England should be confident in their ability to secure an emphatic victory when they lock horns with struggling Afghanistan at Old Trafford on Tuesday. The World Cup newcomers have lost all four matches so far and sit bottom of the table. Aside from a surprise defeat to Pakistan, England have been imperious thus far, swatting aside the West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh. Unbeaten New Zealand look well priced to beat South Africa at Edgbaston the following day. They have been in excellent form so far and they stand a strong chance of going to the semi-finals. South Africa beat Afghanistan last time out, but defeats to England, India and Bangladesh have left their chances in tatters. Unibet has 4/5 on a New Zealand win and that looks tempting.
The biggest meeting of the UK flat season takes place in Berkshire this week. The Queen and fellow royals will be out in full force, while 300,000 well-heeled punters will pack into Ascot to watch the action unfold. It is broadcast in 200 countries and many of the world’s finest racehorses will vie for glory. The star draw will be Stradivarius, who is bidding to win a second consecutive Ascot Gold Cup, the biggest race of the meeting. He is 6/4 with Bet365 to pull it off and that looks like a tempting bet. Elsewhere, look out for Aidan O’Brien’s runners, as he has been named top trainer for the last four years. Hemosa, his 5/4 shot for the Coronation Stakes, looks particularly promising after her dual 1000 Guineas victories earlier this year.
Brazil began their Copa America campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bolivia and that should give them plenty of confidence. Neymar is out of the tournament, so manager Tite opted to play Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino up front, with former teammate Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings behind him. They combined well throughout the game, while Everton’s Richarlison and David Neres of Ajax were dangerous. Coutinho scored twice and substitute Everton Soares added a late third. Venezuela battled to a 0-0 draw with Peru in their opener, a decent result when you consider they played the last 15 minutes with 10 men. Brazil to win and under 3.5 goals looks good in this game at even money with Boyle Sports. Colombia got off to a flying start by beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-0, and they should be able to overwhelm Qatar this wee. Asian handicaps look attractive there.
This tournament has been moved to the summer to avoid clashing with the club season and it will be interesting to see how the players deal with the heat in Egypt. The hosts are the favourites to win it and star man Mohamed Salah is the favourite to win the Golden Boot. They begin their campaign against Zimbabwe on Friday night and they are 10/11 with Ladbrokes to win half-time / full-time. Senegal are seen as the team most likely to stop Egypt, and Salah’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané will be key for them. Their campaign begins against Tanzania on Sunday, and they should be far too strong for such limited opposition. An Egypt-Nigeria-Morocco-Senegal fourfold looks interesting.
Lewis Hamilton is the even money favourite with Betway to pick up a fifth consecutive victory when F1 heads to Circuit Paul Ricard at the weekend. The Brit benefited from a five-second penalty handed to Sebastian Vettel for dangerous driving last week, and kept Mercedes’ 100% record this season intact. Hamilton won here last year and he should be able to do so again. He has reasserted his dominance over teammate Valtteri Bottas, and Vettel appears to be in a bad place right now. You can find 11/4 on Bottas and if he goes out to 3/1 that could be an interesting each-way bet too.