Football betting during Covid-19
What’s happening in the world of football betting now that there’s little action anywhere on the planet?
The short answer is not much.
However, the Swedish press have noticed betting trends in the past few days which are worrisome.
Sweden & coronavirus
While most of the world is in a state of shutdown, life in Sweden has remained largely open.
The Swedish government have opted to take a massively different approach to the coronavirus pandemic than pretty much all other European nations.
In Sweden, many public spots, including bars and restaurants, are open.
On Tuesday, Sweden had 4,028 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Sweden has suffered 146 deaths from the virus.
‘Sick sums’ placed on Swedish amateur games
Top-flight football in Sweden is currently on hold, however, lower down the football pyramid in the country, games continue to be played.
Within that context, Swedish paper Expressen have tracked betting patterns on two recent amateur games in Sweden.
On Monday, Expressen reported that “hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on a football match between two Division 4 teams in the Västerbotten.”
The match involved Medle SK and Bureå IF.
The game kicked off at 9:30 am Swedish time, while Expressen report that there were just over 50 fans at the game.
According to Expressen, one betting site revealed that at halftime in the match, 223,000 Swedish Krona (around $22,100) had been placed on the match.
A betting slip also gained attention on social media, which suggested that one foreign betting punter had risked $5000 on the Medle SK and Bureå IF game.
¿Free Pick?@ElTucaPicks y su servidor tenemos un pick que se juega en la madrugada y nos encanta.
¿Quién quiere la jugada?
Quien de RT, Fav (❤) y comenten #TucaPicksAndGoatPicks van a recibir la jugada por DM
*Necesario seguir los 3 pasos y seguir nuestras cuentas* pic.twitter.com/S5UIQ1kDzo
— GOAT Picks (Apuestas Deportivas) (@picks_goat) March 27, 2020
Medle SK ended up beating Bureå IF 2-1.
After the match, Expressen tracked down some of the players in the game to get their take on the betting patterns.
Johannes Envall, a centre-half for Medle SK, told the paper:
It is totally sick sums when you think what level we are playing at.
We knew there was betting on the game and that the odds on us had dropped before kick off, but it wasn’t until afterwards when we checked Twitter that we realised how big it had got.
When asked about the potential of match fixing, Envall said:
I don’t think (those bets) will have any major significance (on match fixing). The same teams have played in our league for several years.
When football gets underway after Covid-19, the betting public will return to their usual sports to play and we will remember our 15 minutes of fame.
Amateur training match attracted 31 gaming companies & match fixing fears
The betting surrounding the Medle SK vs Bureå IF match wasn’t a one-off.
According to Swedish media outlet P4 Kronoberg, a training match between two amateur teams in Sweden last week also attracted huge betting patterns.
The match featured Division 5 team Sandsbro AIK and Division 4 team Ingelstads IK.
P4 Kronoberg report that 31 different betting companies offered odds on the game.
Overall, it’s claimed that 10 million Swedish Krona (just under $1 million) was bet on the match.
In a concerning set of quotes from Sandsbro manager Darko Vujcic, he confirmed that he knew the training match was being heavily bet on:
I received a text message from an unknown number before the match with a question about whether I had a fully fit squad.
I thought in my naivety that it someone from the local press who wanted some info before the game, so I wrote back that we have some injuries.
Then I got the question back, ‘will it be a tough match against a Division 4 team?’
Then I began to wonder, and I asked who am I texting with. He introduced himself as a betting trader.
He wrote that ‘you may not be aware of it, but your match is hottest in Europe today.’
We are amateurs, the players get nothing to play with us. They play because it’s fun.
It’s scary that some people make money playing in these low divisions.
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