Weekly Blog – The Apprentice, GB’s Rio Flagbearer, the US GP in F1& the next FIFA President

Roy The Boy weekly blog looks at The Apprentice 11th series, who will carry Great Britain Flag in Rio, the next Grand Prix from Austin and the next FIFA President.

The Apprentice - Done Deal

The 11th series of BBC’s The Apprentice is underway.  Roughly seven million people tune-in every week to watch the best business brains make fish-fingers, stock a charity shop or design a revolutionary blow-up doll.

Now, despite the recent PR campaign by Ladbrokes who informed the mainstream printed press they have been taking bets on a TV show which had long ago been filmed, Betfair Sportsbook are offering prices on the outcome of The Apprentice. According to the BBC the current show was filmed in the spring of 2015 meaning there are a fair few cameramen, editors, the fabled grips men and contestants which know the outcome.

Generally the trick with this show is to identify the low-flyer, the contestant not receiving much air-time during the early weeks of filming.  However, with a massive likelihood that Betfair’s book is reflective of the money they have taken on the event, and with some of that money coming from those ‘in the know’, you simply cannot get involved.

For the record Joseph Valentine is Betfair's 4/9 favourite amongst the 14 remaining candidates.

Flagging Ennis-Hill for Rio 

Remaining with Betfair’s Sportsbook …  their 2/1 about Jessica Ennis Hill winning gold at the 2016 Olympic Games is ridiculous.  The Heptathlete may be about to land me a right-royal touch in the Sports Personality of the Year Awards but there is no denying that her adversary, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, was trading at 1/5 to win the World Championships crown when she incurred three red-flags in the long-jump in the mid-summer games. Next year Johnson-Thompson will be a more furnished competitor and, red flags apart, I expect her to firmly put a then 30-year-old Ennis-Hill in her place.

Nevertheless Betfair’s 4/1 about another Ennis-Hill market is irresistible.  This one is in relation to the Sheffield athlete carrying the British flag into Rio’s Olympic stadium. Previous British flag-bearers include: Chris Hoy and Steve Redgrave, both returning Olympic gold medal winners, both Sports Personality of the Year recipients.

I therefore expected to see Ennis-Hill, with her two World Championship, Olympic, World Indoor and European Championship gold medals, trading at even money or better in the ‘flag carrying market’.

Faster Vettel in Texas

The Formula 1 season should be done and dusted this coming weekend.  The Mercedes team has already claimed the Constructors Title and Lewis Hamilton only needs a handful of points to be crowned World Champion.

The action comes from Austin Texas and the race will once again be used to showcase America’s military strength, self-love and exceptionalism.  There will be no shortage of flags, anthems, military personnel and guns on display.

The outstanding feature amongst the results from the three previous US Grand Prix’s to date is Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of ‘fastest laps’. The German adores claiming fastest laps as clearly demonstrated in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Grand Prix when he boasted and taunted his ‘victory’ in that particular contest to race winner Lewis Hamilton.

Last year’s fastest lap accolade here in Texas was very noteworthy as it came in a Red Bull car which was not overly competitive and was only good enough to finish seventh on the day. ‘King Seb’ is now piloting a Ferrari which is clearly the second best car on the starting grid and improving week-on-week. At 9/1  to win Fastest Lap this weekend with Coral, it's simply too big to ignore.

The braver among you may also fancy a little of the 100/1 about him claiming the pole/fastest lap/race-win treble with William Hill and select others. It is no impossibility. Vettel was pole-setter in Singapore this year, claimed the fastest-lap last week in Russia and has won races in Malaysia, Singapore and Hungary so far this season.

William Hill

Back the Fish in FIFA Presidential Race

Who is going to be the next FIFA President? No one seems to know for sure – unlike the Apprentice market – albeit there’s no end of sites betting on the outcome. And the liquidity, unsurprisingly for football, seems good.

Prince Ali Al-Hussein, who I thought was a retired boxer, was on offer at 40/1 and 25/1 respectively with Unibet and William Hill back in September. He’s now top-priced 5/4 with Betfair.

Is this a layers market? It’s already looking that way with plenty of odds-on done about Michel Platini who was as low as 1/3 at one stage. Additionally a lot more political pawn broking can happen between now and February 26th when a new FIFA President will be elected.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, or Prince Salmon as he is better known, looks a certain mover ‘n groover I’m told by one of my gurus on such affairs. At 12/1 with Coral, the price certainly appeals. Likewise 20/1 about Michael van Praag with the same firm is worthy of an investment. The Dutch FA President is the only European candidate in the frame and that is sure to attract some votes from the UEFA members.