Friday, 27 January 2012

Raising the Ba

Senegal have surprisingly been knocked out of the African Nations Cup after just two group matches. This means Demba Ba will return to England a couple of weeks earlier than expected. It is anticipated that he will be back before next Wednesday, in time for Newcastle's away fixture at lowly Blackburn that evening. Wednesday is, of course, February 1st so the transfer window will have closed the previous night. In any case if Ba unexpectedly left Newcastle it would be for a top five club. A move seems unlikely at this late stage though.

Blackburn concede plenty of goals and they will not want to lose their top defender Samba. However the latter is far more likely to move than Ba and could even end up at Newcastle.

In the top goal scorer charts Ba is still in second place despite his absence for international duty. He is on 15 goals four behind Van Persie. Other players in double-figures are: Aguero 14; Rooney 13; Yakubu 12 and Dzeko 11.

When I backed Ba @ 25/1 in early November he had scored just eight Premiership goals. Looking at his TGS opposition then I made the case that Man City could continue to share the goals amongst Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli. Their totals are now 14,11 and nine respectively. With Man City going slightly off the boil and Aguero a skinny price anyway it's worth swerving a MC player when considering the TGS winner. Of course Rooney is likely to be in the hunt and cannot be ruled out, something I can't say about Yakubu.

I think it's worth pressing our Ba bet with a further each-way wager. All the quarter odds first four has gone not surprisingly as VP is odds-on and therefore we are talking top three only. I'm still waiting for Van Persie to take some time out as it's rare for the Dutchman to play a full season!

I have had 2.5 pts ew Demba Ba TGS Prem League @ 14/1 with Paddy Power (1/5 odds 1,2,3).

Total staked five points.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Kempton AW bets

Tennis looks like it's all gone pear-shaped after the defeat of Kim Clijsters in three sets to Vika last night.

As a consequence I have decided to concentrate on Kempton today and have three bets at the all-weather track as follows:

17:05 2 pt win Royal Acclamation @ 7/2 Ladbrokes (BOG)

19:35 1.5 pt win White Shift @ 10/1 Ladbrokes (BOG)  

20:05 1.5 pt each-way Metropolitan Chief @ 9/1 W Hill (BOG)  

Total 6.5 points staked

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


What a splendid match Berdych played against Nadal today. First of all he was trying to improve a horrendous HTH. It's now 11-3 to Nadal, the Spaniard having won their last ten encounters. Yet it took Nadal four and a quarter hours to put him away in four tight sets. Berdych won the first set and had a set point in the second set which he failed to convert. Oh how different it might have been if that volley had dropped in! Having said that Nadal never gives up.

To me he looked a much more mature player today. His serve was very impressive and unplayable at times. This renewed confidence may well be because of the shake up in his coaching arrangements. Certainly if I could play the game properly then this is how I would like to be able to play (aside from his occasional mental weakness of course!)

We had a nice touch on Berdych at Wimbledon in 2010 when the Czech player beat Federer in the quarters and Djoko in the semis. The latter victory was the only time in nine attempts he has beaten Djoko. Of course he came unstuck against Nadal in the final, where he looked very nervous to me. We had played the each-way @ 50/1 so we were rewarded @ 25/1 place money, enough for Coral to unfortunately no longer accept meaningful internet bets from me.

Well that's enough about the past - I've been looking at the Wimbledon 2012 prices and I see Ladbrokes quote a very generous 80/1. He seems to have had a very long career but he is still only 26. I have therefore had the following speculative punt:-

1pt each-way Tomas Berdych @ 80/1 with Ladbrokes (1/2 odds 1,2) to win Wimbledon 2012.

Monday, 23 January 2012


Yes she took out Serena in straight sets. However the American played a horrendous match. So forget about that form for the moment. In the previous round she beat Zvonereva in straight sets too, no mean achievement. In the round before that she had the audacity to take out our in-form hope Kanepi, also in straight sets.

Clearly a player in exceptional form even without the Serena scalp.

Next she will take on the winner of the Lisicki v Sharapova match which is currently one set all. Then a semi-final against Kvitova is the likely prize. She has met the Czech player once, going down in two tie-break sets at Eastbourne last year.

I have had 1.5pts each way @ 25/1 Makarova to win with W Hill (still1/2 odds to reach the final)

Total 3pts invested.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Santo Clause

Just a week ago it looked like Romney would sweep to three consecutive state victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Then two days ago the official certified result in Iowa was published and Santorum was declared the winner rather than Romney.

Some major bookmakers reacted quickly to payout Santo backers (having previously settled on Romney as the winner shortly after the provisional result was announced). These bookmakers included Will Hill, Ladbrokes and Bet365. Others, including betfair, are considering their positions. The settlement seems to hinge on the clause "official result" in bookmakers' rules. I don't think there is anyway that a win by eight votes, which was announced shortly after the provisional count, can be considered a final or official result. Bookmakers obviously settled in haste. The Iowa rules allowed until 18 January for the relevant paperwork to be submitted before the official result was calculated and announced, so surely all the remaining bookmakers who have yet to settle on Santo will be forced to do so.

I did not recommend a Santo bet in Iowa on the blog but did put him up @ 18/1 for the nomination. Unfortunately his support has drained away since Iowa and he was a huge price to win Carolina earlier today.

Things are looking a lot better for Newt Gingrich, however, who was a country mile behind Mitt a week ago. I put up Gingrich @ 9/2 for SC (now big odds on) and 18/1 for the nomination (currently no more than 3/1). If he should snatch Carolina from Mitt tonight then 18/1 for the nomination could be looking good: since 1980 the Republican winner in South Carolina has always gone on to take the Republican Nomination.

It's suddenly not so great for Mormon Mitt. Perhaps he will have to visit planet Kolob for inspiration. When I told my wife this evening that Mormons believe God lives on planet Kolob she said: "Pull the other one, I can see what it spells backwards"!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Republican candidate

I remain convinced that the right-wing will get together after the South Carolina Primary and unite to put one candidate forward to beat Romney. I thought it was going to be Santorum that would fulfil this role but this looks increasingly unlikely. If Newt Gingrich wins or comes a reasonable second in S.C. (which looks on the cards) then Perry and Santorum need to drop out and pledge their support to Newt. We'll see soon enough if this happens.

Meanwhile I have had 1pt win Newt Gingrich to be Republican Nominee @ 18/1 with Skybet.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Australian Open - men

Some strange betting activity on the Fed quarter today. For no obvious reasons (other than my widely read blog of course!!) the prices on JMD Potro and B Tomic have contracted significantly. The Argentinian is now generally 3/1 from 4/1 for the quarter and the Australian is 10/1 tops from 18/1 in a place and 16/1 generally. Perhaps The Fed's back is worse than is commonly known? We shall see.

I am having one more bet in the men's outright. Our old friend Berdych is in Nadal's quarter and looks to have a decent draw to reach a possible quarter final match with the Spanish number one. He has been in good form down under winning the Hopman Cup for the Czech Republic with Kvitova. Who knows, should he reach the semi he might be playing Delpo or Tomic for a place in the final. Incidentally it's forecast to be in the 90s for the first couple of days which would be no help to the (apparently) well drawn Kvitova who suffers from asthma. 

I have had:-

1.5pts each way Tomas Berdych @ 40/1 with Paddy Power (1/2 odds 1,2)

Total three points invested. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Australian Open - quarter betting 2

Looking at the ladies' draw I have had two quarter winning bets. The first bet is in the third quarter and concerns the inform Kaia Kanepi. The Estonian, who we have backed for the tournament outright is a top priced 11/2 with Ladbrokes to reach the semi final. Serena Williams is the short priced favourite to win this section but has had an interrupted preparation so we have to hope she gets turned over in the first week. Several others in this quarter have had injury issues so I have had:

4 pts Kaia Kanepi to win third quarter @ 11/2 with Ladbrokes

The other bet is very speculative but mirrors a successful 33/1 poke we had at Wimbledon last year. Mona Barthel is the latest German sensation. She came through the qualifiers to win the Hobart title - her first - hammering Wickmayer (who had been playing well up to that point) in the final. Mona is priced between 20/1 and 33/1 to win the second quarter. However skybet will lay you 33/1 a non-seed to win this quarter which of course includes the low ranked German.Therefore I have had:

1pt win "any other player" to win second quarter @ 33/1 with skybet

Total invested five points.

Australian Open - quarter betting

I have had a good look at the quarter betting for the men's tournament this morning. (i.e. backing a player to reach the semi-final). As you know I have backed Federer to win the event and I am regretting it somewhat as he has drifted in the betting since the wager.

I am now not very confident about Federer's prospects and have found a little bit of value in his quarter. Although JM Del Potro has not had a great preparation I think he is value at Coral's 4/1 to win this sector. Also I think Tomic has an outside shot at reaching the semis. (He just won the Kooyong Classic beating Mardy Fish in the final). I have had the following:

4pts win JM Del Potro to win third quarter @ 4/1 with Coral 

1pt win Tomic to win third quarter @ 16/1 with William Hill

Tomic is available @ 18/1 with VC if you can get a bet on there, however I will only post bets at prices I am able to take myself. 

Total stake five points.

You may also be interested in some of the outright prices "available" at Sportingbet. Well they are not available to me (reasons can be found on my website). The odds compiler has obviously taken the view that no player outside the top four can reach the final. Hence you will find 22/1 Delpo 25/1 Tsonga and 150/1 Tomic all of which warrant closer inspection as each way propositions. 

I may blog a ladies' quarter bet later today, but that's all for now. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Going to Carolina

Unfortunately it looks like Mitt Romney is going to win the Republican Nomination. Our man Santo is on the drift and can now be backed at double figures for the South Carolina gig. I am having one small last shot at derailing the Mormon by having a bet on the geriatric Newt Gingrich to win the S. Carolina Primary.

I have had 1pt win N Gingrich for SC Primary @ 9/2 with Stan James

Oh and by the way God lives on a planet called Kolob. This is what Mormons believe. Rather worrying isn't it?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Sydney Open

Just had a look through the draw for the above. A very strong field. At least it was until Sam and Vera both lost tamely overnight. They were both in Li Na's half of the draw. The top half of the draw is still very strong: Woza, Petko, A.Rad, Vika, Janko and Bartoli. In the bottom half Li Na has a realistic chance of reaching the semi-finals where she is seeded to meet the tournament favourite Kvitova (generally a 2/1 chance). I think it's worth taking a chance with an each-way bet on Li Na as follows:

2pts each-way Li Na @ 12/1 with Totesport (1/2 odds 1,2) for the Sydney Open

and also 0.5pt ew Schiavone @ 22/1 with Bet365.

Schiavone is also in the bottom half of the draw and took care of Sam in straight sets.

Total five points staked.

FA Cup update

In the end the odds looked so attractive to me that I ended up backing six teams each-way for the FA Cup! Fortunately all six teams won their third round ties at the weekend. Following the fourth round draw there has been some significant changes in the betting. We had a bit of luck when Liverpool v Man U came out of the hat and also when most of our selections were drawn apart aside from the Everton v Fulham tie.

The two biggest wagers were on the North East sides Newcastle and Sunderland and each has been assigned non-Premiership opposition in the fourth round. Newcastle are generally 16/1 whereas you won't get any better than 20/1 Sunderland now. Early days but a good start.

Aus Open update

You could argue that we've over staked in the women's event with bets on four players. However I was pleased to see Li Na win her opening match in Sidney, where she is defending champion, by a comfortable score line of 6-0 6-3. This will give her confidence and the 20/1 for the big one, which we've taken may disappear soon.

As for the men we have a poor looking bet on Federer who has drifted alarmingly on betfair to 6.4. It's not looking good for the Swiss maestro. Other than the Fed bet we have a small each-way on Tomic who was comprehensively beaten by Murray and received injury treatment in the process.

I can't help thinking that Tsonga could make a significant impact this year. Aside from Federer he has been the form player of the last three months. The former Aus finalist is still generally a 20/1 shot and warrants each-way support at that price.

I have had 3pts win 2pts place Tsonga @ 20/1 with Totesport

I have also had a speculative each-way double with the same firm:

0.5pt ew double Tsonga, Li Na both @ 20/1 Totesport (1/2 odds 1,2)

Total invested six points.

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Having lost by only eight votes in Iowa, Santorum has gained the momentum we expected. However he is likely to get thoroughly chinned in the Primary in New Hampshire next week where Romney has a house and a huge following.

Things could be different when the circus moves on to South Carolina on 21 January. The state has a large evangelical population who are becoming increasingly attracted to Santo. The latest poll shows Romney on 27% with Santo not that far behind on 24% and likely to close. Ladbrokes say he's 11/4 to win whereas Stan James reckon he's a 5/1 chance.

Therefore I've had 2pts Santorum to win S. Carolina Primary @ 5/1 with Stan James.

Ladies' Australian Open

We are already involved here - particularly with Clijsters who is not a 100% certain runner. Plus we have small bets on two other runners. I am inclined to add another one though. I thought Kanepi looked so impressive this morning. She looks a lot fitter than I remember seeing her in 2011. Clearly she has lost a lot of weight!

She can now have a week's rest and undergo some gentle practice before the big one.

If her big serve is working you'd give her a shot at the title particularly with the injury scares over some of the principals. I have been rather slow in picking up on her so the big prices have all dried up unfortunately.

Nevertheless I have had 3pts win, 1pt place K Kanepi @ 20/1 with William Hill for the Aus Open (1/2 odds 1,2).

Total 4pts staked.

Bookmaker value in FA Cup

Yesterday William Hill made sure they were best price on EVERY team playing in the FA Cup. This was a successful strategy employed last year.

Ladbrokes has responded by topping W Hill on many teams this morning. There is terrific value right now. I remain convinced that given the results we have seen against the top teams in recent weeks, a lesser ranked team could win the trophy this year.

Therefore I have successfully navigated Ladbrokes' dreadful mobile site this morning to place more bets as follows:

1pt ew Fulham @ 66/1

1pt ew Aston Villa @ 40/1

0.5pt ew Sunderland @ 66/1

0.5pt ew Newcastle @ 50/1

0.5pt ew Everton @ 25/1

All with Ladbrokes, total staked seven points.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Australian Open

What a disaster for our ante-post bets so far. Clijsters retired with a left hip injury during her semi-final in Brisbane this morning and then Federer pulled out of the Doha event at the semi-final stage. You may know that Federer has never retired during a top level match throughout his professional career. In addition he has only retired on one previous occasion from a tournament once it is in progress. So his back must be pretty bad.

At this stage both are hopeful of competing in the first grand slam but equally both are on the drift in the markets.

In the ladies' event we now have question marks over leading contenders Serena W and Kim C. In addition home hope Stosur lost tamely the other day to a player who had previously never won a set. So a speculative bet now in case the field should "cut up":

2pts win Li Na @ 20/1 with Paddy Power (NRNB)

The Chinese is a streak player and can get on a roll. Currently playing ok in the Hopman Cup, and, of course, was the beaten finalist last year.

In the men's event I think home hope Tomic is worth a speculative bet:

1pt ew Tomic @ 80/1 with (also available at Blue Square and Boyles)

Tomic plays Murray tomorrow and is unlikely to beat him. However if he does he will be 25s or 33s for the big one.

Total four points invested.

Kim Clijsters

As Kim is about to start her semi-final in Brisbane against Hantuchova this morning she is now a best priced 6/1 for the Aus Open. We have bets at 16/1 and 14/1.

It pays to be one step ahead in this game and I notice that she is priced between 12/1 and 22/1 for the French Open. As she was out with injuries for seven months in 2011 I would not bet that far ahead without the protection of  non-runner no bet. Both Paddy Power and Sky bet offer this concession.

I have therefore had 4 pts ew Kim Clijsters to win French Open @ 20/1 with Paddy Power.

If the price goes shortly after my modest bet I would advise the 16/1 with Skybet rather than 20/1 with a another firm that does not offer NRNB.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Let's be 'aving ya!

As Delia would say. Actually Delia's outfit are going to be one of my three against the field in this year's FA Cup.

It may seem an unsound strategy to look beyond the traditional "big four" when trying to find the FA Cup winner. One of Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea has won the FA Cup in 14 of the last 16 seasons. The exceptions are Man C last year and Portsmouth in 2008. It could be significant that these are recent victories. In addition Man U have drawn fellow table toppers Man C and could therefore be out of the competition in the first round.

My three selections will be backed each-way at big prices so that achieving a losing finalist would produce a significant overall profit. (Each-way 1/2 odds to reach final). In 11 of the 16 finals mentioned above the losing finalists have NOT been one of the traditional big four.

The three teams that I have chosen are all Premiership sides which:

1. Are unlikely to be contenders for a top four league position
2. Look to be safe from relegation
3. Are not involved in the Europa Cup

Norwich City - 100/1
Doing quite well in the top flight with 25pts from 20 matches. Have home fixture against Burnley.

I have had 1pt ew Norwich @ 100/1 with Paddy Power

Sunderland - 50/1
Martin O'Neill has done brilliantly in the short time he has been in charge. The team is playing with a new level of confidence. Will play away at Peterborough.

I have had 2pts ew Sunderland @ 50/1 with Coral

Newcastle - 40/1
Surprised many people (including me) with their solid performances to date. One negative will be the absence of our Premiership TGS selection Demba Ba, who will be missing for the African Nations Cup - but may only miss one fixture should Newcastle progress. First match at home to lowly Blackburn.

I have had 1.5pts ew Newcastle @ 40/1 with Coral

Total FA Cup investment nine points.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

WTA Brisbane

Watched Kimmy beat Ana this morning. She won the first set 6-1, lost the second by the same score and then recovered from 0-3 to win the final set 6-3. She needs match practice so this was probably a good thing ahead of the first grand slam. She is now no better than 10/1 for the Aus Open.

The Brisbane draw has rather a lopsided look to it with the first three in the betting, SW, KC and SS all in the top half. This has prompted me to have a close look at the bottom half of the draw in order to consider an each-way poke.

If tonight's matches go to form, the bottom half quarter-finals will be Janko v Schiavone and Pav v Petko.  Janko leads FS 4-2 HTH and Petko is 1-0 HTH against Pav. Therefore it could be a Janko v Petko semi-final. Petko leads Janko H2H 2-1 although Janko won decisively in their latest meeting. Petko is 6/1 to win the tournament whereas Janko is 10/1. I understand Janko's off season training has gone well so she is my pick at the larger odds and indeed an attractive 5/1 to reach the final. (Hopefully against Kimmy!)

I have had 2pts ew Janko to win Brisbane @ 10/1 with Paddy Power 1/2 odds 1,2 (Also available with Boyles and VC). Four points invested.

Monday, 2 January 2012

US politics - Republican Nominee

Everyone keeps saying a candidate is going to come out of the woodwork to challenge Mitt Romney to the Republican nomination but they keep falling by the wayside. Now Rick Santorum is making a run and could go close at the first caucus in Iowa. Don't worry about his politics - you don't really want to know. They're a strange lot these Republicans. Romney does look beatable though despite being 1/3 for the overall gig.

I have had 3pts @ 18/1 Rick Santorum to be Republican Nominee with Stan James (also available with W Hill but 22/1 with VC for you lucky Chandler punters).

Rick has spent a huge amount of time in Iowa and it seems to be paying off. Win or lose the Iowa result could give him some momentum going forward.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

First bets of the new year!

Brisbane tennis

For the first bet placed in 2012 I am going for a tennis match which is scheduled to be played around 2:00am UK time:

2.5pts Melinda Czink to beat Vania King @ 2.8 with Boylesports

Although King is the higher ranked player, Czink holds a 3-0 HTH. The three matches they have played were on hard, grass and clay and King has never won a set. They haven't played for a couple of years but you'd think the betting would be a little closer.

Aiden O'Brien UK classic winners 2012

If you follow racing you will know what a strong hand AOB has in this year's classics. Well he does on paper at least. I've had the following rather optimistic bets today:

AOB to have four UK classic winners, 2pts @ 12/1 with Ladbrokes

AOB to have all five UK classic winners, 0.5pt @ 40/1 with Ladbrokes.

If VC will allow you to bet with them then you can get 50/1 the full house. Good luck in getting that to more than 10p.

Total stakes today 5pts.

2011 results

Results for 2011 are as follows:

Stakes 847 Returns 977 Profit 130 = 15.4% Full details:

Winning bets settled in 2011 include:

Danny Graham TGS, Championship W33/1
Kvitova, Wimbledon W25/1
England to win Ashes 3-1 W16/1
Sizing Europe, Cheltenham W14/1
Little Mix, X-factor W14/1
Djoko, Wimbledon W12/1
Villas-Boas, next Chelsea mgr W12/1

Total results for 2009/10/11:

Stakes 1,532 Returns 2,239 Profit 707 = 46.2%

Good luck in 2012.