As the sporting focus of the country turns towards Cheltenham, there are still a few minor distractions in the sporting world to entertain us whilst the anticipation builds. There are important domestic and European football matches, the start of the Formula 1 world championships in Bahrain, the first test against Bangladesh and one of the all-time greatest boxers in action. Here are some sporting previews and some sporting tips:-
Formula 1 – Alonso hot in Bahrain
We previewed the F1 season in our article last week and look forward excitedly to the first race of the season on Sunday. The Ferrari F10 of Fernando Alonso seemed the most advanced during the official practise sessions in Spain last month, and although he does not represent great value to win the Drivers Championship at odds as low as 2/1, the Ferrari team certainly appeared more prepared for the start of the season than some of its competitors. Generally available at around 11/4 for the race, we feel that he is a fair price.
However, we have a whisper that Kamui Kobayashi was also burning up the track in Jerez three weeks ago in his BMW Sauber, and although we are sorely tempted by the 2/1 on offer from Blue Sq for him to finish in the top 6 places on Sunday, we prefer the Sporting Index spread of 57 – 63 points over the season. With points being awarded for places down to tenth, Kobayashi needs to finish in the top 6 only eight times in the nineteen race season for the bet to start showing a profit. Alternatively, should he do well in the first couple of races (as we suspect), the price of the trade will increase and you should be able to sell fairly early in the season and be certain of making a gain.
Cricket – Who is Tim Bresnan?
This weekend, England´s cricketers take on Bangladesh in Chittagong for only the third meeting between the two teams in test history. Having won all the previous encounters, and hot favourites with the bookies to extend that run, England are unbackable. However, when looking elsewhere for some value, we believe we have come across an outstanding betting opportunity.
Bowler Tim Bresnan has risen quietly through the ranks at Yorkshire, and made his first appearance in England´s test side when debuting against the West Indies in May 2009. His bowling contribution of 3/45 v West Indies in their second innings at Durham, together with his tenacity in the lower order of England´s batting tail, have seen him included in the squad for the spring tour of Pakistan and Bangladesh, where he has already performed with credit.
On his first overseas tour, he has taken wickets against Pakistan in the 20/20 series and was England´s leading wicket-taker in the three recent one day internationals against Bangladesh. Being generally available at odds of 7/1 to be England´s leading wicket-taker during the two match test series represents exceptionally good value.
The first test starts on Friday 12th March at 3.30am (GMT)
For an invaluable and intriguing look into all past and present cricketing statistics, visit www.howstat.com
Boxing – Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. The greatest boxer ever seen?
In the early hours of Sunday morning, another one-sided event takes place when seven division titlist, Manny Pacquiao takes on Joshua Clottey at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Texas in defence of his WBO welterweight title. Pacquiao holds the incredible record of holding a world championship boxing crown at seven different weights, and last year effectively finished the boxing career of Manchester´s Ricky Hatton with a second round KO in Las Vegas. Clottey has regularly been on the verge of being a champion at this weight, and has a reputation for having a durable chin; however 38 of Pacquiao´s 50 victories have come inside the distance.
We imagine that this is going to be the case again, and having reviewed Pacquiao´s impressive career (full details on wikipedia), we notice that in his latest fights it is taking the vicious Southpaw fighter longer to defeat his opponents. Only twice in the last 5 years – a period covering ten fights – has “PacMan” won within eight rounds. Ladbrokes and Corals are offering odds of 7/1 for a victory in rounds 10, 11 or 12, and we feel that taking advantage of their generosity could be well rewarded.