I have never cashed out on a bet, writes Vernon Grant. To my mind it’s always been a charter for chickens. Grow a pair, I might say. If you haven’t got confidence in the bet you placed, why did you bother placing it?
I have seen some fellow punters cash out successfully, ensuring they beat the bookie. I have witnessed others regret cashing out early, only to miss out on a big win.
Now, my friends, I face the same dilemma. All because of changing circumstances.
I had almost forgotten about the punt in question. I placed a bet straddling not just days or weeks, but months. Seven football teams to win matches that cover a three month period (hence why it was not one I offered to my members of VG Tips). I have only a vague recollection of placing the football accumulator bet.
Now I have to make a decision. Cash out or stay in? Stick or twist?
The scenario is this. Five of the seven sides have already won the games I backed them to win. On Tuesday and Wednesday the other two teams play away from home. Firstly, Wolves are at Huddersfield tonight. Then, on Wednesday, Manchester United play at Crystal Palace.
While most of us would expect Wolves to acquire three points in West Yorkshire, my bet (which returns £723.16 should all teams win) is now vulnerable. Manchester United look set to travel to London without nine or ten first team players, including the likes of Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
Crystal Palace are likely to face Manchester United reserves. Four youth players may make up the Manchester United squad of twenty players. With Palace in a confident mood following a thumping defeat of Leicester City, the fine domestic run United have been on since their change of manager will be seriously tested. Bad timing for me.
Palace have United reject Wilfried Zaha leading the attack and always keen to score against the club where he never truly found his feet. He’s older and wiser now. Palace also saw on loan Michy Batshuayi score his first goal for the Eagles last weekend.
I am watching updates for the Manchester United squad and I will likely leave my decision late. Some days footballers make miraculous recoveries from injury. But if the United attack is made up of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, have United any chance of maintaining their excellent historic record at Selhurst Park and extending their current record of seven successive away wins?
I am also leaving my decision until the last minute because the bookie in question keeps upping the cash out sum. They are only doing so marginally. It currently stands at £127.82. I can’t seem them upping it to £500, which is what I would settle for. Greedy, I know.
The nagging concern, of course, is that I cash out only for both Wolves and Manchester United to win their respective matches.
I am already bemoaning my luck. Why now are the revived Manchester United squad suffering so many injuries? Could the betting gods not have delayed that dilemma for a week?
If I miss out on £723 from a bet that cost me only £10, purely because I cashed out, you’ll find me sat rocking back and forth, smacking myself around the head with a blunt instrument!
Now that the extent of the injuries have been revealed, the punter in me can see Crystal Palace getting something from the fixture on Wednesday night. Perhaps a draw. Possibly all three points. Much will depend on the strength of the starting eleven that birthday boy Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can send out to take on a side managed by Roy Hodgson, a man who knows how to claw points from bigger, better opponents. Solskjaer gives the impression it will be very much a United second eleven.
If you are reading this you are probably a fellow experienced punter. Tell me. What would you do in this situation? Constructive comments only please.
It may be a rhetorical question. It’s possible I simply stick to my long held belief that to cash out is plain wrong. If so, I think the best tactic for me is to not listen to the radio match commentary, or sit checking score updates online for ninety odd minutes.
Like this classic episode of ‘Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads’ – when they do everything they can to avoid knowing the score of an England match before being able to watch the television highlights – I think I’ll go to a TV free bar. The lads also had a £10 bet resting on the outcome of a game. Unlike the fate they suffered, they’ll be no Brian Glover like person following me around, tormenting me, giving me hints as to the scoreline.