By: Gerard Daffy
The Auckland 9s is fast approaching and with sides starting to give some pointers towards who is likely to be playing. The money for the Warriors ($4.50) has temporarily dried up but it is two of the Queensland sides who have been the target of punters this week. We mentioned last week that the Titans had been heavily supported and that has continued into this week as they firm again, into $10 from $11. However it is Brisbane that has been the big focus as rumours are abound they will be sending a near full strength squad to Auckland. The Broncos have been $17 into $13 this week and if it is confirmed that they will be naming a strong squad then that price will disappear quickly.
AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL
Money continues to roll in for the 2017 premiership and the Western Bulldogs have moved in again this week. The Bulldogs have been one of the best backed sides since that memorable flag win last year and spent the better part of November/December at $6.50 but there has been a constant stream of bets for them including $1500 and $1200, so the price has come in a little to $6. The Brisbane Lions are now into $2 to finish with the most losses but there has been a concerted push for North Melbourne at $17 to have a fall from grace in season 2017. It has been well documented who they cut from their list last year and punters think that they will struggle this year.
Rory McIlroy will be the big drawcard at the South African Open this week and he is priced accordingly. He opens at $3.25 to win in Gauteng and he has a stranglehold on the event. Equal second favourites at $15 are Brandon Stone and Andy O’Sullivan who won in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
The US PGA Tour remains in Hawaii for another week with the Sony Open to be played at the Waialae GC in Honolulu. Jordan Spieth returns to the Tour and is the opening $7.50 favourite ahead of Hideki Matsuyama ($8.50) and Justin Thomas at $15. Thomas defeated Matsuyama in the Tournament of Champions last week, so he is clearly in good form. Jimmy Walker has won this event twice (2010 and 2015) and is next in the market at $21.
The announcement of the Jeff Horn/Manny Pacquiao fight has kept the upcoming Mundine/Green fight out of the sports pages, but it is only a couple of weeks away and there is already big betting interest in it. Currently Danny Green is $1.44 with Anthony Mundine at $2.80 and in the last week the bulk of the betting has been for Mundine. The prices have changed dramatically since first opened when Green was $1.80 and Mundine was $2.05, but all the talk about how much weight Mundine has to put on certainly saw a big move for Green.
We still don’t know if Horn will be fighting in Brisbane, or even Australia, on the 23rd of April and we all have our fingers crossed it will be in the Sunshine State’s capital. Not surprisingly there has been a rush to back Horn at $4.50, with the ration of bets in his favour over Pacquiao running at 12:1, but we do expect to see some big bets come in for Pacquiao at $1.20 as the fight approaches.
Houtzen will go down in the history books as the 2017 Magic Millions winner and what a win it was. The filly started the $4 favourite with UBET and kept up the rather impressive record that favourites have had in the Gold Coast classic of recent times. Trainer Toby Edmonds has sent Houtzen for a short let-up before preparing for the Golden Slipper which will be run on March 18. She is now the $7.50 second favourite behind She Will Reign ($6.50), while Chauffer, runner up at the Gold Coast, has been cut from $26 into $11, but there is some chance he may not run in the Slipper in preference of some longer races later on.
There may only be eight runners in Saturday night’s Ballarat Pacing Cup but what a field it is! Kiwi star Lazarus has drawn awkwardly out in barrier seven and was immediately installed as the hot $1.40 favourite with UBET. Normally a star attraction like that at a short price would attract betting straight away but that hasn’t been the case which suggests that he might get to a better price. Recent Interdom winner Smolda got the job done in the UBET South Australian Pacing Cup two weeks ago when a raging $1.30 pop and has drawn well in three. There has been some early money for Smolda at $5.50 as there has also for Lennytheshark at $4. ‘Lenny’ was withdrawn early on in the Perth Interdom series with some issues but it appears as though he has fully recovered from those and his presence will ensure that Lazarus will have to work hard if he is to win on Saturday night.