FLAMING JUNE! It certainly will be as June promises to be wall-to-wall television sport for the sports afficionado and the punter. In June we have the Euros (and I’m not talking about whether we are staying in or coming out), the Derby meeting and then Royal Ascot, golf’s US Open, the new fixtures released on June 15 and, of course, the last watering hole this side of SW19 where shares in Pimms will no doubt rocket. And what better way to start than with Wimbledon itself.
Looking at the odds prior to the French at Roland Garros (largely irrelevant as one surface is clay and the other grass) it is clear that Andy Murray can challenge again. The price of 7/2 is hardly inspiring, so to the shade of odds-on about Novak Djokovic. It is likely that both will go deep into the tournament and if I had a spare £50,000 I can think of worse even money shots than the Serbian. However, lurking further down the betting lists is a man whose game is all about serve and volley, at least on grass and with another year’s experience after 2014’s semi-final exit and at 20/1 (that’s 10/1 just to get to the final) I think the value bet is in the Canadian teenager with the Brylcreem hair – MILOS RAONIC.
Away from tennis as alluded to earlier we have nearly three weeks of football with Euro 2016 in France. Readers of last month will note I have firmly nailed my colours to the mast on the chances of Belgium at 11/1. Sadly their chances have certainly been diminished by the injury to Vincent Kompany but there again other teams have lost major players, notably Italy and England with Danny Welbeck (depending on your colours). But away from the actual winner, there are prices available on Group winners and a £10 win accumulator on France (2/5), Germany (2/5), Croatia (3/1 to qualify ahead of Spain), Belgium (11/10) and Austria (9/4 to qualify ahead of Portugal) pays just over £400.
With the football fixtures now out for 2016-17, some firms are betting on the various leagues. After this year’s minefield in both the Championship outright and the play-offs, next season’s Championship looks a lot easier. This is chiefly because Newcastle United are priced up at 3/1 favourites to win, which I think is a ludicrous price especially as every team in the Championship will treat the fixtures against the Toon as their FA Cup final. Rafa staying or going is largely immaterial because if Mike Ashley doesn’t flash the cash then the current squad is only good enough to compete and not to reign supreme. However, the same cannot be said about the Canaries (NORWICH) who are used to the yo-yo between Premiership and Championship. Moreover they have a manager greatly equipped to challenge at this level in Alex Neil, and I think at odds of 9/1 they certainly represent value especially as they are one of the three teams who are awarded parachute payments because of their relegation. That apart, you generally find that you need to flash the cash to compete at this level and there is one team that has more cash than even Newcastle. For that reason and now that they have put a manager in place that is the owner’s man, I think 33/1 about the Hoops of Loftus Road (QPR) can’t be ignored.
And so on to the US Open at golf which this year runs from June 15-19 at Oakmont Country Club. The US Golf Association, as opposed to the US PGA Tour, always ensure that the course is at its most ferocious with an aim to make the winning score somewhere around par rather than 15 under. So we are looking at accuracy, length off the tee and a good putter with someone who has the temperament to withstand setbacks. My two against the field are this year’s undisputed world number one JASON DAY who is a general 7/1 favourite for the event; but my other choice has to be steady EDDIE (even though his name is Henryk!) STENSON at a very tempting 33/1.
Penultimately, to the recent FA Cup Final between Man United and Crystal Palace. Regular readers will know I tipped up CRYSTAL PALACE’S chances at 50/1 prior to the Third Round (half the odds first two) and so effectively that was a 25/1 winner when Man United turned them over but this followed on from my other headline tip, in the January column, which gave up SEVILLE as my tip for the Europa League and a fantastic return of 16/1.
Til next month.