Our weekly review of the latest betting news with five things for you to consider, including whether Wales will struggle after their exhausting win against England.
1. Battle weary Wales may limp past Fiji
After their agonising defeat to Wales at Twickenham on Saturday evening, England’s hopes in the rugby union World Cup now rest on them beating Australia, although a shock result when Wales face Fiji would not go amiss. Japan’s victory over South Africa proves that anything is possible and the five-day turnaround for the Welsh does make things difficult – already without several key players through injury they will need to patch up their walking wounded just to put a team on the pitch. It all makes Fiji an interesting prospect on the handicaps for Thursday’s match at the Millennium Stadium, with Bet365 offering them a 14-point start (Australia beat Fiji by 15 points).
2. Efficient United to stay in title hunt
Despite topping the Premier League after seven games, Man United have failed to convince the bookmakers that they can go all the way this season and are still 5/1 to win the title with Sky Bet. Man City remain the odds-on favourites, despite suffering back-to-back defeats to West Ham and Spurs. What is clear – just as it was last season – is that Manuel Pellegrini’s side struggle to cope without Vincent Kompany and they will be eager to get the their Belgian captain back on the pitch. The absence of David Silva, has also been a huge blow. Even with those two available, however, City will not find it easy to outstrip United, who are efficient if not thrilling to watch. Expect United’s odds to shorten in the coming months.
3. Injury-hit City look vulnerable
City’s injury problems make them vulnerable in their midweek Champions League game against Borussia Monchengladbach, who have turned around a dreadful start to the season by winning two games and scoring seven goals since parting with manager Lucien Favre. City could be without Kompany, Silva and Yaya Toure on Wednesday, while Sergio Aguero looks some distance away from his sharpest. There is no question that those four would be the foremost names in Man City’s strongest XI, along with Joe Hart, who missed the game at Spurs through injury to disastrous effect, with his understudy Willy Caballero having a terrible game. At odds of 19/5 with William Hill, the German side could be a smart investment.
4. Back Van Gerwen for Grand Prix success
Defending champion Michael Van Gerwen is the favourite for next week’s World Grand Prix, which is live on Sky Sports from Sunday. The Dutch star beat James Wade in the final in Dublin 12 months ago to claim his second title in three years and has gone on to dominate the 2015 darts season, with 9 titles to his name this year. By contrast Phil Taylor, an 11-time winner of the World Grand Prix, has won only three events this season. The two men are considered almost equal by the bookmakers, with Van Gerwen 2/1 and Taylor at 5/2. Take Van Gerwen to continue to assert himself as the sport’s top dog.
5. Improving Royals 4/1 for promotion
After beating Leeds to claim their seventh successive victory on Sunday, Middlesbrough (our 6/1 pre-season tip) are now no bigger than 6/5 to win the Sky Bet Championship. Aitor Karanka’s side may be threatening to take the division by storm, but another team coming on strong is Reading, who invested well in the transfer window and are reaping the rewards. Steve Clarke has guided his side to four wins in five games, including Saturday’s 2-1 win at Burnley and the 5-1 demolition of Ipswich. The Royals are now up to third in the table and look a good bet at 4/1 with Bet365 to be promoted, although they do host Boro next weekend. Alternatively you can back them each-way (3 places) to win the Championship at odds of 16/1 with Betfred or at 11/8 with Bet365 for a Top 6 Finish.