Be smart: Pick Liverpool and you'll collect
Liverpool go in as strong favourites at 9/10, while Spurs are just over 3/1.
Despite my personal hopes for an upset I do think it’s Liverpool’s game to lose, and I don’t see them doing this.
Being on neutral ground and in a mecca of football that Madrid is, I expect the game to be an exhibition of sorts, and there may be a few goals in it. Value bets to consider are over +1.5 goals in either half, priced at 16/10 and 11/10 respectively, and the latter is where my money is going. The double of Liverpool and over 2.5 goals is 12/10 and over 3.5 goals is 3/1.
Then in rugby, the World Series Sevens has its last hurrah in Paris, where the Blitzboks will be defending their title. All the pressure is off after Fiji, USA, New Zealand and South Africa were confirmed (last week in London) automatic qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The series championship is on the line and it’s a two horse race between Fiji and the USA. There are two points separating them and whoever goes furthest in France should lift the trophy.
Fiji has the toughest pool and route to the final. However I think the Americans may have peaked too early, and like every season in every sport it’s all about timing.
With that in mind and judging by last week’s form, my money is on Fiji to win the series and be finalists in France.
Then in Super Rugby it’s the back end of the Conference stage, with 4/5 games left per team in the run in. The Sunwolves are at home to the Brumbies, the Chiefs play the Crusaders, the Reds host the Jaguares and locally we have the Sharks versus the Hurricanes and the big derby between the Lions and the Stormers.
I fancy all the away teams to come right, with slightly less conviction in the local matches. Both the Sharks and Lions have got grunt on home turf, but I feel the ‘Canes’ class and the Lions’ lack of Jantjies and Whiteley may see the home spans come up short.
Over to the white ball action where the Cricket World Cup is in full swing. The Proteas got shown a lesson (as per my prediction last week) in game one, struggling to chase down England’s 311 runs, on Thursday in the opening game. South Africa now face Bangladesh tomorrow and India on Wednesday, where one win is expected, and two would be a bonus. In my humble opinion a loss in both would mean we will be down and out. Expect England, Australia and New Zealand to win their matches this coming week.
There is also some heavyweight boxing out of Madison Square Garden, where Anthony Joshua fights Andy Ruiz Jr. This is not the heavyweight fight all boxing fans are waiting for, but should be interesting nonetheless. Most see Joshua winning early and easily but his opponent is much shorter, which may make it difficult for the champ. However Joshua should win by knockout, but his price is too short at less than 1/10, so if you’re keen to punt on Joshua look at TKO or KO at 5/10 and 5/2 respectively.
Congrats to Maritzburg and Aston Villa for making it into the PSL and EPL, I hope you followed my call to back them both, and ignored my call on the Gunners.
Don’t forget the TPC Memorial golf is on too, where Tiger, Jordan and Rickie looked good early on; maybe another PGA win, who knows?
There is also the French Open tennis on the go. Expect the usual names winning in the men’s draw and some upsets with the ladies.
Lastly the NBA play-off finals kicked off Thursday, where history-making Toronto Raptors went up 1-0 in a seven-game series. Game 2 takes place early Monday morning at 2am SA time, where I see the Raptors going up 2-0.
Make some smart picks and collect. There is something for everyone to enjoy and take a cheeky punt on.
Independent on Saturday