By Gerard Daffy
The Four Nations enters its third week and a lot of the talk leading into the clash between England and Australia has been around Wayne Bennett. The English press have not warmed to Bennett at all, but I am sure that will be the least of his worries as his English side need a win over Australia to remain alive in the series. They were very scratchy against Scotland but eventually won by 26 points whereas the Kangaroos looked like they were going to record a big win over New Zealand in their match before staggering over the line 14-8. Bennett will know what he is up against this week and the early money suggests that they have a chance of an upset as there has been some money for England to spring an upset at $4, and more so with 10.5 points start. The Kangaroos are $1.30, and a little better than that at $1.33 to win the title. In the other match, the line has opened at 34.5 points in favour of New Zealand over Scotland.
The Nedbank Challenge always makes for spectacular viewing around Sun City in South Africa, and although it is a little disappointing that Marc Leishman will not be back to defend his crown from last year, it is still a very good field. Henrik Stenson finished second to Leishman last year and is clear favourite with UBET at $4.50. Ross Fisher is second fav at $17, and he finished second to Danny Willett here in 2014, but the form of Willett has slipped in the latter part of this year and he is $41 to win this week. Alexander Noren has been in terrific form and is next in line at $19, a price he shares with Martin Kaymer who is also a past winner here in 2012.
Rod Pampling may well be fast approaching the Champions Tour, but the 47yo Aussie showed he still has what it takes when he won the Shriners in Las Vegas earlier this week. Pampling was always either in front or in the leading pack, but wasn’t really considered much chance by UBET gold enthusiasts even when ahead, but he finished as a handy winner.
The OHL Classic is the PGA Tour event this week at Mayakoba in Mexico, and this event normally fails to attract the big names and that is the case again. Russell Knox heads the betting at $15, and he is another who has been playing well and did finish third behind Graeme McDowell here last year. McDowell is in again at $51, while Jason Bohn who finished second last year is $81. We made mention above that Marc Leishman was giving Sun City a miss this year but he will be lining up in Mexico and along with Cameron Smith is the shortest of the Aussies at $51.
Remembrance Round kicks off later tonight (Thursday) with what looks on paper to be a lop-sided match-up between Melbourne City and the Newcastle Jets. Both lost and were kept scoreless last week, but few experts can see the hosts dropping two-in-a-row, hence their short quote. $1.38 may seem rock bottom for a side that has dropped two of its past three, but Melbourne has an absolutely talent laden roster and has only succumbed twice in 15 games at home.
Adelaide is also a tough team to beat at home, and for that reason the Reds opened as $2.35 favourites to roll the Brisbane Roar at Coopers Stadium on Friday. Money has been steaming in for the Roar at $2.80 however, and as a result Adelaide has drifted to $2.45.
Looking further ahead, Sydney FC has been heavily supported at $1.72 to maintain their unblemished record against Perth on Sunday. $4.70 underdogs, the Glory has attracted less than two per cent of the result money.
All three options on the first Test in Perth touched at least $10 before the result became obvious late on the fourth day, but as mentioned last week, all of the pre-match action centred around South Africa, and they now lead the best of three series 1-0. The Proteas got to $12 on the first day, and while there were only a handful of small bets at that quote, there was plenty of money for them once their price began to collapse on day two. Aussie fans have been questioning the depth of our squad for a while, and those who bet against them now have some extra cash to play with as the second Test looms. That match will get underway in Hobart on Saturday, and the weather forecast looks pretty grim, with showers also likely on Sunday and Monday. The draw opened very short at $2.20 but that disappeared quickly, and is now into $1.60 with Australia at $4.40 and South Africa nice odds again at $4.60. The Aussies have been forced to make a couple of changes in their quest to keep the series alive. They have to win the final two Tests to win the series and are $7 to do that while South Africa are now $1.53 to win the series.
Conor McGregor will enter the octagon this weekend as a well-backed favourite to win the lightweight world title at UFC 205, the first mixed martial arts event to be held at the most iconic venue in the history of combat sports, Madison Square Garden. Crunched from $1.80 into $1.65 in the past week alone, McGregor has been incredibly popular with UBET punters, capturing 75 per cent of the head-to-head money, including one bet of $6000 at $1.80. McGregor by KO or TKO at $2.15 is also the favourite way home in the Method of Victory market at this stage.
His opponent, reigning lightweight world champion Eddie Alvarez, is no slouch and the tough-as-teak brawler shapes as something of a real-life Rocky Balboa. Currently trading at $2.25 with UBET, Alvarez grew up in the same hard-as-nails Philadelphia neighbourhood as the fictional boxer and, like his silver screen hero, the 32-year-old has embraced the underdog tag ahead of what will no doubt be the fight of his life.
Mixed Martial Arts may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but from a betting perspective the sport is one of the fastest growing on our books and shows no signs of slowing down.
Lewis Hamilton has won the last two GPs and has closed the gap to 19 points between him and Championship leader Nico Rosberg. Hamilton is still $4 to grab the title with Rosberg at $1.23, but he is in a much better place now having won in the USA and Mexico. The action moves to Sao Paulo, Brazil, this week and although Rosberg has won this race there the last two years, Hamilton goes into the qualifying sessions as the $1.80 favourite, and best backed. Rosberg is $2.50 second elect but there has been plenty of money for Daniel Ricciardo at $9.
The last race of the MotoGP season will be held in Valencia on Sunday, and with Marc Marquez already having the title wrapped up, it does created some interest in this race. Marquez had already won the title before the last meeting in Malaysia, and he finished well beaten there in 11th spot behind Andrea Dovizioso who started as a $9 chance after a quality qualifying performance. While Marquez will be the favourite we are expecting support for Jorge Lorenzo who won here last year and in 2013 (Marquez won in 2014), and also Valentino Rossi who was second to Dovizioso on Malaysia.