Our weekly review of the latest betting news with five things for you to consider, including the latest odds for Euro 2016 and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
1. Favourable draw sees France odds cut
France have shortened for the Euro 2016 title after Saturday’s draw in Paris gave them a favourable group comprising Romania, Albania and Switzerland, three of the lower ranked teams in the betting. The tournament hosts were 7/2 across the board but have been well-backed since the draw. Their price has been cut with every firm with the exception of Paddy Power, who have pushed them out to a top price of 7/2. Several bookmakers have even made France their new favourites ahead of Germany, although the world champions remain a best price of 10/3 after being drawn to face Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland. England, who will face Wales, Russia and Slovakia in the group phase, are a best price of 12/1 with Betfair. Among the more interesting outsiders are 40/1 shots Austria, who qualified with 9 wins and a draw ahead of Russia and Sweden and who have every chance of a top two – or even first place – finish in a group made up of Portugal, neighbours Hungary and Iceland.
2. Chelsea favourites to keep Foxes off the top
Monday’s Premier League clash between Leicester and Chelsea is one of the most fascinating of an unusual season so far, as the two teams go into the match in third and 16th place respectively – roughly a straight swap of where they were expected to be at this stage. Leicester were 5000/1 shots for the title in September but can now be backed at 33/1 as they bid to return to the summit with a win on Monday, while Chelsea are 66/1 having gone off 2/1 favourites back in August. Nevertheless, it is Jose Mourinho’s side who are the favourites at the King Power Stadium at 11/8, with Leicester available at 21/10. Manchester City remain the 5/4 favourites (generally) for a third title in five seasons, but they were very fortunate to beat Swansea on Saturday as they continue to play well below their best. Arsenal, who face City next week, are in to best odds of 15/8 with Bet365 after their convincing win at Villa. That’s possibly a little too big, but there have been so many shifts in momentum this season already that it’s unusually tough to predict where the betting will go next.
3. Bookies can’t separate Lee and Saunders
A busy December schedule of top class boxing concludes next Saturday night in Manchester as Andy Lee defends his WBO world middleweight title against Billy Joe Saunders, in a bout which has twice been postponed this year because of injuries to either fighter. Successive weekends have seen victories for Tyson Fury, Anthony Crolla and Anthony Joshua. For the bookies, this is the closest of them all with very few firms coming down on either side – Coral buck the trend by offering Saunders at 11/10 but most layers make it 10/11 for either man. Lee has won 24 of his 37 fights by knockout, while Saunders has claimed 12 of his 22 scalps in the same manner, and so the action promises to be explosive – Saunders is available at 13/2 with Coral to KO the defending champion.
4. Money floods in for League legend Sinfield
Andy Murray is now the even money favourite for next weekend’s Sports Personality of the Year award with Jessica Ennis-Hill next up at 2/1, but there has been a late move in the betting for Leeds Rhinos star Kevin Sinfield, the first rugby league player to be nominated for the award. Sinfield’s career ended in October after a glorious season in which he captained his club to the first domestic treble in their history, in the process becoming the first man to captain four title-winning sides. He has been backed in from 40/1 to best odds of 13/2 (Coral & Betfred) since the start of the month and although he’s from a minority sport, his achievements perhaps merit the recognition as much as any of the others on the shortlist.
5. Sky Blues impress despite first defeat in 12
In October we tipped up Coventry as a great outside bet for the League One title at odds of 33/1 after being impressed by the work their experienced boss Tony Mowbray had done in the early weeks of the season. On Sunday the Sky Blues lost for the first time in 12 league games, going down 1-0 at Sheffield United. It was a very even contest which might well have gone Coventry’s way – they were denied a goal when a linesman failed to notice that the ball had crossed the line, while Blades defender Jay McEveley escaped what seemed a certain red for an awful challenge in the first half with the score at 0-0. Following their defeat, Coventry have been eased to 9/2 in the title betting with BetVictor, but they are second in the table and have home games against Port Vale and Oldham next as they bid to extend their unbeaten record at the Ricoh Arena.