Hero World Challenge

hero-world-challenge-golfThe Hero World Challenge, an invitation-only event featuring just 18 players, gets underway at the Albany course in the Bahamas on Thursday and the first round two-balls have thrown up some interesting pairings, not least Patrick Reed against Tiger Woods, now ranked 898 in the world. The Albany is an exposed, links-style course and, with windy weather forecast, should suit Reed better than his illustrious playing companion, who makes his first start since August last year.

Fellow Texan Jordan Spieth, also grew up playing in the wind and comes into the tournament on the back of a victory in the Australian Open two weeks ago. He finished fourth in this event last year, on this course, and can use his superior scrambling skills to good effect against Matt Kuchar.

South Carolinian Dustin Johnson heads the outright market alongside Spieth, but could only finish 15th last year and hasn’t played since finishing tied 35th in a WGC-HSBC event in China in October. He makes little appeal at odds-on in the first round two-ball betting against Brooks Koepka, who finished runner-up in the Shriners Hospitals Open on his last outing and has plenty of links experience.

Selections: First Round Two-Balls, Patrick Reed (8/15), Jordan Spieth (4/6), Brooks Koepka (6/5), 1-point Win Treble (4.62/1 with bet365)

UK Championship Snooker, Round 1, Wednesday, November 23

uk-championship-snookerMark Joyce versus Lee Walker (19.30)

Mark Joyce, ranked 45 in the world, is favourite (1/2) to beat Lee Walker (13/8), ranked 84, but the Walsall professional has yet to progress beyond the last 64 in seven tournaments in 2016 and lost 5-3 to the Welshman in the last 128 of the World Open in Yushan, China last June. Walker regained his place on the World Snooker Tour courtesy of his performances in European Tour events, in which he reached the last 32 on three occasions, in 2015/16 and subsequently reached the last 32 of the Paul Hunter Classic in August. He may just have the edge again this time.

Peter Ebdon versus Wang Yuchen (19.30)

Former World Champion Peter Ebdon, now ranked 34 in the world, is a short price (3/10) to see off Chinese teenager Wang Yuchen (5/2), ranked 102, and probably rightly so. A quarter-final in the Indian Open in Hydrabad last July, he lost 4-3 to Nigel Bond, is the best result Ebdon has to offer recently, but he should have too much tactical nouse for his young opponent.

Rod Lawler versus Anthony Hamilton (19.30)

The erstwhile “Sheriff of Pottingham”, Anthony Hamilton, has slipped down the rankings after chronic neck pain in recent years, but looked a certainty to reach the final of the Northern Ireland Open last weekend before feathering the cue ball. He has the distinction of being favourite (4/6) to beat Rod Lawler (6/5), despite being ranked 11 places lower than his opponent, at 67, by World Snooker and can make amends, at least to some extent, against an opponent who is solid enough, without being anything special.

Selections: Lee Walker, Peter Ebdon, Anthony Hamilton, 1-point Win Treble (4.68/1 with bet 365)

‘Deadly’ Double, Friday, November 18

plateThe Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap (5.15) at Newcastle on Friday looks competitive enough for the grade, but Horsforth is 2-2 on synthetic surfaces, including over course and distance in September and may be progressive enough to complete a hat-trick. The Kyllachy filly has been raised 4lb in the weights for winning at Nottingham earlier this month, but her earlier defeat of Zipedeedodah at Chelmsford has been franked by runner-up, who won in this grade at Wolverhampton last Saturday, so she hardly looks overburdened. Conor Beasley has won on four of his last 11 rides for Richard Guest, including Horsforth herself, and the ‘miracle jockey’ – who fractured his skull and spine and suffered a neck injury in a horrific fall at Wolverhampton in July 2015 – can chalk up another victory.

The Strongarm – The Northern Legend Apprentice Handicap (6.45) is another dog-eat-dog contest, but Richard Guest appears to have another decent chance with Lady Bacchus, who opened her account over 5 furlongs at Gosforth Park 10 days ago and appears fully effective over an extra furlong. The Compton Place filly showed next to nothing in her first half a dozen starts, but she’s bred to be a decent sprinter and, now that the penny has finally dropped, may be able to defy a 6lb penalty in another ordinary race.

Selections: Newcastle 5.15 Horsforth, Newcastle 6.45 Lady Bacchus, 1-point Win Double

Both Teams to Score (BTTS), Saturday, November 12

footballThere are no Premier League or Championship fixtures this weekend because of the international break, but there’s plenty of action from League 1 and League 2, so we’ve decided to have a dabble in the BTTS market for our multiple bet.

Coventry City versus Scunthorpe United (3/4)

Coventry are unbeaten at home in League 1, scoring 9 goals, 8 of which have come in their last 4 games at the Ricoh Arena. Table-topping Scunthorpe have scored 15 goals in 8 away games, but conceded 10.

Oldham Athletic versus AFC Wimbledon (10/11)

Oldham have struggled for goals at Boundary Park, scoring just 4, and conceding 9, in 8 League 1 fixtures. Wimbledon, on the other hand, have picked up more points, and scored more goals (12), away than they have at home this season, but has also conceded 9 goals.

Port Vale versus Fleetwood Town (3/4)

A good honest, mid-table clash between two teams who score often enough, but also concede goals on a regular basis. Port Vale have scored 14 goals and conceded 8 at home, while Fleetwood have scored 9 goals and conceded 11 away.

Shrewsbury Town versus Oxford United (7/10)

Leaky defences, rather than goal scoring prowess, has been the order of the day for both sides; Shrewsbury have conceded 1.9 goals per game at home, while Oxford have conceded 1.5 goals away.

Crawley Town versus Cambridge United (4/5)

Down in League 2, Crawley have been beaten just once at home this season, but have still conceded a goal a game, while Cambridge have kept a clean sheet away from home just once in seven matches.

Crewe Alexandra versus Plymouth Argyle (4/6)

Crewe have also been beaten just once at home this season, but still conceded 7 goals in as many games. Plymouth have scored 12 goals, and conceded just 4, in 7 away games and currently top the League 2 table, but those 4 goals came in their last three matches.

Recommended Bet: 6 x 1-point 5-folds, 1 x 1-point 6-fold