Monday, 31 December 2012

Wounded Red Devils Look Hungry

The memories of standing around on the pitch at the Stadium of Light last season, as the Sunderland fans roared after a late goal for Manchester City, which earned the Citizens the Premier League title, will live long in the memory of manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and his Manchester United players.

Having come so close to beating City to the title to have it taken away in a matter of minutes is not something the Old Trafford club have been accustomed to. Ferguson’s greatest fear that day was realised; to lose the English crown simply on a matter of goal difference.

Well, there is nothing that the Scottish tactician can do about that now but he has certainly got his players fired up for the 2012/2013 campaign and United are looking very strong indeed.

The introduction of former Arsenal skipper, Robin van Persie, was a no-brainer for the Scot and the Dutch striker could well be the difference between United and City come the end of the season.

With the amount of money United have spent over the years, the £24m price tag for Van Persie might be the best bit of business Ferguson has done if the player can stay fit.

But the Red Devils success has not just been down to one man, United are starting to form a team with some talented youth coming through the ranks, with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Rafael being established member of the starting XI.

Bringing in youth is nothing new at Old Trafford but the fact these young players have already tasted one of the most bitter disappointments with the final day of last season, can only stand them and the future of the club in good stead.

Fancy a punt on football this New Year? The Betfair football website ( has the latest odds, tips, and news for everything from the Premier League to World Cup 2014:        

Friday, 28 December 2012

Lupul's Taste of Russia not to his Liking

Toronto Maple Leafs wing, Joffrey Lupul, is unsure whether he will return to Russia after struggling during a recent spell in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.

The 29-year-old played in nine games during his time with the Russian side but failed to score any goals. In contrast, during the 2011-12 NHL campaign, Lupul scored 25 goals and had 42 assists in his 66 matches for the Maple Leafs.

Lupul has returned to Canada and he admits that he did not particularly enjoy his spell in Russia, telling the NHL betting news: “The food in Russia was bad. That’s the only thing I will say negative. It’s nice to be back here and have a couple of regular meals.”

Avtomobilist, who are based in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, are currently at the foot of the KHL table, and Lupul added: “I don’t know if I’m going to go back or stay here or what I’m going to do. Obviously, my heart’s here. I want to play here.

“The language was obviously really difficult. I don’t think I envisioned there being quite that little English there. There’s basically none.”

Lupul has a wealth of NHL experience, having played for the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers before moving to Toronto in February 2011.

His form was so good during the 2011-12 campaign that he was invited to play in the All-Star Game and he scored two goals for Team Chara as they beat Team Alfredsson 12-9.

Last season was Lupul’s most productive in the NHL, although he did score 25 goals and have 25 assists in 79 appearances for the Flyers in the 2008-09 season.

His career has been blighted by back problems but, as he nears a decade in the NHL, he remains a dangerous player, capable of swinging the NHL betting odds in the favour of the Leafs.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Anibal Sanchez in his Prime

The Tigers welcomed him back but Anibal Sanchez has never really been away, although the “welcome home” was not a cheap one in Detroit. 

With the marker for starting pitchers being set by the Zack Greinke deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers ($147 million over six years), Detroit were always likely to have to spend big on Sanchez, perhaps the second-best pitcher on the market.

The deal worth $80 million sees Sanchez return to Detroit for a five-year deal, which includes a $5 million buyout if the Tigers decline his option. If Detroit exercises his option for 2018, he would make $16 million that year. 

Sanchez's signing bonus is $4 million. He'll receive $8 million in 2013, $15 million in 2014 and $16 million a year from 2015-17. That's the price of doing business in the free-agent market for pitchers as shown by the Greinke deal.

The 28-year-old Sanchez, who is probably in the prime of his career helped Detroit reach the World Series this year.

 He had a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 innings over three postseason starts, but was 1-2 because the Tigers were shut out in each of his losses.

 Detroit has been good enough to get into the playoffs the last two years and the Tigers hope to improve enough to take the next step and win their first World Series since 1984, thanks to a couple major moves and a standout player's comeback.

By signing Sanchez Detroit also keep their four-man rotation together and after a slow start with the Tigers he is an integral part of that rotation - he pitched well in key games to help them win division titles in consecutive years for the first time since the 1935 and 1934 seasons with a 2.15 ERA over his last eight starts.

Overall, his career numbers are not impressive (48-51 with a 3.75 ERA) but you have to feeling that Detroit is a place that makes him feel comfortable and those numbers will continue to improve in the Motor City. 

As things stand, the numbers on his contract are more remarkable but that is because he is on the right side of supply-and-demand economics in baseball. The Tigers didn't really want to offer Sanchez as long of a contract as he signed, but had to do so in order to keep him around.

Pitching is a risky business and the Tigers have placed a lot of faith in Sanchez – now is the time for him to repay them.

Don’t forget that the Bet365 betting news website has all the tips, odds, and MLB picks for fans thinking of betting MLB World Series this season.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Boxing days better for bets

Boxing days better for bets. Unless youre going to gamble on whether it will be a white Christmas or not, the truth is that Christmas Day can be a bit of a dry day for those of us who enjoy a bet on sport. And this sentiment has been summed up nicely in a new video from those mega stars of stage and screen, Stan and James.

Yes, the lads have got together with six of their mates to produce the cheesiest Christmas video and song the world has ever seen.

You thought you'd heard it all with Mr Blobby, The Smurfs We Wish You A Smurfy Christmas, Cyndi Laupers Christmas Conga, The Cheeky Girls Have A Cheeky Christmas and St Winifreds School Choirs Theres No-One Quite Like Grandma. But these really have got nothing on Stan and James never to be forgotten Christmas classic StanJames Christmas music video.

Its really that bad which makes it a must-watch of course.

The song opens with the boys waking up on Boxing Day and singing about Christmas being nice but perhaps a little boring. Boxing Day, thats my kinda day it goes on and why? Because the lads can get endless bets on the football of course. Now this is the way many of us may view the festive season, but we dont exactly say it out loud.

But Stan and James are quite correct; there is a superb sports programme across all sports (but particularly football) lined up for the day after Christmas and itll be something of a relief to get there!

The day at their flat, though, seems to quickly descend into chaos with the festive food getting thrown around, the place getting a bit trashed, and to make matters worse, the pair are dressed up as a snowman (think Mr Blobby in white) and an elf (worse still!).

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Unioniste Posts Quality Performance in Cheltenham Handicap

Champion trainer, Paul Nicholls, enjoyed a fine day at the office at the weekend, sending out four winners at Cheltenham’s showcase December fixture, amongst them the exciting young chaser Unioniste, who ran away with the ultra-competitive Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Cup Handicap Chase and looks a particularly attractive long-term prospect.

Despite stable conditional rider, Harry Derham, riding at just 9st 9lbs, Unioniste (15/2) was still carrying 6lbs more than his long handicap weight.

However, punters should surely have taken the hint that Nicholls would hardly have risked jeopardising a potentially lenient mark by running placed or close to the principals, if he didn’t think the ex-French gelding would give a very good account of himself against older and more experienced horses.

On only his third start since joining the Ditcheat handler in the summer after winning in good style at Auteuil in March, Unioniste was patiently ridden at the rear of the field before starting his move racing into the final mile of the two-mile-five-furlong contest run on heavy ground. 

After taking up the running going well after the third last, the son of Dom Alco was joined by the favourite, Walkon, at the penultimate fence but pulled out extra in receipt of 17lbs and stayed on strongly all the way to the line to eventually record an impressive 11 length success.

There is little doubt that his previous rating of 143 is going to be but a distant memory once the handicapper sits down and fully assesses this performance.

Nicholls may have to look to graded company in the future and the top novice events such as the Grade 1 RSA Chase, (for which he has been introduced as a 20/1 shot), or the Jewson Novices Chase (12/1), at the Betfair Cheltenham Festival in March.  

Returning to the present, make sure you get your slips in soon if you’re thinking of indulging in some festive King George Chase betting.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Resilient Urlacher determined to play again for Bears

Chicago fans wondering if they’ve seen the last of Brian Urlacher will be pleased to hear their veteran linebacker should be fit for the playoffs so he can have at least one last game for the Bears.

Urlacher, whose contract ends this season, will watch from the sidelines as the Bears fight for a playoff place in the NFC North, after the 34-year-old suffered a Grade Two hamstring strain on Sunday. Initial reports were that he could be out for a few months, but Urlacher confirmed his
absence should hopefully be shorter.

“Doctors say two to four weeks, three, could be four. Just depends on how it heals,” he told

With a maximum of four weeks out, there is real hope in the betting world that Urlacher can return to the team, if they make the postseason this winter. At 8-4 Chicago are in line to finish the regular season in a playoff place despite having three tough road games at Minnesota, Detroit and Arizona to come, plus an NFC North home tie with the Packers.

In place of Urlacher, Nick Roach is expected to shift across to the middle line, with Geno Hayes taking Roach’s position on the side. The Bears should still be strong enough without their veteran star yet fans in the betting world are still concerned there could be a collapse similar to 2004, where Chicago went 0-7 without him.

After 13 seasons with the Bears a hamstring injury is not how Urlacher would like to end his career and will work hard to rehabilitate his hamstring. All he can do now is hope his team-mates get over the line and qualify for the playoffs, so this eight-time Pro Bowler can receive the send-off he thoroughly deserves.

Don’t forget to head to bet365 for all the latest NFL betting news  as well as plenty of tips, expert opinion, offers and the best NFL betting odds. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Seventh Heaven for Hong Kong star, Cadeaux

At long last, the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux has landed the big victory he so richly deserved following a fine series of efforts in top international company.

At Sha Tin on Sunday the talented stayer held on determinedly to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase by just a nose from rank outsider Jaguar Mail to pocket the £710,000 first prize, writes Elliot Slater.

Recording his seventh career victory from 33 outings, (and having placed a further 13 times), the gelded son of star sprinter, Cadeux Genereux, arrived in Hong Kong on the back of a slightly disappointing effort in the Melbourne Cup last month when finishing eight behind Green Moon.

He had gone agonisingly close 12 months earlier in the same race when beaten just a nose by French star, Dunaden, in one of the closest finishes in the history of ‘the race that stops a nation’.

Last successful in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup back in May of this year, Red Cadeaux had run fine races in defeat this summer when second to St Nicholas Abbey in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom and then third to Sea Moon in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot three weeks later.

Having finished third to Dunaden in Hong Kong 12 months ago, Gerald Mosse’s mount was familiar with the Sha Tin track and put that experience to good use.

Held up off a decent pace, the six-year-old made good headway over two furlongs from home before hitting the front at the furlong marker, from where he was all out to keep the Japanese Jaguar Mail at bay in a thrilling last 75 yards.

An ecstatic Dunlop, who won the race in 2005 with the great Ouija Board, observed that few horses have deserved a big win more than Red Cadeaux, who has become a firm stable favourite.

Thinking of betting on horses this winter? Get the latest tips for the St George VI Chase on the Betfair website:

Monday, 3 December 2012

Fed Calls for Faster Courts

Roger Federer believes some courts on the ATP tour should be faster as slower courts encourage more defensive play.

The Swiss believes that slower courts also encourage longer rallies, and therefore increase the chance of injuries.

 The thinking is that faster courts encourage aggressive attacking play, which of course, requires high levels of skill. Federer feels that slower courts negate the advantage of having an attacking style of play, making defensive tactics more effective.

 "It's an easy fix,” said Federer.  “Just make quicker courts, then it's hard to defend. Having an attacking style is more important. It's only on this type of slow courts that you can defend the way we are all doing right now."

 However, the 31-year-old is not making the claim simply to take advantage of his style of play; he believes that the introduction of faster courts will actually help those trying to compete with the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis; Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.

“I think some variety would be nice, some really slow stuff and then some really fast stuff, instead of trying to make everything sort of the same," he added. “You sort of protect the top guys really by doing that because you have the best possible chance to have them in the semis at this point, I think. But should that be the goal? I'm not sure.”

Variety would certainly make things interesting for betting fans, as faster courts across the board would end long rallies, which are often the most entertaining part for the supporters. A series of love service games with unstoppable aces does not make interesting viewing.

However, anything to offer hope to those outside the top four in the world rankings has to be considered. The all-conquering quartet produces some thrilling contests, but it would be nice for others to get a look in occasionally.

Track the movements of your favourite tennis stars on the dedicated Betfair website: