ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Sunday 13th November By @DavAulak

Novak Djokovic v Dominic Thiem

The first match at the ATP World Tour Finals is played between what many will consider as still the best player in the world against a youngster who has taken big steps on the Tour this past year. Novak Djokovic has gone into the opening match as a strong favourite to beat Dominic Thiem and recent form does make it seem like the upset could be some way away despite the relatively poor form Djokovic has produced.

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That is relative to some of the best tennis I have seen from a player so any drop off doesn’t make Djokovic a poor player, although there are more vulnerabilities these days, or so it seems to be. He has had some disappointing losses to the likes of Roberto Bautista Agut that can’t really be understood barring Djokovic not being close to his best, while the serve continues to be an issue.

I imagine a lot of rest and recuperation will be needed in the off-season and I don’t think Djokovic will play too much tennis between this tournament and the defence of the Australian Open title. There does seem to be an issue with his serve, but I am not sure Dominic Thiem is the man to expose them despite being a big fan of the Austrian.

For any player making the breakthrough to the level Thiem has this season it is difficult to maintain fitness at this time of the season. It has been a long season for Thiem and he hasn’t looked right over the last month with heavy losses to Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Alexander Zverev, Victor Troicki and Jack Sock since reaching the Final in Metz. The loss to Sock in particular came when it looked like Thiem didn’t have a lot left in the tank and the last ten days will have been vital for him to prepare for this tournament both physically and mentally.

The match up would usually be a tough one for Thiem, but it might be even more difficult if he is struggling for fitness. He can definitely make life difficult for Djokovic for a while, but the feeling is that the Serbian player will start wearing him down in the longer rallies even if the courts are playing faster than usual in London. We have seen Thiem drop a few sets with a double break of serve down the stretch and I think Djokovic will eventually get on top of his own service problems to produce a 7-5, 6-2 win to open the World Tour Finals.

 

Handicap Betting Pick: Novak Djokovic – 5.5 Games at 2.38 with Unibet 

 

Tennis Handicap Betting

Novak Djokovic

Gael Monfils v Milos Raonic

This feels like a Group containing some of the more physically hurt players in the ATP World Tour Finals and there are some doubts about what Gael Monfils and Milos Raonic are going to be able to do in London. There is definitely some more worries about the Canadian though and I do think Monfils comes in with a better health.

Raonic played in Paris, unlike Monfils, but he suffered a tear in his left quad that needs rest and puts his whole appearance in London in doubt. However, it does look like Raonic will take his place in the draw for at least the opening match and I do believe the leg issue will mean his serve is perhaps not as dominant as it can be.

That takes away a huge part of the Raonic game and should mean Gael Monfils has every chance to beat him for the second time in a row and even up their 2016 record against one another. Monfils has had plenty of rest since last playing in Stockholm and has been looking forward to his first appearance at the World Tour Finals which suggests he is physically ready to go as he looks to finish the 2016 season in strong fashion.

If it wasn’t for that leg issue for Raonic, I think he would have gone into this match as an even stronger favourite, but I can’t have him as a favourite with the injury as it is. He might be healthy enough to play, but I am sure it is going to factor into what he can get out of his serve and Monfils can take advantage by getting enough balls back in play and win this match as the underdog.

 

Handicap Betting Pick: Gael Monfils + 1.5 Games at 1.81 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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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.

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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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Austria v Republic of Ireland Asian Handicap Betting Preview – Saturday 12th November by @tashason21

Austria v Republic of Ireland – Ernst-Happel-Stadion at 17:00 live on Sky Sports 1

My latest Asian Handicap betting preview focuses on Saturday’s World Cup qualifier between Austria and the Republic of Ireland.

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Austria

Austria came into Group D as one of the favourites to qualify, although their campaign isn’t going as expected.

The home side are already 3 points behind Ireland in the group table and although there is still a while to go, failure to beat Martin O’Neill’s men would put them at significant risk of not qualifying for the tournament.

Austria have only managed to obtain 4 points from their opening 3 games, with their only win coming against Georgia (2-1) back in September.

In their most recent World Cup qualifier, Austria suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat against Serbia and as a result, dropped to 4th in the Group D table. Failure to get anything out of the game against Ireland could see Marcel Koller’s side drop even further down the table.

Austria’s other World Cup qualifier ended in a 2-2 draw against Wales.

There is no doubt that the home side shouldn’t be in the position they are in, in light of the quality of their squad. Koller has the likes of David Alaba, Dragovic, Mark Janko and Arnautovic at his disposal and so surely it’s only a matter of time before results start going their way.

 

Asian Handicap Betting Preview

Marcel Koller

Republic of Ireland

Compared to Austria, the Republic of Ireland will be very happy with how they’ve started their qualification campaign. Martin O’Neill’s side are joint top of Group D with Serbia.

In their most recent World Cup qualifier, Ireland beat Moldova 3-1 as a result of James McClean’s brace and Shane Long’s effort.

However, Shane Long will miss the match against Austria, along with James McCarthy and Stephen Ward, who all miss out through injury.

The Republic of Ireland are unbeaten in 4 games, although Austria are tougher opposition compared to most others they’ve faced of late.

In their other World Cup qualifying matches, Ireland have managed to pull off a 2-2 draw against Serbia and a 1-0 win over Georgia.

Ireland also have some decent players in their squad, such as Harry Arter, Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady and therefore Austria should have a tough game on their hands.

A win for the away side could extend the gap at the top of Group D to 6 points and put them in a great position to qualify for the tournament.

Conclusion

To conclude, this game should be one of the most entertaining qualifiers we’ll see this weekend and I am expecting both teams to fight for the win. I think this will be a tight affair which could well end in a draw and therefore I recommended backing the Republic of Ireland +0.5 at 1.92 which looks value, considering the form they’ve been in of late.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Republic of Ireland +0.5 at 1.92 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @tashason21

 

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