Massive Week of Sporting Action Lies Ahead

By Martin Green26 January 2020
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England rugby
Australian Open
We are heading into the second week of the Australian Open and only the very best players remain standing. Serena Williams and defending champion Naomi Osaka have already crashed out and the women’s tournament looks wide open. Sofia Kenin looked impressive in her victory over Cori Gauff, while Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep are the favourites to seize the trophy. Novak Djokovic is odds-on to win the men’s tournament once again after crushing all of his opponents thus far. Rafa Nadal looks to be his strongest challenger, but the Spaniard faces a tough clash with Nick Kyrgios on Monday morning. Betway has 4/5 on Kyrgios +5.5 games, which might appeal to punters, as the Australian hates Nadal and will be keen to pull off an upset in that match.
Carabao Cup
The second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals takes place this week. It finished 1-1 when Leicester hosted Aston Villa in the first leg, so that tie is delicately poised as the action heads to Villa Park on Tuesday night. The Foxes beat Aston Villa 4-1 when they visited for a Premier League game earlier this season, and they have the quality to surge into the final. Jamie Vardy is nearing a return from injury, but it is not the end of the world if he misses out, as Kelechi Iheanacho is a strong deputy, and Leicester have plenty of options in attack. The 3/4 available at Ladbrokes on an away win looks appealing. Man City beat Man Utd 3-1 at Old Trafford in the first leg and they should complete the job on Wednesday.
Super League
A new Super League season begins at this week and excitement is mounting among fans. St Helens were in imperious form last season as they finished comfortably top of the table and then cruised through the playoffs before beating Salford 52-34 in the Grand Final. They are the 9/4 favourites with Betway to win the regular season and the Grand Final once again this season, but they face stern competition from Wigan and Warrington, who won the Challenge Cup last year. The season begins with Wigan hosting Warrington on Thursday night, and Warrington +4 looks interesting at even money with William Hill. Saints begin their campaign when they welcome Salford on Friday night and they should secure a comfortable victory. There will be a great deal of interest around Toronto Wolfpack’s game against Castleford on Sunday, as it marks the first time a Canadian has featured in the league. Castleford are the 4/7 favourites to spoil the party.
Six Nations
England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy will battle it out for Six Nations glory over the next seven weeks. Wales are the defending champions and they will kick off this year’s tournament when they take on Italy in Cardiff on Saturday. You need to give Wales a -24 handicap to find odds of 10/11 at Bet365 and various others, but that seems reasonable. Ireland should beat Scotland, but a 14-point handicap seems a little steep considering both sides are in transition. England are the odds-on favourites to win the Six Nations after finishing runners-up at the World Cup a couple of months ago. Their campaign gets underway in Paris on Sunday and they look well priced at 4/7 to win it.
Super Bowl
The Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. The Niners are aiming to begin a glorious new chapter in the franchise’s history, following in the footsteps of legends like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana. Their defence is on fire, with Nick Bosa leading the charge, while the offence is all about a phenomenal rushing game. Yet they will come up against arguably the finest QB in the league. Patrick Mahomes was named NFL MVP last year and he has continued that sparkling form this season. He was sensational against the Titans in the conference championship game, and the Chiefs are the 4/5 favourites to win the Super Bowl. However, these teams look evenly matched, so taking the 11/10 on offer at Paddy Power for a 49ers triumph is tempting. If they continue to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball then they will emerge victorious on Sunday.