Lonesharkoy Outright NFL Football and Hurling Previews
We’ve already posted up our match tips for the week, but for those who have the patience to put their money down and let things play out over the next ten weeks, where does the shrewd money go?
One by one, here is the Betswot view on all the main divisions.
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
A strange year for this division, with no relegation and so no real incentive to go hammer and tongs right from the start. There are financial reasons to try and go deep into the competition, so county board officials will certainly be eager to see their respective teams fare well, but given the fact that each of these managers have much bigger fish to fry, don’t expect that to filter down into performances.
Pride in defending one’s home turf could yet turn out to be a significant factor in this division as a result, as that can keep players focused in games where otherwise there isn’t a lot at stake – and nobody is better at defending home advantage than Clare, who have won 11 and drawn one of their last 14 games in Ennis. With three home games to come this year, 4/1 about Clare topping Division 1A (generally available) looks like a good play.
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
What we can say for certain here is that this will effectively be two leagues. There’s a very slight chance that Offaly might upset Dublin in O’Connor Park on Sunday week, but it’s far more likely that Galway, Waterford and the boys in blue are effectively starting with six points on the board. All three will qualify for the league quarter finals, where there’s no obvious reason why finishing first will be significantly more useful than finishing third.
Regardless of what the results are, Galway are still probably the best team in Ireland, and losing their All-Ireland title will sharpen them up. They’ve plenty of top class young players coming through, and significantly, they’ve only two home games in the round robin stages, so have a very good chance of getting a home quarter final. Galway at 4/1 to win Division 1 outright (Paddy Power Betfair) is the attractive play here.
Allianz Football League Division 1
Listening to a recent debate on Radio 1 about this division, there was complete consensus that Cavan and Roscommon would be relegated. That may be the case absolutely, but the early evidence is that Roscommon will be a little bit more difficult to break down under Anthony Cunningham, while Cavan have some crucial games at home, they have Kerry early on, and some of their away games include short trips to Omagh and Clones.
If one of them should escape, the side that looks most vulnerable is Mayo, 4/1 to be relegated with most firms. Admittedly, Mayo plays both of these sides at home, and head-to-head could be crucial, but home advantage is not a big factor for Mayo for some reason. The last time the men from the west had a winning home record in the league was 2014 – since then the best they’ve done was 2017, when they won two and lost two at Elverys MacHale Park.
Moreover, James Horan has a huge problem. Everyone knows that Keith Higgins, Aidan O’Shea, Colm Boyle etc. are top class footballers, but their presence for so long has been a double-edged sword. The supporting cast is very raw, and while footballers like Conor Diskin and Brian Reape – both names to start tonight – have talent, proven players from Galway struggled to break down this Roscommon team last week.
Chances are it’ll be Cavan and Roscommon who make the drop, but if they don’t, Mayo are the obvious “low hanging fruit” that might get picked off.
Allianz Football League Division 2
This is one division where we’re going to stop short of recommending a bet. With Paddy McBrearty and Eoin McHugh back into the Donegal set up, they should be the class act of the division, while behind them, Jimmy Hyland looks like the real deal for Kildare – he’s likely to go a long way towards mitigating the loss of Daniel Flynn, even if he’s a very different style of player.
After that, it’s not easy to split the pack. Cork have plenty of potential, but should they be half the price of Tipperary to win the division – absolutely not. For some reason Boylesports are going out on a limb with Tipperary, offering them at 20/1 instead of the 12/1 and 10/1 that’s on offer elsewhere. There’s possibly a touch of value in that each way, but unless you’re a short priced punter who likes the 6/5 about Donegal, this is a no-bet section.
Allianz Football League Division 3
As discussed in our match tips piece, Paddy Tally is likely to find it tricky to get Down footballers to buy into his approach, notwithstanding the fact that a lot of them would have played that way for him at St. Mary’s in the Sigerson Cup.
Still, prices of 5/2 outright appear to have factored this in, as they are still the class act of the division.
While the accepted wisdom here is that there’s not a lot between all the teams, it’s closer to say that there are two sections – Down, Laois and Westmeath who are likely to chase promotion, and the other five who will be in the relegation dogfight. Longford were very unlucky not to go up last year, but things could be very different for them this time around.
The absence of the Mullinalaghta players is a big factor absolutely, even though they will almost certainly be back in for the second half of the league, but by then there could be a lot of damage done. If they’ve lost to Louth and Offaly, and on their O’Byrne Cup form, that’s eminently possible, they’ll have coughed up two huge head-to-head defeats against relegation rivals. Coming back from that won’t be easy. 11/4 about Longford making the drop with Paddy Power Betfair and Betway looks very attractive.
Allianz Football League Division 4
This is definitely the place for the long shot bet. Derry should win the division if they play anywhere close to form, but Division Four football has a way of dragging decent teams down to that standard, and while the other teams look evenly matched, this is the one division where teams that are out of the running can stop trying – which means that if you drop points early, your promotion rivals might not be easy to reel in.
Still, 1/2 is no better than fair value while 4/11 (Ladbrokes) looks prohibitively short. Instead, look for an each way punt on an outsider, on the basis that if Derry do reach Croke Park, they’ll treat it like a challenge game, while other counties would be more likely to go full bore for arguably the only trophy they could ever hope to win.
And since there’s a possibility that Derry will beat everyone, Wicklow at 25/1 with Ladbrokes looks like the shrewd play. Wicklow have to travel to Derry, so they have four home games against the other teams in the division. Once upon a time, a good away game to get was London, since everyone would beat London regardless of where that game was played, but times have changed, and that can be a dangerous away game now. If John Evans’ side takes anything from Fraher Field this wek, they’re right in the hunt.