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

The Road to Riches Weekend of 9th-10th December

Posted on 6 Dec 2018 16:08 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League fixtures include Chelsea v Manchester City.

- Racing, Over the jumps at Aintree, Chepstow, Sandown and Wetherby. All weather racing at Wolverhampton.

- NFL, Week Fourteen of the 2018 Season

- Rugby Union: the third round of European Rugby Champions Cup Pool matches

Golf, on the USPGA The QBE Shootout and on the European Tour the South African Open.


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 14th - Jan 1st 2019)

Starts next week!

By Nigel Seeley Cost is £50 Sign up here 


Free tip

European Rugby Champions Cup: Racing 92 v Leicester (Pool 4 Sunday 3.15pm)

After the break for the Autumn International season the ERCC returns for the third round of pool matches taking place over this coming weekend

In Pool 4 Racing have won 2 out of 2 and at this very early stage are notional number one seed for the quarter-finals. Finalists last year they are a well-rounded side, able to compete up front but attack from anywhere and this is especially the case on their fast track indoors at their new Paris stadium. So far they are the top try scorers in the competition.

This is a match up that should play into their hands as Leicester are struggling defensively. They go into the game on the back of six straight defeats and have conceded 40 points or more in four of their nine games this season, a weakness that did for coach Matt O’Connor who was sacked after the first game of the season and hasn’t been fixed under interim coach Geordan Murphy.

In an era where defensive patterns are drilled relentlessly with specialist coaches and games often take on “rugby league” style phase attacks Leicester are far too easy to break through and their games are often far more unstructured than is the norm in the modern game. This is down to two factors. Although when at full strength Leicester can field dangerous players in Youngs, Ford, Tuilagi and May the strictures of the salary cap prevent much strength in depth in key areas like the back row, which is cumbersome and Leicester are often vulnerable out wide. This is exactly where Racing are strong

Not only do I expect Racing to win but I expect them to do so comfortably racking up points along the way. The bands in the winning margin tighten up away from the standard 0-10,11-20 type margins that are typical when we are looking at the possibility of close matches. Here I expect Racing to win by three scores plus. I am going to split stakes and dutch the following

6 points Racing92 to win by 21-25 points 6-1 Skybet 9-2 William Hill and Bet Victor

6 points Racing92 to win by 26-30 points 8-1 Skybet 6-1 BetVictor 11-2 William Hill


Whitewash

One winter cricket tour down and one 3-0 victory achieved, everything was looking rosy for England in Sri Lanka recently. After Christmas a tour of the West Indies follows ahead of a big summer in 2019 with the home Ashes Series and World Cup on the schedule.

Admittedly the Sri Lankans were a poor imitation of recent sides. Shorn of their previous generation of star players through retirement they are in the very early stages of a rebuilding process and undoubtedly this is currently the easiest sub-continental tour but nevertheless in key areas England could take much from the series

  • Post Alistair Cook, Jennings especially and Burns showed potential as an opening partnership
  • England’s spinners out-bowled their home counter-parts
  • Bairstow once restored to the team made runs at number 3, a position England have struggled at for ages
  • Foakes, England’s best technical wicket-keeper, finally got in the side and made the most of his opportunity

Whilst the West Indies tour will see England favourites again of course none of this is to say that the achievements in Sri Lanka are that applicable to what they will face next summer. It will be swinging and there will be world class fast bowling from Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins.

Against bowling of that quality the biggest questions are unanswered: do we have opening batsmen and a No 3 to help us compile match-winning scores? We know numbers 4-7 and our depth in all-rounders and seam bowling make us a dangerous side, but when before this winter the batting line up has us 50-3 or worse in 50% of the test matches over the last twenty tests its clear where the issue lies. 

Keaton Jennings has made two fine centuries in the subcontinent but against the new ball he still looked bereft last summer. Burns has made county cricket runs for five years but county cricket doesn’t offer genuine pace. Is Bairstow a number three on English pitches?

Those questions remain unanswered but what was encouraging was the style that England played in. Batsmen played positively with lots of sweeps and reverse-sweeps not allowing the spinners to tie them down. For example Root’s century in Pallakelle, his fifteenth at Test level,  saw him leave the lowest proportion of deliveries, choosing not to play at just 2% of his balls faced. Only two of the previous fourteen centuries more attacking shots. The pre-tour talk of aggression and positive intent was put into practice. A more aggressive approach makes sense as they regular collapse, and their top six has among the lowest averages in world cricket, so there was a need to try something different.

In Sri Lanka, England's batsmen achieved a collective strike-rate of 58.9 runs per 100 balls. Looking at England's series over the past 40 years this was their highest batting strike-rate in any overseas series, their seventh highest overall, and their highest in a series anywhere since 2011.

A batting line-up with the depth of England’s can afford to take extra risks, to try and play at a higher tempo, because there is a far greater quantity of players capable of playing match-winning innings. England’s relatively unique player pool means that their No.9 has 10 first-class hundreds, and their No.8 has a Test batting average of 37.77. 

 

The true implication and context of England's recent successes will only be revealed after we have seen what happens over the next couple of years, as the quality of opposition improves. Starting with Australia next summer.


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 + £43,819 All bets have an ROI +3.37%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £47,819 a 1095% increase

The Road to Riches Weekend of 1st-2nd December

Posted on 30 Nov 2018 09:14 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League fixtures include Liverpool v Everton and Arsenal v Tottenham.

- Racing, Over the jumps at Bangor, Doncaster, Newbury and Newcastle. All weather racing at Wolverhampton.

- NFL, Week Thirteen of the 2018 Season

Golf, on the USPGA The Hero World Tour in the Bahamas and on the European Tour the Australian PGA and Mauritius Open.


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 14th - Jan 1st 2019)

By Nigel Seeley Cost is £50 Sign up here 


Free tip

Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (6pm Sunday)

In this week 13 match up the Atlanta Falcons have a 4-7 record in a season blighted by defensive injuries, the result of which is that they have conceded the fifth most points in the league through 12 weeks. Atlanta is allowing 6.3 yards per play (30th) this season.

The Ravens travel to Georgia with a 6-5 record at a minimum in the hunt for a wild card play-off spot and off the back of consecutive wins. Two weeks ago the rather pedestrian starting quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a hip injury and this lead to the introduction of Heisman trophy winning dual purpose (he runs, he passes) quarterback Lamar Jackson into the side.

In his first two NFL starts Jackson had 192 rushing yards, the most by any QB in those first two starts, Why this should be makes sense a) he is a talented runner b) the Ravens wouldn’t want to emphasise the passing game with an inexperienced quarterback. In the first game he had 26 rushing attempts the most by any NFL QB since 1950

At the same time the Ravens have changed running back starter with Alex Collins injured to the undrafted rookie Gus Edwards. Edwards who is a “north and south” straight ahead runner, unlike Collins who is more of a elusive type but not as powerful has had figures of 17 (attempts)-115 (yards)-1 (touchdowns) and 23-118-0 in the two games, admittedly against the Bengals and Raiders but nevertheless and impressive start.

The pair have completely changed the dynamic of the Ravens offense as they have diverged tremendously from what they were doing with Flacco under center. Baltimore shifted from a high-volume passing attack to a heavily run-centric one without skipping a beat. Through 10 weeks, no team attempted more passes than the Ravens (43.4 per game), who carried the third-lowest run rate (35%) in the league. In the last two weeks, the Ravens ran on 74 percent of their situation-neutral snaps.

What has undoubtedly helped such a quick transformation is that the offensive co-ordinator and the quarterback coach worked with Michael Vick in 2009 and Colin Kaepernick in 2012-13 respectively

Now that the Ravens have confirmed that Jackson will start again on Sunday, with their weakened defense the Falcons will have to “pick their poison” against Jackson and Edwards, with the Baltimore game plan likely to feature the run and ball control again, in part to keep Ryan, Julio and the rest off the field on a quick track inside a dome. As there is only two weeks of Ravens/Jackson film for the Atlanta defense to game plan with and enough wrinkles in the scheme to retain the element of surprise, this could be an opportunity that persists for a few weeks yet for the Ravens

Of course the Bengals and Raiders are two top notch match ups for offenses. Interestingly though the Ravens only had nine offensive possessions last week, as their defense scored two touchdowns.  Assuming their volume of Ravens offensive plays normalises, Atlanta have allowed the seventh most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks and three rushing touchdowns to the position.

Edwards has been dealing with a knee injury this week so lets opt for Jackson in the first and anytime touchdown scorer markets

5 points Lamar Jackson first touchdown scorer 8-1 Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy Power

15 points Lamar Jackson anytime touchdown scorer 11-10 Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy Power

More firms will be up in the 24 hours before the game.


What do points make?

Writing a week after the third highest scoring NFL game in history, the 54-51 Rams/Chiefs Monday night football extravaganza (the highest ever Monday night game and there have been 773 of them), it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a rush of proclamations that the future of the NFL is here now. That game had an over/under of 64 points, which of course was smashed.

That the game is geared more towards offense is obvious from watching and it is  exactly what the NFL wants:

For example

Most Total Points Through 11 Weeks – NFL History

2018 7,791

2013 7,581

2016 7,390

Most Total Touchdowns Through 11 Weeks – NFL History

2018 895

2013 844

2014 836

Most viewers people love the increased level of offensive innovation, forward thinkers, aggressive play-callers and, most importantly, entertainment value that this season is providing but it’s not by accident. Several factors have converged to make it happen.

Firstly the NFL is aware that the media for viewing its games is changing and wants entertainment That Chiefs-Rams games was also the third most watched MNF ever

Increased awareness of player safety issues has led to changes in rules that mean that long gone are the days when defences could effectively pummel quarterbacks and manhandle receivers in the act of catching the football. It’s a game geared more to offensive production as a result

The rule changes are not just for safety though there is an NFL management acceptance of the revenue growth avenues from fantasy football and especially legalising sportsbooks and the public craves action, points and loves the over!

Finally College football is an open game with spread offenses and the NFL and the players emerging from those systems is adopting some of that thinking.

In these changes the NFL has a happy coincidence, there is a brand new crop of young quarterbacks such as Mahomes and Goff emerging while all-time greats such as the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees continue to perform exceptionally, to benefit from the changes that boost offensive production.

In due course, the NFL being a cyclical game, defensive thinking will catch up and the game will move to a steadier state again but for now it’s a game of scoring, offensive thinking and for now defenses are doing about the only thing that can be in today’s NFL: try to generate turnovers and points of their own, even while giving up big yards and points.


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 + £43,819 All bets have an ROI +3.37%

The Road to Riches Weekend of 24-25th November

Posted on 23 Nov 2018 08:50 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League fixtures include Tottenham v CheIsea.

- Racing, Over the jumps at Ascot, Haydock and Huntingdon. All weather racing at Lingfield and Wolverhampton.

- NFL, Week Twelve of the 2018 Season

- Rugby Union, the Autumn Internationals conclude including England v Australia and Wales v South Africa

- Cricket, the third Test between Sri Lanka and England concludes in Colombo

- Formula One, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Golf, the Melbourne World Cup of Golf and the Hong Kong Open.

Tennis, the Davis Cup final, France v Croatia in Lille


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 14th - Jan 1st 2019)

By Nigel Seeley Cost is £50 Sign up here


Free tip

Rugby Union Wales v South Africa (Saturday 6.20pm)

Wales finally beat Australia a fortnight ago in a dour match and end their Autumn season with a tough prospect, the rugged South Africans who lost by a point at Twickenham partly through not getting the rub of the green but mainly because they failed to take many opportunities in the first half. Since then they've gone to Paris and won by three points and Edinburgh and won by six and are emerging as genuine World Cup contenders after a year in which they beat New Zealand away and almost them beat them at home.

Wales too will have designs on a deep run in Japan and have more depth than for many years across the back line and in the back row but its areas of the tight five where i think they lack some world class, Alun Wyn-Jones apart. That is a real South African strength and as a result I am struggling with Wales as short as 4/6 outright to win this match. South Africa is another challenge entirely compared to the current Australian side and I like the visitors here to win at over even money (23/20 William Hill best) in what should be a close game. What may make a difference is the absence of the metronomic Welsh kicker Leigh Halfpenny. With Biggar on the bench the goal-kicking will fall to the less experienced Anscombe.

10 points South Africa to win by 1-12 points 3.1 Betfair, 21/10 BetfairSportsbook 2/1 SkyBet,PaddyPower 7/4 Ladbrokes/Coral


Anyone can beat anyone?

As suggestions of a breakaway European Super League come to the fore again, this is against a background that what is now considered the Premier League's 'big six' are pulling further and further away from the 'other 14'.

With the current top three - Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool - all still unbeaten after 12 matches, plus Tottenham and Arsenal within touching distance, it is only Manchester United with four defeats this season that are breaking up the increasing dominance that was only temporarily broken in 2015-16 when four of the above sides all under-performed and helped create the conditions for a surprise league winner.

The statistics, admittedly on a small sample size, certainly suggest that the Premier League is the least competitive it has been for some time, with instances of those 14 beating the six fewer and farther between.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have a combined points total of 90 so far and have won 27 of 36 games. With the exception of United all of the big six have increased their average points return against the other 14 this season.

The first reason for this is one of resource. Just taking one example Leicester’s £262 million transfer expenditure over the past three seasons looks eye-watering for a club of their size, but it is only £82 million net. Manchester United’s over the same period is just under £400 million (or £330 million net). The difference in wage bills remains huge.

Meanwhile, a far cry from several years ago when several managerial situations in the top six were sub-optimal, the coaching situations at many of the top clubs are more stable and the approach has changed. Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp do have better players but they’re also very well coached. Everyone can see how good Manchester City are on the ball, sometimes 70-80% of possession, but it’s also the amount of work they put in on the defensive side to make sure that when they lose the ball, a) they try to win it back as quickly as possible, high up the pitch and b) they close down those spaces to stop you hitting them on the counterattack. They execute the trend to high press well.

Of course, there is a long way to go but the early evidence certainly points to a league that is becoming less competitive all the time; of a widening gulf favouring those who compete in Europe and accumulate cash to spend on the best players from around the world.

Unfortunately, as the debate over a breakaway European Super League sparks up again, it is rarely the case that any team can beat any other on any given weekend. Only two non top six sides have won at the top six in 2018. Bournemouth at Chelsea and WBA at Manchester United, with none so far this season. It feels as if competitive balance, supposedly the Premier League’s unique selling point within European football leagues, is in alarmingly short supply.


Brodders Football Analysis

Brodders shows a solid five year proven profitable track record. 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 + £43,819 All bets have an ROI +3.37%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £47,819 a 1095% increase

 

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 17th-18th November

Posted on 16 Nov 2018 10:09 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the International break including England v Croatia on Sunday.

- Racing, Over the jumps at Cheltenham, Uttoxeter and Wetherby. All weather racing at Lingfield and Wolverhampton.

- NFL, Week Eleven of the 2018 Season

- Rugby Union, the Autumn Internationals continue including England v Japan, Scotland v South Africa and Ireland v New Zealand

- Cricket, the second Test between Sri Lanka and England concludes in Kandy

Golf, the DP World Championship in Dubai.

Tennis, the ATP finals conclude in London


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 14th - Jan 1st 2019)

By Nigel Seeley Cost is £50 Sign up here


Free tip

The BetVictor Gold Cup (Saturday Cheltenham 2.25pm) by Neil Channing

The Mackeson is one of the highlights of the National Hunt season, not least because people seem keen to take bets on it, we have "just" twenty runners and some firms still offer the excellent 1/4 1234 terms for each-way bets while Bet365 offer an amazing 1/4 12345.

Of the 20 runners there are eleven that are over 25/1 and nine that are under that price and given that this is a race often won by a young, speedy, classy up and comer I'll stick to that shorter priced bunch which contains some potentially very well handicapped horses. I'll also eliminate any that want softer ground as it ought to dry up to be proper good ground tomorrow and that means we'll cross off Ballyandy, Movewithetimes and King's Socks. That leaves us six to go through...
 
 West Approach is from the in-form Tizzard stable and he was bombing along here over a longer trip last time so maybe he'll be in contention for much of the way here. I'm not a huge believer though as he isn't a big winer and he maybe needs a bit more cut plus he looks like he needs to settle.
 
 Baron Alco is a decent and solid animal who stays the trip, has good form here and likes the ground. He is improving but has been beaten off lower marks than this and needs to improve here.
 
 Benatar is the stablemate of Baron Alco and he may have a better chance as he stays well, he likes the ground, he has some form here and he has wins at just a pound lower than this mark. He needs to settle and while he may win I think I'll pass.
 
 Kalondra comes from the in-form Neil Mullholland Stable. It's a trainer and I like and one who had a bit of a rough time last year. The horse stays a bit further and is fine on this kind of ground as well as a bit softer plus he is only a pound over his highest winning mark and he is definitely still improving. I like him.
 
 The favourite here is Rather Be and he gave six pounds to Mister Whitaker when he was beaten a head by that rival over this course and distance at The Festival in March. He only gives that rival three pounds today and if horse racing was as simple as that he'll beat him here. Nicky Henderson can clearly do it but I'd rather have one that wasn't coming here off an eight month lay off.
 
 Mister Whitaker is younger than Rather Be and he has had a run already this year when he won over this trip and on this ground at Carlisle. He might have a touch too much weight but it's easy to see him being capable of winning off this mark as he is improving fast.
 
 I don't mind that I've looked through and ended up with two of the shorter priced ones as I'm feeling that it's quite likely we get at least one placed and I feel we have a good chance of winning.
 
 I'm having 10 Points each-way Kalondra at 6/1 1/4 1234 with Ladbrokes, Corals and SportingBet (6/1 1/4 12345 with Bet365 is obviously better if you can get that and 11/2 1/4 12345 with Betfred is as good as 6/1 with four places).
 
 I'm having 10 Points each-way Mister Whitaker at 7/1 1/4 1234 with Corals or 7/1 1/5th 1234567 with Paddy Power.
 

More than a Feeling

After winning 108 regular-season games, the Boston Red Sox easily disposed of the Yankees and last season’s champions the Astros in the American League play-offs, and the Dodgers in the World Series on the way to its fourth title in the last two decades and 14 years since the first of those which ended an 86 year drought.

For the season overall it was a dominant performance. Since 1969, when each league added a championship series, the 114-win 1998 Yankees are the only team to win a World Series and more regular-season games than Boston did this year. The Red Sox in the play offs won 11 of 14 games against three superstar. No team in the last decade has won the title with so few playoff losses.

With no salary cap in baseball, it is the American sport that most resembles the characteristics of lots of European leagues. Spend more, win more and in one of the biggest TV markets in the US and with the biggest payroll in the MLB the temptation is just to suggest that they’ve achieved what they paid for.

However beyond the star names and huge contracts it was the complementary players on the roster that made the difference in the play-offs. Last year the Astros executed an exemplary roster build and turned the losing record in the league into a title by first trading away stars to then building through the draft and younger players.

This year the Red Sox saw the culmination of several years of huge spending and big trades that saw them trade away key pieces from a completely stacked farm system to acquire marquee players plus a complete overhaul of the front office.

They signed David Price to the largest contract in history for a pitcher in December 2015, then in these play offs he led them to series-clinching wins in both the ALCS and World Series. Chris Sale the star pitcher came over via a trade that sent the then no. 1 prospect in baseball, Yoán Moncada, to the White Sox   after Boston had paid $63 million, half of that on a penalty fee for going over budget, to sign Moncada as an amateur.

Boston paid J.D. Martinez $110 million over five years. Martinez proceeded to rank in the top three in the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, home runs, runs, runs batted in, and total bases in his first year in Fenway.

Boston didn’t bide its time waiting for an opportunity to win the title, but rather climbed through a competitive window as quickly and eagerly as it could the moment one opened and it took three seasons to win it.

The best regular-season team in years became the best playoff team in years, and one of the best teams in MLB history.


Brodders Football Analysis

Brodders shows a solid five year proven profitable track record. 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 + £43,819 All bets have an ROI +3.37%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £47,819 a 1095% increase

The Road to Riches Weekend of 10th-11th November

Posted on 8 Nov 2018 15:20 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League fixtures include Manchester City v Manchester United.

- Racing, On the flat at Doncaster and Chelmsford. Over the jumps at Aintree, Kelso and Wincanton

- NFL, Week Ten of the 2018 Season

- Rugby Union, the Autumn Internationals continue including England v New Zealand, Wales v Australia and France v South Africa

- Cricket, the first Test between Sri Lanka and England concludes in Galle

- Formula One, the Brazilian Grand Prix

Golf, the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa and on the USPGA the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

Tennis, the ATP finals begin in London


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 14th - Jan 1st 2019)

By Nigel Seeley Cost is £50 Sign up here https://www.bettingemporium.com/tips/index/230


Free tip

Rugby Union Wales v Australia Saturday 5.20pm

Wales claimed the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup with a 21-10 win as Scotland's miserable run in Cardiff continued.

It was an ideal warm-up for Wales before their attempt to defeat Australia next Saturday after 13 successive losses against the Wallabies. The two sides are in the same pool in the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Wales were a bit rusty at times. For long periods of the game they were comfortable without the ball and defended well then cored some nice tries and will be better for that.

Essentially Wales have several world class players that keep them competitive in most matches even when they might look over-matched on paper. Leigh Halfpenny is one of the best goal kickers and keeps the scoreboard ticking over, and Davies and North in the three quarters are excellent. Wales’ problem going back several years is the execution has been lacking and results have been mixed but a year out from the World Cup this is a mature team that should be capable of going deep in the tournament

In the short term they are missing key players in the back row but this is still a side that can field Moriarty, Tipuric and Lydiate in their place.

In the last two years Australia have won in Cardiff 32-8 then in 2017 29-21. This time round Wales really should win. In previous years they have met Australia as the first game of the Autumn season with Australia fresh off the rugby championship and Wales a bit cold. Now Wales have had a tune up. Since last year’s match Australia have been in some turmoil and coach Michael Cheika has come under pressure. Australia have won 3 of 10 internationals this year, losing 2-1 at home to Ireland in the summer then losing 4 of six in the Rugby Championship.

For all their talent in the back line and with two world class back rows in Pocock and Hooper their talent pool (especially in the front five) is slim in other areas and the side lacks an identity, The two key questions facing the Wallabies remain whether Cheika is selecting the right team and if they are playing the right style of game, and the answers so far have to be said to be no.

Here in what should be a close game Wales are 5/6 and -1 on the handicap with Bet365 and finally I see them winning here in what should clearly be a close game.

10 points Wales to win by 1-12 points 19/10 Skybet 2.78 Betfair (7/4 Betfair Sportsbook 13/8 PaddyPower6/4 Ladbrokes/Coral)


Missing out

England rugby players risk missing out on selection for the next British Lions tour after the RFU and Premiership rugby unveiled a new framework on Tuesday that will see the domestic season run from September through to late June, with the international window moving to July in what will be an 11-month season.

The 2021 tour has been cut to five weeks from six and eight matches from 10 –and last week it was revealed that pleas from the Lions to be given early access to Premiership players have fallen on deaf ears.

On the face of it, the new season structure, in place from 2019‑2022, varies little from the one Premiership Rugby announced 18 months ago, leading senior England players such as Billy Vunipola, Joe Launchbury and Ben Youngs to voice their concerns and there was talk of going on strike. This time round there are a number of enforced breaks and limits of player workload introduced.

They include the maximum game limit of 32 instances of 80 minutes being reduced to 30 while a new measurement of “match involvements” playing 20 minutes or more  has been introduced with a top limit of 35. Significantly, clubs will now face sanctions for any breaches, having escaped punishment in the past

Lions tours have been pushed to the margins to the extent players will not return home until August, but unlike the 2017-18 season they will not be available to start the following campaign with their clubs. They will face a mandatory 10-week rest period as well as an enforced week off during the 2021 autumn internationals.

With the Premiership final scheduled for 26 June 2021, English players will not be available until the following day, with the Lions expected to fly to South Africa on Monday 28 June. While the tour schedule is yet to be determined, it’s widely expected that their first tour match will take place on Saturday 3 July, with the first Test on 17 July and the final Test on 31 July as the schedule will be cut from 10 matches to eight.

The lack of preparation could therefore have a serious effect on how the Lions squad is selected, given that the Pro14 said last August that they are more than willing to change their season once every four years to create extra time for a six-week Lions tour and additional training week. With Irish, Scottish and Welsh internationals potentially available for up to two weeks more than their English counterparts, whoever is named head coach for the tour could easily decide that a Celtic-dominated squad would stand a better chance of success due to the additional preparation time. The reality is why would any Lions coach want a squad that is England heavy now?

Gatland has often stated that by cutting the length and number of matches on a Lions tour, he feared the entire prospect of the touring side could die. Legendary Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan said after the announcement “The Lions will not survive if we shorten tours, it shows the powers that be are ignorant of what it takes to win”

In the various negotiations the Lions have clearly made a sacrifice, the RFU have committed to ditching one summer tour match each year after a Rugby World Cup and international players will forgo their England match in order to get the rest they need during the season and the club/country tension does not currently allow them, Premiership Rugby appear to have given up very little.


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