Blog – X Factor, Cheltenham 2018 and eSports

Roy The Boy blog looks at X Factor, the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham and eSports.

Waiting on X Factor Value

The X Factor betting market is shaping up nicely. By that I mean 24 acts remain and we already have a 2/1 favourite, Grace Davies. Such a shortie means there should be some each-way value amongst the field but just where that lay remains to be seen.

24 will soon be clipped into 16 following the annual insult on viewer’s inelegance which is the ‘judges houses’. Then, and only then, can you realistically play this market.

My heart will never rule my head but I’d like Sean and Conor Price (6/1 joint second favourites) do well. They hail from my home town, Blessington, and it’s a huge plus that X Factor producers (Big Brother bosses too) historically love an Irish act going deep – after all Ireland makes a major contribution to the shows viewing figures. Last year Finland’s Saara Aalto finished runner-up in the X Factor. Surprise surprise Finland and Ireland are the only two countries in Europe which broadcast the UK version of X-Factor in its entirety with no dubbing or subtitles.

Bank on Bacardys

The quest for a Cheltenham ante-post portfolio has led me to the Stayers Hurdle. For those new to racing that’s the three-mile hurdle race that Big Bucks owned between 2009 and 2012 albeit Ladbrokes, in their infinite wisdom, decided to rebrand it the ‘World Hurdle’ from 2005.

It’s foolhardy to look at the merits of just one horse when trying to identify the winner of any race but space does not allow me to do the same for all potential candidates here.

Bacardys looks a Stayers Hurdle winner all over to me; that’s if trainer Willie Mullins resists the temptation to send the six-year- old French-bred over fences this season. The last time we saw Bacardys on a racecourse he mugged Finian’s Oscar on the line in the Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. That rival has already gone chasing, making a successful chase debut at the weekend. Prior to that Grade 1 win Bacardys finished third in the Cheltenham Bumper and won a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Leopardstown.

He looks a dour stayer through and through so a saver on him in the RSA Chase at the Festival (just in case he goes Novice Chasing) makes a lot of sense.

Esports Bets & Bans

Esports League of Legends (LOL) World Championships are underway and I’m told, as I was a year ago when they won it for a third time, SK Telecom T1 are a proverbial penalty-kick.

Only eight teams remain in the $2.13 million competition and the quarter final matches start on Thursday (run until Sunday). Our selection, a Korean team, face Team Misfits on Friday. The later-named are 150/1 for outright victory.

Back this match-up to feature under 3.5 Maps (the scoring works the same as in Grand Slam Tennis albeit it is a race to three ‘maps’ instead of three ‘sets’) as SK Telecom T1 will inflict a 3-0 defeat on their rivals.

And a note for those of you that think the Esports betting industry is little more than a fad featuring fun bets to reel in the punters …

This week the Esports Integrity Coalition in association with Sportsradar (who are amongst the leaders in preventing betting fraud, using a unique fraud detection system that is applied by federations such as the NBA and FIFA) handed out two year bans to a pair of players suspected of attempting to throw a Dota2 match. It followed an investigation in to global betting patterns on the game.

Make no mistake Esports is already a big betting business and along with the use of Bitcoin, these two relative newcomers will be chomping on an ever increasing slice of the online betting pie in years to come.

This Week’s Best Bets

Cheltenham Festival World Hurdle: Bacardys 33/1 with Paddy Power

Cheltenham Festival RSA Chase: Bacardys 16/1 generally

William Hill

Esports League of Legends World Championships Outright: SK Telecom T1 @ 6/4 with Bet365

Esports League of Legends World Championships quarter final match (SK Telecom T1 vs Misfits): To feature under 3.5 Maps @ 8/11 with Bet365