Gerard Daffy's TattsBet News - March 21

AFL

There will only be 2 matches of the opening round of AFL this week with the remainder played over Easter.

It is hard to assess how Essendon will perform against Adelaide on Friday night, and we didn’t really gain too much out of their NAB Cup form. The Crows opened at $1.48 and have been solidly backed at that quote, with punters also beginning to take -13.5. There has been a little support for Essendon at $2.65, but it does appear that they will probably drift out further.

Saturday’s big local derby between Fremantle and the West Coast has seen a dramatic shift in the market prices, but the move has been more to do with the expected team line-ups rather than money. The Dockers opened at $2.25 in the original market, but the Eagles are expected to be missing at least 6 of their starting side, so have eased out to $1.77 with Freo into $2.05. As far as next week’s games are concerned, Brisbane have been the big movers after winning the NAB Cup. There was little in the betting on this match with the Bulldogs when the prices went up 2 months ago, but Brisbane are now into $1.57 with the Dogs out to $2.40. A big bet of $9000 was put on the Lions this week at $1.60, and they are another side that are expected to firm even further.

The Lions have been popular this week to win the premiership, with close to $2000 in bets coming in at $41 following on from their 40 point win over Carlton. Fans have also been taking the $2.50 for the final 8 as well as $9.00 for a top 4 finish. The last four NAB Cup winners have gone on to finish in the top 4, so that must give the Lions followers some added confidence. Hawthorn have been the least popular of the ‘name’ sides in premiership betting over the last 3 weeks, now out to $4.75, while we continue to see money for the West Coast ($6.50), Collingwood ($7.00) and Geelong at $11.

In Brownlow betting, Trent Cotchin ($11) and Paddy Dangerfield ($13) are easily the most popular of those at the top of the betting charts, but Brisbane’s Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko have each been backed to win close to $100,000 on the back of some impressive NAB Cup form and are now both $101. 

RUGBY LEAGUE 

Melbourne Storm showed us again last week what a fantastic side they are by putting away the Cowboys, and have firmed again in premiership betting. The Storm are quite popular now at $4.00, and they lay claim to the biggest premiership bet this week of $5,000 at that quote. Souths are next in line at $5.50, and while there are lots of bets coming through for them, they are nothing like what we are seeing for the Storm. The other side to attract plenty of attention this week is the Gold Coast Titans, now into $26 (and that is being taken) after thrashing Canberra last week.

The Bulldogs travel to Melbourne on Thursday night in a re-match of last year’s Grand Final, but unfortunately for the Doggies they will still be without Ben Barba and company. That has seen the Bulldogs go into the game as $5.30 outsiders with Melbourne at $1.22, but there has been support for the Bulldogs with 11.5 points start.

The home form of the Titans has been a major concern over the past 2 seasons but they put 36 unanswered points on Canberra last week to temporarily put an end to that. They do face a stern test this week however when they will again be at home to Manly, but there is an air of confidence in early betting around the Titans even though they are the underdogs. The Titans have attracted just as many bets in head to head action at the $2.50, while the line of +4.5 points has been the best backed option on the game.

Brisbane have named Justin Hodges in the side to play the Roosters in Sydney, but given the extent of his hamstring injury it would be a major surprise if he was to take his place in the team. That has seen the Roosters installed at $1.60 with Brisbane at $2.35, and the line is 4.0 points. The Roosters got a scrappy victory in New Zealand last week while Brisbane comprehensively defeated the Dragons, so this one will be an interesting encounter. 

SUPER RUGBY 

The unbeaten Brumbies play in South Africa again this week and will go in as outsiders against the Stormers. Being the favourites in Super Rugby this season seems to have a curse associated with it as only 15 of the 28 fav’s to date have been able to win, and only 11 of those have covered the line. The Stormers are coming off a bye as well, and there is no reason at all why the Brumbies will defy the outsider status ($2.15) and continue on their winning way.

The Kings have surprised most and have been competitive in every match they have played, but they face the big acid test this week in Christchurch. The Kings take on a Crusaders side who returned to their winning ways last week, and the line has been set at 26.5, the highest since the competition went to 15 sides. Punters think that won’t be enough as most of the early support, especially through multis, is for the Crusaders to cover that line.

The Reds provided another shock last week when they were beaten by the Force, and while you would think that makes them vulnerable this week against the Bulls, punters disagree. James Horwill will be back for the Reds, and unfortunately for the Bulls they have a high injury toll after going down to the Crusaders by 22 points. The Reds are $1.44 or -5.0 points at the handicap, and that is where punters are pinning their faith.

As far as the title is concerned, the Chiefs are the $4.25 favourites ahead of the Crusaders and the Brumbies at $5.00 with the Stormers ($8.50) the only other side under $11. 

CRICKET

The last thing that the Australian cricket side needed was more bad news, but the reports coming out of Delhi have confirmed that the pitch in the 4th test will suit the spinners. The last time that a test was played in Delhi, Ravi Ashwin grabbed 9 wickets, and as he leads this series on 22 wickets, it is hard to see how the Aussies can avoid another defeat. A lot will depend on whether Michael Clarke can play or not, but even though it is probably likely that he will be ruled out, there has been some support for Australia at $5.75. The pre-game betting on this test has been well below the last test, but there India have been the best backed option at $1.70, while the draw is a big drifter from $3.00 out to $3.40.

The Sheffield Shield Final gets under way in Hobart on Friday, and although the Queensland Bulls are the outsiders to win the title at $2.90, the odds shouldn’t deter many. The Bulls have won the other 2 domestic comps this season, and seem to relish the underdog status. Betting on the final has been quiet in the early part of this week, and while there haven’t been any big bets of note, the number of bets coming through for each side has been split down the middle, suggesting that many think THE Bulls can again defy the odds.

GOLF

If form around a golf course means anything then Tiger Woods should win this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, but at $4.00 he does seem priced up to his very best. Tiger has won this event a staggering 7 times, but the one key point is that he won it last year which was his first win back on the PGA Tour from 3 years in the wilderness. In a very good betting event most think that Tiger will chalk up win number 8, with a lot of those followers also taking the $5.50 for him to win the upcoming Masters. Justin Rose is the second pick this week at $19, but outside of Woods the others to meet with support have been Sergio Garcia ($21), Graeme McDowell ($26-$23), Keegan Bradley ($34-$29) and Jason Duffner at $41. McDowell finished 2nd to Tiger last year so must be given a realistic chance of winning, and there has been a sprinkling for him in the Masters as well at $51.

NBL

There is a grand final preview this Friday night with Perth hosting New Zealand, but with the Breakers already having locked up the minor premiership and Perth entrenched in second spot, the real battle is going on for the other two playoff spots heading in to the final weekend of the regular season. Wollongong is already one win ahead of the chasing pack, and with a game against wooden spooners Adelaide at home on Saturday night, they should be able to lock up third place. The ball then lies in the Cairns Taipans’ court. If they knock off the Melbourne Tigers in the far north on Friday night, they will be heading to the post-season, but a loss opens up all sorts of permutations depending on who wins the other match-up that night between Sydney and Townsville. At this stage it’s not even worth looking at what could happen if the Tigers and Crocodiles both cause upsets away from home, because those teams then face off in Melbourne in the final match of the regular season on Sunday.

Cairns should fancy its chances against a Tigers side which has lost six on the trot, including a heartbreaking two-point loss against Townsville last weekend when Crocs guard Gary Ervin nailed the winning triple with just 15 seconds to play. After a mid-season slump, the Snakes have won four of their last five, including a surprise win at home over the Wildcats two weeks back. Not surprisingly, Melbourne’s freefall has coincided with the loss to injury of imports Jonny Flynn and Seth Scott. Scott returned for the Tigers’ road double last weekend but Flynn missed both games with a nagging foot problem, and if they can’t get their point guard back on the floor, the Taipans should be able to sneak home and look forward to the finals series. 

NASCAR

Kasey Kahne returned to the winners list in Bristol last week, and he wasn’t missed in the betting either. Kahne went in as one of the best backed at $8.00 ($11 given), and defeated Kyle Busch and Matt Brad Keselowski who started the $6.00 equal favourites.

This week’s Nascar event will be held at Fontana, California, with the running of the Auto Club 400. As is normally the case, Jimmie Johnson is the opening favourite at $7.00, but Kahne ($8.00) is expected to have support again, and he has won around this course before. Matt Kenseth ($8.00) looms as one of the main dangers as he has been in form and is a 3 time winner of this event, while Kevin Harvick ($15) must also be rated a chance following a win here in 2011 following a second in 2010. 

FORMULA 1 

Sebastian Vettel started a short priced favourite at $1.65 to win the Australian GP after he qualified fastest, but it was Kimi Raikkonen ($17) who eventually won the race in a Lotus. Raikkonen had a consistent season last year, but went into the race neglected by most, with Vettel (top odds $3.70), Alonso ($5.50), Webber ($9.00-$6.00) and Nico Roseberg ($29-$13) the standouts with punters.

A lot of the drivers had trouble with the new tyres last week, and Raikkonen was advantaged by the fact he only made 2 pit stops. Mark Webber qualified second fastest but was again in trouble with a slow start, but it has now been revealed that it was an electronic problem, and completely out of his hands. There is a quick back-up this week with the second race of the year in Malaysia, and Vettel is the opening favourite at $2.80 ahead of Fernando Alonso at $3.75, with Raikkonen at $5.00. Alonso won this race last year after Vettel had won it the previous 2 years, and that duo have been best backed since the prices opened, along with Webber at $10. The Australian finished second behind Vettel in Sepang back in 2011 and showed enough in the qualifying sessions last week to say that he will be in the mix-if he can get the start right! Oddly enough punters haven’t been overly keen to take the $5.00 for Raikkonen even though he won last week and has won here in the past, back in 2008. 

NETBALL

The ANZ Championship begins this week, and Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic are the $3.50 favourites to go back to back. No team has been able to defend the title in the 4 previous attempts, but the Magi have shown enough in the trials to warrant being the opening favs. Melbourne Vixens won the minor premiership last year before going down by 3 points to the Magic in the final, and while they have a host of new faces in their squad, they will be buoyed by the return of Sharelle McMahon who had last season off after having a baby. Adelaide Thunderbirds are the second elect at $4.00, and have been the best backed side of the top three in betting, while there has been a little bit of interest in the Queensland Firebirds at $6.00, but it does appear as though the Firebirds will be fielding a very inexperienced side. Betting will be available on every match each week and will open on Friday afternoons. 

HARNESS RACING 

A concept that has been successful overseas will be in place for the first time in Australia on Saturday night at Melton when the Great Southern Star will be run. Two trot heats with 11 starters will run over 1720 metres with a final of 10 runners to be held later on in the program. The first 3 in each heat, and the next fastest 4 horses, will make up the final which will be race 9 on the card. Punters will note that if they have a look at the Tatts web site or in your local TAB that race 9 will have no details in it, but they will be put into the system after the finalists are confirmed following race 4. From then on it will be business as usual on the race 9, the big final. Fixed odds are now open on both heats and the final itself, and will be open until the races begin on Saturday night. Vulcan has been impressive winning at his two most recent starts and is the $5.00 favourite ahead of Dreamit and I Didn’t Do It (both $6.00) along with Kiwi veteran Stig on the same line of betting.