Six Nations Week 1 in General Sports uploaded - NFL Championship Weekend uploaded - Saturday Race Previews uploaded - Six Nations Outright in General Sports uploaded - Ante Post Focus uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Week 10 uploaded - Premier League Picks uploaded
Firstly, before looking forward to what is to come in November and a SPOTY fancy towards the end of this monthly blog, a reminder to those members yet to re-subscribe who joined last autumn that your expiry date is November 15th.
With the very welcome news of 48 hour declarations set to continue for the jumps season, expect the Weekend Race Previews on Fridays to be uploaded a couple of hours or so earlier than in the past as that means I can start first thing in the morning (or the previous day) rather than waiting for the decs to filter through around 10.30 a.m.
What I am hoping this will lead to is attaining bigger odds earlier about my fancies judging by last weekend when three of my horses started significantly shorter than their opening price on Friday afternoon. Okay, Rocky’s Treasure (brought down at the first fence!), Cobra de Mai (the two hours of rain prior to his race and running up the back of Frodon’s arse did for him) and Anna Bunina (not good enough) didn’t win but if you are regularly attain 14/1, 8/1 and 6/1 about 11/2, 11/2 and 5/2 shots at SP, then you are going to do okay in the long run.
As such I urge you to logon to read the weekend copy as early as possible before others latch onto the same thinking as me on incorrectly-priced-up horses. More of my fancies than not start shorter on the day than when I upload the copy on Friday. Not so Clondaw Castle though, who drifted out to 14/1 for the Old Roan Chase before he was caught in the closing stages that led to the first proper gnashing of teeth of the jumps season.
The first of what will be 29 Cheltenham Festival columns was uploaded on Tuesday where I put up a 16/1 chance to add to my 12/1 and 8/1 recommendations from back in the spring to help fill the void during lockdown. Week 2 will be on November 17th after the Cheltenham November Meeting and it then it goes weekly from that point. Bar one Wednesday at the start of January after I have looked back at the Christmas action when I take my usual short mid-season break, Ante Post Focus on non-Cheltenham racing will continue weekly right through the jumps season. My Big Race Trends for the leading 15 handicaps throughout the season was uploaded on Monday.
As I highlighted at the beginning of Ciaran Meagher’s Golf column last week, after four years this will sadly be the last season that he is covering for us, feeling that the time is now right to branch out on his own. I am sure that after all the hard work (and good results) that he has put in for us that you would like to join me in wishing him all the best with his new venture. I have to say that at just £100 for the 35 events that he is covering on his website (pgapreviews.com) in 2021 (around £3 per tournament) strikes me as being exceptional value for money for the effort I know that he puts into it, let alone the good results.
His decision means that you will have me providing the golf content next year again, which is my second sport. Back in the day I was the golf tipster in Raceform On Saturday and my recommendations showed a profit when I wrote the golf column in the first year of this website before Ciaran took over. I have also managed to fare well in the weeks filling in for Ciaran, notably matchplay events so am especially looking forward to overseeing the Ryder Cup and WGC World Matchplay previews in 2021. I won’t be covering as many events as Ciaran has for us (I will be looking at the Majors, Players’ Championship, WGC events and Ryder Cup) and clearly not in as finite detail given my time constraints but I will endeavour to find the right betting opportunities. We have different styles and I plan to provide a similar service to back in 2016 which is less outright fancies from the outset than Ciaran, more alternative-market bets and then returning at half-way or before the final round for an update column and looking for additional betting interests for some entertaining Sunday night viewing.
Until then Ciaran is covering five more events for us starting with the Bermuda Championship that starts today. Not long to The Masters now which takes place between November 12-15, the same weekend as the Paddy Power Gold Cup Meeting so I’ve already reserved the TV! The general school of thought is that taking place in mid-November, length off the tee will be even more important than usual. Anyone but Bryson, please!!!!!
Although Ciaran will be leaving us in 2021, I am delighted to announce a couple of new ‘signings’ in the fields of Rugby Union and Snooker.
I am not really a Rugby Union man but I know that many of you like a bit of egg chasing so I would like to introduce you to Paul Matthew who will be looking at next season’s Six Nations for us. Before then he will be giving us an appetiser with a column of this weekend’s final matches of the delayed version plus an outright preview of the Premiership. Paul was formerly the Rugby Union correspondent of The Birmingham Mail and Head of Communications for Wasps RFC after they moved from London to Coventry. His real name is actually Paul Smith but, as we already have one of those covering the cricket(!), not to confuse matters, we have agreed on this pseudonym with Matthew being his middle name.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that as I enjoy watching, attending tournaments and betting on Snooker more and more that I wanted to extend our coverage of the sport. Paul Thompson has shown a profit with both his World Championship previews and I very much thank him for his input but time constraints make it difficult for him to cover much more than the Triple Crown events and I would like coverage of up to around eight of the biggest events throughout the season starting with the Champion of Champions tournament next week. As such, I am very happy to introduce George Weyham who will be covering the leading events of the 2020/21 season for us. George already has a strong snooker following on Twitter where he used to write free, in-depth previews of tournaments and back in the day he was the Number 1 ranked Under 15s player in the UK, even beating Judd Trump in a semi-final. As such he also knows a number of players on the circuit.
Both the Rugby Union and Snooker content will appear under the General Sports banner in the right-hand menu of the home page.
Sticking with cue sports, I have a ticket to watch the Mosconi Cup at Ally Pally for the first time in December but can’t imagine for one moment that I will be allowed to attend. Hopefully that eight-ball Pool tournament between USA and Europe will be put back a year rather than taking place behind closed doors as, just like the Ryder Cup, a patriotic audience is a massive part of the event.
I hope that you have been enjoying Adam Hewson’s coverage of the US Presidential Elections and this morning he provided his fourth and final political betting blog before polling day on Tuesday, this time concentrating on the Senate elections. He has put up plenty of bets over the four columns and can hopefully add to his good results of the American political scene over the last two years.
It’s been a tricky start to the Football season with many strange results during these strange times so lack of crowds are certainly having an effect. I wouldn’t want to be betting in any correct score markets with goals flying in all over the place, that’s for sure. I don’t want to make any excuses regards the weekly recommendations so far this season but I will be taking a pull in terms of betting on the Premier League ahead of yet another international break and look to get back into it when hopefully results have settled down.
Strange results have also been prevalent in the major Darts tournaments behind closed doors. Dmitri Van den Bergh was a 66/1 winner of the World Matchplay, two debutants fought out the final of the Premier League when Glenn Durrant beat Nathan Aspinall, and one of the rank outsiders, Dirk van Duijvenbode, reached the final of the Grand Prix won by Gerwyn Price, causing upset upon upset along the way. It makes me wonder if we should just blindly back outsiders for the rest of the season in head-to-head games with no crowds starting with the Grand Slam of Darts which Mike Henderson will cover for us starting on November 14th.
We’re now approaching the half way point of the NFL regular season and Andy Richmond’s three Super Bowl recommendations are in pretty good shape so far. I must thank Andy for his weekly Beating The Bias columns which ended last month for the Flat Season.
I should also thank Carl Redden for his French Open Tennis column which produced two winners from four recommendations at 4/1 and 7/4 meaning that he has shown a profit for each of the last four Grand Slams. He will return for the Australian Open at the end of January.
With regards to general sports, with no crowds there have been no big Boxing bouts so we will wait until next year for Will Steele to restart his big-fight previews. I was out of luck in the Tour de France but my 8/1 e/w Vuelta Espana recommendation, Richard Carapaz, currently holds a slender lead over the favourite, Primoz Roglic, approaching the half-way stage
As for Sports Personality of the Year, with The Daily Mail reporting the shortlist of probably six will be based on sporting achievement in 2020, those punters who have backed Marcus Rashford for his charitable acts in this Covid-hit year have apparently done their money and he has been eased from 8/11 in places out to 7/4. If still shortlisted then he likely wins but, if it’s based on sporting achievement alone, then he won’t make the shortlist. Can we trust the BBC though?
Lewis Hamilton and Tyson Fury look the only certs to make a six-person shortlist very short on female talent this season. Could Hollie Doyle therefore receive a shortlist slot and then racing gets behind her like it did for AP McCoy?
If winning a sixth World Snooker title on the BBC seven years after his last and 20 years since his first earns Ronnie O’Sullivan a shortlist slot, odds of 9/1 look quite big to me. Never shortlisted before, his legion of fans will finally have the chance to vote for him for the first time, as will all of snooker (I wonder if Barry Hearn might get behind a concerted effort) plus those voters who love a working-class hero. The fact that he couldn’t care less is more of a vote winner than vote loser in my view.
Phil Taylor was runner-up the one year when darts was nominated helped by Stephen Fry’s endorsement on Twitter (12.6 million followers) who loves his arrers. He loves his snooker even more and with voting numbers dropping off drastically to the extent that the BBC won't publish them anymore as it's too embarrassing (Mo Farah won it with only 83,500 the last time they were released in 2017), I’ve had a dabble at 9/1 as Lewis Hamilton (11/10 fav) just isn’t that popular outside of F1 and Fury’s defeat of Wilder was way back in February. Snooker was just about the only sport BBC covered to watch this summer so it got a far healthier viewing share than normal. It all counts to making 9/1 look on the big side and then hope The Rocket gets shortlisted.
Finally, with just seven events to be played out in the Sporting Predictions Competition, 27 players are just a Masters winner (8pts) away from leading. The final event is the PDC World Darts Championship that finishes in early January so good luck to all of you still in the hunt.