Portugal Masters 2016 Golf Betting Preview – Thursday 20th October By @herefordrich

Portugal Masters – Vilamoura at 11:30 live on Sky Sports 4

Last weeks golf

A dead heat payout courtesy of that man Alex Levy and his T4 meant we broke even last week. Bearing in mind he was never inside the EW payout spots until he was already in the clubhouse after his final hole, plus Richard Bland, Tommy Fleetwood and Peter Hanson had good chances to birdie their 72nd holes, this was a right result.

I walked the course on Friday having travelled down for the day and followed Levy in the morning. He played really well and was certainly a good pick for the course. All four picks made the cut and big priced outsider Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a final round 64 to finish T12, just three shots outside the places.

Following on from Levy’s German win, Kjeldsen’s near miss at the Dunhill and now this week, I feel we are close to landing that third winner of the year that will guarantee meaningful profit – currently sitting at +12.7 ROI for 2016.

 

Tournament History & Field

This will be the tenth staging of the Portugal Masters. Low scoring is the theme on the Oceanico Victoria course, an Arnold Palmer designed layout found in golfing tourist paradise, Vilamoura.

Many outsiders have won this event over the years, including Tom Lewis, Richard Green, David Lynn and Stave Webster. In fact, Englishmen have a fine record on the Algarve set-up, with five out of nine winners being born in England.

This year the field sees returning champion and Ryder Cupper Andy Sullivan head the field alongside other stars of the tour including Thomas Pieters, Alex Noren, and Thongchai Jaidee.

 

The Course

Playing to a par of 71 and a yardage of 7,146, Oceanico Victoria is not a particularly stern test of golf. The last two winners have played somewhat target golf on a damp course, and all of the last four winners have ranked extremely high in the weeks putting stats. Sullivan won by 9 shots last year and recent European Open winner Levy (tipped up on this column) hit a remarkable -18 in a 36 hole rain-reduced event the year previous.

Three of the four par 3’s are lengthily at over 200 yards, whilst the three par 5’s, found at the  5th, 12th and 17th, measure 579, 547 and 589 yards respectively. Many of the par 4’s are shorter than 450 yards (8/12) and what you do on these holes appear crucial in having a low scoring week.

Holes 10-15 is a real scoring section of the course with all these holes – except the 11th – averaging below par in 2015. Even then the 11th averaged 4.04 to a par of 4. Don’t be too disheartened if your golfer gets off to a slower start playing the front nine first, he can make up ground on the back nine!

The par 5’s played the three easiest holes last year – make anything worse than a bogey on these hole and you will be losing ground to the field.

 

Conditions

This event has been hit with thunderstorms and lightning threats in recent years. Luckily we are set fair for the first three days, but Sunday looks wet. Thursday AM and Friday AM starters will enjoy little to no winds before the breeze picks up to around the 10mph mark on both of the first two afternoons. At this stage I expect no draw bias.

With the tour moving on to China next week, the organisers will be keen to avoid a Monday finish. If that rain due on Sunday does involve electrical activity, we could yet see another reduced hole affair this year.

 

Recent Portugal Masters Winners & Key Stats

2015 – Andy Sullivan (-23) – DA 14 DD 11 GIR 5 PPGIR 6 Scrambles 10/12

2014 – Alex Levy (-18)* – DA 10 DD 38 GIR 46 PPGIR 2 Scrambles 8/8 (*36 hole event)

2013 – David Lynn (-18) – DA 70 DD 67 GIR 22 PPGIR 9 Scrambles 14/16

2012 – Shane Lowry (-14) – DA 13 DD 15 GIR 13 PPGIR 1 Scrambles 10/16

2011 – Tom Lewis (-21) – DA 33 DD 4 GIR 3 PPGIR 37 Scrambles 9/10

Clearly what you do off the tee doesn’t matter at all in regards your chances of winning this event. Whilst it helps to hit greens, Levy and Lynn both managed to win their titles despite finishing 46th and 22nd for the weeks GIR stats. They, along with the other winners listed above, all scrambled exceptionally well all week.

What is important is making birdies – and lots of them. For this you naturally need a hot putter to ensure you take advantage of those shorter holes where many will be going in with a wedge or a 9 iron. With limited rough to speak of around the course and the greens, you can putt from off the putting surfaces to help you save those pars, and even hole out for birdies, despite missing the green in the correct number of shots.

Finally, Sullivan’s runaway win was a bit of a rarity here. Many third round leaders have been passed by the eventual champion from some way back. Lynn won from 6 back in 2013 with a round to go whilst Lowry and Lewis bot won from 4 back in the two years before that. Richard Green went even better in 2010, winning by two shots from fully 7 back!

 

Golf Betting

Thongchai Jaidee

Recommended Bets

Thongchai Jaidee 25/1 with Bet Victor

Up until the past three weeks, its been a quiet time for Thailand’s number one golfer. This year he captured one of the tours biggest crowns though – the Open de France – and recent top ten finishes on the Asian Tour coupled in with a T22 at last weeks British Masters leads me to believe that Jaidee is ready to win again. 6th in GIR last week shows that is his ball striking is back on song and that he is creating the birdie chances needed to win here. Course form is OK, with 5/7 finishes yielding T23 or better. I don’t usually like backing shorties (sub 33/1) EW, but with Pieters and Noren looking so strong, Jaidee looks a must EW play.

 

David Lipsky 100/1 EW with Betfair 

The 2014 European Masters champion has landed this column two places this year thanks to strong finishes in Denmark and the Czech Republic. A lowly T54 last week at the British Masters followed a MC at the Dunhill links (not his forte) means we get another tasty price this week. This is his first look at the Oceanico layout but that doesn’t concern me – Levy and Lewis both won here on their virgin visit to the Algarve. Recent finishes of T24 in Germany and T16 in Italy suggest his game is still in fine order. Finally, Lipsky is sat just outside the top 60 in the Race to Dubai, so needs a decent cheque this week to guarantee his presence in the end of season jamboree.

 

Nacho Elvira 175/1 EW with Bet365

It was only three events ago that Nacho finished a T3 at the Italian Open, just 4 shots behind eventual winner Francesco Molinari. Last years three-time Challenge Tour victor certainly knows how to get the job done and was severely unlucky not to register his first European Tour trophy earlier this season when losing in a play-off in Morocco back in May. Elvira shot 67,68 on his way to a T21 in the rain curtailed 2014 edition so has course form to fall back on. Worth a play on price alone.

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich.

 

Read More...

Pakistan v West Indies Cricket Betting Preview – Thursday 13th October By @herefordrich

Pakistan v West Indies 1st Test – Dubai International Stadium at 12:30

The Scene

Misbah-ul-Haq led his side to the top of the Test match rankings courtesy of a 2-2 draw in England this summer, yet due to India’s fine run of form that has seen them see off both the West Indies and New Zealand, his Pakistan side find themselves the second best ranked Test side in the world once more.

After a six-nil clean sweep in the limited overs matches, the hosts will be confident of continuing their run of fine form against a beleaguered touring West Indies outfit as the Test match series begins in Dubai on Thursday.

Pakistan are a serious force in their adopted homes of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in Test matches – it is simply hard to see past anything other than a 3-0 series win here – but hey, this is Test cricket and every now and again surprises do happen.

Perhaps the only thing in the West Indies favour is the fact this is the first day-night Test match to be played in this part of the world. A pink ball, with the final session and a half of each day played under lights, certainly adds a different dimension to what could otherwise be a pretty dull, one-sided affair.

Conditions

It simply doesn’t rain in the UAE at certain times of the year, this being one such time. Temperatures will be extremely hot and in the region of 35 degrees.

The Venue

Here’s a list of sides recent 1st innings scores at Dubai Sports City in Test matches, along with the winner/result in bold text. Remember this match is the first to be played under lights with a pink ball –

2015 1st inns –  378 (PAK), 2nd inns – 242 (ENG) – PAK

2014 1st inns – 403 (NZ), 2nd inns – 393 (PAK) – DRAW

2014 – 1st inns – 454 (PAK), 2nd inns – 303 (AUS) – PAK

2014 – 1st inns – 165 (PAK), 2nd inns – 388 (SL) – SL

2013 1st inns – 99 (PAK), 2nd inns – 517 (SA) – SA

Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 300

Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 368

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 Pakistan‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –

542(W) 400(L) 198(L) 339(W) 234(W) 378(W) 523/8d(D) 215(W) 138 (L) 417(W)  – Average 337

Here are the West Indies last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets. We’ve ignored the rained off 62/2* in regards overall average –

62/2*(D) 225(L) 196(D) 243(L) 330(D) 271(L) 223(L) 163(L) 251(L) 220(L)  – Average 235

 

Cricket Betting

Marlon Samuels

Teams

Pakistan will be missing Oval double-centurion Younis Khan for this opening Test as he recovers from a nasty bout of dengue fever. Azam (below) will take his place in what looks a decent batting order. Sami Aslam had a decent time of it opening in England, averaging 55 in the two Tests he played. Azhar Ali will again open after dislodging this disappointing Mohammad Hafeez. Azhar was one of four Pakistani batsman to score hundreds in that England series, the other being the missing Younis, skipper Misbah and classy middle order dasher Asad Shafiq. Wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed nearly always contributes with the bat, his  four matches in the UK yielded returns of 193 runs in seven knocks. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah should enjoy a return to the UAE, taking 19 wickets during the England series draw, including 10 wickets in the match at Lord’s. Left-arm quicks Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir will surely start, with the final place looking to be a shoot out between Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali.

Jason Holder’s West Indies only managed to find one batsman to average above 40 in the India Test series defeat and one bowler to average less than 30 with the ball. It is no wonder they simply struggle to compete over the course of five days. Experienced batsman Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo simply must start delivering more – Samuels had a best score of 50 against India in seven knocks whilst Bravo keeps getting in and getting out – 139 series runs is half what he should be contributing. Opener Kraigg Brathwaite is so key in blunting the new ball but a career Test average of 34 will only improve as and when his SR does. Batting at a SR of just 42 runs per 100 balls, he is perhaps more concerned with survival than run-scoring. Wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich had a fine series against India, passing 50 twice in six knocks, on his way to 168 runs. Miguel Cummins bowled quickly and starred with the ball, taking 9 wickets including a best of 6/48 against Virat Kohli’s team. Spin will come from leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and slow-left armer Jomel Warrican.

Ones To Watch

How could we not include Pakistan‘s new batting sensation Babar Azam in this section? The man who has just scored the most runs anyone has ever accumulated in a three-match ODI series makes his Test debut here, fresh from three consecutive centuries in the 50-over matches. His first class record isn’t as strong as his list A record, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the longer format.

Roston Chase was a rare breed of West Indies cricketer to take any plaudits for his performances during the series defeat at home to India recently. His opening four Tests saw the Barbados-born batsman score 190 runs, including a best of 137* to help save the Jamaica Test. Throw in 8 wickets, including a five-wicket haul, and the tourists appear to have found a gem.

Runs Markets

If Pakistan bat first, I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 350-355 mark.

If West Indies bat first, I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 270-275 mark.

Top First Innings Batsman Market

Sami Aslam looked the real deal in England – he can be backed at 6.0 to top score for Pakistan here.

Jason Holder looks worth a few quid to top score for the West Indies. Given the rabble-like nature of the top order, at 21.0 there’s every chance he could come good – even if he does bat low down the order.

 

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich

 

Read More...

2016 British Masters Golf Betting Preview – Thursday 13th October by @herefordrich

2016 British Masters – The Grove, from Thursday 13th October live on Sky Sports 4

Last weeks golf

A T7 for Soren Kjeldsen meant we missed out on a 50/1 (12.5) EW payout by one place. To be fair, the amiable Dane was never inside the top 6 so it wasn’t too much of a disappointment. Graeme McDowell finished a couple of shots further back, but starting with a round of +1, he was never really in it.

Missing out on winner Tyrrell Hatton, who opened at 80s with one firm, feels like a big miss as he is someone I have followed closely since he placed for me at 160/1 at Crans three years ago. I did look pretty hard at him, but with two MC’s on his only two outings at the Alfred Dunhill links and my perceived requirement for the winner to have had to had at least one top 20 here, it made sense to leave him out – kind of!

Still, lessons learnt. We move on….

Tournament History & Field

Previously known as the Dunlop Masters, the British Masters was founded in 1946 and was an annual event up until 2008 when it dropped off the European Tour schedule. The 2015 return was hugely successful, partly due to its significant financial backing and support from sponsors Sky Sports, who again back the event this year. Last year the event was hosted by Ian Poulter at Woburn – this years edition will be held at The Grove – with Luke Donald taking over hosting duties for the week.

We have another star-studded field this year with Donald being joined by fellow Englishmen Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, last years champion Matthew Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood. Other leading lights include Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry, Bernd Wiesberger, Alex Noren plus last weeks winner Tyrrell Hatton.

The Course

The Grove opened for business in 2003 and has hosted one major professional event – the 2006 WGC American Express Championship. Located just outside central London in leafy Hertfordshire, the tournament host describes the course as being “A parkland course, and it has some elevation changes. It is always presented in great condition. It has a really nice variety of some longer holes, and some driveable par-fours. I think it will also be a fun course for the spectators, so it will be a great venue for the 2016 British Masters supported by Sky Sports.”

At a touch over 7,100 yards with three par 5’s and four par 3’s, it looks that scoring will be low. The drivable par 4’s Donald spoke about appear to centre around the 1st and the 10th, but both are over 340 yards and look very long to be reachable in one shot at this time of year in the UK. Perhaps they will fiddle around with the tee blocks, but I’d take this comment with a pinch of salt.

Holes 3 and 4 could be tough – the 3rd is a monster par 4 at just under 500 yards whereas the 4th is a par 3 coming in at 226 yards. My gut feeling is there will be plenty of scoring opportunities coming in, with holes 13  thru 18 looking like they could be taken apart with anyone peppering greens and putting well.

Conditions

Originally the forecast was pretty good, but that has changed over the past 48 hours. Now Thursday looks to be particularly breezy, peaking at 18mph by mid afternoon. Friday morning appears to now be set for some wet stuff with a 65% chance of rain. There could be an early-late draw bias at this stage given that winds looks more consistent through Friday. Saturday looks easily the best of three days with Sunday again looking damp.

Recent British Masters Winners

2015 – Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG)

2008 – Gonzo Fernandez Castano (ESP)

2007 – Lee Westwood (ENG)

2006 – Johan Edfors (SWE)

2005 – Thomas Bjorn (DEN)

2006 WGC Leaderboard (held at The Grove)

1st – Tiger Woods (-23)

T2 – Ian Poulter (-15)

T2 – Adam Scott (-15)

4th – Jim Fuyrk (-14)

5th – Ernie Els (-13)

 

Recommended Bets

Joost Luiten 40/1 EW with Bet365

It was only four weeks and two events ago that the flying Dutchman was shooting a final round 63 on the way to winning his home title, the KLM Open. Since then a T38 in Italy (which did include a 67 and a 66) and a MC last week in Scotland has seen Joost’s price climb to 40/1 – making him a must back this week. He has course form round inland parkland courses that can be effected by strong winds such as the Diamond Country Club and Valdarrama. He’s also won on Bristish soil previously at Celtic Manor and has other top 5 finishes in Scotland and Ireland. Joost certainly offers a lot more value than the likes of Wiesberger, Lowry and Wood who are considerably shorter in this weeks market for some reason.

 

2016 British Master Golf Betting Preview

Joost Luiten

Alex Levy 50/1 EW with Bet Victor

Since placing the bet I’m slightly wary of the wind that has forecast which might not be to Alex’s high ball flights favour. But it was only three weeks ago that Levy gave this column a win at the same 50/1 price – I cannot fathom why he should be so big this week. A T63 last week at the Dunhill might be to do with it, but links golf has never been the Frenchman’s strength. On a course that could suit those mid-irons, there are few better in the business than Levy at tearing apart a short-ish, soft golf course – if he stays straight off the tee.

Alejandro Canizares 80/1 EW with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

Canizares is someone that always catches my eye when it comes to set ups like this, yet I surprised myself to find I haven’t backed him anywhere for over twelve months. The Spaniard’s game has been in fine order recently, including a T7 in Italy and a T4 in Holland in the past few weeks. Prior to that was a T24 at Crans which should have been so much better, were in not for a poor final round of 72. The 2014 Trophee Hassan champion looks ready to win again, and with some fine performances down the road at Wentworth including a T10 last year, I reckon this week could be a winning one for Alejandro.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 100/1 EW with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

The three-time European Tour winner makes a welcome return this week after several events on America’s web.com secondary tour. A T24 last time out followed two MC’s and a T5 at the Olympics, suggesting his game is slightly off the boil at present. Last year he finished T5 at Woburn and has a win on British soil – the 2015 Paul Lawrie Matchplay. Kiradech is a fine wind exponent and a great scrambler. In possession of a T15 at this years Masters at Augusta, I believe this weeks price is pretty disrespectful of a multiple champion whose presence on the web.com recently shows a desire to make it to the top.

Depending on the draw (due Tuesday PM) I may add one or two more – follow twitter for any updates (@herefordrich)

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich.

 

Read More...