Our weekly review of the latest betting news, with five things for you to consider.
1. Aussies at Even money for opening Test
The loss of Ryan Harris to a career-ending knee injury is a big blow to Australia, but it hasn’t had any impact on their price for the Ashes series or for the first Test, which begins at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff on Wednesday. Harris, who proved his worth to the Aussies with 57 wickets in 12 previous Ashes Tests, was already certain to miss the Test, for which just about all firms are quoting 3/1 about an England victory. Australia are odds-on with most bookmakers, but Ladbrokes are offering Evens, which is sure to attract some big hitters. The tourists remain 2/5 favourites to win the series, with England available at best odds of 4/1 with Paddy Power.
2. Tiger’s low round sparks flurry of bets
Tiger Woods carded his lowest score of the year in the first round of the Greenbrier Classic on Thursday, leading to an immediate shift in his odds for the Open Championship, which takes place at St Andrew’s a week on Thursday. Tiger completed a good week’s work in West Virginia with rounds of 66, 69, 71 and 67 and having been 50/1 for the Open a week ago, he is now a best price of 35/1 with Coral as the punters get behind the idea that the dark days are finally behind the former world number one.
3. UEFA u-turn to fire up transfer market
Having been limited to net transfer spends of £49m last summer, Manchester City and Paris St-Germain have had their Financial Fair Play restrictions lifted by UEFA and both are likely to spend big in the coming weeks. The two mega rich clubs are set to compete for a number of signings, with Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne among the players who are said to interest both clubs, while PSG are keen on Angel Di Maria, who they failed to sign a year ago because of the UEFA ruling. If City do get Pogba, De Bruyne and, as seems certain, Raheem Sterling, then they will be strongly backed for the Premier League title, for which they are currently available at best odds of 11/4 with Bet365 and William Hill.
4. Froome cut after opening weekend of Tour
Chris Froome has been cut to win his second Tour de France title in three years after gaining time on his chief rivals in Sunday’s second stage in Holland. The Team Sky rider moved up to tenth in the overall standings, but crucially he opened leads over defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana. After Sunday’s stage, which was won by Andre Greipel with Fabian Cancellara taking the yellow jersey, Sky Bet were offering Froome at best odds of 13/8, in from 9/4, following Saturday’s time trial in Utrecht. Quintara and Contador are next in the betting at best prices of 3/1 and 7/2 respectively, with Nibali a 7/1 chance after falling one minute and 28 seconds behind Froome.
5. Higgins the Master looks value
John Higgins has given a reminder of his enduring quality by winning the first ranking event of the 2015/16 season. The 40-year-old won the Australian Goldfields Open this weekend to claim the 27th ranking title of his career – equal to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s haul and just one behind Steve Davis’ total of 28. The Scot has consequently been cut by several firms for the UK Championship later in the year and is no better than 33/1, but remains a 50/1 chance with Coral for next January’s Masters event. That has to be a good each-way chance.