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15th of October 2018

Sport



Don’t expect another Dragons miracle

THERE would be some serious punter’s lament after week one of NRL finals.

Not only were the Broncos the heaviest favourite across the four games, they were also the best backed and, as mentioned previously in this column, the best backed team for the premiership by a significant margin.

While punters clearly rallied around Brisbane last week, it was nothing compared to what we have seen in terms of support for the Rabbitohs against the Dragons this week.

Aside from their excellent performance against the Broncos last weekend, the Dragons have been incredible lacklustre during the past two months, and that combined with the absence of skipper Gareth Widdop means punters can’t bring themselves to back the Dragons to pull off another September miracle.

In excess of 90 per cent of Ladbrokes hold on the match is with the Bunnies.

That isn’t necessarily uncommon in a regular season fixture, but it’s quite stunning for a final.

Perhaps the 10 per cent siding with St George Illawarra are looking at last year for inspiration, because there is punting precedent.

North Queensland was in free fall without Jonathon Thurston in 2017 and slid all the way down the ladder to almost miss a spot in the finals.

Once there, they pulled off three consecutive wins as heavy underdogs to win their way through to the unlikeliest of grand finals where they ultimately succumbed to the Storm.

Of course, Dragons fans will be hoping any similarities stop at the grand final and not continue into next season, or it will be a 2019 of pain at Kogarah.

AFL

RICHMOND to the near exclusion of any other team.

That is how premiership betting has trended in recent weeks and support for the reigning premiers only increased after they did away with the Hawks last Thursday night.

Melbourne won some fans in ending Geelong’s season and is the next best backed team outside of the premiers but, make no mistake, punters, bookies, even the elderly lady across the street, all think it’s Tiger Time 2.0.

In terms of this week’s matches, while the Demons are getting love in futures, they are favoured to be eliminated Friday.

Sure, there hasn’t been an avalanche of money on the game but what’s been wagered already is running around two-to-one in Hawthorn’s favour.

After an impressive performance in ousting the Sydney Swans from the premiership race last week, the Giants, as outsiders, are heavily fancied to end Collingwood’s campaign.

Early money is around seven-to-one with GWS, but the volume hasn’t been enough to force a notable shift in the market with, Collingwood easing only slightly from opening quote of $1.60.

NFL

WEEK one is always the toughest punting assignment of the season in the NFL, but this season it threw up less surprises than usual.

However, of the surprises, one was the mother-of-all.

Highly fancied in Super Bowl betting, New Orleans was a 12.5-point favourite against lowly Tampa Bay, complete with a back-up quarterback.

As Philadelphia showed last season when Nick Foles carried them to the Super Bowl, back-up quarterbacks aren’t necessarily a death knell.

A career back-up in many respects, Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like the love child of Tom Brady and Joe Montana on Monday, steering the Buccaneers to an unlikely week one road win in a high scoring shootout.

Baltimore was the other heavy favourite of the week, but they had no such problem.

They didn’t just beat the line of 7.5, they crushed it, winning 48-3.

Aaron Rodgers led the biggest comeback of his career and the greatest fourth quarter comeback in the 100-year history of the Green Bay Packers, but it wasn’t enough for one Ladbrokes punter.

An hour before the start of the Sunday Night Football fixture, the said punter parted with $75,000 on the Packers covering a 7-point line, only to see them win by one, 24-23.

If having a bet this week or any week, just take whoever plays the Bills and back them at the line.

This week it’s the Chargers and the line is just 7, which does not look like anywhere near enough.

INTRUST SUPER CUP

HAVE the Easts Tigers found form at the right time?

The Tigers have scored 72 points to 20 during the Intrust Super Cup Finals to date, but they will still go into this preliminary final against the Burleigh Bears as clear outsiders.

Burleigh beat the Tigers by 30 points when the two sides met in the final round of the regular season and, if they can repeat that performance, the $1.65 available for a Bears win does look like serious value.

That is definitely the opinion of the majority of Ladbrokes punters and the cash already wagered is running around three-to-one in Burleigh’s favour.

Waiting for the winner of this game in the grand final are the Redcliffe Dolphins and they are $1.50 to win their first premiership since 2006.

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

IT is amazing what a win can do for punters confidence.

The Wallabies ended their losing streak with a fighting victory over South Africa and they will go into this weekend’s clash with Argentina as dominant favourites.

Argentina have not beaten Australia in Australia since their famous win at Ballymore in 1983, but they did give the Wallabies a serious scare the last time these sides met at Cbus Super Stadium in 2014.

The Pumas were not disgraced against New Zealand last weekend and it would not surprise if Argentina gave the Wallabies a serious challenge, which means the $3.60 currently available with Ladbrokes does appeal,

BEST BETTING

RACING

Humidor beat a similar field to this to win the Memsie Stakes last start at Caulfield and he is even better suited in the Makybe Diva Stakes. Flemington is the ideal track for him, he has recorded four wins from seven starts at a mile and he won this race in impressive fashion 12 months ago.

Humidor To Win the Makybe Diva Stakes @ $4.20

NRL

The Cronulla Sharks have won their past five games against the Penrith Panthers and should prove too strong for their rivals. The Sharks were not disgraced against the Sydney Roosters last weekend and they play a brand of rugby league that is ideal for the finals.

Sharks to cover the line (-3.5 Points) against the Panthers

AFL

There is not as much between Hawthorn and Melbourne as the current betting market suggests. Hawthorn lost no admirers with their effort against Richmond and they beat Melbourne comfortably earlier this season. Melbourne failed to put away Geelong in the first half last weekend and they can’t afford to do that against the Hawks.

Hawthorn to beat the Demons @ $2.75

NFL

The Pittsburgh Steelers did not play well in their season opener against the Cleveland Browns, and the Kansas City Chiefs recorded a comfortable win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs were a profitable betting side as away underdogs last season and their high-powered offence can cause the Steelers plenty of issues.

Chiefs to beat the Steelers @ $2.95

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