Peter Senior is one of the most popular players on the Australian Tour, and while Senior was a $67 chance prior to last week's Australian Open, there were the usual band of supporters who stuck solid and backed him each way at the big odds. Even coming into the last round he was given an excellent chance of scoring an upset win as there were several who thought he would be suited to the conditions and took the $26 on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see how Senior backs up in this week's Australian PGA at Coolum, a course where he has a fantastic record. TattsBet have priced Senior at $31, and while we haven't seen any huge bets for him, there are significant number who were on him last week who have come back to say he can win at Coolum again after wins in 2010 and 2003. John Senden couldn't handle the windy conditions in Sydney on Sunday, but it is highly unlikely he would encounter the same conditions again, and is the $9.00 opening favourite this week, just ahead of Geoff Ogilvy ($10.00) and Greg Chalmers at $12.00. Chalmers won last year, and both Ogilvy and Senden have been placed here before. Stewart Appleby showed a welcome return to form last week and he has been popular with each way punters at $23. Two players who love this course but have been sadly out of form are Robert Allenby and Peter Lonard. Allenby is $34 and won here in 2005 and 2009, as well as being runner up last year, so this is his chance to find some of that form. Lonard ($101) is also a two time winner in 2004 and 2007 but hasn't featured anywhere for a couple of seasons. TattsBet will bet live throughout the final day's play.
The Johor Open will be played in Malaysia this week, and Sergio Garcia is the opening $5.25 favourite ahead of Ernie Els ($7.00), while Thongchai Jaidee and Kevin Na are both at $17. Garcia has been playing well without winning, and this would be the weakest field he has met for some time. Punters agree, as there has been money for both he and Els, as well as Thaworn Wiratchant ($21) who currently leads the Asian Tour of Merit. None of the previous 5 winners are in this year's field, but Danial Chopra ($23) was runner-up to Joost Luitten last year and must be given a big hope.
To round the week off the Alfred Dunhill Championship will be played at the Leopard Creek Golf Club at Maladane, Mpumalanga, in South Africa, and in his home country Charl Schwartzel is the well backed $5.25 favourite. Schwartzel returned to the winners' list in Thailand last week after a 20 month run of outs, and he did it in style winning by 11 shots. He will be right at home at Leopards Creek as apart from winning in 2004, he has been placed here on four occasions. Louis Oosthuizen is the second pick at $7.00, but the major concern with him is that he has missed the cut the last four years in this event, while George Coetzee is the next in line at $15. Garth Mulroy played in the recent Nedbank Challenge, and while he didn't fire there, he must be given a winning chance at $41 as he is the defending champion.
The Big Bash got under way last Friday night with all the fanfare that we expected, but there have been some interesting results in the four matches played to date. Three outsiders have won from the four matches, but all four sides batting second also won, and that definitely bucks the trend of results in T/20. It will no doubt swing back, but those who always back the outsiders are off to a flying start.
Perth were at home on Sunday, and they get a home match again tonight (Wednesday) against the Melbourne Stars, but this time the Scorchers will be the underdogs. After opening at $2.10, Perth drifted to $2.15 following sustained support for the Stars, and on Sunday's performance that looks value as they were only narrowly beaten. The Strikers will be at home in Adelaide on Thursday night after that win over Perth, and they have opened at $1.75 to beat the Brisbane Heat. There has been some big value in the run on these games as evidenced by the $6.50 available for the Renegades in their win over the Stars as well as the $3.00 for Hobart in their win over Brisbane.
The first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka starts in Hobart on Friday, and the early signs are that this one won’t be breaking any betting records. Australia opened at $1.50 but have eased to $1.58 following some interest in the draw ($3.70-$3.50) and a sprinkling for Sri Lanka who have shortened from $6.75 into $6.50. From the 10 tests played in Hobart , Australia have won 7, there have been 2 draws, and the visiting side have won once. That visiting side was New Zealand last year, but while many would argue that the Australian side was humbled by South Africa in that last Test, it is worth pointing out that the Aussies were in a winning position in that game as well as the first two Tests. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, was thrashed by New Zealand on home soil 2 weeks ago, hardly an ideal preparation to be coming to our shores. Australia is a raging $1.23 chance to win the bets of three series.
After a slump of sorts a few weeks back, Perth is back to being the Wildcats of old in the NBL after overcoming the high-flying Hawks last Friday night, before sneaking home in overtime in a crackerjack clash with traditional rival Adelaide on Sunday. The ‘Cats take on Wollongong for the second week in a row this Friday night with the game shown on delay on ONE. Perth looked set to thump the Hawks last Friday before the visitors shot the lights out in the second half to take a shock lead, only for the Wildcats to pull away down the stretch. New Perth import Michael Dunigan was super impressive in both games, and his size and strength will be handful for any team, especially a side like Wollongong which is light on for big men. The Hawks thrashed Perth 100-67 when they visited the ‘Gong six weeks back, but it’s hard to see the home side getting up unless they can work out a way to nullify the likes of Dunigan and Jesse Wagstaff.
Robin van Persie’s late winner in the Manchester derby last weekend has seen United shorten dramatically to win the English Premier League. The Red Devils were $1.83 to lift the premiership trophy last week, but after the 3-2 win they’re now in to $1.55 thanks to the six-point lead they now hold over their crosstown rival. City has been bumped from $2.10 out to $2.80, but after their abysmal performance in the UEFA Champions League, Roberto Mancini’s team can now focus most of its energy on the league. The Sky Blues ($1.65) travel to St James’s Park this week to take on a Newcastle United ($4.75) side which has lost five of its last six.
Not for the first time this season, all the home teams are favourites in the upcoming round of A-League matches. Frank Farina will be involved in his first Sydney derby with his FC outfit ($2.75) looking for a second straight win over new boys Western Sydney ($3.00). Tony Popovic’s Wanderers have been very difficult to break down this season and the former Socceroo has done a remarkable job in getting them to fourth on the table. They scored a 1-0 win over Brisbane last weekend, and three out of their four wins have come by that scoreline. The defending champs are really struggling, especially away from home where they’ve collected just one point out of a possible 15 so far this season. It doesn’t get any easier on Saturday when they face surging Melbourne Victory which has former Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou at the helm. Roar smoked Victory 5-0 in round 2 at Suncorp Stadium early in Postecoglou’s reign, but on home turf Melbourne looks a good bet given the teams’ current form.
The Grand Circuit returns to Melton on Saturday night with the running of the Victoria Cup, and the race looks tailor made for WA champ I'm The Mightyquinn after he drew barrier 3. The star from the west has carried all before him for the past couple of seasons, and while it is a quality field, punters showed no apprehension at all in taking the opening quote of $1.70. Terrorway won the Cranbourne Cup last Saturday coming from well back, and is the second elect at $5.50 after drawing gate 2, while Bitobliss, who went around as an odds on favourite in the Cranbourne Cup, is $8.00 after drawing out in barrier 5. Bitobliss had a torrid run in that particular race, and if he can get some cover is capable of upsetting the favourite. Two runners who have attracted early support are the Queensland champ Washakie ($13) and the evergreen Smoken Up ($16), but both are going to need a lot of luck from terrible barrier draws.
The money continues to flow in for Wild Oats XI to win the Sydney to Hobart, with several four figure bets struck at $1.40. Although the lead up races can be misleading as the conditions are nothing like what the fleet will strike on Boxing Day, Wild Oats won another of those races this week, the Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour. That race was only over 14 nautical miles, but it is the 6th time she has won it. The betting suggests that the $1.40 won't last much longer. Second pick is Ragamuffin Loyal who won the race last year as Investec Loyal, but we have found very few takers at the $3.25 mark. Wild Thing is a previous winner, and is the other significant yacht to attract support, now $11 after opening at $15. There will be other bet types available on the big race in the week leading up to Boxing Day.