India v England Cricket Betting Preview – Thursday 17th November by @herefordrich

India v England, 2nd Test – Visakhapatnam at 03:30 live on Sky Sports 2

The Scene

Barring a second wicket partnership of 209 during day three, England dominated the vast majority of the first Test against India last week in Rajkot.

From the moment Alastair Cook won an important toss on the first morning, the tourists looked a different beast from the one that lost in Dhaka just days previously. Centuries from Cook, Moeen Ali, Joe Root and Ben Stokes – not to mention a composed debut from teenager Haseeb Hameed – means the visitors should arrive in Visakhapatnam (Vizag to its friends) full of confidence.

India will also take positives from the draw. Batting under pressure twice – first having conceded 500+, second having to save the match on an ever turning wicket – the hosts showed grit and determination to ensure the series stayed level.

Virat Kohli’s men will be hoping the skipper calls correctly this week. With runs on the board, surely R Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja will be different animals for the suddenly inform England batting order to tame.

The Venue

The Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam hosts its first ever Test match this week. Because of this we have to turn to the Ranji trophy for recent first and second innings performances  at this venue. However, only three First Class matches have been played here since September 2013.

Recent First Innings First Class scores – 195, 150, 522

Recent Second Innings First Class scores – 272, 272, 369

Recent Results in First Class cricket here – W (side bat 2nd), Draw, Draw

Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 289

Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 304

NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)

Form Guide & First Inns Runs

Here are India’s last eleven 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –

488 (D) 316 (W) 318 (W) DNB* (D) 353 (W) 500 (D) 566 (W) 334 (W) 215 (W) 80/0* (D) 201 (W) – Average 365

Here are England’s last eleven 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –

537 (D) 244 (L) 293 (W) 328 (L) 297 (W) 589/8d (W) 272 (L) 416 (D) 498/9d (W) 298 (W) 342 (L)  – Average 373

Teams

India will have been satisfied with the way they batted first time around in Rajkot. Murali Vijay made his 7th Test ton and lifted his career average to above 40, whilst number three Chet Pujara narrowly missed out on top run scorer with his busy 124 from 206 balls. Gambhir (below) remains a problem but he’s a stand in for the injured trio of Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan and KL Rahul. Captain Kohli recovered from the shock of being out hit wicket with a second innings unbeaten 49 to save the Test for his country, just when there were glimpses of a major wobble starting to occur. Expect more from Ajinkya Rahane than his Rajkot contributions of 13 and 1, whilst Ashwin showed England that he is also a fair middle order batsman to go with his top class off spinners these days. Ashwin’s 102 runs included significant scores in both innings and took his career batting average to 34.2 in Test matches – not bad when you consider he also has 223 wickets at 24.9 as well! Leg spinner Amit Mishra had a game to forget with match figures of 3-158 and could sit out at Vizag. Ravi Jadeja’s batting will keep him in the side, whilst one of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami could sit out for Ishant Sharma – a five match Test series will always see rotation take place.

England might finally have found a partner for Alastair Cook in Haseeb Hameed. It wasn’t just the runs that the teenager made (31 & 82) that was impressive, it was the manner in which he compiled them. Composed, calm, collected. There was more than a hint of Joe Root about his technical batting (no bad thing) with a hint of Cook in regards his temperament at the crease (again, no bad thing) Root set the game up for England with his 124 whilst Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes’ middle order tons ensured the tourists were always going to boss the match. Rashid (below) had his best game for England in red ball cricket whilst Surrey slow left armer Zaf Ansari took 3 scalps but struggled to give control. Cook seems to like having his left-arm variety, but he could miss out here if the tourists see Jimmy Anderson fit enough to return here at Vizag. Stuart Broad bowled with great heart on his 100th Test and will play again here, however expect him to rest up at some point. Chris Woakes bowled quickly and managed to nail Pujara three times in one spell on the third morning – impressive given the surface. The Warwickshire man bowled 35 overs for just 63 runs in Rajkot.

Ones To Watch

It is fair to say that Gautam Gambhir is only in this India XI due to injuries to others. These opportunities need to be taken when presented, especially when you are 35 years of age. Gambhir last made a Test ton in 2010, some 31 matches ago. Contributions of 29 and 0 at Rajkot just won’t cut the mustard – he needs a score at Vizag. Otherwise his international career could be over once more.

Adil Rashid had a poor series in Bangladesh but returned in Rajkot with 7 wickets that nearly gave England victory on day 5. It helped having 537 on the board to bowl to, but Rashid totally out bowled his Indian spin counterparts with 4-114 and 3-64. He still might offer the odd boundary ball, but his mystery could just be the tourists biggest hope of nabbing a victory – or two – somewhere down the line.

 

Cricket Betting

Adil Rashid

First Innings Runs Markets

Proceed with caution, this a ground we have very little to go on. Early shots from the ground suggest this could be a tough pitch to bat on from early on – dry, dusty, cracked.

Whoever bats first I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 345-350 mark.

Top First Innings Batsman Market

Virat Kohli looked dangerous at Rajkot and should be considered for top India bat at 3.50 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage.

Suddenly England have five batsman in form! Hameed Haseeb looked the part in Rajkot and is surprisingly as high as 7.0 to top score here with BetVictor.

 

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich

 

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DP World Tour Championship 2016 Golf Betting Preview – Thursday 17th November by @herefordrich

DP World Tour Championship 2016 – Dubai at 07:00 live on Sky Sports 4

Last weeks golf

Another blank week I’m afraid as overall yearly ROI drops to +4%. Last year’s haul of +77% was always going to be very hard to match, so here’s hoping we can find a winner this week to ensure we stay in meaningful profit as 2016 draws to a close.

Tournament History & Field

The DP World Tour Championship has been staged since 2009 ever since the European Tour changed it’s annual order of merit scheme to be known as the Race to Dubai. This is the third and final event of the final series and marks the conclusion to the 2016 European Tour season.

Four players are in with a chance of winning the pot of gold that is the 2016 Race to Dubai. Previous DP Tour champions Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy are joined by Masters winner Danny Willett and last weeks Nedbank winner Alex Noren as the quartet that can finish top of the tours annual money list if things go their way this week.

This is a reduced field of just 60 with no 36-hole cut and all the big names are here – the above four are ably supported by the likes of Thomas Pieters, Branden Grace, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer.

 

The Course

Measuring in a touch under 7,700 yards, the Earth Course is a long layout that unsurprisingly suits the longer hitters. A par of 72 which includes the standard fare of four par 3’s and four par 5’s, the fairways at the Jumeirah Beach Dubai based course are generous and forgiving.

The greens are fast and undulating and many have run off areas that make getting up and down tricky when putting surfaces are missed.

Water is in play on five of the eighteen holes, including the dramatic closing two holes. The 17th is a par three island green whilst the 18th, a par five, has water in play from both the tee shot and the second/third shots – depending on whether or not you go for it in two shots.

The front nine contained the three hardest holes in 2016 (4th, 8th, 9th) as well as the two easiest (2nd and 7th) whilst the 620 yard closing hole mentioned above was by no means an easy birdie – averaging just 4.84 for the week – yet registering 33 bogeys or worse against just two eagles and 80 birdies.

 

Conditions

Hot and sunny as expected for Dubai, but be aware of a consistent 8-10mph breeze all week. Friday PM could see the winds blow 7mph faster than the AM – however with just 60 mean in the field, tee times will be much closer together than the average event.

 

DP World Tour Championship Recent Winners & Key Stats

2015 Rory McIlroy (-21) – DA 37 DD 1 GIR 4 PPGIR 4 Scrambles 8/12

2014 Henrik Stenson (-16) – DA 2 DD 2 GIR 4 PPGIR 19 Scrambles  6/12

2013 Henrik Stenson (-25) – DA 1 DD 7 GIR 1 PPGIR 10 Scrambles 3/4

2012 Rory McIlroy (-23) – DA 23 DD 3 GIR 25 PPGIR 1 Scrambles NA

 

Recommended Bets

Thomas Pieters 36/1 EW with Bet365

Team Europe’s leading points grabber in the Ryder Cup fits the bill for winning round the Earth course. Long off the tee, some previous course form (A T22 last year doesn’t sound great, but he opened with two 69’s) plus he’s won twice on tour this year. Last week in the Nedbank he finished down the leaderboard at T34, but two weeks before in China his top 20 finish in the HSBC really caught my eye. I’ve earmarked Pieters down for a long time to go well here and would have been happy to take anything over 33s for him. What better way to cap off a great year with a win here in Dubai?

 

Golf Betting

Thomas Pieters

Danny Willett 41/1 EW with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

It has been a quiet time really for the Augusta champion, though there were signs over rounds three and four at the Nedbank that Danny is finally springing back to life after a tough month or two. 13 birdies collected over the weekend on his way to a T11 announced to me that Willett is getting back to the form that saw him finish in the top five here last year. The Sheffield man will win the Race to Dubai with a first place finish here and I’m sure he’ll be going all guns blazing in the city in which he won the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year.

 

Byeong Hun-An 34/1 EW with Bet365

Benny is long overdue another win after last summers tearaway victory round Wentworth in the BMW PGA. A T10 in Turkey last time out followed some nondescript performances across Asia over the past month or two, suggests the Korean wonderkid might be hitting top form once more. Ben An finished T4 here last year mainly thanks to middle rounds of 68 & 66 plus he also finished inside the top five in the Dubai Desert Classic this year.

 

Victor Dubuisson 90/1 EW with Bet365 (now 50s which is OK)

Enigmatic would be a kind word to describe Victor who is unpredictable in both his personality and golf demeanour week-to-week. At his best he is a a top-class tournament winner, including two final series event victories in Turkey. At his worst he is a grumpy ten handicapper, prone to withdrawing either before or half way through an event. His green in regulation stats in both Turkey and South Africa were superb – confirming his game is in good order right now. Victor also putted well last week, finishing T8 for PPGIR at the Nedbank. Course form here including a T13 and two top 5 finishes on the back of his T3 in the Nedbank last week leads me to believe that top-class Victor is back in town and he can certainly go well this week.

 

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich.

 

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UFC 205 Betting Preview – Sunday 13th November By @J_RKeith

UFC 205 – Madison Square Garden, NYC at 03:00 live on BT Sport 2

When it comes to UFC I normally just do one match-up, but seeing this is one of the biggest events in the sport’s history, and the first time it will be aired in New York, I will be covering all three title fights for my latest betting recommendation.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk v. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

The night kicks off with the first title fight in the women’s Strawweight division as it is a clash of Poland. Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on 31-year-old Karolina Kowalkiewicz as one of these fighter’s unbeaten record will come to an end.

Jedrzejczyk’s last fight was against one of her fiercest opponents in Claudia Gadelha and it started off on the back foot with the Brazilian looking on top, yet as the fight went on the Polish scrapper grew into it and showed her experience.

Since winning the title back in March 2015, she has retained it three times and has put herself across as a fighter not to be messed with. Her victory against Jessica Penne was a perfect example of this. Domination at its best.

Karolina, meanwhile, looked very impressive against Rose Namajunas. When she clinched with the American we saw her really make a difference (her knee shots were brutal) and from there it was a different show. However, she seemed quite weak on the floor and that is a strong side of the current champ.

In their head to head at the UFC 205 Conference, Kowalkiewicz reacted to the headbutt by the current champ and I just don’t know whether this will get under her skin. It looked heated! Expect a quality fight (maybe fight of the night) but I don’t see this being a quick bout in the ring. Joanna for the win!

Betting Recommendation: Joanna Jedrzejczyk by Decision or Technical Deicsion at 1.91 with Betvictor

 

Tyron Woodley v Stephen Thompson

Next on the card is new Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley facing number two ranking Stephen Thompson, as Woodley will want to make it two wins on the bounce after spending a year and a half out of the Octagon.

Woodley’s last bout ended in an impressive KO against former champion Robbie Lawler. People were expecting the experience of Lawler to do the business, but a sharp right-hook tagged the champion and the 34-year-old followed up with a combo of hits in the first round ending the champion’s reign at the top.

To be fair I haven’t seen much of Stephen Thompson, but am hearing good things from this American kickboxer. The 33-year-old has only lost once in his professional career, while remaining unbeaten in his kickboxing career after 57 bouts.

Very effective fighter with his kicks and, like Woodley, a deadly striker in the Octagon. He has a few tricks up his sleeve and can really push Woodley into the corner and pick apart his opponent. Yet, the striking force of the current champ from a standing position into a full sprint is terrifying.

I reckon we may be hearing “and new…” this Sunday, mainly because I think Thompson has that experience and ability to pull this fight out of the bag and clinch the title.

Betting Recommendation: Stephen Thompson by KO, TKO, Submission or Disqualification at 2.10 with Bet365

 

Betting

Conor McGregor

Eddie Alvarez v Conor McGregor

Now, the main event! Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez takes on the Notorious one Conor McGregor as the Irishman continues his climb up the UFC rankings and carry on his plan to dominate the division.

I saw the UFC 205 Press Conference on Thursday and I wasn’t impressed. Too much acting, weak insults and pretend chair throwing. Seemed to be getting a bit too big for its boots, but it did make me laugh.

Eddie Alvarez is the current lightweight champ and loves a slugger-fest. Pushing his opponent into the corner and laying punches to the head, and much like other fighters pushes off to hit a deadly combo. Just up to McGregor to defend against this and keep his distance from the 32-year-old.

The Jiu-jitsu fighter has won 28 of his 32 bouts, with 15 by KO. The American’s last bout was against former champions Rafael Dos Anjos who he destroyed through TKO in the first round, as Alvarez has won three on the bounce since his last defeat.

But where do you go when ‘Mystic Mac’ predicts a round one KO? Do I recommended that? One thing for sure is that this will be a great fight. Looking forward to seeing how McGregor advances from his five round bout with Nate Diaz and dropping back down a weight division for his next opponent.

Furthermore, his quick combos will be interesting against a slugger in Alvarez and whether he carries on with a kicking game and if McGregor keeps the champion at a distance.
Five of the Irishman’s last seven bouts have claimed ‘Fight of the Night’ with two claiming ‘Performance of the Night’, so expect something interesting for the main event in Madison Square Gardens.

I’m backing McGregor, and I want to say: “Have I been wrong yet?!” but I won’t get ahead of myself.

Betting Recommendation: Conor McGregor KO, TKO, Submission or Disqualification at 2.00 with Betfair

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @J_RKeith

 

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