Not a very catchy title I will admit, but another of my very infrequent posts. This aims to both reassure myself that I am doing this correctly, and also help offers in this sorts of offers.

I am writing this after I have completed a number of offers whereby you are offered your stake back or a free bet if your back loses but a team/individual/nationality wins/reaches the final. A recent example of this was ToteSport offering refunds for non-Premier teams reaching the FA cup final, which has shown over the weekend that the giants of football are not so great, but anyways let's move on.

I will use as an example the offer that is no longer available as the tournament is underway - the Welsh Open in Snooker. This is deliberate as I wanted it all to myself. This runs from the 25th to the 31st of January, so is thankfully fairly short.

Totesport were offering your stake back if a Welsh player reached the final. Extensive research revealed that there were four Welsh players in the tournament - Dominic Dale, Ryan Day, Matthew Stevens and Mark Williams MBE - out of a total of 32 players at the start.

The draw is listed here.

The offer doesn't look so fantastic until you look at the draw for the tournament. It is a standard knock-out tournament whereby there are a series of rounds for players to play before they can reach the final, different to a league-based qualifying system like the current African Nations Cup has on; which incidentally has a knock-out section at the end although I digress. Anyway, what is most interesting about this tournament is that the draw is made at the outset, so that the path for the players to reach the final is laid out and everyone knows who they need to beat to reach the final. Many other sports also use similar pre-determined paths to victory; the Australian Open Tennis, for example.

I shall now bewilder you all with science!

The 32 players can be broken down into 4 groups of 8. One player in each of these groups will make up one of the quarter finalists as per the path laid out above.

Now whether it is due to parochialism or just luck, the 4 players have been allocated to three different groups; only two will be in the same qualifying 'quarter' of the draw. Three of the players are in the top half of the draw, and the other is in the bottom half of the draw.

One player is in the first quarter qualifying group, 2 are in the second and the last player is in the third. We could end up with an All-Welsh final, with 3 out of 16 players in the top half of the draw being Welsh, and 1 out of 16 in the bottom half of the draw also being Welsh. So what should become clear by now is at the semi final stage of the tournament, the first quarter play the second quarter and the third quarter play the fourth quarter. So, from the starting 32 with 4 Welsh players; in the top half of the draw only one Welsh player can qualify for the final. Therefore, I would suggest laying each of these players at the outset to win, as only one can reach the final. I would ignore the Welsh person in the bottom half of the draw for now (unless you are a gambler).
What makes this offer great is also that it doesn't offer the refund if a Welsh player wins, only if they reach the final - all your lays may win, and you could still get the refund. Hooray.

Applied example related to this

ToteSport offer a maximum £1000 refund if a Welshman reaches the final. I see 'The Rocket' Ronny O'Sullivan is available at ToteSport at odds of 5.0, and somebody at the exchange is offering lay odds of 4.9. BetDAQ for some reason have offered my a commission rate of 2.5% of snooker and so if I put all those into my spreadsheet I find that if I stake £500 on the Rocket to win the tournament and lay him at odds of 4.9 I can make £0 profit. I could leave it there and pray a Welshman reaches the final, but apparently it hasn't happened for 5+ years.

Now all we need to do if lay the three players in the top half of the draw to the tune of £500 to win the tournament.

Mark Williams - lay 33.39 @ 15.0 => Profit of £32.55 Risk = £467.45
Ryan Day - lay 17.87@28 => Profit of £17.43 Risk = £482.57
Dominic Dale - lay 2.50 @ 200 => Profit of £2.44 Risk = £497.56

(These liabilities will be combined on the exchange and so will be reduced)

Therefore, we have a guaranteed profit of £52.42 before anyone has got going that may be tied up for up to a week, and there is still the chance that the player in the bottom half of the draw (Matthew Stevens) makes it into the final; and also that any player reaching the final may not win it (which is the market that we used).

Apologies for the wordiness.