GERARD DAFFY'S UBET NEWS – THURSDAY 15TH FEBRUARY
The 2018 Super Rugby season begins this week, and similar to last year, there will only be two games, and they will be played in South Africa. Betting on those matches has been relatively quiet, but there has been a lot of action on the futures markets following on from trials and the Global 10's last weekend in Brisbane.
The Stormers host the Jaguares first up on Saturday night, and the home side are $1.27 to win with the line set at -8.5. There has been a bit of early money for the Argentinian side who have been disappointing since coming into the competition, but reports are that they have a much better squad this year. That match will be followed by the Lions v Sharks clash, and with the betting similar to the first match (the Lions are $1.27 or -8.5), the money is with the Lions to continue on from their terrific season of 2017.
The Kiwi sides dominated the Global 10's, and while that is clearly a much different game, it appears to have sparked interest in the Crusaders and the Hurricanes to win the Super Rugby title. The reigning champions the Crusaders have come in from $4.25 to $3.75, including a $2,000 bet at $4.00. While the Hurricanes have also firmed, now $4.00 after opening at $5.00. The Lions were beaten at home in last year's final, and are $6.00, while the Chiefs and Highlanders are both at $8.00. Apart from a longshot plunge on the Rebels ($251-$34), there hasn't been a lot of interest shown in the Aussie sides.
Tip: Sharks +8.5 against the Lions ($1.95)
The World Club Challenge match between Melbourne Storm and Leeds is up, and the early indication is that Melbourne are expected to win, and win easily! Melbourne opened at $1.09 in the head-to-head market with the line set at a hefty -20.5, and that is where all of the early money has gone, and it has now moved to -22.5. Leeds have won both matches so far this season, 20-11 over Hull KR and then scratched out a 16-12 victory over Warrington. This will be no easy assignment as the betting suggests, and the bad news for Leeds is that it appears as though the Storm will not be far short of full strength.
Tip: World Club Challenge - Melbourne Storm -22.5 ($1.90)
This weekend will be the last in the current home-and-away season for the NBL, and while we have known for a fortnight which sides have made the final four, Melbourne United wrapped up the minor premiership last weekend.
There will be seven matches in the final round, tipping off with the Bullets at home to the Kings on Thursday night, and culminating with Perth at home to the Taipans on Sunday night. The recent form of Perth must be a major concern for coach Trevor Gleeson, and they are now out to $5.00 to win the title, and the way it is shaping up they will probably be up against Adelaide in the first week of the finals. The NZ Breakers look destined to finish fourth, and are $6.00, while Melbourne United are now warm $2.15 favourite's to win the championship.
The form of some of the major hopes in the NBA, in particular Cleveland, would also be a concern to their supporters, and that has seen some alterations to that title market as well. The Cav's have spent the majority of the season as second favourites behind the Warriors, but their erratic recent form has seen them blow from $4.50 out to $9.00. The Warriors are rock solid at $1.60, and while they have also encountered some hiccups recently, there isn't a lot of interest being shown in any other side. The Houston Rockets are now on the second line of betting at $7.00, but they're there purely on terrific recent form, and not as a result of heavy support in the betting.
The T/20 Tri Nations series continues in New Zealand this week, and following on from New Zealand's win over England on Tuesday, the Kiwis are right back in the mix. They host Australia on Friday, and look decent odds at $2.35 with the Aussies hot $1.60 favourites. Glenn Maxwell has been the 'find' of the series, but there continues to be major concerns about the form of opener Dave Warner, and if that slump continues, the reliance on the middle order becomes more intense.
The upcoming test series between South Africa and Australia has been a talking point for some time now, and the prices to win that series have been opened. South Africa are priced up to their best at $1.85, ahead of Australia at $3.25 with a 'drawn series' at $4.25. We all know the Aussies struggle away from home but the South Africans have also had their issues recently in all forms of the game. All points towards an intriguing series!
The Sheffield Shield market has been updated and the Bulls head that market at $3.00 ahead of the Warriors ($3.75) and the Blues ($4.00).
Tip: Game five of the T/20 - NZ to beat AUS ($2.35)
There is plenty of golf action close to home this week, and those markets have been opened as well. Brad Kennedy looks the one to beat in the Queensland PGA and is priced accordingly at $6.00, with Matthew Millar ($9.00) and Nick Cullen ($10.00) next in line. The LPGA tour is also in Australia this week with the running of the Women's Australian Open, to be played at Kooyonga in South Australia. Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee, So Yeon Ryu and Jiyai Shin sharing top billing at $11.
The European Tour will be in Oman with the inaugural running of the Oman Golf Classic. The field falls short class wise from a normal European Tour event, and the two targeted early by UBET punters have been favourite Alexander Levy ($15) and Andy Sullivan ($26)
The US PGA Tour moves to California this week with the Genesis Open, played at the Riviera CC in Pacific Palisades. Dustin Johnson is the defending champion and goes in as the clear $6.00 favourite, well clear of Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth at $14. Bubba Watson is a two-time winner of this event but has really struggled over the past year or so and is $41. Australians have a good record at Riviera and Marc Leishman is the shortest of those at $41, but there has been interest in Adam Scott at $51. Scott won here in 2005 and finished in a tie for second in 2006. Tiger Woods will also be teeing off, and although he has been backed for a stack to win the US Masters, there hasn't been that level of interest in him winning this week, he's at $41. Justin Thomas is building quite a fan base in Australia and one of those has chimed in with a big bet of $2,000 at $15 to win the Genesis Open.
I think we are all looking forward to see how the latest AFL experiment, AFLX, goes this week. The AFL have designed this concept based on T/20 cricket with a round robin set of games in Adelaide on Thursday night, Melbourne on Friday, and Sydney on Saturday. There will be a couple of bet types opened on these matches apart from head-to-head and lines, but like everybody, we will have to see how the matches play out before any more are added. It appears as though most of the big names from each club won't be lining up, so that normally means big market moves prior to games getting under way. While playing time is limited to ten minute halves, there will be live betting available on all matches.
The AFLX will complement the AFLW season which continues this week. All four matches went up on Tuesday, and there have been some early moves worth mentioning. The Western Bulldogs will be in Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, and there has been an early push for the unbeaten Bulldogs at $1.65. Carlton and Melbourne are also unbeaten, but there has been solid support for Brisbane to beat them at Ikon Park on Saturday night. After opening at $2.10, the Lions are now in to $2.00.
AFLW - Bulldogs to beat Adelaide ($1.65) / AFLX - Port to win the first game ($1.90)
The Australian Cup Carnival gets under way at the Meadows on Saturday night with the running of three Group 1's over each of the three distances. The very best of the best will be in action, and the box draw's for each race have made them all that much more difficult to sort out. The Temlee over the sprint course is littered with Group 1 winners, and the Melbourne Cup winner, Aston Dee Bee, is the $2.90 favourite after drawing well in box 2. Kennelmate Bewildering has again drawn awkwardly in box 4 and is $5.00.
Chasin Crackers was placed in the Melbourne Cup and has attracted early support ($3.20-$3.00) to win the Rookie Rebel over the 600 metre trip. He looks suitably drawn in the red box, but most of the field are capable of running around the 34.10 mark, so again most can win.
And finally we have Fanta Bale. The champ won the Australian Cup this time last year, and continued on winning throughout 2017, all at Group level, and over all distances. She is $2.60 to win the Zoom Top over the long trip, but there is some pace in the race which might make it difficult for the champ in the run to the first turn. Trainer Rob Britton also has up-and-coming star Rippin Sam engaged, and he looks well drawn out in box 6. Having said that, like the other two feature races, there appears to be a host of winning chances.
Temlee - Bewildering ($4.60) / Rookie Rebel - Dyna Dean ($9.00)
There has been some movement in the WBO Welterweight Title bout between Terrence Crawford and Jeff Horn.
The fight, scheduled for April 15 in New York, is shaping up to be another big betting bout, and while the early money was with Horn ($5.25 in to $5.00), things have swung around in the past week. Crawford touched $1.17, but is now in to $1.15, popular through multi's, but also attracting a couple of $5,000 bets on the way down at $1.16. That seems to be the market price for now, but we do continue to see a stream of bets coming for Horn, including one today of $1,000 at $5.25.
This week's Group 1 racing heads to Flemington for the 1000m weight-for-age Lightning Stakes. Australia's best sprinter, Redzel, is back in action and is the favourite at $1.70. Winning this race would bring up his seventh straight win and should merely be a formality for the superstar. There is a big space to the rest of the field, with the McEvoy-trained Hey Doc at $9.00 and the defending champion Terravista next at $9.50. There has been good early interest in Redkirk Warrior at the $12, so he's been trimmed in to $10.
There might not be any Group 1 races at Randwick this week but there are plenty of Group 2's and 3's. The feature is the Apollo Stakes over the 1400m and it's an open affair with Addictive Nature heading the market at $3.70 but the 3yo might be up against it here taking on the older horses. The Waller-trained Comin' Through sits on the next line of betting at $4.60 and on previous first-up form should give this a shake. There has also been some spec'ing at odds for both Stampede ($14-$9.00) and Classic Uniform ($26-$17). Other races at Randwick on Saturday include the Light Fingers Stakes for the fillies, the Southern Cross Stakes and the Triscay Stakes.
Tip: Redzel to win the Lightning Stakes ($1.70)
* Prices are correct 1pm Thursday.