GERARD DAFFY'S UBET NEWS – THURSDAY 25TH JANUARY
We weren't sure what to expect when the AFL Women's comp got under way last year, but what a resounding success it was! Crowd numbers were massive, albeit they got in for free, but the best barometer of popularity is nearly always betting, and that was also very successful. Adelaide edged out the Brisbane Lions in the Grand Final, and the Crows are our starting point in the market to win this year, best ranked at $4.00. They have attracted support at that price, and the other sides to attract early attention have been Carlton at $5.50, and Brisbane at $8.00. The season gets under way next Friday night when Carlton play Collingwood, and the prices for the opening round will be available on Tuesday.
The Big Bash season is coming to a close, and although the Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers have snared a home final each, it would be fair to say that the Strikers haven't fared too well losing three players to National duty. There has been a lot of talk this week about the fairness of that, and it does make you wonder what will happen going forward with extra BBL games next year. In any case, the Scorchers are the $3.00 favourites now ahead of the Strikers at $3.50, but there is little interest in the Strikers this week. The Hurricanes and Renegades make up the market at $5.50.
The fourth ODI will be played in Adelaide on Friday with the fifth and final match to be played at the new stadium in Perth on Sunday. As we know England have already won the series, but once again (unbelievably) England are the outsiders. After opening at $2.10, money has forced them in to $2.00, but given the lack of interest in the Aussies ($1.77 out to $1.86), the price gap should close even further.
Tip: England to win the fourth ODI ($2.00)
Jon Rahm provided a big day for both himself and one UBET customer when he won the Career Builder Challenge last week. It did take Rahm four playoff holes to win, which would have provided our punter with some nervous moments after placing $3,000 at an average of $9.00 for a win of $24,000.
Rahm gets an opportunity to improve his already imposing record this week in the Farmers Insurance Open to be played at Torrey Pines. However, while he is the $8.50 favourite, he isn't the big drawcard. Tiger Woods makes another return, is well in the betting at $23 and not surprisingly, has attracted the most bets. He was more than competitive in the Hero Challenge late last year, but he has owned this event being a seven-time winner, the last in 2013. Aside from the fact it is hard to ignore Jon Rahm's form, he is also the defending champion. Brandt Snedeker is another who has a strong affinity with Torrey Pines, and although he is a $41 chance, he must be given some hope following wins here in 2012 and 2016, as well as being runner-up in Tigers' win in 2013. Marc Leishman and Jason Day are the shortest Australians at $23.
Sergio Garcia chalked up a big victory in Singapore last week and there has been early money for the popular Spaniard at $10 to win the Dubai Desert Classic this week. Garcia won the Classic last year from Henrik Stenson who is a $12 chance this week. Rory McIlroy finished 4 shots behind Tommy Fleetwood in the SA Open last weekend, and apart from being the $5.50 favourite, he is a 2 time winner here in 2009 and 2015. There are several Australians in the field, but all are big odds headed up by Scott Hend at $151.
Tip: Farmers Insurance Open - Hideki Matsuyama ($17)
The start of the Six Nations season is only a week away, and while England head that market at $1.95, there has been a trend away from them with a lot more interest in Ireland at $2.75. Scotland are expected to be the improvers of the comp and they are solid at $9.00. England have a soft start to their campaign when they travel to Italy as red hot $1.06 shots, but the Scots on the other hand travel to Cardiff as $2.20 outsiders against Wales.
Two weeks after that the Super Rugby season will be upon us, and while there hasn't been a lot of movement to that market from a price point of view, there are a couple of standout sides with punters. The Crusaders are the ruling $4.50 favourites, but the 'money' sides have been the Hurricanes ($5.00), Chiefs ($7.00), Blues ($15) and loyal Reds fans have been out and about taking the $41 on offer there.
A select group of favourite-backing football fans were on the receiving end of a rough loss earlier this week when the Brisbane Roar went down 3-2 to Ceres-Negros, an unfancied and almost unheard of Filipino club side in the second preliminary round of the AFC Championship.
Brisbane was rightfully installed as $1.04 top picks despite their patchy A-League form. While their Southeast Asian counterparts, who it should be pointed out are still in the midst of their pre-season, went up as un-backable $31 underdogs. Betting on the purported mismatch followed a predictable path in the hours before kick-off, with most punters either loading the short-price fancy or using the Roar as a 'value add' in their multis. What ensued was a horror show for Brisbane backers and the thousand odd fans in attendance, as the Roar sunk to an embarrassing and humiliating new low.
Still, there are two sides to every story, and for the lone punter who lobbed a cheeky $20 on Ceres-Negro, it was the easiest $600 they ever made.
Tip: Sydney FC to beat Melb Victory ($2.45)
So, with 266 games done and dusted, Super Bowl 52 is nigh. Well, almost nigh. As is custom, NFL fans have to wait another fortnight until the greatest show in sports. Nonetheless, at 9:30am AEST on Monday the 5th of February, the two best performed teams in the league, the Patriots and the Eagles, will lock horns for the Vince Lombardi trophy and all signs point to it being a showdown of epic proportions.
Minus their first-choice quarterback, regular season MVP candidate Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles have managed to win three straight playoffs games as underdogs, the latest their 34-7 Conference Championship thrashing of the Minnesota Vikings. A month ago, the Eagles' back up shot-caller Nick Foles was maybe the most maligned quarterback in the competition. Now, after stepping in on the eve of the playoffs for the injured Wentz, he's being talked up like second coming of John Elway, scarcely missing a target since he was handed the reigns to the offense, not to mention hitting long targets like a sniper converting tough third downs like a champ.
New England, meanwhile, have just been doing what they do, which is winning huge clutch moments and continuing to forge ahead on their path of unparalleled greatness. Can you believe Tom Brady has taken the Pats to the Super Bowl every second season he's been their starting quarterback? Scratch that, of course you can, he's Tom freaking Brady. Can the GOAT become the first NFL player in history to require his non-dominant hand to house all his Super Bowl rings? Of course he, he's Tom freaking Brady. Can a 40-year-old veteran with 12 fresh stiches in his throwing hand who was famously taken with pick 199 in the year 2000 draft overcome one of the most elite defensive units ever sighted on a football field and lead his team to the zenith one more time? Of. Course. He. Can.
So, what about the betting? Well, the Pats opened as 5.5-point favourites here at UBET and at most of the major US sportsbooks. Straight up, they're $1.42 to win, while the Eagles are (once again) outsiders at $2.85. Predictably, all the early action has been on New England, both head-to-head and at line. Recreational punters love the Pats (Why not? They were the safest spread wager in the NFL this season!) and we expect the bulk of the bets we lay to be on them as favourites. Still, favouritism isn't everything in the big dance. In fact, before the Pats' jaw-dropping, record-breaking, final-quarter comeback win over the Falcons last year, the underdog had won outright in five straight deciders.
Tip: Patriots/Eagles under 48 ($1.90)
* Prices are correct 2pm Thursday.