Our weekly review of the latest betting news with five things for you to consider, including a League One side worth following and a 50/1 Open Championship tip.
1. Cup favourites breeze into round four
There were no huge shocks in the third round of the FA Cup, although Swansea’s defeat to Oxford of League Two made them the highest profile casualty after Liverpool’s youngsters had rescued a draw at Exeter. The three favourites in the betting, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea all breezed into Monday night’s fourth round draw and have all shortened slightly as a result, with City the 5/1 market leaders and the other two at 6s. After narrowly avoiding defeat to Leicester, Tottenham have been pushed out to best price 18/1 with Sky Bet ahead of their replay at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool are now available at best odds of 12/1 with BetVictor and Betfair.
2. Be wary of odds-on Reds
Things are looking a little brighter for Manchester United after their back-to-back wins over Swansea and Sheffield United ended their eight-match run without success, but they look an unconvincing odds-on selection for Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Newcastle at St James’ Park. The price is heavily influenced of course by Newcastle’s run of four consecutive 1-0 defeats, but doesn’t take much account of Louis Van Gaal’s side’s struggles on the road – they haven’t won an away game in any competition since November 21st at Watford and have lost the last three at Wolfsburg, Bournemouth and Stoke. The pressure is still firmly on Van Gaal, who is the strong odds-on favourite in the next Premier League manager to go market. Interestingly, Steve McClaren is a much bigger price, at 11/1 with Paddy Power, and Saturday’s FA Cup exit at Watford won’t have helped his position, with Newcastle still in the relegation places. A win for Van Gaal on Tuesday night would cause a sharp reassessment of the betting.
3. Donny on the up under Ferguson
Doncaster Rovers have flitted between the Championship and League One in recent years and there are signs that they are upwardly mobile again under Darren Ferguson, who has guided the club from the bottom four into mid-table since arriving in October. Since winning only one of their first 10 league games, Donny have won eight of 15, scoring 23 goals in the last 10. Significantly, the goals have started to flow for summer signing Andy Williams, who has scored eight goals in his last 10 league outings. Williams scored 21 goals at this level for Swindon last season before switching to the Keepmoat Stadium, but took some time to settle. Doncaster’s improvement may have come a little too late for them to mount a serious promotion push this season, but they are only six points off the play-off places with 21 games left to go, so it’s not impossible that they could gatecrash the top six. Odds of 66/1 for promotion with Betfair could give you a fun run for your money, or they are Evens with Ladbrokes to finish in the top half.
4. Grace a solid each-way bet for Troon
Branden Grace has emerged as one of the European Tour’s leading lights and the South African was a short-priced favourite for last week’s BMW SA Open, where he shared fourth place to earn his fourth successive top 10 finish and fifth top five in nine events, a run which began at the US PGA Championship. The 27-year-old, who has joined the PGA Tour for the 2016 season, looks increasingly ready to make his mark on the majors, having also finished in a share of fourth place at last year’s US Open. Over the last four seasons his results have been improving year-on-year at the Open and Royal Troon could be where he makes his biggest impact. The 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links champion is a 50/1 chance, which looks a pretty big each-way price for a man ranked 14th in the world.
5. England 15/8 as Jones prepares first squad
New England rugby union head coach Eddie Jones will name his first Elite Player Squad on Wednesday as he continues his preparations for an assault on the RBS 6 Nations, which gets under way on February 6. The Australian, who was appointed in November following England’s dismal World Cup showing, has hinted at plenty of changes in personnel, saying that he expects there to be criticism of some of his selections, and it will be interesting to see whether a significant overhaul has any impact on England’s price for the tournament. They are currently the 15/8 favourites with Coral, with back-to-back champions Ireland a 3/1 chance with Stan James. Wales are best price 10/3 with BetVictor, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes and France are 11/2 with Coral and Stan James. England start their 2016 campaign against Scotland at Murrayfield and are currently 4/9 with Bet365 to win that match.