The China Open is a European Tour co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour, and it will get under way at the Genzon Golf Club, Shenzhen, early Thursday morning.
This will be the first time the China Open will be played on the Genzon Course, so lining up the form will be difficult. The defending champion is Australian Brett Rumford, and he is an outsider at $67. Henrik Stenson makes one of his rare appearances for 2014 and is the $7.50 favourite ahead of Ian Poulter ($9.00) and Jason Dufner at $11. There has been early interest in Nicolas Colsaerts at $23, and he is another previous winner of the China Open having won in 2011, but is in form judging on his equal 2nd behind Lee Westwood in the Malaysian Open last week.
Matt Kuchar staged a remarkable performance to win the Heritage last week, but he will be missing from this weeks Zurich Classic on the PGA Tour. Many of the big names are also having the week off, and that has seen Justin Rose installed as the $13 favourite ahead Keegan Bradley ($19) and Rickie Fowler ($19). Billy Horschel won last year and there has been some interest in him at $41, with Charles Howell 111 another to be backed at the same quote. John Senden is the shortest of the Australian's at $34, and after a terrific performance in the Masters, he has been the best backed apart from the first 3 in the betting.
There were 3 different winners in the V8's at Winton 2 weeks ago, and with 4 races to be held in Pukekohe (Auckland), New Zealand, this week, the big question is how will the Kiwi drivers go? Last year there were 4 individual winners, Scott McLaughlin (1st V8 win), Jamie Whincup, Will Davison and Jason Bright, and those names, along with Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom, are at the head of proceedings for race 1. Jamie Whincup is the $3.50 fav ahead of Lowndes ($5.00) and Fabian Coulthard ($7.00), but the trend of early money for McLaughlin has continued as he is easily the most popular with TattsBet at $9.00. McLaughlin is one of 3 New Zealand drivers in the field, the others being Coulthard and Shane Van Gisbergen (($9.00), and with the interest shown in all 3, we have also opened up a market on Top Kiwi in race 1 with Coulthard $2.60, McLaughlin at $2.75 and Van Gisbergen at $2.80.
It appears as though the clock has been turned back with the dominance of Lewis Hamilton on the F1 circuit. Hamilton didn't win the first race of the season, that race in Melbourne went to team-mate Nico Rosberg, but Hamilton has won each subsequent race easily. The circuit moves to Europe in late May where the Spanish GP will be held, and Hamilton has opened at $1.60 ahead of Rosberg at $3.00 with Daniel Ricciardo the next in the betting at $13.
Marc Marquez has won both of the motoGP races held this season, the first in Qatar which was followed by 'The Americas' in Texas, and is $1.62 to win the Argentinian GP this week. It will be the first time in several years that a race will be held in South America, and the very first at this newly designed course, but on current form there appears to be no stopping Marquez. Jorge Lorenzo ($3.75) is still struggling to overcome injuries, but Marquez is also recovering from a broken leg. The only other rider considered any chance at all is Dani Pedrosa at $6.50.
It is a big weekend for motor racing enthusiasts as the Super Bikes will also be in action in Assen. Tom Sykes is into $1.55 to win the riders title after winning both races in Aragon a few week's back, and is the $2.25 favourite to win each race this week. Sykes is clearly back in form, and did perform well in Assen last year recording a win in the first race before finishing 2nd to Eugene Laverty in race 2. Laverty is the one to beat again this week and is a $4.00 chance ahead of Marco Melandri at $4.50, while Loris Baz ($8.00) buts be considered a threat after finishing 2nd to Sykes in both races in Aragon.
It seems as though all are of the opinion that the Wanderers and Roar will progress through from this week’s A League playoffs as both have been well backed early in the week.
The Wanderers will be at home to the Mariners, a rematch of last year’s Grand Final, and the Wanderers have firmed from $1.80 into $1.72. The pair have met 3 times this season with a win to each and a draw, so clearly there is nothing between them on form. The big minus for the Mariners is that they had to play in Japan on Wednesday night, certainly not an ideal preparation for a big game like this. The Wanderers have a huge fan base when playing at home, so those 2 factors would explain the solid support.
Melbourne Victory have not been beaten in the A League since losing in Brisbane in late March. The Roar have been an early mover from $1.75 into $1.67, and have had the advantage of a week off while Melbourne had to play in an elimination final last week as well as in the AFC Champions League. The last time Brisbane played at home they lost to the Mariners, but they are a proven finals side, and will know they heavy workload that the Victory have had to endure.
Alex Leapai will carry the hopes of Australia into Sunday morning’s World Heavyweight Unification bout against Wladimir Klitschko, and although his price may suggest that he will struggle, plenty of boxing critics from around the globe think he can deliver.
The story behind Leapai has been well documented, and although he has won 30 of his 37 fights, it was his win against the unbeaten Denis Boystov that elevated him up the rankings for a shot at the title. This has already been a huge betting fight for TattsBet with numerous 5 figure bets coming for Klitschko (including $11,000 and 2 of $10,000 last week) at various prices around the $1.12 mark. Such has been the groundswell of support for Leapai ($7.50 into $5.25) in the last 7 days that Klitschko seems certain to get out even further that the $1.15 that he currently is. Another big bet of $10,000 came through this morning (Thursday) for Klitschko at $1.15, and he remains at that quote.Leapai to win by KO has been $9.00 into $5.75, and there have been very few takers for the favourite to win by the same result, which has eased from $1.17 out to $1.25.
The Waratahs travel to Auckland to play the Blues on ANZAC Day, and although the Blues are returning home having lost all 5 of their ‘away’ matches, they have won all 3 matches at home this season. The Waratahs season on the road isn’t much better with only 1 win from 4 matches, and that was against the lowly Stormers, and are on a 7 match losing streak against Kiwi sides. All of that info points towards a Waratahs loss but they are the $1.80 favourites to win on Friday in what really is a must win match for both sides.
The Brumbies and the Chiefs will play in the game of the round in Canberra on Friday night, and the Brumbies have opened at $1.62 with the Chiefs at $2.30. Both of these sides lead their respective conferences, but the Chiefs have been struggling of late with only 1 win and 2 draws from their last 5 matches after getting the season off to a flying start. They have an appalling record in Canberra having only won once in 8 visits, but there has been twice as many bets for the Chiefs to win than there has been for the Brumbies.
Friday will see the 19th running of the annual ANZAC Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon, and the Magpies have won 10 of those with Essendon winning 8. Being favourite in these matches doesn’t mean a lot as the outsider has won several, and on the back of their 2nd loss in a row, Essendon go into Friday’s match as a drifter in the betting. The Bombers opened at $2.30, and although just over 50% of the bets have been for them, they are out to $2.40 as the larger bets have all been for Collingwood, now into $1.60. One thing punters do agree on is that the game will be close. Both sides have been backed 1-39, and the draw is also quite popular at $51. Scott Pendlebury is into 3rd favourite at $7.00 to win the Brownlow Medal, and he has been the bets supported to win the ANZAC Day Medal. Pendlebury has been $6.00 into $5.00 with the biggest bet being $1000, and his Magpie team-mate Dayne Beams is another firmer, into $7.00 from $8.00. The shortest of the Essendon players is Jobe Watson at $6.00 but he has been overshadowed by veteran Paul Chapman ($13), always reliable in big games. There are also ANZAC Medal markets available on the St Kilda v Brisbane and Fremantle v North Melbourne games with Nick Riewoldt the $4.50 favourite in New Zealand while Nathan Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands are the $6.00 equal favourites over in the West.
Brisbane haven’t won a game yet but there has been a solid push for them to beat St Kilda in Wellington. The Lions are starting to get a few players back from injury and have been $3.25 into $3.05, and they have also been backed with 17.5 points start.
Carlton landed a big plunge last week ($2.45-$2.00) when they defeated the Bulldogs, and punters think they will chalk up 2 wins in a row against the Eagles on Saturday night at Etihad. The Blues opened at $2.20 but have been a mover every day and are now into $2.08 with the Eagles out to $1.75.
Sundays clash between the top of the table Port Adelaide and Geelong has opinions divided. Betting opened on Monday with Geelong at $1.81 and Port at $2.00, and has remained that way all week. The bets are running 50/50, but there are no big ones to report yet, and that is understandable as it is a tough match to predict. The Cats are unbeaten but come off a shorter break, but Port played in an energy sapping game in Perth in their win over the Eagles. Geelong are the new second fav’s to win the flag at $5.00, but this game will have a big bearing on flag betting next week.
There will be 3 NRL matches on ANZAC Day, and with rep football on next week, there will be no football next Monday night. Our weekly update of how the favourites have been faring this season took another step in reverse last week with only 4 of the 8 winning, and only 1 of those was able to cover the line. That now means that from 56 matches, only 24 favourites have won (42.85%) while those that have covered the line sits at 11 from 56, a staggering 19.6%.
The number of upsets and the closeness of pricing in most games has seen betting a little quitter in the early part of this week with the biggest bet being $6000 for the Cowboys at $1.55 to beat Parramatta. The Cowboys were desperately unlucky last week, and although on their best form they should be able to handle the Eels, they did lose to the Warriors at home when short priced favourites.
The Warriors may be able to spring another surprise in Melbourne on ANZAC Day. The Kiwis have always had a good record against the Storm and there have been plenty of takes at $3.35 or with 8.5 points start. It would be fair to say that although Melbourne themselves were considered unlucky when going down to Canberra by 2 points, they are not the Storm side of the past few seasons.
The first match on Friday has been extremely busy with a good push for St George Illawarra who will be the outsiders against the Roosters. The jury is still out on the Roosters who are back into $5.00 favourites to win the title, and the Dragons have been flying under the radar with another big win last week against the Warriors. After touching $3.00, the Dragons are back into $2.90 but there has been a string of bets for them at the line of +7.5 which is now into $1.80.
$10,000 Argentina win World Cup at $5.50
$10,000 Klitchko at $1.15
$9000 Klitchko at $1.13
$6000 Melbourne Demons +44.5
$6000 North Queensland $1.55