Saturday, 31 January 2009

How much is the UK tote really worth?

This week Betfair has purchased a US racing network and tote pool company for just £35m. The Tasmanian TAB, a small but innovative tote monopoly, is up for sale with estimates being between AU$30 and $80 million (£13-35m).

Let's look at the UK tote. It's not a monopoly. Day-to-day race pools (win, place, exacta, trifecta) are pitiful, the only popular products are the Placepot and Scoop6.

The Tote has a lot of shops, some of which are rather dated or closing down. It has a bookmaking arm, but who doesn't these days, and how many of these customers are genuinely loyal without accts elsewhere?

The Tote now links in with most UK bookies, which means big pools but gives away most of their margin as well. The technology is outdated and frequently breaks down. A tote should be able to show approximate dividends the instant the horses cross the line. A recent bet of mine at Ascot, a winning trifecta, took 20 minutes to display a dividend. How do they calculate the divs - with pen and paper and an abacus?? The pools are pathetic and it still takes ages!!

Aussie totes hold millions and can return dividends within seconds. The tote here is so far behind it is ridiculous.

£300 million you reckon? Tell him he's dreaming! You'd be lucky to get £20 million... and even then I'd expect shareholders of the buying firm to be up in arms...

Beware the 'match race'

Most of Australia's best sprinters stepped out overnight at Flemington in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes, a weight-for-age contest over 1000m. All the hype was about the two 'superstars', Weekend Hussler and Apache Cat, both coming into the race first-up, plus if you've been following the tennis this week, you'll know it has been stinking hot in Melbourne as well...

During the week the betting was as short as 2.1 Weekend Hussler and 3.5 Apache Cat. Thankfully sanity prevailed and they drifted to 2.5 and 4.8 by race time, with a bit of support for other runners, and bookies tightening their margins.

The end result? Both unplaced, with WA visitor Scenic Blast winning at 19, followed by Typhoon Zed (13) and Grand Duels (26).

Friday, 30 January 2009

market efficiency

I've been doing an online MBA part-time for a bit over a year now. My latest subject is Maximising Shareholder Wealth, which is basically about greed and all the things which have screwed up the world economy in my cynical opinion. Anyhow, part of the reading this week has been about Market Efficiency and how the stock exchange should always be perfect as the market reacts immediately to information, and that an average analyst should be no more profitable at selecting a portfolio than a child aiming a dart at the financial pages. All information is known, thus there is no advantage for anyone.

Lots of similarities with Betfair obviously as that's what BF is based on, but the key difference is that new information happens during trading, not while the markets are closed overnight.

In a rush now, I'll expand on that further over the next few days. It's fascinating reading which basically says you'll be far better off on Betfair than the stock market.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Betfair expands into the US

Betfair continues to grow with the purchase of American racing network and betting firm TVG. And who knows what might happen with gambling laws under the Obama admisitration?

Betfair purchases TVG from Macrovision Solutions

Betfair’s increased presence in the United States reached new heights on Tuesday, when the e-gaming business known for its exchange wagering purchased Television Games Network.

Read the full article from Thoroughbred Times here

Peter Webb from BetAngel brought up the interesting point of Betfair's profits likely to fall because of interest rates being so low.

The problem that Betfair has lies in one aspect of Betfair's business model. One that is directly related to interest rates.

If you look at their reports and accounts in the last five years, interest received on cash in hand has totalled a eye watering £26m. In 2007 & 2008 interest received accounted for 25% of profit before tax for Betfair.


So perhaps now they get more aggressive in acquiring other companies to increase company value and/or profits?

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Tabcorp get creative with the imaginatively named 'Big6'

... but still pull out an average product.

Victorian and NSW tote monopoly TABCORP gave been blasted in recent years for their lack of innovation with new bet types. A decade ago they had a bet called the Straight Six requiring punters to land the winner of six races in a row. They sacked it because apparently it was a bad thing the syndicates got heavily involved, pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the pools which rolled over for several weeks.

In recent years they have brought out lemons such as Spinner (will the first two horses home be even numbers, odd or 'split' as per two-up, with a 16% margin!), Duet (place quinellas - famously advised as a great bet by King Muppet Robert Nason because 'my mum likes it') and the Mystery 6, which was similar to the Straight 6, but you couldn't pick your own numbers, it was just a lottery ticket.

The Big 6 will be on the last six races (no variety for quality of race or how short the favourite is) and mostly likely all at the same venue. If it did go cross-venue, then it would only go Melbourne and Sydney because that's where Tabcorp hold their licences, no interest in including other states. No free-to-air TV to potentially get it into millions of homes, and it lacks the place and bonus portions like the Scoop6.

Read more about the Big 6 here.

It's a step in the right direction from Tabcorp, but it wouldn't have taken more than five minutes to think of it and they haven't researched abroad to see why the Scoop6 can really get people excited about it.

Aus Open halfway update on title markets

This was written yesterday for PuntingAce but due to timezones etc, they are yet to publish it. Please forgive what looks to be aftertiming on Bartoli....

AO Halfway Update

WOMEN

The women's draw has been the one most affected by upsets with the lines around Ivanovic and Venus Williams falling away significantly.

In the top half, Jankovic hasn't hit top gear yet, she made hard work of beating an ailing Sugiyama and has tricky opponents from here on in. Versus Bartoli her record is 3-3, Zvonareva 6-4 and Petrova 6-2 - all players capable of beating her on any given day.

The main threat in the quarter for me is Zvonareva. She has been in fantastic form since late last year, but needs to overcome a 1-5 record vs Petrova first. On top of her domination in the singles, her doubles form has been top notch as well (with Azarenka). Petrova is in her best form a while as well. Anyone can win that quarter.

Safina looked very rusty in the opening rounds but returned to something like her best in the win over Kanepi. She should breeze through her quarter now with Ivanovic and Wozniacki gone.

Dokic has been a great story and has impressed me with her court smarts. A blind man could tell you the best way to beat chunky Kleybanova is keep hitting corner to corner (how Ivanovic couldn't suss that out is beyond me). If she plays as well as she did against Wozniacki, you never know...

The third quarter comes down to the match between Cibulkova and Dementieva. The h2h is currently one win apiece. Suarez Navarro has been brilliant in her last two rounds and might go another round, but her run must surely end soon.

The bottom quarter should belong to Serena but Azarenka has been in devastating form so far and won't die wondering if she was up to it. Extremely aggressive player who goes for everything and could possibly catch Serena off-guard if she continues her inconsistent form so far.


Still happy to hang onto the Serena ticket but you might be able to make a few bucks trading any of Bartoli, Cibulkova and Petrova. They're all a huge price and I'd be surprised if they all bomb out straight away.


MEN

For all my doubts about Nadal on hardcourt, Rafa is in fine fettle. Hitting winners galore, finding the angles and making very few errors. But it gets harder from here.

Gonzalez won a marathon match over Gasquet, how much energy will he have left on Monday? I don't think he can go much further.

Monfils was the early bet for a trade and he's looking good so far. His aggressive style can blow opponents away quickly, but over five sets, and particularly against a player like Gilles Simon, who came from a set and a break down (opponent traded 1.01) to win against both Federer and Nadal last year, his super-strength rather than stamina could be his Achilles heel.

Andy Murray is flying at present with a great ratio of winners to errors in his clinical dismissal of Melzer. But naturally he faces tougher opponents the further he goes. Verdasco next round is on a rampage, conceding just twelve games in three matches. Murray holds a 5-0 advantage over the Latino leftie, but the improvement in Verdasco has been remarkable in recent months.

We know Tsonga is capable after last year, the doubts have been over his fitness. After his win over Sela, he claimed his back was in perfect shape. Bear in mind that he talks a big talk, how much of it is truth and how much is hot air? His fastest serve in R3 was 25km/h faster than R2, a good sign of spinal health.

The big guns are all in place in the bottom half, with the quarter finals likely to be Roddick vs Djokovic and del Potro vs Federer. But we all know it doesn't necessarily go according to the script. Of those four, I think Djokovic is the one most in danger. He faces the enigmatic Baghdatis first who can never be written off in Melbourne, followed by Roddick who is looking very sharp. If you followed the early advice, we're in a good position with Roddick at 12/1 to win that quarter.

Cilic vs del Potro should be a cracking encounter. They haven't faced each other before and while I expect the Argie to progress, the reverse wouldn't shock.

Federer has looked impressive so far, he knew the dangers of Safin and didn't give him a look-in in R3. Still, I'd rather wait until the final to back him. If he faces Nadal or Murray, he'll still be a decent price and it removes the potential potholes along the way.

What to do? I'm sticking with my original bets - Federer to win it, but will only back him next weekend. The Monfils ticket is worth hanging onto, if he draws Nadal that price could collapse.

Friday, 23 January 2009

all hail Svendsen



Really disappointed that Eurosport chose to run with Baghdatis v Fish instead of going to the advertised biathlon (why couldn't they have used Eurosport 2 then??), but it turned out ok in the end. The Biathlonworld website has a brilliant live data system, built in Silverlight, which keeps you up to date with everything - far better than what you can see on TV, especially with Eurosport always being at least SEVEN seconds behind on every sport.

Good volume considering (realistically I'm probably one of five biathlon traders in the UK at most!), the Scandinavians no doubt had it live. Keep laying them all as they come into contention and never for a huge risk. The early guys set the pace, but then it was Emil Hegle Svendsen's turn and the super-smooth Norwegian justified favouritism (started around 3.5) as he shot clear and skied fast. Love the sport!

Also, if you want bet matchups in biathlon, you'll find the tightest margins at Pinnacle Sports, my newest affiliate who you'll see advertised on the top right. One of the biggest in the business and covering a wide range of sports.

that's more like it


Had made a mess of a few trades this week which is incredibly annoying, when you are in control, you hesitate or get greedy, and bang, you're caught out. Much better tonight trading the obscure stuff - doubles tennis and NCAA basketball. The beauty of illiquid markets is that if you play your cards right and know percentages, you can make sweeter profits, at least % wise.

The screenshot is from Firefox Extras, a Betfair tool which allows you to monitor multiple markets at once, great when there a heap of basketball or tennis matches on at once!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ladbrokes making a move Down Under?

With the Victorian retail licence up for grabs in 2012 (TABCorp currently hold the licensed monopoly for off-course betting shops in the state of Victoria), it was only to be expected that the big players might get involved. Tabcorp might re-bid, Tattersall's/UniTAB might add to their control of Queensland and SA or perhaps a firm like Betfair might make a bid, considering they are probably favourite to buy the Tasmanian TAB.

Well, UK betting giant Ladbrokes have voiced their intention to bid with a well-publicised tour of Melbourne.

British betting giant wants to control punting in Victoria

Here's the original market from IAS, it's changed a bit already (although Mark Read is never afraid to tweak odds purely for the publicity). Latest odds can be found here.

Mainland Aussie govts are very insular. It took a 'rebel' state in Tasmania to give a licence to Betfair, I can't see a non-Australian firm getting the licence. But I've been wrong before and no doubt will be wrong again!

Venus trumped at 1.01


I'd seen Carlos Suarez Navarro improve on the rankings, about 150 this time last year, started here as no.44 but had never seen her play before. Wow! Amazing single-handed backhand and power and angles on both sides. Venus played pretty well too, but I don't think the backers at 1.01 thought so!

Suarez Navarro won 2-6 6-3 7-5. Watch this girl when she gets back onto clay in the next few months.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

tonight's action from Melbourne

Tommy Haas won his first round match in straight sets, but his opponent Schwank was rumoured to be just turning up for the money with no preparation. Haas himself was first-up since August and could be tested if stretched to five sets.

Tonight he plays Flavio Cipolla who has been flying, winning 8 of 9 matches this year. Definite value in the outsider at 3/1 and above.

In the women, I'm a big fan of Sabine Lisicki, and she faces local hope Sam Stosur who is over-rated. Take anything better than 5/4 for the young German, she's top 20 bound this year.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

tennis spread bets

I've been disappointed by the lack of value in the Aus Open matches so far. So many lacklustre betting contests with very little to get excited about. Tonight I've gone for something different. I give a couple of underdogs in the men's a chance to at least take it to the seeded favourite and stretch the match out. So I've bought games at SportsAcumen, looking for a four-setter at least, or some tiebreaks.

Buy games at 31 Berdych v Dabul. 6-1 6-1 6-3 (23) -8
Buy games at 32 Nalbandian v Lu. 6-4 5-7 4-6 6-4 6-2 (50) +18

Worst case scenario is a triple bagle totally just 18 games. The upside is if there was another contest like that 16-14 Muller v Lopez match on Monday.. can only dream though!

The prices are usually in favour of the sellers in these markets, so I'm a bit wary. I'm not a natural spread bettor, it's very tiny in the Australian betting industry, so tonight is just a dabble.

IBM Grand Slam Widget

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Australian Open previews now available

You may have come across my Grand Slam tennis previews before, I've written them on various sites since about 2000. You can find the full articles here

Here are a couple of snippets:

Australian Open 2009 Men's Draw

The king has been deposed, the reigning champion oddly chose to take the cash and change racquets, a Brit is second favourite to win a Slam title and we have the most open market here in years. We all know the history of this event dishing up first-time winners or finalists, do we go for a shock again, or will undeniable class prevail?

Seeds: Men

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) top ranked with Grand Slam titles to his name, but yet to reach a final in the hardcourt events. Reached the semi here last year but didn't beat anyone inside the top 25 to get there. Hardcourt doesn't suit him his knees have chronic problems already, his slices and spins aren't as effective as on the natural surfaces and he can get blown away by the big guns such as Gonzalez and Tsonga (conquerors here in 07 and 08), Roddick or even Monfils (who destroyed him in Doha 10 days ago). Then you have Djokovic and Murray , both with multiple hardcourt victories over him. Gasquet, Monfils and Simon all dangers to him before a semi with Murray. Can't have him. 10

2. Roger Federer (SUI) man on a mission this year, he won't be liking the announcer saying 'second seed'. Last year's loss to Djokovic in the semi is his only non-appearance in the last 14 Slam finals, and we later learned he had a light form of glandular fever at the time. Has played three weeks in a row leading in, the first time he has ever done that. Two losses to Murray are a little concerning, but there's a gear left for the Slams and he can only face the flying Scot in the final here. His draw looks comfortable until del Potro (leads h2h 3-0) in the quarters, followed by Djokovic (7-2) and probably Murray (2-6). The one to beat. 3.5



Australian Open 2009 Womens Draw



Is it just me or have we rewound six years to when the Williams sisters headed every market? At least this time they are only just favourites, not a mile clear. You can get better than evens about either of them winning. There are a lot of good young players poised right behind them to make an impact. Could we see a new face holding the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup?

Seeds: Women

1. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) - world no.1 but hard to genuinely think it while she's yet to win a Slam. Missed Sydney with a virus, but gets cushy draw here. Should be able to cruise along until the business end. Recommend watching her early rounds first if you want to back her, price can't move much against that opposition. Should go close. 9

2. Serena Williams (USA) - typical ungracious self when she lost to Dementieva in Sydney, but to be honest, I wasn't expecting her to win that one anyway. It's Slams or nothing for her and she's reported to be very keen to get to number one again. Week two looks tricky for her with possible matches against Azarenka and Radwanska before a semi against Venus or Dementieva, but she's up to that task. Recent record is she wins here in the odd years (03,05,07) and guess what, it's an odd year again. 4.25

Full length previews available here

Friday, 16 January 2009

the reason why betting institutions MUST have segregated accts for customers and operations

Prime example of why America doesn't allow widespread gambling - they simply have no idea how to look after the public interest.


NH enacts rules to protect track bettors

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire has approved stricter gambling regulations to protect bettors if state dog or horse tracks go bankrupt.

The rules could have saved bettors at the bankrupt Hinsdale Greyhound Park a half-million dollars they had in betting accounts at the track.

The Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission approved the regulations on Tuesday. They will require the state's three remaining greyhound and harness racing tracks to maintain accounts at state financial institutions that could be used to pay back bettors and other creditors in bankruptcy or closure.

The Lodge at Belmont, Rockingham Park and Seabrook Greyhound track have until March 1 to open the accounts.

The Hinsdale track filed for bankruptcy last month and abruptly closed. The track used money from the betting accounts to pay employees.

----

That last point is absolutely shocking. Australian betting firms must deposit large security bonds with local authorities so that customers can be paid out in the case of going bankrupt. Betting exchanges must have client funds on deposit and operating funds completely segregated. Other firms often don't have to face such tight scrutiny, hence the long list of online bookies (and brokerages in the case of BetBrokers, exchanges in the case of SportingOptions) who have gone belly up without customers receiving a penny.

The entry barriers to getting a betting licence must be very high so that the fly-by-night cowboys with shoddy business models don't get in.

loving that biathlon

As I was saying... what a brilliant sport to trade! :)



Unfortunately I made a complete hash of the matchups (which are usually easy fodder for small profits), so it wasn't a winning day.

Great Leighs in trouble - did someone forget the paperwork?

This is unbelievable! From the Racing Post...

Great Leighs future thrown into doubt
By Turia Tellwright9.46AM 16 JAN 2009

THE future of Great Leighs racecourse is up in the air after the track's temporary licence expired at midnight on Thursday.

A statement on the BHA website explained that a sub-committee of the BHA regulatory committee had declined to grant a further temporary licence.

Consequently, until a new application is made by the managing executive of Great Leighs, racing can not take place at the course.

continues...

Is this administrative bungling or have I missed something major here?

...

Update - nope they're going broke.

Great Leighs placed in adminstration.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

the biggest weekend of biathlon



What an amazing party atmosphere in Ruhpolding, near the German/Austrian border. This is one of the big World Cup events spread over five days, with different races each day. Biathlon is a fantastic trading sport - you have brilliant marksmen/women who aren't very quick skiers, then you have the very fast cross-country skiers who might crack under pressure when shooting with a crosswind and a rapid heart rate.



The German women won the relay today, but the men's relay tomorrow is wide open with several teams in with a winning chance. Norway are the big names, but Austria have won the last two relay events. You can never rule out the Russians and of course, the Germans are on home soil. Tune into Eurosport tomorrow at 1640 GMT for live coverage.

To learn the basics of how to trade on biathlon, click here for the Betfair Education guide to this great sport.

For results archives, rules, news and live scoring, visit BiathlonWorld

And if you need another reason to tune into this sport, take a look at the star of women's biathlon Magdalena Neuner

the wowsers have too much of a say in the Aussie media

This is one of the reasons why I'm happy to live outside Australia these days. Too many idiots allowed to have their say in the media because they are prudes or don't like something. It's turning into a nanny state, nobody's allowed to do anything remotely fun because 1% of the population might take offence or become addicted to it. Stop making the fine brown land like America, it's full of enough bible-bashing do-gooders as it is.

If you've seen any cricket from Australia lately, you've probably noticed the commentators mentioning the Betfair prices occasionally. Why is this a bad thing? It's just another way of saying the public reckon Australia has a 63% chance of winning, South Africa 21% and the draw 16%. The player protection rules in Australia are stronger than anywhere in the world. There is no debit card system which allows minors to play. Every punter has to undergo a 100pt ID check etc.

The ICC have stated in previous interviews they are concerned about betting corruption by way of the players being contacted by unscrupulous individuals, which leads to betting via the black market - ie in India where it's illegal and unregulated. They've said broadcasting prices on air is trivial, yet the ABC keep bringing it up.

ABC Online transcript

Today Tonight clip

Channel 9 which broadcasts the cricket is owned by the Packer group, which half-owns Betfair Australia. Channel 7 (Today Tonight) and the ABC will take any opportunity to shoot them down in jealousy for having the longest-running sporting broadcast rights in Australia. Thankfully Today Tonight is usually written off as utter dribble with no journalistic merit at all. Last year they had a scandal at the tennis because someone backed Federer at 1000 in the Betfair Aus Open outright market after he'd just lost. If you're stupid enough to do that when you know the guy has been beaten, do you deserve any protection??

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

monitor several Betfair markets at once

This is a handy little tool very few people find on their own, but it's available via the Betfair Labs site. The product is called Firefox Extras. It's only available in Firefox (apparently the code is much easier to work with than buggy Microsoft creations) and it has numerous uses apart from what you see below.



When you download the programme, you can set up a Watch List as shown above, add notes to a selection (very useful for racing) which will be retained with that selection each time it re-appears in other markets, hide runners from markets (useful during a race when one horse has already fallen and you want to see runners further down the screen) and more. Take a look for yourself. I was just playing around on a few NBA games as well as keeping an eye on some other markets at the same time.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

People know who wins awards before they're handed out... no shit Sherlock!

Betting on this sort of rubbish is just asking for trouble. But bookies want all the publicity they can get (this stuff gets them into the front half of the paper rather than the sports section), so they'll keep on doing it so they can stir up a story for the free advertising.

Betting on gong review

Notice there are no actual complaints from the bookies (Centrebet and Sportingbet) about the punters in the know, just "we'll keep an eye on it".

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Aussie cricketers hoping to regain more lost pride

The Twenty20 series starts in the morning UK time with Australia hosting South Africa at the magnificent Melbourne Cricket Ground. Both sides have shuffled the deckchairs a little to rest players with many more matches left in the back-to-back home and away series. I find Twenty20 hard to trade on personally, much prefer Test matches where things take time develop, and importantly, you don't have to be glued to the box every second as the game continually ebbs and flows. But, each to their own.

Australia is trading at 1.61 currently on Betfair, looks a bit on the short side to me.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Tote Tasmania up for sale

While the UK Tote can't find a buyer, mostly because of the ridiculous price they were expecting, TOTE Tasmania is being put up for sale by the Tasmanian government. Who's in the market to buy? Betfair, TABCorp, Tattersall's or perhaps a foreign company.

Tas govt press release

If I was framing a market, I'd mark Tattersall's as favourite, followed by Betfair as both companies already have strong relationships in Tasmania.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

excellent racing article from the Guardian

Lydia Hislop of Racing UK gives the bureaucracy something to think about with this piece. Very interesting points about Betfair terminals on-course...

The new year detox action plan for a healthier sport

The Tote does need a good kick up the backside too - it could be so much bigger if they knew how to exploit their niche in the market.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

WTA coaching rules

If you've been watching any of the WTA matches on Betfair Live Video, you will have noticed players being coached at the change of ends. It's an interesting development which might take a little bit of skill away, but certainly adds another variable to a match.

Here are the rules:

WTA Tour allows on-court coaching next year

New York: Women's tennis players will be able to consult with their coaches during matches starting next year (2009), though the WTA Tour's motivation for the move seems to be aiding fans as much as competitors.

To visit their players on court, coaches must agree to wear a microphone so television audiences can hear the conversations. The long-discussed rule change was approved by the Tour's board last week, CEO Larry Scott said on Wednesday during the US Open.

''It was a polarizing issue, to be sure, a lot of potential consequences in the eyes of our players and tournaments, and that's why we took so long to really think it through,'' he said. ''But at the end of the day, I think this step shows a real commitment from our athletes and from our sport towards innovation, being as fan-friendly as possible and being as responsive to television as possible without altering the fundamentals of the sport.''

Coaches will be allowed to visit their players once per set, and only during the allotted changeover time. They can also come on court when the opponent takes a medical break. Scott said he also hopes it will discourage players from taking unnecessary medical breaks.

The on-court coaching is limited to WTA Tour events and doesn't include Grand Slams.

Note that last part - that is crucial. We will see a few players be able to change their game and win matches they shouldn't on the Tour, but crumble without their security blanket in the Slams.

Tennis - 2008 in review and preview of 2009

Last week I wrote an article for PuntingAce, looking back at the big improvers and big losers last year, and naturally, looking ahead to 209. An added bonus is a quick scan of all the Betfair 1.01s beaten during 08. You might be surprised who rates a mention...

You can read the full article here.

I'll be punting rather than trading on tennis this year, but just dipping my toe into the water this week before I get right back into it. Make use of Betfair and other firm's live video from Auckland, Brisbane and Doha to check the form as players resume from the off-season.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

another drug scandal about to break in the AFL?

OnThePunt.com is reporting some significant bets going on Geelong to win the 2009 AFL Premiership on the back of rumours of a player being suspended on a drug test (three strikes and you're out is the policy). No names mentioned as yet, but it can only be a big name from their main rival, reigning premiers Hawthorn. I'd have a guess at who the player is but I don't want to deal with lawyers and a libel case. No major moves on Betfair yet, but OTP is usually on the money with these things so chances are this story has legs...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Murray off to a flyer

Impressive start to the season by Andy Murray in Abu Dhabi. Wins over Blake, Federer and Nadal just a fortnight before the Australian Open is a great sign for the season ahead. He's definitely good enough to win in Melbourne, and the Aus Open has a history of throwing up first-time winners, or first-time Grand Slam finalists.

The Aus media has been full of articles this week about players ready for a big season - Tsonga, Baghdatis, Gasquet, Ivanovic, Dellacqua, Hantuchova etc. Also the Nick Bollettieri blog has details of players training with him over the off-season as well.

Proper ATP and WTA action starts tomorrow. I'll be following the circuit closer this season than I have for years, so stay tuned for a few tips. But be warned, I am quite selective. I'm more likely to have four bets a week than four for the day.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Aussie press digging out the headline seekers as tennis season begins

Old article (or at least majorly regurgitated) about an ex-mafia boss talking up the threat of corruption and match-fixing in sport.

Fox Sports article

There are a couple of snippets of sense in there, but mostly it's a load of hot air with an American ex-con big-noting himself... now there's a surprise!