GERARD DAFFY'S UBET NEWS – THURSDAY 23RD AUGUST
The make-up of the final eight is still unclear, and there is plenty at stake in the Sydney v Hawthorn match this week with the winner grabbing an all-important top four spot. Both are running back into form as the finals approach, but with Buddy Franklin in doubt for the Swans due to injury, there is plenty of money for Hawthorn ($2.30 in to $2.20) already, and if Franklin is officially ruled out as expected, then that gap will close further. The Swans defeated Hawthorn by eight points at the MCG back in round 8, but the Hawks have won at their last four appearances at the SCG.
There has been a train of thought around that the West Coast might rest players against Brisbane this week, but looking at the ladder that is highly unlikely. A loss would open the door for Collingwood, and perhaps Hawthorn (assuming they win) to leapfrog the Eagles, and they won't want that happening. As it is, if they finish in second place they will be at home in week 1 of the finals with a double chance, so there is a stack to play for this week. The Lions have been an early mover from $2.50 in to $2.45 and they come into this match with a losing streak of seven against the Eagles.
Geelong belittled Fremantle last week kicking an amazing 23 unanswered goals after the Dockers led at quarter time. They will be at home again this week to the Gold Coast Suns, and the opening line of -75.5 points is the highest pre-game line this season. The Cats have 'form' against the Suns, they won 121-36 at Metricon in round 11, so it is easy to see where the high opening line came from.
Tip: Hawthorn to beat the Swans ($2.20)
Like the AFL, the exact makeup of the final eight in the NRL is also shrouded in mystery with two rounds remaining. The Roosters were beaten by Canberra last week but that loss didn't alter their premiership price at all (still $3.15) due to issues with the other two main contenders, Souths and Melbourne. Souths were terrible in their 38-18 loss to Brisbane and have eased to $4.50 while Melbourne had a brave win over Parramatta but we are unsure of the extent of a back injury to Cameron Smith. The Storm are $4.00 second pick now but there hasn't been too much interest in them this week. The one side that is creeping right back into contention is Cronulla, the Sharks are in to $8.00 and look a major threat.
Cronulla at $1.35 are the shortest priced favourite in the upcoming round, and if they expect to go deep into the finals they should justify that price by beating Newcastle. The Knights did score an upset win over Penrith last week, but are coming into this match on the back of seven straight losses to Cronulla.
Saturday night's match in Townsville between North Queensland and Parramatta is creating a huge amount of interest as it will be Johnathan Thurston's last game in front of his home crowd. 'Milestone' games always spark plenty of additional interest but this one has gone to a new level with the Cowboys already backed from $1.60 in to $1.48, and there is no sign of the support abating.
Tip: Canberra to beat Souths ($2.50)
The last time Australia defeated the All Blacks at Eden Park the internet didn't exist. 1986 was the year and after last week's loss to the Kiwi's in Sydney, it is hard to put up any sort of an argument as to how that stat can change this week. The only little plus is that the Wallabies did lead the All Blacks 6-5 at half time in Sydney last week, but the second half performance was what we have come to expect from the All Blacks. Anyway, they are $1.05 to beat Australia, with the line set at a hefty 22.5 points start. On last week, the All Blacks should cover that mark easily, but the early money has been for the Wallabies with the plus.
The other Championship match will be played in Argentina where the Puma's will again line up against South Africa. Although beaten by 11 points in South Africa last week, they weren't disgraced, and we have seen money for Argentina this week, already in to $2.80 from an opening $3.00.
Tip: Australia +22.5 against NZ ($1.90)
A star-studded field will do battle in The Northern Trust this week, which this year will be played at Ridgewood, Paramus, in New Jersey. This event rotates, and the last time it was played at Ridgewood was in 2014 when Hunter Mahan won, and Jason Day finished in a tie for second. While Mahan will not be going around this week, Day is and he's on the second line of betting at $13. He is a previous winner of the event (2013) but it was played at a different course. Dustin Johnson won the Northern Trust last year and is the opening $10 favourite, and there has been early money for him along with the runner-up last year, Jordan Spieth, who is $19. Naturally there is plenty of interest in Tiger Woods at $15 after his forward showing in the US PGA Championship. The same applies to Adam Scott at $41, who is another previous winner of this event in 2013.
The European Tour event will be the Czech Masters, and there is a clear favourite here. Thomas Pieters leads that market at $7.00, and has been the best-backed. Apart from being in good form this year, Pieters won this event in Prague in 2015 and was then runner-up in 2015. Aussie Lucas Herbert is on a rise through the ranks and is a $31 chance, just ahead of Scott Hend at $41.
Tip: Jordan Spieth to win The Northern Trust ($19)
The Belgium GP will be run and won on Sunday, and in a spirited betting affair Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are $2.25 co-favourites. Hamilton is a three-time winner in Belgium (last year, 2015, 2010) while Vettel has two wins here (2013, 2011). The bets have been rolling in for both even though Hamilton goes to Spa having won the last two races in Germany and Hungary. Outside of that pair there has been huge interest in Daniel Ricciardo, currently at $12. One of the big early bets for Ricciardo was $1,000 at $15, and like the two favourites he is also a previous winner here having won back in 2014.
Tip: Vettel to win the Belgian GP ($1.90)
One of the most popular motoGP events on the calendar each year is always the British GP at Silverstone, and this year it looks like being the same again. While Marc Marquez is at $1.03 to win the title, he did have his colours lowered by Jorge Lorenzo in Austria last start, so we should get competitive racing on Sunday. Marquez heads the market at $2.50 but both Lorenzo ($3.25) and Andrea Dovizioso ($4.00) are close by, and both in good form following recent wins. A look back through the form at Silverstone reveals that Dovizioso won last year and that while Marquez won back in 2014, he hasn't finished on the podium here since, with his best performance being a fourth behind Maverick Vinales in 2016.
Tailem Bend hosts the Supercars for the first time this weekend, and for those who may be unaware of where Tailem Bend is, it is about 90 km's from Adelaide heading towards Victoria. This event has been heavily promoted and that has seen an early spike in betting for race 1 with Scott McLaughlin clear favourite at $2.50, in from $2.75. Shane Van Gisbergen is second pick at $3.50 and comes to South Australia as a last start winner under lights in Sydney. On that occasion Van Gisbergen defeated Jamie Whincup ($4.50 this week) with McLaughlin winding up in third place. Outside of the top three in the market there is also plenty of interest in Craig Lowndes ($15) and Chaz Mostert ($19). Race 1 will be held over 24 laps on Saturday with race 2 over the longer trip of 41 laps on Sunday. As far as the title is concerned, McLaughlin is current fav at $1.70 ahead of Van Gisbergen at $2.10.
Tip: Race 1 - Scott McLaughlin ($1.40)
The Super Netball final series has seen three matches to date, and the outsider has won each match! The Grand Final will be played in Perth on Sunday afternoon, and the early push has definitely been with the home side, the West Coast Fever. The Fever opened at $1.75 on Sunday night but have already firmed in to $1.65, but having said that there are more bets (albeit smaller) for the Sunshine Coast Lightning at $2.25. The Lighting have done a wonderful job to make it to the Big Dance, and looking back over their form against the Fever they must rate their chances highly, and they are the defending champions. These sides met twice during the season proper, the first match in QLD saw the Fever win 56-55 while the return bout in WA saw the Fever scrape home by 1 point again, winning 59-58.
Novak Djokovic looks to be back to his dangerous best, and after brushing aside Roger Federer in the final in Cincinnati earlier in the week, all of a sudden he is back in favour with UBET punters in the US Open which gets under way next Monday night (Australian time). Djokovic heads that market now at $3.50 ahead of Rafael Nadal at $4.50 with Federer at $5.50. While most of the money is focussed on that trio, one player who has come from the clouds over the past few weeks is Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas. After being $151 when the market opened several months ago, Tsitsipas is now $34, and even if he doesn't fire over the next fortnight, he is definitely a player of the future.
Simona Halep was beaten by Kiki Bertens in the women's final in Cincinnati, but remains $5.00 to win the US Open. Bertens is another who has burst on the scene recently but is still well down the list at $34. Serena Williams is second fav at $6.00 but hasn't attracted any big business at this point in time, but we have seen sustained support for Angie Kerber and Sloane Stephens at $7.00 and $11.00 respectively. All of the first round matches will open as soon as the draw is completed later in the week.
Sandown will host the National Finals on Friday night, and while we have a red hot favourite (Tornado Tears) in the distance race, there is little doubt that Tornado Tears has captured the imagination of the public. The Rob Britton trained superstar went around in a solo trial over the sprint course at Sandown last week, running 29.26, the third fastest time this year over the shorter course. He is drawn in box 2 with a slow beginner inside (Rippin' Sam) and a quick beginner in box 4 in Dyna Chancer. Whichever way you look at it, Tornado Tears looks the winner, and punters are happy to take the $1.60.
The National Sprint final is a different story as it looks like there are seven realistic hopes. Big Flood (Victoria) and Sky Wave (NSW) are the $3.00 equal favourites and while they won their State heats to go through to the finals, it appears to be a really competitive race. Queensland rep Maurice Minor had a tune up at Albion Park over the sprint course last Thursday night and nearly broke the record...and he has raced well at Sandown in the past. Although drawn in box 5 he is definitely one of the major chances, as is the South Australian rep Cairnlea Kenny ($10) which is ideally drawn in the red box.
Tips: Sprint - Maurice Minor ($7.50) / Distance - Tornado Tears ($1.60)
* Prices correct at 2pm Thursday 23th August 2018