WINTER IS NEARLY UPON US and now is the time to concentrate on winter sports, but more later. FIrstly though you are probably wondering why I have highlighted a pink Cadillac and the ninth at Woburn; let me explain. Skybet and Victor Chandler have opened a book on TO WIN A MAJOR IN 2016 and at the prices I have highlighted four against the field. Now it’s just possible that all four of my selections could win as there are four Majors but that would be fanciful. However the following prices are on each individual and my headline tip is BRENDAN GRACE at a whopping 20/1 to win a Major. This year he nearly broke through with close finishes in the Open, the US Open and, most agonisingly, the US PGA and his growing maturity was exemplified in the recent President’s Cup where he won all five matches. Closely linked to him is LOUIS OOSTERHUIZEN who is now back to full fitness and also knocking on the door. He is available at a respectable 12/1. This last year was ultimately the breakthrough year of Jordan Speith but whereas his odds to win a major in 2016 are a skinny 5/4, my next headline tip, JASON DAY, is available at 11/4. Finally, my fourth tip (remember all four of these could win) is RICKIE FOWLER at 11/2. All will give you a run throughout the year from Augusta to Baltusrol.
Next, apologies. Two of my headline tips for the Superbowl, Detroit at 40/1 and Dallas at 18/1 are currently trading at 500/1 and 40/1. Need I say any more? However, my headline tip the Indianapolis Colts should still win their division although I cannot see them being seeded higher than No. 4, meaning a torcherous run through New England. I look forward to Deflategate 2 in Supermarionation (don’t you remember Thunderbirds?). But now that the season is beginning to settle we can be more certain of the ultimate runners and riders. In the NFC I can only see the Packers, the Vikings and the Eagles challenging for the championship game. As their current prices are 7/2, 40/1 and 25/1 with all layers still offering half the odds on the first two you can see how my thinking lies, and I would advise a small interest on MINNESOTA and PHILADELPHIA.
The AFC is more clear-cut as all roads lead to the Brady Bunch in New England. Indeed the only team with the exception of the Colts that I can see challenging the Patriots is their AFC East rivals the NEW YORK JETS who are still widely available at 33/1 (although 40/1 is available). The trouble is you really need to win the AFC East to avoid the wildcard route but 33/1 is 33 times your money. In the next issue the play-offs should be more accurately finalised and then we can do a final staking plan prior to Superbowl 50.
Finally, let’s look at the Champions League. My original fancies were Manchester City at 16/1 and PSG at 18/1 and I have no reason to desert them now. However, as I said in my first column on this subject, the Champions League is not won in the group stages but in the knockout stages. That being the case the transfer embargo on Barcelona finally expires this December and it is entirely possible that another superstar arrives at Camp Nou. Irrespective of that, in January Ada Turan finally arrives from Atletico Madrid to reinforce a monster midfield. In fact their outfield line-up should read Vidal/Alves, Alba, Pique, Mascherano, Turan, Rakotic, Iniesta, Neymar, Suarez and Messi (should be fully fit by then) and the only comment I am prepared to say is…gulp! No team has successfully defended the Champions League since its inception but this year I think Barcelona will achieve this. They are still avavilable at 7/2 and linked to my two headline bets in September, they should be backed.
Next month we will be looking towards Cheltenham and all things National Hunt, but one bet which took my eye recently was the odds on any horse or any named horse of your choice winning the elusive Triple Crown of Betfair Chase (Haydock) in November, King George (Kempton) on Boxing Day and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. To that end Paddy Power along with all firms are offering odds on any horse winning the Triple Crown and my fancy is ANY HORSE at 16/1. So basically whoever wins the first leg is your selection for the other two legs.
Until next month good punting.