Our weekly review of the latest betting news with five things for you to consider, including (get your violins out) “the worst Cheltenham ever” for bookmakers.
1. Punters on top after favourites romp home at Cheltenham
A string of short-priced winners ensured that the Cheltenham Festival did not go well for the bookies, except in the context of turnover, as cash-rich punters kept coming back for more over the course of a four-day feast for favourite backers. In total, ten favourites won their races at the Festival, including three of the four championship races (the other went to second favourite Sprinter Sacre). Only three horses (Min, Un De Sceaux and Yanworth) were beaten at shorter than 2/1 and they all finished second to the second-favourite. Indeed, only the very last race of the Festival was won by a horse priced at odds that were above 16/1. David Williams of Ladbrokes said: “We can’t get out of Cheltenham fast enough. Bookies are being carried out on stretchers whilst punters are hiring cranes to help them take the cash away.” They will be hoping to dodge another big payout for the Grand National at Aintree in a little under three weeks’ time for which Many Clouds heads the betting at 9/1 – the only runner currently in single figures.
2. Australian duo cut for Green Jacket
Jason Day enjoyed a run of electric form last summer, winning the PGA Championship, The Barclays event and the BMW Championship in the space of five weeks and a return to form at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational event has sparked significant interest in the Australian for next month’s Masters. With his price shrinking from 11/1 to 8/1 over the weekend, he is now vying for the favourite’s tag with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. The other big mover in the Masters betting is another Australian – Adam Scott has been in great nick in the last few weeks and the 2013 Augusta champion has been cut from 33/1 to 12/1 to earn a second Green Jacket.
3. Root keeps England in the hunt
By successfully completing the second highest run chase in international T20 history against South Africa on Friday, England kept their World Cup hopes alive in scintillating fashion. Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy had taken apart some tame England bowling before Jason Roy led a remarkable fightback, blitzing 43 off 16 balls. Joe Root, such an accomplished Test batsman, then displayed his suitability for the quickfire version of the sport by smashing 83 off 44 deliveries to set up an unlikely victory. England, who face Afghanistan and Sri Lanka next, are now best price 8/1 with Bet365 for their second title in this competition. Hosts India remain the favourites at a stand-out 3/1 with Stan James, with New Zealand the 9/2 second favourites and then the West Indies at 5/1.
4. West Ham in the wings as City & United tussle for fourth
Manchester United are now just a single point behind Manchester City after beating their neighbours 1-0 at the Etihad on Sunday. Marcus Rashford’s first-half goal settled a contest between two clubs who have under-performed this season and it looks increasingly like one, or both, will miss out on Champions League football next season. With Leicester and Tottenham looking assured of their places and Arsenal a little more secure after their win at Everton, City are 8/13 and United 2/1 to finish in the top four. But rather than back either of them, take a look at West Ham, who appear to be the value selection at 8/1 with BetVictor following their 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Saturday.
5. Flying Foxes 8/13 for dramatic title win
Another 1-0 away win at the weekend for Leicester, who far from appearing on the brink of a meltdown, look like a side accustomed to fighting for the title. Their assuredness is one of the most remarkable aspects of the most unlikely title challenge not just since the beginning of the Premier League, but in living memory. Tottenham pegged them back to a 5-point lead with their cruise against Bournemouth on Sunday, but Leicester are still no bigger than 8/13 with Ladbrokes to complete the job they began as 5000/1 outsiders in August. Bet365 are now offering Spurs at 11/4, with Arsenal out to 7/1 with BetVictor.