Saturday, 3 June 2017

No Mercy for Carlow

Another bumper weekend of GAA action is upon us as the pace really picks up in the provincial championship races. We have football action from Leinster and Ulster starting from Saturday while on Sunday it’s the Muster hurling semi final. We have considered all the betting markets available and have some tasty selections that will hopefully put some cash in your pocket this bank holiday weekend.

Dublin vs Carlow - Saturday 19:00 Sky Sports
All Ireland Champs Dublin make their first appearance on Saturday with a matchup against Carlow. Facing Dublin at any stage for Carlow is a daunting task, but playing them first up after a last gasp league final defeat to Kerry is simply frightening.  Jim Gavin has an abundance of talent available to him, and U21 star Con O’Callaghan gets his start this weekend. He will be out to impress along with a host of others and you can be sure Dublin will look to a fast start.
At 1/500 on for the win we need to look elsewhere for some value. And what catches our eye is the half time handicap market. Looking back to previous Dublin games at this stage, in 2015 they were 16pts up against Longford at the half while the margin in 2016 was 11pts against Laois. The even money available on Dublin -8pts at half time looks the way to go and we advise a 3pt stake. (Boyles or PP)

Down vs Armagh - Sunday at 14:00 RTE
A competitive game is expected between these two neighbours on Sunday, with Armagh slight favourites for the win. Looking at their respective league campaigns Armagh were arguably the best team in division 3 but were very unlucky not to gain promotion, while Down held onto their division 2 status courtesy of a late draw against Cork. Armagh scored 15-103 during the league and this was helped no doubt by the return of coffee loving Jamie Clarke.
Down still have plenty of question marks about their defence and  veteran defender Aidan Carr faces a late fitness test. How they deploy Kevin McKernan will also be key but we expect him to be named in the forwards but spend most of his time in defence. Its 25 years since Down’s last championship victory over Armagh,  and we think their wait will continue on Sunday.  Armagh have too much firepower for Down and the  even money available with Paddy Power is the selection here, and we will have 2pts on that.

Clare vs Limerick – Sunday 16:00 Sky Sports
An intriguing game is in store this Sunday in Tom Semples field down Tipperary way. The Munster Championship exploded into life two weeks ago and the hurling purists are expecting similar excitement this Sunday. Clare, warm favourites for this at 1/2 are a tad short given the unpredictability of the hurling championship so far. Looking back at the National League, a number of interesting trends emerge. If we strip down Limericks campaign to their games against stronger opposition (Wexford, Galway(x2) and Cork), a feature of their play has been their doggedness in defence and inefficiency in attack. None of their games against stronger opposition contained more than two goals. Likewise with Clare, they have been quite defensively solid this league campaign, only conceded three goals in their six league games while none of their games featured more than three goals. Their clash in the 2016 championship finished goalless with Clare winning 0-19 to 0-15. Based on this, our selection here is a 3 point stake on Under 3.5 goals at 8/11 with Ladbrokes.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Sligo to Take New York Scalp

The All Ireland Senior Football Championship gets underway on Sunday night as Sligo travel to the Gaelic Grounds to face New York. There has been a huge media focus on this game, with pundits from all over the country giving New York a realistic chance of causing an upset. 

New York last played a championship match in May 2016 when they ran Roscommon to one point, in a game they should have won. Roscommon continued their poor form after that New York win, eventually being dumped out in the qualifiers by Clare. Interesting to see the handicap in that game 12 months ago was -21pts, for this weekends game its just -3pts. 

So what has changed for New York since they ran Roscommon so close? Well they have been able to draft in a couple of new players like Dublin Hurler Danny Sutcliffe and former Mayo corner back Tom Cunniffe. However, they have lost a number of key players since that 2016 game. That day they scored an impressive 0-17pts of which 0-15 came from four players who will not be involved come Sunday. Big Ardrahan man Johnny Glynn is also unavailable as he has committed himself to the Galway hurlers for the season. Former captain Brian Connor is absent too due to injury.

Looking at Sligo, they are missing a few players through injuries and exams but they still should have enough to take care of New York. Manager Neil Carew has been focused on this game since the league finished, with his team training on astro turf in preparation for this challenge. People also seem to have forgotten that Sligo have beaten Tipp and Louth and drew with Armagh so far in 2017.There is also no better time to play New York than the year after they have run a team close as Sligo will be fully aware of the challenge ahead of them. Players like Pat Hughes, Adrian Marren, Mark Breheny, Brendan Egan and Ross Donovan should see Sligo comfortably over the line. 

We expect that Sligo will have too much quality for New York, and they should be able to pull away in the 2nd half. The 4/9 available with Boyles is very generous but we will have a 3pt stake on Sligo -4 at 7/5 and also a 1pt stake on Sligo -6 at 13/5 both with Paddy Power. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

All Ireland U21 Football Final Betting Preview

The last ever Football U21 All Ireland takes place in Tullamore this weekend as Galway and Dublin bring down the curtain on what has been a hugely popular and entertaining competition down through the years. This year’s finalists arrive at this juncture having both won as underdogs in their respective semi-finals.

Dublin in the end were comfortable winners over a fancied Donegal side on a score line of 1- 13 to 0-09. It was difficult proposition for Donegal who only had five days to prepare for the game, after they had won the Ulster final on the Monday night. Dublin having played their Leinster final more than two weeks earlier were afforded the opportunity of time, which helped develop a game plan that would frustrate and stifle Donegal. Dessie Farrell had his team drilled expertly, dominating possession by using the short kick out to avoid Donegal’s big men around the middle of the park. They also kept their width and retained possession, waiting to create the high percentage scoring opportunity. All this was achieved without star forward Con O’Callaghan who was black carded inside the first five minutes.

Galway the 11/2 outsiders against Kerry shocked everyone with their brilliant display of old school traditional football, a style of play that pulled at the heartstrings of every GAA follower. Kerry were shell-shocked from the start and could not come to grips with the free flowing style of the westerners. Kerry constantly kicked long from their restarts, into an area Galway were so dominant with Peter Cooke excelling.

Looking forward to Saturdays final we need to ask the question of who has the greater scope for improvement. Galway were able to sail into their semi with Kerry completely under the radar, but the spotlight is certainly on them now. We are sure Dessie Farrell will have looked at the strengths of the Galway midfield and will have developed a plan to have runners coming short on their own kickouts. Also having Con O’Callaghan available is a huge boost and the gifted footballer is capable of winning a game on his own. The 6/5 available on Dublin with Paddy Power appears generous and we will have a 2pt stake on this.

Both sides look to play an open brand of football and with this being the last ever U21 final we expect it to be an epic game. Dublin scored 1-13 in their semi, while Galway kicked 2-14 against Kerry. Galway are a very attacking side which means they both can score big and will concede opportunities. Boylesports have this game priced at Over 29.5ps at 4/5 and whereas Powers have it at over 31.5pts at 5/6 so there is value in what Boyles are offering. We hope both sides bring their shooting boots with them and recommend a 3pt stake on Over 29.5pts at 4/5 with Boyles.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Hurling League Final Betting Preview

This years final sees a repeat of both the 2016/2016 AI Ireland Semi Finals with the clash of the men from Slievenamon (4/7) against perennial underachievers Galway(7/4). In our opinion this is a clash between the two best teams in the country. Galway were very unlucky in last years Semi Final and it is clear to all, they do not fear Tipperary. It has been a mixed league campaign for Galway, they failed in their initial objective of promotion from Division 1B. New goals were set but they struggled over a depleted Waterford team in the quarter final and beat an ineffective Limerick side in a semi-final that had the intensity of a Junior B challenge match. They now face a Tipperary side who have been at times superb in this years campaign. Their closing 10 minutes against Wexford (who were excellent up to that point) was jaw dropping and they have the rest of the country fearing their capabilities. Although they suffered a blip against Cork, they had nothing to play for and have been flawless throughout the league otherwise. So all this points to an easy victory for Tipperary?? We disagree and heres why. Galway and Tipperary have clashed 4 times since 2015. 

2016 Tipperary 2-19 Galway 2-18 (Champ)
2016 Galway 2-19 Tipperary 1-22 (League)
2015 Galway 0-26 Tipperary 3-16 (Champ)
2015 Tipperary 2-18 Galway 0-20 (League)

One win for Galway, two for Tipperary and one draw. Their last two championship meetings were won or lost by a point, while they drew in the 2016 league. They have matched each other consistently and we expect this trend to continue on Sunday. The loss of Seamus Callinan is also a boost to Galway and takes away one of Tipps biggest threats. Our first selection is with Paddy Power, where we will have a 3 point stake on "Either team to win by 1 to 4 points or draw" which has odds of 10/11.

We expect this game to be a thriller and to offer up plenty of scoring chances, Tipperarys forward line are capable of posting big scores but interestingly they have conceded chances in the league thus far.

Dublin 1-8 1-24 Tipperary 
Tipperary 2-17 3-14 Kilkenny
Waterford 0-15 Tipperary 1-18
Tipperary 0-28 0-21 Clare
Cork 0-26 Tipperary 3-16
Offaly 3-13 Tipperary 4-28
Wexford 1-19 Tipperary 5-18.

They have conceded over 20 points in 5 of their 7 games thus far. The potential return of Cathal Barrett may strengthen their defence but we feel that Galway have the forwards to post a good score on Sunday afternoon.

Offaly 1-12 6-23 Galway
Galway 3-13 1-21 Wexford 
Galway 3-31 1-11 Laois
Kerry 0-12 1-22 Galway
Limerick 1-18 Galway 0-24
Galway 2-22 Waterford 2-19
Limerick 1-11 Galway 1-21
Galway have posted 22 or over points in all their league games thus far. Although they have played admittedly weaker opposition in 1B, this is an impressive stat. They have scored over 22 points against Tipperary in their past 3 meetings also. Our second selection is Galway to score over 22.5 points. We will have a 2.5 point stake at Evens available in Boylesports.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

League Hurling Semi Finals Betting Previews

Easter Sunday brings us 2 intriguing hurling league semi finals. In the first of these 2 games sees surprise packets Wexford take on Tipperary. Wexford have been the story of this years campaign. Davy has brought life back to Wexford hurling again and instilled a confidence and structure in their make up. Wexford are currently playing at championship pace(which will catch up on them during the summer) and this has given them the edge over the teams they have played thus far. 

Tipperary are the best team in the country and they are targeting league success. As far as I'm aware, no current member of their panel have a league panel and it is one they are intent on adding. Tipps full forward line are awesome when on fire and they need a performance from John McGrath and Bubbles. Wexfords structure sees a sweeper operating probably in front of Seamus Callinan. Tipp will counteract this by spraying diagonal balls into their 2 corner forwards. We expect John McGrath to score over 3.5 points, we will have a 2 point stake at 4/6 on this.

As we feel that Wexford are possibly operating at their peak performance level and the fact they play with a sweeper which will reduce opportunities for Tipp, we think they will stay somewhat close to Tipperary. Based on this, we believe that Wexford (+6) is a solid bet. We will have a 2 point stake on this @ 5/6 (Ladbrokes).

The second semi final will be a war of attrition. 2 teams who play direct hurling who like to rough it out. Galway are deservedly favourites for this and take on a Limerick side who I feel have become insignificant on the hurling landscape over the past 2 years. John Kiely has brought through some solid young players and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the physicality of Galway and the big occasion. We believe there should be plenty of scores in this and think that Limerick should cover the over 22.5 points offered in PP. We will have a 1.5 point stake on this @10/11.

In Dowling, Hayes and Hegarty, they have the players to cause the Galway defence bother. Outside of Daithí Burke, they lack a solid centre back and their corner back options must also be a worry for Michael Donoghue. Diarmuid Kirwan referees this(most inconsistent ref in hurling) and his performance will have a impact on our 2nd selection. We believe the Galway defence will cough up frees and this should allow Shane Dowling plenty of opportunities to score. Our 2nd selection in Shane Dowling over 9.5 points. A 1.5 point stake @5/6.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

U21 Football Semi-final Betting Preview


1) 2.5pts on Donegal vs Dublin Under 30.5pts at 5/6 (Ladbrokes)

2) 3pts Galway Over 12.5pts at 8/11 vs Kerry at 8/11 (Boylesports) 

3) 1.5pts on Galway/Kerry Both Teams to Score a Goal at 21/20 (PaddyPower)

The first of the Eirgrid U21 Football semi finals throws in on Saturday with Donegal taking on Dublin at 14.30 in Breffni Park, Cavan. Donegal only won their Ulster title defeating Derry on Monday night and yet five days later, they find themselves competing in an All Ireland semi final. Dublin arrive at this juncture having accounted for Offaly in the Leinster Final which took place 17 days ago. 

Declan Bonner has been in control of this Donegal team since they were U16s. They defend deep in numbers and look to counter attack at pace, offloading the ball to runners from deep coming off the shoulder. They have some real talent in their ranks with a number involved with the Donegal seniors. If you look at the blueprint for playing against a defensive team, you need to hold the ball, keep width, avoid turnovers and try utilise runners from deep. The Dubs are the fresher team and members of their management team were in attendance at the last two Donegal games, so they will certainly be aware of the considerable task that awaits them. Dessie Farrell's side have their own star players too, and the battle between Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Con O'Callaghan is sure to be epic. 

Donegal are quite comfortable playing within their system and it will be up to Dublin to take the game to them. We feel that the Dubs will look to keep the ball and move it from left to right which will slow the game down and reduce scoring opportunities. Both teams have scored quite heavily so far, but this is set up to be a tight affair and we are happy to have 2.5pts on under 30.5pts at 5/6 with Ladbrokes. 

The second Semi Final throws in at 16.30 in Ennis where hot favourites Kerry are expected to easily account for Connaught champions Galway. Having won the last three Minor All Ireland's there is huge expectations on this Kerry team to deliver. They will start the game on Saturday with 14 players who have won a minor all Ireland which is an incredible statistic. They possess quality all over their team and the bench is loaded with talent, chomping at the bit to make an impression. 

The people of Galway are starting to feel good again about their footballers again. A huge win against Kildare in the Division 2 final has the county on a high and U21 star Michael Daly came on in that game to kick two crucial points from play. They have been allowed to come under the radar somewhat into this game, and we expect them to get much closer to Kerry than what is expected. In their three games so far, Galway have scored 4-10 (Leitrim), 2-13 (Mayo) and 3-20 after extra time against Sligo. Do not forget Mayo were the 2016 All Ireland U21 champs so this Galway team are no slouches. Kerry conceded 2-8 to Clare in the Munster championship so we know they can be vulnerable. Cork never showed up in the Munster final but Galway will expect to be competitive and should score freely in an open game. We like the look of Galway to score over 12.5pts at 8/11 with Boylesports and we will have a 3pt stake on that. 

When looking at the six games involving both Kerry and Galway so far, there has been 20 goals scored. Fair to say both teams play open football! Galway have scored 9 goals conceding 5, while Kerry have netted 4 times and conceded 2. We expect this game to an open affair and if Galway are to have any chance of winning they are going to need to score goals. So with this in mind our final selection is 1.5pts on Both Teams to Score a Gaol at 21/20 with PaddyPower. 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Galway to Ease Into League Final.

Selection: 5pts on Galway over 18.5pts vs Kildare at 4/7 (Ladbrokes) 

With Kildare already promoted, Galway face the prospect of beating a weakened Kildare side to gain promotion themselves to Division 1. In fairness to Galway they have been very impressive so far, with the slip up to Meath the only blot on the copybook. 

In their six games so far they have accumulated a whopping 12-85 which averages out at just over 20pts per game. Kevin Walsh has brought the good feeling back to Galway football and in Brannigan, Comer, Walsh and Sice they have some quality forwards. Danny Cummins is a goal machine, while he is not named to start on Sunday we hope he can get some minutes on the pitch and bag us a goal.

The selection is simple really, Galway need to win in order to secure promotion ahead of Meath. Kildare have made 14 changes to their team as they look to give some of their fringe players minutes before the Division 2 final. With the weather set to be good this weekend, we fully expect Galway at home to win this game and cover the generous line offered by Ladbrokes. Not long after we posted the selection on Twitter, Ladbrokes suspended betting and the best available line is with PP who are over 21.5pts at 5/6, we still think they will cover this.