TattsBet News 9th August

RUGBY LEAGUE 

Last week's round of NRL looked very difficult on paper, and that is how it panned out with only four of the eight favourites able to win, and we are confronted by a similar fixture this week. Every game is important as teams jostle for positions at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom of the ladder. The opening price on Tattsbet for all favourites to win this week was $35.70 for a $1 outlay, and that goes to show how hard it is!

Souths v Manly- Just be aware that this match will be played at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. Souths go in as slight favourites, and have won the last three times that these two have played in Gosford, but on the flip side, Manly have an average score of 33 points there in nine appearances. Those stats fly in the face of the defensive exhibition that both put on last week in their respective wins. Manly had a tough match in Townsville, and Souths also return from interstate. This could go either way, but a couple of injury doubts at Manly give the nod, slightly, to Souths. Tip-Souths 1-12

Melbourne v Gold Coast- Are the Storm back? Were the Titans unlucky to go down to Souths? Will Greg Bird play? The Storm thumped the Titans 30-6 back in round 3, and if you forgot their recent form and went on last week's win over Penrith, then maybe the same thing may happen again. Punters think that will be the case as the Storm (along with the Bulldogs) have been the ‘anchor’ in most multi's for the weekend. Melbourne's stars put on a clinic against the Panthers, and they will be looking to grab another win as they can still mathematically finish in second spot. The Titans need to win to stay in the finals race, it is as simple as that. The task will be very difficult if Bird is unable to play. Tip- Storm 13+

Parramatta v Sydney Roosters- A tipsters nightmare! The Roosters have won their last three against the Eels, but Parramatta have beaten Manly and Melbourne recently. Those wins aside, they still find themselves $1.36 to run last, and a loss here would make that highly probable. Not surprisingly this has been the least patronised betting game this week with Tattsbet, and the Roosters are slight favourites at $1.80. Tip- Parramatta 1-12

Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra- The Dragons thrashed the Tigers 36-12 in round 3, and that was when the Tigers were in a form slump. They have had a few of those this season, and looked to be in another one last Monday night when the Eels put three tries on the early. The Tigers got out to $4.00 to win that game, but in a second half that looked like a game of touch footy, they won 51-26. A loss there and there season would have been all over, but they are still in the finals race. A lot of these sides who play Monday night football struggle to come up the next week, but the Tigers get a Dragons side who are completely bereft of confidence. Tip- The Tigers 1-12

North Queensland v New Zealand- The Warriors defeated the Cowboys 35-12 at home only 6 weeks ago, but haven't the fortunes of these two sides changed dramatically? It is hard to believe that this is the same Warriors side that played in last years Grand Final, and their performance last week when going down to Cronulla was abysmal. Their defense is a shambles, and they need to win every week, and rely on other results, to make the finals. The Warriors haven't won in Townsville for 10 years, and the last 12 times these sides have met, 11 have been won by the side playing at home. Some stats don't lie, and that would explain very little support for the Warriors at $3.15, while an early bet of $4000 has been placed on the Cowboys conceding 8.5 points start. Tip- North Queensland 1-12.

Penrith v Canberra- Canberra have been belittled by the Gold Coast and Newcastle recently, but have also handed out belting's to Melbourne and Brisbane. The have won 3 of their last 4 away matches, and struggle when favourites. It is hard to believe that the Raiders can still make the finals after the season they have had, but they have a difficult assignment against Penrith at the foot of the mountains on Sunday. The Panthers have had their own problems with form reversals, and while this was a difficult match to come up with a favourite, the nod went to Canberra who were installed at $1.70. Who knows what will happen here, it could go either way, could be close, or could be a blowout! Tip- Penrith 1-12

Canterbury v Brisbane- A rising injury toll post Origin has hit Brisbane hard, and they look destined to finish in the bottom part of the final eight. That would mean having to win 4 games away from home if they were to grab another title, but in the form they are in, that is near on impossible. They are still $15.00 to win the competition, but are only that price due to a big liability on them. They have lost 5 of their last 7 against the Bulldogs, and if the injuries weren't enough, have to travel to ANZ without Josh Hoffman who was dropped late in the week after being late to training. The rampaging Bulldogs are going for 11 wins on the trot, and deserve to be premiership favourites at $4.00, and it is difficult to put up an argument as to how they won't make it to that eleventh win. The Bulldogs opened at $1.35, and that has gradually firmed into $1.31 as the week has progressed. Tip- Canterbury 13+

Newcastle v Cronulla- Really interesting game. The Knights can still make the 8, and the Sharks can still make the top 4, so a big game either way. Newcastle have won the last four encounters between these two sides, including an 18-6 win way back in round 2, but Cronulla have been one of the big improver's in season 2012. It was hard not to be taken by their huge win over the Warriors last week, and they are a different side when Paul Gallen and Todd Carney take the field together. Ironically the Sharks are a side that punters have never really fallen in love with, but there has been an early push for them in Monday night's game ($2.15 into $2.10), and the signs are there that they will continue to firm in the betting. Another game that could go either way. Tip- Newcastle 1-12

AFL

The ‘futures’ for the AFL are similarly placed as they are in the NRL, every option is still up for grabs. This is the first time that both codes still have betting options open for minor premiership, top 4, top 8 and to run last still open so close to the end of the season proper. Every game in round 20 means something as well, and there are some very tricky games on paper. One thing that has been surprising with the upcoming round is that what many would believe is the ‘worst’ game, Gold Coast v GWS, is actually one of the best betting games. GWS defeated the Suns by 27 points in round 7, and since then the Giants have recorded another win, so are one clear of the Giants. This is a big one as far as the wooden spoon is concerned, and while the Giants have a couple of injured players, the Suns have 17 on their injury list. Some of those will have to play this week, but the first major move for the week was $3000 on the Giants at $3.10. Now that betting has settled, the Suns are $1.45 and the Giants $2.75, but we are keen to take the Suns on, their form doesn’t really warrant them being so short.

Geelong have been a decent ‘go’ in Friday night’s match against the Eagles in Perth. The Cats opened at $2.05, but by Thursday morning were closing in on favouritism as they firmed to $1.93 with the West Coast out to $1.88. The biggest of the early bets was $5500 at $2.00, but the bets are running in their favour 3-1.

Sydney were an early shortener from $1.65 into $1.52 in their clash with Collingwood, but it was nothing to do with betting. Once Dane Swan was dropped from the Collingwood side, the price changed for Sydney, but although they are on track to be minor premiers, they do seem short odds in this game. Collingwood hold a fabulous record against the Swans, even in Sydney, and this match will be played at ANZ Stadium, and the Swans are not completely at home there as they are at the SCG. Collingwood have been able to cope without Swan in the past, and they look terrific value on Saturday night. 

THE GAMES 

The London Games are drawing to a close, but the betting activity hasn’t slowed down at all. Tonight we will see if Usain Bolt can become a legend (his words, but seems right) by adding the mens 200m to his resume, and betting says that he will. Once he blitzed the filed in the 100m final, one punter placed $15,000 on Bolt to win the 200 at $1.20, and after the semis he is now $1.15. While Johan Blake defeated Bolt in both the 100 and 200 in the Jamaican qualifiers, it does appear as though Bolt really has the better of his team-mate, and Blake is a $5.00 chance to spring an upset.

The mens hockey side are now into $1.55 to add a gold medal to our tally, and take on Germany in a semi final on Friday morning. The Aussies are $1.55 to win that game in normal time, and the Netherlands are $1.90 to beat Great Britain in the other semi.

There has been a lot of conjecture as to whether or not BMX should be in the Games, but they are, and Australia is a strong chance to win gold in both. Caroline Buchanan is now $3.00 favourite to win the women’s BMX after the first round, while World Champion Sam Willoughby is the $4.50 second favourite to win the mens gold. 

GOLF

The USPGA starts this Thursday, and even though it is a Major, it has been really quiet, no doubt due to the London Games.

Tiger Woods is the easing $9.00 favourite (out from $8.00), ahead of Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, both at $19. Dustin Johnson is next in line at $23 (in from $31), then Jason Dufner ($26) and Adam Scott ($29). Both Johnson and Dufner have been well backed, and a look at the configuration of the Kiawah Island Course would explain why. It is long (7700 + yards), and being a coastal course, the wind will play a big factor, so it will suit long, accurate hitters. Plenty of others fit into that category as well, and if the predicted winds crop up on Thursday and Friday, then anything could happen as we saw in the British Open. This will be the first time that the PGA has been played on the South Carolina course, so it is a bit difficult to draw any conclusions from previous winners, especially with Keegan Bradley winning it last year at his first start in a Major.

Adam Scott is the $2.80 favourite to be the Top Aussie ahead of Jason Day ($5.50), Geoff Ogilvy ($7.00) and John Senden ($7.50). Both Oglivy and Senden have been the best backed to be the Top Aussie, with punters steering away from Scott even though he has been backed to win the tournament.

NASCAR

Jeff Gordon, a $10 chance, won a shortened race at Pocono last weekend, the sixth time he had won there. Kasey Kahne ran second ahead of Martin Truex, while title favourite Jimmie Johnson finished well back in 14th place after getting into trouble when there was a restart. Johnson remains at $3.50 to win the title ahead of Dale Earnhardt at $7.50 and Tony Stewart at $8.00.

This week will see racing at Watkins Glen, one of only two road races on the calendar. Watkins Glen is a natural terrain road course, and Australian Marcos Ambrose looks very hard to beat. Ambrose is the $3.50 favourite, and while that may seem short by NASCAR standards, his record suggests that he should be even shorter. He has only raced at The Glen four times, being placed in 2008, 2009 and 2010 before winning last year. The road races are tailor made for Ambrose following on from his V8 career. Brad Keslowski was second last year and is a $11 pop this year, while Kyle Busch was placed third, and is also at $11. Busch did win back in 2009 so, so must be given a real chance. 

SOCCER

The opening round of the English Premier League is only a week away, and normally we would be talking about which one of the ‘Big Three’ would win the title, but this year it is the ‘Big Four’. Man City have entered the elite group after winning last year, and have been installed as the $2.00 favourite with Tattsbet to repeat the does again. Cross-town rivals Man United are close behind at $3.00, followed by Chelsea ($6.25) and Arsenal ($15.00). Surprisingly there hasn’t been a lot of interest shown in Man City with punters preferring Man Utd and Chelsea. A lot of the outsiders have had backing at huge odds, but it is hard to justify any sort of case for those winning. The first round of matches are open, with early money for Fulham ($1.75) to beat Norwich and Man Utd ($1.85) to beat Everton 

RUGBY UNION 

The Chiefs proved far too good for the Sharks in the final of the Super Rugby, and while they went into the match at $1.30, Tattsbet found plenty of support for the Sharks. The Sharks were backed from an opening $3.80 to start at $3.40, with some of the larger bets being $4000 at $3.60 and $3000 at 3.50. The season provided plenty of upsets, with both finalists being surprise winners from the semi’s, but the Chiefs were far too good.

There is now a small break before the Rugby Championship starts, and for those who are unaware of what that is about, it is the ‘Tri Nations’ with Argentina thrown in. That is going to make it very difficult with travelling the key component, and the All Blacks are warm $1.48 favourites.

The outright betting reflects that the World Champion All Blacks are, without question, the team to beat. They easily have the best squad depth of all four teams, which is a huge factor given most players from NZ/AUS/SAF are at the end of an extremely long and arduous Super Rugby campaign. Their last loss was back during the 2011 Tri Nations campaign, when they most definitely had one eye on the World Cup.

Australia ($4.50)have to hit the ground running with their first match at home against the New Zealand, and if they are to make an impact on this tournament, it will need to be a win. A loss here, coupled with a susceptible squad prone to injuries, could see a tough campaign for the Wallabies.

South Africa ($4.75) do have the easiest of draws from the ‘Big 3’, playing Argentina home and away first up.

Argentina may take some time to gel, their first choice team not having played together in almost a year, as they rested their top 20 players for the June Internationals. Most of their top players, unlike their NZ/AUS/SAF counterparts, have had 3 months rest since the European season concluded. They won’t win the tournament, but if they can gel quickly, and with Graham Henry now a ‘technical consultant’ for the Pumas, we will be looking for them to be competitive at least, and will be getting big starts in most matches. This will be Argentina’s first ever tournament outside the World Cup, and they will be keen to ensure that they don’t cop any beltings.