The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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City defies heavy odds, bets on India win

Calcutta is putting its money where its heart is. The odds are heavily in favour of the Aussies. Yet most people are placing their bets on an Indian victory.

According to the rate offered by the bookies till Saturday evening, there is a gain of 50 paise for every rupee wagered on an Aussie win, or 1/2 in fractional odds. The odds for India lifting the Cup at Johannesberg are 7/4, which implies a gain of Rs 1.75 for every rupee wagered on an Indian victory.

“India started off with much worse odds — 14/1 after we lost to Australia,” says a punter. The odds have since changed dramatically as Team India hit the purple patch. “Even earlier this week, it was 2/1 for India winning the final, but since we breezed past the Kenyans, the odds have improved.”

Australia appears to be slipping a bit. Bookies in Calcutta were offering 40 paise to a rupee for a Aussie win till a couple of days ago. They have bettered it to 50 paise and looks like it could go up a wee bit more by Sunday morning.

“India’s chances seem to be improving with time. It would not be surprising if the bookies offer a little more than par by Sunday morning. Even they, I suppose, are hedging their positions,” said a punter.

Though Australia is still a safer bet, most have betted on India. “It’s not mathematical logic that is deciding these deals. The idea is to back the team and spice up the Sunday evening,” a punter said. Some, however, are playing safe, hedging their bets by wagering some money on Australia as well.

“It’s a bad time for business all around. We cannot afford to lose heavily,” a punter said when questioned about his patriotism.

The odds offered by the bookies in Calcutta are pretty much the same as that by the Ladbrokes and William Hills abroad. Ladbrokes, one of the leading bookmakers of the UK, was offering 2/5 for an Aussie win, and 7/4 for India — the latter exactly the same as here — till Saturday evening. William Hill, another leading bookie in Europe, was offering 4/9 for Australia and 13/8 for India.

Betting here continues through the game. The odds change after every over or dismissal, but that is reserved only for the professional punters, who stay glued to their telephones throughout the match.

Vendor dies

Kasim Ali, a 45-year-old fish vendor of Kashipur market in north Calcutta, died at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital on Saturday night. Police said Kasim had accidentally tripped onto the cutter while chopping fish in the market and sustained serious head injuries.

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