By Gerard Daffy
While the experts maintain that Pakistan’s best chance of a win against Australia will be in the first Test at the Gabba, punters cannot see anything bar a win to the Aussies. After opening at $1.47, Australia are now into $1.38 with the biggest bet struck being $10,000 at $1.42, and apart from some heavy action in the ‘singles’ book, naturally enough they have also been hugely popular through multis. Pakistan has drifted from $4.25 out to $5.25 but there is some money for them at that price. The argument that the conditions at the Gabba will suit their bowling, particularly at night, is a good one and they do look some value. The one thing most agree on is that it is unlikely that there will be a draw which is now $6.50,one of the highest prices we have ever seen for a draw in this country against a competitive nation.
Australia is $1.25 to win the best of three series, but there is an interesting sidelight to the most runs for Australia market. Usman Khawaja ($3.75) has been preferred over Steve Smith and Dave Warner (both $2.75) even though they have been the form players over the past year or so. It is the same in the first innings of the first Test where most of the bets have been for Khawaja at $4.50 ahead of the other pair at $3.75. It is interesting to note that while Matt Renshaw has been receiving plenty of accolades recently, there has been very little action for him to top the scoring.
Just an update on a bit of movement in the AFL ‘futures’ markets. We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Brisbane Lions had been the only side backed to finish at the bottom of the table next year (most losses), and there has been more money come in for the Lions. After opening at $2.50, Brisbane is now $2.20 after another handful of decent bets including one of $2500 at $2.40. Outside of the push for Brisbane, there have only been a couple of very small bets for the Gold Coast at $8 and North Melbourne at $17.
The Six Nations and the Super Rugby season are the next big things ahead of us in rugby union and England remain firm $1.80 favourites to win the Six Nations. It is hard to argue against that price as the Poms have gone to another level under Eddie Jones (as the Wallabies found out!) but we have noticed a lot of bets coming in for Ireland at $3.25 to win that title.
The Super Rugby is once again a wide open affair with the Hurricanes slight $5.50 favourites ahead of the Highlanders, Chiefs and Crusaders, all at $6.50. What has been interesting is that the best backed side under $15 has been the Lions ($7.50) who were the big improvers last season. There seems to be some stability at the Reds with a new coach and some key signings and the price for the Reds has almost halved from $41 into $21 on the back of a constant stream of bets. The Reds have easily been the best backed of the Australian sides.
All eyes will be on the so-called most liveable city in the world this weekend for the Melbourne derby. Both sides are in great form – City held title hotpots Sydney FC to a hard-fought 1-1 draw last week, while Victory mercilessly dispatched the Wanderers 3-0 – and little separates them from a betting perspective. City went up $2.35 with UBET, trailed by the Victory at $2.85 and the draw the outsider at $3.55. Our football bookies have been incredibly busy in the build up to the contest, creating a set of bespoke goal scorer markets around the strike men on both teams. For all the exotic takers out there, there will be three ingenious head-to-heads to play into – Fornaroli versus Victory, Berisha versus City and Fornaroli versus Berisha.
Once again, the Brisbane Roar bookend the round, this time against the Central Coast Mariners. Brisbane spanked Adelaide 4-0 last start and as the shortest priced favourite of the week at $1.65, the Roar will no doubt be the anchor leg in a raft of A-League multis. Currently trading at $5, the Mariners have let in seven goals in their last two games and will start long odds outsiders.
All of a sudden Adelaide is the hottest team in the NBL, stringing together five straight wins to surge to second on the table. As a result, the 36ers have been a big movers in most futures books cut from $2.40 to $1.65 to finish inside the Top 4, $23 to $6.50 for the minor premiership and $12 to $7 for the 2016/17 Championship. Sydney is still sitting pretty, two games clear at the top of the ladder, although the Kings have eased from $3 to $3.50 to win the title.
Round 11 tips off across the ditch tonight (Thursday) with the New Zealand Breakers lining up against the Perth Wildcats. New Zealand snapped a four game losing streak last round and go in as the $1.65 favourite, although the Breakers are almost certain to drift as they are absolutely friendless in the market at this stage. Perth is making the longest road trip in the competition but early shoppers are cueing up to back them at $2.25.
Friday night should also be a belter, with the resurgent 36ers hosting the Kings in what could be an early finals preview. Our bookies cannot split them – the game is pick ‘em at $1.90 each of two – and nor can punters, with early investment split 50:50 straight down the middle.
The 2017 MotoGP title is also open, and while Marc Marquez is favourite as expected ($2.50), there has been some early money for Maverick Vinales ($3.25), considered to be the ‘new kid on the block’. Vinales had a good back end to the season just finished and is looked upon as the main stumbling block for Marquez in 2017. The evergreen Valentino Rossi is next in line at $5 ahead of Jorge Lorenzo ($6). The form of Lorenzo was very indifferent throughout 2017 but we all know what he is capable of. While he isn’t expected to push for the title, Aussie Jack Miller is a $201 chance.
UBET already has a market up on the 2017 Supercars Drivers Championship, and while Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen head the betting at $2.75, Van Gisbergen is the one attracting most attention. Outside of that pair early money has arrived for Chaz Mostert ($12), Garth Tander ($101-$41) and Dave Reynolds ($151-$101). It will be an interesting year as racing is now open to all comers, and not only confined to the V8s.