SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT – OU ARE READING this article on a freezing cold January morning, with your heater on full but still not touching your extremities and you’re cold and you’re miserable. Getting close? Well here is my advice – with your first £49.40, go down to your local bookmaker and place the following bet on sporting events for 2018, and just maybe you will be reading this column in January 2019 from your deckchair on a sun-kissed beach in the Bahamas or Torremolinos (if that does it for you). But enough of this teasing, the bet in question is a goliath which consists of the following eight selections in various multiples.
70 Four Timers
56 Five Timers
28 Six Timers
8 Seven Timers
1 Accumulator = 247 bets x 20p or
494 bets x 10p each way
The potentially life-changing accumulator (should all eight selections win) is a jaw-dropping £9.27m/1 which for 20p is £1.86m! But enough of whetting your appetite, here are my selections. In football, followers of my column in September will already have partaken in the 8/1 advised on psg but they are still on offer at 9/2 after their tough last 16 draw against Real Madrid.
Over to europe’s secondary competition – the Europe League – and as I’ve mentioned in numerous articles over the last few months, the power is beginning to turn towards Italy and I think that Napoli represent great value at 14/1. The FA Cup is rarel won these days by teams not in the top six and my choice at 13/2 is Chelsea on the basis that the other members of the top five might still be in europe.
Finally, the World Cup takes place this summer in Russia and it could be worth taking the 16/1 still on offer with some firms for BelgiuM to end up victorious. Their array of talent is evident for every fan of the Premier League with strong representation at the two Manchester clubs and at Chelsea and Spurs. Over to golf and my season-long bet are for tyrell hattoN to claim the Race to Dubai at a whopping 20/1. He is committed to the European tour and I think 2018 could be a breakthrough year for the Englishman. The PGA equivalent to top their money list might go to the Californian riCky Fowler at a healthy 14/1. He has been overshadowed in recent times by the glut of top quality American professionals but the desire is still there and 14/1 has to be taken.
Finally for the last two legs of my Goliath, let’s look to Cheltenham in March and firstly to the Champion Hurdle. Faugheen is back but 7/4 represents no value. It’s two years on from his imperious triumph and I’d rather be on Buveur D’air at 5/2. Finally to the Gold Cup and the new order might triumph over the established horses and Might Bite at 7/1 is my final pick.
There was a Taxi protest over the issue of the licensing of Uber in York.
The demonstration was the latest by private hire and Hackney carriage drivers.
They claim Uber is operating without the safety checks and security demanded by local licensing regulations.
It took place outside West Offices where councillors were meeting to discuss Uber and the licence to opperate in York.
Driver said they did not block the inner-ring road.
INCOMPETENT? DEFINITELY NOT. SCHEMING? UNQUESTIONABLY YES. ULTIMATELY SUCCESSFUL? ULTIMATELY NO. The Foreign Secretary’s undeniable quest for the keys to No 10, hijacked last summer by the attempted political assassination of his agenda by long-time ally Michael Gove, is now back on the menu, as the knives continue to be sharpened for the dumping of Theresa May by the Tory grandees - a move that will ultimately fail.
Whilst unquestionably popular (a good straw poll is the London Mayoral elections), the Tories have long cast aside, even with their most popular politicians, the person who is seen to put in the knife (just look at Michael Heseltine over the dethroning of Margaret Thatcher) and this time will be no different. When will the challenge finally come? - as it is rumoured that over 40 disgruntled Tory MPs are prepared to sign a motion to question Theresa May’s leadership (only eight more needed to trigger a contest).
Well probably by February 2018 which gives us plenty of time to look at the runners and riders. Boris Johnson – Brute and therefore dismissed at 9/2. Michael Gove – Too slippery and unelectable at 16/1. Ruth Davidson – Not an MP as yet, dismissed at 10/1.
Jacob Rees-Mogg – Too upper class even for the Tories and makes David Cameron look like a chav and readily dismissed at 8/1. Amber Rudd – Theresa May clone, unelectable at 12/1. Gavin Williamson – Just into his role as defence Secretary and if he was elected it would be a more meteoric rise than Halley’s Comet doing a lap of honour. Desperate measures at 20/1.
Which leaves…Chief Brexit negotiator and what better way of negotiating our exit from the EU from the position of Prime Minister, safe pair of hands, no groping scandals (as of yet) and a man who was favourite for the leadership when losing out to David Cameron in 2010: none other than DAVID DAVIS at a healthy 7/1. Remember, this is not the next Prime Minister at a General Election but simply who will be the next leader of the Conservative party and at 7/1 (nevis) he simply has to be backed in sterling and even in euros! But away from politics, what about a little pom bashing?
The Ashes has begun but is a five-test series and even though when you read this column the second test will just be getting underway, I advocate a series score of 4-1 Australia at 13/2 and a saver on 3-1 Australia at 15/2. These days test matches rarely finish in a draw unless the weather is absolutely dire but I feel that on one of Australia’s wickets a draw could be an outcome. If it came down to a straight score then 4-1 AUSTRALIA seems the most likely outcome.
The problems with England’s opening batting top order will necessitate they will be playing the series on the back foot, but they are certainly not no-hopers with their bowling and middle order options. Speaking of which, for those who like a series top run scorer my two from the two sides are DAVID BAIRSTOW at 7/1 and USMAN KHAWAJA, the new Aussie sensation in the top order at 5/1.
With only a few weeks left of the regular season in the NFL, backers of this column are sitting pretty but let’s just have a look at Drew Brees and the Saints, readily available at 16/1. Finally, I hope you took my advice last month on the World Cup qualifiers and backed the accumulator, as advised at a healthy 12/1! See below! As for the final European qualifying places for Russia I advocate a straight four-timer on the following: SWITZERLAND, CROATIA, DENMARK and…SWEDEN which pays a shade over 12/1.
THIRTY TWO TEAMS (at the moment 22 have already booked their plane ticket) will compete in Russia next year but quite frankly in a competition dominated by football’s elite, only one of six or seven can possibly win. Indeed until Germany bucked the trend by winning as a European team on the South American continent in 2014, no European team had won in South America and similarly no non-European team had ever won in europe since Brazil in 1962. Horses for courses! Of course these days you can fit stats to bolster any argument and if you consider that the household names of South America ply their trade in La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and the Premiership together with Kowloon Division One! you will appreciate that football is a global sport and has been for some time.
So if I was to say to you that one team comprises of regular players from Real Madrid, Manchester City, Paris St Germain, Chelsea, Juventus, you would certainly fancy their chances, AND SO WOULD I!
So my first bet is a nice healthy wager on BRAZIL at a whopping 13/2 to reclaim the World Cup for their fans. It should also be noted, and is more than a moot point, that over the last decade Brazilian players have been at the forefront of bringing the Russian premier division up to standard and therefore Brazilians especially are acclimatised for not so sunny days in Volgograd. Just look at how competitive the likes of Shaktar or CSKA have been in the premier European club competitions.
I am sweet on Brazil, in fact very sweet, but as my second choice, my hedge if you want, I think that Portugal are massively overpriced at 25/1. They are the current European champions, have good form in recent times and, more importantly, know how to win these types of competitions. So 25/1 can not be ignored.
As for the final European qualifying places for Russia I advocate a straight four-timer on the following: SWITZERLAND, CROATIA, DENMARK and…SWEDEN which pays a shade over 12/1. The reason for the dramatic elipsis is that in picking Sweden, one team who won’t be going is Italy!! And to think of a World Cup Bernie the Book NOVEMBER 2017 89 THE BERNIE THE BOOK COLUMN SAMBA BOYS TO CLAIM WORLD CUP AND VIKINGS TO WREST LOMBARDI TROPHY FROM PATS without the Azzuri is unthinkable but they are going through a torrid time at the moment which bears no relationship to the power of Juventus, Roma and Napoli. But times are tough; the manager is almost certainly going to be sacked, even if they sneak past Sweden.
Away from next summer’s jamboree, things are hotting up in the NFL. Seven games in, out of the 16 regular season fixtures and no team is unbeaten, some of the preseason favourites have suffered season-ending injuries to their star players and some have performed way below expectations. Let’s delve a little deeper because the one thing about uncertainty is that uncertainty breeds different opinions and juicier odds. Let’s make some assumptions. Green Bay Packers: No chance (star quarterback Aaron Rodgers out for the season with broken collarbone). New York Giants: No chance (star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jnr out for the season and a record of 1-5). New England Patriots: Current 4/1 favourites but clearly suffering internal strife and already lost to the Chiefs and Carolina. Can’t be trusted at short odds. I would also give little or no chance to Dallas, Baltimore, Denver and Houston among the more fancied establishment.
One team that is catching my eye is MINNESOTA who have a tremendous defence, and are currently top of the NFC North without their regular quarterback and star receiver. Their injuries should heal soon and added to the fact this year’s Superbowl is in their home stadium, it can’t hinder their chances. They are widely available at 25/1 for Superbowl glory and are certainly worth a punt. I would also augment this with the Carolina Panthers at 25/1 who possess one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks in Cam Newton. Remember, it was only two years ago that Carolina were heavy favourites to win the Superbowl but choked on the big stage against Denver. The NFC South is a minefield with any of the Saints, the Falcons and the Panthers taking the Division but all with good chances of making the big stage. Until next time.
EUROPE’S PREMIER ALL AGE middle distance race this year (as always) takes place on the first Monday in October. Unlike every other year, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this time takes place at Chantilly whilst Longchamp is being redeveloped. And unfortunately while our digital readers will be reading this on Sunday morning, readers of this column in paper form will only see this after the race. I hope you look at it in time to back ULYSSES for Michael Stoute (left) to wrest the race from the clutches of his good friend Johnny G (John Gosden) who saddles the even money favourite and all-conquering Enable.
At time of writing, Ulysses is freely available at 8/1. But why will it turn over the jolly? He has always been held in the highest regard by the master trainer, indeed he was favourite for the 2016 Derby before an injury setback. That might have been a blessing in disguise as he has blossomed into a top notch middle distance performer, emphasised by a titanic gut-wrenching victory in the Coral Eclipse and an imperious breathtaking victory in the International at York. Sure, Enable is a worthy favourite but she has had a long season and Chantilly’s straight might just find her out. Sir Philip Oppenheimer is unlikely to risk Cracksman and the biggest danger to Ulysses might come from Aiden O’Brien’s ORDER OF ST GEORGE at a universal 12/1.
Now that the 2017/18 American football season is in full swing with everyone having played at least four games of the regular season, it is worth noting our ante-post selections of Atlanta Falcons (16/1) from the NFC and Oakland Raiders (20/1) for the AFC are going nicely. But it is worth mentioning that layers offer prices on not only the Superbowl itself, but also the championships of both conferences and also the divisions. For the sake of £10 to return over £11,000 (so not very likely! But possible!) it is worth staking an eight-timer on the eight divisions. At the time of writing - and odds do change in this buoyant market place - my eight-timer is on the following teams to win their respective divisions, and they are in the AFC: Pittsburgh (4/9), New England (1/9), Oakland (7/4), Tennessee (6/4) and from the NFC: Dallas (6/4), Detroit ( 4 / 1 ) , A tl a n t a (11/8) and Arizona (4/1).
As I said before, £10 can go a very long way! My other headline tip this month centres on the BBC institution – Strictly Come Dancing – and this year it is extremely difficult for me to recognise a celebrity I know! But I am not their target audience. And this brings me to the rub, in that prime time Saturday evening television is aimed at people who regularly text, Snapchat, Twitter etc. etc. and more specifically they are not only the teenagers but predominantly girls. Now I am not being either ageist or sexist, but celebrities are picked for their varying levels of eye-candy! And it’s not just for the men! So who do we have at 7/2 in this field? None other than ex-JLS frontman and heartthrob – ASTON MERRYGOLD. In addition he was in a boy band so he can dance, he is energetic so he can master the routines and who seriously can challenge him? Not TV chef Simon Rimmer, who might do you a nice souffle but will probably dance like a powder puff; not exCommunards and now ecclesiastical Richard Coles who might give you a bit of divine wisdom but is unlikely to humour Craig RevelHorwood; or overweight Holby City actor Chizzy Akudolu who might give you a cardiac arrest just watching her!
It looks to be a three or four-runner race between the aforementioned Aston, X Factor’s Alexandra Burke, the Saturday’s Mollie King and maybe paralympian Jonny Peacock, but for me it’s Aston all the way. Until next time, good punting