There were plenty of people who that that Australia could turn around their fortunes in the current Ashes series as evidenced by the amount of bets on the Aussies to clean sweep the series 5-0. There were plenty of small bets placed on that option at $67 and $51 before the Gabba Test, and there was real interest in that option at $5.50 leading into the Perth Test. The 5-0 option is now $3.50 as we head to the Boxing Day Test where Australia are $1.80 to continue on their winning way. As was the case with Perth, all of the early money has been for Australia with the draw at $3.50 and England at $4.50. Even though the series is decided this is still shaping as a terrific betting game.
The Big Bash season gets under way before the 4th test, and there will be 4 games this weekend with the first being a local derby in Melbourne on Friday night. Melbourne Stars have been backed into outright fav’s at $5.50 to win the title but it is a really compressed market with Perth and the Sydney Thunder the 2 outsiders at $8.00. The Stars have been really well backed to kick of the tournament with a win on Friday night, firming from $1.80 into $1.70 early in the week, led up by bets of $4000 and $2500. The Big Bash will be shown on Channel 10 this year and we are expecting a surge in business during the matches. Last year’s competition threw up a few interesting statistics. Outsiders dominated the overall results, and there was also a shift away from the theory that the side batting first had the big advantage. Of the 35 matches played, 16 (45%) were won by the side batting first! Once the first batting side gets in and begins to pile on runs they do firm up in betting very quickly, so the records say to bet against them.
The Sydney to Hobart yacht race gets under way on Boxing Day, and even though that is still nearly a week away, there has been a lot more interest than in recent years.
Wild Oats and Perpetual Loyal head the market at $1.83 and $2.15 respectively, and while that duo are clearly the yachts to beat, both have had their share of problems leading up to this point in time. Wild Oats won the Big Boat Challenge around Sydney Harbour last week and that sparked interest in her including bets of $4500 at $1.80 and $2000 at $1.75. Perpetual Loyal touched $2.25 but then it was backed, although they have lost a couple of crew members to illness and are waiting for a sail to turn up from the USA. That sail is not expected to arrive until Christmas Eve, so that may also interfere with preparations. Ragamuffin 100 is next in line at $7.50, while we continue to see money for Beau Geste ($31-$23) and Wild Thing at $31. Obviously the conditions will be a major factor in how the race is run and won, and the spread of money and bets would suggest that punters think that there are at least 7 real hopes.
With the NBL on a Christmas recess and the Perth Wildcats well and truly in charge, we’ll take a look this week at the NBA which is a quarter of the way through its regular season. The Los Angeles Lakers somehow scrapped their way to a 10-9 record to start the NBA season without their main man, Kobe Bryant, who was recovering from surgery on his left Achilles tendon. The team has looked disjointed at times since the 35-year-old returned to the court and dropped its first three games with him back in uniform. It hasn’t helped the Lakers’ cause that the team’s three point guards are all out with injuries at the moment, and in the super-tough Western Conference, LA won’t want to fall too far behind the pack before it gets its troops back on court.
They’ll get a massive test on Saturday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second of ESPN’s two live games. The T-Wolves have arguably the league’s form player in the shape of big man Kevin Love but they haven’t been able to get the job done on the road this season. In saying that, Minnesota dominated the teams’ previous match-up in California. The Lakers are vulnerable while they don’t have a regular ball-handler, and the Wolves could well get an important away win in this one.
TattsBet has opened the markets up for the Gold Coast Magic Millions on January 11, and Gai Waterhouse has the favourites to win both the 2yo and 3yo races.
Betting on both races may well be reshaped after Thursday’s meeting at Wyong as the 3yo Millions favourite Sweet Idea resumes, and a couple of chances in the 2yo will also be racing. Sweet Idea is $4.20 for the race at the Gold Coast, and she was the runner-up behind Real Surreal in the 2yo Millions last January. Aussies Love Sport is second elect at $5.50 with local hope Missy Longstocking next in line at $7.00. She finished 3rd behind Real Surreal and looks hard to beat.
Gai has several runners nominated for the 2yo Millions and Echo Gal heads the market at $4.60 after an impressive debut last week. Oakleigh Gal has been backed at the opening quote of $5.50 after winning in Brisbane last Saturday, and that was on the back of a big win during the Flemington Spring Carnival. One to keep an eye on is another of the Waterhouse runners in Fighting Sun. After opening at $41, a flurry of bets saw the price cut to $26. Fighting Sun was an impressive trial winner on a heavy track this week but is yet to race, so the betting move to win the Millions would suggest he will be hard to hold out when making his debut.
Early fixed odds markets are open on the heats of the Sale Cup on Wednesday night and also the Hobart 1000 which will be held on Thursday night.
All eyes at Sale will be on the aptly named Phenomenal trained by Jason Thompson. Lauded as one of the fastest dogs in the country, Phenomenal has won both starts since stepping up to the middle distances. He is $1.50 in the opening market for the first heat of the Sale Cup, and barring accidents should make his way through to the final which will be held on Boxing Night.
Thompson will also provide the odds on favourite to win the Hobart 1000 after his speedster Black Magic Opal broke the Hobart record in the heat. He has broken several records recently either side of his win in the Melbourne Cup. Black Magic Opal has been installed as the $1.60 favourite after drawing out in box 8 but he does have 2 noted brilliant beginners directly inside him in Paw Licking(Box 7-$6.50) and Ronan Izmir (Box 6-$7.50), which is also trained by the Victorian mentor.
For A Reason showed what he was capable of with an emphatic win in the Victoria Cup at Melton last Thursday night, but remains a $15 chance to win the Interdominion in 2014. That is the same quote that For A Reason was at Melton, and he was pretty much unwanted by punters who preferred to stick with Beautide and Christen Me. Both of those put up enormous runs in the race coming from well back in the field and both have firmed marginally in Interdom betting. The Tasmanian Beautide is now top elect at $9.00 narrowly ahead of Christen Me at $10, with Smolda on the next line of betting at $10. We won’t see Beautide in either the Ballarat or Hunter Cup’s, but Christen Me is expected to line up in both after returning to NZ for a race at Alexandra Park on December 31.