Monday, 24 February 2014

ATP Acapulco

Mugray is favourite for this tournament at just 6/4. Seems very short to me. In fact I have had a speculative bet that he is beaten in the first round. He plays Andujar who is coming here having been very close to beating Nadal in Rio (he had two match points) before losing 12-10 in the final set tie-break. Of course Andujar maybe psychologically and physically a wreck after such a narrow loss. Also he will be switching from clay to hard court as Acapulco is no longer played on clay:

1pt Andujar to beat Murray @ 8/1 Bet365 

I have also had a small outright bet here on Dolgopolov. He too did well in Rio beating Ferrer on the way to the final where he lost to Nadal. He has a very tricky first round match but should he successfully negotiate that the mercurial Ukrainian would have a chance of progressing through to play Ferrer again in the semi-final. But don't be surprised if he loses in the first round!:

 0.75pts ew Dolgopolov to win Acapulco @ 33/1 Coral (1/2 odds 1,2)

That's a modest 2.5 points staked.

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

ATP Dubai

The tournament gets underway tomorrow and sees the first appearance of Djoko since his semi-final defeat by Stan in the Australian Open. He is odds-on here and heads the draw of course. If the seedings work out he will play Federer in the semis.

Number two seed and favourite to come through the bottom half of the draw is Delpo. The latter had treatment for his wrist in his last tournament so it seems that the problem has not yet gone away completely. With some slight doubts surrounding Delpo's fitness and odds-on fav Djoko being in the top half of the draw I have had a couple of small ew bets in the bottom half of the draw. Things have gone well this year with tournament bets (Stan 50/1, Venus 25/1 and Simona 9/2) but I'm not getting carried away! 

Half the bookmakers offer 1/3 odds 1,2, the other half 1/2 odds. So it's important to choose your bookmaker with care:

Bets as follows:

0.5pts ew Kohlshreiber to win Dubai @ 100/1 Betfred (1/2 odds 1,2) 

Kohlshreiber is the potential quarter final opponent for Delpo. In the other quarter Berdych would meet Tsonga if seedings hold. Both are in good form with Berdych having the H2H advantage. However Joe is more than twice the price of the Swede so I am going to side with the Frenchman:

1.5pts ew Tsonga to win Dubai @ 12/1 Betfred (1/2 odds 1,2)

Totesport offers the same prices on the above two selections. 

Four points staked.

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Champion Hurdle

Already had two bets in this race as you may be aware from an earlier post. All bookmakers are offering 1/4 odds 1,2,3 and most leading bookmakers also have the NRNB stipulation (although note that WH and Coral are not NRNB at the time of writing). Incredibly though Skybet are also offering BOG (best odds guaranteed) on the four championship races.

There are 11 declared runners right now but it could be that the eventual line up is as few as seven runners. I already have a bet on Our Conor but am going to add a small wager on this selection with the aforementioned Skybet:

1.5pts ew Our Conor to win Champion Hurdle @ 9/2 Skybet 1/4 odds 1,2,3; NRNB; BOG.

Three points staked.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Price moves coming?

Venus still 66/1 at time of writing for Wimbledon but don't see that lasting. I think she is a 20/1 chance myself.

Meanwhile here are the up-to-date figures for 2014:

An unsustainable 124% profit for the year-to-date. Happy days.

Venus lands the spoils

Wins the Dubai Open. If her health remains good she could be a factor one more time at Wimbledon where she is a five-times winner of the ladies' singles. Paddy Power offers 66/1 and their rules for ante-post tennis are NRNB. I have invested four points of my Dubai winnings with them:

2pts ew Venus Williams to win Wimbledon @ 66/1 Paddy Power NRNB (1/2 odds 1,2)

Four points staked.

The Green Cafe is back!

Spring must be nearly with us as the Green Cafe is back from its winter break. The popular riverside establishment closes from Christmas until mid-February. Today was my first visit of the year. I hope there will be many more.

I started with a pork, bean and vegetable broth served with sourdough bread. Full of flavour. To follow was the salt beef plate with pickles and salads. It's a very long time since I've tasted salt beef this good. The last time was probably nearly 20 years ago (pretentious alert!) at the famous Katz's delicatessen in New York, which ironically is situated just off Ludlow Street:

If you haven't been there you may have seen it featured in the film "When Harry Met Sally" or more recently in the Volkswagen cinema advert supporting independent cinema.

Here is a sample menu (from the Green Cafe not Katz!):

My two courses were accompanied by the excellent Hobson's Twisted Spire which clocks in at just 3.6% - an ideal lunch time tipple. And my bill? Tremendous value at £16.30.

The Green Cafe is situated in the shadow of Ludlow Castle next to Mr Underhill's.

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Allez Alize?

The bookmakers have been just generous enough for me to have a wager on the Venus v Alize match. I thought the young Frenchwoman would have been no more than 6/4 whereas she is generally 2/1 with 9/4 in a place. 

As she showed yesterday this former TV actress loves the big stage and is sure to be well supported by the crowd who will perceive her as the underdog again (despite the world rankings being 26-44). As was the case yesterday, the HTH is not in her favour (0-3) but the way she played against Serena exuded confidence and if the Williams' serve is not right on the money she has a big chance. I have had:

6pts Cornet to beat V Williams @ 2/1 Coral

2/1 is available elsewhere but I have specifically chosen Coral as they settle the result provided the match has started whereas other bookmakers require a set or in some cases the whole match to be played otherwise match bets are void. Although thankfully it has not manifested itself on court this week, Venus does suffer from a fatigue related illness. So there would be a small possibility of a retirement. 

Thus our potential winnings for the tournament are now as follows:

Total stakes 12 points: Venus win returns 39.5 points. Profit 27.5 points                           
Alize win returns18 points + 13.5 V place = 31.5 points. Profit 19.5 points

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Friday, 21 February 2014

25/1 shot Venus now odds on for Dubai title

When I posted on Tuesday "Can she do it again?" I was of course referring to my ill-fated bet on Simona Halep winning back-to-back tournaments. Equally I could have been referring to the other bet in that post - Venus Williams - as she was coming into Dubai having won it in 2009/10 and not having played the venue since. I felt a right prawn, just a few hours after posting, when Halep retired injured in the second set of her opening match. Her "conqueror" then was of course the 150/1 poke Cornet who now finds herself in the final having just played an epic match in defeating Serena Williams. Thankfully we have a finalist too so we are guaranteed a profit on this tournament: Total tournament stakes six points, guaranteed return (should Venus lose the final) 13.5 points.

Of course should Venus win the final we will have a further return of 26 points. 

I think Cornet has a real shot of the title judging by the way she played today. I'm inclined to just let the Venus bet run unless Cornet is 2/1 or better. My feeling is the match will be priced closer than that with the American veteran slight favourite.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sorana Cirstea

Cirstea hit over 50 winners in downing Errani in three sets. She goes for everything though and when she makes a UE the ball usually ends up out of the stadium. She takes on Woza today who struggled a bit to get past Beck yesterday. Must have a chance of beating the Dane if the latter doesn't drive her mad in getting everything back. If she does win she would play the winner of Venus v Flavia. If the American (who is favourite to do so) can prevail against the Italian we would have chances of guaranteeing a finalist by having the following bet:

1pt ew Sorana Cirstea to win Dubai @ 20/1 Paddy Power (1/3 odds 1,2) 

Above price is generally available.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Can she do it again?

Simona Halep provided us with a nice 18 point win in Doha. She beat three top ten players consecutively in straight sets to take the title. I was not going to bet on her winning Dubai coming off the back of her biggest ever win and allegedly carrying an Achilles problem. However she is in such terrific form that I cannot let her go unsupported even though Serena looms in her half of the draw. I have had a small interest:

1pt ew Simona Halep to win Dubai @ 16/1 Paddy Power (1/2 odds 1,2)

In the bottom half I've had the same bet on Venus who won back-to-back titles here in 2009-10 and did not play the tournament again until yesterday's first round win over Vesnina. She looked sharp:

1pt ew Venus Williams to win Dubai @ 25/1 Paddy Power (1/2 odds 1,2)

Simona gets underway against Cornet at 10am UK time so if you are planning to get involved in the outright market you need to bet before then.

Four points staked.

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Monday, 17 February 2014


Up to now I have had no Festival bets. The problem with ante-post wagers these days is multiple entries whereby you can easily end up backing horses for the wrong races. However some bookmakers are now offering NRNB on the feature races including the Champion Hurdle. 

As the Champion Hurdle has only 11 declared runners, with a chance that this number could reduce because of double entries, I think it's worth having a couple of ew plays. All major bookmakers offer 1/4 odds 1,2,3 which is attractive in what is potentially a small field. I have had:

2pts ew Jezki to win Champion Hurdle @ 12/1 Betfred 1/4 odds 1,2,3 NRNB

1.5pts ew Our Conor to win Champion Hurdle @ 5/1 Boylesports 1/4 odds 1,2,3 NRNB

Seven points staked.

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Saturday, 15 February 2014

WTA Qatar

Had some poor selections recently but at least they were big-priced losers! Going to try again today as the Doha gig reaches the last four. I watched Halep beat fellow top-tenner Errani yesterday and I don't think I have ever seen her play better. And I've seen a lot of her matches (usually losing when I have been on). Errani played OK for most of the match.

Halep plays A-Rad today and is the underdog of course. I must admit I didn't see the Pole win yesterday but apparently she had her usual 0.5 UEs! 

Halep is the outsider of four to win the tournament @ 9/2 with several firms and that looks generous to me. I have had:

4pts Halep to win Qatar Open @ 9/2 William Hill

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Friday, 14 February 2014

EW terms change

Please note that Coral have changed their Premier League EW terms since I posted just after midnight.  They have fallen in line now with 1/4 1,2.

Also since I posted Ladbrokes have published 4/1 Liverpool to finish in the first two. So if you were contemplating backing Liverpool EW and you have a Ladbrokes account you are better off with a win single @ 8/1 and an equal bet @ 4/1 with Ladbrokes for Liverpool to finish in the first two.

Premier League

The tennis outright wagers have gone pear-shaped this week which is disappointing after the profitable Aussie Open. 

Turning my attention to football, I've got involved in the Premier League betting which may seem a bit strange after 26 matches have already been played. 

I believe it's a close three-horse race: Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. I think Arsenal will continue to drop points as the season comes to a climax. A big factor is potential fixture list congestion with all the teams mentioned except Liverpool involved in the Champions' League. All four teams are also still in the FA Cup (until this weekend anyway) and in addition Man City play in the League Cup final. 

Upcoming Premier League fixtures may also favour Liverpool with both Chelsea and Man City having to go to Anfield. Man City also have to travel to Arsenal, Everton and Man Utd. Chelsea appear to have a better run-in than Man City and unlike the markets I would make them favourites for the Premiership ahead of Man City. 

Liverpool, without the distraction of Champions' League football and possessing the best strike partnership of Sturridge and Suarez, make some appeal at a widely available 8/1. Bookies however are generally 1/4 odds 1,2 but Coral offer 1/3 odds 1,2. I have had:

3pts ew Liverpool @ 8/1 Coral (1/3 odds 1,2) 

Perhaps Liverpool are the dark horses who could beat Mourinho's little horse....

Six points staked

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Monday, 10 February 2014

Doha WTA

There is a good field for this event despite the absence of Serena, Vika and Pova. Consequently the Aussie Open winner Li Na is the top seed. I feel I should back my French Open outsider Bouchard here as she is available at 33/1 with Fred, Totesport and Ladbrokes. She is potentially in the weakest quarter where the top two seeds are Errani and Halep. Having said that she opens tomorrow against the tricky American Mattek-Sands. But 33/1 is big:

1pt ew Genie Bouchard to win Doha @ 33/1 Betfred (1/2 odds 1,2)

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Unknown Legend

"She used to work in a diner
Never saw a woman look finer
I used to order just to watch
Her float across the floor"

Sunday, 9 February 2014

ATP Rotterdam

Wild-card and number two seed Murray is the favourite for this. Clearly he feels good after his exertions in Australia and his contributions to the GB win over the USA in the Davis Cup. 

Del Potro is the top seed and opens against the inform Gael Monfils. The latter won the Montpellier tourney beating Gasquet in the final this afternoon. Monfils could be knackered from that or alternatively could catch the big man cold. I've taken a chance that it's the latter and have had:

1pt ew Gael Monfils to win ATP Rotterdam @ 22/1 William Hill (1/2 odds 1,2)

In the bottom half of the draw where Murray is seeded I've had:

1pt ew Tsonga to win ATP Rotterdam @ 9/1 Betfred (1/2 odds  1,2)

Four points invested.

Good luck if you get involved..

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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Li Na - second post

I'm beginning to regret not advising an each-way bet on Li Na for the French Open. I advised 4pts win @ 10/1 on 25 January. 

I understand that Vika's foot injury will prevent her defending her Doha title. This means Li Na will become the world number two in ten days' time. That doesn't mean the Chinese woman will be number two in May, however she has fewer points to defend than the Belarusian leading up to the second grand slam so there must be a fair chance that she will be. Such a ranking would mean she could not face Serena until the final of course. 

With Sharapova continuing to have problems with her serve (she double-faulted twice to concede her latest tournament semi-final), I think it's time to top up with W Hill as follows while the 10/1 is still on offer:

2pts ew Li Na to win French Open @ 10/1 William Hill (1/2 odds 1,2)

Four points staked.

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Ludlow tennis club

These were the scenes today:


Fortunately the artificial grass courts were playable and we had a couple of hours play before, inevitably, the rain returned.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Value prices

It amazes me how bookmakers can sometimes be so out of line in 'mature' markets. For example, I happened to take a look at the ladies' French Open market yesterday and was surprised to see Unibet (and 888 who offer Unibet prices) quoting Genie Bouchard @ 160 (i.e. 159/1) whereas the next biggest price available for Bouchard was 50/1. So 109 points 'over the odds'. Unless the player was injured this was clearly wrong and a little annoying as I had suggested getting involved at 66/1 a few days ago.

Of course I went immediately to the Unibet site to place a bet. Not being too optimistic, I tried for a tenner @ 160. I was immediately laid £1.19 with the £8.81 balance sent to trading for approval. This came back later as just a further £3.00 at the price and the odds were quickly amended to 50.

So I have been laid £4.19p @ 160.0, a value bet albeit a small one.

Of course there would have been no point in blogging this opportunity as the price had been changed by the time I received confirmation of my stake. As you will be aware I only suggest a bet if the odds are still available at the time of writing.

Just shows you there is value out there. The problem is often being laid a decent stake...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Davis Cup 2

Didn't watch much of it but I really enjoyed the match in which Ward took out Querrey. I've never really taken to the big American but it was some achievement by the Londoner to come from 2-1 down in sets (and a break down in the fourth) to win in five sets. GB must travel again to face Italy in the next round and I would have made the latter slight favourites on home soil to progress to the semis. Bookmakers clearly disagree as the prices I have seen so far (in the outright market) are typically 14/1 GB and 25/1 Italy.

Elsewhere France enjoyed a 5-0 win over Australia and are no bigger than 9/4 second-favourite to win the tournament.

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