GERARD DAFFY'S UBET NEWS – THURSDAY 22ND FEBRUARY
The experiment that was AFLX has come and gone, and while the concept copped its fair share of criticism, it was very well received by the betting public. For obvious reasons there weren't any big bets, but there was a constant stream of bets once people knew who was lining up in each match, as well as how the game is played.
The AFLX didn't really detract from the interest in the AFLW, and it was a weekend of upsets there with all four outsiders winning. Brisbane and Melbourne are now the $3.00 equal fav's to win the premiership, ahead of the Bulldogs at $4.25. Adelaide got a much needed win, and the strange results of the weekend have them back in to $10 after being $67 last week. This week's matches are open and there has been a big push for Carlton ($2.75-$2.60) to beat the Bulldogs on Friday night.
There will be four matches this weekend in the JLT Community Series. This series will have matches spread across the next three weeks, replacing the formats used in the past. Betting will open on each match once the squads are named.
And finally, there has been a big bet lobbed this week for the AFL flag. One Tigers fan has placed $10,000 on Richmond to go back-to-back at $8.50.
Tip: AFLW - Carlton to beat the Western Bulldogs ($2.60)
The Australian summer of cricket is all but done with only the Sheffield Shield to run its course, so the focus is now firmly on the upcoming tour of South Africa, which gets under way next week. The home side is $2.00 to win the best of four series, with Australia at $2.80 and a drawn series at $4.50. We would all be aware how the Aussies struggle away from home and that has been reflected in the correct score market for the series. All of the early money is for South Africa to win 4-0 at $15.
Australia has been neglected in the betting to win the first test as well, even though they are close behind South Africa in the betting. South Africa is $2.20, just ahead of Australia at $2.30, and the draw at $5.50 is more popular early than a win to Australia.
The continuation of round 1 of the new Super Rugby season resumes on Friday night, and it seems as though the Rebels v Reds game is going to be the big betting game of the round. Both sides have struggled for several seasons, particularly the Rebels, but they have been the main beneficiaries of the demise of the Force as they have picked up several players. The Reds have a new coach (again!) and look ok on paper, but that has been the case in the past as well. The Rebels have opened at $1.60 with the Reds at $2.35, and most money this week has been with the Rebels who are now in to $1.55.
The Highlanders will be at home to the Blues in the early match on Friday night, and there has been one-way traffic there, all for the Highlanders. The head-to-head price has gone from $1.45 in to $1.42, and the line is now -6.0 after opening at -5.0. The Highlanders have won their last five matches at home against the Blues, so punters expect them to maintain that streak.
The Crusaders won the title last year, and are co $3.75 favourites with the Hurricanes to win again in 2018. The Crusaders defeated the Chiefs both times they met last season, the side from Canterbury only lost once for the whole season. Matches between these two sides have been low scoring (last 5 average of 43 points), but the money is with the Crusaders to cover the -7.5 point line.
Tip: Bulls +15.5 against the Hurricanes ($1.90)
South Sydney have had the wood on St George Illawarra in the Charity Shield over the past few years, but they are the $2.40 outsiders this week. The game will be played in Mudgee on Saturday night, and while Souths have a lot of injuries on their list, the fact that they are the underdogs cannot rule them out altogether. Souths have won four of the last five Charity Shields, and the other game ended in a 12-12 draw in 2015. This is the first time it will be played at a country venue, so that should even the crowd out somewhat, as Souths fans normally outnumber Dragons fans. The betting has been slowish early in the week, slanted to the Dragons both to win straight up as well as cover the -4.5 point line, and we do expect it to stay that way.
Melbourne Storm looked impressive in beating Leeds in the World Club Challenge last Saturday night in Melbourne, and that has seen a price change for them to win the NRL. Brodie Croft slotted into the vacancy left by Cooper Cronk, and looked the part. After being $6.50 prior to that win, almost every bet on the title this week has been for the Storm at the new price of $6.00.
Tip: St George -4.5
Rickie Fowler is an easing $10 favourite (out from $9.00) to win the Honda Classic in Florida this week. Fowler did win this event last year, so was expected to be high up in the betting but punters have shown a preference for the two players right behind him, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas at $11. Sergio Garcia is on the fourth line of betting at $17 and as is normally the case, he is very popular with UBET golf fans. 2017 was very kind to the Spaniard, and it is worth noting that he did finish second in the Honda Classic behind Adam Scott, with the Aussie being a $51 chance this year.
Tip: Justin Thomas to win the Honda Classic ($11)
Saturday night is going to be hectic for greyhound enthusiasts. Ipswich will hold the Vince Curry Final, the richest greyhound race in the world for maidens. Exciting youngster Fernando Bonus has opened as the $1.90 favourite after drawing awkwardly in box 7.
The Cyril Rowe Cup at Bulli has drawn together a very good field and Victorian Jimmy Newob is the $3.00 favourite after coming up with the inside draw. Queensland rep Precious Sal ($7.00) is drawn beside the fav in box 2 and is a faultless beginner so could cause him some dramas early. Lucky Chap ($3.80) is drawn to get a nice run in box 3 and looks the one to beat.
They are two big races, but all eyes will be on the Meadows with the eight heats of the Australian Cup due to be contested. Betting is open on all of the heats and there is also a market to win the Cup on Saturday week with Poke The Bear the $5.00 favourite after drawing box 1 in the first heat on Saturday night. There has been any amount of money for the star sprinter to win his heat ($2.10-$1.80), but his style of 'get back' racing could pose a problem around the Meadows.
Tip: Cyril Rowe Cup Bulli - Lucky Chap ($3.80)
The NBL will have a week off before the finals series' get underway next week. The reason behind that is that the Boomers and the Kiwi's will be in Asia playing qualification matches for the World Championships. Those players will be clocking up plenty of miles with the big schedule last weekend and of course this week as well.
Betting is open on Game 1 of each of the NBL series, with Melbourne United $1.30 to beat the NZ Breakers (line -7.0), while Adelaide open at $1.51 to beat Perth ($2.55) with that line at -4.0. Melbourne is $2.00 to win the title ahead of Adelaide at $3.25, Perth at $6.00 and the Breakers the outsiders at $8.00.
Phillip Island will host the opening of the Superbike season this weekend, with one race on Saturday and the second on Sunday. That format seems to work a whole lot better than cramming two races into the one day, and is much better from a betting perspective. The bikes have been there all week in practise sessions, so the market for race 1 will be up Thursday morning. Jonathan Rea won the Riders Championship last year and he also has impeccable form in Victoria. Rea won both races in 2016 and repeated the dose last year, so he has to be nominal favourite this week from Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes.
The Melbourne autumn racing carnival reaches its peak at Caulfield this Saturday with the $1.5M Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes for the 2yo's. There are two other Group 1 races on the card, they are the Oakleigh Plate (race 8) and the Futurity Stakes (race 6).
The Blue Diamond is a very open affair this year, with the unbeaten colt Long Leaf topping the market at $6.50. The fillies prelude runner-up Plague Stone is next in-line at $8.00. Also at $8.00 is the prelude boys' runner-up Oohood, as well as the promising Ennis Hill (in from $9.00), who looks a serious contender after an exceptional win in the Chairman's Stakes. Next we have the widely drawn Kinky Boom at $8.50, the Mick Price-trained Prairie Fire at $9.50 (beaten comfortably by Ennis Hill in the Chairman's) and the Blue Diamond Prelude winner, Written By, at the $10 quote.
The Futurity Stakes is shaping up to be an interesting betting race. The fav is the ex-Japanese galloper Brave Smash who has been $3.60 in to $3.50 early. Mighty Boss is next best at $5.00, closely followed by Tosen Stardom (who had that brutal run in the Orr Stakes) at $6.00. The fresh horse on the scene is the class runner Humidor, who does go alright first-up, and he's currently a $7.00 chance.
The Oakleigh Plate is the 1100m sprint race and a few hopefuls have drawn out wide but this is no disadvantage, as there is a big straight run before the home turn. With Chautauqua out of the market, the weight rule has been applied so all other runners have risen 1.5kg. The betting has been pretty sluggish at this early stage but there has been some interest in the favourite Russian Revolution ($5.00-$4.80) who remains unbeaten first-up. The Moir Stakes winner She Will Reign is second-up here and is currently a $6.50 chance, Booker is $8.50 and the lightweight filly Catchy is $9.00. The only other runner in the race under double figures is the Caulfield Sprint winner Snitty Kitty ($9.50).
Tip: Ennis Hill to win the Blue Diamond ($8.00)
* Prices are correct 3pm Thursday.