Our weekly review of the latest betting news, including England odds under new manager Sam Allardyce, plus latest bookmaker offerings for the Olympic Games.
1. Allardyce 20/1 to lead England to World Cup glory
A few short weeks after the departure of Roy Hodgson in the wake of a shock defeat to Iceland, Sam Allardyce has been named as the new manager of England. The former Sunderland boss has just six weeks to prepare for his first match in charge – a trip to Trnava to face Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier on September 4th. Allardyce has been derided for his style of football throughout his managerial career, but there is no question that he has delivered some impressive results, particularly in making Bolton a top-half Premier League team and in leading Sunderland to safety last season. However, whether or not he has the raw materials at his disposal to produce a team the nation can be proud of is another matter entirely. Despite that calamitous defeat in Nice, England are no bigger than 2/5 to win a qualifying group in which Slovakia are the biggest threat, but which also includes Scotland and Slovenia. Although given that England lost to Iceland, we should probably mention Lithuania and Malta too. If you think that the current England squad is more talented than recent events have suggested and that Allardyce is the right man for the job, or if you’ve had a bump on the head, you can get 20/1 at Paddy Power on England winning the World Cup in two years’ time. Why they are a much shorter price than European Champions Portugal at 30/1 is unclear to us.
2. McIlroy 9/1 for third PGA title in five years
Three players – Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day – will tee off this week’s final golf major of the year at odds of 10/1 or shorter, with Jordan Spieth 14/1 and new Open champion Henrik Stenson a 16/1 shot. But if you are thinking of giving the market leaders a swerve for the US PGA at Baltusrol it is worth considering that 6 of the 11 major winners since the start of 2014 have gone off at odds of 16/1 or less, with only Danny Willett at this year’s Masters and Zach Johnson at last year’s Open winning at prices bigger than 50/1. Rory McIlroy, the 2012 PGA champion, was the shortest-priced major winner in recent years when he won for a second time in 2014 at a best price of just 5/1, while Spieth was 9/1 when he won the Masters in 2015. Day was a 14/1 shot when he won the US PGA 12 months ago, becoming the 6th PGA champion in the last 10 to be ranked in the world’s top 5 at the time. However, on the other hand, 2 of the last 7 winners of this tournament – Keegan Bradley and YE Yang – were ranked outside of the world’s top 100 when they won.
3. League leaders Hull can reach Wembley
The semi-finals of rugby league’s Challenge Cup are both live on BBC1 next weekend and the hosts Wigan and Warrington are tipped to progress to the final at the expense of Hull and Wakefield. However, the Super League leaders Hull will fancy their chances of getting to Wembley by beating Wigan at the DW Stadium on Friday night. Hull have already recorded a convincing league win at the DW this season, while they were also winners when they visited Warrington and have won 5 of their last 6 away games. They are 13/10 with Bet365 to defeat the Warriors and reach their second final in four years, while Wakefield, who are currently 8th in Super League, are at 7/2 with Ladbrokes to cause an upset at Warrington on Saturday.
4. Deadly Aguero heads Top Scorer betting
Man City are expected to announce that their star striker Sergio Aguero has signed a new 4-year contract before the start of the new season and the Argentine is the 7/2 favourite to be the Premier League top goalscorer. After scoring 50 league goals over the last two seasons, it’s a reasonable assumption that Aguero will be among the goals again, but he has had plenty of injury concerns during his five years in England and has been top scorer only once. Harry Kane, a 7/1 chance with Bet365, has scored only four goals fewer than the City man over the last two years, while Betfred offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic at 10/1 despite his astonishing tally of 113 league goals in 117 starts during his time with PSG. Jamie Vardy scored 24 goals for Leicester last term – the same number as Aguero and one fewer than Kane – and is available at 16/1, but if you’re looking for an interesting each-way bet then consider Jermain Defoe, who hit 15 goals for a struggling Sunderland side last season, including 11 away from home. Only six players scored more league goals than Defoe, who still looks sprightly at the age of 33. Bet365 are offering 50/1 and paying four places.
5. Farah a short price for Rio double
With just a couple of weeks to go before the start of the Olympics in Rio, several firms are beginning to come out with their prices for the 2016 Games, particularly for the better known sports. Mo Farah is the man most likely to bring back gold for Team GB, with the Londoner at 2/7 with Paddy Power in the 5,000m and 1/4 with Betfred for the 10,000m, having won both titles four years ago. Jess Ennis-Hill is a 6/4 favourite to retain her heptathlon title, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson at 9/4, while Greg Rutherford is 7/4 with Betfred to win the Olympic long jump title he won in London. Andy Murray is another gold medal winner from four years ago and the newly crowned Wimbledon champion is 11/4 to win in Rio, while BetVictor offer the best price of 22/1 that Danny Willett can follow up his Masters triumph with a golfing gold in Brazil. Betfred have been busier than most firms and they are offering 4/5 for Great Britain’s men to win gold in the cycling team pursuit, with the women a 2/1 chance in the same event (a 22/5 double). Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, meanwhile, is a 20/1 shot with Betfred to win the men’s road race.