NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The World Cup: to people everywhere, a time for patriotism, unity, competition, and gambling. For Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, another opportunity to bite an opposing player. And for more than 100 Internet gamblers, a happy confluence of those last two things.
The online bookmaker Betsafe posted a tasty prop bet for soccer fans, offering 175-1 odds that Suarez would chomp on a rival during the tournament. It wasn't the most outlandish prospect: Suarez has a history of sinking his teeth into competitors on the pitch.
He did it in 2010, while playing for the Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam, and repeat-offended in 2013 as a member of his current squad, Liverpool.
So when Suarez's mouth collided with the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, leaving what looked like nasty teeth marks, it was great news for gamblers like Jonathan Braeck of Sweden, who bet 80 Swedish krona (almost $12) that Suarez would have another attack of attempted cannibalism.
"First I thought I'd bet a little more," Braeck said, according to The Guardian, "but a friend said I was just wasting my money." Braeck wound up winning 14,000 krona ($2080) on his wager.
"When Italy took over the game you knew that [Suarez] could go a little crazy," Braeck explained. "I didn't think that he would bite, but that he'd do something stupid. Then he did the best stupid thing that he could do."
Not from his home country's perspective: Suarez now faces disciplinary action from FIFA, which has opened an investigation into the apparent dental assault. Suarez could be kept out of the rest of the tournament, or banned from soccer for up to two years.
During the last World Cup, Suarez was kicked out of the tournament after committing a handball against Ghana that saved the match for Uruguay. The team faltered without him. In 2011 he was accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra, a French player born in Senegal. The charges resulted in an eight-match ban and a fine of £40,000 (about $68,000).
—Written by Eamon Murphy for MainStreet