Punters were spot on with their predictions in the third and final Test between Australia and South Africa. The money was predominantly for South Africa ($2.65-$2.30) and Australia ($2.60-$2.40), with the draw blowing like the north wind from $$3.25 to $4.50 before the first ball was bowled. The draw was out of play early, and while South Africa did go on to win easily, they touched $4.00 when seemingly in trouble in their second innings.
Although Australia lost that series, they have opened long odds on favourites ($1.22) to beat Sri Lanka in the upcoming three Test series. Sri Lanka were humbled by New Zealand in a Test last week, and although the Aussies have some problems in both the batting and bowling ranks, they should be able to dispose of the visitors. The first Test will be in Hobart and gets under way on the 14th of December.
The Big Bash starts this Friday night, and we are expecting massive interest in the games. There has been huge media coverage given to the Big Bash, and the two Melbourne sides face off against each other in the season opener. The match will be played under the roof at Etihad Stadium, and they are expecting a capacity crowd. The Melbourne Stars are the tournament favourites at $5.00 and have opened at $1.55 to beat the Renegades who are $2.45. The Stars have a terrific line-up led by Shane Warne, Brad Hodge and Lasith Malinga, but there is plenty of batting depth in the Renegades side with Aaron Finch and Faf Du Plessis who impressed for South Africa in the recent tests. There were plenty of upsets last season, and it is an advantage to bat first, so the Renegades look good value. There will be live betting throughout each of the Big Bash matches with TattsBet.
Boxing Day is all about the cricket Test in Melbourne and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Betting has been open on the yacht race for nearly a week, and Wild Oats X1 has firmed as the likely winner of line honours. Wild Oats XI opened at $1.40 but quickly shortened into $1.36 to win for the sixth time, and with all the talk about whether the race record will be broken or not, then support will probably continue as the 100 footers have a big advantage. Ragamuffin Loyal beat Wild Oats X1 last year when racing as Investec Loyal, and although a drifter from $3.00 out to $3.25 there is plenty of money for her. Ragamuffin Loyal’s skipper will be 85-year-old Syd Fischer, and ex-Olympian Geoff Huegill will be part of the crew. Lahana ($13) and Wild Thing ($15) are the only other yachts under $34, and have also met with early support.
Recent Australian Masters winner Adam Scott has been heavily supported to win this week’s Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Course in Sydney. Scott was $5.50 in the opening market but has continuously firmed to be $4.25. Justin Rose has had a lot of travelling to contend with over recent weeks but is also a firmer, into $7.00 after opening at $7.50. Nine of the field will be rushing back from the USA after having played in the Q school, which didn’t finish until Tuesday morning Australian time, so it will be a mighty performance if any of those can win. Nick O’Hern is the shortest of those at $34, and there has actually been good support for him to win. 2010 winner Geoff Ogilvy shares the third line of betting at $13 along with John Senden, and while Ogilvy failed to finish amongst the placegetters last year, he did have a closing round of 65. Senden finished second to Greg Chalmers last year, and that pair will be hard to beat. It was a pretty good form line for Chalmers, a $15 chance this year, as Tiger Woods finished in third place. There has also been money for Marcus Fraser and Marc Leishman at $26, so it is shaping as a really good betting contest.
Such is the consistency of the Wildcats over the past few seasons, when Adelaide beat Perth both home and away in back-to-back weeks earlier this campaign, it sent shockwaves around the NBL. Those losses were part of a three-game losing streak, but normal service has resumed since then with the Wildcats winning three straight, including thumping victories over in-form Sydney and New Zealand. The ‘Cats will be without big man Matthew Knight due to a calf injury, but they have brought in a pretty handy short-term replacement in the form of American Michael Dunigan who was on the training camp roster of NBA team the Memphis Grizzlies a couple of months back. Perth will need his size and strength in the middle, as versatile Adelaide big man Daniel Johnson was the key man in both of the 36ers’ wins over the Wildcats this season. The ‘Cats play Wollongong in Perth on Friday night, so the hometown 36ers might have the advantage with this being their only match of the round.
The final two matches of the International tour’s in Europe last weekend saw one of the upsets of the year when England defeated New Zealand 38-21, and the Wallabies scored a 14-12 victory of Wales with seconds remaining thanks to a Kurtley Beale try. Those who took the -3.0 for the Wallabies may not have been too impressed as the kick after the try was taken by Nathan Sharpe who was playing his last game for Australia. It didn’t matter to the team, they had won the game, but it definitely mattered to those who conceded the start.
There were a few who thought that England could win as they were backed from $8.00 into $6.50, and the handicap also moved, closing at +14.5 after opening at +16.5. The wasn’t much form around the English to suggest they could win, especially in light of the fact that the All Blacks had won 20 in a row, but they were coming off the back of a long year. Both the Wallabies and New Zealand sides now return home so players can prepare for the upcoming Super Rugby season, and there has been a bit of activity around the market for that title since it opened last week. The Crusaders are the $4.50 favourites ahead of the Chiefs at $5.00, but there has been good early support for the Sharks ($8.00), Highlanders ($9.00) and the Reds at $10. The Reds share the same line as the Brumbies who are expected to be the big improvers, while the Waratahs have opened at $17, easily their biggest ever opening quote. The signing of Israel Folau was big news in Australia on Tuesday, but it hardly caused a ripple in the title betting of the Waratahs. The other two Australian sides, the Rebels and the Western Force, have been given little hope, quoted at $67 and $151 respectively. The Six Nations betting has reopened after the weekend results, and England have joined France as the $3.00 favourites after that win over the All Blacks.
The Brisbane Cup of greyhounds will be held tonight (Thursday), and the final boasts four Melbourne Cup finalists, including the winner Got A Moment. Victorian trainer Jason Thompson has both Got A Moment and Proven Nitro in the final, and also trains local hope Don’t Knocka Him when he travels south. Proven Nitro is the $1.90 favourite after coming up with the coveted rails draw, and that is his preferred draw although he will need to come out on level terms. Don’t Knocka Him has returned to Queensland trainer Reg Kay’s kennel for this race after a stint in Victoria with Thompson, and looks the logical danger in box 2. He has the pace to lead, and has run fast times at the Albion Park circuit. Got A Moment was very unlucky in her heat when running second, but has secured a run in box 6 after there was a scratching. Forget about last week’s run, she has the pace to lead, and has improved a lot since going to Victoria as evidenced by her all the way win in the Melbourne Cup. Both Got A Moment ($9.00) and local hero Glen Gallon ($6.50) are more than capable of winning but will need the breaks to go their way.
The Australian Open isn’t far away, and while there hasn’t been a lot of recent movement to win either title, there is plenty of interest. Novak Djokovic is the ruling $2.50 favourite for the mens title ahead of Andy Murray at $3.25, Roger Federer at $5.00 and Rafael Nadal at $7.50. The good news is that Nadal appears to have made a full recovery from recent knee problems, but of all those in the betting, he is the least favoured, and that is understandable. Actually there has been more money for Bernard Tomic at $151 than for Nadal, but that will all change once it is confirmed that Nadal is close to 100%.
Serena Williams is getting better with age, and punters have been happy to take the $2.25 for her to win again in Melbourne, and she has also been coupled up in most early multis with Djokovic. Victoria Azarenka is the second pick at $4.00, followed by Maria Sharapova ($7.50) and Petra Kvitova ($10.00).
Luckygray is the $2.60 favourite to atone for his last start unlucky second in Saturday’s Kingston Town Classic at Ascot. Mr Moet landed a plunge ($101-$21) when defeating Luckygray in the Railway Stakes, but there is little doubt that Luckygray should have won. The Kingstown Town has been his target this campaign, but he doesn’t appear to be over the odds considering his style of racing from back in the field. Mr Moet is in the field again, and is rated at $11, but he is yet to win second up at four attempts, and isn’t as well suited under the weight for age scale. Playing God looked a winning chance on the turn in the Railway before tiring over the last 100 metres, and boasting a record of three wins from three starts at the track and distance, he looms as the main danger, and has met with support at $5.50.