Betfred Pays Out Early on Man City for EPL After Liverpool, Arsenal Slip Up

There are six games left in an English Premier League season that has witnessed the tightest three-way title race in recent memory. But one UK sportsbook has seen enough.

Manchester City celebrate during a 5-1 rout of Luton Town on Saturday. But is the title race really over, as Betfred’s Fred Done insinuates? (Image: Eurosport)

Betfred announced Monday that it would pay out on all bets for Manchester City to win the league. That’s despite the defending champions leading both Arsenal and Liverpool by just two points with a total of 18 still up for grabs.

The promised payout, which exceeds £750K (US$932K), was announced after a potential watershed moment last weekend. The level is so high in the EPL these days – and the table so finely poised — that failure to win every single game is a calamity for any title chaser.

Fine Margins

First, Liverpool, which has led the table for much of the season, stunned fans by losing at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Next up, Arsenal had the chance to pull a point clear of City and three ahead of Liverpool just hours later by beating fourth-place Aston Villa, again at home.

Ahead of the game, the Gunners were unbeaten in the calendar year, with ten wins and one draw (against City), scoring 38 goals and conceding just four during that period. This was champion-winning form, but it failed to show against Villa.

Arsenal tired noticeably in the second half and conceded twice late in the game for an unexpected loss.

Betfred’s implication is that Arsenal and Liverpool, amid a grueling “run in” to the end of the season, have simply run out of steam, while City has just moved into fifth gear.

With six titles in the last 10 years, the reigning champion has a habit of hitting peak form just when it matters. City comfortably beat Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday.

I watched both the Liverpool and Arsenal games yesterday and, for me, it’s game over because Manchester City are going to win the Premier League title this year. There’s no danger to that,” said Betfred’s 81-year-old founder Fred Done in a statement.

Marketing Stunt

Done pioneered the betting industry marketing stunt of “paying out early” on major sporting events. And while it might have landed Betfred some valuable PR over the years in the form of free column inches, it hasn’t always worked out.

In fact, the first time Done tried it was 1998 when Manchester United were 12 points ahead of Arsenal and appeared to be cruising to a fifth EPL title.

But the Gunners put together a run of 10 consecutive wins, which included beating United at Old Trafford, to snatch the title dramatically by a single point.

This time around, there is not one but two teams chasing the league leader and they are separated by just two points, and City has some tough games ahead. Irrespective of Betfred’s marketing ploy, neutrals will hope Liverpool and Arsenal chase the Citizens to the wire to keep this exciting season alive.

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