Saturday 31 December 2016

Australian Open, Monday, January 16

The opening Grand Slam tournament of 2017 will once against take place in Melbourne with the Australian Open where those who really put the work in during the off-season get rewarded in scorching-hot conditions in the Australian city.
Andy Murray starts the New Year as the world number one for the first time in his career. The British player had a superb campaign in 2016 where he won Wimbledon and the gold medal in Rio at the Olympics. He also reached the final of the Australian Open and French Open where he was beaten on both occasions by Novak Djokovic.
Murray sealed his number one spot in the world rankings at the end of this year with his first success in the ATP World Tour Finals in London. He defeated Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 in an impressive performance in the final event of the calendar year.
At 13/8 in the outright market for the 2017 Australian Open, Murray looks to be the best bet in the men’s draw. He is also one of the tips from oddschecker in their 2017 New Year accumulator as they think the world number one will make a flying start to the campaign.
Murray has been to the final of the Australian Open more often than any other Grand Slam. Sadly for the Brit, he has been beaten in all five of those finals. The fact he has been runner-up on five occasions should give backers of the world number one confidence though as it clearly suggests he is always in great shape for the opening major of the year.
During the off-season, Murray has been training with his team in Miami. He missed the ceremony for the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Birmingham in order not to break his training camp. The British player is expected to make his opening appearance of 2017 I the Mubadala World Tennis Championship which will work as ideal preparation for Melbourne.
The biggest threat to Murray will of course be Djokovic again. It is difficult to predict what kind of form the defending champion will return to next season but on the evidence we have seen in recent months, Murray definitely has his number going into the 2017 Australian Open.
Kerber Can Defend Her Women’s Crown
Angelique Kerber goes into the women’s Australian Open next month as the defending champion as she defeated Serena Williams in the final in 2016 to claim her maiden Grand Slam title.
That success in Melbourne last January really did kick-start a huge year for the German. She won her second Grand Slam title in New York when she beat Karolina Pliskova, while she was also runner-up at Wimbledon where Williams gained revenge for her defeat in the Australian Open.
At the age of 28, Kerber is at the peak stage of her career so there is no reason as to why she can’t improve her Grand Slam tally in 2017. She is 4/1 to defend her title in Melbourne which is a generous price given how well she played last year.
Kerber is now the number one ranked player in the women’s game. She was the runner-up at the WTA Championship finals in Singapore as Dominika Cibulkova beat her to the title on that occasion. There was also a silver medal in 2016 in Rio at the Olympics where the German lost in three sets to Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig.
We could be set to see another big year from the world number one in 2017. Her confidence is sky high and she has been the most consistent player on the tour over the last 12 months.
Serena Williams tops the outright market for the women’s Australian Open at 7/4 which is a short price given she has only won this tournament once in the last six years. There is no question if Williams brings her top game, she will be difficult to beat, however, Kerber no longer needs to fear the American as she has proven she has what it takes to beat the 22-time Grand Slam winner.
Andy Murray to win men’s 2017 Australian Open (13/8 with Boylesports)
Angelique Kerber to win women’s 2017 Australian Open (4/1 with Skybet)

Monday 19 December 2016

The X Factor 2016 Voting Results

As is now customary on TellyBetting,  I've once again listed the week by week breakdown of votes for The X factor. It's always interesting to see how far off the mark, or otherwise, we've been all series with our predictions. It doesn't look like the bookies got it far wrong for The X Factor 2016 to be honest.

Matt Terry won the vote more times than not, but was essentially fighting it out with Saara Aalto towards the end. 5 After Midnight put up a good performance all series too, to be honest. All three acts were realistically in with a shout of winning.

Vote 1
Matt Terry - 22.2%
5 After Midnight - 13.3%
Emily Middlemas - 11.9%
Honey G -10.9%
Sam Lavery -9.8%
Relley C -7.8%
Gifty Louise -6.6%
Ryan Lawrie -6.2%
Saara Aalto -5.3%
Freddy Parker- 3.4%
Bratavio -2.6%

Vote 1 Lifeline
Freddy Parker- 52.0%
Saara Aalto -38.5%
Bratavio -9.5%

Vote 2
Matt Terry -19.5%
5 After Midnight - 15.6%
Emily Middlemas - 11.0%
Honey G - 9.3%
Sam Lavery -8.8%
Four of Diamonds - 7.3%
Relley C - 6.6%
Gifty Louise -6.4%
Saara Aalto -6.4%
Ryan Lawrie -4.6%
Freddy Parker- 4.5%

Vote 2 Lifeline
Ryan Lawrie -37.9%
Saara Aalto -32.0%
Freddy Parker- 30.0%

Vote 3
Matt Terry -17.8%
Saara Aalto -13.7%
Emily Middlemas - 11.9%
5 After Midnight - 11.5%
Honey G - 9.4%
Sam Lavery -8.1%
Gifty Louise -7.9%
Ryan Lawrie -7.4%
Relley C -6.2%
Four of Diamonds - 6.1%

Vote 3 Lifeline
Ryan Lawrie -37.9%
Relley C - 36.0%
Four of Diamonds - 26.1%

Vote 4
Emily Middlemas - 18.7%
Matt Terry -18.7%
Saara Aalto -11.3%
5 After Midnight - 10.6%
Sam Lavery -10.1%
Honey G - 9.2%
Ryan Lawrie -8.7%
Gifty Louise -6.6%
Four of Diamonds - 6.1%

Vote 4 Lifeline
Ryan Lawrie -41.2%
Gifty Louise -35.0%
Four of Diamonds - 23.8%

Vote 5
Matt Terry -16.7%
5 After Midnight - 15.5%
Emily Middlemas - 15.3%
Ryan Lawrie -14.1%
Honey G -11.6%
Saara Aalto -9.4%
Four of Diamonds - 8.9%
Sam Lavery -8.5%

Lifeline Vote 5
Sam Lavery -46.1%
Four of Diamonds - 27.3%
Saara Aalto -26.6%

Vote 6
5 After Midnight - 19.0%
Saara Aalto -18.4%
Matt Terry -16.7%
Emily Middlemas - 13.4%
Honey G -11.7%
Ryan Lawrie -11.1%
Sam Lavery -9.7%

Vote 7
Matt Terry -21.1%
Saara Alto -20.1%
5 After Midnight - 17.5%
Emily Middlemas - 16.8%
Ryan Lawrie -13.3%
Honey G -11.2%

Vote 8
Saara Alto -23.7%
Emily Middlemas - 22.6%
Matt Terry -21.2%
5 After Midnight - 20.3%
Honey G -12.2%

Vote 9
Saara Aalto -28.8%
5 After Midnight - 26.6%
Matt Terry -22.5%
Emily Middlemas - 22.1%

Vote 10 Freeze
Saara Aalto -35.3%
Matt Terry -33.4%
5 After Midnight - 31.3%

Vote 10 Final
Matt Terry –48.5%
Saara Aalto –40.4%
5 After Midnight – 11.1% (Left after vote freeze)

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Barnsley versus Nottingham Forest, Friday, November 25

Barnsley have drawn their last three Championship matches, failing to score in the last two, but still look worthy of support against a Nottingham Forest side that has conceded 30 goals this season, 16 of them away from home. Indeed, the Reds’ 2-0 victory against Ipswich at Portman Road last Saturday evening was their first away win, and first clean sheet, of the season.

Although ultimately frustrated by a Wigan Athletic side playing without a recognised striker at Oakwell last Saturday, the Tykes dominated possession and may well do so again against Forest, whose away record is better than only Blackburn, Burton Albion and Rotherham. Forest boss Philippe Montanier says he is aiming for a top ten finish in the Championship, but acknowledges that his side needs to keep improving and, on this occasion, Barnsley, at 2.58 with Marathon Bet, get the nod.

Selection: Barnsley to win (2.58 with Marathon Bet)

Monday 7 November 2016

Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Friday, November 11

On Friday, the PGA Champions Tour concludes with the third, and final, Charles Schwab Cup Playoff, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. The leading 36 players from the three-tournament series tee it up, but none makes more appeal than the evergreen German Bernhard Langer, who seems better than ever at the age of 59. The two-time Masters champion has won four times on the PGA Champions Tour in 2016 and finished in the top ten in 17 of the 20 events in which he’s played. In a rare foray onto the PGA Tour, he not only made the cut at the Masters, but played in the penultimate group on Sunday before finishing a highly respectable tied 24th. He’s chasing his third successive Charles Schwab Cup, and fourth in total, so at 9/2 with bet365, looks well worth a punt.

Selection: Bernhard Langer (9/2 with bet365)

England versus Scotland, Friday, November 11

The World Cup qualifier between England and Scotland at Wembley on Friday may be overshadowed by events off the field and, in the eyes of Gareth Southgate and Gordon Strachan, anything that distracts attention from the football may not be an altogether bad thing. Despite the match being scheduled for Armistice Day, FIFA has banned players from wearing armbands featuring poppies. The Royal British Legion has written to the governing body, pointing out, quite rightly, that the poppy “has no political, religious or commercial meaning”. So, too, have Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince William, but FIFA is reportedly “sticking to the letter of the law”.

England interim manager Gareth Southgate enters the third game his four-game tenure on the back of a 2-0 home win over Malta, ranked 178 by FIFA, and a 0-0 draw in Slovenia, ranked 52. In the latter performance, the Three Lions managed just three shots on target had goalkeeper Joe Hart to thank for a succession of outstanding saves that prevented further embarrassment in a match short on positives. Southgate will also be without Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, who suffered a knee injury in training, so it’s hard to enthuse about England.

Scotland have been equally hapless in recent starts and, not for the first time, looked defensively vulnerable during the 3-0 defeat by Slovakia in Trnava last month. Gordon Strachan’s side currently lie fourth in World Cup Qualifying Group F, four points behind leaders England and a point behind Lithuania and Slovenia. On the plus side, Strachan can welcome back Hull City midfielder Robert Snodgrass, who came on as first-half substitute and scored in the Premier League on Sunday.

Frankly, it’s difficult to get worked up about either side at present and a bore draw would be no surprise but, with home advantage, let’s try England to win 1-0 at 9/2 with bet365, who’ll give us our money back as a free bet if it does finish 0-0.

Selection: England to win 1-0 (9/2 with bet365)

Monday 10 October 2016

4.20 Nottingham, Wednesday, October 12

In the 4.20 at Nottingham on Wednesday, Waseem Faris makes a quick reappearance after being beaten, but not disgraced, in a better race at York last Friday and returns to the scene of his last victory. In fact, the Exceed And Excel gelding can race off the same mark as when keeping on to beat El Viento by 1¼ lengths in this race last year and is similarly well drawn, so warrants close inspection. Joseph Tuite’s 7-year-old has raced just once in this grade in the interim, when beaten half a length off a 1lb higher mark over 5½ furlongs at Brighton in August, so would appear to hold every chance if anywhere near his best. He’s won on going ranging from firm to soft, so should run his race regardless of the vagaries of the British weather and, with a couple of ‘duck eggs’ next to his name, could represent a shade of value.

Selection: Nottingham 4.20 Waseem Faris to win

Wednesday 5 October 2016

England versus Malta, Saturday, October 8

‘Ignominious exit’ is a phrase that has become synonymous with the England national football team in recent months, but defeat against Malta – officially rated 164 places worse than their hosts, according to FIFA – at Wembley on Saturday would be plumbing new depths, even for the Three Lions. Interim manager Gareth Southgate is without Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson due to injury but, even so, anything other than a resounding victory will feel like a defeat for the home team.

England did manage a last-gasp victory in their opening World Cup qualifying match against 10-man Slovakia in Trvana, while Malta were on the wrong end of 5-0 hammering by Scotland in Attard, a match in which Falcons’ defender Jonathan Caruana was controversially dismissed after an hour. At odds of 1/50, only a routine away victory, with a clean sheet to boot, will do for England but, while Vardy, Rashford and company could run riot, let’s err on the side of caution and try England to win 3-0 at 13/2 with Paddy Power or William Hill.

Selection: England to win 3-0 (13/2 with Paddy Power or William Hill).

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Rio 2016

What an Olympics it's been so far. My highlight has to be the fairytale ending of the pole vault competition. How Thiago Braz da Silva pulled that one out of the bag I will never know. Great for Brazil too as they're not exactly brimming over with track and field stars. I must say though, that I did feel bad for silver medallist Renaud Lavillenie getting booed. That behaviour falls well outside of what you'd expect and hope for and goes completely against the spirit of the olympic games.

To be honest I've not even had a bet these olympics. I have just been enjoying taking as much of it in as I can. There are some fairly heavily odds ons anyway (Bolt at 1/14 to win the 200 meter final) so not, on the surface of it, a miriad of decent odds betting opportunities.

Of the remaining events, I'm most looking forward to seeing Mo Farrow run again. His gutsy performance after taking a fall in the 10,000m, should give him a bit of confidence going into the 5,000m, especially if he can stay on his feet this time around! I'll be cheering him on! For those thinking of having a bet on the race, he's currently 1/5, with Abrar Osman at 12-1 alongside Caleb Ndiku. Muktar Edris is 13-1.

Monday 18 July 2016

4.45 Nottingham, Tuesday, July 19

In the 4.45 at Nottingham on Tuesday, Always Resolute has been in cracking form since returning to action on the Flat in May, winning three of his four starts and looks far from impossibly handicapped, despite a 5lb rise in the weights for winning at Chester last month. He’s reunited with 7lb claimer Ben Robinson, who won on him at Ripon three starts ago and, while he’s yet to win on going faster than good, he’s been placed on the prevailing good to firm going a couple of times.

The son of Refuse To Bend has been tried just twice over 2 miles, finishing a never-nearer sixth of 14, beaten 7 lengths, behind Magic Circle at Haydock last September (when with Timothy Jarvis) off a mark of 65 and beating Diamond Joel by 1½ lengths at Chester off a mark of 73 on his most recent start for his new yard. That latter piece of form represented a career-best effort and, while Musselburgh isn’t as sharp as Chester, the sharp, flat track should play to his strengths once again and he looks a decent bet to continue his winning sequence.

Selection: Nottingham 4.45 Always Resolute to win

Thursday 23 June 2016

Euro 2016 - Football's Coming Home

What a remarkable few days of football we've had. It's great to see England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland all through to the knock off stages of Euro 2016. Some failed to dazzle on their way there (England as per usual!) while others really gave it their all. I must say that the performance on Wednesday by the Republic of Ireland against Italy really was the cherry on the cake. Talk about leaving it all on the field. The celebrations afterwards  from the fans made for such a great sporting moment.

It would be amazing to see all four teams make it through the first round of the knockouts, but aside from being very unlikely in normal circumstances, it's impossible due to the fact that Wales and Northern Ireland are due to meet. That's a pity in one sense, but on the other hand at least one of them will be progressing to at least the quarter finals and in the easier side of the draw too! England are in the other side of the draw and have some tough games down the line if they can overcome the tournaments surprise package, Iceland.

Current Odds for games involving  England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland:

Saturday 25th June: Wales  17/16    Draw 21/20   Northern Ireland   41/10
Sunday 26th June: France  7/15    Draw 16/5     Republic of Ireland 21/2
Monday 27th June: England  4/7  Draw 56/19   Iceland   8/1

No doubt the patriotic pound will find its way to people lumping onto England at 4/7, but for impartial observers the real dream result would yet another Republic of Ireland win, this time against hosts France. Of course that can't be said to be particularly likely, but we can dream. No bets for me this time around, I'm just enjoying the tournament!

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Euro 2016 – Top Goalscorer

Having scored in all three Group B games, including from two direct free-kicks, Gareth Bale finds himself joint favourite, at 5/1, alongside Spanish striker Alvaro Morata to become the top goalscorer at Euro 2016. Wales were heavily reliant on the world-class talent of Bale, who scored seven of their 11 goals, in qualifying and the 26-year-old ran rings around aging central defenders Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski in the 3-0 demolition of Russia in the final group game.

Victory in Toulouse meant that Wales leapfrogged England to win Group B and will play a third-place team from Group A, C or D in Paris on Saturday in the last 16. Wales’ manager Chris Coleman will, no doubt, be keen to avoid Germany, Croatia and possibly Poland, but other possible opponents include Albania, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, and Turkey, all of whom can be considered rank outsiders to progress to the latter stages of the tournament.

Wales have other attacking options, but the individual brilliance of Bale seems sure to provide more memorable moments and, whoever they play in the last 16, he looks a decent bet to become top goalscorer.

Selection: Gareth Bale – Top Goalscorer Euro 2016 (5/1 with NetBet and

Wednesday 15 June 2016

England vs Wales (Euro 2016)

england vs wales
I watched today's clash between Slovakia and Russia with interest, in part to see how the Welsh and English performances would stand up in comparison. What a fun game to watch it was with Slovakia dominating for the majority of the watch, but Russia going into do-or-die mode for the last fifteen minutes. It wasn't enough for Russia though, leaving them with it all to do in their final match against Wales. Wales of course, also need to impress in at least one of their other two group games and it's certainly hard to count them out when they've had such a determined start.

England's game against Russia was one sided enough to have confidence that they'll make it through the group, but as with everything involving England it often feels like a bit of a struggle along the way. They're understandably firm favourites against Wales at 4/7 (the draw is 57/17 and Wales to win is 13/2). I tend to steer clear of odds-ons but I can well understand why some would place their patriotic pound on England in hope of doing the business. The same can be said for Wales supporters really, as they have a right to be confident of the teams abilities and will have something else to cheer about too if their 13/2 bet comes up!

HT-FT England at 5/4 is perhaps the bet to go for if you're confident of England putting in a good performance from the off. Also, with all of these low scoring games so far I (still) fancy a bit of a goalfest, so once against will add Over 2.5 goals into the mix.

In some ways it's a win-win. England 'should' win, but if they turn in a flop performance, Wales are likely through the group and I'll become an honourary Welsh Dragon for the rest of the tournament. Tune in to the game on BBC, Thursday at 2pm!

Selections:  England HT-FT@ 5/4  Over 2.5 Goals @ 11/10

Saturday 11 June 2016

England vs Russia (Euro 2016)

It seems like we're all so caught up in the Brexit news cycle that the Euros has very much taken a backseat. Whether that will result in us putting in a first class performance for a change or the 'same old, same old' is anyones guess.  It at least ensured that I missed the first half of the bizarre opening ceremony though so I'm already reaping the benefits of not paying much attention thus far.

Our friendlies leading up to this have been something of a mixed bag in my view but certainly not without promise. We have a few minor injuries in the team but nothing too serious so at minimum we have few excuses to not give this a good go. We're hearing that Jamie Vardy might not start but that's an unknown at the moment and besides, there's much talent in this young team even without him. Russia's Alan Dzagoev and Igor Denisov will not take part in the game, or in fact the competition, after suffering bad injuries post selection. Hodgson admits that the England squad are still a work in progress, so lets hope that they can peak at the right time.

The current betting odds put England at 5/6, the draw 11/5 and Russia 15/4. For those of the less patriotic variety the odds for a Russia win really aren't that bad. I'm more inclined to go with Over 2.5 goals at 29/20 though on account that our defence at times can leave a little to be desired - but at the same time we're quite strong up front. Both teams will be looking to impress in this first group game so it wouldn't surprise me to see the goals going in. Granted Russia's games can be low scoring, but their very last result was France 4 - Russsia 2, so I think there's plenty of scope for a high score, especially if there's an early goal.

Selection: Over 2.5 Goals at 29/20 

Sunday 29 May 2016

Britain's Got Talent 2016 Voting Percentages

This year's BGT always did look like a really tricky one to call and the voting results certainly bear that out, but slim margins between several of the acts. The voting percentages for the grand final are:

Richard Jones -16.7%
Wayne Woodward -13.8%
Boogie Storm -12.8%
Jasmine Elcock - 11.8%
Beau Dermott - 9.8%
Craig Ball - 9.2%
Trip Hazard - 7.8%
100 Voices of Gospel - 4.7%
Alex Magala - 4.5%
Balance Unity - 3.8%
Shannon & Peter - 3.2%
Mel & Jamie -1.9%

 Richard Jones ticked all of the right boxes with his magic act in the final and certainly deserved to win, especially considering that his performance was one of the first of the night, typically not a great sign. Winning with 16.7% just shows what an open competition it was this year. For reference here are the available winning percentages for previous Britain's Got Talent winners:

Jules and Matisse 23%
Collabro 27%
Attraction 27%
Pudsey 39%
Jai Mcdowall 29%
Spellbound 37%
Diversity 24%

Monday 23 May 2016

Euro 2016 Preview: Allez Les Bleus!

The French national football team is never far away from controversy, but at least manager Didier Deschamps has managed to avoid any further embarrassment by leaving Mathieu Valbuena out of his 23-man squad for Euro 2016. Last year, the Lyon midfielder and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema were at the heart of a bizarre blackmail story, which saw Benzema arrested and investigated for attempting to extort money from his former team-mate over a sex tape. Deschamps claims Valbuena was omitted from the squad because of ‘fitness problems’. The French Football Federation has said it will not Benzema, who is still being investigated.

Tabloid gossip aside, France were the last host nation to with the European Championship, in 1984 and, having reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2014 under Deschamps, are favourites to win again this time. Despite automatic qualification as the host nation, under a UEFA initiative France effectively played a ‘qualifying’ campaign, in the form of friendly matches, home and away, against the five teams in qualifying Group I – Portugal, Albania, Denmark, Serbia and Armenia – and lost just once, 1-0 to Albania, away, last June. “Les Bleus” may not have played a competitive match since beating Russia 4-2 at the Stade de France in March, but have friendlies against Cameroon on May 30 and Scotland on June 4 to blow away any cobwebs.

The absence of Benzema and Real Madrid team-mate Raphael Varane is obviously not ideal, but the French squad has plenty of strength in depth. Paris St-Germain playmaker Blaise Matuidi – described by Didier Deschamps as the ‘first name on the team sheet’ – is the driving force behind a dynamic and athletic midfield, which also features Paul Pogba of Juventus and N’Golo Kante of Leicester City, who made his international debut against the Netherlands in March.

Even without Benzema, Didier Deschamps can call on the likes of Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United) and Dimitri Payet (West Ham) in a three-man front line, not to mention Patrice Evra (Juventus), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) and Bacary Sagna (Manchester City) in defence and Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) between the sticks.

France are top-priced 7/2 to lift the European Championship trophy, which may seem a little skinny, but they should qualify with ease from Group A, which features Albania, Romania and Switzerland. If they win the group, they’ll face the third placed team from Group C, Group D or Group E in the last 16 before facing the winner of the match between the runners-up in Group B and runners-up in Group F in the quarter-finals. In other words, it’ll be the semi-finals before they face any of the other fancied teams, by which time 7/2 could start to look rather generous.

Selection: France to win Euro 2016 (7/2 with Paddy Power)

Monday 16 May 2016

England's Euro 2016 Provisional Squad Named

So the England team provisional squad has just been announced by Roy Hodgson:

Goalkeepers: Hart, Forster, Heaton

Defenders: Bertrand, Clyne, Cahill, Rose, Smalling, Stones, Walker

Midfielders: Alli, Barkley, Dier, Delph, Drinkwater, Henderson, Lallana, Milner, Sterling, Townsend, Wilshere

Strikers: Kane, Rashford, Rooney, Sturridge, Vardy

We've got a bit of youth in the team this year (Man Utd's 18-year-old Marcus Rashford) and familiar faces such as Wilshere, Rooney and the like, so I don't have too many complaints on that front. We play our first game against one of the tougher opponents in our group, Russia, on June 11th in Marseille. We take on Wales and Slovakia after this game so will be hoping for a good start. We're currently Even Money to win the match, with Russia at 3-1 and the draw 2-1 with most bookmakers.

England are 9-1 to win the entire tournamnent, with France and Germany both 7/2 joint favourites at present. Considering the start of Euro2016 is only two weeks away, it's amazing how little publicity it's received so far. The same goes for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Friday 13 May 2016

Eurovision Odds Update

With the two Eurovision song contest semi finals out of the way, already we have to say goodbye to Ireland! With a Westlife member singing their (albeit not great) song, I had at least expected them to make the final.

The Eurovision odds have also seen something of a shake up with the entry from Ukraine (Jamala - 1944) falling slightly out of favour and the catchy and current track from Australia (Dami Im - Sound Of Silence ) moving into second favourite. Russia's odds have shortened in the market even more from even money a few days back to 4/7 now, so eventual winner or otherwise, I don't see a lot of value there.

I'm still sticking with my previous choice of the Italian entry to place, though the lack of exposure (some entries get an automatic pass to the final, which is good in one sense, but in another a disadvantage as the public are much less familiar with the track) is a concern. As such I'm also throwing the John Newman-esque, rabble-rousing track from Latvia (Heartbeat) into the mix.

Top 4 and top 5 finish odds are available with bookmakers and although it's leaning towards wishful thinking, I'm going to hope that one of the two can sneak into the top 4. Wish me luck... oh and wish the UK entry luck too of course! As always we'll need it!

Selections: Top 4 Finish Latvia - 16/1     Top 4 Finish Italy - 12/1  (Betfred)

Sunday 8 May 2016

Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Betting Tips

Is it that time of year already? The cheesathon .. sorry Eurovision 2016 will soon be dominating our TV screens once again and telly addicts nationwide will be frantically reaching for the remote - some to turn it up and some it turn it over.

We'll of course be asking ourselves the same questions this year as any other: Who will have the weirdest song or costume? Will the UK score more than three points during the entire competition? Since when was Australia in Euope? Why am I watching this?

Actually in fairness, I found last year's Eurovision song contest quite entertaining and a few of the songs weren't half bad (there goes my remaining street cred!) so I'm quite looking forward to this year's contest too.

Until I sat down to visit to this year's tracks, I really hadn't heard an awful lot about Eurovision. I had somehow missed the UK entry being selected, Jake and Joe - You're Not Alone (which isn't great) and all I knew about the competition was that "a bloke from Westlife is in it this year". After listening to this year's tracks I think the standard has dropped a bit this year, that's not to say that there aren't some decent entries though. Let's take a look at some of them.

Russia were one of the favourites last year and in fairness their entry was quite unlucky not to win. This year again they find themselves at short odds, in fact favourite at 6/4..

The Russian entry is certainly a strong contender and they've taken heed of last year's Swedish winner by making their video and live performance a very visual affair.

Joint Second favourite is France  (Amir - J'ai cherché, a catchy number in both French and English) and Ukraine (Jamala - 1944) at 4/1. The latter entry is a unique albeit slightly wild effort that might prove to be 'love it or hate it'. Last year's winner Sweden (Frans - If I Were Sorry) are 12-1. The song is sweet enough but doesn't scream winner to me. The Australian effort (Dami Im - Sound Of Silence
) is 14/1 is an immediate track to my ear though and would be at home on any music channel or in any club.

Outside of the range I really like the sound of the Italian entry (Francesca Michielin - No Degree of Separation). It's mostly (but not exclusively) in Italian which could possibly count against it but it's a pretty little song.

It may well be worth a punt in either the finish top 4 or top 5 markets. Something counting against it could be the fact that it automatically qualifies for the final so it will be less familiar to the audience. I would personally steer clear of betting on a favourite because it's the Eurovison and you never quite know what's going to happen. At the same time though, Russia almost did it last year and this time around they are clearly trying to tick every boxes they didn't last time around.

Tune into the semi finals on 10th and 12th May and the final on 14th May 2016.

Selection:  Francesca Michielin - No Degree of Separation

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Well Done Leicester!


What a wild premier league season it's been and althought it's not quite over yet, the title race is courtesy of Spurs dropping points against Chelsea tonight. If any of you got on the 5000-1 for Leicester to win the league at the start of the season, then well done to you, as very few did! For the rest of us who watched and enjoyed an underdog story like no other throughout the season, we can at least console ourselves with some reduced price Spurs celebration cake! Yum yum!

Monday 2 May 2016

Saul Alvarez v Amir Khan Betting Tips

Amir Khan fights are always unpredictable and entertaining, which is something that can't be said of many fighters in the modern age. He packs a powerful punch and leaves it all in the ring. His wins are not always the most straight forward affairs though and he's certainly not within his flaws as a fighter. Still, his reputation for not ducking fights was made abundantly clear as the announcement of his fight against Saul Alvarez raised many an eyebrow. The two meet on Saturday night in Las Vegas in what is likely to be a defining moment of Khan's career.

His opponent, is also known for delivering a powerful punch, something that Khan has shown vulnerability against in his career. Alvarez has lost just one fight in the career, to undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. Even then he only lost on points. From the off then Khan is somewhat up against it and adding to that the fact that he's fighting a whole two weight divisions up in a bid to secure the WBC middleweight crown, it's left many wondering if he's bitten off more than he can chew. He's understandably been packing on the pounds and certainly looks the part thanks to trainer Virgil Hunte'rs tough workouts. Perhaps though there are questions over whether he can maintain his speed, which is typically one of the most important weapons in his arsenal, with the added weight.

Current winner market odds have Amir Khan at 3-1 with most bookmakers and Saul Alvarez at 3/10. This assessment alone tells you to the extent that people feel Khan has a real task on his hands. The draw is between 25 and 33-1 depending on the bookmaker.

Method of victory has Saul Alvarez at 4/7 for victory by KO TKO or Disqualification and Khan at 14-1 for the same. This is understandable to some extent due to the move up in weight for Khan, though 14-1 is possibly still worth a punt in my view. Decision odds are similar, most likely with the thinking being that if Khan can last the fight, he must've been doing something right. Personally I think the most likely outcome is an early to mid rounds victory to Saul Alvarez. He can be had at 12-1 to win in the third round and that appeals. It's a difficult fight to find a value bet in and one that could potentially be ended by a big punch. In any case, I have my fingers crossed for Khan and will be sure to tune in! I've listed my bets below:

Selections: Amir Khan to win by  KO TKO or Disqualification at 14 - 1 and Saul Alvarez to win in the third round at 12-1

Saturday 30 April 2016

EU Referendum Odds

There's a lot going on in politics right now with Brexit here in the UK and the soap opera like US primary season across the pond, leading into November's presidential election, which is bound to be equally explosive. Both still have a fair way to go but it can't hurt to lay out the betting odds so that we can return to them later down the line. In this first post I'll cover the EU referendum.

With daily scaremongering from both side and interjections from across the pond (Obama etc) the IN and OUT of the EU campaigns have already taken off the gloves. I can only imagine how low they will both be willing to go in the run up to the referendum which is being held on Thursday, 23rd June. Most newspapers of course have a slant of their and own only tend to highlight polls that push their own particular point of view. Even collating polls in a seemingly unbiased manner can be problematic, as various polling companies are known to be somewhat partial in one direction or another, with polling itself being used to influence opinion.

The whole polling industry in the UK is all over the place compared to the US where you can generally gleam a lot of insights from polling data. For what it's worth though, above I've included the most recent poll data available. From this alone it would appear that the IN campaign is still in good shape. It does seem somewhat at odds with the media push though and also anecdotally when I ask people how they intend to vote. Then again that's of limited help as I live in one of the most conservative parts off the country.

Here are the current betting odds from various bookmakers courtesy of Odd Checker:

These broadly fall in line with the polls right now, though with a while to go until the referendum anything can change. Also, certain demographics such as the elderly tend to be more eager to get out to the polls. They're a group that tends to favour the OUT vote. There's a way to go yet and so it will be interesting to follow up on this in a month or so to see the lay of the land then.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Britain's Got Talent - Rather You Than Me

I've had a couple of decent results of late, with the Anthony Joshau and The Voice predictions (it had to happen eventually!), so instead of trying my luck again and immediately leaping to another prediction, it's time with a brief interlude from Britain's Got Talent. Of course the series has only just started this year so no odds are available at present. Like any good bet though, I'm sure Alexandr Magala's antics here will get your heart going! Click through to view.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Anthony Joshua vs Charles Martin

In part due to Wladimir Klitschko finally being dethroned after over a decade, Tyson Fury has firmly taken centre stage within the heavyweight divison. Of course his antics and madcap personality contribute to his place in the limelight too. Should Anthony Joshua win against Charles Martin this Saturday at the O2 though, he'll be positioning himself as a real pretender to the throne. At 15 wins from 15 fights and a 100% knockout record since his professional debut in 2013, Joshua hasn't put a foot wrong so far and he'll be hoping to keep that run going. He already holds the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles and will be looking to add the IBF World heavyweight title to his collection.

Current odds for a Joshua win are an understandably short 1/5. On first glance Charles Martin does have a good record and an enviable knock out percentage but it goes without saying that he's never fought anyone in Joshua's league. In fact it's hard to take anything from his record that suggests he's truly 'earned' his position as the current IBF World heavyweight title (a title left vacant when Tyson Fury decided against defending it against mandatory challenger, Vyacheslav Glazkov). With the combined record of 36 knockouts out of 39 fights between the pair it seems unlikely to me that this will go the distance, so while the odds for that eventuality look generous on the surface, in reality they are probably about right (7-1 for a Anthony Joshua win by decision or technical decision, and 22-1 for Charles Martin).

With little value for a Joshua win and not much better for a Joshua KO or TKO (1/3) I'd be tempted to look to round betting and go for  Joshua win in Under 5.5 rounds (at 8/11 with several bookmakers). It's a risky bet in some ways, but I think his strength will prove to be far too much for Martin and in my estimation that will start to tell very early on in the fight. It all hinges on him getting the job done fast and his professional record so far suggests that's certainly well within his capabilities.

Should Joshua dispatch of Martin and Fury beat Klischko in their July 9th Manchester Arena rematch too, I'm sure we'll be hearing calls for a Joshua vs Fury match up before we know it. It would be one of the most exciting match-ups in years. Beyond that it's possible that one of the two will even be able to unify the heavyweight division - a division that's suddenly looking very lively for a change. It's about time too!

Wednesday 6 April 2016

The Voice 2016 Winner

It's a funny show The Voice, in many ways it's more watachable and considerate of those taking part than the 'Christians to the Lions' nature of the XFactor. So it has that going for it.On the down side though, it seems that people are more into the format than the contestants, based on the fact that after the chair turning rounds are over the ratings take a nose dive each and every year. This point is compounded by the fact that everyone and their nan manages to forget who won the previous year's show and so far it hasn't managed to launch a successful career for anyone taking part.

Taking all of that into account, being that someone with a degree of recognition has made it to the grand final public vote (Kevin Simms, of Liberty X) that has to be a big plus. They were big in their day and there's still a 'why did they split up?' quality about them, so I suspect they still have a bit of a following on the quiet. Sims is currently 11/10 to win the show. Song choice will likely factor in but unless Ricky Wilson really messes up with that I don't think he's a bad bet. No-one is huge odds and I wouldn't say that there's a big value bet to be had elsewhere (Jolan: 5/2 , Cody Frost  7/2, Lydia Lucy 7-1) so Simms it is!

Thursday 31 March 2016

Grand National 2016 Tips

With a later start than usual this year to avoid a clash with the football, we can expect viewing figures for the Grand National to increase from already impressive numbers last year. In 2015  nearly 9 million people watched jockey Leighton Aspell win the race for the second year running. Now 'Many Clouds', the 2015 winner, gets the opportunity to do the double too and is favourite for the 2016 race at a relatively short 8-1. There's plenty of reasons to believe that the nine year old will put up a good performance after recent impressive showings and Many Clouds would be the first to do the double since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974 so plenty of punters will be cheering it on. At the same time though, with such a large field, there are lots of other contenders. Silviniaco Conti is second favourite at 10-1 and he's skipping the World Hurdle in favour of the Grand National so that demonstrates confidence. It's justified too with 7 seven Grade 1 victories under his belt. Third favourite The Last Samuri (12-1) has impressed of late too.

If you're just betting on the National for a bit of fun and feel that it'd be a shame not to put a few quid on, there are of course countless long shot options to go for too. Of course, big priced winners are nothing new at the Grand National so it's not an entirely hopeless task. Who can forget Liam Treadwell riding Mon Mome home in 2009 at a staggering 100-1 with bookmakers. Of the outsiders I'd be tempted to go for 13-year-old gelding Vics Canvas at 50-1. He's a bit long in the tooth but has impressed over the years and has experience over the fences so it'd be nice to see him be thereabouts as an each-way option.

Interestingly Paul Nicholls will put Black Thunder (currently 50-1) up for sale two days before the Grand National takes place. I'm not sure if that speaks to the chance he thinks it has of winning, but it certainly adds another element of interest to what is already bound to be a great event!

Selections:   Silviniaco Conti (10-1 WIN)  Vics Canvas (50-1 E/W)

Monday 21 March 2016

Germany versus England, Saturday, March 26

England, minus Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart, travel to Berlin on Saturday to face world champions Germany. The aforementioned trio are all injured, but other notable absentees from Roy Hodgson’s 24-man squad are Michael Carrick, Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs, who are overlooked in favour of uncapped Danny Drinkwater, Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand. Carrick was largely anonymous, before being taken off on a stretcher in stoppage time, during the disappointing 2-0 defeat by Spain in Alicante in November so, with Jack Wilshere yet to recover from a broken leg suffered in pre-season training, Drinkwater has an opportunity to stake his claim for the holding midfield role.

The subsequent 2-0 defeat of France at Wembley is more likely to be remembered for the dreadful attacks in Paris the previous Friday but, as Hodgson admitted after the Spain game, England must improve if they are to have any chance of competing with the best in the world.

Germany coach Joachim Low, on the other hand, has named a familiar-looking squad, which includes Emre Can, Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger and just one new cap, Bayer Leverkusen centre back Jonathan Tah, who provides cover for injured defenders Jerome Boateng and Benedikt Howedes.

Since the famous 5-1 victory in Munich, nearly 15 years ago, England have beaten Germany just once – a 2-1 victory in Berlin in 2008 – in four attempts and, frankly, are unlikely to get much change out of the current side on home soil. A routine home win seems likely, but in search of a little value, let’s try Germany to win 2-0 at 15/2 with 888Sport.

Selection: Germany to win (15/2 with 888 Sport)

Monday 8 February 2016

Celebrity Big Brother final voting figures

I can't claim to have been as engrossed in this series of CBB as much as  some of those in the past. I'd say that since the move to Channel 5 it definitely seems to be drawing in a different kind of crowd. This is evident in the voting during the final (2nd to 5th February):

Scotty T - 36.32% 
Stephanie - 26.57%
Darren - 17.83%
Tiffany - 9.93%
Danniella - 7.02%  
John - 2.33%

Personally from what I saw Tiffany brought the most entertainment value to the house. I'd have expected her to do a bit better really!