By Nick Harris
21 June 2010
The match between Uruguay and Mexico in Group A at the World Cup in South Africa on Tuesday will be a draw according to the global betting markets, which have seen an unprecedented amount of cash laid on that outcome.
There is no suggestion of a fixed result between the nations, even though a draw would guarantee that both would progress to the knockout stages, regardless of what happens in the other match between France and hosts South Africa.
Rather, the perception that the draw is ideal for both has drawn enormous sums on that outcome, with bookies William Hill in Britain saying this is the first time they have ever priced a World Cup group match at odds-on for the draw.
Uruguay and Mexico both have four points from two games to date. France and South Africa have one point each. A draw would mean Uruguay finish top of the group on goal difference, and France and South Africa would be out, whatever happens in their game.
The draw is 4-5 generally, when under normal circumstances it would be 2-1 or 5-2.
“We have already taken one bet of £5,000 from a London betting shop client on the match to end 0-0 at odds of 12-5,” said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe. “Nobody is suggesting that anything untoward is likely to occur in this game, but when both sides appear to be suited by a stalemate people tend to bet that that’s what will happen and the betting market will therefore reflect that opinion – we’ll see.”
Traditional bookmakers are not the only ones seeing heavy money for the draw.
There are four games tomorrow and the amount of cash matched on the Betfair exchange alone on the 90-minute markets at the time of writing (9pm London time on Monday) is as follows:
- France v South Africa: £429,000
- Nigeria South Korea: £179,000
- Greece v Argentina: £273,000
- Mexico v Uruguay: £4.1m, of which £3.97m has been matched on the draw
The most obvious reason that the Uruguay-Mexico draw would not be a good outcome for one of those sides is that a draw would leave Mexico second in the group, and therefore almost certain to face Argentina in the next round.