SUPER RUGBY

There were more upsets in Super Rugby last week, none bigger than the win by the Jaguares over the Hurricanes in Wellington. The Argentinian side did attract some support, $7.50 in to $5.00, and they have clearly been the most-improved side of season 2019. The Stormers provided a mini-upset when they drew 19-19 with the Crusaders, and were a similar price to what the Jaguares were.

The Super Rugby finals are not far away, and the Crusaders are still hot $1.67 favourites ahead of the Hurricanes at $4.50, with the Highlanders ($13), Rebels ($15), Brumbies ($17) and Jaguares ($17) in a clump behind the two major hopes.

The Waratahs host the Jaguares on Saturday night, and it is a very important match for both sides. The Jaguares are on a roll with wins in five of their last six games, but because they are ‘away’, they are the $2.30 outsiders with the Waratahs at $1.62. However there appears to be value with the Jaguares, not only due to current form. The pair has only met twice with victory on both occasions going to the Jaguares, 38-28 at home last year and 40-27 in Sydney in 2017.

There has been a move for the Lions to beat the Chiefs on Friday night. After opening at $3.50 or receiving 10.5 start, the Lions are now $2.95 with the line currently 7.5. The Chiefs and Lions rarely meet, the last time was in 2016 and prior to that it was 2014 and 2012, so not much can be gleamed from that. The Chiefs edged out the Blues last week, and will be hard to beat.

The Brumbies have found some form with four wins from their last five, and while they have a tough match at home this week against the Bulls, the early money is with the Brumbies at $1.57. The Brumbies are unbeaten in all four home appearances against the Bulls and are another side well in contention for a finals appearance, so need the win.

TIP:Jaguares to beat the Waratahs ($2.30)

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GOLF

Brooks Koepka is building a rather impressive CV of Major wins after victory in the US PGA Championship last weekend. That brings his tally of Majors to four now, and that total has been delivered in his last eight starts in Majors, and 22 starts in Majors overall. The other amazing statistic with Koepka is that he has only won two ‘regular’ events on the US PGA Tour, but no doubt that number will improve. After a flying start Koepka dominated the market, and was an odds-on chance from half-way through day one until the finish. He did enter the last round at $1.05 and got to $1.50 when faltering late on the back nine but steadied to win, and provide a handy payday to those who took the $17 pre-post. In a revamped calendar the US Open is next and Koepka is the favourite at $7.00 to win that (already one bet of $3,000) and $8.00 favourite to win the British Open.

The US Tour event this week will be the Charles Schwab Challenge, formerly known as the Fort Worth Invitational. A lot of the bigger names from last week will be going around again and defending champion Justin Rose is our second elect at $12 behind Jon Rahm at $11 from Rickie Fowler at $13. Ironically Rose defeated Koepka in this very event last year but Koepka is having the week off.

Matt Wallace finished third in the PGA Championship, and won the ‘Made in Denmark’ last year, so on that form-line alone, the Englishman deserves top billing at $9.00 to win in Denmark again this week. The field does lack a bit of depth, so the $9.00 looks a nice price, but of course the travel factor may come into play here.

TIP: Jordan Spieth to win the Charles Schwab Challenge ($12)

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TENNIS

The French Open gets underway this weekend and TAB have been betting on all of the qualifying matches before the draw is conducted on Friday. Rafael Nadal was back in the winner’s circle in Rome last week, and that has seen a price change, $2.50 in to $2.10 to win the title for a staggering 12th time. Novak Djokovic was runner-up in Rome and is solid at $3.00 with Dominic Thiem the only other player rated any chance at all by TAB punters at $6.00.

In the women’s draw, Simona Halep is $5.00 favourite to grab back-to-back French titles, ahead of Kiki Bertens at $9.00 (in from $21) and then at $13 we have Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka. Sloane Stephens is next in line at $15 alongside Karolina Pliskova. Stephens was runner-up to Halep in last year’s final, and while Bertens and Kvitova have been in some sort of form, both Serena Williams and particularly Naomi Osaka have had a rough trot with injuries. Aussie Ash Barty is well up in the market at $17.

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POLITICS

There were plenty of upsets across all sporting codes for the weekend, and we also had an upset (price-wise) in the Australian Federal Election.

The price for a Labor win collapsed between Thursday and Saturday morning with Labor crashing from $1.22 in to $1.10 when the book closed. That saw the Coalition blow from $4.00 out to a best priced $7.00, but we did continue to see a range of big bets come in for the winning party, including one of a little over $14,000 at $5.50 on Friday. There were a several huge bets for Labor including one of $100,000 that arrived on Friday at $1.15. This wasn’t the first time that the price-outsider ended up being a loser for the book, and a deep dive into the individual seats betting probably pointed towards the whole poll being a lot tighter than what the prices suggested. However there was one seat that created a lot more attention than any other, and that was the seat of Warringah. After touching $2.75 at one stage, Zali Steggall closed at $1.40 with ex-PM Tony Abbott out to $2.75, so the money trail in that seat, and most others, was very accurate.


A-LEAGUE

Sydney FC had to do it the hard way, but eventually got the job done in the A-League final on Sunday night. All and sundry agree that the Sky Blues were unfairly denied a goal by the VAR, but after two solid hours grabbed the trophy in a penalty shoot-out. Sydney went into the final well-backed from $2.25 to $2.15 to win, with Perth an easy favourite at $1.70. The market is up for next year’s title and those two sides are at the front of proceedings with Perth Glory at $4.75, just ahead of Sydney FC at $5.00, and the two Melbourne sides, City and Victory, next in line at $5.50.

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SUPERCARS

Scott McLaughlin has claimed the last four poles at Winton, Victoria, and going on what we have seen of his Mustang this season, he should make it five in a row for race 1 on Saturday. Those four pole positions have resulted in only one win, the first race in 2017, but McLaughlin, and the Mustangs, have completely dominated the Supercar season so far. Teammate Fabian Coulthard won race 1 at the recent meeting in Perth, but McLaughlin bounced back to win race two after finishing second to Coulthard in race 1. The opening market for race 1 on Saturday has McLaughlin clear favourite, and best-backed, at $2.30 with some interest in Coulthard at $5.00. Rick Kelly won race 1 at the corresponding meeting last year but it is worth noting that Coulthard won race 2.

TIP:Supercars race 1 – McLaughlin ($2.30)

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FORMULA 1

Daniel Ricciardo delivered a big pay day for his fans when he won the Monaco Grand Prix last year, but although only a supreme optimist would suggest he could do it again in his Renault this week, there has been money for him at huge odds. Ricciardo opened at $501, and on displayed form that is ‘unders’, but we had to cut the price to $251, and he has also shortened up in ‘top 3’ and ‘top 10’ markets. Lewis Hamilton won in Spain two weeks ago, and is $2.00 with the TAB this week ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes at $3.50, but there is genuine interest in the Red Bull of Max Verstappen at $3.75. Hamilton and Bottas have finished 1-2 in every race this season but Verstappen has shown enough speed in races so far to suggest that he is some hope of grabbing an all-important spot on the front of the grid, a big start to winning around the tight street circuit of Monaco.

TIP:Bottas to win the Monaco Grand Prix ($3.50)

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INDY 500

Aussie Will Power won the Indy 500 last year, and Power is one of the $9.00 favourites to win the iconic race on Monday morning Australian time. Power shares that line with Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, ahead of Kiwi Scott Dixon at $10.00. Dixon is also a previous winner of the Indy 500 back in 2008, and we could nearly claim him as an Aussie as he was born in Brisbane! The big shock of qualifying this year was the failure of ex-F1 winner Fernando Alonso to gain a start in the 36-car field, but that won’t detract from what is always an intense race around Indianapolis Speedway. Helio Castroneves has won the Indy three times, and there has been solid interest in him at $11.

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* Prices correct 12pm (AEST) Wednesday 13th February 2019