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

The Road to Riches Weekend of 11th-12th August

Posted on 9 Aug 2019 10:36 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the start of the Premier League Season

- Racing, Flat racing at Ascot, Ayr, Chelmsford, Haydock, Lingfield, Newmarket and Redcar

- Golf, On the USPGA The Northern Trust Open at Liberty National and on the European Tour the Shot Clock Challenge

- Tennis, ATP Rogers Cup in Montreal

- Rugby Union, The final round of the 2019 Rugby Championship and England play Wales in a 2019 Rugby World Cup warm up International


 

York Ebor Festival - Full Package (21st - 24th August 2019) By Neil Channing

Results for the last three packages are as follows. At Goodwood we won £1630 (to £10 a point bets) with an ROI +17.80% Royal Ascot +£790 +8.22% ROI and at Aintree +£2317 +39.8% ROI, The package for York costs £99 Sign up here

 


NFL 2019 What to expect and FREE Ante-Post reports

The 2019 season will see changes in Betting Emporium’s coverage of the NFL. See Neil’s explanation and the FREE ante post write ups (Part One: Teams, divisions and Superbowl part is now live). here

The week by week season package costs £50 and is available here


 

Rugby World Cup - (20th Sep - 2nd Nov 2019)

The RWC 2019 is also approaching. In 2015 the package won 112.4 points with a +ROI of 28.3%. The full package, ante post and match write ups with details of all our bets is £50 and you can sign up here

 


 

Free tip

 

Vitality T20 Blast Somerset v Kent (Taunton Saturday 7pm Sky Sports)

Halfway through the group stages in the T20 Blast and Somerset and Kent meet in Taunton on Saturday evening.

Kent so far have a 6-2 record, Somerset 3-4 and outright prices here are Somerset 4/7 Kent 11/8. As it’s a televised game a wider range of markets are available compared to a usual game. So with that in mind:

Taunton is one of the smaller grounds on the circuit. So far this season in the three T20 games played there scores have been 207-2, 184 and 174. Somerset are a high powered batting team too, they scored 225 at Chelmsford in beating Essex on Wednesday night. I am writing before Somerset play away at Hampshire on Friday night

In Taunton’s benign batting conditions Somerset’s opening pair have led the way, albeit the bowling line up has struggled to contain opposing sides. The opening pair is Pakistan’s Babar Azam and 20 year old Tom Banton.

In the seven games so far Babar has scored 323 runs off 219 balls with three fifties. Banton 295 runs off 198 balls with three fifties also. A measure of their contribution is that the next highest scorer, Hildreth batting at three, has 117 runs

Babar is a class player. He has 10 International fifties in 30 T20 appearances and 30 in 130 career T20 games. Banton came through the Warwickshire Academy and was the England U19 Captain. He is only 10 games into his Somerset T20 career but is definitely a name to watch, a very talented ball striker who plays the modern way, going from the off and not dying wondering. As such he would be a higher variance play than the classy Babar, but of course we get a bigger price to compensate

In the Somerset top batsman market for Saturday Babar is 5/2 favourite and Banton 16/5 in a place 3/1generally. It’s 9/2 bar the front 2. My preference is Babar at 5/2, it just looks a rock solid price, unfortunately only available at the time of writing with William Hill but please check other firms on Saturday if that’s no good for you

10 points Babar Azam Top Somerset batsman v Kent Saturday 5/2 William Hill

 


Capped

With the 32 NFL teams now in training camp and beginning pre-season matches, four weeks away from the start of a regular season the season which will be played out against the background of negotiations for a new Player-League Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), last agreed in 2011, that has already caused ructions with players due contract extensions (Bell last season, Gordon and Elliott this) in some cases unwilling to commit to long term deals in anticipation of a much larger salary cap when the CBA is completed

In part that is because of the way the NFL contract landscape has developed. In the NBA, MLB or the NHL, a contract that says it is worth $80 million is worth that. In contrast NFL player contracts with secure money beyond the early, low-risk years of the deal are rare. Virtually every NFL free agent contract signed in this past off-season subjects the player to being released in 2020 or 2021 with the team owing no money. 

What will it take for players to achieve more secure contracts? Firstly Individual agents need to push on guarantees when they are negotiating contracts for players playing at their peak, pushing past certainly two, and hopefully three years of security. Agents need to create a precedent that currently doesn’t exist and shift the advantage in those years toward the players and away from the teams.

As for the the NFLPA, it needs to prioritise augmenting minimum spending requirements of the CBA. The current CBA requirement of spending minimums of 89% of the salary cap over a four-year period allows teams a lot of latitude to under-spend. Were the union to achieve a 95% of cap minimum spending threshold over a two-year period (instead of four currently), player spending would rise significantly, as would leverage toward guaranteed contract years. 

As it is the NFL and NFLPA face a big task ahead to avoid a lockout ahead of the expiry of the current deal at the end of 2020, with the players agitating for a far greater share of revenue that for the league now exceeds $15bn and with each team receiving league payments of $270m per annum, The NFL’s current salary cap is $188m and in 2011 the players received 48% of all revenue in the CBA.

 


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 3rd-4th May

Posted on 2 Aug 2019 12:22 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the start of the Football League seasons

- Racing, Flat racing at Chelmsford, Doncaster, Goodwood, Hamilton, Lingfield, Newmarket and Thirsk

- Cricket, The first Ashes Test continues at Edgbaston

- Formula One, The Hungarian Grand Prix

- Golf, On the USPGA The Wyndham Championships

- Tennis, ATP Opens in Washington, Mexico and Austria

 


 

Free tip

English League One 2019-20 Season Ante-Post Top Goal-scorer

In the run up to the new season an English Championship preview has been published in the Brodders section with a Premier League Preview imminent For this week’s free tip I am going outside the top two divisions and into League One.

The top goal-scorer market at the time of writing is as follows:

Norwood (Ipswich) 8-1

Marquis (Portsmouth) 11-1

Eisa (Peterborough) 11-1

Grigg (Sunderland) 12-1

Toney (Peterborough) 16-1

Wyke (Sunderland) 16-1

20-1 bar

Portsmouth and Sunderland are favourites the division with Peterborough and Ipswich also amongst the shorter teams in the betting

My idea of the each-way value here is Freddie Ladopo now of newly relegated Rotherham United, available at 25-1 with each way terms 1/4 1,2,3,4. Rotherham are currently 10-1 joint third favourites for promotion.

Ladopo, who came through the youth system at Crystal Palace and then onto Southend scored 19 goals for relegated Plymouth Argyle in this division last season. He joined Rotherham ahead of opportunities to go to both Portsmouth and Sunderland.

At Rotherham he will play with target man Michael Smith for the very progressive manager Paul Warne. Ladopo is quick, obviously has an eye for goal and Rotherham should be right up there, a side that tends to yo-yo between the Championship and League one without the resources to be too competitive in the former but ahead of most League One sides.

10 points each way Freddie Ladopo League One top goalscorer 25-1 Bet265 20-1 RedZoneSports and Ladbrokes/Coral 1/4 1,2,3,4


 

Canaries

This season Norwich City enter the Premier League after their surprise Championship win last season. Stuart Webber, the sporting director who joined from Huddersfield shortly before their promotion in 2017, has now repeated the trick of getting an unfancied club into the top flight thanks to smart scouting and a coach from the Borussia Dortmund system Daniel Farke now about to start his third season at the club.

The season before last Norwich were in the top three in possession, passing accuracy, creating chances, but othe problem was shot accuracy, and missing big chances. In 2017-18 they scored 49 goals, a total they managed by mid-January in 2018-19 and they finished with 93 by the end of the season. 30 goals came after the 75-minute mark, 33% of their total: the average for the league is 23%. Those goals have been worth 19 points, the difference between first and sixth place.

Before the start of last season the sales of Maddison and Murphy for over £30m combined lifted some financial pressure on the club as parachute payments from their last spell in the Premier League ended. They were replaced by players who were cheaper but also well scouted as they suited Farke’s style. Emi Buendía, Onel Hernández, Tom Trybull and the top scorer Teemu Pukki, identified through a combination of data, traditional scouting and Farke’s recommendation,s all paid off.

One indispensable player was Buendía signed for £1.5m from Getafe. Norwich did not won a game without him on the pitch, as one the three attacking midfielders behind the striker The Finnish forward Pukki signed on a free transfer. The initial plan was for him to be a No 10 behind Jordan Rhodes but he he played as a lone striker in September, got goals and that continued all season.

Of course whether this approach will work in the Premier League is unknown. Webber has said they won’t make big signings so they will, at least in theory, avoid a Fulham-like mess. In theory though they look to have more in common with Wolves, albeit without the ready-made links to Portuguese players, with a settled system, progressive manager and an attractive style of play and could belie their current odds-on price to go down albeit in a division that in the bottom half looks tougher than last season’s league minus budget spenders Huddersfield and Cardiff and with Aston Villa in their place.


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 27th-28th July

Posted on 26 Jul 2019 10:10 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Racing, Flat racing at Ascot, Chester, Lingfield, Newcastle, Newmarket, Salisbury and York

- Cricket, The Vitality T20 Blast continues

- Formula One, The German Grand Prix

- Rugby Union, the Rugby Championship continues with New Zealand v South Africa and Australia v Argentina

- Golf, The Reno-Tahoe tournament at Montreux GC

- Tennis, ATP Opens in Atlanta, Hamburg and Gstaad

 


 

Goodwood Festival (30th July – 3rd August)

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

 


 

Free tip

Rugby Championship Australia v Argentina, Brisbane 11am BST Saturday

This year sees a truncated Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere, with each side playing three matches rather than six in a standard season, n advance of the Rugby World Cup in September.

Last weekend saw the first round of matches. Australia, shorn of talents like Folau and Pocock, lost 38-17 in Johnannesburg. Argentina, with a side containing 13 of the Jaguares who reached the super ruby final, nearly pulled off their first ever win against New Zealand. In Buenos Aires they lost 16-20 with an interception try just before half time making the difference. New Zealand didn’t score a point in the second half, for the first time since 2011, 106 internationals ago. Argentina had two good chances to win it in the final ten minutes too.

Argentina were 25-1 outsiders to win the Championship before last weekend and the result showed that this was a very generous price. With two of their three games at home, and all of the other three sides experimenting with combinations ahead of Japan and consequently treating these games as trial matches, they are a very competitive side both in the short term in this competition and within a longer term context that the introduction of the Jaguares to Super Rugby four years ago has given a huge boost to the national team, introducing the best Argentinian players to top flight competition.

Brisbane has historically been the venue on which Australia have had a home advantage but its far from certain that this Australian team is good enough to take advantage of that.

Against South Africa Australia struggled up front and didn’t have a great deal of possession as a result. Shorn of Folau and with Beale absent at the start there wasn’t a great deal of creativity outside either.

Outright prices here are Australia 8/15 Argentina 8/5 and 25/1 the draw. Argentina are 8 point underdogs on the spread. The conservative can I think comfortably take that point spread on. For the purposes of this column the game should be far closer than the outright prices imply and we’ll take Argentina outright.

8 points Argentina to beat Australia 9/5 William Hill, 8/5 elsewhere


A look ahead to the Ashes

The five test Ashes series begins next Thursday at Edgbaston, with the series then going to Lords, Headingley, Old Trafford and the Oval through to the end of September

Series prices are England 4/5 Australia 15/8 and there are various things to look for that will have a major impact on the series. Firstly its been a busy summer, all five grounds hosting multiple matches in the World Cup and especially if the hot dry weather continues pitches could be worn throughout. Added to that it was announced in May that the series will be played with older Duke balls, with a more pronounced seam. Anderson and Broad caused havoc when these were used in the 2015 series.

We are generally in an era where the ball is dominating the bat in Test cricket and both teams look to be stronger in their bowling line ups than in batting depth. Australia especially will come at England with Starc/Cummins and Hazlewood and in the event of injury and rotation they can call on Pattinson and Siddle. England are going to get no respite, especially with the excellent spinner Nathan Lyon to call on. England are already feeling the effects of a crowded summer. Wood is out until the fourth test, Archer is just back from a side strain and Anderson is on his way back from injury. At the time of writing England’s bowling line up for Edgbaston might be Anderson/Broad/Woakes/Sam Curran/Moeen.

It is in the top order batting though where the series might be won or lost. Since Strauss retired in 2012 only two England openers have averaged 35. Cook, himself now retired and Joe Root on a small sample. England look like having a top 3 of Burns/Roy and Denly (could well see Sibley by the end of the series) and there is a lot to prove. 40% of England’s first innings since 2017 have begun 100-4 or worse and the strength of the middle order from Root through Stokes and Buttler has often bailed the side out. Last week against Ireland represented the fourth time in three years that England have lost all ten wickets in a single session, and against Starc and Cummins it was not.

Australia of course have Smith and Warner back but they too have issues in the top 6 with Harris/Khawaja and Head likely to fill out the top 5 and any one of a few players who could bat six. Meanwhile wicket-keeper captain Tim Paine bats at 7 and is in no form. Alex Carey the world cup wicket-keeper is, and they might shoe-horn him in at six. There are likely to be a lot of left handers and a challenge against seam/swing bowling and then I would assume Moeen’s off-spin after the new ball period has passed.

I don’t see many draws unless weather intervenes, see both sides winning matches and a very close series.  

Australia haven’t won an away Ashes series since 2001 and start at Edgbaston where they haven’t won in any format since 2001 also, and only won 5 of their last 17 away tests. 8 of the 9 Ashes series have been won by the home side. However if the Australian top 6 is competitive enough, Smith and Warner apart who we can safely assume will score runs to put some totals up that fearsome bowling attack, and troubling England top order, has to give them a great shot of retaining the Ashes.

 


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 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

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 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.


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