GERARD DAFFY'S UBET NEWS – THURSDAY 18TH JANUARY
Dustin Johnson was runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last year, and both go around again this week. Johnson is clear favourite to win the event at $6.00 and Fleetwood is at $21. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are on the second line of betting at $9.00, and while Rory's winning form has never been that flash in the New Year, he has finished second in this event on four occasions. Outside of those mentioned, there has been a little push for Henrik Stenson ($19) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($41).
In the US, the 'Hawaiian swing' is finished, and La Quinita, California, will host the Career Builder Challenge, formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic.
Hudson Swafford won this event last year as an outsider, and is again well down the list at $51. Jon Rahm debuted at this course last year finishing 34th and was the opening $10 favourite ahead of Brian Harman at $15, who had a couple of good weeks in Hawaii. However one punter has outlaid $3,000 on Rahm today (Thursday), shortening him in to $8.00. Bill Haas is a two-time winner here and is rated a $41 chance, while Matt Jones is the shortest of a five man Aussie contingent, but is well down in the betting at $126.
Tip: CareerBuilder Challenge Jason Dufner ($31)
'Must win' might best sum up tonight's clash between the Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory. Both sit outside the top six and both were soundly beaten last week. Brisbane's football director, ex-Socceroo Craig Moore, also called it quits midweek, so the Roar could really use some good news. Unfortunately for the $1.93 favourites, punters firmly feel another loss is on the way and are backing the $3.60 outsiders the Glory almost to exclusion. From a volume of money perspective, there's also precious little interest in the Draw at $3.60.
Newcastle's also getting plenty of punter support ahead of their clash with the Wellington Phoenix. McDonald Jones Stadium has been a fortress for the high-flying Jets this season and the money trail says it'll remain so on Saturday, as all the early interest is in Newcastle at $1.68. A Jets-Sydney FC double at $2.18 is also a popular selection.
Tip: The Jets-Sydney double ($2.18)
The International Quad Series begins this weekend, and this will be the fourth of what has been proven to be a terrific series. Australia won the first two and New Zealand won the last one later in 2017. There were two series' conducted in 2017, the first in England/South Africa (same as this one), and the last was held in Australia and New Zealand. It comes as no surprise that England have finished third in all three and South Africa have finished in last position on each occasion. There has been a long rivalry between the Aussie Diamonds and the NZ Silver Ferns, and both have made several changes to their squads leading into this campaign. Australia will go in as clear favourites to win the series, but the Silver Ferns are more than capable of snaring the series as they showed us last year.
Market: Coming Soon
UBET opened the first Coleman Medal market for 2018 last week, and there has been plenty of early interest. The leading goal scorer numbers have been gradually dropping for close on 15 years now, and what that means is, no longer are legitimate full forwards the logical choices. Any player who spends some time up forward has the opportunity to lead the tally at the end of the home-and-away season. Having said that, West Coast's Josh Kennedy and Sydney's Lance Franklin head the market at $3.25, ahead of Ben Brown (North) at $6.00 and Joe Daniher (Essendon) at $9.00. Franklin and Daniher have been the two players to attract most of the early action but the good news for supporters of Kennedy, is that he has recovered from ankle surgery and should be ready for round 1. Outside of those players, we have seen money for Taylor Walker ($21), Eddie Betts ($26) and Jesse Hogan ($41).
As far as the Brownlow Medal is concerned, while there is a really good spread of money across about 30 players, there are three standouts, all at the top of the market. Dustin Martin is $5.00 to go back-to-back, but there is just as much money for Paddy Dangerfield at $5.50, and oddly a similar amount for Nathan Fyfe who has been $17 in to $13. You would think if Fyfe was to win, then Fremantle would need to improve vastly on what we saw last year?
Just like the AFL, we are beginning to see some serious action beginning to roll in on many of the 2018 'futures' markets. The Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys have both moved inwards over the Christmas period, the Roosters have been $5.50 in to $5.00 while the Cowboys have been $6.50 in to $5.50. Reigning premiers Melbourne Storm have had some backing at $6.50, but it appears as though punters will wait to see how the Storm shape up following the loss of Cooper Cronk to the Roosters. Of the rest, the 'money' sides are Brisbane ($11), Parramatta ($13) and Manly ($19).
One market that has created a lot of talk is which side will finish at the tail end of the ladder this year. It seems a toss-up between The Tigers at $3.25 and the Titans at $3.50, however the price assessors have the New Zealand Warriors right in contention at $7.50. It is strange that for several years now the Warriors have always been expected to be the big improvers and a threat, but it just hasn't eventuated, and now the talk is of them failing...again!
The Intrust Super Cup market is open as well. This year it will have a different fill with the NRL under 20's comp gone, so it will be interesting to see who picks up some of the youngsters, and what Melbourne Storm and Brisbane will do with theirs. Anyway, in a wide open affair, The Sunshine Coast, Easts Tigers, Redcliffe and Townsville lead the way at $6.00.
The Big Bash is getting to the pointy end of the season, and we still aren't any closer to having a true indication of who is likely to win the final. All of the five main contenders have had a turn as favourites apart from the Hurricanes who are running into some pretty good form. The Tassie side actually got out to $26 after they had a torrid start to the series, but are well and truly in the mix now. Although the 'money' sides have been the Scorchers and the Strikers.
The theory that England are a better ODI side than a test side came to fruition when they did a really good job to chase down Australia in game 1 of this best of five series. That sets up what should be a good contest in game 2 at the GABBA on Friday. The Aussies, trailing 0-1 in the series, all of a sudden find themselves the $2.00 outsiders (England $1.80) to come back and win the series after being a red hot $1.42 prior to game 1.
Based on what we saw last Sunday, England seem a nice price at $2.35 (in from $2.40) in game 2, and there has been a lot more interest in the Poms at that price than Australia at $1.60.
Tip: Cricket - ODI England to win game 2 ($2.35)
Just four teams remain in the mix for the Vince Lombardi trophy and, to be brutally honest, besides the seemingly perpetual Championship Sunday participants and $2.10 title top picks New England, they're a bizarre old bunch. Jacksonville, for instance, went up $34 with UBET to simply make an appearance at Superbowl 52. Now all that stands between them and a berth in the big one is the Patriots. Most pundits are tipping an easy AFC Championship win for the Pats - and our odds of $1.25 about New England and $4.00 about the Jags supports this - but maybe, just maybe, perception hasn't caught up with reality here. The Jaguars are, in fact, the best defensive line in the league and their much-maligned, oft-ridiculed quarterback Blake Bortles is actually hitting his targets right now. Still, being 8.5-point outsiders makes them one of the biggest championship round underdogs in recent memory and the early money trail firmly points to the home team.
On the other side of the equation are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. Philly went up $21 to make the Superbowl 52, while the Purple People Eaters were $13, which means neither was even close to front of mind a few months ago, when experts were being asked who would be there at the pointy end of the season. Another element of intrigue to the NFC Championship is the fact neither side has their first-choice quarterback available. The Birds ($2.45) lost MVP candidate Carson Wentz a few weeks ago, while the Vikings ($1.55) have been without Sam Branford for a while now. Lucky for them, ex back-up Case Keenum has been a revelation this season. Indeed, he threw the 55-metre, game-winning touchdown pass in the 'Minnesota Miracle' last week and could have some more magic in store. If so, the Vikings will become the first ever team to play a Superbowl in their home stadium, which would certainly add an interesting wrinkle to the big dance.
Tip: NFL - Philidelphia +3.0 ($1.85)
* Prices are correct 1pm Thursday.