Bookmakers set for biggest payout if Leicester win Premier League
By Tim Clement
Last Updated: 27/04/16 6:14pm
Leicester can complete arguably the greatest achievement in sporting history at the weekend, but the bookmakers certainly won't be celebrating.
A Super Sunday victory for Claudio Ranieri's men at Manchester United or a failure to gain ground by Tottenham in their Monday Night Football clash at Chelsea will see the Foxes crowned Premier League champions, having started the season as the biggest-priced outsiders available.
Only 128 Sky Bet punters took advantage of the 5,000/1 odds, but bookmakers across the industry are prepared to pay out on an estimated £20m liability in total, which represents a biggest-ever single market cost.
Sky Bet have already paid £1.1m to customers opting to Cash Out their bets and are set to fork out another £3.6m, making them the biggest losers in the industry from Leicester's triumph.
Sky Bet's Dale Tempest explains: "As Football League sponsor, we've probably got the largest base of Leicester fans, which make up the vast majority of their early season backers. It's incredible to think we were presenting them the Championship trophy less than two years ago.
"It's certainly understandable that some fans have opted to cash out, take their money and enjoy the remainder of the season, but most did it at short odds so have still got the majority of their potential pay out."
It might be of some small comfort to Sky Bet that Leicester aren't actually their biggest loser in the market, with West Ham, who also hit 5,000/1 after picking up four points from their opening four games, representing a £6.2m pay out.
The picture is blurred by the fact that not all stakes are from pre-season, with plenty of punters eager to jump on the Leicester bandwagon over the course of the season.
Those looking to get on board now will be greeted with odds of just 1/20, as Tottenham's 1-1 draw with West Brom has left the Foxes on the brink.
It's far from all bad news for the bookmakers however, with the most predictable of seasons making it hard work for punters.
"While Leicester backers are obviously going to be celebrating, it's been a tough season to pick winners, with Chelsea in particular blowing accumulators," Tempest added.
"Leicester's title win will also kill off a lot of outright multiple business, with only one punter doubling them up at 5,000/1 with Bayern Munich to win the Champions League at 7/2."
That bet stands to win £45k from just £2 and is well on track, with Bayern 11/8 favourites to win the Champions League at the semi-final stage.
There are bigger winners out there though, with two already cashing out three-figure sums, while another three stand to win over £100,000.
The Foxes will go up against the odds again on Sunday as Sky Bet rate them 14/5 chances to clinch the title at Old Trafford. The bookies clearly haven't learnt their lesson.