THERE will be some extremely short-priced favourites in the NBL this weekend and none shorter than the perennial powerhouse Perth Wildcats. The Wildcats will take on Cairns in Perth on Sunday afternoon and they are $1.22 favourites while $4.30 is available for a Taipans upset. This is the shortest that a team has started in the NBL this season and there is an argument to be made that Perth should be wound in further given the Wildcats won seven games in a row before Round 8 started and Cairns have lost their past eight. The Adelaide 36ers are $1.33 to beat the Illawarra Hawks ($3.35) in the second game on Sunday and Melbourne United are the same price to take care of the Brisbane Bullets on Monday. Easily the most competitive betting match of the week is the encounter between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings. Auckland’s Spark Arena is no longer the fortress that it once was for the Breakers. They have lost eight of their past 13 games at the venue and Sydney will start $1.80 favourites.
WE ARE set for one of the biggest games of the year in the English Premier League this weekend as Chelsea host Manchester City in a top-four clash. City have been dominant over the past couple of months and, even though this game is being played at Stamford Bridge, they are $1.87 favourites with Ladbrokes. The Sky Blues have won their past six games by a combined total of 22 goals to three and they are yet to lose. Add in the fact that they have won two of their past three at Stamford Bridge and it really is tough to bet against the Manchester City juggernaut. They are $1.17 fancies to win back-to-back titles for the first time in their history.
GIVEN the talent possessed by the Sydney Sixers in the women’s Big Bash, their opening-round loss to the Melbourne Stars was a major shock. Two-time reigning champions with the likes of Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner, Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp, up against a team in the Stars who have never finished better than fifth. But punters need not lose faith. While the Perth Scorchers possess more than a couple of match winners – Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani – the Sixers are dripping with talent. While they have fallen behind the Scorchers in the title market following the opening week, it merely means better value.
WE SEE it time and time again in the Australian football codes – the new coach bounce. It’s when a long-time mentor is sacked mid-season and all of a sudden the new voice in the top job has an immediate effect. The Green Bay Packers became the second NFL franchise to part ways with their coach midseason when, after 13 years at the helm, Mike McCarthy was punted following Sunday’s loss to lowly Arizona. The Cleveland Browns sacked Hue Jackson after a dismal two and a half seasons in charge and have subsequently gone 2-2, including back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. The post-McCarthy era starts for the Packers against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, a team who has been almost as disappointing this season. Green Bay are $1.40 to salute. It helps that the game is at home, against a pretty ordinary team and your quarterback is one of the best ever.
BAIL OUT: Sixers will again be relying on Ellyse Perry. Picture: Getty Images
CONTRASTING FORTUNES: The in-form Perth Wildcats and sacked Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.