and drawing and winning. But never losing. Fast forward 21 matches since that defeat to Wrexham and the Hatters remain unbeaten in the league.


And all along the odds tumbled. A win over Dartford: 7/1. A draw at Gateshead: 4/1. A win at Alfreton: 5/2. Even money after the aqua-splash against Barnet.


It then got all a bit silly because on Tuesday the Town did something they’ve never done before: win at Macclesfield. And because Cambridge also lost all of a sudden the Hatters were six points clear.


So now the Town are 1/6 to win the league. If you really, really, really think the Town will be crowned champions a pound of your money will win you 16p. Sixteen English pence. The bookmakers are never wrong. Aren’t they?


With the Kenilworth Road pitch covered it’s odds on that Saturday’s game against Hereford will get the green light. Victory over the travel-sick Bull could send the Hatters further – and 2/5 says the Town can do precisely that.


It’s fair to say that’s on the skinny side but what would you do if you were a bookie? Exactly. So stay clear of that and get on Andre Gray to score the opener. Just get on quick before those odds disappear.


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