Friday, 29 March 2013

Part eyes Further European Success

Three-time world champion John Part has been faced with a tricky opening round tie in the European Darts Trophy when he takes on Dutchman Vincent van der Voort on March 30.

Darth Maple has already tasted success so far this year on the European Tour. He won the opening event, the UK Masters, which brought up his first PDC ranking title since 2011.

Part met Stuart Kellett in the final where he defeated the Englishman 6-4. He had wins against Kim Huybrechts, Gary Anderson Mensur Suljovic, Simon Whitlock and Adrian Lewis before despatching Kellett to get his hands on the trophy.

In the 2013 World Darts Championship – the competition he won in both 2003 and 2008 - he was beaten in the second round by Terry Jenkins 1-4. That was after an opening round win over Joe Cullen 3-0.

Van der Voort is renowned among darts betting fans for being one of the fasted players on the PDC circuit. He has had a quiet start to his 2013 campaign. At the Alexandra Palace in December, he reached the third round of the World Championship.

He made easy work of Kellett in the first round of the competition in a 3-0 win. A Tougher game followed against Dean Winstanley but he managed to get past the former BDO man 4-2, despite his opponent hitting a nine-darter in the tie. 

His run was eventually stopped by the Machine James Wade in the third round where the Dutchman failed to win a set.

According to Betfair, the Dutch Destroyer has had success in Germany where he won a Players Championship event there in 2011.    

There were also wins in Austria and Holland that year in what has proved to be his best season to date with the PDC. His best appearance in a major came in the UK Open in 2007 where he finished runner up.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Saracens Title to Lose

Saracens have it all to lose in the Premiership title race after they beat Harlequins 27-12 last weekend to move five points clear at the top of the table with just four games to go.

The St Albans side benefitted from Owen Farrell’s boot early on before Schalk Brits touched down in the first half, while Will Fraser eased the team to victory with a breakaway try in the second.

The result means Saracens are in the driver’s seat to win the Premiership table and secure pole position for the playoffs later this spring. They face Wasps, Worcester, Gloucester and Bath before the playoffs – four games more than winnable for this in-form side.

Fans of the rugby betting are becoming convinced that Mark McCall’s men deserve their tag as favourites for the Premiership, while hopes of a historic league and cup double are still on the cards.

For Saracens are fighting on two fronts and come April face Ulster in the Heineken Cup quarters. The clash poses to be the tie of the round and should they slip past Ulster – which they should – a tough semis battle with Premiership rivals Leicester or Top 14 leaders Toulon awaits.

This may seem an impossible task but the Sarries are in control of their own fate and with their internationals back from Six Nations duty stand a real chance of doing the double.

Certainly, the most difficult of the two is the Heineken Cup, yet with Farrell and Charlie Hodgson at fly, Chris Ashton returning to the wing and Steve Borthwick leading forward line few fans would bet against them winning the competition for the first time.

Rugby fan? Don’t forget about the Heineken Cup odds when planning your weekend betting.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cardiff Game a Major Test for Season

The players’ desire to earn a top-six spot this season will be put to the test on Tuesday night when Leicester travel west for a crunch match against Championship leaders, Cardiff.

The Foxes had their promotion hopes dented last weekend with Sheffield Wednesday’s deserved 1-0 victory at the King Power – we were just not there and, although Nigel Pearson’s boys created chances putting them away, winning has been a real problem of late.

You could see Saturday’s defeat coming: after narrowly nicking a draw with Leeds, who are 161/10 for promotion on Betfair, last midweek, the lessons of our defeat to Ipswich clearly had not been learned. Missed chances from David Nugent and Michael Keane proved it again would not be our day, while a clinical finish like Connor Wickham’s was always on the cards.

The loss means we’ve won just once in the past seven and our form threatens to drop us out the top six if we don’t get something on Tuesday.

Granted, our last three games have been closely contested but if we want to win promotion we must eke out victories as we were doing in September. Foxes fans in the betting world are well aware that the playoffs aren’t secured yet and momentum heading into those clashes can make or break success at Wembley.

Pearson must get his midfield organised for Tuesday to stifle Cardiff’s Aron Gunnarsson and Tommy Smith from finding the strikers. Both Fraizer Campbell and Heidar Helguson are dangerous on their day while Craig Bellamy still has pace despite his age.

The game, which comes a day after another interesting matchup, Burnley v Hull, will be won or lost in the middle of the park and, in Daniel Drinkwater and Andy King, we do have the cover we can trust. Hopefully, Nugent and co. have their shooting boots on, for a single goal may make all the difference to our Premier League hopes this Tuesday.

Rask continues to shine for Bruins

In 2006, Boston traded former Calder Trophy-winning goaltender Andrew Raycroft to the Leafs in exchange for Rask. While the Leafs continue to search for a top quality No. 1 goalie, the Bruins look to be set for the next decade with one of the NHL’s best goaltenders. 

Rask’s impressive form this season has shown just why the Boston Bruins were so confident in handing the 26-year old the responsibility of stepping into replace Tim Thomas this season. With this year’s aim being to return to the Stanley Cup final, the Bruins will be more than confident that they have a goaltender consistent enough to achieve their target.

After earning legendary status following his heroics in leading the Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup, Thomas’ decision to take a year away from the game had left some Boston fans who bet on NHL wondering whether Rask would be able to fill the sizable shoes left by the 38-year old.

It didn’t take long for the Finnish goaltender to prove he has all the attributes needed to possibly create his own legacy with the Bruins. Rask has answered and silenced all the pre-season critics who claimed Boston wouldn’t have any chance this season after losing Thomas.

Still a youngster in goaltending terms, Rask has fantastic athleticism, a strong glove hand, impressive rebound control, solid technique, the perfect frame (6'3") and improving durability.

Currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, the franchise have put themselves in a great position at the mid-point in this shortened NHL season, and Rask’s presence between the pipes has shortened their NHL betting odds and will give the Boston fans real belief that this could be a very good season for the Bruins.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Seabass may just Prove Grand National Dish of the Day

With the countdown well and truly on for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 6, the prospect of a truly historic sporting result is looming ever larger with the feeling being that Katie Walsh might well become the first woman ever to win the world’s greatest steeplechase.

Walsh partnered Seabass to a memorable third place in last year’s renewal, leading at the second last and staying in front with tens of thousands of race fans screaming her on at the track and millions more cheering her on in front of their television sets around the world. 

In the end, Seabass couldn’t hold on and was passed by fellow Grand National runners, Neptunes Collonges and Sunnyhillboy, who went on to fight out one of the very best finishes in the long and distinguished history of the race.

This season, Seabass’ preparation has been all about a repeat Aintree bid and everything appears to have gone to plan so far with two rock solid placed efforts at Fairyhouse in February, leaving trainer, Ted Walsh, satisfied that he has the 10-year-old gelding exactly where he wants him.

Katie Walsh, Ted’s daughter, is certain to once again be the focus of international media attention but has shown she can handle the limelight much in the same way her brilliant brother, Ruby, does day in, day out.

Currently a well backed 11/1 second-favourite (behind 8/1 shot On His Own, who may well be ridden by Ruby), Seabass would appreciate some give in the ground so connections will be hoping for rain in the days leading up to the big event.

At a much bigger price it might pay to take a second glance at the Tim Vaughan-trained Saint Are (66/1), a Grade 1 winner at Aintree over hurdles and winner of the listed John Smith’s Handicap Chase on Grand National day 12 months ago. 

According to Befair’s guide for the reluctant tipster, this horse seems to save his very best performances for the Liverpool track.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Hammer hoping to thrash the Wizard

Andy Hamilton goes into his match against Simon Whitlock on week seven of the Premier League hoping to build on his victory against the 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in Manchester seven days ago.

The Hammer was at his very best as he despatched Taylor 7-3 to inflict his fellow Stoke player’s second consecutive win in this competition. 

It was also his second win over the world number one in the same week after also beating him the Sunday before in Mainhead in the UK Masters quarterfinal. His win in Manchester brought up just his third career win over the Power.

Hamilton and Whitlock are both currently locked on six points in the league table and sit three points above the elimination zone, which makes this clash even more important as we edge towards the relegation stage of the tournament. The winner will climb closer towards the top of the pack though in a congested standings.

The Wizard is in really good form himself as he searches for his third straight win in Cardiff. He got off to a slow start to the 2013 competition but wins over James Wade and Wes Newton in recent weeks have helped him climb up the table where he currently sits in seventh place, one spot behind Hamilton who has a better leg difference. 

The Australian checked out six ton plus finishes against the Machine in a high quality match that finished 7-4 in Whitlock’s favour.

Both players know all about playing in big games having both made it all the way to the World Darts Championship Final. They both exited in the last eight though in the 2013 renewal.

Check out the Darts Premier League odds at betting.betfair for the latest picks and news for darts’ showcase tournament.

Hart praises United's Ruthless Streak

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has admitted that his side have struggled this season to keep pace with Manchester United due to the Red Devils’ extra ruthlessness.

After losing out in the title race last term, United were heavily criticised for not taking their chances as the Citizens nipped in to claim their first Premier League trophy thanks to Sergio Aguero’s last minute goal on the final day.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have rediscovered their edge this time around, establishing a 15-point gap at the top of the table, meaning they are now well on course to claim the club’s 20th league championship.

By their own admission, United have not always been at their best during the current campaign, often struggling to build momentum in games before eventually showing their fighting spirit and battling for victory.

City have also had problems against some of the league’s lesser teams, but unlike their rivals, have often come unstuck, losing to both Southampton and Sunderland.

Hart admitted to the football betting news that his side have a lot to learn if they want to win the title again but says they will continue to do all they can to try and cut the gap between them and their rivals.

"Maybe we have drawn more games than we would have liked to but it has not been a perfect season - and it needs to be pretty perfect to win this league," Hart said to the Premier League betting news. "We have done well but we have been up against a killing machine that have kept turning out results no matter what.

"It is a tough league. It's hard to win games. Unfortunately when we do lose, United stretch that lead and it has been disappointing but we will keep going.”

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Harrison Hits Form Ahead of Rangers’ Opener

Texas Rangers pitcher, Matt Harrison, went some way to proving his fitness ahead of the season-opener against the Houston Astros, producing a dominant performance on his return to action following the toe injury that had kept him out for over two weeks.

Playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the left-hander pitched six scoreless innings in his first ‘A’ game since the beginning of March; throwing 41 strikes from 57 pitches, retiring his final 14 batters after a conceding a single to the first batter of the game.

Harrison even had enough left in the tank to throw extra pitches in the bullpen after the 4-0 win in order to get some more practice under his belt following his inconvenient spell on the sidelines during this late-stage of pre-season.

Despite looking back to his best in his return to the mound against the Dodgers, Harrison insisted to fans betting MLB World Series that he still has work to do in order to be 100% for the opening game of the new season against the Astros.

"I'm not in a groove yet, it's only one game, but I feel like I am back on track," Harrison said.

"I feel like its back to normal -- keeping that back foot down, being able to drag my foot again and I feel like my legs are under me again. The biggest thing is I feel like my velocity is up again,” the 2012 All Star told MLB betting news reporters.

All going to plan, Harrison is expected to fill the No.2 starter position in the Rangers’ rotation behind Yu Darvish, who will be looking to continue the encouraging manner in which he finished his rookie season in the MLB.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Giants Have What it Takes

Huddersfield Giants 32-8 win over champions, Leeds Rhinos, not only returned them to the top of the Super League but it also showed that they have the players and the game plan to keep them in contention for the rest of the season.

In poor conditions at Headingley the Giants produced some outstanding rugby and used the wet weather to their advantage as they consistently turned the Rhinos back three round with probing kicks early in the tackle count. 

Leeds failed to learn from their mistakes as Danny Brough produced a series of pinpoint kicks which his teammates capitalised on, as well as scoring a try and four goals himself, and Giants coach Paul Anderson was quick to praise his returning half-back. 

“People will obviously point to the difference that was made by having Danny Brough back in the side – he again showed what a class act he is.” Anderson said.

Brough had been missing for the Giants last outing- a disappointing defeat to Bradford, but his return galvanised the team and the Giants’ hard work was rewarded with a clinical victory which proved their credentials as title contenders. 

“The key for me was the collective effort and the attitude that everyone showed in making the victory possible,” Anderson said. “As soon as the boys came off I asked them what the difference was between this week and last, and they all said it their approach,” he added.

If Brough remains fit for the rest of the season and the Giants pack can continue to dominate their opposition then they look certain to be in contention for a Grand Final spot and, on Friday’s showing, they will be confident of going on to win the whole competition.

Interested in betting on the Six Nations? Take a look at the rugby odds on Betfair for all the latest picks and news for the showcase event.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Irish Dominance in Cross Country Chase

Ireland will be looking to continue their dominance in the Cross Country Chase this year at the Cheltenham Festival in the most unique contest of the four days.

The Irish have won seven of the eight runnings of this race and did actually have a 100% record until Balthazar King broke that trend for trainer Philip Hobbs 12 months ago.

Enda Bolger will be hoping for his first win in the Cross Country since 2009. He prevailed as a trainer in four of the first five running since the inauguration in 2005. This year he has four entries in the race with the market suggesting Arabella Boy is his best chance of success. He currently heads the betting in the 3m7f contest where 32 varying obstacles have to be cleared.

The eight-year old has won twice at Punchestown this season. In November he scored by just under a length in a 3m chase on heavy ground. 

Then a couple of months later, he returned to the same racecourse to prevail in a Cross Country Chase where Nina Carberry guided him home ahead of Big Shu and Long Strand. He did though take part in the Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in December where he unseated Carberry during the International Meeting.

Joining Arabella Boy at the top end of the market is Outlaw Pete who is also trained in Ireland by John Halley and runs in the colours of John McManus. He won the race at Prestbury Park earlier this season over the cross country course and will be looking to complete the double there when he returns next month.

The seven-year old came home seven lengths clear of Bostons Angel who is also likely to be back on day one of the Festival looking to go one better than his run in December.

Begin your preparations for the spring racing by visiting the Gold Cup betting website or plump for a bet on the 2013 Grand National on the Betfair website.