The First Test at the Gabba ended in a draw, and South Africa can count itself fortunate that a day was lost due to bad weather. Having said that, though, there were many stages throughout the Test where the result could have gone any of the three ways available, and with only two tests remaining in the series, the betting has opened right up.
Prior to the First Test, South Africa had been backed from $2.60 into $2.25 to win the Test, and from $2.50 into $1.95 to win the series. Adelaide suits the Australians, and they are now $2.75 second favourites to win the series, just behind South Africa at $2.75, with a drawn series narrowly behind both at $2.90. Amazingly before the first Test got under way, less than $150 was placed on Australia, but we are expecting to see good money arrive for them now.
The betting on the second Test is similar to the series betting, with a draw at $2.70 just ahead of Australia and South Africa at $2.85. Looking back over the records at the Adelaide Oval since 2000 reveals that the Aussies have won 8 tests, there have been two draws, and the visiting side has won on the other two occasions. South Africa haven’t played there since 2001 when Australia won by 246 runs, but of course, the compositions of the sides are completely different.
India hosts England in a four Test series as well, and the first encounter begins today (Thursday). Every cricket follower is aware of how difficult it is to win in India, and England go into the first test as the $5.00 outsiders. There has been good support for a draw ($2.50-$2.25), while India is $2.30. Betting will be updated at the end of each days play.
TattsBet has opened up several ‘futures’ markets on the AFL, and there has been interest shown in most of those markets. Hawthorn remains flag favourite at $4.00, and if they can get through the first 7 rounds unscathed, they will shorten up. The Hawks play the seven other finalists from 2011 straight up, so we will know early on if they will be a force again. The GWS are the $1.33 favourites to win the wooden spoon, but punters have shown a preference for the Gold Coast at $4.50 and Melbourne at $11. There was little between these two sides this year, and many are tipping the GWS to improve more rapidly that the Suns. *Update: This market was suspended on Wednesday after several small bets on Adelaide from Adelaide at $201. Given recent history in the NRL, we will be cautious and await possible AFL sanctions on alleged salary cap breaches before re-opening the market.
The betting to make the final 8 always holds a lot of interest, and each year there are a couple of sides (at least) that are expected to make the finals, but don’t. There are seven sides at $1.45 or shorter to make the 8, but the early money has been for Richmond ($2.00,) Essendon ($2.10), Brisbane ($3.25) and the Suns at $13. Brisbane have a nice draw, and were more than competitive this year. Essendon have signed Brendan Goddard, and only play two of this year’s finalists twice. They have been backed from $17 to $15 to win the flag, and if they can start (then finish!) like they did this season, then they will be a force to be reckoned with. Hawthorn are the $3.25 favourite to be minor premiers, and as we said, if they can get through that first 7 weeks, then they will be well on track to avenge for this year’s disappointing finish.
Brisbane Roar suffered another defeat last week, and have now blown out to $9.00 to win the title after being as short as $3.25. The Roar were clear favourites after defeating Melbourne Victory 5-0, but it has been all downhill since then, and they are now at the bottom of the table. Central Coast Mariners are the fourth individual title favourites this season, and are now $4.50 ahead of Adelaide Utd at $4.75 and Perth at $5.50. The competition is so even that at this point in time, any side is capable of beating any other, so there will continue to be a lot of movement in the title betting.
Just like Brisbane, Sydney FC has its own share of problems, but with coach Ian Crook quitting after last week’s loss, this weekend’s clash in Brisbane could be season defining, and that is for both sides. Brisbane opened at $1.62, and while there has been some money for it at that price, it certainly isn’t what we have become accustomed to. Sydney on the other hand has been one of the best backed sides of the round at $5.00 with punters clearly thinking that the exit of Crook will turn it all around. Strangely there has been no interest in the draw at $3.75, and it does appear to be value given the form of the two sides.
The Wallabies were very disappointing in their 33-6 loss to France last week, and they will need to find some form, and quickly, if they are to beat arch-rival England this week at Twickenham. David Pocock and Kane Douglas have already been ruled out, but Berrick Barnes is expected to play, and that will be a big bonus. In last week’s match the bulk of the money was for France to win, and cover a 3 point line, and there are similar signs this week with close to 90% of the early betting coming for England at $1.38 with only scattered interest shown in the Wallabies at $2.95. The signs are there that England will start at a shorter quote.
Adam Scott ($4.25) and Ian Poulter ($4.50) head the betting for this week's Australian Masters, and while it is a handy field, it would be fair to say that there isn't a lot of depth. Poulter is coming off a win in Asia, and is the defending champion, but last year the Masters was played at the Victoria Golf Club. The conditions at the sand belt courses in Melbourne are very similar, so the layout of Kingston Heath should not present too many problems for Poulter, who has been backed in from $5.00. Scott opened at the same price, and clearly there has been a groundswell of support for him as well. The last time the Masters was played at Kingston Heath was in 2009, and it was won by Tiger Woods, but Scott wasn't far away on that occasion, tied for sixth. Graeme McDowell is third choice at $8.00, then a decent gap to Stuart Appleby and Richard Green, both at $17.00 Appleby won in 2010, but again that was played at the Victoria GC. There has been good each way support for veteran Peter Senior as well as Andre Stolz, both on the $41 line of betting.
Rory McIlroy has been heavily backed to win the Hong Kong Open which will begin on Thursday morning. The Irishman won last year, and declares that it is one of his favourite courses. McIlroy opened at $3.60, but has been backed all the way in to $3.25. Matt Kuchar is second pick at $15 ahead of Matteo Manassero ($18) who won at his last start, then Paul Casey ($23) and Padraig Harrington ($26) who won here back in 2003. Miguel Angel Jiminez is a two time winner here (2004, 2007) and has been popular each way at $41 as has Greg Bourdy ($51) who won in 2009. Facts and figures point towards McIlroy winning, and punters agree.
Charl Schwartzel has displayed indifferent form this year but returns to home soil and is the $8.00 favourite to win the South African Open. Schwartzel is narrowly ahead of Martin Kaymer ($8.50), and the German looks to be a major chance of winning after showing a return to form in Asia two weeks ago. The next two in the betting, Branden Grace ($10) and George Coetzee ($11) have both come in $1 since the markets were released, and there have been quite a few bets placed on Hennie Otto, last year’s winner, at $51.
With only 2 rounds of the V8 Supercars to go, the title appears to be at the mercy of Jamie Whincup. The Holden driver should wrap it all up at Winton Raceway this weekend. Winton is situated at Benalla in northern Victoria, and Whincup knows the track well having won there last year, as well as finishing second to Jason Bright in the other race.Two races will be conducted, one of 120kms on Saturday, and the other over 200 on Sunday. Whincup was so dominant in the three wins over 65kms in Abu Dhabi that he deserves to be at the short quote of $2.60 for Race 1, and punters are happy to take that. Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes share the second line of betting at $5.00, and while Lowndes won both races at Winton in 2009, the track hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Winterbottom, with only a couple of placings recorded. The markets will be down while the practice and qualifying sessions are on, and will reopen soon after.
The F1's return to the USA this week after five years off, and they will also be at a new track. Austin, Texas is the host, and the track looks very testing with 20 corners, and a couple of decent inclines. It will be an advantage to be at the front of the starting grid, but that applies to nearly every track. Kimi Raikkonen won his first race for the season in Abu Dhabi last start but goes into this race at $15. Sebastian Vettel put in an eye-catching performance to come from the back of the grid to finish third in that race after putting together a string of wins, and is the only one wanted this week, firming from $2.20 into $2.00. Lewis Hamilton started an odds on favourite last start but failed to finish, and while he is the second favourite at $3.75 this week, there hasn't been much support for him. Hamilton won the last race held in the USA at Indianapolis in 2007, and that followed four wins in a row to Michael Schumacher when he dominated the sport. Schumacher is a $251 pop this week, but he always seems to attract a handful of small bets. Fernando Alonso is only 10 points behind Vettel in the Driver's Championship and is $5.50 to win in Texas, while Mark Webber has the usual amount of support at $9.50. It will be interesting to see the tactics that Red Bull employ with only two races left, and Vettel on the cusp of winning the title.
The final race in the NASCAR season will be held at the Miami Speedway this weekend, and with Brad Keselowski holding a 20-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, it appears as though he only has to get around safely to take the title. He has been installed at $11 to win the Ford Ecoboost 400, but nobody is overly keen on that price as he is likely to be ultra-cautious. The other thing against Keselowski is that in half-a-dozen finishes at Homestead, his best has only been 11th spot. Johnson is the favourite at $5.50, and his form isn't a whole lot better here given his status, but at least he did finish second to Cal Edwards 2 years ago. At least Johnson will be going 'flat out' for a win, and punters do love him. Matt Kenseth is the second fav at $7.50, and is a previous winner in 2007, while Denny Hamlin, who finished 2nd in Phoenix last week, is also a past winner (2009), and is on the third line at $9.00 along with Greg Biffle.
There is little doubt that Anthony Mundine polarises people, but every time he fights there is always huge interest in the betting, and the same thing will happen when he takes on Daniel Geale at the end of January.
Geale holds the IBF middleweight title, and that belt will be on the line when the two meet. As soon as the date (Jan 30) was announced, betting opened with Geale at $1.36 and Mundine at $3.10. Geale’s only loss as a professional was to Mundine, but that was back in 2009 when he was defeated on points. Since then Geale has won this title as well as the WBA title, which ironically he has been stripped of for fighting Mundine instead of a mandatory opponent. He probably deserves to be shorter than $1.36 on recent form, but Mundine has a massive following so it is hard to see any major movement in the market.
The richest greyhound race in the world, the Sandown Cup, gets under way with 8 heats to be conducted tonight (Thursday). The best in Australia will battle it out for a place in next week’s lucrative final, and TattsBet is offering fixed odds on all heats. There will also be three heats of the ‘Bold Trease’ over the long distance, and betting is also available on those. While the Cup heats hold pride of place, there will be plenty of attention on the champ Miata (race 3, box 1) to see if she can get close to the record again, and also Jethro (race 9, box 2) who will be returning to the longer trip since an unlucky third in the National Distance Final behind Miata. Both should make their way through to the final, and that will be another drawcard as well as the final of the Cup.
The Victorian Spring Carnival winds down this weekend at Sandown, and while two of the features are a little light on for numbers, it will be interesting to see how the favourite in the Zipping Classic has come out of the Melbourne Cup. Mourayan has opened at $2.50 to win the Classic, and he wasn’t far away in the Cup. Team Williams have won this several times before (hence the naming of the race) and horses backing up from the Melbourne Cup have a god record in this race. Rawnaq was unlucky not to win the Victoria derby, but all of a sudden is a $5.50 chance in open company after being 100/1 in the Derby, while Exceptionally is the third pick at $6.00. Garud was runner-up to Verdant at Flemington, and looks capable of an upset at $9.50.