Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko Fight

We're not exactly spoiled with unmissable boxing matches, but the Joshua vs Klitschko bout has even the casual boxing fan reaching for their remote to order the fight (while spitting their tea out at the cost - £19.95), or more likely going down the pub with a few mates. A boing match of this magnitude has been a long time coming, and the recent Haye fight, which was certainly a lively affair has certainly whet the appetite of fight fans across the country and the world.

Klitschko (64W- 4L - 0D), while not exactly an exciting fighter to watch, was unbeaten for over a decade (ironing out a few kinks along the way, long after his brother had hung up his gloves) before coming a cropper to part time comic and full time professional eater Tyson Fury. Fury is no bum in the ring, but at the same time, the result was a surprise which has led many to think that for Klitschko the hunger has gone. It's a fair argument, but maybe the loss will spur him on for what could well be one of his last fights.

Anthony Joshua (18W - 0L -0D) has a golden opportunity with this fight. He's had what you could call a faultless 3 1/2 year progression through the heavyweight division (Klitschko is at the tailend of a 20+ year professional career) filled with knockouts - as in all 18 fights have ended in knockouts - impressive to say the least. A win it this match up would position him perfectly to unify the belts within a couple of years. It goes without saying that for their own reasons both fighters would love this win on their record.

Both Joshua and Klitschko are available at around 7-1 to win by decision, but I don't see this one going the distance. Round betting is relatively uninspiring too. My inclination is to go for a Joshua win. Youth is firmly on his side and this is a golden opportunity that he's surely hungry to take. He has the punch power in spades and the speed, so won't be afraid to unleash. He possesses the ability to give his opponent all kinds of trouble, and although Klitschko's chin hasn't been truly tested for a good few years, that wasn't the case earlier in his career, so it's  a reasonably likely outcome in my view..

That being the case, a knockout (or TKO) by Joshua at 4/6 seems like the bet to me. I'm fully expecting Klitschko to try to keep Joshua at arms length and be very tactical throughout the fight, but I think despite his experience he's up against it here.

Selection: Anthony Joshua to win via KO at 4/6

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Eurovision Song Contest 2017 - Betting Thoughts

It's coming around to that time of year ago, where cheesy music takes centre stage and our nation fails miserably. No, I'm not talking about watching England play while in my local, I'm instead commenting on the one and only Eurovision Song Contest, this time hosted by Ukraine. I was quite impressed by last year's Eurovison song contest entries actually, there were a number of catchy tuned (is that legal to confess to?) and the winning entry at least had a message.

This year I notice that the Italian entry is close to even money so I've decided to do a quick first listen of the top 5 songs at this time according to the bookies:

Italy - (Francesco Gabbani - Occidentali's Karma): A bit unusual at first glance/listen as the singer isn't typical pop star material and doesn't have what I'd call the voice of an angel. Things get even more strange later in the performance when a man in a gorrila suit joins in!! It's a nice summery number though, an optimistic song - sung mostly in Italian - at a time where there's a lot of doom an gloom around. That's reason enough to like it really! Even Money



Bulgaria - (Kristian Kostov - Beautiful Mess ): If you could combine a James Arthur and Justin Bieber track you might end with something like this. It's instant, listenable and modern sounding. There's not much to fault with it. The video acccompanying it is good too, so maybe if they have decent visuals on the night along the same lines that might help matters! 6-1



Sweden - (Robin Bengtsson - I Can't Go On): Another modern sounding track with a touch of funk. Shades of Justin Timberlake to this one. Sweden is never that far off the mark nowadays where the Eurovision song contest is concerned, so this will be thereabouts. Possibly a bit generic / safe but it depends what voters are looking for. 10-1








Portugal - (Salvador Sobral - Amar Pelos Dois) - This one's certainly a bit different. Another song sung in the narrative tongue. It's a pretty song by a singer who can't seem to keep his head still for long! An Elvis Costello feel. A bit slow and understated, but if it stands out from the crowd who knows. 16-1



Belgium (Blanche - City Lights) - No, not Blanche from the Golden Girls. Following the pattern of 'sounding a bit like', this one has a London Grammar sound to it. Combining aspects that (somehow) appear to sound retro and futuristic at the same time, this is a moody number that is really quite listenable. Possibly slightly repetative but I like it. 20-1



I'll give the other tracks a listen closer to the contest to select the best of the rest and attempt to make a betting selection or two in this often unpredictable and zany competition! Forced to make an early selection out of the bunch above though I'd definitely go with Kristian Kostov - Beautiful Mess at 6-1 for their first Eurovision win. Bulgaria have to compete in a semi final first though since there are so many entries. It's even money to win semi final number 2, with its closet rival being The Irish entry by Brendan Murray. Even money doesn't sound like bad odds for winning the heat!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Masters, Augusta National, Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, April 9

No favourite has won the Masters since Tiger Woods, but World No.1 Dustin Johnson (6/1) tees it up in the first major of the season having won the Genesis Open, the WGC –
Mexico Championship and WGC – Dell Matchplay on his last three starts and looks worthy of support. The 32-year-old South Carolinian finished fourth in last year’s Masters before winning his first major, the U.S. Open, in June and has since collected six trophies from 17 starts. D.J., as he’s known, drives well – he’s second only to Rory McIlroy in driving distance on the PGA Tour this season – can shape ball both ways, putts adequately and has dramatically improved his wedge play, which used to be his Achilles’ Heel. Furthermore, he’s unflappable on the course, so must have every chance of extending his winning streak.

Selection: Dustin Johnson to win outright (6/1 with Bet Stars, Betvictor, Paddy Power, Boylesports and Betfair Sportsbook)

Monday, 27 March 2017

World Championship, Saturday, April 15

The most important event in snooker, in terms of prestige and prize money, the World Championship commences at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield on Saturday, April 15 and, as ever, promises to be a test of endurance as well as skill. One player who has been fairly quiet is 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson, but ‘The Thunder from Down Under’ has looked on the way back in recent months, reaching the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix, the Gibraltar Open and the Players Championship. The 35-year-old Australian has apparently set aside his computer games in favour of a more rigorous practice regime and, when in form, has the all-round game to beat anyone. He’s a noticeable absentee from this week’s China Open, so should arrive in Sheffield fresher than most and looks decent value at 12/1 with William Hill, Paddy Power, Coral or Betfair.

Selection: Neil Robertson to win (12/1 with William Hill, Paddy Power, Coral and Betfair)

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Republican of Ireland vs Wales (World Cup Qualifier)

Friday night will see an in form Republic of Ireland side battle it out against an unpredictable Wales side in World Cup qualification group D. Republic of Ireland currently top the group with 10 points
from 4 games and on the hand Wales sit 3rd in the group with 6 points from 4. Both sides have been playing very well on the international stage but Wales have been struggling to find wins,
although to be fair to them this could just be that luck hasn’t been on their side as they’ve drawn
their last 3 matches. However the Welsh side are unbeaten since their Semi Final loss to Portugal
in last summer’s Euros and they are scoring on average a very respectable two goals per game.
Ireland on the other hand have found winning ways and are unbeaten in 5 since they lost to France
in the Euros.

The Irish boys boast a similar record to Wales as they’ve scored 11 goals in their
last 5 games. Therefore, despite the general concensus, I see this game being something of a goalfest. With Gareth Bale on the pitch anything can happen and I certainly wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get on the score sheet. For the Irish the pace and finishing abilities of Shane Long should never go unnoticed and so in my opinion he’s most likely to bag a goal for his team. Overall with both sides averaging 2 goals scored a game since the Euros it wouldn’t be unreasonable to take a punt on there being 2.5 goals.

Selection: Republican of Ireland vs Wales  +2.5 goals (6/4 generally available)