Fermanagh and Limerick are Lonesharkoy's GAA bets
They mightn’t be winning over too many neutral supporters with their style of play, but it’s impossible to ignore what Fermanagh have done since Rory Gallagher took the helm in the Erne County. The manner of their promotion last year – snatched from Longford’s grasp on the last day – has distracted from the fact that they earned their place in the second tier, and this year they have backed up that showing with some very impressive football, albeit impressive in the results sense rather than winning too many style points.
This writer has been long time involved in the betting industry, and a total points line of 26.5 in a 70 minute football match is incredibly rare – to see it priced up at 4/6 for this weekend’s game between Fermanagh and Donegal is simply remarkable.
That said, if we were to have a bet on that market, 4/6 under is a lot more attractive than 11/10 over, given that the totals in Fermanagh’s three games so far have been 16, 22 and 14. They’re stepping up in class this week with a game against Donegal, but nothing that has happened so far in the league would suggest that Donegal are firing on all cylinders. They came late to beat Clare in Ennis in round one, arguably their most impressive result, but since then they struggled against Meath in Ballybofey and got chinned by a trio of goals from Tipperary.
Are Donegal better than every other team in Division Two? Absolutely. Are they playing like it? Emphatically not.
Now let’s look at the venue – O’Donnell Park in Letterkenny, where the county has played 11 league games since the middle of the last decade, when it was opened up to county football again. Donegal won just two of those 11 games, and while that could easily be a statistical anomaly, that doesn’t change the fact that players are fans alike all prefer playing in either Ballybofey or Ballyshannon.
All the evidence points to the same conclusion. Fermanagh plus four points at even money with Hills and Betway is too generous, and even if it was even money plus three top price, we’d consider a bet.
Fermanagh +4 points at 1/1 with William Hill and Betway
The hurling this year has been strange in the top flight, where counties are not trying too hard at all in the absence of a relegation threat. There have been some eerily dull games played, not least Clare’s narrow loss to Cork last week, where Clare indiscipline and constant stoppages tipped the balance in favour of the Rebels.
That win didn’t mask the lack of zest or imagination in Cork hurling this year so far, where it almost seems as if the general malaise in the county surrounding the Páirc Uí Chaoimh situation and the financial irregularities surrounding that whole affair have taken control . This week they’ve to travel to Limerick to take on the All-Ireland champions, and it’s a Treaty County team that is hurling with intensity and purpose while making good opportunities for their forwards.
With hurling results so volatile, it’s hard to predict with confidence, and there’s certainly a lot to be said for going for the extreme outcome on one end of the scale in order to maximise return. That said, the bookies seem to be factoring that in this week, and given the option of 3/1 about Limerick minus seven or 6/5 about Limerick minus three points with Paddy Power Betfair, which effectively translates to saying that Limerick by 8+ is nearly 25% more likely than Limerick winning by between four and seven points inclusive. That seems unlikely, to say the least of it.
Consequently, the 6/5 is the value bet here.
Limerick -3 points at 6/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair