Monday, 27 January 2014

9 to Crash the 25th Birthday Party!

The world’s best three players tee it up in Dubai this week. Tiger Woods is joined by Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson for the USD$2.5M tournament which celebrates its 25th birthday this year. OK, Rory is only ranked No.7 in the OWGR and Adam Scott quite rightly is the No.2 but there’s no denying that Dubai and the European Tour can boast a stellar field for this week. With Rory having finished 2nd in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago following that two shot penalty and Tiger having missed the 3rd rd cut at Torrey Pines on Saturday, it makes for an intriguing battle ahead. The bookies will have these three clear favourites between 5/1 – 7/1 and it will be tough to take them on especially with each-way punting.

Probably the most innovative golf bookmaker at present is Skybet who are offering a “without these three” market and if punting e/w this week this is the market I’d prefer to get involved in. I fancy Rory quite strongly this week, Tiger is the best out there and will be fired up for a quick bounce back following a poor showing at The Farmers and Henrik will be getting used to that new putter too! If you don’t have a Skybet  account, now is a good time to open one as they will give you a free matched bet up to €30 (£30).
      
Open a Skybet  account here.  

I am an each-way punter believing that the places can keep the bankroll ticking along should a player just come up short of that elusive win, but recently I have begun to think it may not be the way to go and that thinking was further underlined when last week’s selection, Thomas Aiken @ 90/1 grabbed a tie for 5th with 4 others to only return ¼ stake reduction. Our 0.5 pts e/w bet yielded just 2.94 pts!! A TOP10 bet would have been more profitable. So, the dilemma is do I now back my picks for the win only AND TOP10 pending price? Hard to back the WIN this week given the three players at the head of the market, but its something I am going to look at more closely over the next couple of weeks as we head back down to South Africa. Of course, the w/o market becomes a good option this week too.
           
I used the term “keeping the faith” last week and dropped both Sergio Garcia & Thorbjorn Olesen from my staking plan and kept the faith in Tommy Fleetwood and Stephen Gallacher. Whilst Garcia was the 8/1 favourite, Olesen was still value last week and I should have stuck by him. Garcia won and Olesen was T 3rd !! Cabrera-Bello was also on my shortlist for last week so all in all quite a frustrating result from Qatar for me. Taking the positives, I’m looking at the right players, just need to get the final staking plan right. Gallacher, of course, is the defending champion this week and loves the course so whilst it's hard to defend he must be considered this week again. I did back him @60/1 here last year and if he can get as many eagles as he did twelve months ago, he’ll be up there again. Alvaro Quiros is showing signs his game is coming back and the winner here in 2011 could perform this week on the back of recent outings. He is a bit shorter than I expected this week(albeit just a tad shorter but he remains on my list) So, I am compelled this week to “keep the faith” and that means I’m going with a different approach to try include as many as I can from my shortlist that I tweeted earlier and those that I've been watching of late. This week concludes the Middle Eastern Swing so I’m concluding with more or less a familiar “Birdie Club Team”.


Cabrera Bello was on my radar this week but he's a general 28/1 to win (14/1 w/o the favs). I'm not overly keen on getting involved at that price. He has both course form and extremely good recent form so won't be far away. Same goes with Olesen, but he's a player that has shown when he hits form he stays there for awhile and he appears to be hitting some decent form following his T 3rd last week. He was also 3 rd here last year and at 14/1 (w/o favs) he too is left off the plan this week. Thomas Bjorn is overpriced for me this week. Yes he hasn't been playing too great the past few weeks and he may have missed the cut in Dubai three times in the past 5 years (9th & 15th in between though) but he's also a former winner (2001) and has posted a number of top10s to boot. A recent winner in Sun City, Bjorn excels on par-5s and he can be a contender here. 40/1 Outright and 20/1 (w/o the favs) is a great price in my opinion. Ross Fisher & Chris Wood are also value for me this week at 66/1 (40/1 & 45/1 in the w/o favs market) and I'm getting them onside as well. I also like the chances of Korean Seung Yul Noh who finished T 10th in Torrey Pines on Sunday. Hoping he can bring that form into this week, and @ 90/1 outright (40/1 w/o favs) I cannot justify leaving him out.

I’m going with a 12 pt staking plan this week with 9 of the 11 players on my shortlist featured. 
(wait and see now, Cabrera-Bello will edge out Olesen on Sunday,most probably in a play-off !)

Staking Plan (12 pts)

WIN   ( ALL WITH Skybet w/o the 3 favs)

1 pt WIN A. Quiros           @ 25/1 Skybet
1 pt WIN S-Y Noh             @ 40/1 Skybet
1 pt WIN S. Gallacher        @ 25/1 Skybet
1 pt WIN R. Fisher            @ 40/1 Skybet
1 pt WIN C.Wood             @ 45/1 Skybet
1 pt WIN T. Bjorn             @ 20/1 Skybet

TOP 10

1 pt  S-Y Noh        TOP 10 @ 7.50 BetVictor
1 pt R. Fisher         TOP 10 @ 6.50 Betpack / StanJames
1 pt C. Wood         TOP 10 @ 9.00 Betpack / StanJames
1 pt  T. Fleetwood  TOP 10 @ 7.00 Betpack / StanJames

TOP 20

( 2 players without any current form but decent enough course form worth a nibble)

1 pt  R.Rock          TOP 20 @ 6.50  Betpack / StanJames
1 pt  Peter Lawrie  TOP 20 @ 15.00 Betpack / StanJames