Good morning all,
A brief departure from the horses today as I've had a couple of bets on the World Cup – one a three-figure price – which I thought I'd share with you before we're back to the nags tomorrow.
If you've any World Cup bets yourselves that you'd like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments for others to have a look at – I'm sure someone's sat on a big-priced winner out there, let us all know it if you think you've got it!
Russia to finish bottom of Group A (12-1 William Hill)
Home advantage doesn't mean a lot at World Cups these days – only France won it in 1998, and the likes of Brazil, Germany and Italy couldn't make it pay. Normally holding the World Cup is a joyous event but it could all turn pretty sour pretty quickly for Russia if they can't get past Saudi Arabia intact tomorrow. And I don't think that's a given.
Russia are lucky to be seeded as the hosts as if they were not, Fifa's ranking of 66th would have put them in a precarious position (By the way, the Saudis are 67th.) They are an ageing side, concede plenty (including to supposed minnow sides) and both Egypt and the Saudis are capable of taking points off them if they play to their strengths. Don't forget, it's only two years since they finished bottom of their group in the Euros – a group that contained Wales, England and Slovakia – and results since then have stagnated. Expect the crowd to be on their backs early if things don't go their way.
Iran to concede least goals in the group stages (150-1 188 Bet)
I've not gone mad. Bear with me.
At the last World Cup, this was a three-way dead heat and I reckon, without looking, you'd struggle to guess the three.
They were, in fact, Belgium, Mexico and Costa Rica, all of whom conceded just one goal. So you can get surprises.
And for Iran's first two games at the last World Cup, they almost looked like joining them as they held Nigeria 0-0 in their opening game and then almost pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament by holding Messi's Argentina until the 91st minute before conceding. As a result of that goal, they had no choice but to come out and try and play in the final game, one that saw them beaten 3-1 by Bosnia.
Iran's whole game is based around defence. They work hard to keep clean sheets and will be happy to give up possession (in that Argentina game, they had just 26%) in order to do so and try and play on the break. As weak as the Asian qualifying for the World Cup is, conceding just twice in 10 games is no mean feat, and shows where their strength lies. Their first game, against Morocco on Friday, ought not to pose them too many problems before they take on the might of Spain and Portugal. I can see them getting a low-scoring draw out of the equally-defensive Portuguese in their final game (who could already be through by that point) and it might all depend on how they go against Spain. Can they pull off another Argentinan-like performance? I'll have a few quid at 150's that says they can….
On to today and it's about as unappetizing fare as you could dish up. Punchestown tonight makes a bit of appeal – I'll be looking at Hey Groovy e/w without the favourite in the 7.50, but there's no markets up yet – so instead I'll go with tracker horse Tallulah's Quest at Yarmouth in the 2.30. She's nothing if not consistent and deserves to win one soon, and with track (placed on both starts here) trip and ground all fine, this offers her a decent chance.
Today's selection – Tallulah's Quest, 2.30 Yarmouth.
Good luck with all your bets today,