There are four great Euro 2012 matches this weekend including a meeting between two of the continent’s footballing heavyweights.
Saturday’s first match sees World Cup finalists Netherlands take on Denmark. It will be interesting to see whether Dutch coach Bert van Maarwijk sticks with his two defensive midfielders or whether he can find a space in his side for talented Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Either way, the Oranje are 4/7 to start their campaign with a win. Germany are 5/6 to beat Portugal in Saturday’s late kick off.
Reigning champions Spain face Italy on Sunday and are just 3/4 to start their defence of the Euros with a win. Italy’s preparations haven’t been helped by match fixing arrests and the nation’s recent 3-0 friendly loss to Russia was their third defeat in a row. Saying that, this is tournament football and so there’s value in an Italy win at 4/1.
The final match of the weekend sees Ireland take on Croatia. I really fancy Ireland to do well in this tournament and think they are an outstanding bet to win this one at 5/2.
The European Tour is in Sweden this weekend for the Nordea Scandinavian Masters. Alexander Noren won the title a year ago by seven shots and is the 16/1 joint fourth favourite to retain his title. Compatriot Peter Hanson is a 12/1 chance, while Lee Westwood leads the overseas contingent at the Bro Hoff Slott Golf Club and is the 11/2 favourite.
This weekend the PGA Tour heads to TPC Southwind and the Memphis course hosts the FedEx St. Jude Classic for the 24th time. Zach Johnson has a win and two second places in his last four starts and is the form player on the tour. Johnson is 9/1, as is Rory McIlroy who is having the opposite run of form, having missed three consecutive cuts. I know who I’d rather back at that price.
David Toms is the all-time money leader at this event and can be backed at 25/1. Keep an eye also on John Rollins at 66/1 who finished T15 and T25 on his last two appearances at this event.
It’s the third Test between England and the West Indies this weekend at Edgbaston. England have chosen to rest fast bowler James Anderson and are 5/6 to go 3-0 up in the series. The tourists can be backed at 9/1.
Saturday also sees the second one day international between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Pallekele.
Elsewhere, the Clydesdale Bank Pro 40 continues. Sussex are one of only two teams who haven’t lost a Clydesdale 40 match this season so far and they face Derbyshire on Sunday.
The French Open continues in Paris this weekend with the men’s event looking like a two horse race between the world’s top two players. Novak Djokovic even admitted that Rafael Nadal is the man to beat and the Spaniard is the clear 4/9 favourite having lost just once at Roland Garros in his career.
The women’s event is more difficult to call after early exits for the top two in the betting. Maria Sharapova has never reached the French Open final but was a winner on clay recently and has dropped just one set at Roland Garros. The Russian can complete a career Grand Slam and is the 11/8 favourite. I tipped Sam Stosur before the tournament and the Australian is now 7/2 while Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is a 4/1 chance.
Wigan remain on top of the Superleague table after their thumping 50-8 win over Leeds last weekend. It was an embarrassing defeat for the Rhinos who now sit eighth in the Superleague table. And, it could get even tougher for Brian McDermott’s side this weekend as they travel to second place Warrington.
Wigan travel to third place Catalans Dragons on Sunday while struggling Huddersfield will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to lowly Widnes last weekend by beating Hull KR. London Broncos are bottom of the table and play second bottom Widnes on Saturday.
There are some tricky away ties for the Six Nations sides this weekend. England begin a three Test series against South Africa on Saturday and Jean de Villiers will captain the Springboks in Durban.
Ireland face New Zealand in the All Blacks’ first international since winning the World Cup and there promises to be a great atmosphere inside Eden Park. Elsewhere, Wales are in Australia and Italy travel to Argentina.
The highlight of Saturday’s racing comes from the USA with the Belmont Stakes from Belmont, New York. The third leg of the American Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is a Grade I race run over 1.5 miles open to three year old thoroughbreds.
I’ll Have Another is the 5/4 ante post favourite from the 3/1 chance Dullahan.
Elsewhere, there is racing on Saturday from Doncaster, Chester, Windsor, Hexham, Newmarket, Newcastle and Worcester.