Mon, May 12, 4:31pm by Brad McGrath
ESSENDON’S removal from bottom-eight betting markets is not a reflection of ASADA’s investigation nearing a conclusion, a Sportsbet spokesman says.
The Bombers were this morning removed from the ‘least wins’ and ‘to miss the top eight’ markets with several AustralianGambling readers questioning whether this was because of possible player sanctions stemming from ASADA’s investigation into the alleged prohibited drugs program at the AFL club.
But Sportsbet.com.au says the Bombers removal from the two markets was because of their victory over the Western Bulldogs, rather than any misgivings over possible player suspensions handed out by ASADA.
Rival bookmaker Sportingbet doesn’t share the same optimism in the Bombers finishing out of the bottom eight, pricing Mark Thompson’s team a $1.80 chance to miss the finals.
“It’s really got to do with the numbers of wins they have now posted rather than the thought players might get suspended,” Sportsbet risk manager Neil May said.
“If [Essendon] they were on less wins it might have come into our thinking but they already have four wins.
“We were cautious around that market pre-season and obviously before they had posted any wins.”
Fairfax newspapers are reporting that ASADA, whose new chief executive Ben McDevitt begins on Monday, are ready to issue show-cause letters to up to 40 Bombers players.
The players will then have the opportunity to respond before ASADA decides whether any suspensions will be handed to players.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Bombers players will be suspended, it rather outlines the alleged misdemeanour before the players are given an opportunity to respond and defend their actions.
Sportsbet has taken a watchful approach with markets surrounding the Bombers but remain confident any player suspensions will not affect this season.
“It’s still going to take some more time before anything happens, the next logical step is show-cause letters and that will buy the players more time,” May said.
“If players are issued with infraction penalties and players are suspended even then there could be an appeals process.”
The Bombers recent patchy form has seen them drift out to $26 in Sportsbet’s premiership market, after being as short as $8 earlier this season.
Hawthorn has eased slightly out to $3.50 since their upset loss to Sydney and injuries to star players Sam Mitchell, Brian Lake and Cyril Rioli.
“The big mover in terms of AFL has been Sydney – outside of that Freo have been the drifter and Hawthorn on the back of injuries to Rioli, Lake and Mitchell and the suspension of Roughead,” May said.
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