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Right Said Fred: Betfred boss pays out early on City to win title

It irks me being a big United fan, but City will again be Premier League champs - and that's why I'm paying out early.

Liverpool and Arsenal have run out of steam as demonstrated with home defeats on Sunday so the decision to pay £750,000 to more than six thousand Betfred customers who backed City has been made.

I'm convinced that with six league games remaining for Pep Guardiola’s side, the two-point gap that the Blues  hold at the top  is just too much for their rivals  so all you Blue Mooners can start  celebrating an historic feat of winning four successive Premier League titles. 

I was the first bookmaker to pay out early on a Premier League title winner in March 1998, backing my team  to secure their fifth  Premier League crown ... but the trouble was we didn't when much to Fergie's anger we blew a 12-point lead  allowing Arsenal to pip us.

Betfred also  paid out early on United to win the Premier League in 2012, before our noisy neighbours clawed back an eight-point deficit to win the title on goal difference on the final day of the season.

I watched both the Liverpool and Arsenal games at the weekend and for me, it’s game over this season because City, who absolutely hammered Luton,  are going to win the Premier League 2024 title. There’s no danger to that. 

Liverpool look as if they’re beat. They’re gone. So for anyone that backed  City before 2pm on Sunday, I’m paying out on them to win the Prem.... get your cans open and have a drink on me. 

This is the ninth time that Betfred has decided to pay out early and it's probably my  bravest call yet...but I relish the risk and that’s what we’re all  about. I’m not worried at all. Come on City, you’ve played well all season and good luck to you.

Meanwhile a Scottish football fan Stuart Anderson always backs the outsider, which is why he doesn’t support Rangers or Celtic despite being from Glasgow.

Instead, the 50-year-old delivery man is a lifelong Partick Thistle supporter.

So the Wembley final is on the horizon for the last four in the Betfred Challenge Cup...and we have Wigan the 5/6 favourites to win the competition outright with Warrington at 5/2 followed by Hull KR at 6/1 while Huddersfield Giants are the 7/1 outsiders.

Here's the reaction to a very disappointed Saints supporter Paul Sculthorpe after his team were thumped 31-8 by Wire in their quarter final. The Betfred TV RL pundit writes:

"Sometimes you just have to accept it’s not your day, and that was certainly the case for  Saints against Warrington  on Sunday.

"Barring a ten minute spell in the first half after the introduction of James Bell and Sione Matautia, it was possibly the worst St Helens display I’ve watched in a long time.

"Take no credit away from a determined Wire side, who completely out enthused and out played the home side throughout, yet up to the 55 minute mark we were still winning!

"A sign for me of the lack of confidence and energy in the team was opting to go for goal while 7-6 down, with 30 minutes still to play.

"A difficult kick with yet another irregular goal kicker in Jon Bennison, albeit respect for the two great strikes he had….but I thought it was a negative decision while on the front foot in a great attacking position.

"Unfortunately, even though we went a point in front, a big boo boo from Jonny Lomax from the restart changed the momentum of the game - and the Wolves never looked back.

"The outstanding Matty Ashton spectacularly touched down from the resulting restart, closely followed by Connor Wrench beating everyone to a George Williams kick to put the visitors 11 points clear. 

"However it was the next score that summed up the St Helens performance, as prop James Harrison barged over two defenders from close range and confirmed our exit from the cup.

"There has been a lot of questions about the team's attack this year, and personally I haven’t seen enough from the half backs taking control and asking questions of the opposing defence. Lewis Dodd has no running game and is playing too far from the defensive line. Too many times on Sunday players looked lost of ideas of what they should be doing. On top of this, when things aren’t going well with the ball and you spend more time defending, energy levels are sapped, and discipline drops off. This is a vicious circle.

"In defence of Paul Wellens’ men, I will say they looked completely shattered. They have had an enormous month of rugby through April and May. Two back to back wins at Headingley against the Rhinos, followed by that epic Good Friday defeat of Wigan then what is always a tough trip to the South of France to face the Dragons. It is going to take its toll, and I think Sunday was the case.

"Either way, they can’t dwell on Sunday's defeat and need to freshen up and get back on the Betfred Super League horse.

"They face a desperate Hull FC at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday evening. The black and whites are a club in crisis  without a Head Coach following the sacking of Tony Smith - and this week had two key players Nu Brown and Tex Hoy leave the club with immediate effect.

"Friday's visitors have only won one of their opening seven games and are currently sitting 11th in the Betfred Super League table. So, this should be a given win….but as we know RL doesn’t work that way!

"It’s important Saints bounce back with not only a win but a slick performance. Following Sunday's defeat, we will have to do this without Alex Walmsley who tweaked a hamstring, and possibly Curtis Sironen who sustained an upper body knock. 

"However, a massive boost is the return of Mark Percival, who will certainly add energy and attacking prowess on the left edge.

"I’m backing the team to get right back on track come Friday, and inflict more misery on Adam Pearson and Co with a thumping win by over 32 points which is 11/10 with title sponsors Betfred."

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