Well NSW are on track to win an Origin series after Game One in Sydney. The Blues are now $1.40 to win one of the 2 remaining matches and win the series with Queensland out to $3.00.
Betting was up compared to the corresponding match last year, and there was a massive ‘go’ for QLD in the hours leading up to the start. After touching $2.05 on Wednesday morning, punters were happy to take $1.97 for a Maroons win as they ran onto the park, but NSW held on to favouritism at $1.87. Plenty of players were backed to be the first try scorer with the bad results being Greg Inglis ($8.50) and Darius Boyd ($11), and eventual winner Jarryd Hayne was also well in commission at $13. The Player of the Match went to Luke Lewis, and he was the first player backed in the opening market. Lewis opened at $31 and was into $13 very quickly, bet eased out to $15 on game day. Robbie Farrah was the player to attract the most support and started the $6.00 favourite.
Not surprisingly there was little or no action on this week’s NRL games before Origin One, and they will be quiet until it is known how the Origin players have pulled up. It does appear as though Robbie Farrah will be out of the Tigers side, and in that game Penrith have come from $1.42 to be $1.25 with the Tigers at $4.00. It was pretty obvious something was wrong with Jonathon Thurston, and it is a groin injury as has been reported, then he must be in doubt Saturday night’s clash with the Bulldogs. The Cowboys were $2.00 early in the week but are now $2.40 with the Bulldogs at $1.57. The Cowboys are under immense pressure at the moment and a teetering on the brink of missing the finals on current form.
Melbourne are at home to Cronulla, and are warm $1.30 favourites. At this stage the Storm look as though they will have all Origin players in whereas Cronulla will be without Paul Gallen, but their form has been good this year when Gallen has been out. They are definitely capable of getting within the 8 point line.
The mercurial Gary Ablett has shortened up again to win the Brownlow Medal after another impressive performance last week. Ablett is now into $3.25, and if he stays in current form and the Suns can win a few more games, then he can only get shorter. Jobe Watson is second pick at $7.00 ahead of Paddy Dangerfield at $9.00. There have been a lot of major moves outside of the favourites over the last few weeks including Michael Barlow ($67-$17) and Stevie Johnson, $26 into $11 but back out to $17. Big question with Stevie J is can he keep out of trouble?
There are only 7 AFL matches with the split round this week, and 2 of those are one sided. In each of those 2 games the ‘home’ sides, GWS and Melbourne are receiving big starts, 85 and 74 respectively. Weather will be a telling factor on where those lines close, but on what we have seen so far this season the start given to the Giants seems a safer bet than the Demons.
Carlton will more than likely get Chris Judd and Eddie Betts back for Friday night’s blockbuster against Essendon, and punters have reacted to that. The Blues opened at $2.05 but have firmed into $2.00, and may start even shorter. There has also been a significant move for Sydney to beat Adelaide on Saturday evening. The Swans opened at $1.58 but quickly firmed to $1.55 on the back of several bets including one of $7000. The Swans are into $5.75 to win back to back premierships, and the good news for their supporters is that gun forward Kurt Tippett will make his debut for them after the bye.
The British & Irish Lions 125th year anniversary tour started in earnest last week in the sapping heat and humidity of Hong Kong, the BIL obliging in impressive fashion against the Barbarians 59-8.
They were in Perth on Wednesday for the first of 6 matches against Australian provincial sides, intertwined with the much anticipated 3 match series against the Wallabies. These warm up matches will give the provincial sides a chance to soften up a BIL side that has an excellent all time record of 15 wins in 20 matches against the Wallabies. That was the plan at least, but the Western Force fielded an under strength side which saw the opening line move from -26.5 out to -38.5. Even that wasn’t enough as the BIL prevailed 69-17.
Recent form though hasn’t been too kind for the BIL, having lost 7 of their last 9 test series, including a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Wallabies the last time they played here back in 2001. The one positive from that tour was the BIL winning the 1st test in Brisbane 29-13. They will go into that first test as favourites with the current betting having the BIL at $1.58 and the Wallabies $2.35
The old adage is a champion team will always beat a team of champions, and with a clash of nationalities and egos within the BIL squad, there is always the doubt on whether the team can totally gel. This is countered though by the horrendous injury list facing the Wallabies. With Pocock and Higginbotham the most noticeable omissions, the Wallabies will be missing the grunt that a BIL series victory requires. That is reflected in the series betting where BIL are $1.57, the Wallabies are $2.55, and a drawn series is $23.
Due to these injuries, the series betting looks about right and perhaps the BIL will edge their first series win since 1997.
There will only be 2 Super Rugby matches this week and the Western Force feature in one of those. They will be at home to the Waratahs, and with the Waratahs now out of the finals race, it is hard to predict what will happen. The Waratahs have opened the slightest of favourites, but it could go either way. The Waratahs did win 23-19 against the Force back in round 7, but as we said, they are now out of the finals.
The Rebels travel to Canberra, and with several players injured, they are $5.50 to score an upset. These 2 sides met in round 2 where the Brumbies won 30-13 in Melbourne, and the line has been set at -12.0 points. The Brumbies have plenty to play for and will be looking for a bonus point win, so there should be plenty of points on offer.
The Lyoness Open, formerly the Austrian Open, is the European Tour event this week, and as we are only a week out from the US Open, all of the big names are either playing on the US Tour or having the week off in preparation.
Bernd Weisberger won last year’s Lyonness Open shooting 19 under par, and on the back of a terrific 3rd in the Nordea Masters last week, he has been installed as the $7.50 favourite. Pablo Larrazabal is the second pick at $13 ahead of Thomas Bjorn ($19) and veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez at $21.There are 7 Australians in the field and the shortest of those is Richard Green ($61) who won this event in 2007.
Phil Mickelson is the TattsBet $14 favourite to win the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis beginning on Thursday. Like most others on the tour this year, Mickelson has been dogged by inconsistent form, and punters have been reticent to back him this week. The next two in the betting, Brandt Snedeker ($15) and Dustin Johnson ($19), have been very well backed, particularly Johnson who won this event last year. There are several previous winners and placegetters in the field, and most of those are at healthy prices, including John Merrick ($61) who finished second last year, Brian Gay ($81), a winner in 2009, Justin Leonard (wins in 2005 and 2008) who is at $126, and another multiple winner here in Davis Love 111 who is at the same quote. The shortest of the 11 man Aussie contingent is Matty Jones ($126) who played well to finish in a tie for 6th in The Memorial last week.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is favourite at $4.50 to win next week’s US Open, followed by Rory McIlroy ($13) and Adam Scott at $17.
Tony Stewart was an upset $26 winner in Dover last weekend when he defeated Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon.Denny Hamlin started from pole position but there was a massive plunge on Matt Kenseth who went into the race as the $5.00 favourite but finished unplaced.
This week the action moves to Pennsylvania at Pocono Raceway. As is normally the case, Jimmie Johnson is the opening $6.50 favourite, but this is one circuit where he has struggled over the last 6 years, failing to win a single race. Kyle Busch is on the second line of betting at $7.00, and he at least has a handful of placings here in that time. Hamlin ($7.00) showed by qualifying fastest last week that he is over a recent back fracture, and has wins here in 2009 and 2010.Now that Tony Stewart ($17) has found winning form again he must also be included in the chances as he won the other race conducted at Pocono in 2009.
The V8 supercars have returned from Austin, Texas, where Jamie Whincup dominated winning 3 of the 4 races. The cars and drivers have had a few weeks to recover from that expedition, and although they don't return to the race circuit until the weekend after this, TattsBet has opened race 1 of the Triple Crown series to be held in Darwin. Jamie Whincup is the opening $2.70 favourite and we will have a detailed look at the race in next week's newsletter.
After an all the way win in Monaco by Nico Roseberg 2 weeks ago, racing resumes from the standard 2 week break in Montreal this week. The Canadian Grand Prix is the one race that all teams look forward to racing in due to the location, and also the track. The Gilles-Villeneuve circuit hasn't been kind to Mark Webber however as he has failed to finish on the podium in any of his appearances there. The Aussie is $13 in the opening market but the betting for him hasn't been as frantic as it was 2 weeks ago in Monaco where he had won twice before.
Sebastian Vettel is the favourite at $3.50, but like Webber, Vettel hasn't met with a lot of success here. Vettel did qualify fastest the last 2 years but had to be content with 4th behind Lewis Hamilton last year, and a second behind Jenson Button in 2011. There has been early money for Hamilton at $5.00, but by far and away the most popular is Fernando Alonso at $3.50. Alonso has had a good season to date, is second favourite at $2.75 to win the Drivers Championship, and is a previous winner having won in 2006.
Tom Sykes has ridden himself into $1.75 to win the Superbike title on the back of winning both races at Donington Part 2 weeks back.Sykes (169) trails leader Sylvain Guintoli by just 4 points, but Guintoli is out to $3.50 with Sykes being the rider of the moment. Portimao in Portugal is the city to host this week's races, and Sykes is the $3.00 opening favourite ahead of Eugene Laverty ($3.50), Guintolli ($4.00) and Marco Melandri at $4.50. All riders would be quite familiar with the Portimao circuit as that is where a lot of the testing is done pre-season, but up until last year their place on the race calendar was always at the back end of the season. Sykes and Laverty won the 2 races last year, while Melandri and Carlos Checa the races held in 2011.