10 Times Sporting Index Got It Wrong
10 Times Sporting Index Got It Wrong
Sporting Index traders have worked hard to offer our customers a wealth of exciting spread betting markets ever since we launched in 1992. Every day they make hundreds of predictions on sporting events and give you the opportunity to pit your wits against them.
Some of our predictions have been bang on the money, but others have sailed well wide of the mark. These are 10 of our greatest hiccups:
Lara Destroys England, 1994
West Indies superstar Brian Lara earned legendary status when he put England to the sword in the fifth Test back in April 1994. He spent 12 hours and 46 minutes at the crease, hitting a remarkable 45 boundaries en route to a score of 375. It helped the Windies wrap up a 3-1 series victory, and it taught us a vital lesson. We had only been in business for two years, and we grossly underestimated Lara’s prowess. His knock of 375 remained a world record until 2003, when Matthew Hayden hit 380 against Zimbabwe. The following year, Lara reclaimed his world record by hitting 400 not out against England, piling further misery on our traders.
Punters Salute the All Blacks, 1995
The 1995 Rugby World Cup pitted the mighty New Zealand against the minnows of Japan in a total mismatch. We expected the All-Blacks to wipe the floor with their opponents, and they assigned a Total Points Index of 70-75 to the match. However, they did not anticipate the greatest pummelling in history. New Zealand were 84-3 up at half-time, causing anyone that bought at 75 to lick their lips in anticipation. It ended 145-17, and we took a £200,000 hit.
The All-Blacks scored a try every four minutes. Marc Ellis crossed for six of them, while Simon Culhane managed a 45-point haul after knocking over 20 of his 21 conversion attempts and managing a try too.
World Cup Wides, 1999
We quoted a pre-tournament sports spread betting price of 245-265 wides when England hosted the Cricket World Cup in 1999. It was a conservative estimate for a 42-game tournament, but the trading team felt it was a sensible prediction. However, the white ball was introduced at that World Cup, and our traders underestimated just how much it would swing in English conditions. A number of shrewd punters foresaw the difficulty that bowlers would face in controlling the swing, and they lumped on at the buy price of 265. The first game saw England face Sri Lanka, and 21 wides were bowled in that match alone. The largest number came when India took on Kenya, a match that saw 52 wides. When all the dust had settled, there had been 979 wides, and we were absolutely taken to the cleaners. It cost us more than £500,000.
The Battle of Nuremberg, 2006
Portugal and the Netherlands rolled up their sleeves and engaged in all-out war when they clashed in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals. The Dutch showed they were in a combative mood when Mark van Bommel was booked in the second minute. They really upset Portugal when Khalid Boulahrouz chopped down star man Cristiano Ronaldo, receiving a yellow card in the process. Ronaldo had to limp off before the break, and his teammates responded in kind.
Holding midfielder Costinha was sent off for two bookable offences before the break, and Luis Figo managed to escape with a yellow after he headbutted van Bommel on 50 minutes. Boulahrouz was given his marching orders when he picked up a second yellow for a foul on Figo, which sparked a touchline melee.
Portuguese midfielder Deco was sent off in the 78th minute for a second bookable offence, and van Bronckhorst earned his second yellow for a late foul on Tiago. By the end of the game, Russian referee Valentin Ivanov had shown 16 yellow cards and four reds, setting a new World Cup record. We had issued a pre-match cards quote of 62-66 – with 10 points issued for a yellow and 25 for a red – and the final result was a mammoth 220.
Portugal Rout North Korea, 2010
The Portuguese came back to haunt us once more at the 2010 World Cup. They were up against a North Korea side that shocked the world by only losing 2-1 to the mighty Brazil in the opening game of the tournament. Our traders therefore expected another strong showing when Kim Johg-hun’s men as they geared up to face Portugal in their second group game. However, Portugal were on fire that day and they ended up romping to a 7-0 victory. We lost £1 million on Shirt Numbers and Total Goals markets alone. North Korea finished bottom of their group.
Walcott Downs Newcastle, 2012
Our predictions were left in tatters after Arsenal forward Theo Walcott put Newcastle to the sword in a 10-goal thriller. Walcott was deep in new contract negotiations at the time, and it inspired one of his best performances for the Gunners. He put them 1-0 up early in the game with a remarkable jinking run and finish, only for Demba Ba to draw the Magpies level via a deflected free-kick. A low drive from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Gunners a 2-1 lead, which Sylvain Marveaux promptly cancelled out. A header from Lukas Podolski made it 3-2, but Newcastle once again restored parity through Ba. Walcott then scored twice more, and substitute Olivier Giroud also grabbed a brace to make it 7-3. Walcott’s goal minutes amounted to 183, a market that cost us £200,000 alone. In total we lost almost £1 million on the game.
Kroos Catches Traders Napping, 2012
We have been known to offer a sports spread betting market called Corner Taker Shirt Numbers on really important football matches. It involves a prediction on the cumulative shirt numbers worn by the takers of each corner. Our traders expected Robben (10) and Ribery (7) to take most of Bayern Munich’s corners in the 2012 Champions League final against Chelsea. However, they did not take into account Toni Kroos, who wore the number 39 shirt at the time. Kroos took several corners, and our traders were left ruing their decision to go so low with their price.
The Brexit Vote, 2016
The EU referendum result caught many people by surprise, not least our trading team. They opened the market at 69-75, with Remain worth 100 points and Leave worth 0. If punters thought the UK would vote to leave the EU, they could have sold at 69, and if they thought Remain would prevail they could have bought at 75. Most pollsters expected the UK to remain within the bloc, and the price continued to rise as the vote loomed closer. At 10.11pm on the eve of the election, the spread peaked at 90-96. The rest is history. The Leave campaign emerged victorious, and we took a massive hit on punters selling.
Barcelona’s Stunning Comeback, 2017
Barcelona looked dead and buried after losing 4-0 to PSG in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash in March 2017. It was an utter humiliation. Luis Suarez gave Barca a glimmer of hope when he scored after just three minutes of the second leg at the Nou Camp, but the Catalan side still had a mountain to climb. Layvin Kurzawa’s own goal made it 2-0 at the break, and then Lionel Messi had the home fans out of their seats when he crashed in a 50th minute penalty to make it 4-3 on aggregate. Then disaster struck, as Edinson Cavani lashed home to put PSG 5-3 ahead on aggregate. It was a vital away goal, meaning Barcelona needed to score three without reply in order to progress to the quarter-finals. PSG defended doggedly, and with just two minutes of normal time remaining they still led 5-3 on aggregate. Then it became the Neymar show. He curled in an outrageous free-kick, and then converted a penalty in the first minute of injury time to make it 5-5. Still PSG defended as if their lives depended on it, but in the 95th minute, Neymar turned provider for Roberto to poke in the winner, causing the Nou Camp to erupt in jubilation. Neymar’s goal minutes made up at 178, which was well above the price of 22-25. Total Goal Minutes opened at 197-207, and finished on 424, so we knew exactly how PSG manager Unai Emery felt.
France Run Riot Against Croatia, 2018
We anticipated a low-scoring clash as they priced up the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia. After all, the previous six World Cup finals had seen a total just seven goals in normal time, and an average of 1.17 per game.
We priced the Total Goals Index at 1.95-2.15 – a quote we actually believed to be aggressively high – and settled down to watch a tight, tense, low-scoring clash between two very strong and technically astute teams.
However, it did not quite work out like that. A Mario Mandzukic own-goal put Les Bleus 1-0 up, and Ivan Perisic made it 1-1 before Antoine Griezmann stroked in a penalty. Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe gave France a 4-1 lead after the break, and Mandzukic’s goal proved to be a mere consolation. We were hammered on the total goals market, as well as the time of the first goals for each team. All the most popular players found the back of the net too, making it a tough day at the office for Sporting Index.