Monday, February 23, 2009

Champions League - Real Madrid - 16-1 - 3.5 pts win - Coral

New manager Ramos has significantly improved the peformance of Real Madrid. They are now defensively much more strong, whilst retaining their attacking ablility (as demonstrated by their recent results). I think they are execllent value at 16-1 - I'd make them an 8-1 chance. Barcelona are woeful value at 3-1. I'm therefore having 3.5 pts at 16-1 on Real Madrid.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

NASCAR - Jamie McMurray to outperform expectations

I believe Jamie McMurray has been underrated by the bookies. He performed well in the second half of the season last year and I am confident he will make the 'Shoot Out' for the top 12 drivers with 10 races left. I've therefore backed him at 66/1 (4 pts E/W) for the Sprint Cup Championship. The 'Big Three' of Busch, Edwards and Johnson are rightly the clear favourites but I believe Jamie McMurray is amongst the strongest drivers behind them. I'd have made him a 20/1 chance (which is what he will be if he wins tonight).

I think McMurray will start a run of good performance tonight with a strong drive in the Autoclub 500 at Fontana. He is on the front of the grid (having qualified in third). McMurray can follow up his strong performance last week at Daytona when he was running in fourth when taken out in the big crash. I've had 2pts E/W at 20/1 - I'd make him a 10/1 chance.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Misc. Cheltenham Festival 2009 Specials.

Around this time of year, Cheltenham speicals start to appear at the bookies. I've found three that I like the look of - if you see any you think might be value, please post in teh comments.

Favourites have a poor record at Cheltenham so you woudl expect me to be recommending outisders. However, this year I think that the favourites for the 4 Championship races are all relatively strong. These are Binocular (Champion Hurdle), Master Minded (Queen Mother), Kasbah Bliss (World Hurdle) And Kauto Star (Gold Cup)

Therfore, I have backed (for 4 pts) the 4 timer with Betfred at 20-1. (I'd make this an approx 16-1 chance).

In the Champion Hurdle, Binocular is a strong favourite. If he is a good as many think he is, there is a possibility he can win by greater than 10 lengths. Skybet quote 16/1 on this. It has happened twice in the past 20 years (Istabraq and Rooster Booster). The shape of the betting market means that it is slightly more likley to happen this year than an average year. Against this, there are potential stamina doubts with Binocular, so the horse may be held up. Combing these two factors makes me think this is an approx 10-1 chance. I've has 2pts at 16-1.

Master Minded is a rightly a very strong favourite in the Champion Chase. I think the only horse who is likley to approach him in ability is Big Zeb trained by Colm Murphy (who has a very strong Cheltenham record). I've therefore backed the Straight forecast (Master Minded to beat Big Zeb) at 5-1 at Stan James (2 pts). Id have made it a approx 7-2 chance.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Racing Post Chase - Battlecry - 2pts E/W 25-1

Nigel Twiston Davies is back in form and therefore I think his runner Battlecry has an excellent chance at 25-1 in the Racing Post Chase tomorrow. (I think he should probably be a 12-1 chance). The course, distance and ground should suit and previous poor runs when Nigel Twiston Davies was out of form means he gets into this race on a handy handicap mark.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UEFA Cup - PSG - 66/1 2pts E/W

PSG are currently 2nd in Le Championat behind Lyon and are currently in good form (6 wins in the past 7 games). I think they are overpriced at Coral's 66/1 and I have had 2pts E/W.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cheltenham Champion Hurdle - Catch Me (33-1) 2pts E/W - Blue Sq. NRNB

Binocular is a strong favourite at 6/4 to win this year's Champion Hurdle. However at this price, I've no desire to back him Antepost. Instead, I'm backing Catch Me at Blue Sq. at 33-1 (E/W). Blue SQ are the first major bookmaker to go Non Runner, No Bet (NRNB) on the Chmapion Hurdle (i.e stakes returned if the horse doesn't make the lineup). Thsi is a key reason for backing the hosre at this bookmaker (when others go 50-1) as, at the moment, it is unclear whether the horse will be sent to the Champion Hurdle (2m) or the World Hurdle (3m).

He runs tonmorrow at Navan in he 2m5f Boyne Hurdle, but I'm not convinced a final decision will be taken until the 5 day declarations. What will probably determine the final decision is the state of the ground - if it is soft or heavy, I think he will run this horse in the Champion Hurdle.

I believe Catch Me has a a reasonable chance of at least getting placed in the Champion Hurdle. He was 6th last year in this race and 3rd the previous year in the Ballymore Properties Hurdle.

West Indies - 3rd Test - Man Of the Match - Steve Harmison - 2pts win - BlueSQ

The 3rd Test ('replacement' for 2nd Test) is played at ARG which has a high paced pitch. This means that Steve Harmison is likely to be recalled in place of James Anderson (who would have played in the 'cancelled' 2nd Test where the pitch was slower). Harmison will be fired up to take wickets to try to retain his place - I think the 25/1 is excellent value to be Man of the Match. I'd have made it a 12-1 chance (I certainly wouldn't make him the outsider). I've had 2pst at 25/1. N.B. If he is a NR, stakes returned.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview - Air Force One - 2 pts E/W 33-1, Notre Petre 2pts E/W 50-1

As Cheltenham approaches, I will be starting to have a few Ante Post bets. I have decided to have my first Ante Post bets in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Kauto Star is a short price at 7/4 to regain his crown (this rarely happens). With Denman underpeforming last week after his layoff through a heart problem (he is now 5-1), I think there is value to be had.

The two horse I have backed are Air Force One at 33/1 and Notre Petre at 50/1. These horses work well on different ground states (Notre Petre will act relatively better if the Ground is 'Soft'. Air Force One will prefer it 'Good').

Both horse were scheduled to run in the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup. With the race having been postponed one week, Air Force One has been pulled out. This could work in his favour as the trainer thinks his below par performance in last year's Cheltenham Festival was caused by the proximity of his prep race (I think it may have been caused by a poor round of jumping). The horse is well and is likely to take his place in the Gold Cup line up (he won't now have a prep race). Air Force One ran well in the Newbury Hennessy Gold Cup (2nd to Madison De Berlais). Although the form of that race has not worked out especially well, the winner Madison De Berlais showed he is a class horse by winning at Kempoton last week. A subsequent below par run by Air Force One in the King George should be discounted as the run was too bad to be his true running.

Notre Petre won the Welsh National and if the ground turns up soft, has a great chance. The Welsh National has a good record in providing Gold Cup Winners - Master Oats and Cool Ground both won both races. He is an improving horse and would not need to improve significantly from his current rating to take a hand in the finish of the Gold Cup (if his ground conditions prevail). He is a 3/1 chance for the Hennessy tomm0rrow - if he wins that (or goes close), he is very likley to go for the Gold Cup and could start at approximately 10/1.

Update: Between placing my bet on Notre Petre and writing this blog entry, he has been backed for the Gold Cup (due to a positive write up in the 'Weekender'.) 25-1 is now the biggest price avilable. The 33-1 is still available on Air Force One.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

6 Nations - Top Try Scorer - 2pts E/W Mirco and 2pts E/W Mauro Bergamasco

Mirco And Miro Beragsmaco both have fair scoring records in the Six Nations. In 2006, Mirco was joint winner (at 200-1) with 3 tries. In 2007, Mauro was joint 4th (100-1) with 2 tries. I've had 2pts E/W at 100/1 on each of them. N.B. Mauro starts as Scrum Half today v Emgland. However, this could work to his advantage as much as hinder. The one concenr is the Italin coach insisting on not drafting in 'foreign' players, but at 100/1 you can't have everything in your favour!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Oscar Betting 2009 - Best Picture, Actor and Actress

I have been singularly unsucessful in my Oscar bets in the past. However, undaunted, I'm trying again in 2009. My thoughts as follows:

Best Film - this will probably go the 'Slumdog Millionaire', having won all the major awards leading up to the Oscars. However at a top priced 1/5 it is too short. (Golden Globe winners have only won three times in the last eight years). I've backed the only other film I belive has a realistic chance (which actually has a higher no. of nominations) 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'. I have taken 9/2 (6pts win).

Best Actor
- the bookies make this a toss up be between Mickey Rouurke (The Wrestler) and Sean Penn (Milk). I have a sneaking suspicion that Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) may have a chance with his superb peformance as Richard Nixon. I've backed him at 8/1 (4pts win)

Best Actress - Kate Winslet is very poor value at a shade of odds on. I think her performance accepting the prize for best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes will not be forgotten (and the fact it was for Supporting Actress, not Best Actress at the Goldden Globes in a bad omen). In addition, British Actresses have a bad record in the Best Actress category. There has been money for Meryl Streep who has come into 7/2. What puts me off backing her is the low conversion rate from nominations to wins. Desspite thsi 7/2 is a fair price. Instead, I've backed Angleine Jolie to spring a suprise for her mesmerising peformance in 'Changeling' at 16/1. Actresses playing 'real people' have a strong record and she is the only one this year who this applies to. Ive had 4pts win.

Update: Apologies, I had the Category of Best Director when I mean Best Film. I've changed the post to read Best Director. However, I think the Best Director Category could well go to David Fincher (Director Of Benjamin Button) so I have so I've had 6pst on this as well (hope this makes sense!).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Deshea Townsend - Superbowl - MVP - 150/1 1pt

I generally try to think for myself, but as I know nothing at all about American Football, I'm going to have to trust the judgement of others. Nick Halling in today's Racing Post makes a case for Deshea Townsend at 150-1 to be MVP in tonight's Superbowl. The logic is that he can make key interceptions from the opposing QB. I've had a (very) speculative 1pt at 150-1 (100-1 is currently availible)

US Masters - Mike Weir 2.5pts E/W 80-1 (Totesport)

Mike Weir has an excellent Masters record with impressive results in previous years (even when he has been out of form.) His Masters results are as follows:

2003 Won
2004 Missed Cut
2005 Tied 5th
2006 Tied 11th
2007 Tied 20th
2008 Tied 17th

Despite a missed cut this week, he has been clearly showing a return to form with his latest 2008 results being as follows:

7/27/08 RBC Canadian Open T5
8/10/08 PGA Championship T42
8/24/08 The Barclays T7
9/01/08 Deutsche Bank Championship 2
9/07/08 BMW Championship T67
9/28/08 THE TOUR Championship T6
10/19/08 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open T10
10/26/08 Open T4
12/21/08 Chevron World Challenge presented by Bank of America T14

Last week he was 3rd in the Bob Hope Classic, showing a continuation of his 2008 form. I think he has an excellent chance of (at a minimum) of getting placed in the Masters this year. Who knows what Tiger Woods will turn up after his injury?

Results from 2008

Attached above are my results for 2008, together with comparisons with 2006 and 2007. The results are not as impressive as previous years (30% ROI compared to 50% in 2007), however compared to other investments (houses, stock markert etc.) they don't hold up too badly!

Anyone else know of a blog that has been running for three years and/or has a average ROI of 40% across that period?! Most blogs seem to only post their results after the events and typically die off afeter a few months. If you have any blogs you would recommend, please post them in the comments.

I'm looking forward to 2009 - I have already taken some very healthy positions e.g Postmouth to be relegated @ 50-1 (now 5/2) and a Jockey to be in the Top 10 of Sports Personality of the Year 2009 @ 50-1 (now evens)