This week will be the last of the split rounds for the AFL, and it would be fair to say that punters have been on the right side of the split rounds so far with 11 of the 12 favourites winning. On face value, it does appear as though all 6 might win again this week with the ‘top price’ for a favourite being $1.28 Fremantle to beat the Roos, and the multi (Thursday prices) for all 6 this week was $2.41 based on those prices.
Having so many ‘shorties’ this week has detracted a little bit from the singles business, but we have noticed a marked increase in multi action. Some very high lines have been set and it is worth pointing out that only 6 of the 12 fav’s for the last two weeks have covered their lines. Hawthorn were under pressure for most of their match against Carlton last week, and while they should beat the West Coast on Friday night, the Eagles get several players back and are not far from being full strength. For that reason we have been happy to accommodate punters on the Hawks at -30.5.
Mark Neeld was sacked by Melbourne this week, and the Demons have firmed from $6.75 into $6.25 following on from that. There has been support for them with 38.5 points start against St Kilda, but this will be a real test for those who subscribe to the theory that a new coach will see a different result.
Brisbane have named a near full strength side for the first time this year when they take on Geelong at the Gabba on Sunday, and they are another side who we think can cover the big start they are receiving. The line has been set at 32.5, and Brisbane have shown they can be competitive in patches this year, and the Cats might be missing Jimmy Bartel.
There are only 4 NRL games this weekend, and as is usually the case before an Origin match, things have been quiet. Similar to the AFL there has been plenty of action through multis with all favourites tightening up a little since the markets went up on Tuesday. The best backed of those sides has been the Gold Coast, $1.40 into $1.36, who take on Melbourne who will be missing several big names. It is a big match for the Titans as they are expected to win, and they are currently in a log-jam of sides fighting for a finals berth. The Titans are $1.72 to make the 8, and are $1.70 to be the best finish for the Queensland sides with the Cowboys ($4.00) and Broncos ($4.25) now lengthy odds to see finals action. The Titans have been one of the surprise packets this year as they were the $7.00 bolter to win the Qld group when betting opened before the season started.
The result from Origin1 seems to have been completely overlooked in the countdown to Origin 2 with Queensland now into $1.52, and punters seem happy to take that. They have made a couple of changes, but suspension and injury has hit the Blues, who have been forced to make several changes, although the side named still seems capable of wrapping up the series. Punters haven’t seen it the same way however as the Blues have drifted from an opening $2.20 out to $2.60 already, and the signs are there that that price may be on the way out again. Darius Boyd and Greg Inglis are the $10.00 co-favourites to be the first try scorer while Jonathon Thurston is the $6.00 favourite to be the player of the match. Thurston had a shocker in Origin 1 when injured, but showed last weekend he was over his groin injury. Early betting has seen 50% of the money placed on Thurston while Corey Parker has been well backed at $9.00. Parker was one of Qld’s best in game 1 playing from the bench and will be in the starting side this time.
Englishman Justin Rose was well in the betting at $26 to win the US Open last week, but out of all of the players around that price, he was the best result for Tattsbet. Tiger Woods started favourite at $7.50, and although he did attract the normal amount of support that you would expect, the two best backed players to beat him were Phil Mickelson ($26-$19) and Jason Day ($51-$34), so that only added to the excitement of the last round when both of those players looked likely to win at different stages. It was unfortunate to see Day just fall short again, but he is still only 25, so hopefully his first Major win isn’t too far away. Day is $26 to win the British Open, and there is early money for him along with Mickelson at $26, while Tiger is again top pick at $6.50.
Fresh from his US Open victory, Rose is the $15 equal favourite to win the Travelers Championship in Connecticut this week, and punters don’t want a bar of him! We quite often see this type of thing when a golfer backs up the next week after winning a major. The irony of it all is that on a normal week, the player who won the previous week’s event is always one of the best supported. Hunter Mahan wasn’t far away in the Open and he shares top billing with Rose at $15, and he is followed by Lee Westwood ($17) and Jason Duffner at $21. Bubba Watson ($23) won this event in 2010 and Fredrik Jacobson ($41) won the following year, and there is money for both as there is also for last year’s winner, Aussie Marc Leishman at $41.
The European Tour returns this week with the BMW International Open due to be played in Munich, Germany, and it has also drawn together a really good field. Henrik Stenson finished 4 shots ahead of Sergio Garcia in the US Open and that duo have opened as $15 equal favourites. Stenson won back in 2006, and while most of the winners from the last 10 years will be in the field, there has been some early support for Martin Kaymer ($21) to find his way back into the winners circle. Kaymer’s form has slipped over the last 18 months or so but he did win here in 2008, the only German to win the BMW on home soil. There are 6 Australians in the field with the shortest of those being Brett Rumford ($41) who recently won back to back events on the European Tour.
The ACT Brumbies landed a mini plunge when beating the touring British and Irish Lions on Tuesday night in Canberra, but most would be away that the BIL side that took the park was nothing like the one that will play in Saturday night’s first test against the Wallabies. To be fair, the Brumbies also ‘blooded’ some debutant’s, but there were plenty who thought they could win with the Brumbies into $4.25 at kick-off after opening at $5.50. The line was a big mover as well, into 10.5 after opening at +15.5 to the home team.
So to the First Test. We have all had a decent look at the visitors, and they are a very impressive outfit. They have picked up some injuries on the way, but as a whole they would have derived a lot of benefit from the tour games while the Wallabies haven’t played at all. Perhaps that might be something to look at the next time the Lions tour here?
Since the series betting first opened the price for the Lions has continued to collapse, and they are into $1.50 to win the series (inform $1.75), the Wallabies are out to $2.70 (from 2.15) with a drawn series at $23. While the favourite way in the correct score for the series market is the Lions to win 2-1, most of the money is for them to have a clean sweep (3-0) at $3.00, in from an opening $4.00. The betting on the first test has seen a similar trend with the Lions firming from an opening quote of $1.67 into $1.52 a couple of days out. All of the previous records between these two sides are really that relevant when you consider the Lions only come to Australia every 12 years, but it has been interesting to see the distinct lack of early interest in the Wallabies who have drifted from $2.20 out to $2.55. The side looks ok on paper, but there are a couple of players returning from injury, and they will be asked to take on a side that is match fit. Although playing on home soil, it is going to be a difficult assignment, and all the signs point towards the visitors drawing first blood.
Wimbledon or “The Championships” are already upon us after a brief two week grass court lead-up. Punters and players alike have to adjust to the change in surface, but it’s a familiar scene at the top of the betting. On the Men’s side, Novak Djokovic is a $2.75 favourite to reclaim the title he won in 2011. Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal share the second line of betting at $4.50, with the latter attracting the most support at Tattsbet following his success at Roland Garros. Defending champion Roger Federer ($5.50) rounds out the Men’s top 4 in his attempt to win a record-setting eighth Wimbledon crown. Australia’s hopes look thin, with veteran Lleyton Hewitt at $126 and troubled Bernard Tomic at $151.
Speaking of history, not since the heyday of Steffi Graf in the late 1980’s have we seen a shorter priced favourite for the women’s title. Fresh of her French Open win, Serena Williams is a prohibitive $1.52 (from $1.63) favourite to win her sixth Slam title on the grass. And believe it or not, Williams has been heavily supported and is Tattsbet’s worst result. Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova share the second line of betting at $7. Winner from 2011, Petra Kvitova is next in line at 13.00. It’s $34-the-field thereafter with Sam Stosur at $51.
Mark Webber has an imposing record in the British Grand Prix, and there is plenty to say that he can improve on that record this week. Webber is on the third line of betting at $8.00, and while his recent form has been below par, he has wins at Silverstone in 2012 and 2010, as well as placing’s in both 2011 and 2009. Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel is the $2.45 favourite, and with Vettel recently signing on until the end of 2015, it should be all systems go. He is coming off an easy win in Montreal, and looks back to his best. Fernando Alonso (winner 2006) is second elect at $3.75, and the only other driver to attract any real support early in the betting is Lewis Hamilton ($8.00), who like Alonso is a previous winner of the British GP.
Sonoma Raceway hosts the Nascars this week, and Aussie Marcus Ambrose ($5.50 fav) gets a track to suit and must be considered a strong chance. This race is one of five held on a ‘road’ course for the season, and Ambrose is one of those right at home in those conditions, and punters have done there form as he has been extremely well backed. Jimmie Johnson seems to be able to cope with any shape of track, and he is the second pick at $7.00, just ahead of Tony Stewart and Cal Edwards, both at $8.00. Clint Bowyer ($12) won here last year, and both Johnson (2010) and Edwards (2005) are previous winners.
The last round of the ANZ Championship will be played this weekend, and we may get a sneak preview of the Grand Final on Sunday. The Adelaide Thunderbirds have wrapped up the minor premiership and are now $2.45 to win the title ahead of the Queensland Firebirds, and these two sides meet on Sunday as part of the season proper. The Firebirds look certain to finish second as their percentage is superior to the Vixens and Magic who are chasing them, and the way the games fall this week the final four positions are unlikely to change. The Thunderbirds have been the most consistent side in the competition this year and deserve to be favourites, while the form of the Vixens ($4.10) has slipped over the last few weeks. After a terrible start to the season the Magic ($5.00) have found form at the right end of the season but will more than likely have to travel to Adelaide for their first final, and a loss would see them exit the series. This week’s games will open at noon on Saturday.
Tattsbet will be offering fixed odds on two greyhound features this week; the Stayers Challenge at Albion Park on Thursday night, and the Traralgon Cup on Friday night.
The stayers race will see three Queensland stayers line up against Tasmanian champ Bell Haven, and it is the visitor who has been installed as the $1.55 favourite. Bell Haven was an unlucky second in the Gold Cup last week and that was after a narrow second in the Sandown Cup behind Irma Bale. The four dog field will suit as he gets back and usually finds trouble in a full field. The best of the locals looks to be youngster Mrs Thursday ($3.00) who finished just behind Bell Haven in third place last week.
The Traralgon Cup has drawn together a fantastic field and the Kel Greenough trained Paw Licking is the $1.80 favourite after leading all of the way in his heat. On that occasion Paw Licking ran 29.25, only a length outside the record, after showing blistering pace early. There are several fast beginners in the final so he will need to step away cleanly from box 5. General Destini ($5.00) has drawn well in box 2 and has some fast recent wins in town while NSW visitor Transcend Time ($9.00) could be the big improver after having his first Victorian start in his heat.