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

The Road to Riches: Weekend 5th-6th September

Posted on 30 Aug 2015 10:06 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming Up this weekend

- Football, .The International break for the Premier League. England play in San Marino on Saturday at 5pm.

 -Tennis, the middle weekend of the US Open at Flushing Meadow, New York

- Formula One, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza

- Racing, flat meetings on Saturday at Ascot, Haydock Park, Kempton Park, Thirsk, Wolverhampton and over the jumps at Stratford-on-avon

- Cricket, the second of a five match one day international series between England and Australia at Lords

 - Golf, European Tour: M2M Russian Open in Moscow and USPGA Tour: Deutsche Bank Championship, TPC Boston, Massachusetts.

- Rugby Union, England v Ireland, France v Scotland and Wales v Italy in World Cup warm up matches


Neil Channing on the Final Furlong podcast

The Final Furlong Podcast is a weekly Horse Racing Show that discusses the big issues in racing and previews the top races in Ireland and Great Britain. Hosted by Emmet Kennedy, his resident guests were joined a fortnight ago by Neil Channing and Tony Calvin for a wide ranging discussion entitled "Are bookmaker restrictions and account closures affecting the industry?"

You can listen to it HERE


Free Tip of the Week :

The second match in a five game ODI series that concludes the Ashes tour takes place at Lords on Saturday

In the first match England let Australia off the hook twice as Australia recovered from 195-6 and then England collapsed from 172-3 to 246 all out

Before the first match outright prices for the series havd Australia 8/15 and England 15/8, but this promises to be a close series. Understandably Australia are favourites with a much better record in the format and match-winning potential from their senior players, but England are a more formidable proposition than they were the last two times the teams played in this format

The question of the pitches the series is likely to be played on is crucial. Versus New Zealand in the first part of the summer, the series was played on good pace pitches with bounce and this led to attractive cricket, good stroke-play and high scores. This was also the case at Cardiff for Monday’s T20 international and if it is to be continued for these five games England can win any of the games because their depth of batting and aggressive approach suits faster tracks

It is on tired/used pitches that England’s weaknesses are exposed with more difficult amassing scores on such decks. Of course we have to bear in mind that late summer in England may see inclement weather and some seam friendly conditions

Looking at this game:

Top Australian bowler

Starc's favouritism (he will be 5/2 or shorter in any ODI he plays to be Top Australian bowler) is well deserved and BE readers will have done well supporting him because he has been recommended in various markets. In 42 ODIs before this series he has 85 wickets at a strike rate of 23.1 and economy rate of 4.73. He was joint top wicket-taker in the world cup with 22 and was top Australian ashes wicket taker with 18 despite inconsistencies with the red ball.

Cummins' career is more embryonic and has been blighted by injury as is often the case for young fast bowlers. In 13 ODIs he has 21 wickets at a strike rate of 29.1 and economy rate of 5.83. Cummins showed in the T20 International that he can challenge Starc here. Bowling at up to 93-94 mph he troubled the batsmen and showed impressive skills in the last overs too with yorkers. I happened to watch him live for the first time a month or so ago when the Australians played a tour match at Northampton, he took a few wickets, blasted away the tail and went into my notebook.

In the first match of the series four bowlers took two wickets each but with Starc as 5/2 or below there is an opportunity to get with Cummins in this type of market as he blossoms

At Southampton, on a pitch with no swing, 6 bowlers were used. Apart from Cummins, who went wicketless in his first spell but came back at the death to take a couple of wickets, the line up is a bit one paced. The three support bowlers (Marsh, Watson and Maxwell) shared 20 overs and that helps explain why the three are 6/1 and above in this market.

Starc i have mentioned and the third front-line blower is Nathan Coulter-Nile who lacks the outright pace of Cummins and whilst has plenty of white ball experience lacks the range of wicket taking options that Starc has

Assuming that Lords will be another flat pitch, designed to produce a high scoring spectacle, Cummins has something extra, and his outright pace makes him an attractive option as long as we are getting up to a point more than the Starc price

5 points Pat Cummins Top Australian bowler second ODI 7/2 Ladbrokes

Top England bowler

I was going to suggest David Willey (of Northants who did so much to get us close to winning the T20 Blast bet last weekend) to win this market because prices still fail to factor in his skill and potential in the format but, inexplicably to me, he wasn't selected for the first game with Woakes (0-57 off 9) and Wood (1-72 off 10) preferred. It could be that he plays at Lords and i will present the case anyway

Bowling at both ends of the innings Willey was the top T20 England bowler at Cardiff. He can swing the white ball at the beginning of an innings and then at the end he takes wickets when batsmen are taking risks. In principle in this sub-market I far prefer backing bowlers bowling at the beginning/ends of innings than those bowling in the middle overs where the main task of batsmen is to accumulate not survive (at the beginning) and accelerate (at the end)

It is early in his England career, but just going through the five international games he has played before this series is interesting.

ODIs v New Zealand

game 1 3 wickets. top england bowler

game 2 2 wickets: dead heat top england bowler

game 3 2 wickers 2nd top england bowler

T20s

v NZ  3 wickets. dead heat top england bowler

v Aus 2 wickets top england bowler

Of course a return from  four of the five games in this market is only a small sample size, but at 4/1+ if he does play on Saturday, I will be on Willey too.


Betting Industry Consolidation

A combination of high overheads and tighter industry regulation has led to a series of high-street shop closures and M&A activity across the gambling industry. Last week Paddy Power announced that it wants to merge with Betfair. The combined business could become one of the world’s biggest online betting and gaming companies, with annual revenues of more than £1 billion. Share prices in both companies soared after the deal was made public.

As Paddy Power and Betfair provide different but complementary services, there are unlikely to be any competition issues in Britain. It fuses Betfair’s betting exchange and presence in Europe and the United States with Paddy Power’s online business, UK and Irish high street outlets and Australian operation. Paddy Power’s and Betfair’s proposed deal has been driven as much by regulatory and tax issues as anything else.

The British gambling industry has a tough time with Parliament and regulatory bodies, despite contributing over £2.3 billion towards GDP. The reason is ultimately why many bookmakers located themselves in Gibraltar as a means of significantly reducing their tax burden. The introduction of the point of consumption tax, which requires a 15% levy on profits arising from British transactions regardless of the bookmakers’ domicile, has become yet another burden to the gambling sector and been the real tipping point for the industry to consolidate, no longer being able to domicile abroad and protect themselves from the regulation. Duties on fixed-odds machines and licensing fees are further examples of the mounting efforts by the UK parliament to heavily tax the industry.Just this week the introduction of the PoC tax in the UK and Europe's harsher new VAT regime were cited as the two main causes for a 17 percent fall in EBITDA reported by 888 Holdings in the first half of 2015.

Theoretically industry consolidation would enable the gambling sector to shield itself from the onerous taxation and regulation through economies of scale and significant cost savings. Margins are quite low for operators, and so moves to consolidate by the means of mergers and acquisitions should not be considered at all unusual. They are simply a natural development for the sector, which needs to be much more efficient.

The deal last week comes as the latest in a series of mergers and takeovers in the industry over the past year or so. Ladbrokes and Gala Coral signed a £2.3 billion deal recently that seeks to expand their business online. In July 888 Holdings thought its bid for Bwin.party had been secured with a £900m offer; but now all bets are off, as Bwin is looking again at a rival bid from GVC Holdings, the owner of Sportingbet. That still leaves companies like William Hill, which also tried to buy 888, seeking a place in the rapidly changing market. It is odds-on that we will see more consolidation in the coming months.

Jim Mullen, who took the helm at Ladbrokes in April, said that further consolidation was “inevitable” and that “it’ll be a different landscape in five years' time”.

Next week I will look at what the rapidly changing composition of the industry might mean for the industry’s customers -us.


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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

£10 per point on every recommended bet since launch in Feb 2013 would be winning £11,330.10 (as at 25th August 2015)

All bets have an ROI +2.9% and Horse Racing has an ROI +7.78%

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The Road to Riches: Weekend 29th-30th August

Posted on 24 Aug 2015 10:11 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming Up this weekend

- Football, .A full weekend Premier and football league programme including Newcastle United v Arsenal. 'Premier League Over/Under 2.5 Goal Analysis' is back, you can read it here

- Golf, USPGA Tour: The Barclays in New Jersey, USA. European Tour: D+D Real Czech Masters in Prague.

- Racing, flat meetings on Saturday at Beverley, Goodwood (see tip below), Newmarket, Windsor and Cartmel over the jumps

- Cricket, T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston, see article below

 -Tennis, the final tournaments before the US Open. ATP Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina and WTA Connecticut Open in New Haven.

- Rugby Union, Ireland v Wales and Scotland v Italy in World Cup Warm Ups

- Athletics, the final weekend of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing


Neil Channing on the Final Furlong podcast

The Final Furlong Podcast is a weekly Horse Racing Show that discusses the big issues in racing and previews the top races in Ireland and Great Britain. Hosted by Emmet Kennedy, his resident guests were joined a fortnight ago by Neil Channing and Tony Calvin for a wide ranging discussion entitled "Are bookmaker restrictions and account closures affecting the industry?"

You can listen to it HERE


Free Tip of the Week :

This week Neil Channing looks at tomorrow's 2.35 at Goodwood, a 7f handicap

This seven furlong handicap is the best race for each-way bets of the entire week. First of all we get a quarter odds first four with 20-runners and we don't have to worry too much about non-runners as we'll still get these great each-way terms even if there are a few withdrawals and they go down to 17 or 16. It basically doesn't matter which horse you bet on...the place part of your each-way bet is always going to offer value.
 
 Goodwood is a track that favours certain horses, the camber means that horses that go well at Epsom, Brighton, Lingfield and here do well and with this soft ground we should also pass on those who prefer firm. The seven furlong trip is a slightly tricky one as there are few horses who specialise at this trip, most either don't quite stay it or get a bit outpaced early on. On balance I'd rather take one that stays a mile than one that might fade out and lose us the place money. Another important factor in this one is the advantage you can gain if you can get round the bend near the front and those drawn low have the edge here while those who go wide into the straight can really suffer.
 
 I've narrowed the shortlist down to five horses...
 
 Rene Mathis has won over seven furlongs and stays further, he has good form here and he has won on soft. I wouldn't be surprised if this one won from stall five but he probably has a little too much weight and I'll pass.
 
 Suzi's Connoisseur ran well in the Stewards Cup here and he has form on proper soft ground over this trip. I think it may be hard to get the real benefit of the good draw with a hold up horse though and the Stewards Cup form could be flattering as all the horses on the far side had a big advantage. Can't see a lot of value here, sort of thing that will come 6th.
 
 Enlace has form here, a good draw and is likely to front run. Three year olds have an advantage against the younger horses at this time of the year but it isn't such a big factor over the shorter distances. I believe the market doesn't allow enough for the advantage the younger horses have at 1m4f but here it's really not the same thing. Throw in the fact that the Johnston horses can just throw in a stinker and a few bad runs for this one on soft ground and I can pass at 16/1.
 
 Can't Change it has winning form over this trip, tends to track the leaders and should get into a good position from this draw. The horse was pretty unlucky in the latest 7f handicap here a race which he came to after a break. Basically it's the softer the better for him, the stable are in good form and he is a coming here a bit fresher than most having had less runs. Looks a solid bet.
 
 Czech it Out is trained locally and has great course and distance form. The horse should race prominently, tracking the leaders from a nice draw, he likes soft ground and he stays further. I think it will be hard to not get at least a place with this one.
 
 I'm having 7 Points each-way Can't Change It at 14/1 1/4 1234 with Ladbrokes, Sky Bet and others.
 
 I'm having 9 Points each-way Czech it Out at 10/1 1/4 1234 with Bet365 and others.
 
 This is a pretty strong race for me and I've staked a little more than normal accordingly.
 

Back on the 16th May I wrote in this column wrote about this season's NatWest T20 Blast which reaches a conclusion this weekend with Finals day at Edgbaston

The recommended tip was as follows

5 points each-way Northants to win the NatWest T20 Blast at 25-1 (1/2 the odds 1,2) Sportingbet, Bet365, Skybet

and Northants have made finals day, thanks to winning their quarter-final at Sussex in large part due to a brilliant 40 ball 100 from David Willey.

Also reaching finals day are holders and hosts Birmingham, Hampshire and Lancashire. With the draw for the semi-finals about to made I sat and muttered "don't get Birmingham, don't get Birmingham" because Birmingham are the best all-round team in this year's tournament

The draw came out as follows

Northants v Birmingham

Hampshire v Lancashire

Outright prices are as follows

Birmingham 9/4

Hampshire 11/4

Lancashire 100/30

Northants 4/1

Northants are 11/8 underdogs for the first semi, Lancashire 11/10 underdogs for the second.

In terms of looking at finals day in the light of our existing position I am reminded of Neil's comments in his recent USPGA coverage ahead of the final day, with Day leading

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Sign up to Brodders' tips:

All Brodders bets since January 2014 are currently showing a ROI of +2.87% (over 1500 bets) (at 25th August 2015)

Betting £10 a point would be showing a profit of +£4722.30

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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

£10 per point on every recommended bet since launch in Feb 2013 would be winning £11,330.10 (as at 25th August 2015)

All bets have an ROI +2.9% and Horse Racing has an ROI +7.78%

There is also a Frequently Asked Questions Section

The Road to Riches: Weekend 22nd-23rd August

Posted on 15 Aug 2015 11:00 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming Up this weekend

- Football, .A full weekend Premier and football league programme including Manchester United v Newcastle and Everton v Manchester City

- Golf, USPGA Tour: Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina and European Tour: Made in Denmark at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort in Denmark.

- Racing, flat meetings on Saturday including the final day of the Ebor meeting at York, and at Chester, Sandown and Bath. Chelmsford on the all-weather and National hunt meetings at Newton Abbot and Perth

- Cricket, Days three and four of the final Ashes test of the Summer at the Oval.

 -Tennis, ATP and WTA Western & Southern Opens in Cincinnati, Ohio.

- Rugby Union,  France v England and Italy v Scotland in world cup warm-up matches


Neil Channing on the Final Furlong podcast

The Final Furlong Podcast is a weekly Horse Racing Show that discusses the big issues in racing and previews the top races in Ireland and Great Britain. Hosted by Emmet Kennedy, his resident guests were joined last week by Neil Channing and Tony Calvin for a wide ranging discussion entitled "Are bookmaker restrictions and account closures affecting the industry?"

You can listen to it HERE


Free Tip of the Week :

Formula 1 returns this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari ended Mercedes’ seven-race winning streak by winning last time in Hungary ahead of Daniil Kyvat and Daniel Ricciardo. It was the first ever podium for Kyvat, the first podium of the year for Red Bull and the first double podium for Red Bull since September, 2014.

Lewis Hamilton is the clear favorite in this race at 1/2 ahead of Nico Rosberg at 9/4 and Sebastian Vettel at 141.

Spa-Francorchamps is known and respected as one of the most challenging circuits in the world. As well as being one of the fastest circuits on the modern calendar, the Ardennes climate often throws a spanner in the works in the form of sudden downpours.

It is a power track, at Spa medium speed corners are connected by a series of flat-out sections, two of which are on significant inclines. This tilts the competitive balance away from the packages able to produce the kind of down-force levels that would excel in Hungary, and towards the slippery, aero-efficient set-ups which are likely to be seen again in even more extreme form at Monza in two weeks' time.

For the four teams with Mercedes engines - the Mercedes works team, Williams, Force India and Lotus - it is set fair for them to have an advantage on the long straights particularly after Eau Rouge and the first DRS zone for over-taking .

There are other variables though, the possibility of changeable weather the event and the further implementation of stricter limitations on driver aids and coaching with the changes having a "a particular emphasis on race starts" are the major two issues.

F1's governing body has become concerned that drivers receive too much coaching and information from their teams in order to perfect their starts.

"These measures will bring back the driver in full control of the car, enhancing races' excitement and unpredictability," said a governing body statement.

We have already seen an impact in recent race starts of the changes taking place, particularly Mercedes struggling to hook their cars up well. Lewis Hamilton has started the last three races from the front of the grid, yet his getaways have got progressively worse. In Austria he finished lap one in second place, in Britain he was third, and in Hungary he had fallen to fourth, and that could be a trend that will continue at Spa

So the combination of more uncertain variables means unpredictability and less certain betting outcomes as we saw in Hungary. Once the Mercedes, which can be expected to occupy the front row of the grid here too, are embroiled in having to overtake cars rather than just lead from the front for the whole race, the risks of taking short odds on their victory is higher.

So with the outright market efficiently priced and with more variables than normal for this race, I turned to the sub-markets.

Valtteri Bottas finished on the podium in Canada in June, a result he would have repeated at Silverstone two races later had the team strategy allowed him past his team mate when the team were 1-2 early on in the race. Spa should be a real fit for the quick Williams as the team try to improve past Ferrari as Mercedes' closest challengers.The power-hungry nature of this track and cooler weather suggests that Williams will be ahead of Ferrari here.

Bottas finished third here last season and odds of 11/2 look fair value for another podium finish

5 points Valtteri Bottas Belgian Grand Prix 11/2 Coral


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Sign up to Brodders' tips:

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Betting £10 a point would be showing a profit of +£7093.50

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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

£10 per point on every recommended bet since launch in Feb 2013 would be winning £11,148.88 (as at 21st July 2015)

All bets have an ROI +2.98% and Horse Racing has an ROI +9.43%

There is also a Frequently Asked Questions Section

The Road to Riches: Weekend 15th-16th August

Posted on 9 Aug 2015 10:50 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming Up this weekend

- Football, .Aston Villa host Manchester United in the first televised Friday night Premier League game at the beginning of a full weekend Premier and football league programme

- Golf, the final major of the season, the USPGA at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. See Neil's analysis here

- Racing, flat meetings on Saturday at Doncaster, Newbury, Newmarket, Ripon and Lingfield Park

- Cricket, the last of the Nat West T20 Blast Quarter finals on Saturday, Kent against Lancashire at Canterbury

- Tennis, the WTA Rogers Cup in Toronto and the ATP Coupe Rogers in Montreal

- Rugby Union, New Zealand against Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup game and England v France and Ireland v Scotland in Rugby World Cup warm up games


Free Tip of the Week :

This week has seen the Quarter Finals of the Nat West T20 Blast and on Wednesday night this column's 25-1 each way ante-post tip Northants made finals day on 29th August by beating Sussex thanks in large part to David Willey's 100 off 40 balls and 3-27 opening the bowling.

The final quarter-final takes place on Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Kent play Lancashire at Canterbury. Kent topped the South group with 19 points, Lancashire finished fourth in the North group.

Kent’s appearance at this stage has been coming for a couple of years. With money tight and no overseas players in their ranks, it has been all about the local lads who have come through the ranks, primarily batsmen like England U19 opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, England ODI wicket-keeper batsman Sam Billings and hard-hitting finisher Alex Blake. Most importantly of all though Sam Northeast has done a brilliant job as captain and was the second highest run-scorer in the group stages of the tournament with 627 runs, batting at three with a hundred and four fifties. This was nearly 300 runs ahead of the next Kent batsman

Lancashire are the more experienced team and are full of quality. Ashwell Prince is a steady source of runs, skipper Steven Croft is one of the most under-rated all-rounders on the circuit and in James Faulkner they have one of the best death bowlers in world cricket.

This could be a very close game and Lancashire are 6/5 underdogs to Kent at 4/5. If anything i like Lancashire here because their bowling has more consistency and depth than Kent. Of their five bowlers who have played 10 or more games in this year's competition four have economy rates of 7.15 runs per over or under with three of the five recording strike rates of 15 or under. For Kent's four bowlers with double digit games none are under 7.66 runs per over economy or under 15 on strike rate.

As ever though in a one off game in cricket's shortest and most random format outright value is pretty marginal. For this week's tip we look at the top Kent batsman market. Sam Northeast should be favourite on weight of runs alone of course but I would be concerned about early wickets.

It's always a bit fraught recommending batsmen who bat 5 or lower in a T20 because of course there is the risk that they won't face the balls required to make an impact if the top order fires. It may be worth taking a chance here though.

Alex Blake is a hitter. In the competition so far this season he has 301 runs off 174 balls with three fifties. The 10-1 on offer with BetVictor and a few other places is quite tempting because, much like David Willey for Northants, he's a match winner irrespective of pitch conditions and can score extremely quickly. If there are early wickets, as i suspect, the 10-1 is a very live price indeed. Coincidentally, these two sides met in the 50 over competition last week. Chasing 258 and with Kent struggling when he came in, Blake scored 89 off 56 balls with 7 sixes. That gives an indication of his potential.

4 points Alex Blake Top Kent batsman T20 Quarter final v Lancashire 10-1 BetVictor

 
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Sign up to Brodders' tips:

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Betting £10 a point would be showing a profit of +£7093.50

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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

£10 per point on every recommended bet since launch in Feb 2013 would be winning £11,148.88 (as at 21st July 2015)

All bets have an ROI +2.98% and Horse Racing has an ROI +9.43%

There is also a Frequently Asked Questions Section

The Road to Riches: Weekend 8th-9th August

Posted on 1 Aug 2015 12:24 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming Up this weekend

- Football, the start of the English football season with a full schedule of Premier League and football league games.

 - Racing, flat meetings on Saturday at Ascot, Haydock Park, Newmarket, Redcar, Ayr and Lingfield Park

- Cricket, Days 3 and (possibly) 4 of the Fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge

- Tennis, ATP Austrian Open and ATP Citi Open in Washington. WTA Citi Open in Washington and WTA Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California

- Golf, World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Ohio.

- Rugby Union, the final weekend of the Rugby Championship with unbeaten Australia and New Zealand meeting in Sydney.


Free Tip of the Week :

Saturday sees the conclusion of the Rugby Championship, the annual Southern Hemisphere competition this year truncated because of the impending World Cup. The Bledisloe Cup game at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney between Australia and New Zealand will decide the winner of the tournament with both teams going into the game having beaten both South Africa and Argentina.

Both teams had very narrow victories over South Africa. South Africa were 20-7 up on Australia in Brisbane and Australia scored on the last play of the game to win 24-20 and deny this column a win. The week after the All Blacks trailed in Johannesburg with ten minutes to go, a late try securing a 27-20 win. Both teams beat Argentina comfortably.

So recent form lines are similar and Australia are at home.

The World Number One All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and have not lost to the Wallabies since August 2011 in Brisbane. The Wallabies are currently enduring a 10-match winless streak but have got close recently, despite being in the doldrums under recent coaches. In August 2014 they drew 12-12 in a wet game at the ANZ Stadium and in October they lost 28-29 at Brisbane to a match winning conversion as the last play of the game.

The All Blacks are not unbeatable. They are ahead of the rest and have been for a decade, but several teams within that pack of chasers have either overturned the All Blacks on rare occasions (England in 2012, South Africa last year) or come within a whisker of doing so. As well as Australia, Ireland for example have come close. The All Blacks though are renowed for winning games in tight situations and trusting that game plans will eventually bring the result home.

For this game they are selecting as close to their first choice team as they can after some rotation earlier in the tournament. Dan Carter is back at fly half, Sonny Bill Williams returns at centre. Deservedly they are 1/2 outright for this game, Australia 15/8 and six point underdogs on the handicap.

Australia though are a more competitive unit than they were as recently as six months ago. For several years their weakness in the scrum has been a real problem and negated their competitiveness in the back row (where here Pocock/Hooper will go toe to toe with Richie McCaw at the breakdown) and forced their very dangerous backs to operate off the back foot.

The lack of a platform left them exposed against the top few teams. Under Michael Chieka though they have put a lot of work into their physicality. Over the years they've always been extremely dangerous with ball in hand, and that added physicality they've brought has been notable, and probably gives them more of an all-round game now. The real test they are building to is the World Cup group with England and Wales

With Australia more competitive I expect a close game here.  I wouldn't go as far as predicting an upset but it should be within two scores and the "Winning margin" market has the All Blacks winning by 1-12 points at 13/8 with Ladbrokes and 6/4 generally. New Zealand winning by 13+ is no more than 2/1 and I would consider much less likely.

8 points New Zealand to win by 1-12 points in the Rugby Championship game versus Australia 13/8 generally

The game kicks off 11.05am Saturday (Sky Sports 3)
 



 
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