December 1, 2022 World
Sportsbooks have pulled World Cup “man of the match” betting markets amid concerns that nefarious social media handicappers are directing their followers to manipulate results, The Daily Mail (DM) has discovered.
The move follows a surge in betting on the market, which doubled in value in the past week, and foul play is suspected.
At the end of each World Cup game, FIFA awards a trophy to the standout player, or man of the match. The award is sponsored by Budweiser, although you wouldn’t exactly know it. The US brewing group’s logo has been erased from the trophies because of the Qatar’s last-minute booze ban.
The winner is voted for by the public via the FIFA website, which theoretically makes it open to manipulation. And certain handicappers have been testing that theory to the max, reports news website The Daily Mail.
The World Cup is the most-viewed sporting event on earth. An estimated television audience of 3.56 billion caught some of it in 2018, at least inadvertently, according to Statista.
But how many of those billions actually bother to visit the FIFA website to vote for their man of the match? Certain handicappers have been betting it’s not as many as you might think, and that and the results can be swayed by a few thousand votes here or there, claims the DM.
That’s why some accounts have been urging their followers to vote for a certain player to increase the odds of winning. And they’ve figured out how to game the FIFA website, producing video tutorials for their followers showing how to register multiple votes per person, the DM reports.
This has produced some unexpected man-of-the-match winners, such as Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne. He appeared baffled by the accolade after his team’s tepid 1-0 win over Canada. The North American team arguably deserved to beat the Belgians.
“I didn’t play a great game. I don’t know why I won [the man-of-the-match award], maybe because of my name,” De Bruyne offered, as he sheepishly accepted the award.
“We didn’t play as a team, we didn’t find any solutions. We were not brave enough,” he added.
As arguably the world’s best midfielder, De Bruyne would have been the favorite to win prior to the match. The allegedly crooked gamblers were trying to ensure that happened, regardless of his actual performance.
That could translate into big money if a parlay bet that picked several favorites came off.
The sportsbooks got spooked when they realized they were facing a large amount of parlay bets after Cristiano Ronaldo won the award in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Ghana. Many of the sportsbooks would have been on the hook for between £1 million and £1.5 million had Neymar been named man of the match in Brazil’s victory over Serbia later in the day.
While the likes of Sky Bet and William Hill discontinued their man-of-the-match markets, Bet365 opted to restrict the market to single wagers only to limit its exposure to betting fraud.