Weekend Race Previews uploaded - World Snooker Preview in General Sport, Mark Ball Blog & Premier League Darts (Thurs) uploaded - Scottish National in Ante-Post Focus & Premier League Darts (Weds) uploaded - Andy Richmond's Beating The Bias uploaded
A busy morning having covered ten races for Sunday's action. It’s also SuperBowl night so All-Inclusive Service members are urged to check out Ross Miles’ preview and especially after nailing five winning recommendations out of six last year including the MVP at 22/1. I have all good intentions to stay up for the duration but usually crash out not long after the Half Time Show. Lady Gaga this year so it should be a spectacle at least no matter what you make of her dulcet tones. You can even bet on what song she opens up with! Come on Miles, no view on this? Sort it out lad.
Before then it's the final round of the Phoenix Open golf and three of Ciaran Meagher's four ante-post picks have chances in their respective markets so plenty of sport to keep us entertained today. ***His headline selection of Hideki Matsuyama won recommended at 11/1***
The winning streak of Premier League Picks was extended to eight weekends on the spin after making a profit on all three matches under this week’s spotlight. If anyone had combined Hull to beat Liverpool (13/2), Watford to beat Burnley (23/20) and Chelsea to beat Arsenal (Evens), the treble paid a little over 30/1. Those successful recommendations takes us up to an LSP of 16.5 points this season.
It was also a very good week for the pre-season ante-post positions as Chelsea (recommended at 11/2) tightened their grip on the Premier League title and are now are best-priced 1/7 and my Top Goalscorer recommendation, Romelu Lukaku at 12/1, netted four times against Bournemouth so now leads the standings with 16 goals, one goal ahead of Alexis Sanchez, Harry Kane and Diego Costa and is now no bigger than 3/1.
Off the back of the current run I’ve been asked if I could extend the football content into the Cup competitions but at least I have some idea of what players clubs will put out for the Premier League matches unlike in the FA Cup where it’s hard to make an argument before seeing the team sheets.
I wouldn’t know enough about the merits of the continental teams to have a strong view on individual matches in the Champions League which restarts next week but I’m struggling to see why Real Madrid at 5/1 are behind Barcelona at 7/2 to lift the trophy again given that only a point separated them in the Primera Division last season and they won the Champions League. They are leading Barcelona by a point in their domestic league this season with two games in hand so look the superior force of the pair at present. It strikes me that the layers are reading too much into the poor record of the defending title holder in this competition which stretches back to A C Milan who were last back-to-back winners in 1990. In addition, Real Madrid have the easier-looking last-16 tie against Napoli whereas Barcelona are up against Paris St Germain. Odds of 5/1 looks like a bet to me.
I’ll be covering the Eurovision Song Contest again and the United Kingdom made their choice last week selecting Lucie Jones who was an X-Factor contestant in 2009 finishing eighth. She was knocked out in a sing-off against Jedward. Blimey, that doesn’t bode well! It’s not a bad song and partly written by Emmelie de Forest who won Eurovision for Denmark four years ago but she doesn’t have the voice to pull it off and will get killed by far stronger solo female vocal performances if recent Eurovisions are anything to go by. Any odds-against about a bottom four finishing position should be snapped up.
Sticking with the specials markets and I thought I’d check out La La Land last week given that it received a record-equally 14 Oscar nominations. I enjoyed it as it’s so different (let’s go for 7/10 but I’m expecting to enjoy T2 Trainspotting more) but, holy moly, it must be a shocking bad year to be such a heavy favourite at 1/5 and expected to pick up around half the Oscars in the categories it was nominated for. I’ve managed to back a couple of second favourites for Best Film who upset the jolly in the not-so-distant past so I might have to check out a screening of Moonlight (a 15/2 chance) given that it’s 20/1 bar two so looking like the only conceivable danger. Emma Stone was very good I must admit so she’s an odds-on shot I won’t look to take on.
The Randox Health Grand National weights are announced in nine days’ time and, from a couple of days ago, I am now providing just the Grand National-related content on their twitter handle @aintreeraces so please feel to follow if you are on Twitter. I’m not allowed to give opinions, just facts, so will be reporting back all the news stories in the build up to the race.