T20 tourney among top sporting events of the week

By Martin Green16 December 2018
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perth scorchers cricket team

T20 Big Bash

One of the world’s most exciting T20 cricket tournaments begins Down Under this week as the world’s finest stars battle it out for Big Bash glory. This year Perth Scorchers are the favourites, best priced at 9/2 with Sky Bet and Boyle Sports, after buying Andrew Tye for $1.4m, Nathan Coulter-Nile for $426,000, Mitchell Johnson $388,000 and Jason Behrendorff for $291,000 at the Big Bash auction. Brisbane Heat, who bought Chris Lynn for $1.86m, Brendon McCullum for $698,000 and Ben Cutting for $426,000, are second favourites at 11/2 with Bet365 and various others. Some bookmakers have defending champions Adelaide Strikers as the 4/1 favourites, but Sky Bet is offering a market-leading 6/1 on them, despite the team buying Rashid Khan for $1.7m, Billy Stanlake for $90,000 and Ben Laughlin for $97,000. It begins on Wednesday as Brisbane host Adelaide, and the 27/25 that Marathon Bet is offering on the Strikers looks interesting.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

The Saints are the Super Bowl favourites at 10/3 with Bet365, Sky Bet and various others, and they will showcase their credentials in the big Monday night game. The Carolina Panthers were on fire not so long ago as they raced to 6-2 for the season, but a five-game losing streak has left them 6-7 and their hopes of making the playoffs lie in tatters. They lack confidence at the moment, and the 11-2 Saints should be able to win this one comfortably. Betfair’s 8/11 on New Orleans -4.5 looks good.

Bundesliga

Football fans can look forward to some midweek games in the Bundesliga as runaway league leaders Borussia Dortmund travel to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Tuesday. They should win that one and cover a -1 Asian handicap too. Wolfsburg v Stuttgart looks set to be a cracking game and the goals market will be interesting there as it should be an open, entertaining game. Bayern Munich will tangle with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, desperate for a win as they try to cling onto Dortmund’s coattails, while Schalke host Bayer Leverkusen in another massive game.

Premiership

The Premiership returns with a full round of fixtures at the weekend, starting with Liverpool’s trip to Wolves. Both teams are in good form and it should be an entertaining clash. Saturday begins with Arsenal’s home game against relegation threatened Burnley. Sean Dyche’s men are just two points above the drop zone and they suffered the heartbreak of losing 1-0 away at Tottenham on Saturday courtesy of Christian Eriksen’s injury time winner. Arsenal are battling Spurs, their local rivals, for a place in the top four and they need to beat Burnley too. They are just 1/5 to do so, but Arsenal and "under" 4.5 goals is 13/20 with Betway and that represents much better value. Man City are at home to Crystal Palace and that should be a routine victory, while West Ham will aim for a fifth straight victory when they host Watford. Man Utd travel to Cardiff, and Newcastle can surge clear of the relegation zone if they beat bottom club Fulham at St James’s Park. Tottenham will bid to extend their three-game winning streak away at struggling Everton on Sunday.

European leagues

Atletico Madrid host Espanyol, Barcelona take on Celta Vigo and Valencia host bottom club Huesca in Spain at the weekend, and all three should win, so that could make a nice treble. Serie A leaders Juventus, who have taken 46 points from a possible 48 so far this season, take on Roma in the big game in Italy, and they should assert their domestic superiority in that one.

Josh Warrington v Carl Frampton

Josh Warrington will put his IBF world featherweight title on the line when he does battle with Carl Frampton in Manchester on December 22. The 27-year-old has won all 27 of his fights so far and he seized the belt when he beat Lee Selby via a split decision in May. Yet he now faces the toughest test of his career against Frampton, a former world champion in two weight classes. The Ring, BoxRec and the TBRB rank the 31-year-old Northern Ireland native the second-best featherweight in the world – behind only WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz – and he is the favourite to win this fight. He is 1/2 with Paddy Power and Betfair and that is likely to be a popular bet, and you can get 6/5 on him winning on points for more value. That looks tempting, as this fight is likely to go the distance. Warrington is 3/1 to win by a decision and you could hedge with a smaller stake on that too.