June 3, 2013
For football betting enthusiasts the summer months can leave a gaping hole in the sporting calendar. There is no major tournament this year meaning football will be sparse between June, July and August. Below are three sports that can get us through the summer until the football season returns in August.
With Frankel and Black Caviar retired, some believed 2000 Guineas hero Dawn Approach could be the next superstar before Saturday’s Derby disappointment. The next big meeting after the Derby is Royal Ascot, a place where there’s as many good horses as there are top hats. No less than 7 of the season’s 32 group 1 races will be run in front of a royal crowd during the 18th and 22nd June.
The Eclipse on 6th July will be the next big race after Royal Ascot week. The Sandown Group 1 being a possible target for the likes of Farhh, Dawn Approach and Animal Kingdom. Following the Eclipse there is further racing action from Glorious Goodwood between the 30th July and 3rd August.
The French Open is currently under way at Roland Garros until June 9th. Rafael Nadal thwarted Djokovic’s attempt at a grand slam last year and is hard to oppose as favourite this time round. Serena Williams is currently in the form of her life and is the likely favourite to win the women’s tournament.
Wimbledon 2013 will promise plenty of trading action between June 24th and July 7th. Murray shed a tear after losing in last year’s final to Roger Federer but will be hoping to go one better this year round. Novak Djokovic will be the likely favourite for this seasons tournament, with Spaniard Nadal looking to win at Wimbledon for the third time.
With the IPL ending last Sunday the cricket focus heavily falls upon the upcoming test matches. England, currently leading a test series against New Zealand, will have one eye on their big clash against Australia in the 2013 Ashes Series. The Ashes Series begins on 10th July at Trent Bridge and ends in the final week of August at The Oval. Alastair Cook’s England side will be likely favourites for series. However, the English summer weather may produce a few unwanted draws during the series.
Over the summer there will be multiple friendly games, the confederations cup and the U21 Euro Championships. Champions League qualifiers start as early as July with the main tournament returning in September. The Premier League will return on 17th August with the Championship commencing 2 weeks before. August will also see the return of the League Cup, La Liga and Serie A.
September 12, 2012
The international break is now over – we preview the key Premier League matches set to kick off this weekend:
Stoke vs. Man City (15th September 2012)
Stoke are winless in their first 3 games. However, they showed their home form hasn’t deteriorated by picking up a draw against Arsenal and keeping a clean sheet in the process. Their away form is worrisome as they have conceded 3 goals in 3 games against opposition they should be beating if they want to return to the upper echelons of the Premier League.
Man City have had an unrecognisable start to their campaign, conceding goals they wouldn’t have last season. They have not kept Read the rest of this entry »
September 6, 2012
Moldova vs. England (7th September 2012)
With only a few weeks to prepare England for Euro 2012, it is fair to say that Roy Hodgson’s team put on a solid display at the tournament. Now the hard work starts and Hodgson has two years to mould a team capable of challenging for the World Cup in Brazil 2014.
This journey started with a 2-1 win in a friendly against the runners-up of Euro 2012, Italy. New young players were introduced along with some of the experienced players from the Euro 2012 squad. The performance was vastly different to the defensive performances given in the Euros. England attacked with fluidity and guile to outwit the Italians.
Ashley Cole, Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney are out of this match due to injury, but the squad for the upcoming qualifiers still possess enough quality players to replace these three.
Moldova are not expected to qualify with Montenegro, Ukraine and Poland also in this group. However they should be able contest matches against most teams in the group at their home ground.
Wales vs. Belgium (7th September 2012)
Wales have the players capable of helping them challenge for qualification. They have quality in Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Craig Bellamy, but if they get injured, as is the case with Bellamy, they don’t have much talent waiting in the wings to replace them. They lost their last friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0, which was a disappointing result for a team looking to progress and challenge in their qualification group. They need to get back to the form they had under the late Gary Speed.
Belgium are the dark horses of the competition. With the young talent they possess, they should be challenging for the World Cup with the usual favourites. Boasting players such as Kompany, Hazard, Vermaelan, Dembele, Lukaku, Fellaini, Miralles and many more, it’s not hard to understand why there is so much buzz around this Belgium squad.
They confirmed their potential with a 4-2 victory over Netherlands in their last friendly. Not qualifying for the World Cup would be a major disappointment.
Netherlands vs. Turkey (7th September 2012)
A meeting between arguably the two strongest teams in the group – will likely determine who finished on top.
Netherlands had an appalling Euro 2012, losing all three group games to Denmark, Portugal and Germany respectively. Cast among the favourites for the competition, they should have performed far better than they did. As mentioned above, they also lost their last friendly against Belgium 4-2. So a vast improvement is needed from the side ranked 8th in the World.
Turkey are also coming off the back of a disappointing loss in their last friendly against Austria, where they lost 2-0. Although not to the same standard as Netherlands, Turkey have some talented players in their squad, including the likes of Arda Turan, Mehmet Topal, Emre and Nuri Sahin. They will be a threat and nothing is guaranteed in this match for the Dutch.
The 7th September 2012 signals the start of a long road for teams across the Globe trying to qualify for the prestigious competition that is the World Cup. May the games begin.
August 31, 2012
Swansea vs. Sunderland – (1st September 2012)
Swansea have shown great form in their first 2 games of the season, demolishing QPR 5-0 and beating West Ham 3-0. Michu, who arrived from Rayo Vallecano for £2m after scoring 17 goals last season, has been a revelation. If Sunderland are to win this game, they will have to find a way to restrict him.
In turn, Swansea will have to keep an eye on Sunderland’s new purchases. They have added the quality of Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher to their squad, which will make them a potent threat in the league this season. The goal threat that Read the rest of this entry »
August 21, 2012
Chelsea vs. Newcastle United
Chelsea recorded a solid yet unspectacular win against Wigan this past weekend while Newcastle restored their 1 goal advantage to win 2-1 against a quality Tottenham Hotspur side. Both teams showed their defensive qualities whilst displaying great moments of creativity and ruthlessness for their goals.
Chelsea have recruited very well in the transfer window. They have secured the services of creative attacking talents such as Oscar, Marin and wonder kid Eden Hazard. Although Newcastle have brought in Read the rest of this entry »
August 1, 2012
No one can complain about a lack of surprise in the Olympic Men’s Football so far. Biggest of all would be Spain’s elimination – the favourites failed to score a goal before being sent home. Brazil have shown impressive moments of individual and team flair that have led to some fantastic goals. Team GB have put us home fans through a bit of a roller coaster; promising so much, nobody knew just how they would play. However they are starting to become a bit of a dark horse.
We have to remember that this Great Britain team has only played Read the rest of this entry »
June 19, 2012
Stuck in dreary London during this year’s football festivities? Don’t worry – so are we. England has managed to stave off losing thus far and will be relying on Wayne Rooney to help carry them into the quarter finals tonight. And while London is not hurting for want of a good pub, if you’re in the city and fancy catching a match with a slew of screaming fans (and bandwagon jumpers), we’ve rounded up a few places for you to go:
Shaker & Company have constructed a pop-up sports bar in their basement. The Hampstead bar features a Cinema screen, surround sound and ample seating. You can hire a fully-stocked fridge (for a price), should the thought of trudging away from the game to refuel is too much for you to handle. And what’s a Euro themed bar without a football pitch? Unworthy, in Shaker and Company’s eyes – so they’ve had one installed for the duration of the tournament, complete with astroturf. After the games, visitors can stay to play Nintendo Wii FIFA or Table Football.
In Bethnal Green, Rich Mix is running a month long festival in celebration of the European Championships. Billed as a festival for Eastern European art, film, music and of course, the football tourney, events kick off at 5pm on weekdays and run all weekend long. Matches will be shown on a 10 x 15 foot screen and once FT has been reached, the fun begins. Expect DJ nights, art exhibits, album launches and spoken word mash-ups.
Down on Borough High Street, near London Bridge, the Roxy bar and screen is showing all the matches on their massive 4 metre wide HD screen. All games, (with the exception of England ones) are free to watch on a first come, first served basis. If you want to root for Welbeck and Carroll, it’ll cost you £2 in admission.
Bar Kick in Shoreditch is another hotspot for catching football matches. They’ll be screening every 3D match possible in their basement. Famed for table football, you can have a go with fellow fans whilst waiting for matches to begin. You can also try going to Cafe Kick in Exmouth Market – they’ll also be showing all the games (but not in 3D).
Germany looks set to go all the way to the final. Head over to one of the two locations of the Bavarian Beerhouse for their popular football nights. Featuring steins of German lager and sausages, it’s wise to book in advance. On the day of Germany matches, guests are charged £10 a head and are encouraged to make reservations. To avoid the recklessness of English fans, they are offering a 5-1 beer promotion if England reaches the final.
The Famous 3 Kings pub in West Kensington is popular during Premier League season, so expect it to be packed during the European Championships. Good thing then, that they have three huge screens and ten plasma televisions.
Finally, BoxPark in East London have teamed up with the aforementioned Bar Kick and have had some fun exploiting stereotypes – until June 22nd you can play foosball on a custom made ‘hipster foosball’ table. If that’s not your thing, they’re showing all the England games, as well as most of the other matches. Hipster foosball, Euro football, heated umbrellas and ample food and drink choices – who says retail parks can’t be fun?
February 29, 2012
Jason Trost, CEO of Smarkets, talked about his predictions for popular sports betting markets as part of Betting Business Interactive’s Antepost feature. Click on the image below to read the piece:
January 17, 2012
City striker Mario Balotelli sure gets a lot of press these days and it’s hard to know what to believe. But we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is just a nice, young guy who also happens to be exceedingly rich. Last week he paid a surprise visit to Manchester College where (after using the canteen toilet), he chatted with teachers and students.
The latest rumour flitting around the web is that Balotelli is going to buy struggling football team Darlington F.C. We’ve no idea if there’s any truth to this (and seeing that @SkySporksNews tweeted about, we’re leaning towards a ‘no’), but that shouldn’t stop you from having some fun with our market: Balotelli to Save Darlington
Balotelli did, afterall, buy a round of drinks at a pub and then donate £200 to a church over the holidays. And though we’re certain that saving a team like the Quakers will take more than a few hundred quid, miracles could happen.
December 6, 2011
When British boxer David Hayes hung up his gloves in October, he expressed an interest in pursuing an acting career. While most professional athletes move into coaching, management or philanthropic roles, there are a handful who have switched gears completely. This prompted us to look into the proposed and actual second lives of professional athletes – what happens when the whistle blows?
Jason Statham – Actor
British-born Statham was a member of the National Diving team for over a decade. His best showing was at the 1992 World Championships, where he finished twelfth. Statham made the shift to acting after getting cast as a model for the clothing chain French Connection. Guy Ritchie, who was then an up-and-coming director, met Statham and decided to put him in his hit film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The success of the movie helped Statham’s thespian aspirations enormously. Now a fixture on the Hollywood action movie circuit, Statham has appeared in over twenty films.
Anna Kournikova – Professional Beauty
Anna Kournikova’s tennis career wasn’t exactly a smash hit. Hailed as a bright young thing to watch at the tender age of fifteen, Kournikova ultimately gained notoriety for her moves off the court instead of on. The Russian beauty failed to win a major singles championship throughout her tenure on the WTA, but that hasn’t stopped her from capitalising on her fame. She’s been linked to Russian hockey players Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov in the past, and had a widely publicized relationship with Latin singer Enrique Iglesias. She is currently a celebrity trainer on the US reality TV series The Biggest Loser.
Imran Khan – Politician
Born into an upper-middle class family in Pakistan, Imran Khan’s illustrious cricket career started to take shape while he was a student at Oxford. Khan would go on to captain the Pakistani cricket team for a decade, eventually leading them to a World Cup victory over England in 1992. Post retirement, Khan, who read PPE at Keble College, dabbled in social work before entering politics. Firmly focused on helping Pakistan become a welfare state with a genuine democracy, Khan has aspirations of becoming the country’s Prime Minister.
Rio Ferdinand – Renaissance Man
Perhaps the most impressive athlete on our list. While money can buy franchises, ghost writers and commercial property, it can’t buy natural talent – something that Rio Ferdinand appears to have in spades. Growing up, Ferdinand was a regular fixture in school plays. He also took ballet classes, eventually winning a scholarship to the famed Central School of Ballet. Currently, Ferdinand co-owns a record label and regularly tweets about his love for the X-Factor. He was an executive producer on the 2009 film Dead Man Burning and is reportedly working on a documentary about growing up in Peckham. We think he made the right choice though, as dancing en pointe and creating independent films doesn’t pay nearly as much as playing footie does.
George Foreman – Spokesman
The acclaimed boxer staged a comeback at the age of 45, regaining his title as world heavyweight champion. Foreman credited his success in part to a healthy lifestyle – and thus the partnership between the boxer and the fat-reducing grill was born. By slapping his name on the piece of machinery and doing promotional work for the company that invented it, Foreman earned an estimated £125 million – more than he ever made as a professional boxer.
Shaquille O’Neal – Rapper/Actor
A massive NBA success story, Shaquille O’Neal boasts a career as colourful off the court as on, though we’re not sure that’s a good thing. Remember his acting in Kazaam? If you can’t, consider yourself lucky. O’Neal has also branched out into the music department, laying down tracks as a rap artist on five albums, including a Best Of compilation disc. While we can’t knock his hustle, we can knock his lyrics…and Shaq’s attempts at intelligent rhyming are comical at best: Merry, merry quite contrary/And Captain Crunch, berry good. (Yes, you read that correctly).
Serena Williams – Entrepreneur
One of the best women’s tennis players in history, the younger Williams sister has carved out an impressive portfolio of side projects. She partnered with Nike in 2004 to produce fashionwear in a deal worth approximately £25 million. Along with sister Venus, she is a part owner of the Miami Dolphins franchise. In 2010 she became a qualified nail technician, voicing a desire to start her own nail care brand (she currently has a line of colours in partnership with OPI). All this in addition to winning thirteen Grand Slams – anyone else wondering how she finds time to sleep?
Theo Walcott – Children’s Book Author
As if being the youngest footballer to play for England, scoring a Nike sponsorship deal at fourteen and being called ‘one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against’ by Lionel Messi isn’t enough – Walcott somehow finds time to pen a series of children’s books. Based on his experiences growing up, the books revolve around a young boy named T.J. and his group of football loving friends. For the most part, his efforts have been well received – and in a day and age where literacy rates are alarmingly low, we salute young Theo for encouraging kids to read.
Novak Djokovic – Comedian
Djokovic is enjoying the best year of his life on the ATP tour and it’s unlikely that he’ll be stopping soon. However should the worst happen (breaks a leg, squanders his millions) and he’s forced to pick a back-up career, ‘professional clown’ would suit him perfectly. Dubbed the ‘Djoker’, Djokovic was, until this year, more famous for his impressions of his fellow athletes than for his playing record. In a Youtube video that went viral, Djokovic is seen capturing the physical mannerisms of Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick et al., perfectly. Hollywood certainly seems to have faith in his acting abilities – Djokovic was recently asked to appear in The Expendables 2 alongside Sylvester Stallone and Jet Li.
Sean Avery – Fashion Editor
The undisputed brat of the National Hockey League, we can only hope that Sean Avery’s irritating persona will serve him well with the Devil Wears Prada set. During the 2008 off-season, he interned at storied fashion magazine Vogue, under the direction of Ms. Anna Wintour herself. Having guest-edited for MensVogue.com, Avery also contributed to a style advice column on AskMen.com. Having a boorish athlete who is also fashion savvy was enough to attract the interest of New Line Cinema – apparently a film based on Avery’s experiences as a fashion intern is in development.