WHAT A SUMMER IN STORE FOR CRICKET LOVERS!
There’s a home series ashes to savour in July but first the ICC?Cricket World Cup began on 30th May with venues all over the UK. And this year there’s been a rule change which can only benefit the more fancied teams. Quite simply, all the ten teams play each other in one league rather than the traditional method of Group A v Group B with a danger that one group is significantly stronger than the other. Therefore the dependence upon Duckworth?Lewis or Net Run?Rate is negated somewhat.
Any discussion on the outcome has to start with the world’s number one team – for at least the last two years – and that is England. Not only are they number one, they are also playing at home with patriotic support, they have a batting line-up of enviable make-up, in Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Buttler,?Stokes and Ali!! (Strewth as the Aussies may say) so how can you not fancy them?
The short answer is, they are just too short and a price of 2/1 favourites before a ball is bowled is rather skinny. I have no doubt that come semi-final time their price could only have constricted to 6/4 and who knows the outcome of a one-off.
Far better to back a team with equal support, the world’s best player (Kohli) and a squad equal to, if not better than, England. Because it’s one thing having a plethora of batsmen, but only two bat at any one time, whereas in India they have a bowler who will ravage any line-up in the world and that is Jasprit Bumrah. INDIA’S squad will also contain Sharma, Dhawan, Pandya and Jadeja, and MS?Dhoni and anyone watching the Indian?Premier League over the last couple of months will know how destructive they have been. Their price is 7/2 and I think that is a price well worth taking.
As to the rest, I think?Australia, even with the returning David?Warner and Steve?Smith, will be too fractious, and while Pakistan,?West Indies and?South?Africa will give us many highlights, they are simply not consistent enough. The Black?Cats of New Zealand probably offer a better alternative each way at between 10 and 16/1 dependent on where you shop. An alternative to traditional each way is a India v New Zealand final at 14/1.
In the top batsmen market my three against the field are ROHIT SHARMA at 20/1, QUINTON DE KOCK at 25/1 and DAVID WARNER at 25/1.
Away from cricket, Wimbledon starts on 1st July and therefore is included in this month’s Bernie the Book as the event will already have started by the time you read July’s column.
The time has come for the new order to challenge the establishment and therefore I readily dismiss Rafa, the FedExpress and Mr Grumpy. Whilst Djokovich remains imperious and the most likely winner, my two against the field in any selection (look out for the draw) are STEFANOS TSITSIPAS at 25/1 and KAREN?KHACHANOV at 66/1. Certainly back them when odds are against a more fancied opponent but certainly each way.
And in less than a month we have the highight of the British flat racing season, Royal?Ascot, over five days from 18-22 June. Looking at some of the mouthwatering clashes in May, I can only hope that all horses stand their ground over the next few weeks. But some races are framed already and regular readers should make a note of the following:
CROSS COUNTER 5/1 Ascot Gold Cup
SEA OF CLASS 4/1 Prince of Wales Stakes
CALYX 6/4 Commonwealth?Cup
INVINCIBLE ARMY 6/1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
MUSTASHRY 16/1 Queen?Anne
And so to July with my antepost predictions for the forthcoming football season (what already!) and the Open Golf at Royal?Portrush.?Good punting!
PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS starts next week and the ten-man jamboree this year takes in not only Holland but Germany on its travels but come May, I expect this year’s final to be a repeat of last year in the Green Machine facing Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith. He has certainly progressed over the last 12 months and losing finalist in the PDC World Championship testifies to this and that 10/1, I can see a lot of juice in backing Bully Boy now. Remember, the top four qualifiers play out on the final stage and I cannot see Bully Boy not being in the top four especially with the likes of Peter Wright, James Wade, Raymond Van Barneveld and Daryl Gurney being in such poor form.
Away from the darts this month sees the return of the Champions League and the round of 16. This is where europe’s big boys step up to the plate and I suggest a straight six-timer on the following to qualify from their respective ties. This pays 17/1 if you shop around, but certainly with whoever you back you should be able to receive odds of at least 15/1. My suggestions are: PSG (4/11), Roma (19/20), Borussia Dortmund (5/6), Bayern Munich (11/10), Barcelona (1/7) and Juve (4/7). I deliberately left out Man City as even though I think they are a shoe-in to beat Schalke the price is too prohibitive at 1/25!
Now that March is only six weeks away, most of the clues are in for Cheltenham 19. In previous columns I have advocated Laurina (10/1) for the Champion Hurdle (now 7/2), Kalashnikov for the Arkle at 7/1 and now my complete Cheltenham tips prior to the day are as follows. NB try to remember that most firms offer NRNB on some markets and therefore be mindful of who you place your bets with.
I would advocate placing a Super Heinz which comprises on 21 x doubles, 35 x trebles, 35 x 4-timers, 21 x 5-timers, 6 x 6-timers and an acc which comprises of 120 bets. Even at 50p, it’ll cost you £60.
Laurina (7/2) Champion Hurdle
Kalashnikov (7/1) Arkle
Mr Fisher (10/1) Supreme Novices
Delta Work (9/2) RSA
Waiting Patiently (6/1) Ryanair
Sir Erec (13/2) Triumph
Kemboy (9/1) Gold Cup
They will certainly give you a run for your money and keep you with an interest in Cheltenham over the four days.
Bernie the Book
Firstly, to clarify, the Picture of the leArned teacher above is not me, I never profess to work out my tips by logarithms, algebra and cosines; if you are so minded you can see my live broadcasts on our website every weekend (very profitable to date!), but at this time of year with half of the football season gone it might be politic to see who to back for success before next April – thus the image above. There is no juice in the Premiership win market, but there certainly is on who will be relegated and a standout bet to finish in the bottom three is crYstAl PAlAce at 11/2.
They look like a side who won’t be up for a dogfight, a viewpoint you cannot give to Cardiff, Burnley or even Huddersfield and a shade over 5/1 will do me nicely. In the Championship, one team with a turboboosted rocket and a wet sail is Aston villA, who under their new manager Dean Smith are certainly causing waves and the 11/4 currently available (general) about the Villains being promoted is a must. Remember, although it is unlikely they will secure one of the two automatic places to the promised land, I believe they are top six material and would be favourites in the play-offs. Over to the English League One and layers still seem to be unsure as to the credentials of runaway leaders – PortsMouth. Maybe it’s the presence of Sunderland lurking in second place (games in hand) but to my mind Portsmouth concede very few and that will always ive you a head start in whatever division you are playing in.
They certainly can bank on a strong support, have a good manager, used to this division with other promoted sides in Kenny Jackett and maybe their fans are dreaming of a south coast derby with Southampton next year! In any event I think the 7/4 to win Division One is value. Finally, in Division Two and with seven places available to get into the play-offs, if not outright promotion, small stakes are advised on oldhAM at a whopping 12/1.
They currently lie in 12th position but for a team that last year was playing in the higher division and who always seem to get results against the teams at the top of the division, it only takes a decent run to propel them into the top seven. This weekend sees one of the seminal weekends in the English football calendar – it’s Third Round Cup Day in the FA Cup. Readers of my December column will have seen that I quite fancy ArsenAl at 10/1 for a first piece of silverware for Unai Emery and their third round draw, away at Blackpool or Solihull Moors will have propelled them to the last 32.
I think the manager’s half-term report would show mainly B+’s mingled with the occasional A- but this sort of cup where the luck of the draw can keep you apart from a big six opponent is ideal for Arsenal. In the Champions League my headline tip back in September was the Old Lady – Juventus at 8/1 and now we are at the business end of the competition with the last 16 being played in early February, nothing has altered that opinion.
They are currently joint third favourites at 6/1, however new punters could do worse than backing Atletico MAdrid at 14/1 with Bet365 as a hedge. The final is played in their stadium which may or may not be an advantage but Diego Simeone always has his players ready for battle. The caveat is that they have drawn Juve in the last 16! In the NFL I am still hopeful of my headline tip, before a ball was kicked this year, in a Los Angeles derby in Atlanta of the rAMs versus the chArgers with the Chargers likely to be away at Pittsburgh or Baltimore this weekend. Get through that and it’s full steam ahead. I hope you took the 11/1 and 20/1 advised. So there’s our half-term report for January.
In next month’s bumper Bernie the Book we will be looking extensively at the championship races at Cheltenham for the Festival in March, but to whet your appetite for the first day, take a price about lAurinA for the Champion Hurdle. At 5/1 I think this is the horse to topple dual champion – Buveur D’air and so deny him of immortality with the likes of See You Then and Istabraq.
THE CLOCKS HAvE gONE bACK, IT’S NOW DARK AT 5pm and no more summer sports.
What have we left to brighten up our winter evenings? Well there’s boxing for one. And not just any old boxing match, but heavyweight, world championship, belts on the line, and this December (and printed here because of deadlines and I want you all to have the opportunity of backing my advice) on December 1st is the heavyweight battle in America of Deontay Wilder and the resurgent Tyson Fury. With the winner likely to meet AJ in a unification match-up, everything is up for grabs.
Now you might hate his views and you might hate his behaviour but one thing is certain, Tyson Fury is box office. Remember, Fury defeated Klitchco in his own backyard of Germany and at a time when he was still at his pomp, not on one last pay day against Joshua. And even then he gave Joshua a huge fright. So Fury can not only talk the talk but walk the walk and good judges that I respect over the months have consistently told me that the best heavyweight on the planet is Fury.
It is slightly surprising that in only his third comeback fight since his problems with drugs, weight and general bad-boy reputation that he is surprisingly short in the outright market at a shade over 6/4. I think this is a reflection on the quality of the opposition who nevertheless should not be underestimated as every layer in town believes Joshua is the rightful number one. I disagree, I believe Wilder would beat Joshua if they fought, but think the 6/4 about Tyson Fury just has to be taken. Away from boxing and coming up on Tuesday morning, November 6th at about 4am UK time is the race that stops a nation – The Melbourne Cup in Australia. Still no British trained trainers and runners have won the cup but several, most notably Luca Cumani, who has been agonisingly close in the last decade have managed to come away with the ultimate prize.
The Melbourne Cup is now seen from the UK as a major prize whereas before it was always an add-on to the flat season and partly due to this, and partly due to a higher quality of horse, I thinkthis year the Melbourne Cup is up for total european domination. My mine fancy though is yet again with the Irish and LATRObE who is currently trading at 14/1, trained by the legendary Aiden O’Brien’s soon to be legendary talented son, Joseph O’Brien. He is clearly gifted and in only his third season of training managed to secure the Group One Irish Derby with Latrobe and I think he will have too much class for the opposition.
Away from more immediate targets, most observers were blown away with the performance of Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst (the most important two-year-old race of the season last month. Yes he was impressive but the scribes are talking about a new Frankel, which he clearly isn’t. However, I have been very impressed with the emergence of QuORTO in the Godolphin blue and I think the 8/1 about next year’s 2000 Guineas has to be taken now. THIS WEEKEND WILL COINCIDE WITH the fourth week of the regular season signifying a quarter of the 16 matches played.
But regular readers of this column will have noticed my Facebook entry on the eve of this season’s action, so I don’t want anyone to feel I’m getting on the bandwagon as I fancy strongly the LA RAmS to be victorious in Atlanta next February. The regular season is all about qualifying for the knockouts and winning your division ensuring a better passage with the No 1 and No 2 seedings… Well I hope you took my advice as the above excerpt from October’s issue verifying that prior to a ball being kicked in the NFL, I strongly fancied the LA Rams to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Pre-season (and when I informed you) the Rams were 11/1, now they are trading at a shade over 3/1. Yes, there is still over half of the season to run but at this time they are looking a magnificient bet. Until next month when we will be looking at early Cheltenham bets good punting…
this WeeKend WiLL cOincide With the fourth week of the regular season signifying a quarter of the 16 matches played. But regular readers of this column will have noticed my Facebook entry on the eve of this season’s action, so I don’t want anyone to feel I’m getting on the bandwagon as I fancy strongly the La raMs to be victorious in Atlanta next February. The regular season is all about qualifying for the knockouts and winning your division ensuring a better passage with the No 1 and No 2 seedings having a week off, home field advantage and a lower seeded opponent. The Rams should win comfortably the NFC West from my dark horses, the 49-ers and if there is any 10/1 still available it needs to be snapped up ASAP.
In the AFC, it really could be a inseltown derby as the La chargers (now settled from their move from San Diego) could make it a case of extra planes from LAX to ATL (home of this season’s Superbowl) and they are readily available at between 16 and 20/1. But please remember I was the first tipster to highlight the chances of the JacKsOnviLLe Jaguars back in June and it could come down to the Rams versus the Jags. As highlighted in September’s issue, the first Sunday in October is Arc Sunday at Paris Longchamp. And look to the weather because if it comes up soft, or there is a mention of soft in the forecast, then please back cracKsMan to sweep all before him.
Sure, Enable looked supremely impressive in the September stakes at Kempton, but I think Cracksman is the one for Johnny G. My other tip is Andre Fabre’s hugely impressive winner of one of the main Arc trials, WaLdgeist, who won the Prix Foy recently. Fabre is the master and as sure as eggs is eggs, he will outrun his price of 10/1. My other headline tip from September, and I’m reminding you now as you read this and you realise that the event is in play, is aMerica to lift/retain the Ryder Cup this weekend. The basis of my confidence has not been diminished by Justin Rose getting to be the world’s No 1 golfer but by Americans dominating the top 10 and the top 20. With 28 points available I think the score will be somewhere near 16-12 to the States which at the time of writing is a 10/1 shot. But that is only for small stakes, as is top points scorer as it is so dependent on concessions, captain’s picks and matches played and against which opposition.
But America at 17/20 to lift the trophy is a must for big hitters (especially Dustin!!). Onto football, and this week saw the round of 16 in what I know as the League Cup and what most people correctly refer to as the EFL Cup. One thing is for certain: the days of this lesser cup being contested by mid-ranking Premier League teams are long gone and even though the Big Six might put in a line-up that isn’t their strongest, the strength in depth of their glittering squads is eyewatering.
Added to that, a bit of silverware in late February adds to the wellbeing of a team and on that basis I think Pep’s continuing assault on any competition entered can’t be ignored so I would hoover up any last vestiges of 7/2 now, assuming Oxford United haven’t turned Manchester city over as this column is written prior to that game). As it’s now October, Christmas is just around the corner (surely not) but in any event the autumnal pre- Christmas Saturday night variety shows are pulling in their millions and on the assumption that you are one of them, then markets are open on the next glitterball champion of Strictly.
Bear in mind it is rarely won by the best dancer, although you need to be able to dance, but more by how familiar your face is…the only trouble this year is that the celebrities are hardly household names. However, the BBC axis usually throws up a winner and that is why I would have a tentative bet on Eastenders’ actor Lee ryan at 20/1. Far more interesting is the betting for who will be the next James Bond, with the franchise soon to announce the successor to Daniel Craig. Isn’t it about time that the Connery/Moore/Dalton image of the upper class white public school product needs updating and what better statement in our 21st Century physche than casting idris eLba in the title role at a