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Australian Open Tennis Tips: Fucsovics can Kick on to fourth round
THE third round of the men’s singles at the 2018 Australian Open completes on Saturday, with eight matches scheduled on day six at Melbourne Park.
Andrey Rublev was a set short against Grigor Dimitrov on Friday in what was a pretty awful match in which the pair combined for a total of 120 unforced errors in four sets.
The heat probably didn’t help the quality of the match, but it was disappointing that Rublev wasn’t able to do more against another below par showing from Dimitrov.
The extreme heat period has left us and it’s back to a more manageable 25C in the shade in Melbourne on Saturday, but it’ll still be quite windy, with 23kph gusts expected.
Three underdogs appeal on Saturday, with Adrian Mannarino, Hyeon Chung and Julien Benneteau those that I like the look of at decent prices.
Dominic Thiem vs Adrian Mannarino
One of the factors that makes the Australian Open a real challenge for punters (apart from the time difference for us Europeans) is the heat and ability or lack of it of the players to recover.
It’s virtually impossible to know how Thiem will shape up after being forced to come from two sets down to beat Denis Kudla on a brutally hot day on Thursday and all we can do is look at precedents in that regard.
Novak Djokovic described conditions on Thursday as: “the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in,” and Thiem was playing at lunchtime for almost four hours, so the Austrian had it tougher than most.
Thiem has only ever played two five set matches at hard court majors in the past, winning them both and backing up with straight set wins the next round, but both were at the US Open and doing it here is another challenge.
His opponent on Saturday, Adrian Mannarino, was another that suffered in the heat for over three hours, so perhaps the heat exhaustion won’t be that much of a factor in this one. What interests me is the match-up.
It doesn’t look to me to be the easiest of match-ups for Thiem on a fast hard court, with Mannarino playing very flat and rushing the Austrian, so it’s surprising in that sense that Thiem is 6-0 against the Frenchman.
Looking deeper into their series the reason for the dominance becomes slightly clearer, with Mannarino folding badly after failing to serve out the opening set, losing the next seven games and essentially the match from a good position when they met in New York last season.
The time before that, also in 2017, was in Cincy at Masters level when Mannarino had two set points to win the opener (after Thiem had failed to serve it out) and was beaten 7-6, 7-6.
Other than on clay, where you’d expect Thiem to win with few problems, Mannarino has proven a tricky opponent for the Austrian and with more belief Mannarino could have won several of their career matches.
Maybe now after a great 12 months in which he’s compiled service hold/break stats that are very similar to those of Thiem on outdoor hard at main level the Frenchman can use these fast conditions to finally get a win over his rival.
Mannarino weighs in with a fine hold/break total of 107.3 (80% holds/27.3% breaks), with Thiem just ahead on 109.2 and in conditions and facing an opponent that are far from ideal for Thiem and after a bruising five setter in brutal heat he looks vulnerable here.
The flat hitting of Denis Kudla certainly caused plenty of problems for Thiem in the last round and on the same Margaret Court Arena as that match was played on it’ll be disappointing if Mannarino doesn’t go close on Saturday.
I had hoped for a bigger price on Hyeon Chung than 2.55 in his clash with Alexander Zverev on Rod Laver Arena at around 02:00 UK time and this looks too short.
Chung was a comfortable winner over Zverev on clay last season and while the German was much improved against Peter Gojowczyk in the last round he’s still a sketchy wager at short prices in majors for me.
The ease in the end of Chung’s win over Sydney champion Daniil Medvedev and the fairly average displays so far from Zverev this year have made Chung a bit short and he was facing a very tired opponent in very hot conditions in Medvedev.
So, I’ll pass on that one, and instead have a wager in what could well be a bit of a mismatch between two of the third round’s ‘lesser lights’.
Marton Fucsovics vs Nicolas Kicker
Former Wimbledon junior champion Fucsovics has taken his time to make his mark on the main tour, but he’s ben showing plenty of signs of finally doing so over the last six months or so.
Some fine performances have now culminated in a third round of a major thanks to a good win over Sam Querrey, who came into his clash with Fucsovics saying “I feel my game is at an all-time high. I’m striking the ball well and my confidence is high, and confidence is the most important thing in those big matches.”
Clearly that didn’t work out too well for Querrey, but he was outplayed by the improving Fucsovics and this clash against clay specialist Kicker looks like it should be a comfortable one for the Hungarian – provided he doesn’t get nervous.
Kicker is one of the most unlikely players to have made round three of a hardcourt major in recent times and he’s taken advantage of a poor Jordan Thompson and Lukas Lacko, who couldn’t handle the extreme heat.
In his half a dozen main level matches on outdoor hard Kicker has held serve only 66.1% of the time and Fucsovics dealt with him easily in Pune a few weeks ago, winning 6-0, 6-3.
Fast hard courts don’t allow Kicker the time he needs and what a great chance this is for Fucsovics to go on and play Roger Federer in the fourth round of a major.
The 3-0 to him or the -6.5 games look the wagers here.
Speaking of Roger Federer, surely the Swiss maestro won’t be losing to Richard Gasquet in the night match on Laver on Saturday night?
Gasquet’s very deep court position allows Federer to tee off and on a quick surface like this one on Laver the defending champion will get more than enough chances to break the Gasquet serve.
In their last 10 matches against each other on all surfaces Gasquet has held his serve only 63.8% of the time (Federer 94%) and in their seven career clashes on outdoor hard the Frenchman has only held 62.4% of the time (Federer again 94%).
The Gasman did play better than usual during their Shanghai clash last time, but it’s hard to see Federer not winning this one comfortably.
The final betting possibility is to take Julien Benneteau as a 3.05 chance against Fabio Fognini, who’s lost five of his last 12 as a 1.50 favourite or shorter on outdoor hard at main level.
My concern here is what Benny’s win over David Goffin in the heat took out of him, but backing Fognini at that price is dangerous, as he showed at the US Open last summer when losing to Stefano Travaglia as a 1.17 chance.
Both my outright Juan Martin Del Potro and his round three opponent Tomas Berdych suffered in the heat in round two and hopefully Delpo has recovered sufficiently to be able to compete here.
The Berdman’s hold/break stats against my ‘top-10 quality’ of opposition are weak, with 75.9% holds and 11.2% breaks, losing nine of 10 matches and if fit Delpo should be coming out on top there.
Tennys Sandgren has lost four of his last five matches at all levels to lefties (three in the last four months to Cameron Norrie) and I prefer the attacking game of Maximilian Marterer in that one, but how well has the German come out of that five setter in the heat against Fernando Verdasco?
Finally, Novak Djokovic is likely to be too much for Albert Ramos on a quick hard court, but 1.10 is a tad short this early into the Serb’s comeback and after a match in brutal heat last round.
Sean’s best bets
- 1 point win Mannarino to beat Thiem (3.35, Unibet)
- 1 point win Fucsovics -6.5 games to beat Kicker (1.88, Unibet)
Mr Fixit’s Top Tips: Back some weather beaters
IT promises to be a testing Saturday and that’s just for any fans trying to get to games.
Already in the Scottish Cup the matches at Peterhead v Dumbarton and Livingston v Falkirk are off and there are other inspections planned in the morning so keep an eye out for call-offs. The Fraserburgh v Rangers Sunday game is also in doubt.
Note sure how bad it is in England but bound to get various weather reports on the site.
I’ve toned down my bets the last two Saturdays and that’s resulted in profit but it’s harder today especially as I look at a lot of the Scottish games.
Again my picks are goals based but there’s no Peterhead v Dumbarton overs which was going to be my Super Single at 9-10. Instead I’ve plumped for Oxford against doomed Bury.
On Friday night Greg was one short of over 1.5 match goals in Ligue 1 on a night when all the Dutch games bar went over 2.5 goals. The exception was Top Oss v Jong Utrecht and luckily for Jordan his tip was Top Oss to win and over 1.5 so well done there.
I’ve posted Scottish and English previews where most of my picks are reasoned.
Remember to visit welovebetting for latest tips and video chat.
2pts Super Single
1pt Moneyback Fivefold
- Aston Villa
- St Johnstone
- Atletico Madrid (3.15pm)
- (10-1, McBookie)
* Stake back as free bet for 1 wrong
2pts Scots Goals Treble
- Ayr v Arbroath btts
- East Fife v Brora btts
- Stranraer v Raith over 2.5 goals
- (15-4, Marathonbet)
1pt English Both to Score Treble
- West Ham v Bournemouth
- Plymouth v Wigan
- Rotherham v Portsmouth
- (9-2, Ladbrokes)
1pt Euro Goals Treble
- Freiburg v RB Leipzig (2.30pm)
- Borussia M’Gladbach v Augsburg (2.30pm)
- Espanyol v Sevilla (12pm)
- (41-10, 10Bet)
1pt Aways Treble
January Super Singles Total
- Profit/loss: +6.6pts (9 bets, 5 winners)
January Advised Accas Total
- Profit/loss: -2.1pt (22 bets, 6 winners)
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English Football Tips: Lambo needs to play Trump card
MAN CITY’S defeat at Liverpool last week won’t stop them strolling to the title but at the other end there is a fascinating fight to avoid the drop.
Just 10 points separate the Premier League’s bottom 12 so it’s no surprise chairmen get edgy if their club loses three or four on the spin.
The three sides occupying the relegation places have all changed managers this season while above them Everton, West Ham and Crystal Palace brought in experienced men who have all been instant successes.
Paul Lambert is the latest boss to join the drop fight after replacing Mark Hughes at Stoke. His appointment is probably the most underwhelming of the season and Potteries fans would have been less surprised if Donald Trump had taken over.
Huddersfield are 2-1 at BetVictor and provide Lambo’s first opponents at the Britannia today. It’s vital the Scot gets off to a fast start but this is a tough test.
David Wagner’s visitors will press and press and make like uncomfortable for a side lacking in confidence. New bosses usually give clubs a bounce but I’m backing the draw here at 12-5 with McBookie.
Everton’s fast start under Sam Allardyce has been halted which is probably why they were so keen to sign Theo Walcott as well as striker Cenk Tosun.
It’s six without a win but I’m on the Toffees at 6-5 with Marathonbet to get back on track at home to West Brom.
West Ham and Bournemouth both fielded weakened teams in midweek FA Cup replays ahead of today’s meeting in London.
The Hammers are now unbeaten in six and are evens with *** to pick up the points. With doubts about the future of Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez boss Davie Moyes has given Marko Arnautovic a free role in attack and he’s responded with five goals in seven outings.
The Austrian was one of those left out against Shrewsbury and is 6-1 at Sky Bet to score first.
Arsenal look in poor shape on and off the field with Alexis Sanchez moving closer to Man United and their defence a usual mess at Bournemouth last week.
Palace will give them a good test at the Emirates and tempt some at 6-1 with McBookie. Roy Hodgson’s men were unlucky to lose 3-2 at home after Christmas and I’m on Palace not to lose at 17-10 with Unibet.
Man City, still 12 points clear at the top and 1-33 for the title, entertain Newcastle in the tea-time game.
Newcastle’s last four Premier League visits to the Etihad have resulted in 6-1, 5-0, 4-0 and 4-0 defeats. Based on that consider City -3 at 11-4 with Betfair while -2 pays 11-10. Over 3.5 match goals is 19-20 at Marathonbet.
Best bets in the Championship are Aston Villa who are 4-7 at McBookie to make it four league wins in a row against Barnsley.
Leaders Wolves should see off Nottm Forest and are 9-20 at Marathonbet.
In League One back Oxford at 27-25 with Marathonbet at home to a Bury side who have lost eight in a row and scored just one goal.
Lincoln are 23-20 to win at a basement boys Barnet who are on a run of League Two losses in a row.
Alan Thomson’s Tips: Gigolo a likely lad at Lingfield
IT was almost a perfect day with two winners at 5-1 and 7-2 but the treble was denied by a second place.
AMERICAN GIGOLO (3.10) is an interesting runner in a decidedly moderate 1m 4f maiden at Lingfield.
The six-year-old has joined Harry Fry from Charlie Mann and has shown enough over hurdles to suggest he should be competitive on his first start on the level.
American Gigolo won a novice hurdle at Kempton in May but ran his best race in defeat at Ascot in November when chasing home Dell Oro. He ran off a hurdles mark of 130 that day and I recall Mick Fitzgerald telling ATR viewers that his rule of thumb when assessing horses switching codes is to subtract 45lb from their hurdles rating.
If Mick is correct that puts American Gigolo in here on a mark of around 85 which makes him a serious contender. American Gigolo has had a wind operation and Fry doesn’t want to run him on heavy ground.
Odds-on favourite Gakku has an official rating of 78 and receives 8lb from my selection. However, I’m far from convinced Roger Varian’s filly is running to that sort of mark. She is racking up some convictions, having been turned over at 1-3, 4-6 and 5-4, and connections will be hoping a first-time visor will do the trick.
Fearsome has left Ralph Beckett for Nick Littmoden and the former Classic-winning trainer saddled a welcome winner here a couple of weeks ago. Fearsome is the each-way alternative if you don’t fancy the front two in the market.
That slingshot wide move can be a potent tactic at Lingfield and I just hope he isn’t tempted to chart a path up the rails from stall two.
Rock Icon looks sure to go off favourite on the strength of a wide-margin Wolverhampton victory on his first start for Jo Hughes. However, Rock Icon finished two places behind Bloodsweatandtears here in December and is worse off at these weights.
Broughtons Story made headway into third spot behind Unit Of Assessment and Berlusca at Wolves. That entitles him to plenty of respect but this is his first visit to Lingfield and stall 10 isn’t ideal.
Attain should be the mix but I’ve given up on him for the time being after doing my dosh a couple of times in similar contests.
CROSSED MY MIND (2.25) carries the JP McManus colours with fair prospects in the 2m 3f handicap hurdle at Ascot.
Arthur Moore sent him across from Ireland to contest a similar event at Sandown in early December but Crossed My Mind couldn’t justify favouritism, staying on a one-paced third behind A Hare Breath and Caid Du Lin. If young Jonjo O’Neill is able to claim his full allowance off this low weight, Crossed My Mind is 9lb better off with Caid Du Lain for four lengths.
There will be no hiding place at Haydock if the track survives a morning inspection and FIRST FLOW (2.05) was very quick and nimble over his hurdles when making all and winning hard held by 20 lengths at Newbury.
That came on the back of a Bangor success when David Bass rode him with a bit more restraint and he can take the measure of course and distance scorer Waterlord, another to handle deep ground.
- Lingfield 1.25
- Betsalottie ew (11-2, general)
Scottish Football Tips: Big guns back with a bang
IT’S good to see the return of the “holidaying” big guns to action this weekend even if it is the Scottish Cup – and some ties will be wiped out by the weather.
I’m still a fan of the tournament as it’s taken seriously up here unlike south of the border – but it means no goal-laden League One card.
Actually there is one and Stranraer v Raith looks good for thrills. Last week both teams scored in all five fixtures and my 4-1 goals treble landed.
Raith have beaten the Blues 3-0 at home twice this season while Stranraer’s last three have totalled 15 goals so take overs.
We also have one League One clash in the Cup with Ayr entertaining Arbroath. All three league meetings this season have seen both score, go over 2.5 goals and be away wins.
Arbroath have won 2-1 twice at Somerset and a third pays 14-1 with ***. Just to win the Smokies are 31-10 at McBookie but I’m on both to score.
Take those two on a goals treble and add Dunfermline v Morton which has brought up btts in six out of seven at East End Park and two meetings this season.
Talking of goals – Celtic and Rangers should both hit plenty. Celtic tackle winless Championship side Brechin and after relaxing in the sunshine of Dubai they’ll be raring to go.
The handicap line is set at four with Celtic -3 paying 5-6 at Sky Bet and Brendan Rodgers’s men should be able to cover that.
It was refreshing to see Fraserburgh boss Mark Cowie saying he plans to go at Rangers and not park the bus. That could lead to a heavy defeat and tomorrow in the Highlands the handicap is set at three.
Rangers should be looking to win by at least four or five and you can back them -3 at 6-4 with ***. Minus four is 3-1 at Betfred.
To be leading after 15 minutes Gers are even more appealing than Celtic at 19-10 with William Hill.
Elsewhere tie of the day could be the lunchtime Aberdeen v St Mirren showdown. Last season Rodgers said Saints gave his men one of their toughest tests and they led 1-0 at Parkhead before collapsing late on to lose 4-1.
Jack Ross’s Championship leaders will be keen to show they deserve to be playing Premiership football next season and the Dons face a nervy 90 minutes.
I reckon Derek McInnes’s men – also just back from Dubai – will edge it and they are a best 2-5 McBookie with Saints 8-1 at ***. Consider Aberdeen and both to score at 12-5 with William Hill.
There’s bound to be a couple of shocks but where will they be apart from maybe Peterhead? Alloa are meeting Dundee United at a good time and are 5-1 at *** for anyone who fancies them.
Improving Inverness are 31-10 with McBookie and will test Dundee at Dens while a Brora side, who make Peterhead look goal shy, are 7-1 at *** to win at East Fife after sinking Stranraer in the previous round.
Brora have netted 30 in six games but 16 came against Fort William and seven versus Lossiemouth. The Fifers will be better opponents and there should be plenty of goals.
Tomorrow as well as Rangers we have another instalment of Hearts v Hibs. The last three meetings at Tynecastle have finished 0-0 including the New Year derby when Oli Shaw was denied when his shot was clearly over the line.
It’s bound to be a tight again. No scorer pays 15-2 at *** while the draw is 12-5.
- Celtic -3 v Brechin (5-6, Sky Bet)
- Rangers -3 at Fraserburgh (6-4, ***)
- Rangers to be leading after 15 minutes (19-10, William Hill)
- Aberdeen and btts (12-5, William Hill)
- Brora to score (price to follow)
- Hearts v Hibs draw (12-5, ***)