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When there's a loser, there's also a winner

By Celia Roche
November 2012.

Betting sob stories are often the subject of comical anecdotes around a pint in the local bar, as football fans celebrate their success, drown their sorrows, or re-tell ancient folklore of huge wins in the past.

More often than not, punters betting on soccer revel in their own glory of tipping their team to score at just the right time, or bemoan their misfortune as rivals come back from the dead when all seemed safe and secure.

Last week, bars across Australia will have witnessed punters usually more comfortable with A League betting boasting or shying away from football talk after Arsenal's emphatic four-goal comeback against Reading in the English Capital One Cup. Reading cantered to a 4-0 lead that tipped the odds of winning so much in their favour that few would bet on anything else. But Arsenal's charming inconsistencies make them a joy to follow in England and the Gunners clawed back the four-goal deficit to draw 4-4 in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

No doubt there are sob stories about people losing out having backed Reading at 4-0, and the game rekindled memories of a student's stupid bet in January 2010. The punter put his entire student loan of 4,400 on Angola to beat Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations, secure in the knowledge that Angola were 4-0 up with just 12 minutes remaining. Miraculously, Mali drew level with a flourish in the dying stages of the game and the student lost it all. He had stood to win just 44 (AUS $67).

There are no stories of fans placing any bets at ridiculous odds on Reading to beat Arsenal only to see it go up in smoke, but there will certainly have been punters who bet on the draw. For every sob story like that student's, there will also be successes, and many fans will have raised their glasses in triumph last Tuesday night to toast Arsenal's miraculous recovery.

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