Hawthorn and Fremantle have made their way through to this year’s AFL Grand Final, and as is usually the case in a GF, there is a ground swell of support for the underdogs. The betting has hardly moved since the market went up on Saturday night, with Hawthorn at $1.60 and Fremantle at $2.40. The ratio of bets running in favour of the Dockers is about 4-1, but the bigger bets are for the Hawks, including one taken on Wednesday of $24,000 at $1.60. The Hawthorn were the $4.50 favourites when betting opened this time last year, and were $4.75 when round 1 got under way. They didn’t really fluctuate that much during the season, reaching a high price of $5.75. The biggest bet for the Hawks in the pre-grand final book came in last week, which was one of $20,000 at $2.10. Fremantle opened at $13 last October, were the same price before round 1, touched $17, and opened for the Grand Final at $2.40. The biggest bet for the Dockers was $1000 at $13 before the season started, and they have always been one of the big winners in our premiership book.
Aside from the head to head and line books, the other popular bet types on the Grand Final are the margin bet, 1st goal scorer, and the Norm Smith Medal, the player voted best man on the field.
Although a lot of grand finals are blow-outs, punters are betting against that happening this year in the ‘margin 39.5’ market. Hawthorn 1-39 is the favourite way at $2.10, but most of the money (and individual bets) has been for Fremantle 1-39 at $2.75, and a draw, which has already firmed from $34 into $26, and looks likely to come in further. It is worth noting that the options that include a draw, or ‘any other result’, are paid out on the score at the end of normal time. In the AFL, that would mean we return to play again next week, but the NRL have Golden Point. The first goal scorer market has Buddy Franklin as the $8.00 favourite, but the early betting trends have been for Jarryd Roughead ($8.00), Matthew Pavlich ($9.00) and Jack Gunston at $11.
Betting on the Norm Smith Medal will also be LIVE throughout the game, and while Sam Mitchell and Nathan Fyfe are the top 2 in betting at $7.00, there have been a handful of players from both sides who have attracted big support as well. Fremantle’s Michael Barlow has led the charge this week, firming from $11-$9.00, Brad Sewell and Matthew Pavlich have both been $15-$13, while the ever reliable Luke Hodge is hotly pressing the 2 favourites at $8.00.
It is traditional now to open next year’s premiership book during the week of the Grand Final, and both Hawthorn and Fremantle share top billing at $5.00. We will have a closer look at it next week after we have a new premier.
Manly have had 2 tough games of football in a row, and league punters think that it will take its toll on the Sea Eagles this week against Souths. The Rabbitohs opened at $1.50 to beat Manly, and a constant stream of betting has seen that price gradually come down to $1.48 by Thursday. The line of -6.5 has also been a target, with 5 times as many bets for Souths conceding the start than for Manly receiving it. Manly have named Brett Stewart and Jamie Lyon in the side as both struggle with injuries, if either or both were to be ruled out, then Manly would drift markedly. There is also a train of thought that Stewart has played little football so couldn’t be at his best, but he is such an explosive player it is understandable if Manly run the risk and play him. Souths won both encounters earlier in the year with similar score-lines, 20-12 in round 7, and 22-10 in round 23 when they played in Gosford. Souths have had the benefit of a week off, but Manly are a proven finals side, and look the value.
The Roosters beat Newcastle 28-12 back in late July, but the Roosters would be very aware that the Knights have hit a purple patch of form at the right time. Normally the favourites are the sides to firm in betting on preliminary finals, but Newcastle have bucked the trend here, shortening into $3.45 after opening at $3.60. The line of +8.5 is also far more popular that the minus for the Roosters, and there is little doubt that although the Knights had been flying under the radar, they are now a realistic chance of going through to next week’s final. Although the outsiders to win the title at $8.00, Newcastle have also attracted more individual bets to go all the way than any of the other 3 sides left in the race.
The Intrust Super Cup final will be played on Sunday, and Easts Tigers go into the final as the $1.55 favourites after beating the Northern Pride 2 weeks ago. Pride themselves had been odds on for a couple of months, but after losing to the Tigers they were bundled out by the Mackay Cutters last week. The inclusion of Jason Taumalolo into the Cutters side was the big difference last week, so at least somebody benefitted out of the unlucky loss by North Queensland 2 weeks ago! The Cutters have their share of supporters at the $2.45, but the bigger bets have been for Easts. The game will be televised live on Channel 9 throughout Queensland, and TattsBet will be betting throughout the match.
With only 2 rounds of the Rugby Championship to go New Zealand are $1.18 to win the title with South Africa at $4.75. The pair will meet the weekend after this in what will be a mouth- watering encounter, but they both have to get through this week’s games first. South Africa host Australia in Cape Town, and the Wallabies have lost at their last 5 trips to Cape Town. The Wallabies won their last game in Perth against Argentina but it was far from impressive, and the betting suggests not too many rate them a chance this week. The game has been quite to date with South Africa favourites at $1.20, Australia at $4.50, and the line has been set at 11 points.
There has been a lot more interest shown in the second game where Argentina will be at home in La Plata to New Zealand. The Puma’s played extremely well on their recent tour to New Zealand and Australia, only going down by 1 point against the Wallabies. They have covered the line in their last 3 matches, and this week their line against the All Blacks has been set at 14.5. The corresponding match in La Plata last year saw Argentina get towelled up 54-15, but New Zealand will be without Richie McCaw for the rest of the Championship, and that is a big loss. New Zealand are into $1.11 after opening at $1.14, and TattsBet will be betting LIVE on this game. Kick-off is 8.40am Sunday morning.
The new format for the Ryobi Cup will be rolled out this Sunday when the NSW Blues will host the Tasmanian Tigers in game 1.
For those who are not aware of how the Ryobi Cup will work this year, here is a rundown. Starting from this weekend, all matches, including finals, will be completed by the end of October, with all matches being played in Sydney. They will be televised, and with very little major Aussie sport to compete with, it will be interesting to see how popular they are with punters. The Blues will be favourites against the Tigers, and they are the $4.00 top pick to win the Cup from the Victorian Bushrangers at $4.50. There has been no interest at all in the market to win the Cup but I suspect that would be due to the much earlier start.
The first Ashes Test in Brisbane is open for betting, and England are the slightest of favourites at $2.50 ahead of England at $2.60, with a draw at $3.40. There hasn’t been anything of note happen with that market yet, but the Australians are into $2.35 to win the Ashes Series after opening at $2.60. England are the easing $2.15 favourites with a drawn series at $5.25. In the ‘correct series score’ option, the early money has also been for Australia to win, with the 2-1 ($11) and 3-1 ($10) score-lines the most popular since betting opened.
Henrik Stenson not only won the Tour Championship last weekend but also the big $10m booty for also being the FedEx Cup winner. Although challenged in the first couple of rounds by Adam Scott, illness put paid to Scott’s chances on days 3 and 4, and Stenson went on to win. We were probably a little bit fortunate that Stenson went into the Tour Championship carry a wrist injury, and that definitely frightened a few of his followers away as drifted from $17 out to $19 before the tournament started. Normally the Swede is one of our worst results, but that wasn’t the case this time.
The PGA Tour has this week off before the 2013/14 season begins next week with the Frys.com Open, and the President’s Cup will also be on. The USA have firmed from $1.42 into $1.37 to win the Cup, and that will make it 5 wins in a row. The Internationals are $3.50 with the tie at $15.
The European Tour event this week is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, and this is shaping as one of the better betting events on the tour this year. German Martin Kaymer has been in the golfing wilderness for nearly 2 seasons now, but is the opening $19 favourite. Kaymer won here in 2010, but punters have given him a wide berth this week. Practically every player behind him down to $31 has been backed, with the most popular of those being Ross Fisher ($21), Ernie Els ($23), Charl Schwartzel ($23), Simon Dyson ($29) and Branden Grace at the same price. Grace won this event last year and Dyson was the 2009 winner, so it is interesting that only the bookies rate Kaymer’s chances highly as a previous winner.
Laguna Seca (USA) will host the Superbikes for the first time in 8 years this week, and although it seems Leon Haslam may be the only rider who was on the Superbikes in those days, a few of those competing this week have ridden there on the motoGP circuit. Eugene Laverty won both races 2 weeks ago in Istanbul, and that was after Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies won in Germany. The winners of races this year have been scattered amongst the top 6-7 rated riders, and in race 1 this week Sykes is the $3.25 favourite from Marco Melandri ($4.00), followed by Sylvain Guintoli ($5.00) and Laverty at $6.00. Melandri is one of those who has had experience around Laguna Seca with two 3rds (from 6 races) in motoGP races. Carlos Checa, Guintoli (2 unplaced), and Toni Elias are others who raced in the motoGP here but Melandri had by far and away the best form.
The motorbikes are also in action at Aragon in the north east of Spain this weekend, and a good betting duel exists between the 2 riders at the head of betting. Jorge Lorenzo is back in form having won the last 2 races in the UK and San Marino, but he is the second favourite again this week at $2.45. Lorenzo has met with good support at that quote but so has race favourite Marc Marquez at $1.95. Marques strung together 4 wins in a row before Lorenzo won the last 2 races, but Lorenzo (and Dani Pedrosa) were struggling with injuries through that period. Pedrosa defeated Lorenzo last year after being runner-up the 2 previous years behind the now retired Casey Stoner, and although Pedrosa is on the 3rd line of betting at $6.00, he hasn’t been given much chance by punters.
There has been a major reshuffle to the Sprint Cup Championship market following Matt Kenseth’s win in New Hampshire last week. Kenseth won that race as an $8.00 chance defeating Kyle Bush and Greg Biffle, and both Kenseth and Busch have overtaken Jimmie Johnson in the title betting. Johnson has eased out to $3.25, with Kenseth now $2.25 and Busch $2.75.
All 3 go into this week’s race in Dover with good exposed form around the circuit. Johnson won both races in 2009 and another last year, and is the opening favourite at $5.00. Kyle Busch had wins in 2008 and 2010, and is again well in the betting at $6.00 while Kenseth is another multiple winner in Dover including wins in 2006 and 2011. On recent form, he is hard to go past this week.