Saturday, March 29, 2008

Indy Racing League - Homestead 300 - Dan Wheldon to win - 7/1 - 10pts

This week brings a welcome return for a new combined Indycar/Champ car series. The first race at Homestead is a happy hunting ground for Dan Wheldon, who has won at Homestead for the last three years. After setting the faster times in qualifying, he crashed and hence starts from the back of the grid. However, on this type of Oval track that is not a problem - unlike F1 overtaking is relatively starightforward.

The bookies have priced this race up wrong, with Dixon (his team-mmate) at approx 7/4. Wheldon does have to make his way through the field (with possible accidents), so I would make Wheldon an approx 2/1 chance. The 8/1 available at Ladbrokes is an excellent value bet - I've had 10 pts (at average price of 7/1 - I was limited on stakes).

Martin Laursen Anytime Goalscorer 18/1 Extrabet (Man Utd v Aston Villa) - 2.5 pts

Man Utd are strong favourites which makes Villa goals less likley, but you woudl still expect approximatley one Aston Villa goal in this match. Laursen has an excellent goals/games ratio for a defender. He has scored 6/51 (12%) of Aston Villa goals, therefore he should probably be an approx. 8-1 chance for 'Anytime' goalscorer.

Arsenal to win Premiership - 14/1 (Betfair) - 4pts

Arsenal have been written off for the Premiership, but I don't think it is quite over for them yet. Man Utd are rightly short priced favourites, but they have a home game against Arsenal and an away game against Chelsea. To lose the Premiership race, Man Utd. will need to lose both these two games (perfectly possible). If this happens, depending on results of other games, there will probably not be many points between the three sides. I think the difference in prices between Chelsea (4/1) and Arsenal (14/1) is therefore probably too large, making Arsenal the value bet.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Srna (Scotalnd v Croatia) to score first/last (2pts on each) - 22/1 Corals

Srna (Croation Midfielder) has an execllent goals to games ratio in International football. Coral have offered a generous 22/1 on both fisrt and last goal scorer - I've had 2pts on each.

(Thanks to JAson for highlighting this).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

China Open - O'Brien 125/1 - 1pt E/W (Coral)

The China Open has had somewhat suprise winners in the past three years. (2007 Dott 25-1, 2006 Willimas 20-1, 2005 Junhui 66-1). I put this down to the travel (including timne zone change) an potential lack of motivation from players with the World Championships close.

The key to this event is the fact that the draw this year is relatively lopside. Therefore, the value is to pick an E/W chance from the top half of the draw. On their day, most of these players can beat each other, so it is difficult to pick one player. Howver I think I've found a good bet with Fergal O'Brien. O'Brien has only played two events this season, a narrow 1st round (5-4) loss to Steve Davis in the Shanghai Masters and a Final appearance in the Northern Ireland Trophy. It is this latter performance that interests me, when he strung togtehr the following results:

1st Rnd: bt Higgins 5-4
2nd Rnd: bt Hawkins 5-3
3rd Rnd: bt O'Sullivan 5-2
4th Rnd: bt Murphy 6-5
Final : Lost to Maguire 9-5

He has an unknown Chinese oponenet to defeat first (Xinlong) - he is 4/11 for this. If he wins that, he will play Maguire (the only top six player in the top half of the draw). If he beats Maguire, he will need 3 more wins to get to the final and 4 to win it. For these macthes he wouldn't be much of an underdog (if at all) until the Final

I've had 1pt E/W at Coral on O'Brien at a 125/1 (he is generally availible at 100/1). Bizzarly, I was knocked back from £25 E/W but was offered instead £24 E/W ?!

Can Djokovic win the 2008 Tennis Grand Slam?

The latest tournament at Indian Wells has shown that Djokovic is rapidly coming to the same ability as Federer and Nadal (if not surpassing them). I believe Federer is definately on the downgrade (a real suprise for him to lose to Fish in the Semi-Final). Djokovic was convincing in his defaeat of Nadal in the other Semi-Final.

Djokovic has already won the Australian Open and is now best priced as follows for the remaining three events:

0.125 French Open (Clay)
0.2 Wimbledon (Grass)
0.2 US Open (Hard)

Treated as unconnected events, this gives a chance of 0.005 (i.e a price of 200/1). However, I think he will have a successful year before the French Open and will start shorter. If he wins each event, I think the prices will change as follows.

0.2 French Open (Clay)
0.3 Wimbledon (Grass)
0.4 US Open (Hard)

Treated as unconnected events, this gives a chance of approx. 0.025 (i.e a price of 40/1). I'm therefore having 2 pts at PartyBets ( at 80/1 on a Djokovic Grand Slam.

This bet should be seen in conjunction with my 8pts on Feder not to win a Grand Slam event this year at 11/2 - this how now come into 3/1.

N.B I missed a similar bet on Tiger Woods at 33/1 for the Grand Slam - he is now into approximately 10-1!

Eurovison Song Contest 2008 Preview

With an increased number of teams entering from Eastern Europe, the political dimension of voting in this event has become the most signficant factor. This means that it is highly likely that the winner will come from Eastern Europe. Other factors such as quality of song, peformance on the night, language, position in final all have less of an impact than in earlier years. These factor will simply decided which Eastern Europe act will win. For an indication of what is happening, take a look at the Eurovison 2007 results (both semi-finals and finals).

(N.B The Eastern Bloc cna be sub categoried into ex-Yugoslav and ex-Soviet countries. I have not gone into this level of detail, but given the number of countries in each sub class this favour the ex-Soviet countries).

The setup this year has changed. There are now two semi finals rather then one, each comprising of 19 artists (with 10 qualifying), feeding through to a final of 25 teams (i.e with some pre-seleacted artists.)

What I see happeing is the Eastern Europe factor continuing to extert influence in the semi-finals (ensuring these acts qulaify). With fewer pre-qualified acts, this makes a non Eastern Europe acts even less likley to win.

Voting in the semi finals mirrors relatively strongly the final voting. However, the semi-final voting results are a closely guarded secret - there is much mis-infomration during the days between the semi-final and final. (AS I know to my cost last year!)

In terms of selecting an artist from the Eastern Europe (Ex Soviet/Russian) block, the first 4 in the ouright betting are Russia, Serbia, Armenia and Ukraine.

I think you could make a case for many East European acts (i.e. they are equally bad!). I've listened to the artists/songs and have selected Belarus.

It is an upbeat, Eurovison style song (80s throwback?) which I think can put in a solid performance. I think is is definately a too big price. Belarus last year managed to get 6th position with a similar song, I think the same sort of position is achievable this year. I've therefore had the following bets on Betfair (prices signficnatly shorter at conventional bookies).

1pt - 375-1 Belarus to win
2pts - 74-1 Belarus to make Top 4
4pts - 11-1 Belarus to make Top 10

I am especially keen on the 'Top 10' bet - I think this price should be much shorter.

In the past I've had a good record in the Eurovison contest - however recently I've been hopeless. By focussing on regional voting (rather than the strength of song) I hope I can revert back to winning ways!

Update: I've had a couple of points raises, both of merit. Firstly, it has been pointed out that Belarus do not have unconditional support from the Eastern Bloc. Before 2006, the support was weak at best. In 2006 they did get Easteren Bloc support, primarily due to the fact the act had recently won Russia's version of Pop Idol.

All teh above is true. However, Belarus are clearly trying to repeat the success of last year as this year's act was the 2004 Russian Pop Idol winner. On balance thsi gievs me mnore confidence in this act as he has clealey demonstrated his appeal to the 'general public' (albeit in 2004).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Next US Vice President - Lindsey Graham - 40/1 (Victor Chandler)

Although the 'maths' says that Obama will defeat Clinton for the Dememocrtaic candidature, it is likely to go as far as the DNC for the votes of the superdelegates. The internal conflict this is creating within the Democratic camp means that a Republican victory has become a very real possibility.

I've alreday backed Clinton for the VP position. With the increased likelihood of a Republican success, I've take a look at possible Republican VP candidates. The market is (quite rightly) very open for this. However, there has been signficant money for Lindsey Graham at Ladbrokes to be the Republican VP candidate - they've gone into 5/1. 'Money talks' is a cliche, but like all cliches there is an element of truth.

Lindsey Graham has been close to Republican Candidate McCain for many years (hed backed in 200 and 2008), so his appointment would be no surprise. His southern roots would be an electoral asset to McCain.

I've therfore had the max Victor Chandler will allow me (1pt!) on Lindsey Graham for the VP position - from Ladbrokes prices (who have a shrewd political odds compiler) it should be an approxmiate 14-1 chance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

2000 Guines / Derby double.

The Dewhurst is the key race for the 2000 Guineas. However, on good or firmer ground (which is likely in May) I think Raven's Pass has a good chance of reversing form with New Approach. In the Derby, there has been significnat money for Heny Cecil's Twice Over, indicating he has progressed well over the winter.

I'm having a 2pts win double on these 2 winners.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

David Beckham France Specials : What will happen first?

Skybet have opened a market on what David Beckham will do first in the England v France game. The options (and prices) are as follows:
Subbed 4/5
Score Free Kick 9/2
Hits Woodwork 5/1
Booked 7/1
Final Whistle 16/1
Sent Off 50/1

I think this market has been seriously mis-priced. If he takes part in the game, there are only two realsitic possibilities:

- he starts, then he is most likely to be subbed (although there is a small chance he would play the whole game)
- he comes on as sub, in which case the option 'final whistle' is the most likely outcome.

Whilst I think 'subbed' at 4/5 is a fair price, (I'd make it 4/6), I thnk that 'final whistle' should be an approx 6/4 chance (with the rest making up the bookies over-round). I've therefore had 1 pt (max allowed) on 'final whistle' at 6/4 (I tried to have 4pts - I didn't think I'd get any more on!). I've been told money back if he doesn't take any part in the game, according to Skybet rep. verbally to me.

N.B. To get these prices, I had to call up (my account is very 'limited' so I coudln't simply click through from

Malaysian Grand Prix - will it rain?

If it rains at the Malyasian Grand Prix, all hell coudl break lose. This year the F1 cars are now without traction control, and it will be more important than ever to be with driverrs who can handle the rain. I'm therefore backing Jenson Button (125/1)and Sebastian Vettel (150/1). I'm restricting my stakes to 0.5 pts E.w on both as frequently when rain is forecast it doesn't arrive.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SPOTY - Update - Ennis (4pts @ 33/1), Sotherton (4pts @ 33/1)

Those of you who are regular readers to my column know that probably my most profitable event I bet on is the UK Sports Personality of the Year. I posted this years preview in 12/2007, and outlined my preference for Olympians in Olympic Years (2008..).

Kluft has announced today that she will not contest the Heptathlon. This will give the two Bristh Heptathletes (Sotherton and Ennis) execllent chances of a Gold Medal. I have therefore had 4pts on both of these individuals to win SPOTY @ 33-1.

My complete positions (and returns) are as follows:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Australian Grand Prix - Massa - 4 pts E.W - 5-1

Massa has qualified in 4th on the grid, however it is difficult to see him finishing out of the first three in the race, bar a racing accident or reliability issues (both possible). He is 4/7 for a Podium finish which gives an indication of his chances. This makes an E/W bet on Massa and execllent bet (at 5/1) where you are getting even money on a Podium finish.

The Ferrari's were always expected to qualify behind the Mclaren cars, but the consesus is that they will have greater race pace. Massa has the possibility to pass the cars on the grid in front of him during the race (most likely during pit stops) - the 5-1 on the win is relatively generous as well. The worst case scenario for him will be to lose places at the start and see Hamilton build up a healthy lead.

Massa : Unplaced (Crash, Engine Failure) -8pts

3.30 Uttoxeter - Midlands National - Badgerlaw - 6-1 - 4pts Win, Himalyan Trail 16-1 1.25 pts Win

Badgerlaw has been targetted at this race since the autumn by Jessica Harrington who has a good record in this race (two entries, both won). Badgerlaw ran a good race stepped up in trip behind Pomme Tiepy at Navan and should appreciate another step up in trip. As a Novice he is far less exposed than the majority of the other runners in the race.

Update: At a bigger price, I've also had 1.25 pts on Himalayan Trail at 16/1 (I'm far less confident on this bet).

Result : Himalayan Trail (1st) +20pts
Result : Badgerlaw (2nd) -4ps

The straight forecast paid £138.63 .... anyone inspired enough to do this? (I wasn't!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Can lightning strike twice?

Last weekend in the FA Cup there were some surprise results. I've looked at the prices for some of the Premiership 'outsiders' and they seem a litte too big. Nothing scientific, just a hunch really - that is proabbly why I normally steer clear of Preimership match bets!

I've placed a 0.2 pts Lucky 15 (total stake 3 pts) on the the following results:

DERBY COUNTY @ 16/1 - Derby County v Manchester United
READING @ 14/1 - Liverpool v Reading
SUNDERLAND @ 27/4 - Sunderland v Chelsea
MIDDLESBROUGH @ 12/1 - Arsenal v Middlesbrough

Barclays Premier League 07/08



Result : -3pts Loss

Chletenham Day 4

1.40 Coral Cup
County Zen - 4pts Win - SP (approx. 7-1 at current market prices) (unplaced)

4.40 Grand Annual
My Petra - 4pts Win - 9/2 (2nd)

2pts Win double

All bets at William Hill who return your stake on all Cheltenham races is Kauto Star/Denman finish 1/2 in that order.

42 : pts staked
26 : returned (including stake)
16pts loss

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cheltenham Day 2/3

I made my way through ten (10!) Cheltenham races for Thusrday, and I have come up with the following bets:

12:30 National Hunt Race
Pass It On - 40-1 - 2pts E/W (William Hill) 1/4 1,2,3 (brought down, unplaced)

3.30 World Hurdle
Blazing Bailey - 15-2 - 4pts Win (Paddy Power) (unplaced)
Kasbah Bliss - 9-1 - 4pts Win (Paddy Power) (2nd, stake returned)
Stakes returned if horse is second to Inglis Drever

4.05 Racing Post Plate
Patman Du Charmil - 25-1 2pts E/W (Ladbrokes) 1/4 1,2,3,4 (unplaced)
5.15 Kim Muir

Jaunty Times - 33-1 2pts E/W (William Hill) 1/4 1,2,3,4 (unplaced)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cheltenham Day 1

I've taken some time to study the racing, and I've decied to focus on the first three races (the non-handicaps). I've had the following bets: (Update : Results in bold)

2.00 Supreme Novice Hurdle
Muirhead - 8-1 - 4pts Win (Unplaced)

2.35 Arkle Chase
Kruguyrova 16-1 - 2pts Win (2nd)
Mahogany Blaze 14-1 - 2pts Win (Unplaced)
Marodina 40-1 - 1pt Win (Unplaced)

3.15 Champion Hurdle
Punjabi - 40-1 - 2pts E/W (1/4 1,2,3) (3rd)
Blythe Night 66-1 1pt Win (Unplaced)

F1 2008 - Nakajima to win (without Ferrari/Mclaren) - 3pts E/W - 40/1

Ferrari and Mclaren are set to domainte F1 2008, and the betting markets reflect this. Therefore, for value bets I've looked beyond this market to 'Betting without Ferrai/Mclaren' at Ladbrokes (B365 have also priced it up).

The leading teams for this market are Renault, BMW, Red Bull and Williams. In recent testing it appears, compared to last year, the BMW have dropped back into the pack and these teams are running at similar paces. The odds on the drivers for these teams are:

F Alonso 7/4
N Heidfeld 7/2
N Rosberg 9/2
R Kubica 5/1
M Webber 14/1
N Piquet Jnr 14/1
D Coulthard 16/1
K Nakajima 40/1

I think the bet has to be Nakajima. The Williams have progressed well over the Winter and performed well in recent testing. The difference in price between his teammate Rosberg (9/2) and Nakajima (40/1 )is too large. Nakajima performed well previosuly in GP2, being awarded 'Rookie of the Year'. His performance in his first race last year (the Brazil GP) showed his raw pace (and, less helpfully, his ability to make mistakes). I'd make him an approx 10/1 chance.

Update: Ladbrokes also have a 'hancicap' market (As below). I've had 1pt on Nakjima at 12/1 (max allowed - I tried to place 4pts).

Kimi Raikkonen (+0) 8/1
Lewis Hamilton (+7) 9/1
Felipe Massa (+15) 9/1
Heikki Kovalainen (+37) 8/1
Fernando Alonso (+45) 12/1
Nick Heidfeld (+65) 12/1
Nico Rosberg (+66) 10/1
Robert Kubica (+68) 10/1
Nelsinho Piquet (+75) 14/1
Mark Webber (+76) 10/1
David Coulthard (+79) 10/1
Jarno Trulli (+82) 10/1
Kazuki Nakajima (+82) 12/1
Jenson Button (+84) 8/1

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cheltenham Update (and tonight's boxing).

This blog has been a little quiet lately, the primary reason being I haven't found any bets worth having! Things should pick up next week with the Cheltenham Festival. I will be posting my bets each day - I probably won't put a full analysis, however I will keep a ruuning total of results with profit/loss for the meeting.

In tonights boxing, I think there is a great bet - I'm backing David Haye to win in Rnds 1-4 at 11/2 (Extrabet). I'm having 8pts on this outcome - I think it should be an approx 5/2 chance. I thing Haye has shown better form than Macarrinelli and should be a strong favourite. Haye is likely to try to win in an early rnd for the following reasons:

- to impress the American audience (who this fight is aimed at)
- he knows Macarinelli will grow stromger as the fight progesses (and could win on pts).

Result: David Haye win in the 2nd Rnd - 44ps win