Champions League betting fans will still be buzzing from last nights nail-biter between Manchester Utd and Barcelona. The home side managed to cling on to an early lead, courtesy of that little terrier Scholes who never ceases to impress both in terms of skill and tenacity. United will now go to Moscow in three weeks to meet either Chelsea or Liverpool and football betting fans are speculating not just on who will win but, if Chelsea get through, whether or not one of them might win the double.
Its that close and an unusually exciting end to the season. Chelseas chances of getting to Moscow are rated by the bookies who are offering 5/4 while Liverpool are given just a 3/1 chance. Amazingly, Gerrard concurs with this analysis and recognises the strength of Chelsea at home. Nevertheless, astute online betting enthusiasts will recall how many rabbits Liverpool have pulled out of the hat in the Champions League and will be wondering if there are any left in there for this time.
As for the double, Chelsea is neck and neck with Manchester United having evened matters by winning their Premier match with them last week. It would be a reckless punter who failed to see that Avram Grants team might just seize the spoils at the last minute. This may well be all sorted out on 11 May, the last day of the season and, if Chelsea takes the honours, Alex Ferguson will not be very happy and their encounter, should it happen, with Manchester United on 21 May in Moscow will be very interesting indeed.
Sunday marks the onset of the European Formula 1 season and the Barcelona race will reveal for motor racing betting enthusiasts the performance potential of the teams under more normal conditions of temperature and humidity. Lewis Hamilton is obviously keen to get his season back on track and put the errors of Bahrain behind him. Having crashed during the practice sessions, stalled on the grid, rear-ended former team mate, Alonso and come 13th, he will no doubt want to learn from those mistakes and claims he now feels more comfortable in the new car.
Hamilton is happy to be back in Europe where he feels closer to home. The whole team are excited about changes to the car which they feel can give them a bit of an edge over principal rivals, Ferrari. Hamiltons team mate, Heikki Kovalainen, who has beaten him in the last two races, is someone to watch. Fellow drivers describe him as extremely competitive and perhaps another in-house battle for supremacy may be looming.
The teams have been putting their cars through their paces over the last four days and everyone is keen to see how improvements will affect the strengths of the teams. Ferrari has a new vented nose cone which is intended to improve aerodynamics but seem oddly coy about discussing its merits. They deny reports in the Italian press that it is some sort of secret weapon which will leave their rivals strewn about in their wake.
The Spanish Grand Prix is an important race for Formula 1 Betting betting fans. Traditionally a bit of a boring race, this year more will be revealed here than has been so far in the other three races of the season and nowhere more so than in the closely fought and exciting battle between McLaren and Ferrari.
Pennsylvania Primary Tue 22 April – Judgement day looms in the political betting world for Hilary Clinton in her seemingly doomed efforts to secure the Democratic nomination for the forthcoming presidential election. Online betting enthusiasts have enjoyed a roller coaster of a campaign with ups and downs for both she and Barack Obama in a contest which has now degenerated into mudslinging of a kind rarely seen outside of Republican v. Democrat electioneering. Senior Democrat officials are concerned that lasting damage is being done to both candidates.
Tomorrows Pennsylvania Primary should sort things out, though, with Hilary needing a double figure victory to stay in the race. Right now she is about six points ahead of Obama but the gap is closing and its not looking good for her. Not a quitter she will have to be dragged out of the race but there seems little likelihood of her surviving beyond tomorrow. With betting on Obama at around 2/9 and Clinton 3/1 theres not much fun to be had there anyway.
Which leaves the intriguing prospect of a John McCain vs Barack Obama presidential race. McCain is currently offered at 5/4 to be the next President while Obama is set at evens. Barack fans should note, however that online betting sites are offering 7/4 on a Democrat victory while the Republicans are given a 5/4 chance.
If a week is a long time in politics then seven months must be several lifetimes and much can happen before November. Nobody seems to have noticed, for example, the similarity in names of the Republican candidate and Die Hard hero, John McClane. Were talking America here. Its things like this that can make the difference.
Boxing betting fans and Calzaghe worshippers alike appear to regard this fight as a foregone conclusion. Calzaghe is odds-on favourite for punters looking for free bets to begin their Calzaghe betting campaign. Bernard Hopkins, at 43, is seen as a man past his prime who will put up a skilled opposition to our Joe but will run out of steam in the seventh or eighth round. Its hard to argue with this analysis but can we be sure that Hopkins, self-styled as The Executioner, but seen as more like The Fox by his trainer, hasnt got a trick or two up his wily sleeve?
Hopkins trainer is Freddie Roach and he believes his camp has come up with an effective plan to beat Calzaghe. He sees the Welshman as having an unorthodox style of boxing which can be addressed and undermined by his opponent using a combination of style and experience. Roach points out that Calzaghe always fights the same fight and has never faced an opponent like Hopkins who has deciphered his opponents method and knows how to neutralise it. He also reckons his age is not an issue with the belief that its about the beatings you have taken, none in his case, rather than the years.
Theres one thing for sure, it wont be a walkover. Calzaghes fans will go through some nail biting moments while Hopkins exercises his still powerful and punishing right hand. Every trick he has learned in his 20 year professional career will be brought to bear on the Welshman. Sports betting fans may disagree with this but it might be worth a look at the various online betting options beyond the simple result to maximise the chance of coming out on top. And dont forget that live betting will be widely available for those wanting to keep up with the ups and downs of these two impressive opponents.
The MotoGP betting season took another unexpected turn last Sunday at Estoril when Jorge Lorenzo cruised to a win in the Portuguese Grand Prix. The Yamaha rider, in pole position for the first three races of this tears season, kept fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa behind him to match his 61 points in the rider standings. This is a wide open season for sports betting fans and it may well take a couple more races before we can see who will be the dominant player.
Lorenzos team mate, Valentino Rossi, claimed third place, leaving Colin Edwards in fourth. Defending champion, Casey Stoner, suffered problems with a loose television camera and came sixth just ahead of Britains James Toseland. The Briton put his disappointing place down to a lack of experience with not knowing just how far he could push things in the sometimes rainy conditions. Toseland also has a new engine and needs a race or two to get the measure of it.
Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi were first off the blocks with Rossi taking an immediate lead. Half way through the race, Lorenzo saw his chance and seized the moment to pass Rossi and pull away. Lorenzo described it as a move of perfection and the day the happiest of his life.
Betting fans will be scratching their heads and wondering what the May 4th meet in China will bring. The circuit was only completed last year and has only been used once in the Formula One race there. There are winding turns and very fast straights with plenty of opportunity to overtake. In Rossis own words, I think the circuit will be very good; it is wide, fast and technical.
Prepare for another great contest with free bets from the bookies who cover this growing motor sport.
Another fantastic Masters from Augusta with all the nail biting, joy and disappointment that this event never fails to bring. Sports betting fans will salute a superb achievement from Trevor Immelman in his domination of the tournament from the opening tee shot. A day of joy for the bookies and disappointment for Tiger Woods fans after the favourite failed to find his zone and produced a series of critical errors. It is worth observing, though, that while producing some of the weakest play we have seen from Woods in recent times, the great man still came second, only three shots off the pace.
It was also a depressing time for English players who have, once again, shown that they are unable to maintain the focus to capitalise on early outstanding performances and achieve a placing inside the top ten. This was particularly notable with Paul Casey who looked like an achiever until the final day when he buckled. Lee Westwood maintained his standard of play but couldnt putt while Justin Rose succumbed to frustration and played himself out of contention. Ian Poulter fell away too.
Its also great to see that intense sport can be played with an old fashioned observance of rules, etiquette and modesty without diminishing in the slightest degree the fantastic excitement of the competition.
Online betting fans will now be looking to the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on 17-20th July. Tigers hopes of a Grand Slam are now out of the window but he will still want another major in the bag in his quest to be all time number one. Immelman will be there but you wont get 260/1 on him again Im afraid
Betting fans who thought the replacement of Sam Allardyce with Kevin Keegan was a catastrophic error which could only be made by a club suffering terminal panic and self-delusion are now faced with the depressing task of contemplating the possibility that they might have been wrong.
Smug righteousness prevailed for a while. With Keegan accumulating a mere two points from seven matches following Allardyces 26 prior to his sacking in January, it looked like the anti-Keegan brigade had got it right and that the Toon were going down.
And then a miracle occurred. Newcastle embarked on a win/draw streak that produced ten points from four games and put them in what must surely be a place safe from relegation. How, what, why who knows? You have to believe it must be King Kev come back to life.
Keegan is a good communicator so long as you dont stop to analyse the content too much. His strength lies in his inherent sincerity and speaking is merely a vehicle to put this across. Couple this with his optimism and warmth and you have a cocktail of attitude sure to drive the cynics wild.
True, he has had his past failures – which have been monumental in some instances. Looking back though, the one that stands out is his resignation as England manager on the grounds of his own self-admission that he wasnt up to the job. The tendency was to revile him for his failure but its a rare thing these days for anyone in public life to admit his limitations and step aside for a better manager to take his place. Thats what I remember and thats why, through gritted teeth, when all is said and done, this cynic wishes him well.
The US masters is upon us once again and the golf betting world is relishing the prospect of as good a tournament as there ever has been. Records abound with Tiger Woods going for his fifth green jacket to overtake Arnold Palmer and match Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear. Whats more, Woods took the Masters in 2001 having won the last three majors of 2000 and this year hes going for all four in the same year. Its fifty years since Palmer first won here and fifty years since Amen Corner was christened by golf writer Herbert Warren Wind. Gary Player is competing in a record fifty one Masters thus breaking the record he shares with Palmer for the most consecutive appearances.
The Augusta National, sometimes called the Holy Grail, is not just THE most beautiful golf course it is also Americas best attempt at the perfect golf course. In American terms it has achieved its aims with a massively challenging test of each aspect of the golfers game from tee to final put. Its sheer distance demands the longest drive and approaches have to be pin-point accurate. Pin placement draws the maximum focus from the player who must use near divinely imaginative weight and direction to hole the ball.
Augustas excellence has been achieved through science and reason, mathematics and geometry. Very different from a British approach where St. Andrews Old Course and Turnberry Ailsa Course spring to mind. These courses were designed using intuitive mechanics based on wind and natural contour, rough and bunker. A canny eye would be brought to bear in favour of the slide rule.
Weather will be a big factor at Augusta. If its wet the long hitters, such as Woods and Mickelson, Els and Goosen will be to the fore. Long carry will be vital if the approach is to be accurate. Experience is an issue too with Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter having been here a few times and hitting well right now. Last years winner, Zach Johnson has shown the steely nerve to negotiate the infamous Amen Corner four times in four days and display the skill and timing to unseat Tiger Woods.
V.J. Singh, a previous winner is at an amazing 50/1 and Padraig Harrington, on good form, at 30/1 has to be a good bet. Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker will be on the leader board and a little rumour going around says place your bets on rank outsider, Trevor Immleman. But remember this, online sports betting fans, its not over until the fat lady sings and, at Augusta, the fat lady is the back nine on the final day.
Motor Racing betting fans get ready now for the third of the 18 races of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship on Sunday 13th April – the Grande Premio de Portugal at the Estoril Circuit. Casey Stoners determination to prove his critics wrong and hang on to the title he surprisingly snatched in the 2007 season is already under major challenge. Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa has taken the lead following his two podium finishes from Qatar and his victory at Jerez where he took first place giving the Spaniard the top spot with 41 points on the board.
Pedrosas fellow countryman, Fiat Yamahas Jorge Lorenzo, is only five points behind and has also occupied the podium twice in the first two events. Lorenzo is reigning World 250cc Champion and his rookie year in the top flight has seen him become the man to beat in qualifying, with two pole positions already this year. Keep an eye on him in Estoril.
Lorenzos team mate, Italian Valentino Rossi, has played his part in putting their Fiat Yamaha employers at the top of the team standings after his second place podium spot at Jerez. Rossi sits in third place with 31 points. Casey Stoner, after a disappointing placing in Jerez, is now ten points off the pace with 30 points while Britains James Toseland lies in sixth place with 20 points although this could change now that James has finally taken delivery of his new engine with its added firepower.
Nicky Hayden, the 2006 World Champion, has seen a marked improvement from his new Honda and will be looking for a podium position in Portugal. In fact, this season looks wide open and could provide some very good prices for MotoGP betting fans. Time to sign up and pick up a few of the free bets on offer from any number of online betting sites.
There are only a couple of weeks to go before the start of the English 2008 County Championship season and a cloud of uncertainty hangs over cricket betting enthusiasts and the cricketing community. Since the formation of two Twenty20 competitions, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and the Indian Premier League (IPL) the threat of English players deserting the county game and signing up for the lucrative Twenty20 teams has caused much concern among the authorities who are now threatening all manner of sanctions to halt this exodus.
The controlling authority for world cricket, the ICC, sanctioned the formation of the IPL to combat the threat to their authority posed by the rebel ICL. Money talks though, and a number of players have signed up for the IPL despite having contracts to play within their own home competitions. Hampshire professional, Dimitri Mascarenhas, is the first English player to sign up for the IPL. He has been signed for £50,000 by Jaipur and will play for them for some of this summer and over the next two years. Hampshire will be compensated for the loss of Mascarenhas for six games and are said to be happy with the situation.
More worrying, though, is the effect that these changes will have on test cricket. The Indian leagues offer huge earnings for cricketers and a maximum of 44 playing days in a season. Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, who has signed up for the IPL, hits the nail on the head when he wonders where it will lead. Players will have more time to spend with their families and have the money to retire early. Undoubtedly all cricketing authorities are going to have to monitor the situation and perhaps establish their own Twenty20 leagues. Perhaps they will then be able to control the influence of Twenty20 on the world game so that test cricket doesnt disappear altogether a possibility that would disappoint fans of online betting everywhere.