GERARD DAFFY'S UBET NEWS – THURSDAY 17TH MAY
It seems as though everybody was blindsided by the news on Tuesday that Cam Smith was retiring from rep footy, effective immediately. That has seen a major change come over the State of Origin markets, and while Queensland would normally be happy to be the outsiders as they are this year, the loss of Smith leaves a huge gap, and of course without a key goal kicker. Prior to that news NSW were $1.75 to win the series with QLD at $2.10, but the Maroons are now out to $2.45 with the Blues in to $1.55, and there has been money for them at that quote. The market is up for game 1 which will be played at the MCG in Melbourne, and NSW are $1.60 to win the opener with QLD at $2.35.
Roles have been reversed at the head of premiership betting this week with Melbourne overtaking St George-Illawarra as favourites. The Storm are $4.50, just ahead of the Dragons at $5.00, and the Roosters are next in line at $7.00 (in from $8.00) after their massive win over the Warriors. Penrith continue to roll along quietly and are $11, a price they share with Souths. It is interesting that there has been very little interest in Penrith all season yet this week we have seen a stack of support for the Bunnies.
Souths travel to Townsville on Saturday night, and practically every stat, apart from the betting, points towards a win to North Queensland. The Cowboys are the $2.15 outsiders here with Souths at $1.72, but the majority of early business is sitting with Souths. The Cowboys have won eight of their last nine against Souths, and in the two matches they played against each other last year, Souths only managed a total of three tries. This will be a good test for them going forward, a win would see them into single figures to win the title, and a loss to the Cowboys would certainly put them under enormous pressure in trying to grab a finals berth.
Tip: Gold Coast to beat the Knights ($1.92)
We mentioned last week of the move for Max Gawn to win the Brownlow Medal, and Jackson Macrae is another who wasn't given much hope before the season started, but is now right in the thick of things. Macrae was a $201 chance prior to round 1, so like Gawn, was one of the outsiders, and was listed at $11 when betting re-opened last Monday after the weekend. Since Monday though we have had to bring Macrae in to $10, on the fourth line of betting behind Nathan Fyfe who is our new favourite at $3.50.
Richmond tightened up again in flag betting out of the weekend. The Tigers were $3.75 this time last week, and that price was taken with another decent bet of $8,000. It is amazing that nobody wanted to be on Richmond at any stage last year, but they are now clearly our worst result to win this year. The other form side of the competition is the West Coast, now in to $9.00 to win the Big Dance, but punters are not keen on them at this stage. Ironically the Eagles host Richmond on Sunday afternoon, and although $2.00 outsiders, most of the early money is with the West Coast.
The betting on the North Melbourne v GWS match has fluctuated wildly both before and after Jack Ziebell's visit to the tribunal on Tuesday night. Ziebell had to front on a kneeing charge which saw the Kangaroos drift from $1.85 out to $1.95, but the price moved back in to $1.70 subsequent to him being cleared of the charge. The Giants have a huge list of injuries, and their form hasn't been good anyway, which has seen even more money come for the Roo's, who are now $1.65 with the Giants out to $2.25. It is hard to believe that North Melbourne were widely tipped to win the wooden spoon before round 1 and that the Giants were one of the flag favourites...they may not even make the final eight now!
Tip: West Coast to beat Richmond ($1.90)
We are fast approaching the silly part of the Super Rugby season with byes and the problem that the NZ Franchises have been again told that they have to rest their All Black players. We have seen a dramatic effect of that in the Sharks v Chiefs game this week. The Chiefs have taken the big step of resting all 20 of their side who are on the All Black list, a huge number when you consider that the Chiefs only have a roster of 38. That has seen the betting turned upside down. The Chiefs have won six of their last seven against the Sharks, but are now totally unwanted at $3.00 with the line now 7.5 points start.
The Waratahs put up a much improved performance when going down by two points to the Crusaders last week, and that was after leading 29-0! On that effort perhaps the streak of 39 losses in a row that the Aussie teams have endured against the New Zealand sides will hopefully end soon, and it might be this week. The Waratahs will be at home to the Highlanders on Saturday night, and must be rated a strong chance even though they are the $2.75 underdogs. Recent stats between the two sides suggest that the Highlanders will win as they have won the last four matches between these two sides, but prior to that the 'home' side won every match between 2009 and 2015.
Tip: Waratahs +5.5 against the Highlanders ($1.90)
Webb Simpson burst back onto the scene in a big way with a crushing win in the Players Championship, but he still remains a $67 chance in the upcoming US Open where Dustin Johnson is the $10 favourite. Tiger Woods showed flashes of brilliance again in The Players, and he has been the best-backed player this week in the US Open at $21.
This week the action on the US Tour moves to Texas with the playing of the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas. Jordan Spieth opened at $6.50 and immediately there was a little rush for him, but there is a wider spread of money now. Matt Kuchar is on the second line at $17, just ahead of Sergio Garcia at $19. The popular Spaniard is a two-time winner here in 2016 and way back in 2004, and there is solid support for him to go all the way again. Australians have a handy record in this event with Steve Bowditch winning in 2015, Jason Day in 2010 and Adam Scott in 2008. Day will be missing this week but Scott and Marc Leishman are well in contention at $26 while Bowditch, who has been sadly out of form for a couple of seasons now, is one of the outsiders at $501.
Tip: Byron Nelson - Sergio Garcia ($21)
While Marc Marquez has had a tough time of it over the past three years at Le Mans, he is a warm favourite to win the French GP this week. Marquez has finished out of a place the last three running's of this, but he did win back in 2014. After an indifferent start to the 2018 season, Marquez has bounced back to his best with an effortless win in The Americas, followed up by an equally impressive win in Spain. As if that isn't enough, Marquez was clearly the fastest in the latest round of testing at Mugello last week. One rider who has shown steady improvement is Johann Marco who will go around at $7.00 this week. Marco finished second to Maverick Vinales in the corresponding race last year and was also runner-up to Marquez in Spain at his last start.
Winton in Victoria is one of the main test tracks for the Supercars, and that is where they will be racing this weekend. All of the Supercar teams have taken the opportunity this week to fine-tune their machines, and while we can expect improvement from some, it does appear as though Scott McLaughlin will continue on his winning way. McLaughlin won both races in Perth which has now seen his Championship price cut to $1.72, well clear of Shane Van Gisbergen at $3.50. Two races will he held this week, one over 40 laps on Saturday, and the second over 67 laps on Sunday. McLaughlin won race 1 last year defeating Jamie Whincup with Whincup also finishing second in race 2 behind Shane Van Gisbergen. There was a huge upset in 2016 when bolter Tim Slade won both races, but he is safe in the market at $21 for race 1 this week.
Tip: Race 1 - Scott McLaughlin ($2.50)
The much anticipated WBO World Welterweight title bout between Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford is less than a month away, and while it has been relatively quiet in the media recently, there is plenty of betting on this one, as you would expect. Horn has been written off by all of the experts hence his price of $5.25, but his loyal band of followers already have cash to prove he can defy the odds, and they are back to take a bit of that price. On the flip side, we have already seen some substantial bets for Crawford including one last week of $10,000 at $1.15, and that price remains in place. There is a market open for the 'method of result', and Crawford win by K.O is the favourite way there at $1.80.
The World Cup is less than a month away but the football focus this week is firmly on the FA Cup which will be played early Sunday morning Australian time. In the 'normal time' market, Manchester United are the $2.60 favourites, ahead of Chelsea at $2.90 with the draw at $3.00. The trend of money is definitely with Man Utd, with the draw commanding plenty of attention as well, and Chelsea the least popular of the three options. It is the same with the market to win the Cup which is for the winner no matter when...either normal time, extra time or after a penalty shootout. In that option, Man Utd are $1.83 with Chelsea at $1.95. There isn't a lot between the pair price wise, and the same applies to their form during the EPL this season. Both won their respective matches at home against each other, and both recorded 10 wins apiece away from home, but UBET punters are sticking with Man Utd.
* Prices are correct 2pm Thursday