Gerard Daffy's TattsBet News - February 20

RUGBY LEAGUE


Rugby league trial results can quite often be misleading but there has been interest this week in a couple of the winners from last weekend. Penrith ($51), Gold Coast ($34) and Newcastle ($15) have all met with support this week, although the bets haven’t been big. The Roosters ($16-$14) and North Queensland ($11) have been the best backed of the favoured sides in that period with close to $5000 going on the Cowboys in the last 2 weeks and just short of that figure coming for the Roosters. Melbourne ($5.50) maintain their place at the head of the market, and the Storm will go into this week’s World Club Challenge as warm favourites to defeat Leeds. The Storm opened at $1.55 with the line at -4.5, and as expected most of the early action has been for them. They have travelled to England with a couple of injury concerns, and there must be a strong chance that the ‘big 3’ won’t play the entire game. Leeds have their own problems however as they have a handful of players on the sidelines after an indifferent start to the season. After being upstaged by Castleford in round 2, Leeds beat lowly Salford by 28 points last week, but the major concern would be that Leeds let in 28 points. Australian sides have won 3 of the last 5 WCC matches but Leeds thrashed Manly last year and also defeated Melbourne back in 2008.



RUGBY UNION


The Waratahs are expected to be the big improvers this year in Super Rugby, and with the Reds going down to the Brumbies last week, there is a lot at stake in this week’s match between the Reds and Waratahs. The Reds have opened at $1.80 with the Waratahs at $2.00, and while the Reds will be well and truly under the pump if they lose again, the Waratahs were terrible last year when expected to go close. They have a new coach and that might be all that is needed. Punters rate them again as betting has been split between the two sides in the early part of trading.

The Brumbies travel to Melbourne to take on the Rebels on Friday night, and while the Brumbies have won the last 3 matches between the two sides by an average of 18 points, the Rebels always seem to play above themselves when underdogs at home. They were patchy at best in their 7 point win over the Force last week, but it was a win, and we do expect there to be some support for them with 5 points start.

Apart from the Reds game, the other highlight of the round will be the Highlanders v Chiefs clash. Both sides have been rated highly (and backed) in title betting, and as the betting suggests this week (Highlanders $1.80, Chiefs $2.00), this could go either way. The Highlanders have only beaten the Chiefs once from their last six starts when playing at home, but most of their recent matches both home and away have been decided by 7 points or less. TattsBet will be betting live throughout the televised matches from New Zealand and Australia.



CRICKET


The domestic cricket season is winding down, and the Queensland Bulls have come from nowhere to make the final against Victoria.

The Bulls must now be a real chance to win all 3 finals, with one already in the trophy cabinet. They were all but ruled out of the Ryobi Cup a fortnight ago as too many results had to go their way, and were then a $21 chance. But the results did go their way, and they are now $2.45 to win next week’s final with Victoria at $1.55.

The Australia side begin a 4 test series against India in Chennai on Friday, and while they did win the 2004/05 series in India, historically it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground. Australia played a 2 test series in India during the 2010/11 season and lost both of those, and 2 days out from the first test nobody is sure of what side the Aussies will be taking in. There has been scattered support for Australia in the first test at $4.00, but that has been overshadowed by money for India at $2.25. The draw has been kept safe at $2.60, but if the pitch is prepared to take spin as has been suggested, then that price will get out closer to the start of the match. It has been a similar chain of events with the series betting where India are $1.65 ahead of a ‘drawn series’ at $4.00 with Australia the outsider at $4.50. There will be live betting throughout the first test.



AFL

The first round of NAB Cup games saw betting increase on the corresponding round last year, so it seems as though the AFL have had a torrid time off the field recently, at least the game apparently hasn't suffered on field.


For those looking to back a winner, one trend has emerged already. The sides playing in games 2 and 3 coming off the break have an advantage. Of the 6 matches played, those sides won 5 games, with the only blotch on the record being Collingwood’s last gasp win over Essendon. Betting in the run on the matches was quite popular although one punter received a shock when Geelong came from nearly 4 goals behind the Eagles with a few minutes to. The client in question placed $5000 on the Eagles at $1.04 only to see the Cats dominate in those final 3 minutes to win. Collingwood have been the biggest mover to win the Cup, now $5.00 after being double that last week, while Hawthorn are slight favourites at $4.50. North Melbourne have firmed from $15 into $11 and are expected to come away with 2 wins in their group on Friday night.



GOLF


The WGC Accenture Matchplay will be played in Arizona this week, and as is always the case with a knockout format, the betting is wide open.

To win this Matchplay, a player virtually goes through six ‘sudden death’ pairings, and Tiger Woods is the opening $11 favourite. This will be the 5th running at the Ritz Carlton GC at Dove Mountain, and Tiger has failed here three times from four starts after having previously having won it three times. Rory McIlroy was runner up to Hunter Mahan last year and is the second choice at $13 ahead of Luke Donald ($17) who won in 2011. Tiger has been the best backed in early trading along with Charl Schwartzel ($18) and Adam Scott ($23), but the format of matchplay means that the bigger golf punters tend to keep away when they are on. Mahan looks to be value at $23 considering his win last year, and Martin Kaymer ($34) could be another to look out for as he was second to Luke Donald in 2011 and has shown good form on desert course over the last 2 years.



HARNESS RACING


The 5 heats of the Inter Dominion have been run and won, and while The Gold Chance was run out in a 3 horse heat in New Zealand, all of the other main hopes will be there in the final on Sunday week at Menangle. Terror To Love won that 3 horse race in NZ and has maintained his place at the head of betting, now $3.60 after the heats. The barrier draw will not be conducted until next week, and will be crucial to the betting markets. For those who are unaware, the 14 horse final means that there will be a second line of 4 runners, which is well away from the ‘norm’ of all horses being off the front row at Menangle. The big field means that the subsequent barrier draw is going to be very, very important. WA star Im Themightyquinn was impressive in Perth, and while there are still question marks over him in the Eastern states at the top level, he is the defending champion after having won in Perth last year. Im Themightyquinn is now equal second favourite with Mah Sish at $4.20, and he was easily the best backed runner ($7.00-$4.80) leading in to the heats. Caribbean Blaster is next in line at $6.00 and it is interesting to note that the Victorian will contest the Geelong Cup this Saturday night. There has been money for Lincoln Royal this week ($26-$21) along with Mach Alert ($51-$31), but it does appear as though the bigger harness punters will leave the race alone until after the barrier draw.



NBL

On form, Melbourne looked like one of just a couple of teams in the NBL capable of knocking off the ever-consistent Perth Wildcats after winning eight of its last ten. But even after holding a nine-point lead in the third quarter last Sunday, the Tigers couldn’t stop the Wildcats from charging home on the back of some amazing outside shooting in the final term, as Perth ran out 83-79 winners.

The teams meet again this Thursday night, but this time it’s in front of 10,000 screaming Sandgropers at Perth Arena. After losing their first match in their new stadium to Adelaide in early November, the ‘Cats have been unstoppable since then in front of the Perth faithful winning ten straight there by an average of 16 points. Melbourne was one of those victims going down 73-58 last month, but they’ll take a certain level of confidence from their most recent loss as they pushed Perth all the way. The Tigers are in third for the moment, but every match this weekend has an influence on the finals make-up, so they can’t afford to drop too many on the run home. Perth traditionally makes life tough for opposition point guards with its pressing defence which is difficult to break up in a rowdy arena, so Melbourne will need to find other avenues to the basket if star ball-handler Jonny Flynn is kept quiet, but it’s hard to see them being able to keep up with the home side over four quarters.



NASCAR

The official start of the motor sport season starts this weekend with the running of the time honoured Daytona 500, and Danica Patrick has ensured that the race will be in the headlines for the week by securing pole position. Patrick will be the only female in the race, and although she is still a $51 chance, there are a few punters who think she can go all of the way. Nascar races in general are lotteries but Daytona traditionally is the lottery of all lotteries with positions quite often changing in the last couple of laps. Trevor Bayne won it in 2011 as one of the outsiders, and he is $41 to repeat the dose this year. Matt Kenseth won last year, and also won in 2009, so knows what is required. Kenseth is $12 in the opening market behind Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jnr, all at $11. Harvick (2007) and Earnhardt Jnr (2004) are also previous winners and expected to be well supported this week, but as we have seen in the past, you only need one ounce of luck to claim victory, and that is the main reason why the betting is so open.



SUPERBIKES


The Superbike season starts this week with 2 races to be held at Phillip Island, and with the retirement of Max Biaggi, the title is expected to fought out between Marco Melandri ($3.00) and Tom Sykes ($3.50).

While that duo will head the markets for this week’s races before the trial sessions, a look back through the results of the last couple of seasons point towards veteran Carlos Checa being hardest to beat. Checa won race 2 last year after winning both races in 2011, and those 2 wins came off the back of being the fastest qualifier. The testing conducted at the Island in wet conditions earlier this week saw Checa the fastest again, so he could well be on track to add to his imposing record that he has to the start of each season. Melandri finished second behind Biaggi in race I here last year, and he was a rapid improver as the season progressed, while Sykes qualified fastest in both races last year only to come away with one third placing. Everything points towards this being a good weekend of bike racing.



IRONMAN/IRONWOMAN


Noosa Heads will host the final round of the Ironman/Woman for this season this Sunday, and while Shannon Eckstein is nearly unbeatable to win the mens title, the womens title is down to the last race. Courtney Hancock atoned for an unlucky defeat the previous week to win at Coolum last Sunday, and is the $2.75 favourite to win this week. Brodie Moir has dropped off the pace after winning the first couple of events this season, and while she has been favourite the last 4 races, she will be the third pick this week at $4.50. Naomi Flood ($3.00) holds an 8 point lead over Hancock in the race for the title, and looms as the main danger to Hancock this week. Hayley Bateup grabbed another podium finish in the choppy conditions at Coolum, and with the surf likely to be similar this week at Noosa, the veteran must be given a big chance of an upset at $8.00.

Eckstein only has to finish in the top 8 this week to win the mens title, and while that should happen, you have to wonder if he will just ‘coast’ to get the necessary points. That has made this event difficult to assess, but Eckstein himself has said that he will be going for a win, so must be favourite at $2.00. Ali Day finished at the tail of the field last week, and after being favourite in the first 2 races of the season is now a $5.00 chance this week. Ky Hurst has found some form over the last 2 rounds and showed last week that he is suited by the conditions that they are likely to face this week, and is the second elect at $3.50.