Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

The Road to Riches Weekend of 20th-21st July

Posted on 18 Jul 2019 08:43 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Racing, Flat racing at Doncaster, Haydock, Newmarket, Newbury and Ripon and over the jumps at Cartmel and Market Rasen

- Cricket, The start of the Vitality T20 Blast.

- Golf, The Open from Royal Portrush 

- Rugby Union, the start of the Rugby Championship South Africa v Australia and Argentina v New Zealand

- Tennis, ATP Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island


Goodwood Festival (30th July – 3rd August)

The full five day package by Neil Channing is £99 and you can sign up here

https://www.bettingemporium.com/tips/index/256 


 

Free tip

Cricket: 2019 Vitality T20 Blast Ante-Post

The 2019 domestic English T20 tournament begins today. This column has a decent record in the event. Last year we had Sussex, beaten finalists at 10-1.

A recap. The eighteen counties are split into North and South Groups, and the top four in each go through to the semi-finals. The four winners then go to finals day at Edgbaston, one of the highlights of the calendar.

You can, quite genuinely, make the case for up to a dozen teams in this. Teams are even (country cricket operates within a salary cap), each have two overseas players that at their best can be real difference makers and (for example last year when some teams had four no-results) the weather can play its part.

Last year in the North Group six points (two points for a win) seperated six sides. In the  South side five points seperated six teams, and two teams qualified with four losses.

Generally my approach is to try to identify an over-priced and often unfashionable outsider (Northants a few years ago was my most successful example of this) that might improve beyond current expectations in what is a tournament were there are a lot of variables.

As it is the front of the market (each-way 1,2 ½ available) is as follows:

Notts 7-1

Sussex 7-1

Surrey 8-1

Hampshire 9-1

Yorkshire 12-1

Somerset 12-1

Lancashire 12-1

Worcs 14-1

Essex 16-1

Birmingham 16-1

Of those sides defending champions Worcs are a real stand out at 14-1, a price that speaks to their lack of profile rather than their prospects. The side I want to talk about though is 25-1, also deeply unfashionable/below the radar. Markets have only two other counties available at larger prices. Durham were runners up in 2016 they finished second in the North group last year winning nine games out of 13 before losing at home to Sussex in the quarter-finals.

The first point to note is that compared to 2018 this Durham side is missing Imran Tahir, who took 15 wickets in the competition and New Zealand batsman Tom Latham who scored 470 runs at a strike rate of 136. In addition Paul Collingwood (12 wickets and 257 runs) has retired.

This season the two overseas are Australians, captain Cameron Bancroft and BBL star D’Arcy Short of the Hobart Hurricanes who scored 578 runs in the 2017-18 tournament and has been acclimatising on the Australia A tour of England during the World Cup.

Minus Tahir, Durham probably are a weaker bowling side this year though the experienced Nathan Rimmington and Chris Rushworth combined for 34 wickets last year. Ben Raine has taken 25 wickets in the Championship. Short and Bancroft plus the domestic hitter Graham Clark should compensate for Latham’s runs.

25-1 is a big price for a very competitive side (they lost only two games in the 50 over competition earlier in the summer) where the county has recovered from financial difficulties of two years ago and in betting market terms they appear to be discarded far too readily. I am taking no account of the possible availability of Ben Stokes and Mark Wood at points, it’s a crowded summer and the Ashes are on the horizon. I wouldn’t expect them to be available much.

10 points each way Durham Vitality T20 Blast 25-1 each way (1/2 1,2) with Bet365, BetVictor, Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy Power and SkyBet


 

Luck of the draw

It almost goes without saying that New Zealand were extremely unlucky to lose the Cricket World Cup final last weekend. The absurd variance in the last over of England running two and getting six via a ricochet for four off the bat off the fielder’s throw which ultimately could well have been interpreted by the umpire as five runs was a one-off, and still the subsequent Super-Over was tied.

MCC rule 19.8 states that in the event of an overthrow the runs scored are the allowance for the boundary and the “runs completed by the batsman, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act” Stokes and Rashid had not crossed when Guptill threw the ball back in. Crucially a rule had been changed pre-tournament so that the number of wickets lost was no longer the deciding factor in ties. If it had been New Zealand would have been champions having lost 8 wickets to England’s 10. New Zealand ran bad!

After the tied super-over itself England were champions thanks to the rule that the team with the most boundaries in the match (England 26 New Zealand 17) should win. On the one hand a metric that counts for nothing in any part of the game decided the outcome. On the other both teams knew the rules before the super over.

Ultimately the result of a seven week long tournament was settled by a strong of marginal decisions from both sides and the umpires.

For large stretches of the match the last minute free-to-air audience probably felt transported back to 2004 such was the attritional nature of the cricket on a pitch that was very dry but where the ground-staff had overcompensated with a good covering of fresh grass on top. A very odd wicket to prepare for a final, but nonetheless one that looked like it would produce a very close finish from early on in the match.

These were perfect conditions for New Zealand’s bowlers and Kane Williamson the brilliant New Zealand captain had the courage to bat first and trust his game plan despite overcast conditions when many captains would have bowled first. New Zealand batted as if 240-250 was about right and played accordingly to get there.

Given that England’s big weakness since the 2015 world Cup had been had been under-performing on such “sticky” wickets (their march to the top of the rankings had primarily taken place on featherbeds in high scoring games) ultimately grinding it out from 86-4 with Stokes and Buttler’s partnership getting them close, this was quite the monkey off their back to get home in one of these games.

In terms of the wider issue than winning or losing one very close game, the decision to put the match free-to-air seems to have been vindicated by both the result and the manner of it.

At peak time around 7.30pm as the super-over started Channel 4 had 4.5m viewers, with 1-1.2m each on each of the three Sky channels. Early, against the incredible Federer-Djokovic final on the BBC that drew 8m at peak, Channel four was over 2m for much of the day.

It feels like the specific outcome should provide a big boost to a sport deprived of exposure since 2005. Lets hope the ECB marketing people make the most of it in schools and clubs. All the more odd that the ECB is basically jettisoning the 50 over format domestically (the Royal London cup will be primarily for junior players) for the hundred next year. Perhaps a new audience will be persuaded by the new format, but perhaps equally exposure to existing formats was what was needed all along.


Brodders Football Analysis

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Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 13th-14th July

Posted on 12 Jul 2019 08:34 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, AFCON Semi-Finals

- Racing, Flat racing at Ascot, Chester, Hamilton, Newmarket, Salisbury and York and over the jumps at Newton Abbot. 

- Cricket, The 2019 World Cup final on Sunday at Lords.

- Formula One, the British Grand Prix

- Golf, On the USPGA the John Deere Classic and on the European Tour the Scottish Open  

- Tennis, the final weekend of Wimbledon

 


 

Goodwood Festival (30th July – 3rd August)

The full five day package by Neil Channing is £99 and you can sign up here


 

 

Free Tip, The Open Championship next week

Royal Portrush is an unusual venue for the Open, on the rota for the first time since 1951 and although in many respects a typical links it adds some variance as we don’t have that staple of analysis to go on, course form. Portrush last hosted a tour event in 2012, the Irish Open, since when the course has been lengthened.

Portrush looks out onto the North Atlantic and is a genuine links, with the course offering up some serious fairway slopes elevation changes and bunkering, plus green complexes which contain some serious swales. It’s now 7,337 yards long,  a par 71 with only three par fives.

Portrush is known for its weather. You can experience all four seasons in a single day on this stretch of the North Atlantic coastline and strong winds are common. This is the kind of venue where a player’s chances can be severely impacted if they are the wrong side of the draw weather-wise. The course has only 64 bunkers, the lowest number on the Open rota, however its difficulty is generated by the wind, the creativity of the greens, and the course’s new found length.

if the conditions are soft and the wind is down, this could be a scoreable course where mid-teens is the target required. A look at the weather apps suggests a dry week coming, a dry tournament and presumably firmer and trickier conditions than that though.

In the 2012 event Greens in Regulation was of secondary consideration to both Scrambling and Putting Average. That is often the case on a links course when the weather is difficult. Back then accurate players were at the top of the leaderboard but next week its going to take a good all-rounder. These days you need to be long enough to content, accurate and have links experience/success has been a pre-requisite.

From 2011 onwards, all Open Championship winners have finished in the top 10 of an Open at least once before winning. Also 13 Champions from the last 19 season (68%) had won a tournament in the same season prior to triumphing at The Open. 

So the short list is a good all-round player in decent form, with links experience. He has to be Long enough, accurate enough, and a putter and a scrambler. I was tempted to put up Kuchar again, top ten after three rounds in the US Open before he faded to 16th and available at 66-1 again having finished tied 9th and 2nd at Carnoustie and Birkdale in the last two years.

At the risk of stealing Neil’s thunder though I kept coming back to a player with two wins this year at the Sentry tournament of champions and the WGC Champions in china. He’s  finished top six or better in five of the last 10 majors. He was second in the Open last year to Molinari at Carnoustie, having finished tied 20th on his debut year before . This year he’s finished tied 2nd in the Masters and tied 3rd at the US Open where Neil had him as part of his portfolio

The 2019 PGA stats show why he is so consistent, he’s top 25% on all measures except scrambling where he is top 33%. For example he is:

25th in driving accuracy, average length 304 yards

27th in greens in regulation

14th strokes gained tee to green

28th in putting

43rd in scrambling

He’s outside the top ten in the betting, offered at 28/1 5 places with Bet354 and Ladbrokes/Coral with extra places to come from the marketing departments over the next week. I think he is a very solid proposition here

I better tell you who it is:

10 points each way Xander Schauffele to win the Open 28/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) Bet365 and Ladbrokes/Coral


 

Free-to-Air

Earlier this week Channel Four showed a documentary about the 2005 Ashes which was the last Series in England showed free-to-air. Of course it was a great series, full of memorable moments after which the ECB did the first of their deals with Sky. The contrast between the 2005 series, which ended with an open top parade through packed London streets and the 2019 World Cup has been stark, notwithstanding the last minute decision to show the final containing England free-to-air on Sunday

Sky’s cricket coverage is excellent, and the sums provided under the deal significant but as one executive opined “Ultimately there is no point in a sport being rich but invisible”

England had been building for the World Cup for four years, since the under-performance in 2015 led to new coaching, strategies and players. They prioritised ODI cricket with a view to winning this World Cup, changed the domestic schedule and tacitly compromised their test side at the same time. The strategic belief was that winning the World Cup at home would galvanise a new generation of supporters.

In the mean-time cricket has been ailing with an ageing fan base and declining participation in schools. The Hundred, derided by those fans, is an attempt to grow the fan base, and winning a World Cup should of course, if it happens, lead to a renewal of interest. But who outside the hardcore have been watching? The contrast between the England team in the Women’s world cup, shown at prime time on the BBC and with considerable casual fan interest, has been marked.

For the cricket world cup, ticket sales were strong to existing cricket supporters helped by big demand from supporters of the Asian sides but has it reached outside the current fan-base and cut through? Time will tell. England winning on Sunday would be a start.


Brodders Football Analysis

Brodders subscribers enjoyed a profitable 2018, betting £10 a point on matches would have won you £4,600 and he has now four successive profitable years. Over five years Betting £10 a point you would be winning over £23,000 with a 3.03% ROI Sign up here 


Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

The Road to Riches Weekend of 6th-7th July

Posted on 5 Jul 2019 18:42 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Women’s World Cup and Copa America Finals plus the AFCON Round of 16

- Racing, Flat racing at Beverley, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Haydock, Leicester, Nottingham and Sandown

- Cricket, The final Group Stage Matches in the 2019 World Cup.

- Rugby Union, the Super Rugby Final Crusaders v Jaguares on Saturday

- Golf, On the USPGA the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities and on the European Tour the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

- Tennis, the middle weekend of Wimbledon


 

Free tip

The Coral Eclipse Stakes, Sandown 3.35pm Saturday By Neil Channing

The Eclipse is basically a perfect race for each-way punters and terrible for bookmakers offering that form of betting...the definition of a filthy each-way race...it would have a ninth runner at 1000/1, to save us from the dreaded late withdrawal and only getting two places, in an ideal world, and also the favourite would be a little shorter pushing out the win prices of all others and making a fifth of those prices even more unreflective of the chance of the others placing, but come on people, we can't have absolutely everything. What we do have is an amazing mare Enable, who has won the last two Arc de Triomphes and who is miles better than these at her peak, coming here off a 245 day lay off to run in a Group One at a trip shorter than her best. She may well win anyway, but we do have a great chance to take her on.

The obvious each-way alternative is Magical, who was beaten less than a length in 2nd by Enable in the Breeder's Cup Turf over a mile and a half in November. This year she has run over this trip and has won a Group One and been 2nd at Royal Ascot in another. I definitely wouldn't put you off betting her each-way at 3/1 or bigger but I just decided I wanted something a bit bigger if I was taking the gamble of getting Enable beaten.

Hunting Horn was 25/1 and was well held by Magical in the Prince of Wales at Ascot so I'll pass on him and Danceteria seems a nice horse but I think he's a bit out of his depth here. I'll pick from the other four.

Telecaster was given a great ride to win the Dante but then ran poorly in the Derby and the fact that he threw in a bad one and the possible poor standard of the three year olds puts me off.

Mustashry won a Listed Race over course and distance last summer but since then he has run over shorter trips and I slightly wonder if I should be backing one each-way if I worry about the trip at this level. He has looked like he might need further a couple of times this year though and the price is tempting so I have to include him.

Regal Reality is the other Sir Michael Stoute runner here and he was well beaten by Mustashry at Newmarket in a Group Two over a mile in September. Both his runs since were here and last time he was impressive over course and distance winning the Brigadier Gerard but this is a step up in grade, he needs to reverse form with his stable companion and he can play up a lot in the preliminaries. I'm not at all tempted.

Much as I hate to bet horses that are slightly doubtful stayers each-way, I am going to have to make an exception for Zabeel Prince here. This one won a Group One in France just two runs ago but last time at Ascot he hated the ground and he didn't run any race in the Prince of Wales stakes. If you do throw out that run he is a massive price here and I'm going to assume that his stamina limitations at Ascot were a lot to do with all the rain and I'll hope he will stay on this faster ground.

 I'm having 6 Points each-way Mustashry at 16/1 1/5th 123 with Bet365, Hills and VC Bet.

 I'm having 7 Points each-way Zabeel Prince at 25/1 1/5th 123 with Bet365, Betfred and others.

 


Spectacles

Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the French Grand Prix a fortnight ago was his sixth win in eight races and whilst it had its challenges was a very mundane spectacle for those in the half full stands and watching on TV. Hamilton of course is one of the best drivers F1 has seen, unmatched for one lap pace in qualifying and so quick in an identical car to his team-mate that he was a dozen seconds clear as the second half of the race ran to an inevitable conclusion.

F1 has had periods of processional dominance before. McLaren won 11 successive races in 1988, Schumacher was champion by mid-season in 2002 but Mercedes have been so dominant for the entire turbo-hybrid era that they look a sure thing to win a sixth successive driver and constructor’s championship double. Mercedes have won 82 of 104 races in this regulation era, been on pole for 90 of those races and finished 1-2 in 45 of them. Since 2014 no team outside the big three has won a race and there is a huge disparity in resources between the top teams and the rest.

The next regulation change is not until 2021 and by that time Hamilton is likely to be past Schumacher’s 91 wins (79 currently).

Unfortunately engineering technology has outpaced track design and the combination of aerodynamic advances, making the cars very difficult to be followed closely due to their downforce and overtaking only possible with the artificial device of DRS, and tyres where life needs to be managed and therefore drivers often drive within the capability of their cars combines to make processions the norm. Even when there is action, the sport appears over-regulated with frequent penalties levied on drivers. A rare exciting race in Austria was almost overshadowed by a steward’s decision too with three hours being taken to decide that a fairly routine overtake was permissible in the later stages of the race.

Last week the ten teams had a vote on changing the tyres mid-season to a specification with thicker thread, such is the concern about lack of racing. The vote finished 5-5, not the necessary 7 votes to require a change.

In Austria a few days before his pulsating race win Max Verstappen produced his own informal manifesto for improving F1

  • Downforce produced in a different way so cars can follow
  • Tyres that don’t overheat within two laps if you are following another car
  • Less complex engines

He said “I understand why we have to stay with hybrid but it can be done in a better way”

The regulation changes for 2021 were supposed to have been agreed by now, but the top teams’ protection of their own interests ensures that any public decisions have been delayed until October. What F1 needs is a transformation, and regulations that de-emphasise technical precision and emphasise all out racing but what it is likely to get thanks to 10 teams with vastly different budgets is a watered-down compromise.


 

Brodders Football Analysis

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Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 28th-30th June

Posted on 28 Jun 2019 08:53 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Women’s World Cup, Copa America and Euro U21 Championship Matches.

- Racing, Flat racing at Chester, Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle, Newmarket, Windsor and York.

- Cricket, Group Stage Matches in the 2019 World Cup continue.

- Formula One, the Austrian Grand Prix

- Rugby Union, Super Rugby Semi-Finals

- Golf, On the USPGA the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit and on the European Tour the Valderrama Masters in Spain

- Tennis, ATP Turkish Open.

 


 

Wimbledon Next week!

The full package by Nigel Seeley including the outrights, match analysis and details of all the bets we are having is £50. To subscribe go here

 


 

Free tip

Super Rugby Semi Final Jaguares v Brumbies Saturday 12.05am

The Jaguares beat the Chiefs last Friday night 21-16 to advance to their first Super Rugby Semi Final. The advantage of their number two seeding in the knockout stages is that they now host the number three seed Brumbies, and avoid the New Zealand sides such as the Hurricanes who now have to travel as 4 seeds to top seeds the Crusaders.

The Jaguares victory was built on great defence and that should be the foundation of what is required to win here. The Brumbies beat the Sharks 38-13 last weekend with brilliant attacking play. Their season has been a real rollercoaster. They only won three of their first eight games, but then improved to win 7 of their last 8 to win the Australian conference. The schedule slightly flattered them, in that in their run to the Quarter finals they only had to beat one New Zealand side, the relatively weak Blues.

Earlier this season, in April, the Jaguares beat the Brumbies at home 20-15 and I feel a similar sort of result is likely with both teams substantially improved since then. It’s a clash of styles but at home following the Jaguares should again come out on top with that punishing defence to the fore. Outright the Jaguares are 8/15 best and -3 on the spread. I expect the Jaguares to win by 1-2 scores

8 points Jaguares to beat the Brumbies by 1-12 points 8/5 Bet365, 6/4 Betfred, Betfair Sportsbook, Corals.

 


Lionheart

Warren Gatland has been appointed as coach for the British Lions Tour of South Africa in 2021. It is a record equalling third tour as coach after his tams beat Australia in 2013 and drew against New Zealand in 2017. Gatland steps down as Wales coach after the World Cup in September, and following  last season’s Six Nations Grand slam which gave Wales under Gatland their fourth title and third grand slam in his twelve seasons at the helm.

The Lions are in some ways a relic of the amateur era. Gatland previously coached them while a full time national coach and for the Lions the appointment of a full time coach is a departure. First and foremost Gatland’s teams are defensively sound but develop tactical innovations and clever nuances such as that employed in this season’s Six Nations where his his powerful wings joining pick and go sequences to alleviate the carrying load on his relatively light back row

Gatland starts his role in the summer of 2020 with a year off from his new role as Coach of thw Chiefs and will have more time to look at players and logistics, the latter important in an ever more crowded rugby calendar where the end of the Northern Hemisphere season encroaches on to Lions tours and affects preparation.

Meanwhile the old fashioned tour manager model is to be disbanded with recent ex-players being brought on board rather than rugby administrators. The Lions are also hoping to secure a new agreement on scheduling with the Southern Hemisphere host countries and are speaking to domestic leagues such as the English Premiership to allow sufficient rest before tours

Given how well Gatland has done previously with only limited time to prepare it is reasonable to assume that a sole focus on the Lions will see him and the 2021 squad thrive. The team returns to South Africa where the Lions lost in 2009, a notoriously tough place to tour with hard provincial sides looking to take scalps and usually two of three test matches played at altitude.


Brodders Football Analysis

Brodders subscribers enjoyed a profitable 2018, betting £10 a point on matches would have won you £4,600 and he has now four successive profitable years. Over five years Betting £10 a point you would be winning over £23,000 with a 3.03% ROI Sign up here 


Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 22nd-23rd May

Posted on 21 Jun 2019 11:20 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Women’s World Cup, Copa America and Euro U21 Championship Matches.

- Racing, Flat racing at Ascot, Ayr, Haydock, Lingfield, Newmarket and Redcar and over the  Jumps at Perth

- Cricket, Group Stage Matches in the 2019 World Cup continue.

- Formula One, the French Grand Prix

- Rugby Union, Super Rugby Quarter finals

- Golf, On the USPGA the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands and on the European Tour the BMW International Open in Munich

- Tennis, ATP Queens and Halle as the pre-Wimbledon grass court season continues.


 

Free tip

Super Rugby Quarter Finals: Jaguares v Chiefs Friday 11.05pm BST

The Super Rugby post season starts today with four quarter finals this weekend as follows:

Friday Crusaders (seeded 1)  v Highlanders (8) result 38-14.

Friday Jaguares (2) v Chiefs (7)

Saturday Hurricanes (4) v Bulls (5)

Saturday Brumbies (3) v Sharks (6)

 

In their fourth season in Super Rugby since being introduced as an expansion team in 2015 (and into the South Africa conference) to help develop Argentinian Rugby (which has been a success, from the competitiveness of the national side down) and grow the game the Jaguares won the conference for the first time this season finishing with 11 wins from 16 games and 51 points.

The expansion hasn’t been without controversy, especially as the Jaguares have had more exposure to playing the best Southern Hemisphere players. For example one former Australian player has claimed the Jaguares are a de facto national side (he has a point) and that the governing body SANZAAR had been giving Argentina an edge by ensuring that the national side had been playing regularly together ahead of the World Cup this autumn.

Set against that Argentina does not have the player pool to have more than one Super Rugby franchise, or the infrastructure and finance to support others

Within the Jaguares 11-5 record this season they have won six out of seven games at home (travel distance and time zones a big advantage to them) and have won nine out of their last ten matches including five in a row to end the season, the most notable of these being 28-20 at the Hurricanes in Wellington. Last week they rested their first choice side and won with their second string.

The Chiefs finished 3rd in the New Zealand conference with 7 wins, 2 draws and 7 losses, and this was their first season in five where they haven’t recorded double digit wins. In 2018 they had an 11-5 record and conceded 48 tries. This season they conceded 59 and as a result were over 100 points worse off season on season in points difference.

That dip in form in what was a season of rebuilding alongside the world class presence of All Blacks like Retallick and Cane accounted for their seventh seeding, lower than we are accustomed to.

The Chiefs won 30-27 in Buenos Aires in early season and their best form came at the end of the season when they won their last three games to get into the play-offs notably 40-27 against the all-conquering Crusaders.

This is priced up to be the closest of the quarter finals. The Jaguares are -4 on the point spread and marginal odds on favourites outright. With the Chiefs having the disadvantage of the travel (Buenos Aires GMT -4, Hamilton New Zealand GMT +11)  I think the Jaguares should win narrowly. I like them to win by a score or two in the winning margin market.

8 points Jaguares to win by 1-12 points 2/1 Betfair Sportsbook, 9/5 Bet365

 


United they stand

Manchester City and Liverpool are of course coming off exceptional seasons, both finishing 27/28 and 31/32 points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United in fifth and sixth respectively and what characterises both of the latter teams is not just the gap on the field to the top of the table but dysfunction of it.

Under both ownerships, poor decision making has allowed the successful regimes built by Ferguson and Wenger to be reduced to more mediocre results. Arsenal have just finished outside the Premier League top four for three years in a row and Manchester United have finished fifth or below in four seasons out of the last six.

Of course in United’s case there has been poor investment on the field and in managerial appointments whilst Arsenal drifted for some time in the final years of Wenger’s reign.

In strategy both teams have been reactive as others took the lead. In 2018 United extended Mourinho’s contract and made Alexis Sanchez the highest paid player in the league. Arsenal made Ozil their highest paid player. With hindsight maybe, but each have been costly mistakes but this is part of a longer term pattern especially for United where Ed Woodward has United’s executive vice-chairman for seven years.

Under his stewardship United signed Mata, Di Maria and Falcao and paid £89m for Pogba, then paid Sanchez £350,000 a week, this last move apparently causing widespread resentment in the dressing room. The club now has a reputation for spending more than they should on players

On Sky Sports Gary Neville said towards the end of the season “They need someone to run the football side of the club,” adding “I think they should shift the people who are in charge of the club at this moment in time back into the business side of the club, back down to London” However the Glazers are absentee owners of an asset on which to earn a (leveraged) return. If the club need a new manager or (as is still the case now) a director of football, the Glazers turn to Woodward.

At Arsenal another hands off owner in Stan Kroenke gave more influence to his son, Josh and like United there is still no director of football, the new manager Emery has a long term task ahead to rebuild the squad (in an era where they can’t compete with City and the European superpowers for the types of players that would transform their squad).

At both clubs the problems start with absent ownership, lack of strategy and inefficient investment in playing resources.


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