REGULAR READERS OF THIS COLUMN will know that I love most American sports and while American football takes centre stage, there are huge betting opportunities available in other areas. Chiefly around this time of year is the culmination of the American baseball season and the final of the World Series (the big hahoonah) occurs in early October. That being the case let’s turn our attention to the playoffs. Without doubt the most talented and slightly underachievers of sides are the LOS ANGELES DODGERS.
With an array of talent especially in the pitching and relief pitching departments, the Dodgers are this year taken to win the ultimate prize after falling so tragically short last year. They are widely available at 11/2 which represents huge value. You should take this price now as the playoffs start later this week and naturally the price will shorten should they pass their first test. As I alluded to last month the NFL is now in full swing. My original selections of Seattle, San Diego and Indianapolis are faring well, though my other original preseason selection of Green Bay look to be toiling. However the season is now taking shape with the NFC seemingly stronger again than the AFC and it may well come down to a straight fight between Seattle in the west and this year’s surprise package (just look how the price will shrink by the end of October) the ARIZONA CARDINALS.
The Cards are handicapped by being in the same strong NFC West, as Seattle, San Fran and the Rams. Suffice to say whichever team comes out of this division I believe will represent the NFC in the Superbowl. So to augment our existing portfolio I would recommend a respectable investment on the Cardinals who are currently double carpet (33/1). In the AFC as I have mentioned in previous columns, I feel San Diego (advised at 40/1 and currently at no more than 18/1) will overturn the powerful Broncos and be a leading candidate in the AFC together with the Indianapolis Colts. After an 0 and 2 start, but with creditable losses at Denver and against Philly, they have begun to find their stride.
As they are in a relatively easy division of the AFC South, they should easily make the playoffs as divisional winners and then the playoffs should open up. The only other team I fancy in the AFC, and I would suggest a small saver (as I mentioned in my July column preseason) is the CINCINNATI BENGALS in the powerful AFC North. They are currently available at 20/1 though 22/1 is available with Corals. Away from Americana, now is the to me to look at the Europa Cup now that the groups have been decided.
Please note that betting this early in the competition is especially fraught as the third placed teams, of which there are eight, from the groups in the Champions League will ultimately compete come December. As there are some groups of death in that competition, notably Bayern Munich’s group which includes both Man City and Roma together with CSKA Moscow, there will be some decent sides in the final 32. That being said and with Turkish football on the rise, just see how advanced teams like Galatasary have come over the last decade, I fancy a sporting wager on BESIKTAS at 50/1.
They certainly troubled Arsenal in the qualifying round for the Champions League and they might do again if Arsenal are not third in their group and at 50/1 they are worth an interest. And onto next month we will be focusing our attention on the forthcoming UK Snooker Championship together with anteposts on the two divisions of the UK Darts culminating in the World Championships over Christmas. Until next month, good punting…