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

The Road to Riches Weekend of 4th-5th May

Posted on 3 May 2019 08:35 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League fixtures include Manchester City v Leicester and Newcastle v Liverpool as the battle for the title nears its conclusion.

- Racing, Flat racing at Doncaster, Goodwood, Newmarket (Guineas Weekend) and Thirsk. Also over the jumps at Hexham and Uttoxeter. 

- Cricket, the 2019 IPL continues and the start of the England International season with a T20I against Pakistan in Cardiff on Sunday.

- Snooker, the final weekend of the World Championship continues at the Crucible

- Golf, the Wells Fargo Championship on the USPGA. On the European tour the Volvo China Open.

- Tennis, ATP Opens Estoril and Munich.


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Free tip

The 2,000 Guineas (Newmarket, Saturday 3pm) by Neil Channing

Last week we had a lovely each-way race and it worked out well. Hopefully the 2,000 Guineas will be just as good for us but I don't think I can play each-way. We have 19 runners, four are over 100/1 and it's 4/1 the field so it's only slightly less difficult to solve than an average handicap where we would get 1/4 1234 and here we have to take 1/5th 1234 and that isn't with every firm. The 1/5th 12345 is kind of  tempting but it's only in a couple of places so I'm going to just play win only.
 
 Given that the race isn't great for each-way I might normally ignore it and spend the time on something else but I do find it interesting. In the ante post market there was a short period where Magna Grecia went favourite over Ten Sovereigns but since Ryan Moore picked the latter it is solid at 4/1. I can't really have Ten Sovereigns as I just don't think he'll stay and if the fact Ryan has picked him, and that has caused Magna Grecia to drift right out, can be trusted as a pointer, then I guess I can't bet either of them which makes the race a little easier to solve.
 
 Advertise is a lovely horse with massively solid two-year old form but we can't be sure he'll stay and he isn't really bred to do so, plus we haven't seem him on the track for 200 days. Great Scott is interesting and is sure to be coming there late and if you could get 1/4 1234 he'd be perfect but you can't so I'll leave it. If you are taking 1/5th 12345 he might be the one. Al Hilalee has only raced once and he won a maiden but they supplemented him here so he presumably works well but you're just guessing if you back him.
 
 Of the bigger priced outsiders the one I like best is Shine So Bright who seems bred to stay, who comes from the red hot Andrew Balding stable and who won the Free Handicap in good style. He wouldn't be an each-way pick even if I was looking to play that way but win only he is worth a dart.
 
 Madhmoon has solid form at a mile on this fast ground and he looks pretty solid at the price. He is perhaps a little bigger than he ought to be due to getting beaten on his seasonal debut over too shorter trip and on too softer ground. I passed reluctantly on him.
 
 Royal Marine was definitely the unlucky horse in the Craven where he finished 4th behind Skardu and he also has top class Group One winning two-year old form but at Newmarket he was still beaten by Skardu who did come from last to first to win going away so maybe the result was just a fair reflection. I might throw a small forecast on the two Craven horses as they could be of fairly similar standard but I'm not sure that he'll be reversing the form.
 
 I actually thought it was an Ok Craven going into the race and although Royal Marine was unlucky and Zakouski might have thrown away his race at the stalls I still was pretty impressed by the winner Skardu. William Haggas is a great trainer and he says this horse doesn't do much at home so you'd think they'll be scope for improvement and we already know he likes the track, the ground and stays the trip. I thought after the race they would say 5/1 for the Guineas and I might get 13/2 if I was quick but he has traded, a little worryingly, at closer to 10/1 since the Craven. Maybe the trial just wasn;'t that good but I'm going to bet that it was Ok.
 
I'm having 4 Points WIN ONLY Shine So Bright at 33/1 easily available (can definitely beat that on the exchanges).
 
I'm having 12 Points WIN ONLY Skardu at 8/1 with Bet365, Ladbrokes and others.

 


A great summer of cricket begins

In the run up to the 2019 World Cup beginning at the end of May England host Pakistan in a five matches ODI series as follows:

8th Day/Night, The Oval London

11th Southampton

14th Day/Night, Bristol

17th Day/Night Nottingham

19th Leeds

They go into the of the ICC rankings 6th in the format with England top, a rise that has been consistent since their early exit in the 2015 World Cup and subsequent changes to produce a much more aggressive strategy. They go into the forthcoming home world cup favourites.

Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in England in this format in 2017 beating England in the semi-finals but have been in poor form since including losing heavily at home to Australia 5-0 this winter, albeit a series in which 8 players were rested. They have had an injury blow in the absence of world class 20 year old leg spinner Shadab Khan and there are concerns about their middle order power hitting but the top of the order is strong and experienced and the fast bowling ranks well stocked. Fitness and fielding is also much improved under their Australian Head coach now in his third year in the job.

Since the 2017 Champions Trophy Pakistan have an economy rate of only 6.3 runs per over in the last ten overs of an ODI inning, second only to South Africa of the major teams

England have some selection with Billings out and Hales is suspended and out of the international summer. This is a team though that can still call upon Bairstow, Moeen and Buttler returning from the IPL plus being able to introduce Jofra Archer for his international debut to play alongside a team packed with all-rounders that has a lot of bases covered.

The format is under these regulations extremely friendly to batsmen and big totals, with two white balls an innings that rarely swing and batsman friendly wickets produced. English conditions can produce unexpected variables in any match with early morning starts but so far this season totals have been high across all formats in a dry early season spell.

I think a close series is likely. England’s weaknesses are the lack of a real match winning spinner and a tendency to produce an occasional poor performance out of nowhere.  

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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 27th-28th April

Posted on 25 Apr 2019 19:29 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League fixtures include Manchester United v Chelsea

- Racing, Flat racing at Doncaster, Haydock, Leicester and Ripon. Also over the jumps at Sandown including the Bet365/Whitbread. All weather racing at Wolverhampton.

- Cricket, the 2019 IPL continues

- Snooker, the World Championship continues at the Crucible

- Formula One, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku

- Golf, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on the USPGA. On the European tour the Hassan Trophy in Morocco

- Tennis, ATP Opens in Barcelona and Hungary

- NFL, Draft weekend in Nashville


French Open Tennis (26th May to 9th June)

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Free tip

The (Whitbread) Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown (Saturday 3.35pm) by Neil Channing.

The Whitbread, (sorry Denise, maybe next year), is massively competitive as usual but with 20 runners the each-way terms of 1/4 1,2,3,4 at the sponsors and a minority of other firms are very kind to the punter so we should have a good go at cracking the puzzle.
 
In terms of trends it's best to avoid those carrying the really big weights so I scratched out the ones on eleven stone or more and that left "just" fifteen to consider. I then ruled out those that hadn't won over at least three miles and that meant we lost Rolling Dylan, West Approach and Flying Angel and we had twelve left to consider. Vyta Du Roc went next as I can't have horses wearing a visor or blinkers for the first time in a big field. I then ruled out a few due to their stables, I have quit backing David Pipe so Rathlin Rose went and with Charlie Longsden and Lucy Wadham also being a little out of form I scratched Ballydine and Le Reve. Rathlin Rose and Le Reve I was going to lose anyway for being a pound out of the handicap. Finally I had a look at horses that had never won on good or faster or who seemed to want cut in the ground and that meant the end for Step Back and Prime Venture. I was now left with just six to consider and I'll take them one at a time.......
 
Joe Farrell was pulled up in the Grand National just three weeks ago and horses that run in that do poorly here plus he needs to defy a highest ever mark for him. 
 
Give me a Copper comes here fresh after falling when beaten at Cheltenham last time. Has to prove he stays the trip and not really solid enough for an each-way bet.
 
Just a Sting is very interesting as he is young and unexposed but he didn't really stay a shorter trip than this at Cheltenham last time so I think I have to rule him out.
 
Captain Chaos is from a stable that is flying and it was hard to tell if he definitely stayed when finishing 6th ahead of Just a Sting in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. The ground should be fine but his jumping and the trip just put me off.
 
The Young Master was 3rd in that Cheltenham race and we definitely know he stays as he won this in 2016 carrying six pounds more than he does here. Last season he came here after an early un-seat in the Scottish Grand National and the year before he was here after a fall in the Grand National so I like this preparation a lot more, it's way better that this has been the target and he has had a break.
 
Talkischeap is an unexposed seven year old which means we don't really know if he stays but we do know he could be much better than the handicapper thinks and he can improve here. He is the one that has had the most rest here and the fact the stable have targetted this race is a big positive. The yard are in very good form now which they weren't earlier in the season.  
 
I'm having 8 Points each-way Talkischeap at 9/1 1/4 1,2,3,4 with Bet365 (8/1 RedZoneSports, Ladbrokes/Coral)
 
I'm having 10 Points each-way The Young Master at 10/1 1/4 1,2,3,4 with Ladbrokes (9/1 RedZoneSports, Coral) 

Tiger Rolls

Tiger Woods’ 15th major, and fifth Masters title won a fortnight ago has to go down as one of the greatest sports stories ever. I am not sure I can tell you anything you don’t already know but I have a column to fill!

Woods had gone nearly 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since last winning the Masters. At his lowest since he was ranked 1,199th in the World.

Woods lost his image to a sex scandal. He lost his health to four back surgeries that left him unable to get out of bed, much less swing a club, and he went two years without even playing a major. It was two years ago at the Masters when Woods said he needed a nerve block just to walk to the Champions Dinner. At that time, he thought his career is over. In the last year he has three top ten finishes in Majors.
He is now three Majors short of Nicklaus and with Pebble Beach and Bethpage next, both venues where he has won titles. The Masters was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead. 

Amidst all the understandable emotion at Augusta and the huge fan reaction (Twitter was a year away from existence the last time he won a major) his Masters win is f course tremendous news for golf as a sport. By the time his peak years had passed it was estimated that the “Tiger Effect” had brought $1.6bn into the sport from a doubling of tournament prizes. Tiger is good for golf, other golfers and another potential growth leg for the sport.


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.

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Betting Emporium results

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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

 

 

Easter Weekend Road to Riches Blog

Posted on 18 Apr 2019 12:46 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up over Easter weekend

- Football, Premier League fixtures include Manchester City v Tottenham. 4-3 anyone?

- Racing, Flat racing at Brighton, Musselburgh and Nottingham. Also over the jumps at Carlisle, Haydock and Newton Abbot. All weather racing at Kempton Park.

- Rugby Union, the European Rugby Champions Cup Semi Finals

- Cricket, the 2019 IPL continues

- Snooker, the start of the World Championship at the Crucible

- Golf, The RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on the USPGA.

- Tennis, ATP Monte Carlo


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Free tip

2019 World Snooker Championship

Over the last ten days the Snooker World Championship qualifiers have been taking place ahead of the start of the Championship tomorrow. Whether seventeenth in the rankings or an amateur, to reach the Crucible the 16 qualifiers have had to play three 19 frame matches.

Rehearsing the arguments I have made in previous years ahead of first round betting, there is more depth outside the top sixteen these days, and the qualifiers come to the Crucible battle hardened having won 30 frames to make it whereas much of the season is taken up with best of sevens and best of nines. This year the season’s lack of long match practice for many of the top sixteen is exacerbated because so many didn’t go deep in the China Open (best of 11 from the start, best of 21 final) recently. 

In terms of first round betting, last year six Qualifiers beat their seeded opponents and over the last decade as many as eight have done so in a single year. In terms of betting opportunities its about matching up the qualifier with potential (preferably a young and up and coming player) with the vulnerable seed, on the basis of form in the second half of this season and in a few cases longer term.

These might include:

Mark Williams (ranked one, provisional rank seventh. Not wholly convinced of his motivation after last year, comes to the tournament having spent eleven months on the lash)

Kyren Wilson (little form since Ferrule problems in February)

Ding Junhui (no form, not as dedicated these days)

Shaun Murphy (18 months into a slide down the rankings. 1 year ranking is 47)

Stephen Maguire (temperament, very opposable)

But also might include Mark Selby. Selby has had a disappointing 2019 to date. In the 2018-19 season he won in China last autumn and made the semis in Northern Ireland but has one fourth round finish in this calendar year, including losing in China Open qualifiers in the most recent big tournament. Of course he’s a grinder but its notable that the Crucible has been very hit and miss for him in recent years. Three Championship wins, and four first or second round exits. He’s down to four in the Provisional rankings and goes into the Worlds at 10-1 in places, a price unprecedented for Selby in the last 6-7 years.

Then draw up a short list of qualifiers. Conventional wisdom is to avoid debutants (you never know if they will take to the Crucible, particularly younger debutants) of which there are 7 this year, but I think that can be less applicable in certain circumstances

I split them into two categories. Tthose on the cusp of the top 16

Dott (drew Bingham)

Perry (drew Gilbert)

Carter (drew Lisowski)

Of the less experienced players

Yuelong (drew Mark Allen)

Xintong (drew Selby)

Un Nooh (unfortunately for us as he was the one I wanted to be on most, drew Trump)

Pengfei (drew Maguire)

Donaldson (drew Kyren Wilson)

So refining the list further we get a shortlist of Pengfei, Donaldson, Xingtong, They are all debutants.

Five Chinese players made it through the Qualifying rounds and one of the most interesting is Zhao Xintong. Aged 22 he fell off tour in 2017-18 then won back in through Q school for the startof this season where he has since reached the semis of the China Championship and the Quarters of the Welsh Open.

He is a tremendously promising talent, a left handed flair player that doesn’t look like he will be over-awed by the circumstances with a happy go lucky temperament. In Qualifying he beat Noppon Saengkham, widely favoured to win the bracket, 10-5 then Matt Selt 10-4. Watching the Selt match on a grainy live stream Xingtong was brilliant. Quick, exciting, great long potter and break builder

Of course he’s a dog to beat Selby (and alternatives might be Pengfei at 2/1 and Donaldson at 11/4 both of which also match up value to opportunity)

The match is played on Easter Monday.

8 points Zhao Xintong to bet Mark Selby at 7/2 with William Hill. 100/30 Bet365


Too big to go down?

In the Gallagher Premiership the Leicester Tigers have conceded 30 points per game this season. No team concedes more points than the Tigers and only two teams score fewer points. By points difference they are the worst team in the Premiership, by tries against they are the worst team in the Premiership, by tries for they are the second worst team in the Premiership.

It’s a big story in Premiership rugby that they face the prospect of relegation. Leicester average crowds of 23,000 and play in the biggest of the single use club stadiums and won the Heineken Cup twice in this Millenium.

How can a team that currently includes Toomua, Tuilagi, May, Ford, Youngs, Genge and Cole find itself in such dire straits?

The answer over the long term lies in lack of stability, resource allocation under the salary cap and under successive coaches lies in defensive frailties.

In terms of lack of stability Leicester are on their fourth coach in as many years and for a long time there wasn’t a defence coach in place.  Given the defence has been lacking for several seasons this was odd.  The current coach Geordan Murphy is a fixture at the club but inexperienced.

On the pitch If you look at the number of players in and out of Leicester over the past six years you see about 70 in and more than 100 out. Nearly 40 players signed and left within a five-year period. This has created a sense of constant rebuilding.

Under the salary cap, below the star name players, squad depth of players below international standard but reliable week to week contributors does not compare with the best run cubs in the division.

Leicester have a powerful back line but struggle in back five of the pack and this is particularly notably in the back row where mistakes in defensive patterns are common. With the squad up to the salary cap, it hasn’t been easy to correct that and certainly not within a season with players under contract elsewhere.

The answers are likely to come from more experienced coaching with more depth of support and new defence strategies, a hard headed look at the cost of the marquee players and whether sums invested there could be apportioned elsewhere and this may yet have to happen outside the top division.

After they held on to beat Newcastle away 27-22 last Friday night, a match in which the threat of relegation made the whole game a very tense watch, Leicester have three games left starting with a winnable game at home against Bristol followed by tough looking trips to face Harlequins away and Bath at home. Newcastle play Northampton at home, Gloucester away and Bristol at home. Finally, Worcester have perhaps the hardest finishing schedule with Gloucester at home, Northampton away and Saracens at home. I think Worcester or Newcastle will be the team to go down but for Leicester its far too close for comfort.


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 13th-14th April

Posted on 12 Apr 2019 10:31 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League fixtures include Liverpool v Chelsea

- Racing, Flat racing at Newbury and Thirsk. Also over the jumps at Ayr and Bangor. All weather racing at Wolverhampton.

- Formula One, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai

- Cricket, the 2019 IPL continues

- Golf, The Masters at Augusta.

- Tennis, the US Clay Court Championships in Houston and ATP Morocco


Premier League Darts (Weekly until Thursday May 23rd)

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French Open Tennis (26th May to 9th June)

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Royal Ascot (18th-22nd June )

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Cricket World Cup (May 30th-July 14th)

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Free tip: IPL Sunrisers Hyderabad v Delhi Capitals Sunday 3.30pm BST

Sunrisers lost at Kings XI on Monday failing to defend 149 and losing their third game out of six so far this season.

Last season on their run to the IPL final Sunrisers relied on a superb bowling attack headed by Rashid Khan to take them deep in the competition but Kane Williamson and David Warner aside the batting line up was quite fragile and cost them when it really mattered in the play offs. This season the bowling attack has yet to hit the heights of 2018 but what has them still squarely in contention to go deep in the tournament even despite the injured Williamson is the blistering achievements of Warner and Bairstow at the top of the order. Through their first six games the openers have combined for 612 runs, the pair are the top run scorers in the competition and have scored 67% of their team’s runs. Their brilliance has left the middle of the batting order short of time in the middle which could be an issue further down the line but for now the figures are as follows

Warner 349 runs at a 146 strike rate with three fifties and a hundred

Bairstow 263 runs at a 161 strike rate and a hundred

Warner has faced 75 balls more than Bairstow in the six games after Bairstow’s early dismissal against Kings XI in the last game.

Next for Sunrisers is a home game against the Delhi Capitals on Sunday.  Delhi beat RCB by 4 wickets last weekend chasing 150 to win with Rabada taking 4-21 and Iyer scoring 67 to also take their record to 3-3 after six games and I am writing before Delhi’s game with KKR on Friday.

In the Sunrisers top batsman market understandably Warner and Bairstow are favourites for this match. Warner’s scores so far in this IPL are 85,69,100*, 10,15 and 70*. In truth the last of those innings was slightly odd as he batted through in a modest total but the consistency of his form is striking and he remains a solid prospect in this sub market.

The game is on Sunday after noon and most of the market will be up on Saturday so best to wait til then for a wider range of firms to be up and looking for 2/1 plus. Just taking what is available at the time of writing

8 points David Warner Top Sunrisers batsman v Delhi Capitals 9/4 Skybet 9/5 BetfairSportsbook/PaddyPower.


Open to Offers

The Six Nations are considering three competing investment offers; one from the CVC Capital, another from IMG, and the other organised by World Rugby

The CVC deal, with the company that took a stake in Premiership rugby last December and is also interested in the Pro 14, is seen to be the front runner and they would like to buy a 30% stake in the Six Nations that it is believed could provide a windfall of more than £100m to each union and £500m in total but would mean partly surrendering control of the competition with CVC then overseeing the commercial rights. As with other similar deals (such as F1), it would seem likely the sums work only if the Six Nations comes off free-to-air TV.

In their decision the Home Unions will need to balance the sums on offer with the need for mainstream accessibility of the sport and in that the example of English cricket is applicable.

The ECB sold its rights to Sky in 2004. It used the windfall to invest in international teams and build up a reserve that has since been used on various initiatives designed to increase participation in the game. Also with that aim The ECB is currently in a long process trying to get cricket back on to mainstream TV via the new Hundred format, designed in part to appeal to the BBC.

From 2006-16 the number of adults who played cricket at least once a week dropped by almost 20%, from 195,200 in 2006 to158,500 in 2016. Over that same period, weekly participation in rugby union rose from 185,600 to 199,000. Rugby’s two top competitions, the Six Nations and the World Cup, are on free-to-air TV and it wouldn’t appear that these dual trends are a coincidence. With the BBC getting viewership per game over Six Nations weekends of over 6m, in some cases in the top five most viewed programmes on the network over that week, it would be a brave administrator that gave up that exposure and the benefit it has on the long term heath of the game no matter the short term financial rewards for doing so.

For sports aside from football specifically the Premier League which nevertheless has Match of the Day each weekend for terrestrial viewers, free-to-air has long ignored as part of the marketing strategies and any CVC/Six Nations deal will be an interesting test of the foresight, or not, of Rugby’s administrators.

 


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 6th-7th April

Posted on 4 Apr 2019 16:09 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, The FA Cup Semi Finals

- Racing, the Aintree Grand National Festival. Also over the jumps at Chepstow and Newcastle. All weather racing at Lingfield and Wolverhampton.

- Cricket, the 2019 IPL continues

- Golf, The Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.


 

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Premier League Darts (Weekly until Thursday May 23rd)

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Free tip

The Masters

The 83rd Masters starts next Thursday.

The aim here is to complement Neil Channing’s work where he will look at a whole range of markets in a write up typically out 24 hours before the event and I will look beyond the top 15 in the outright and attempt to identify some “live” outsiders. 

In previous years I’ve gone into a number of the factors that influence how the Masters plays out. Just briefly:

  1. Fairways are mown against the hole direction to minimise driving distance, effectively meaning the course plays close to 7,700 yards. This length puts shorter hitters at a big disadvantage.
  2. Putting surfaces can rate at anything up to 14 on the Stimpmeter, assuming the weather is ok.
  3. A player must be aggressive on the four par-5s and minimise bogeys across the rest of the course via greens in regulation, scrambling and solid short to medium distance putting.

Key features of recent winners have been

  1. Since 2011 in-form players have dominated with Adam Scott in 2013 being the only player to feature with as little as a single top 10 in the season’s events prior to the Masters.
  2. Every winner since 2008 has been in the top 35% in terms of power hitting on Tour measured by Distance to Apex (Distance in yards from the Tee to the Apex on measured Par 4 and Par 5 tee shots)
  3. Reach the Par fives in two. Last year Reed topped par-5 scoring, with a score of -13 across the 16 Par fives.

My shortlist of players outside the top twenty of the betting is as follows, from biggest price down:

Charles Howell III won the RSM Classic late in 2018 his first USPGA win for 11 years. Since then he hasn’t missed a cut, has six top 20 finishes and three top tens. He is inside the top third in five of the six major stats categories, including second on tour in greens in regulation. He is from Augusta, and has five top 30s in 8 Masters appearances, and is back in the field for the first time since 2012. A decent each way prospect at a three figure price.

Cameron Smith tied 5th in the Masters last year on his second appearance. He has three top tens in 2019 and is a good scrambler and putter, helping him to be competitive here last year despite not being the longest hitter. Pretty much overlooked at 80-1.

Tony Finau finished 2nd in the WGC HSBC Champions this season and is a “bomber”: top 15 on the PGA Tour in driving distance and top third in the putting stats. He finished tied for 10th on one leg on his Masters debut last year after being hobbled in the Par three competition and had three top tens in four majors last year. Hasn’t been in great form recently, which gives us a price outside the top 20 in the betting. If I backed one of my three, it would be him.

Writing over a week before the event the standard terms across the mark are five places one quarter the odds, and this is before the announcement of any industry promotional offers which I would wait for the extra each-way places.

6 points each way Tony Finau 45/1 each way (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) Bet365 and Betfred

4 points each way Cameron Smith 80/1 each way (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) Bet365 and BetVictor

3 points each way Charles Howell III 125/1 each way (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) Bet365 and William Hill

 


Compensation

With a fortnight to go until the 2019 NFL Draft the role of compensatory picks is being looked at again. The original idea behind league awarded draft picks was to help maintain parity in the NFL: The compensatory pick formula gives additional picks to teams that have lost high-priced free agents to other teams in the off-season.

However in the years since the NFL started awarding compensatory picks, they’ve actually helped the best teams stay on top. That is again the case this year where the two Super Bowl participants the Patriots and Rams were the only teams that received two third round compensatory picks.

Compensatory picks have gone to good teams who lost good players that signed high-priced contracts elsewhere.

Also benefiting the best teams is the fact that their success gives job security to their decision makers, and a front office that is secure in its job is willing to play the long game and wait out free agency this year to get compensatory picks next year and thus stockpile young talent on rookie contracts. On bad teams, the General Manager often knows he’s on thin ice and might lose his job without a winning season, so he needs to sign free agents who can help this year, not wait for compensatory picks next year. It’s no coincidence that the Ravens, who had the league’s longest-tenured General Manager in Ozzie Newsome, are also the team that has acquired the most compensatory picks since the system started. Newsome knew he had job security, which made him feel comfortable building for the future with compensatory picks, which in turn help his job security.

So while compensatory picks were implemented for the sake of parity in theory, in practice they’ve had the opposite effect: Compensatory picks help the top teams stay on top and work against parity.

Assuming UK bookmakers offer sufficient markets, which has become trickier year by year recently, I will write up the NFL draft markets in advance of the start of the draft on Friday 26th April.

 


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