Olympics – Tennis.

With Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final defeat still seemingly fresh in the memory, he has another chance to grace the home crowd and try and bag himself a Gold Medal in the process.

Murray’s task has gotten a little easier, with the withdrawal of reigning Men’s Olympic Champion, Rafa Nadal. The Spaniard won’t be back to defend his Olympic Crown after struggling with a knee injury since winning the French Open. He was due to be Spain’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, and this would have given him an added boost to go out and win back-to-back Gold Medal’s.

However Nadal’s misfortune is the rest of the players gain, and the odds seem to show it’s a three-horse race between Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Djokovic was well-fancied when crashing out to an imperious Roger Federer at Wimbledon, and will be aiming to prove he has what it takes to re-gain his World Number One spot after losing it to Federer. Djokovic went close in 2008, when winning Bronze, but will be much more confident after winning five grand-slams, and finishing runner-up in two, since he managed to win his Bronze medal. The Serbian has been in magnificent form as of late, and it would be foolish to rule him out of any major tournament, and with the Olympics counting towards the ATP rankings, he will be be throwing everything at trying to bag the maximum points available, to over-take Federer in the rankings. He is the worthy favourite, but at 6/4, he is no value for the average punter.

Federer will be buoyant after his Wimbledon success and will fancy his chances to re-create his magic on the SW19 courts once more. His return to form didn’t shock too many, but the manner in which he blew away Djokovic with great ease suggested he may be somewhere near back to his best, which is enough to scare anyone. It is best of three-set games until the final, so fatigue from Wimbledon shouldn’t be so apparent and the Swiss King has a great chance of grabbing Gold. 23/10 seems a fair reflection, and I think he will start a lot shorter, with the gap between Federer and Djokovic seemingly too big after Wimbledon performances.

Favourite for the Bronze Medal, Britain’s Andy Murray will be hoping to go one better than his Wimbledon runners-up spot, and must be confident after playing some brilliant tennis at SW19. He looked in control after winning the first set, but couldn’t close out the game, and when the roof shut, it was always going to favour Federer’s accuracy. He will have learned a lot from the experience, and he should not be 7/1. If I was pricing it up, he would be more 7/2 than 7/1 and I think the bookmakers have seriously underestimated the Brit’s chances. He has publicly said how pleased he is that the Olympics are so close to Wimbledon, as he feels it is the best remedy to the heartbreaking loss he sufffered. He is a strongly driven young man, and knows how important it is to represent your country. The home support will certainly be an advantage, and with Murray proving he can beat both Federer and Djokovic in three-set matches, he has what it takes to get Gold.

Of the outsiders there are some brilliant value in the prices to win a medal. Tsonga is an obvious choice to win a medal, he is a pacey and powerful sort and he should come more into the tournament once the fresh covering of grass has disintegrated, which is likely with the current heat-wave around England. He is 11/4 to win a medal of any sort, and will be a popular choice. However the value could lie with David Ferrer, Spains main hope in the tournament after the withdrawal of Nadal has had a fine season and managed to get to the final four of the French Open. He went out to Andy Murray in four-sets at Wimbledon, in which there is no shame, and will be hopeful of building on this performance. He is a stand-out 9/2 with BetVictor to win a medal, which looks great value, especially when you take into account he is only 3/1 with Paddy Power.

The Womens Tennis is very open this year, but there are a few bets which looks good value. Serena Williams is a deserved favourite, after her crushing Wimbledon success, but at 7/4, there is little value. So for the average punter, who would like to back a consistent and classy sort, then look no further than Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian has had a great year, and was World Number One for a period of time, after winning the Australian Open. She had a great Wimbledon, before going out in the Semi-Finals to her nemesis and eventual winner Serena. She has been seeded first, and will be hoping for a bold showing, when you consider her price is 6/1 in comparison to Serena’s 7/4, it looks a slight risk worth taking.

For an outside bet, you could do much worse than the seemingly forgotten former World Number One, who has dipped off the radar, Caroline Wozniacki. She hasn’t been in the best of form recently, with two major disappointments at both the French Open, and Wimbledon, but the break will have done her the world of good as she looks set to come back into form at any time. The current 85/1 looks outrageously big and it is worth taking a chance on her to get back to the form which seen her keep the World Number One slot for 67 weeks.

Advised Bets:

1 point win: Andy Murray – 7/1 – Betfair

3 points win: Andy Murray to get a medal – 4/6 – Paddy Power

0.5 points win: David Ferrer to get a medal – 9/2 – BetVictor

1 point e.w: Victoria Azarenka – 6/1 – Ladbrokes

0.25 points win: Caroline Wozniacki – 85/1 – Betfair

0.5 points e.w: Caroline Wozniacki  – 66/1 – BetVictor

Olympics – Mens Football.

With the Euro Championships over and the football season still just under a month away, the Men’s football is sure to be one of the most watched events of the games. Football-starved and Football-betting-starved males and females have the chance to once more get their daily/weekly accumulators on and sit back and watch the events unfold.

As a very keen ante-post punter there are an array of bets which particularly take my eye, with many bookmakers seemingly underestimating many of the South-American goal-machines.

The top goalscorer market is always one of interest and Neymar is clear-favourite at a best-priced 11/2 with Paddy Power. This is justified and in my opinion, rather large when you take a look at who Brazil will face in the Group Stage. Neymar is Brazil’s talisman and has been in scintillating form all season for Santos, scoring 30 goals in 31 games in the 2012 calendar year thus far, as-well as 7 assists. He has scored 9 goals in 18 games for Brazil at Senior International level and has earned plaudits from some of the worlds greatest footballers, with Pele even saying he rates Neymar as a better player than Messi. When taking this into account, as well as the fact he is penalty taker for Brazil, who are sure to earn numerous with their trickery inside the box, you can then begin to look at the Group that Brazil are in, and start to see why I think it is a massive price. Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand. No offence to each nation, but they are nowhere near the standard of the Brazilians, and with Neymar being at the heart of nearly every attacking move, you would have to fancy him to have one hand on the Golden Boot by the end of the Group stage.

His main rival for top-goalscorer crown come in the shape of Spain’s Adrian Lopez, who has been in fine form for Atletico Madrid this year. He is likely to lead Spain’s attack on his own, and has to be feared, especially as Spain’s Group is also considerably weak. At 8/1 with Ladbrokes, he could provide a very safe each-way bet, as he is sure to have many chances to prove his worth within the Group Stage. The only negative is, if he fails to impress early on in the competition,  there is a chance he could lose his place as the lone striker.

Neymar’s team-mates Hulk and Pato are close behind in the betting, at 9/1 and 10/1 respectively and are both clinical attackers. However neither are certain to start, so it would be a slight risk, to plough in confidently into the pair, with Hulk often allowed to drift wide to create chances for Neymar who, although has often played down the wing before, is likely to start down the middle. However, if Neymar is to start in a wide-left position, it is likely that Leandro Damiao will be starting down the centre, and he is currently 20/1 at Paddy Power, which looks massive. Brazil’s centre-forwards are likely to get goals in any major tournament, and if he is given the chance, the Internacional is sure to keep the trend going and he will be keen to impress Tottenham who have been following the progress of the youngster for a while. He is offered at a lowly 8/1 with most bookmakers, so be sure to catch on to the 20/1 as soon as possible as I am sure he will start the tournament a single-figure price with every bookmaker.

Other interesting candidates are the Uruguayan pair of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who are both 10/1. Uruguay have a very strong squad and have shown they can score lots of goals as a team, with their 6-4 victory over Chile proving this. Suarez scored a hat-trick in that game and looked at his imperious best, having often been creator as opposed to finisher at Anfield last season. He has improved his shooting accuracy and looks a good bet, as the team is sure to advance to the latter stages of the tournament. However of the pair, I would side with Edinson Cavani, the forward has became a new player since signing fo Napoli in 2010 and has so far bagged 66 goals in 94 games, including goals against both Manchester City and Chelsea in last years Champions League. He is clinical and has proved himself at the highest level, meaning he will be fearless heading into games for the Olympic side, having already represented his country at senior level 40 times. The  €100 million price-tag that has been slapped on him by Aurelio De Laurentiis will provide a bit of pressure, but the players inclination to move away from Napoli will mean he will be trying extra-hard to draw attention from the biggest clubs across Europe.

In the outright market, it looks set to be a three-horse race for the Gold Medal, between Brazil, Spain and Uruguay. The Brazilians are worthy favourites, with such a strong side, with tremendous strength in depth. Their exuberance will add sparkle to the competition, with the flair of Neymar, Pato, Hulk and Ganso, coupled with the creativity of the reportedly Chelsea-bound Oscar, who pulls the strings in the midfield, they look set to claim a medal at the very least. However at a best-priced 6/4, it looks no value at all, and although they controlled the game for large periods of time against a newly-formed Great Britain side in a friendly, they hardly set the world alight and will come up against tougher tests during the tournament.

Spain are next in the market at 11/4, the same price the senior national team to land Euro 2012 which they duly did. They have chosen three of the players who helped win the Euro’s in their squad, with Juan Mata, Jordi Alba and Javi Martinez being selected. This experience will help the squad, and it looks as though Spain have the right mix of flair to tie in with their solid defence and accomplished goalkeeper, Manchester United’s David de Gea. Cristian Tello, Iker Muniain, Mata and and Adrian Lopez look set to complete a scintillating front-four which is certain to scare every set of defenders at the games. Juan Mata will be instrumental in the teams success and the 24 year-old Chelsea man will come into the tournament with bags of confidence after managing to bag a goal in the 4-0 victory over Italy in the Euro Final. Spain’s Olympic Coach Luis Milla has been involved with coaching the Spanish under 19 squad before moving onto the under 23’s so he knows a lot about the group of players which is sure to help, as the players already have a relationship with Milla and understand his free-flowing footballing philosophy. They will surely be disappointed if they don’t manage to top what looks a relatively simply Group, consisting of Japan, Honduras and Morocco.  This will mean their route into the final will be the simplest it could be, and a Silver Medal looks set to be the least they can expect.

Uruguay have been heavily backed in from 12/1 to a now best-priced 7/1, after a series of good results in the run up to the games. They have class running through the spine of the team with big things expected of the centre-back partnership of Alexis Rolin and Sebastian Coates,  Calzada and Rios in the centre of midfield, as-well as the attacking quartet of Cavani, Suarez, Ramirez and Hernandez. They looks set to comfortably advance to the latter stages of the tournament, but I feel their defence, which is prone to leaking goals (shown after recently conceding 4 against Chile), will struggle against the likes of Spain and Brazil.

Great Britain will have home advantage, but don’t look set to strong challenge for the Gold Medal. Drawn in a tough Group, with Uruguay, it is likely that Team GB will finish second in the Group and will come up against Spain a lot earlier than they would have liked. GB have opted for Giggs, Bellamy and Richards as their over-23 players and although they are all brilliant players in their own right, it looks as though we lack the class and flair to pose a real threat in the latter stages. Pace and Strength is something the team has in abundance but there is only so far that will get them, as during the 2-0 defeat against Brazil, the team looked static and although it is obvious that they will learn to play with each-other and understand their team-mates style of play as the tournament progresses, I don’t think it will be enough. All this being said, it would be no shock to see GB contesting the Bronze medal game, as I would fancy the chances of the team against other side apart from Brazil, Spain or Uruguay.

Advised Bets:

2 points win: Neymar Top-Scorer – 11/2 – Paddy Power

1 point e.w: Leandro Damiao – 20/1 – Paddy Power

2 points win: Spain – Outright Winner – 11/4 – Paddy Power

1 point win: Spain v Brazil – Finalists – 3/1 – William Hill

1 point win: Neymar (TGS) @ Spain to win – 33/1 Paddy Power