Other Sports

Jul 5, 275 days ago

2016 Tour de France Preview

2016 Tour de France Preview

The 103rd Tour de France takes place this July and, unlike previous years, the race actually begins in France. The race begins in the department of Manche for the first time and the champion will be crowned after 21 stages, ending in Paris in 24 July.
Twenty two teams take part in this year’s Tour and last year’s champion is this year’s favourite. Keep reading for our preview.

Your Tour de France betting favourites

When the route for this year’s Tour was revealed last October, Chris Froome said that he believed it suited him more than the 2015 route. “It’s a very well rounded Tour,” said the defending champion. “I think it’s going to take a complete cyclist to win.”
Froome has the pedigree to win the race after two previous victories and the two time trials – on stages 13 and 18 – will offer plenty of opportunity to open up a gap on his rivals.
Supported by an excellent Sky team and with a recent win at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Froome remains the man to beat and is the 6/4 favourite.
The Englishman’s biggest challenge this year is set to come from Nairo Quintana. The Movistar rider has twice finished second at the Tour de France and the course should also suit him. The Colombian is a specialist climber, and with nine climbing days and the fact that the two time trials feature climbs mean he is likely to be competitive.
Quintana is in excellent form and his Movistar team are proven Grand Tour winners. He said: “This route reminds me of the Vuelta a España or even the Giro, with hard stages all over the three weeks of racing.”
The 26 year old looks great value at 2/1.
A two-time Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador is running out of time to make it a hat-trick of titles but is another rider encouraged by this year’s route.
The Spaniard called the 2016 Tour ‘beautiful’ and ‘attractive’ and he skipped the recent Giro d’Italia to get in shape for another tilt at the Tour de France. His form in 2016 has been mixed and there are many who think that the younger riders have an advantage.
Older men have won the Tour – consider Cadel Evans in 2011 – and Contador should be there or thereabouts at 9/2.
Tour de France betting outsiders to follow


Can anyone outside the ‘big three’ win this year’s Tour? Well, there hasn’t been a French winner of the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985 and Thibault Pinot came close when placing third back in 2014.
The 26 year old struggled on the cobbles in 2015 before eventually finishing 16th and his team are unlikely to be able to control the race like some of his rivals.
However, Pinot is at a great age and he had top five placings in his first seven races this season. The fact that the time trials involve a climb won’t help him but he has experience of being one of the leaders in the race and could be a lively each-way outsider at 22/1.
Fabio Aru’s Astana team-mate Vincenzo Nibali has called him ‘upset’ and ‘short-tempered’ but the Little Angel is a talented rider who finished second in last year’s Giro d’Italia before winning the Vuelta a España.
Aru’s form this year hasn’t been overly impressive but the mountain stages will suit him and if he performs to the best of his ability he could be a dangerous outsider at 20/1.
Richie Porte is a 16/1 chance despite having never made the top five in a Grand Tour while teammate Tejay van Garderen is susceptible to a bad day in the mountains and the 33/1 looks about right.
Tour de France betting

Mar 13, 755 days ago

2015 Australian Grand Prix preview

2015 Australian Grand Prix preview

The 2015 Formula One season kicks off in Melbourne this week and there is great anticipation ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton begins his title defence at Albert Park and it will be intriguing to see how the new cars – and the new teammates – fare in the opening round of a long season. Keep reading for our betting preview of the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes the favourites to win the opening race

Over the last twenty years the Albert Park circuit has become a favourite with both fans and drivers. A fast and consistent street circuit, it offers drivers the potential for fast lap times but it isn’t always the easiest circuit on which to overtake.

Mercedes come into the season as hot favourites to retain their constructor’s title and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and his teammate Nico Rosberg are certainly the drivers to beat in
Australia.

While Hamilton is the 11/10 favourite to win this weekend, teammate Rosberg has worked hard over the winter in order to prepare himself for the challenge of competing with the Englishman for the world title.

“I know the feeling of not winning in the end and I don’t intend to repeat that experience. It’s a huge motivation for me and gives me even more determination for 2015,” Rosberg told reporters in Barcelona. “I have focussed on pushing myself even harder for the rematch with Lewis.”

Over the winter, the German set the fastest time during testing and he completed more miles than any other driver. Rosberg’s preparations even extended to trying out different breathing methods in a bid to find a critical edge over his Mercedes teammate.

“I learned some things in the winter. For example, my breathing in the race car was something I could work on,” Rosberg added. “When we go through fast corners, we hold our breath because we have so much G-Force. That one or two per cent that makes the difference in the end.”

Who will emerge as the main challenger to Mercedes dominance?

The biggest challenge to Mercedes – at least in the early weeks of the season – looks as if it might come from a resurgent Williams team. Williams were the surprise of 2014, and after a string of podiums they came close to a win in Abu Dhabi as Felipe Massa chased Lewis Hamilton all the way to the flag.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth in Australia last year and hopes to do better in 2015. He said: “The weekend will be interesting but also important as we have to be able to have a strong start and make sure we gain the most from the weekend, especially as other teams improve. You never know how other teams will progress throughout the season, so points here are key.

“I like Melbourne, the first race is really when the gloves come off so qualifying will be an exciting session.”

Bottas is 10/1 to win while teammate Filipe Massa is available at 22/1.

The dramatic improvement at Ferrari has been acknowledged by both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, while Williams, Red Bull and Mercedes all say they expect the red cars to be at the sharp end of the battle.

Of course they have signed four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and the German hopes that he will come closer to the title than he did in last year’s disappointing Red Bull. Vettel joins 2007 world champion Kimi Raikonnen at Ferrari and boss Maurizio Arrivabene has called the pair ‘a perfect combination’.

Vettel won the race in 2011 and is 14/1 while Raikonnen won for Lotus in 2013 and can be backed at 20/1.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified in his home grand prix in 2014 and is looking forward to this year’s race. “I love going home and the fresh air really gives me that home feeling. I spend so much time now away from Australia that anywhere in Oz feels like home really. It’s the cars, the accent, the food and the weather.

“The whole [Melbourne] vibe and atmosphere is just amazing. It’s busy and there is always something going on. The track is fun. I’ve always liked street circuits. I think it’s a great and fast flowing circuit.”

Ricciardo is 14/1 while new teammate Daniil Kyvat is a 66/1 chance.

Verdict

Despite the improvements made by the chasing pack it’s hard to see past a Mercedes win in Melbourne this year. Nico Rosberg won the race in 2014 and the German looks good value at 2/1 to get his season off to a winning start.

Motor Racing betting

Sep 4, 945 days ago

2014 Italian Grand Prix preview

2014 Italian Grand Prix preview

The Formula One circus heads to Monza this week for the oldest GP in the calendar. The circuit nicknamed the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ hosts the fastest race of the season and after the fireworks in Belgium between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, fans will be eagerly awaiting the latest battle between the pair.

Rosberg leads Hamilton by 29 points going into the thirteenth race of the season. Keep reading for our preview of the 2014 Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes drivers dominate the betting

The rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finally boiled over in the last race in Belgium. Rosberg’s front wing punctured Hamilton’s left-rear tyre when he hit the back of the car on the second lap, resulting in the Brit’s later withdrawal.

Rosberg was booed on the podium having finished second and having extended his lead at the top of the driver’s championship to 29 points. Later, Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff said Rosberg’s driving was unacceptable and he was later punished by the team as he accepted responsibility for the crash.

While team meetings since the race have cleared the air, the battle between the pair promises to be fascinating. If the pair qualify on the front of the grid then the run to the first chicane at the start of the race at Monza promises to be quite a moment. And, with 11 of the last 14 victors at Monza winning from pole position, success in qualifying could be crucial.

Hamilton is determined to close the gap in Italy and this week tweeted: “My aim this weekend is to claw back the gap in the Drivers’ Championship. I won’t give up until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi.”  The Englishman is the 20/21 favourite to win the race while you can back Rosberg at 6/4.

A great season for the new Red Bull driver

While the two Mercedes drivers are battling between themselves, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has been going quietly about his business. The Australian has won the last two Grands Prix and is the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race this season.

Ricciardo is now just 35 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the standings and another win this weekend would bring the 25 year old right into contention for the driver’s title, having already been awarded the prestigious Trofeo Bandini this season. The Red Bull driver is 10/1 to make it three wins in a row.

Valtteri Bottas has registered a podium finish in four of his last five races in the improved Williams and is now fifth in the driver’s standings. The Finn is 6/4 to register another podium finish this weekend.

Fernando Alonso will be able to guarantee huge support for himself this weekend with thousands of Ferrari fans expected to turn out for the team’s home race. However, Alonso played down his chances this week and was critical of his car. He told Sky Sports: “Because we are not competitive and also because it is quite boring to drive the car … It is too slow and too heavy and we are not able to have the noise that we used to enjoy.”

Verdict

While Red Bull may have won the last two races the power of the Mercedes engine should be too much at Monza – the fastest circuit in the F1 calendar. This all points to a Mercedes win, although all eyes will be on how the two rivals go about their business.

Lewis Hamilton needs the win more and should close the gap at the top of the driver’s championship with a win at 20/21.

Formula One betting

Jul 22, 989 days ago

2014 Commonwealth Games preview

2014 Commonwealth Games preview

For 12 days this August the eyes of the sporting world will be on Glasgow as the Scottish city hosts the 20th Commonwealth Games. The Games will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Scotland and with 71 participating nations and a total of 4,084 competing athletes it will be one of the largest Commonwealth Games staged to date.

Athletes will compete for medals in 18 events across the 12 days and we preview some of the main events at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Hockey

The hockey competitions get under way on the opening day of the Games and will take place at Glasgow’s purpose built National Hockey Centre. Ten nations will compete in both the men’s and women’s events and Australia are the odds-on favourites to win both gold medals.

Since hockey was introduced at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Australia have won the gold medal in ever men’s event and three of the four women’s events. Only India – in the women’s tournament in 2002 – have denied the Aussies a clean sweep of all the gold medals.

The women’s side reached the World Cup final in 2014 and were eventually beaten by the Netherlands (who don’t compete here) although they were held 0-0 by Commonwealth rivals New Zealand in the group stage. England are the third favourites although they had a torrid time at the recent World Cup, winning just one of their five group matches.

The Australian men’s team have reached the last four World Cup finals, winning in both 2010 and 2014. England are the second favourites after finishing fourth at the World Cup although they were thrashed 5-0 by the Aussies in June.

Rugby 7s

It’s the fifth time that Rugby 7s has been part of the Commonwealth Games and the tournament takes place at Ibrox over two days – the 26th and 27th July.

Sixteen teams will compete for the medals and the 10/11 favourites are New Zealand who have won every gold medal in this event since the sport was included in the Games. New Zealand are also the reigning world champions after their 33-0 win over England in the final in 2013 and so look great value to scoop another gold.

Australia were the silver medallists in 2010 and look decent each-way value at 12/1 while Kenya have reached the semi-final of the last two Rugby 7s World Cups and could be one to watch at an attractive 50/1.

Others to follow

England boasts two of the world’s best athletes in the triathlon and the gold medal looks to be a straight fight between brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

Alistair prevailed at London 2012 to win the gold and is the 3/10 favourite to take another gold medal while Jonathan is available at 5/2. It could be an English double in this event with Jodie Stimpson the 8/15 favourite to win the women’s triathlon.

One of the best moments from London 2012 was proud South African father Bert weeping on television after the swimming success of his son, Chad le Clos. The 22 year old is the Commonwealth record holder in the 50m and 100, butterfly and is 1/100 to win the 200m fly and 1/50 to win the 100m. If you fancy him to win a hat-trick – and who wouldn’t want to see Bert on the TV as much as possible? – le Clos is 9/1 to win the 50m fly.

Australia look set to dominate in the pool in the women’s events and England’s best chance of a gold medal could come in the form of Sophie Taylor who is 6/5 to win the women’s 100m breaststroke.

Commonwealth Games betting

 

Jul 4, 1007 days ago

2014 British Grand Prix preview

2014 British Grand Prix preview

The British Grand Prix has been one of the highlights of the sporting summer since back in 1926. Thousands of spectators head to Silverstone every year for the event which, this year, is the ninth race in the 2014 season.

On paper it looks like a battle between last year’s winner and the last British driver to win the race. Keep reading for our preview of the 2014 British Grand Prix.

Mercedes drivers dominate the betting

One team has dominated the 2014 Formula One season. Mercedes drivers have won all but one of the races in 2014 and the German team lead the constructor’s championship by a massive 58 points.

Nico Rosberg currently heads the driver’s championship after his win in Austria and the German hasn’t finished outside the top two in the eight races so far this season. Even with a power unit failure in Canada, the 29 year old son of F1 legend Keke Rosberg still managed to drag his Mercedes home in second place and he leads team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 29 points going into this race.

Rosberg won the British Grand Prix in 2013 and is a worthy 4/6 favourite.

The only man who the bookies give any hope of stopping Rosberg is his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton was the last British driver to win his home GP – back in 2008 – and is desperate to give the Silverstone crowd something to cheer about in 2014.

“When I won there in 2008, coming through a chicane and people were aquaplaning and going off and [Felipe] Massa spun, I was going through and I could see the crowds getting up and cheering. It was so supportive. With the crowd there you feel like you are doing it all together,” he said.

“Even though I have not got the results there recently, people are still supportive and say ‘don’t worry, there is next time’. I am really confident I can do it this year. I have the car, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t.

“It’s coming at the right time. I have had a couple of dodgy races, so it will be good to get it right. I’m going to Silverstone with the best package I’ve ever had.”

Hamilton really needs a victory to get his season back on track after some recent qualifying errors. It’s the best chance of a home win in years and Hamilton is 6/4 to win his second British Grand Prix.

Williams finally showing signs of improvement

There was a time when Williams used to dominate the British Grand Prix. A Williams driver won eight of the twelve Grands Prix between 1986 and 1997 with Nigel Mansell, Jacques Villeneuve, Alain Prost and Damon Hill at the wheel.

There were signs in Austria that Williams’ recent slump is finally over. Valtteri Bottas secured his maiden Formula One podium finish and the team’s first for more than two years, with team-mate Filipe Massa in fourth place. The 27 points collected was the team’s biggest haul since the introduction of the current scoring system in 2010.

Claire Williams, the deputy team principal, said: “The aim now is to maintain this level of consistency, this level of points scoring, and there is no reason why we can’t do that. The car has the pace, we’ve shown that consistently throughout the previous races, but we’ve had a bit of bad luck and sometimes we’ve not made the best calls.

“But now we’ve achieved this, the realistic aim is to keep making up positions in the constructors’ championship and I think we can do that – I hope we can do that. It’s about consistent points scoring, scoring big points as well, with more podium appearances. That has to be the goal for us.”

The Williams drivers are each 20/1 to secure a win.

Red Bull have won three of the last five Grands Prix at Silverstone and the circuit is just 20 minutes from the team’s HQ. Despite their poor record in 2014 they have a good recent record at the event and team principal Christian Horner is in confident mood.

World champion Sebastian Vettel is a previous winner of the race and is available at 33/1 with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo available at 25/1.

Formula One betting

 

May 14, 1058 days ago

2014 French Open Tennis Preview

2014 French Open Tennis Preview

This year’s French Open promises to be one of the most keenly contested tournaments in years. Two of the leading men are having mixed seasons while seven different women have won the tournament since 2007. Can Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams retain their crown? Or will there be a new name on the trophy?

Keep reading for our preview of this year’s French Open tennis.

The Men

In years gone by there would have only been one man you’d ever choose to back on clay. Rafael Nadal is the evens favourite to secure an astonishing ninth title in Paris and is a worthy favourite having won the last four French titles. Nadal’s fourth round defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009 remains his only defeat at Roland Garros.

This year has been a little different, however. Nadal lost on clay in Barcelona for the first time in eleven years (beaten by Nicolas Almagro) while David Ferrer beat him in the Monte-Carlo quarter finals. And, he only took the recent Madrid title by default thanks to an injury to Kei Nishikori in the final.

It’s also been far from a vintage year for Novak Djokovic. The Serb has won just two titles in 2014 – in Indian Wells and Miami – and a wrist injury contributed to a recent straights set defeat to Roger Federer.

In truth, Djokovic’s record at Roland Garros isn’t terrific. He has reached the final on just one occasion – in 2012 – and has lost at the semi-final stage on four occasions. I’m not sure he is great value at 5/2.

The only other man in the draw to have won the French Open title is 2009 champion Roger Federer and the Swiss player is 12/1 fourth favourite. Federer has won a title in 2013 and was a beaten finalist on clay in Monte-Carlo. Recently the father of a second pair of twins, the former world number one could go well here.

Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese-born player to win a clay-court title on the ATP World Tour when he won in Barcelona. The 24 year old then followed up this win by reaching the final in Madrid where he’d probably have beaten Nadal were he not forced to withdraw with a back injury.

Nishikori is the form man on clay and can be backed at 25/1. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka who won on clay in April and is the 6/1 third favourite.

The Women

Seven different women have won the French Open title since the last seven years and so choosing a winner is a tough task.

The form player on clay approaching Roland Garros is Maria Sharapova. The Russian won recent clay court titles in Madrid and Stuttgart and won the French Open title in 2012. In an open contest she is the 4/1 second favourite.

Before winning the title in 2013, it was over a decade since Serena Williams reached the final at Roland Garros. Williams hadn’t got past the quarter final stage at this tournament since 2003 before her triumph in 2014 and, having missed recent matches with a thigh injury, the 7/4 looks very skinny.

A better bet may be 2011 champion Li Na at 5/1. The Chinese number one won the Australian open in January and also reached the final in Miami where she lost to Serena Williams. The 32 year old is a tough competitor and could win her second title at 5/1.

Simona Halep’s rise up the world rankings has been astonishing. The Romanian is now the world number 5 and the 22 year old recently took Maria Sharapova to three sets in the Madrid final having won in Qatar earlier in the season.

She also reached the quarter final of the Australian Open and could go well here at 9/1.

Victoria Azarenka was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013 and the two tine Grand Slam winner is a 16/1 chance here. If you want a rank outsider to follow then French number one Alize Cornet is a 100/1 chance. Cornet has reached two ATP finals in 2014 – winning one – and is now in the world’s top 25 players.

She has only won 8 matches in 9 visits to Roland Garros but the 24 year old could be one to watch this year at long odds.

Tennis Betting

 

Dec 21, 2298 days ago

RTE Sports Awards 2010 Betting

RTÉ Sports Personality of the Year

The shortlist of nine finalists has been drawn for the RTÉ Sports Personality of the Year and it comes as no surprise to me to see Paddy Power install Graeme McDowell as 1/2 favourite. Horse-racing’s most admired personality Tony McCoy is priced up at 5/2 to claim yet another victory.

Dec 9, 2310 days ago

NFL Betting Tips – Week 14

NFL Betting Preview – Week 14

Week 14 of any NFL regular season is usually wake-up time! With just four rounds of matches left before the postseason begins, football teams are looking to perform beyond their ability to clinch their division, or at worst, manoeuvre themselves into contention for a play-off spot.

Dec 8, 2311 days ago

Boxing Preview – Khan and Klitschko Betting Tips

World Championship Boxing Tips

The SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany takes centre stage once again this weekend as boxing’s heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko (1/12), defends his IBO/IBF & WBO titles against the unbeaten Dereck Chisora (6/1).

Chisora, who hails from Finchley, London, has had 14 professional bouts to date and with nine knockouts on his record the British boxer has every chance of claiming a world title but can he really upset the current champion?

Nov 8, 2341 days ago

World Championship Boxing – Betting Preview

Big-Fight Boxing

World Championship Boxing takes centre stage on Sky Box Office next weekend when the pound-for-pound king, Manny Pacquiao, takes on Mexican figher Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight Title. Also in action is England’s David Haye, who defends his WBA World Heavyweight Title against fellow country Audley Harrison.

Nov 4, 2345 days ago

NFL Betting Tips – Week 9

NFL Betting Tips

American Football continues this weekend as Week 9 of the NFL regular season sees the Philadelphia Eagles (8/13) host the Indianapolis Colts (27/20) at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Also in action are the current Superbowl Champions New Orleans Saints (1/3) who make a road trip to take on the out-of-form Carolina Panthers (12/5).

Oct 29, 2351 days ago

NFL Betting Tips – Week 8

NFL Betting Tips

NFL Week 8 is fast approaching and there is some mouth-watering clashes taking place this weekend, none more so than the Pittsburgh Steelers (10/11) road trip to face the reigning Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints (10/11). London is also in the spotlight on Sunday as it hosts it’s fourth NFL regular-season game. Last week’s American Football tips resulted in a 15.5pt profit, so let’s concentrate on the betting for this week’s games and hopefully select some winning NFL betting tips.