Friday, 27 February 2009

another exchange goes - bye bye BetBull

These guys were so minor you probably haven't heard of them anyway. BetBull, based in Gibraltar, and part of the Global network (which Betdaq is the main partner of). They promised a lot when they started on their own about five years ago, but soon realised it was an impossible task to get any decent volume and linked into the Global Sports Exchange network.

From CasinoCity article

As reported by Gaming Intelligence: "Betbull Holdings SE has this morning confirmed the closure of its betting exchange platform at Betbull.com, with effect from February 28th 2009. This follows the recent closure of its German-facing betting exchange platform Betbull.de late last year, prior to the enforcement of the German State Treaty on Gaming on January 1st 2009.


These guys mostly focused on Germany and Spain where shops are profitable and exchange betting is simply too niche to make an imprint of the global penetration of Betfair.

learning from the lessons of the past

Fabulous article here about one of the earliest form gurus, Pack McKenna. In this era of technology with everything available at your fingertips, it's very hard to imagine just what you'd have to do to properly analyse form back in those days. My old mentor Mark Read told stories of learning from his mother, creating his own database of horses using cards, recording trackwork, previous runs etc.

And now most punters whinge about having to pay anything to get ratings and form guides....

Thanks to Pull The Pocket for highlighting this great article. It just goes to show, the more hard work you put in, the better your results will be.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Sportsbet buys into IAS

The IAS sale plans take another turn. After Centrebet had a crack with a hostile offer then had a ruling against them by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) over releasing details of private discussions late last year, Sportsbet Pty Ltd run by Matt Tripp have purchased 10.15% of IAS shares. This announcement can be found on the ASX site under company code IAS.

An interesting development, particularly as Sportsbet have been rumoured to be chatting to potential foreign partners. Just where will this one head?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

more trouble for Simon Beasley

The former star footballer has been a leading bookmaker in Melbourne for a decade or more now, but an error on the books a few months back, allegedly showing bets being taken off the record, seems to have turned into a much deeper problem.

Detectives probe bookie bets

Not sure I'd want to be in his shoes at the moment...

were you part of the plunge?

Word got out on Friday night about this one. A mate allegedly told me on MSN but his typing is so crap I didn't have a clue what he meant so I ignored it.... Ah well, c'est la vie!

Bookmakers lose £1m in betting plunge

Read the last couple of paragraphs in the article from Steve Palmer and George Primarolo. Once again proving the point about the further you go off the beaten track to have a bet, the more chance you have of winning because every man and his dog isn't aware of the team news.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Academy Awards betting

The Academy Awards - betting bonanza or complete dross? It's probably somewhere in between. I'm not a movie expert by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I reckon I've been to more race meetings this year (once) than to the flicks in the past two yrs. But there is money to be made on these markets.

In my early days working for a bookie, we would have one client ring up from the States to bet on just one thing - the Academy Awards. And this guy was red hot. Not ringing an hour before the event when there may have been a leak but a few weeks beforehand, picking off the value because he knew his stuff much better the couple of guys who much preferred football and cricket.

Awards markets are tricky. You have to understand how the voting is done, historical precedents, how box office figures mean little, the types of roles and films which appeal to the judges, the other award ceremonies (Screenwriters' Guild, BAFTAs etc) which provide strong formlines, how much or how little media hysteria can mean.

Every single betting event has its share of form factors. The more you consider, the better your betting will be. Remember, there are 24 different awards markets on Betfair. Every man and his dog knows all about the Best Actor, Actress, Film, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress awards and who is likely to win them. So dig a little deeper and see if you can spot some value in the more obscure awards where bookies may not have done their homework....

as we warm up for Cheltenham in the UK, the Australian version closes down

Just over two weeks to the fantastic Cheltenham festival in the UK, the World Series of jumping. This year promises to be as big any other, I really can't see the recession making an ounce of difference.


But sadly, Cheltenham racecourse in Australia has closed its gates for the final time. Racing in South Australia (capital city Adelaide) is in a sad state of affairs. Once within sight of Victorian racing as a competitor, now it probably ranks below Tasmania and WA for interest and prizmoney. The govt really have let it slide and the big stables have deserted it in droves. Consequently, three city tracks in Adelaide had to be downsized. After debate lasting several years, Cheltenham in the north-west suburbs was put up for sale. By the picture above, you can see just how dry it is in Adelaide. Track three, Victoria Park, in the beautiful public access parklands (meaning they can never lock it up as a secure venue), will probably not be used again.

Morphettville was always the premier track in Adelaide, now all the money is going into upgrading the facility and adding a second grass track. But if the prizemoney is still poor (standard races yesterday were for $25k prizepool, very poor for Saturday metro) then the standard of facilities ain't going to make a lick of difference.

A sting might be in the tail though re Cheltenham. It was sold off to a property developer and money has yet to change hands. And it wouldn't take much cynicism in the current state of the economy to think that could be a while off yet....

Cheltenham in Adelaide has a special place in my heart. I was once kicked off the course by a zealous policewoman who picked I was betting under age, about six months before my 18th birthday. Male police didn't care or didn't notice, I'd been betting at various tracks for years by that stage! She could have picked a better time - I'd been losing all day and just started turning it around with a couple of winners in a row when I was advised to move on!

Betfair sponsorship extends to country racing as well


Despite the tired whingeing of Robert Nason, the corporates always were going to start sponsoring country racing. Day-to-day racing is the bread and butter of the Betfair and the corporate bookies, they want daily business, not just on Saturdays.

Rod Nicholson files a rather factual report, rather than putting his usual Tabcorp-patsy spin on things. Is it going to cut TAB turnover? I doubt it. The higher profile racing gets, the benefits flow onto everyone. Supporting racing is more than just about the return from bets being passed back to the clubs (by legislation).

Betfair boost for the bush

A good sign for Victorian racing, let's hope other states are open to allow similar deals as well.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Women's tennis - a trader's dream



Two of my favourite WTA players at the moment, young, talented and from the Bollettieri school of going for everything. I thought Lisicki was way too big a price before the match, took a position and then traded from that as she got into the match.

Had a similar book on the Williams clash, Serena was still favourite (1.35) when Eurosport commentator Annabel Croft said she was limping, so I had to dive in for a trade. Had to sweat on it though, despite being on one leg she took it to a final set breaker!

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hypocrisy or genuine regret in Russian biathlon?

New story in the Norwegian press this morning - the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has sent a text message to Swedish biathlete Mattias Nilsson Jr (who commented on his blog about his disgust for the Russian drug cheats) promising that Russia would make a stance against doping in biathlon. As a follow-up to that, the heads of the Russian biathlon team have asked IBU president Besseberg for help in cleaning it up.

Now I can believe a president making an effort to get things changed, it's highly unlikely he had any involvement in encouraging the cheating. But for the heads of an organisation with systematic drug-taking to call for assistance in cleaning up THEIR MESS, that's utter crap. The first (and only) step they can make to cleaning it up is resign in disgrace. These are the same people who screamed their athletes were innocent just a week ago and sent them to Pyeong Chang knowing full well the B-samples would be positive as well. And then wanted to take a petty protest about taking the wrong path in the pursuit (for no advantage at all) because of poor marking by the officials, all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That's like taking TESCO to the High Court because they sold you a bruised banana while ignoring the fact you were caught during an armed robbery in the same store a week later!

They conducted off-season training camps in remote parts of Russia where WADA officials couldn't get to at short notice. And then the athletes who were caught were busted at the first event of the season. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out what they were up to. The IBU have deliberately been coy about releasing details of the drug and how it was tested (why let the corrupt scientists know what they are capable of?), but I'd like to hear just how many Russian athletes were tested at that first event.

Biathlon needs Russia, they are one of the big nations in the sport. But they have to be firmly dealt with. Team management is behind all the cheating , Russian fans have been leaving death threats on Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Mattias Nilsson's blogs, and travellig to the Russian World Cup event next month poses a lot of risk for foreign competitors and officials.

briliant formguide

I find it quite hard to do racing form properly onlnie. It's just the feel of having the paper folded out in front of you, being able to flick between pages, make notes etc without straining your eyes on the computer screen for hours. And being an Aussie, I particularly like the type of formguides I was brought up on. Aussie form is laid out much different to British and American racing information.

Take a look for yourself - SMH Online Formguide

It's an online reader for the paper itself, you can magnify it, flip pages etc. Fantastic work, I applaud the people who built it. And it's free!!

Betfair edge closer to their date in court with Racing NSW

Betfair are taking on the crusty establishment at Racing NSW over their plans to introduce turnover-based fees for the right to bet on NSW racing. Might sound fair on the surface, but actually it's a massive trade restriction - pandering to their mates at the TAB and trying to put all their competitors out of business. It might have worked 50 years ago but not these days.

Read the Racenet article here

The ruling means that Racing NSW (and Harness Racing NSW)'s expensive lawyers are likely to once again leasd them down the wrong path and cost the NSW racing industry a fortune... ironically at the time when these racing authorities are making a lot of noise about supporting the low-paid workers at the bottom of the chain.

The taxpayer never wins when these things go to court, especially when Blind Freddie can see that the legislation is protectionist!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

desperate for publicity - why not pay out early on Man Utd?

This is just a ridiculous publicity stunt by Paddy Power. I'd hope it backfires on them, but then it will actually turn out better for them. Nobody outside of Manchester had ever heard of Fred Done before he famously paid out on Man Utd winning the title back in 1997/98 before Arsenal won the title. The free publicity from this stunt (and also limited risk - what Mancunian would ever place a bet on Arsenal to win the title?) went worldwide, now Fred has shops all over the UK plus a thriving website. The PR value of paying out twice far exceeds the cost of two liabilities.


Bookie pays out on United treble

I could understand them paying out on the title - a bold, but calculated move. Paying out on the two Cups as well is riding the publicity train as badly as those washed-up has-beens or never-wazs on the celebrity reality show circuit.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Biathlon World Championships - women's individual

This is the most open of all the races at the World Champs, the Betfair market is currently 6.2 the field.

The Individual discipline is slightly different to the other forms (sprint, pursuit and mass start). It's longer - 15km for the women, so they ski five x 3km laps, with four shooting rounds interspersed - two in the prone position (easier for most), two in the standing (very difficult to keep your heart rate down after skiing flat out for so long). But the killer part for trading - any misses in the shooting incur an automatic one minute penalty, not having to ski a penalty loop of about 25 secs as per the other events.

So the shooters come to the fore here. Miss five targets out of 20, and you are automatically five minutes behind the clear shooter. There won't be too many (if any) shooting clear, but keeping those misses to an absolute minimum, even by taking an extra 15 seconds to shoot is vital.

The cute choker Magdalena Neuner isn't competing, this event isn't her forte, so the favourite is Swede Helena Jonsson who won the Pursuit on Sunday with only two misses. Slower skiers with very good shooting records - Solveig Rogstad, Marie Laure Brunet and Natalia Levchenkova.

The men's individual yesterday had two longshots in the placings, and that is definitely on the cards.

Trading advice - keep laying the short ones, but don't take on too much risk. Any Other always trades too low as well, there are 20 runners already in the Betfair market, highly unlikely the winner will come from there. The more runners you can lay, the better your overall book becomes as there should be several competitors in with a chance of winning during the race.

Starts shortly on Eurosport 1!

ACTTAB signs up with Centrebet

Interesting development - TABCorp wants to kick the smaller TABs out of the sports betting platform (currently all state TABs share the same prices which originate from TABCorp's version of TABSportsbet), so ACTTAB have 'done a deal with the devil'.

On a good point for punters, it brings a bit more variety to the industry and gives a sports bookmaker other than a TAB, their first venture into shops.

ACTTAB looks to the future with Centrebet deal

Expect the other smaller TABs to be on the lookout for similar deals.

UPDATE - this deal also applies to the WA and Tasmanian TABs as well, and will commence in May.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Cricket's saviour was actually a crook!

The England cricket team went to pieces when they saw all the money Allen Stanford (he doesn't deserve the Sir title) had to offer last year in the Twenty20 circus, but it looks as if all that money was part of a massive con job!

Stanford charged over $8bn fraud

He looked as dodgy as they come, and looks like he might get his just desserts....

Victorian harness racing boss wants change

I can understand his point-of-view, but Victorian racing is far and away the best in Australia. Why would they want to share the limelight with the two poorer cousins? Perhaps they can, times have changed and the Vic Govt seems more committed to supporting and sustaining the industries these days.

HRV wants one body

Good luck if they can achieve it. Shared departments such as administration, integrity and drug-testing would benefit from combining the resources.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Vroom vroom!!

I love the Daytona 500. I'm a petrolhead at heart, my father used to race cars many years ago so I'm used to getting excited about cars going 'round and round'. This is the flagship for NASCAR racing, and unfortunately, the betting peters out after this race - at least for live trading on Betfair. The best part about Daytona is that all cars are on restrictor plates. The straights are so long and these cars are so powerful, that they can lift and that gets very dangerous. So the racing is very close together at about 180mph, and drafting and team blocking means anyone is capable of winning.


It wasn't quite as exciting as last year's race (see Feb 08 archive) which went down to a two-lap dash between about 15 cars. This time the rain came and stopped the race with about a quarter of the distance to go. Usual policy, laying as many drivers as possible for small liability and just keep building up a nice book.

It's the same strategy I use for other weak liquidity, many selection markets - such as minor golf tournaments (seniors, LPGA etc) and biathlon.

NASCAR rules again :D

Betfair sign marketing deal with NRL team, Wests Tigers

Betfair's sponsorship portfolio in Australia now covers Betfair Park racing, Hawthorn FC, numerous sport and racing sponsorships in Tasmania and now the Wests Tigers. A big step up from the doom-sayers saying every cent would go back to the UK when lobbying for a licence just a few yrs ago.

Read the LeagueHQ article here

An interesting progression considering that the NRL has been the sporting body most concerned (or should I say hypocritical?) regarding gambling sponsorship. A decade ago when the government-owned SportsTAB opened, the NRL couldn't give them enough perimeter signage. A change of CEO and public sentiment re gambling, particularly in NSW where the league clubs' finances are heavily based on the pokies clubs and the gambling problems they create, and those relationships changed.

Over the years the NRL has had a few minor gambling scandals, nothing of the magnitude of match-fixing, but more exotic markets such as First Tryscorer and TV markets such as Man of the Match. Signing integrity deals with betting companies, particularly those which don't accept cash, can only be good for the sport.

Betfair won't be the only betting firm sponsoring in the NRL this season. BetEzy is setting up white-label sites to sponsor a few teams as well, and the big mouth of rugby league journalism, Peter Fitzsimons, shows the level of his sports-betting knowledge with this piece.

Punters born every minute

LET'S be clear about this. Show me a sports gambler and I will show you a loser. I don't mean one who loses every time - for of course there will be the occasional you-bloody-beauty! win. I mean that, over time, by simple dint of the immutable laws of mathematics, the sports gambler will lose money. All too often, that money is rent, grocery and mortgage money. Any objections yet? Any cries of "that's not true and that's not fair!"? Sit down and shut up. You are only saying that because you are either in the industry, or a regular sports gambler who doesn't care to acknowledge that you have been pissing your money up against the wall.


And I thought ex-rugby players were supposed to be intelligent. Just because every pub is full of mug punters, it doesn't mean we all are. And sports betting is the ONE area of gambling you can win on with a bit of nous. Gambling companies sponsor sports events and teams all around the world, why is it that Australians think they can take the moral high ground? The form of gambling that screws people is gaming, namely casinos and poker (slot) machines. Get rid of those and over 90% of problem gambling issues are solved.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Russian biathletes test positive on the B-tests

So to all the Russian readers who sent me abuse for releasing the story before it was confirmed.... take your blinkers off and wake up to the real world.

Russian newscentre VES believes that the testing in Lausanne has returned three positive B samples for a variety of EPO, initially believed to be CERA.

The hall of shame:

Albina Akhatova
Ekaterina Iourieva
Dmitry Yaroshenko

The announcement from the International Biathlon Union is believed to be imminent.

May they never grace a biathlon competition again. There is no place in professional sports for drug cheats.

"We are facing systematic doping at the large scale in one of the strongest teams of the world," IBU President Anders Besseberg told reporters in the eastern resort town of Pyeongchang.

"Either we have been able to catch them all, or we have only seen the top of the ice mountain," he said. "There is no, absolutely no, excuse for what the three doped Russian athletes and the people behind them have done."

try a new record, idiot


Same fool, same tired argument.

Robert Nason, the muppet who can't handle the concept of competition, is at it again...

Bookies bleed the bush

What he conveniently fails to mention is the sponsorship now open to corporate bookies (at least in Victoria because NSW still has legislation or a contract banning it) which doesn't count in the funding pot, and the fact that these corporate bookies are actually some of the biggest customers of the TABs! If you simply cut off the corporates, it will not mean all the money goes straight across to the tote pool directly. Competition builds interest in the sport. Australia will never be a monopoly like Hong Kong. A better analogy would be New Zealand where prizemoney is pitiful and any decent horse or jockey moves to Australia. High takeouts means punters lose money quicker. If you bleed the punters dry, then they can't bet next week or next month. And that has to be worrying during a worldwide recession.

When is someone going to hold this muppet accountable for his habitually-flawed rants? This is the same fool who wanted to cancel the spring carnival so that Betfair couldn't make every race corrupt, wanted to ban UK horses because Betfair is licensed over here, he introduced the Duet bet type because his 50c punter mother liked it, and slammed me personally in the papers because I dared to say that Australia has way too much lower-class racing. Exactly which business school did he get his qualifications from? A packet of Kellogg's Corn Flakes??

AFL tries to plug integrity leaks

The AFL (Australain Football League) has been attacked for taking money from betting firms in recent years without maintaining integrity over the sport. Nothing like match-fixing, but specifically team news being unofficial until 45 minutes before the game and teams obviously not trying in the latter half of the season in order to gain better draft picks.

This move from the AFL is to be applauded but it's really only a drop in the ocean. Full disclosure on injuries such as the American system would be a much bigger step forward. A randomisation of the draft picks order, seeded in favour of the worst-performing teams, but not solely on ladder position, would be another step forward.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

this is why Hong Kong racing is the best in the world

Forget the petty politics, forget the over-racing, just give punters the best possible information so they can bet more on local racing. Develop the web content even further with all the replays, horse weights, free data archives etc. And now you can even build your own customised page with reports, news feeds, anything you need!


HK horse racing embraces web 2.0


myHKJC provides users the convenience of obtaining a variety of horse tips in a consolidated content module, where they can review the horses analysis, forecast running positions of individual horses, statistics-based tips, and recommended horses.

Users can review memorable racing moments with photos and clips in their ‘photo album’. By activating e-alerts, racing fans can receive e-mail reminders of their favourite horses, trainers and jockeys once available.

....

If only they encouraged overseas wagering by broadcasting online... Unfortunately, you can only open accounts with the HKJC if you live there.

Next Manager markets

Chelsea and Portsmouth are managerless. Bring on the chaos that is the Next Manager Market!

These markets can be absolute gold mines, but also very dangerous. As is the nature of them, the markets will fluctuate heavily based purely on rumours. People will put two and two together and come up with seven. ALWAYS be aware that humans make the decisions to interview, hire etc, and information always gets out. The worst case of this was when Harry Redknapp went back to Portsmouth - he held a press conference saying he wasn't leaving Southampton, meanwhile his price was getting hammered on Betfair. Watch the market constantly - if the market isn't behaving according to normal volatility.

The best manager markets are the ones which last a few weeks or longer, however I doubt this time that's an option - unless caretaker managers are appointed until the end of the season, which are NOT counted by betting firms. The Spurs manager job when Jacques Santini got it (2004) and the Ireland national job (2007) markets were brilliant - each had at least six different guys who became favourite and/or odds-on, making it a layer's delight.

Tips to profit on next Manager markets.

1. The earlier you get in the better. As soon as you see the headline on Sky Sports News, start thinking about who might get the job, and wait for the Betfair market to surface.

2. Don't punt the market. You want to lay a book by laying as many different managers as possible.

3. No need to take big risk. Just take a fiver here, tenner there, two quid there etc, building up a buffer (big green) on everyone else.

4. Don't be desperate to close out.

5. When you see a price dropping, almost invariably will it drift back out again. So get in there and lay some.

6. Don't leave lots of offers (backs and lays) up on the screen near market prices (just under/over current market) when you won't be online for a while. If Sky Sports News reports a big rumour, then the market could move severely and you will lay one runner and back all the rest.

7. Don't be afraid to speculate at big odds for a couple of quid if there is logic for why that person might be interested in the job, or why people might think they'd be interested.

8. Keep a level head.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Breaking story - Asian bookies set to go bust??

Hot off the presses this one - a massive bad debt from a huge client is likely to send a few Asian bookmakers to the wall. Asian bookies base the vast majority of their business on credit, and when you bet almost entirely Asian handicaps, you don't have any margin to work with. When big liabilities are taken, these are offset with other bookies. It's the global credit crunch all over again.

Word is that the big bookies such as SBO and IBC can handle it, but those lower in the chain will succumb to accumulated bad debts. If you bet into Asia, you have to weigh up the risks against the benefits. Now is not the time to betting into there, you will more of this in the coming days and weeks....

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Tragedy in Australia - please donate


The Australian state of Victoria has been scorched with several days of temperatures over 40C in recent weeks, and combined with a record drought and strong northerly winds, the fires everyone feared have arrived. But these are worse than any in Australia's history, surpassing the terrible fires in 1983 and 1939 which killed dozens.

I'm from country Australia. The Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 would have taken our home and community if the wind hadn't changed. When it's over 40 degrees and the north wind is blowing, you just pray a fire doesn't start. Thankfully this time, no fires are within 50km of my relatives but thoughts are with everyone affected by it, those who have lost loved ones or homes, and to the brave firefighters.

Entire towns have been destroyed, hundreds of homes and worst of all, over 100 lives have been lost, mostly people trapped in their cars as they tried to escape. To the right is a button linking to the Australian Red Cross. Please donate if you can. I'm donating all of last week's profits, and it was my best week in a long while. Please be patient if the site is overloaded.

For news updates, visit the HeraldSun. Photo from News Ltd.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

what's the point of a third umpire if he's worse than the other guys?

Cricket has to be commended for trialling modern technology, but they've got to do a better job than the referral experiment in the West Indies v England series. If you're going to make the crowd wait for a decision, at least get it right! There have been some dead set shockers so far, and it's only the first test of the series.

You can't expect umpires to be perfect when they only see the action once, at full pace. But when the bloke in the box with all the replays can only do worse, then what's the point??

Scoop6 bonus heading towards £3m

That's a lot of cash to play for, but considering you have to land six winners one week before you get a chance at the jackpot, I doubt I'll be hitting it too hard next week.

Biathlon scandal gets worse, Russians claiming innocence!

Delusional, endemic or just plain corrupt? The Russian Federation's answer to the three positive tests in biathlon is "These drugs aren't on your banned list, so we can't be suspended".

CERA is a new form of EPO, the biggest illegal drug in endurance sport which now has 10 varieties. This particular variety is not on the banned list yet, so the Russians have sent all their team to Korea for next week's World Championships, claiming they can't be banned. "Our scientists are better than your scientists!". This isn't a cough medicine or asthma medication, this is a drug developed purely to cheat.

How many Russian athletes are going to end up dead before they turn 40 because their body has been systematically infested by man-made drugs? Virtually every women's world record in athletics has the massive tarnish of drugs cheat on it, certainly every record set more than 10 years ago, of which there are plenty. Why are none of these records remotely close to being challenged? Even Marion Jones, the fastest female athlete of the past 20 yrs couldn't break Flo Jo's record and then she turned out to be a serial cheat as well! Drugs, drugs and more drugs. Any coincidence that few of these athletes are still alive? How many cyclists of the last thirty or forty years have died young due to being pumped so full of steroids their body couldn't cope?

This story threatens to split the sport of biathlon. How would you feel if you've busted a gut your entire life to compete against factory-developed cheats? Drug cheats ruin sport, they kill the dreams of aspiring athletes and they ruin the enjoyment for the fans. Kick them out, and kick them out now. There should be no room for second chances.

Friday, 6 February 2009

RIP Australian cricket - who is to blame?

Have you been following the Australian cricket team lately? Can't blame you if you haven't, they've been rubbish this southern summer. But on the other hand, mug punters are still backing them at ridiculous odds, so laying them (either to the end or to trade a position) has been a very profitable practice in recent months.

The simple facts are that South Africa are now clearly no.1 in the world in Test and one-day cricket, the Aussies are little better than average. After a period of domination, an almighty fall is bound to occur - just look at the WIndies in the 80s/90s. How will India go when Tendulkar finally retires, given that Ganguly and Kumble have already gone, and guys like Dravid and Laxman can't be far behind.

But the players coming through isn't the problem in my opinion. It's the changing culture of the game Down Under. Aussie cricketers are the most revered of any sportsmen or women in Australia, with the possible exception of the swimmers post-Olympics. And with that comes endorsements, media deals and, worst of all... WAGS.

WAGS is the primary reason that the England football team were a joke under Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McLaren. Is it any coincidence that Fabio Capello has booted them out and England haven't lost a game for ages? Wives and girlfriends are a sideshow and deserve to be treated as such. Who gives a toss at the emotional state of Lara Bingle and the other hangers-on? It's unbelievable that they get almost as much coverage as the players in some papers. even the England cricket team have their partners at arm's length. With the exception of that joke Stanford 20/20 event... oh, and what happened there? Coincidence? I think not!

Ricky Ponting is a poor captain, but still one of the best batsmen in the world. Aus cricket history is that once you are sacked as captain, it's game over. So it's either keep hold of that tired relic and continue to lose matches, or move on and give someone else a go with Ricky concentrating on his batting.

Michael Clarke won't be the answer as captain. Far too worried about his other half than his teammates, as shown by the recent dressing room scuffle with Simon Katich in Sydney.

Mike Hussey needs to get his form back before he could be given more responsibility.

Shit, who else is there.....??

But, the saviour could be on the horizon - at least for the batsmen. Philip Hughes has been blooded for the South Africa and will open the batting. I've been calling for this bloke to be in the Ashes squad, now he's got his chance against the best bowling attack in the world. This kid will be a superstar. The last Aussie players to be given the Baggy Green at 20 have been Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh and Craig McDermott.

As for the bowlers - is there a fit one amongst them? Brett Lee - stress fracture, Stuart Clark - chronic elbow injury, Peter Siddle - minor stress fracture (didn't know there was such a thing), Shaun Tait - too crocked to play anything more than limited overs games these days, Shane Watson - doubt he will ever be fit, Bryce McGain - the new leg-spinner (36 years old) is just returning from shoulder surgery and will hopefully tour England. Mitchell Johnson is shouldering the workload when he should be no.3 bowler. Bollinger, Hilfenhaus and MacDonald are all brand new and decent, nothing more... at this stage anyway.

Any other sport and you'd see the adminstration sacked. The selectors have lost the plot. Too matey with the players and not prepared to make the tough decision. The Matt Hayden decision you say? They would have been lynched had they picked him any longer.

Here's an easy tip for profit - keep laying the Aussies until the betting world works out we are no longer good enough to be favourite in matches against half-decent opposition. If you can't handle barracking against the team, then put a trade in to close out for a tidy profit when the other side becoems favourite. But remember, the head should always over-rule the heart when it comes to betting.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Biathlon scandal gets ugly

Let's start by saying that no result is official, only the A-tests have come back positive and all athletes are entitled to have their B-sample analysed before being declared guilty. But it appears the Russians are in total denial that they are doing anything wrong.

Swedish biathlete Matthias Nilsson Jr commented on his blog "why is anybody surprised? The rest of the team will just continue as usual" and was bombarded with threats such as 'We'll be waiting for you in Khanty Mansiysk' (Russian venue for Biathlon World Cup event next month, and 'I hope you die from cancer'. Charming chaps. Anything to justify serial cheating. The comments and abuse have been picked up by various Scandinavian media channels. I copped a bunch of anonymous comments in Russian which meant nothing to me, followed by some abuse in English as well. Hence comments are now moderated...

Biathlon authorities are hopeful that the B-tests will be processed in time for the World Champs next week. Meanwhile the Russian team think they can cover it over by saying if they hold back certain biathletes from the World Champs, they can justify it by saying they're sick or injured. Hmm, wouldn't take Einstein to work out which ones they might be....

The drug in question is CERA, a thirsd generation of EPO. The testing for it isn't a quick process. These samples are believed to be from the first event of the season in Ostersund. CERA was first found in biathlon last year when Finnish cheat Kaisa Varis was busted for it. A middle-of-the-road competitor suddenly wins her first ever event... just a little suspicious. And she had priors, she'd been done for it before in cross-country skiing. This is not a drug with questionable hormone levels, this is out and out cheating. One strike should be enough to say goodbye to your career. Cycling had its share of CERA in last year's Tour de France.

It would be interesting to know just how many athletes were tested in Ostersund, and particularly from certain nations. Was it only these three that tested positive of all that country, or were they the only ones tested?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

biathlon rocked by another doping scandal

The Russians are at it again. Thinking it's 1981 and they can get away with whatever they like. Training camps being held at short notice in remote parts of Russia where WADA officials can't get visas without waiting for three months, almost no local testing etc. Shoddy, and they've been caught for it.

No articles yet with the news in English, but numerous others in various languages via NewsNow

The IBU aren't releasing names as yet, but reports link the failed tests to Akhatova, Iourieva and Yarochenko.



It's a real shame the Russians have to stoop to such depths when some of their star athletes look like this!

The World Championships start next weekend. Did they really think they could get away with it? It's time biathlon brought in a rule like weightlifting where repeated positive tests from the one nation kicks everyone from that country out. Otherwise biathlon will become as tarnished as cycling, and nobody wants to see that....

Monday, 2 February 2009

another tennis match with a slightly suspicious result? UPDATED



Make up your own mind on this one. Note this picture is the Inverse Axis graph, one showing % chance of winning.

Betfair have delayed settlement of this match, pending an investigation and discussion with the ATP I assume.

Antonio Veic, a player I had honestly never heard of before, started this match at a price of around 5.5 (18% winning chance). Guillermo Canas, a player nearing the end of his career and with two previous suspensions for taking banned substances was the heavy favourite, around 1.2.

Now from the graph, you'd think Veic won in straight sets. He didn't, he actually lost the first set, yet kept on shortening in price (increasing in percentage chance of winning).

Expect this one to be in the papers and dragging tennis back into the gutter again.

Without seeing the match, it's hard to hang the bloke. He may have rolled an ankle and battled hard to win the first set despite really struggling. But any betting forum will tell you this one looks mighty fishy.

UPDATE - The HeraldSun has picked up on the story here.

There is a photo of Canas receiving treatment on his shoulder in this Australian forum, but no indication of exactly when the timeout was taken.

FINAL UPDATE - Betfair, I assume with the assistance of the ATP, have made a decision.

PBZ Zagreb Indoors Tennis Tournament – Canas v Veic first round match settlement.
We have investigated the markets offered on the match between Canas and Veic at the PBZ Indoors in Croatia. After detailed analysis we are satisfied the market reflected the event and in accordance with our terms and conditions the market will be settled shortly.


No doubt betting forums around the globe will be alive with conspiracy theories about this one....

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Centrebet make a bid for IAS

Mark Read has been trying to sell IAS for a while, but asking a ridiculous price. This sounds a bit more like it, although I'm not sure exactly what Centrebet will gain from it. I doubt there'd be too many punters betting at IAS that don't already have Centrebet accts.

Read the SMH article here

I worked for IAS in 98-99 and still have some shares left after they floated during that time. They're worth about 10% of what I paid for them, now I'll be able to cash in and buy three cases of beer, hooray!

FURTHER UPDATE

Online gaming group International All Sports gained 11c, or 68.75 per cent, to 27c after rival Centrebet made a takeover bid for it at a minimum $18.59 million and up to $29.91 million. Centrebet last traded at $1.34.

204,000 shares traded today, with a low of 26.5 cents. Price opened significantly higher, as usually happens with takeover bids.

Rumours abound that the board will resist the hostile takeover.

FEB 3 UPDATE

From The Australian newspaper

"Centrebet (CIL) $1.34 International All- Sports (IAS) 27c IN late 2007, IAS assured investors a "phalanx of local and international" players were clamouring to acquire the corporate bookmaker after putting itself up for auction.

Instead, IAS has been left with Centrebet's $29 million hostile play, dubbed inadequate and a "flagrant breach" of a standstill agreement relating to earlier failed discussions. IAS, which refused Centrebet's request to lift the deed, will now "vigorously defend" its position before the Takeovers Panel, which can consent to void the agreement."


And a funny, yet very true assessment further into the article..

"Centrebet's offer is conditional on 50.1 per cent acceptance. Centrebet really wants 100 per cent control -- the offer prices rises to 33c if the compulsory acquisition threshold is breached -- but will have to deal with Read and his 27 per cent stake. Centrebet itself has a dominant holder in founder Con Kafataris, so we would hate to think the failure to do a friendly deal stems from having two egos in a small room."

You won't find many better egos in bookmaking than those two....

Superbowl fever

Hopefully tonight's game is similar to last year when it went right to the wire. But what happens if it becomes a blowout early? That's why Vegas bookies go crazy on the prop or exotic bets.

Here's an article from ESPN about prop betting on the SuperBowl

Despite what the author thinks, prop bets are a great way to make money IF and only IF you do your homework properly. Because there may be only 20 people betting on some of these silly markets, there's a great chance you can have an edge... if you've done your research.

ICC getting some spine back?

This is something I never thought would happen. After the debacle of the ICC bowing to pressure from the Asian power-holders and overturning the Pakistan forfeit at the Oval in 2006, they've now gone and reversed the overturned decision!

Read the Cricinfo article here.

Key piece of the article:

"The ICC has no power under the laws of cricket to decide that results should be altered, whether it feels it's 'inappropriate' or otherwise," Tony Lewis, the chairman of the MCC's world cricket committee, had said in a statement in October. "The ICC's decision is wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent. Cricket is the worse for this decision."


Too bloody right too. Overturning decisions weeks, months or years later is a farce, it makes a complete mockery of the sport. UK horseracing should take note. Being able to take a protest to court, months after all punters have been paid out is just ridiculous.