So there I was. Sat there on the balcony feeling very happy with myself for having my biggest NFL bet of the season on the Cleveland Browns +7.5, who trailed 13-7 with 1:24 left on the clock. Everything was under control as they had the ball 1st & 10. Even if they turned over on downs, they’d still cover the spread as with no time outs left, it would be victory formation for the Jags. I was looking over La Linea marina, the beers already flowing, thinking how wonderful life is. But then the Browns decided to be the Browns. Kizer fumbled and it was returned for a TD. The amount of expletives I muttered in the following minutes would’ve broken Dee’s bleep machine (Final Furlong Podcast listeners will know). It was sickening. It turned my evening from perfection (doesn’t get much better than NFL Sunday’s, even if I was unable to find a way to watch Redzone until the games reached the 4th quarter) to a nightmare. Within 5 seconds my night went from 100 to 0. And I was fuming. Fuming at myself in fact. How had I allowed myself to have such a large bet on the Browns of all teams? They do that shit every week! I went straight to bed without even watching any of the late games, pondering what a ridiculous decision I had made. One I will not make again. Lesson learned. NEVER back Cleveland. EVER.
The rest of my punting week wasn’t much better. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen I had a decent enough bet on Defi Du Seuil on Tuesday for the Greatwood. On Monday, Frank Berry (JP McManus’ racing manager) was quoted as saying “he’s in good form and Philip is happy with him. He’s going to run on Sunday”, so when he was revealed as a NR on Tuesday, only a few hours after I’d placed my bet, I was understandably aggrieved. Why do connections repeatedly lie to us? It’s not good for the sport and in my eyes it’s completely unacceptable. I understand that’s the risk you take betting antepost, but to so blatantly lie is not on. My biggest bet on the racing at the weekend was Kylemore Lough in the BetVictor at 13/2. He was well backed into 4/1 and was travelling and jumping very well until he clattered into the water jump and never recovered. Thomas Campbell winning was a small consolation but that didn’t even pay for the Kylemore Lough bet. Red Indian and Poker Play later on the card were also costly. Onto the golf and I did manage a decent win on Jon Rahm in the European Tour finale. Granted, I only backed him prior to Round 4 at 7/2 but I had enough on to make it a big enough win…until I used the vast majority of those returns on the Browns. Fuck you Cleveland. All in all, a terrible week’s punting.
The Week Ahead
The only 2 races priced up antepost for this weekend currently are the Betfair Chase and the Betfair Stayers Handicap Hurdle. When I had a look at the prices for the Betfair Chase earlier, I have to admit I was very surprised. Sizing John was 5/4 last night, and now he’s 3/1. Bristol De Mai into 13/8 fav with Cue Card 10/3. Heavy rain is due in the area this week, so the chances are the ground will be heavy. Heavy ground round Haydock is exactly what Bristol De Mai wants. If he is of Grade 1 standard, this is where he will show it. But I’m not convinced he is of Grade 1 class. His record in G1 chases is as follows:
2017 Betway Bowl: 5th of 7, btn 25l
2017 Gold Cup: 7th of 13, btn 20l
2016 JLT: 2nd of 9, btn 3l
So he managed a 2nd in novice company at the festival, but let’s be honest that was a shite race. The 2 times he’s been in open G1 company, he’s been well and truly put in his place. Yes, he’s going to get his ideal conditions this weekend, and may have grown up over the summer, but I can’t he having him at that price against Sizing John and Cue Card. I’m not quite sure why Sizing John is now such a big price just on the back of the weather forecast, but I’m almost certain I’ll be backing Cue Card this weekend. He was still travelling well enough when falling in the Charlie Hall, and was beaten in that race last year as well before winning this (in heavy ground). I’m a bit annoyed I missed the 5/1 as I was busy this morning so will hold off until Friday night now, but he’ll be my bet. As for the Stayers Handicap Hurdle, that’s not a race I’ll look at until later in the week.
I’m not going to lie it was painful to take a look at the early lines for the coming weekend after what happened last night, but one did stand out at me: the Saints at the Rams. The Rams have been very good this season, but only really against lesser teams. Their wins have come against the Colts, 49ers, Cowboys, Jags, Cardinals, Giants and the Texans (after Watson got injured). While they lost all of what were arguably their 3 toughest games, against the Redskins, Seahawks and Vikings last night. In the Saints they face their toughest game of the season. They’ve won 8 straight, the defence has stepped up this year and the offence has scored plenty of points (as usual). I was surprised to see them open 2.5 point dogs, and whilst I don’t think there’s much point backing a spread under 3, I have backed them on the money line at 13/10.
The Champions League is back this week, and there is one game that interests me here in Atletico Madrid v Roma. Roma have been very good in the first few months of the season, and sit 5 points off top in Serie A (with a game in hand). They are also top of this group. Atletico are in real trouble in 3rd and really have got their work cut out to qualify. In their last 10 games, they’ve only won 2 and have staggeringly drawn 7 (4 of which 1-1). Roma have won 6 straight and 11 of their last 13, drawing 3-3 away to Chelsea and losing 1-0 to Napoli, which is no disgrace. Roma double chance has got to be a play for me at 10/11, whilst the 1-1 draw is worth considering at 6/1.
Tales from Spain
Despite living so close to Gibraltar which contains a Morrisons, I decided to try a Spanish supermarket for my weekly shop last week, bad decision! First of all was the fact that never has the smell of sewers been so pungent as it was during my 10 minute walk to the local Mercadona. It seems the smell of drainage is a regular occurrence in Spain, so I was already in a bad mood by the time I reached the supermarket. 15 minutes later I had everything I needed in my basket so headed towards the tills. And I’d never seen anything like it. Imagine a Tesco at peak time but with only 2 tills open, absolutely ridiculous. There must’ve been 20 people queuing at each till, apart from in Spain, they don’t quite understand the concept of a queue. A rather rude woman attempted to join the “queue” one place in front of me. Erm, I don’t think so. If I hadn’t had to wait so long to pay myself, I’d probably have let her in, but as I had, I had to politely tell her to do one. She soon retreated to the back. Bitch.
Morrisons it is next time!
Wednesday: Roma Double Chance 10/11 (Betfair/Betway)
Sunday: New Orleans Saints 13/10 (Betway)