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