On this page you find articles on extrabet and sports betting in general.

Cricket – England fancied to snatch narrow series win

Cricket Betting

Andrew Strauss cited one of the reasons he has decided to give up the captaincy of the England one-day side is to oversee his country's attempt to become world number one in the test rankings. The winter Ashes success was a solid stepping stone in that bid but this summer will be an equally accurate guide as to whether England are capable of overtaking both India and South Africa in the coming months and the new season's first tourists, Sri Lanka, may not be the pushovers most bookmakers have priced them up as.

Their 38-run win against the England Lions last week after being forced to follow-on should have been enough to dispel any thoughts of a walkover for England, even though Sri Lanka will be without both front-line bowlers Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan for the first time in a decade. They still have batsmen of the quality of Tilakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to plunder the runs and young bowlers Nuwan Pradeep and Thisara Perera will be keen to show they can handle English conditions. Compare the Sri Lankan top order's form to that of Kevin Pietersen, who has averaged less than 40 in the last three seasons and has just returned from yet another operation, and you should understand why England certainly should be bigger than a best 4/9 to win the three-match series with Sri Lanka a best 13/2 and the draw at 9/2 with Sportingbet.

Pietersen, of course, could easily take apart an inexperienced bowling line-up if at the top of his game and is only 9/2 with Coral to finish as England's top batsmen. But it's worth pointing out that the Surrey man has only scored two centuries in 90 innings for his country, fewer than any other regular starter, and he is arguably being picked on reputation rather than form at present. I'd much rather have a bet on Alastair Cook (a general 4/1), in fantastic form in Australia and well rested since, or Eoin Morgan. Any doubts that the Irishman should be included in the test side at Ravi Bopara's expense were firmly put to bed by his blistering first innings for the Lions against Sir Lanka last week and extrabet's 10/1 is only so generous on account of the fact that the layers expect England's top order to get plenty of runs so his chance to shine may be restricted.

With the likelihood of the two teams' batsmen cancelling each other out, this series will probably be decided by the bowlers, therefore, and that's where England should hold the upper hand. Even with Tim Bresnan out injured, England still have six top-notch seamers to choose from as well as the world's best off-spinner Graeme Swann. Despite Sri Lanka's batting prowess, that attack should be good enough to bowl the tourists out twice in at least one of the three tests and a 1-0 England series win looks attractively priced at 5/1 with Boylesports.


Golf Betting – Brave a bet on battler Baddeley

Sports Betting

Organisers are continually trying to expand the Volvo World Matchplay and this week's tournament near Marbella sees the field increased from 16 to 24 players. At one time, principally when it was staged at Wentworth in the autumn, the World Matchplay had only eight players competing in a straight knockout format over three days. Nowadays, however, the field is split into eight groups of three who play each other in a round-robin with the two players returning the best results going forward to the knockout stages at the weekend. I can understand the thinking behind it. Bigger is better and the course will gain more revenue from four days of action than three. But I can't be the only one who thinks this format has diluted the importance, if not the value, of the event. It now seems to be less a test of matchplay expertise and more a trial of endurance but that hasn't put off most of those invited from taking part, including most of the Europeans who currently dominate the world rankings.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, the current world numbers one and two, unsuprisingly head the betting with both available at a general 7/1. The Englishmen are both in good form with Westwood having won back-to-back tournaments in the Far East last month. He skipped last week's Players Championship (where Donald finished fourth) to prepare for this event but it's a worry that he failed to escape the group stages at the Finca Cortesin when last staged two years ago. Westwood hasn't been any favours by the draw again this year with the in-form Aaron Baddeley in his group. Though actually born in New Hampshire, Baddeley is an Aussie to the core having lived there since he was two and he looks to have the perfect profile for an event of this nature. Gritty, an excellent putter and someone who isn't afraid to try the unexpected, the Melbourne-based six-footer ended a four-year wait for a third US PGA Tour win when successful at the Northern Trust Open in California in February and has consistently managed top 20 places since, including when sixth in the Players Championship . At Betfred's 22/1 he makes plenty of appeal in Spain.

Ross Fisher did this column a huge favour at Finca Coretsin in 2009 and bookmakers have again largely ignored the 30-year-old's chances this year, with Betfred, Stan James and totesport all putting up 28/1. Fellow Ryder Cup star Miguel Angel Jimenez is 35/1 with Betfred and fancied to emerge unscathed from a group also featuring Charles Schwartzel (a general 14/1) and Johan Edfors (100/1 with Skybet and extrabet). He looks the pick of the 'home team' and, in this form of the game, makes more appeal at the odds than Rory McIlroy (9/1 with Skybet and extrabet) and Martin Kaymer (9/1 with totesport). But Baddeley could just be the value this week.


Swans looks watertight play-off bet

Championship Betting

Swansea City managed to overhaul arch-rivals Cardiff City on the final day of the regular Championship season to secure third place in the table and look worthy favourites to go on and secure promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs at a general 5/2. The play-offs are a great spectacle for the neutral at the end of a long season but are nerve-wracking for all those involved and it's not uncommon that the disappointment of defeat can severely impact on a team's performances the following season. You need look no further back than last year when Swindon Town lost out in the League One play-off final against Millwall and suffered the heartbreak of relegation less than 12 months later.

The same fate hopefully won't befall the Swans, who were widely regarded as the best footballing side in the Championship this season and are now gaining the rewards for a continuation of the policy established when the side were still in League One three years ago. Brendan Rogers' team have progressed year upon year and their squad now has a strength in depth which it might have lacked in the last two seasons. In addition, Scott Sinclair has developed into genuine goalscorer and all of the Welsh side's players seem comfortable with the ball at their feet. But that shouldn't gloss over the fact that Swansea conceded just 11 goals at the Liberty Stadium this season, which suggests semi-final opponents Nottingham Forest will have their work cut out if they don't take a lead from the home leg of their tie. Forest (a general 3/1) are a bit of an enigma as they finished the season strongly and have some very gifted players. But manager Billy Davies seems to be at continual loggerheads with the club's owners and they lost their nerve in the play-offs last season. That may linger in the back of the minds of some and this is a team very capable of self-destruction.

Cardiff looked poised to go up automatically just a few weeks ago but the way they capitulated to hand second spot to Norwich may well have repercussions in the play-offs. Dave Jones certainly has a big job on his hands raising morale for their semi-final with Reading, especially as his much-vaunted forward-line has lost the plot at the same time as his defence has started to consistently ship goals. The Bluebirds (11/4 with Betfred and totesport) may have reached the final last year but look very vulnerable against a Reading side that's been able to take their foot off the gas in the last couple of weeks. There should certainly be plenty of goals between these two but I fancy Brian McDermott's Royals (3/1 with extrabet and Skybet) to take their place at Wembley before losing out to Swansea.


Familiar faces dominate World Cup quarter-finals

Cricket Betting

The eight teams in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Cricket World Cup are pretty much as expected but the draw has still thrown up some intriguing ties. India's clash with Australia undoubtedly the most attractive to neutrals. Australia's record in this tournament in recent years has been pretty much unblemished and they were never going to be troubled by the likes of Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe in the group stages of this year's tournament. However Pakistan showed, in their final qualifier, that the Aussies' batting line-up may be isn't as strong as they would like others to believe, even though Mike Hussey's late call-up has added much-needed stability in the middle order. Given that they cracked under pressure in the Ashes, it's certainly going to be interesting to see how they cope with the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the Sardara Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad against the co-hosts. India, however, have problems of their own. There's a huge weight of expectation riding on the shoulders of Mehndra Singh Dhoni and his men and they've come up short on both occasions when the screws have been turned by quality opposition. They allowed a mis-firing England to chase down a huge total and claim a tie in Bangalore before blowing a brilliant start against South Africa to lose by three wickets. I just fear for India if they lose Sehwag and Tendulkar cheaply as the Australians are the more likely to press home an advantage if they get on top. India are a best 7/2 to win the tournament while Australia are a surprisingly big 6/1 with Skybet.

Our pre-tournament fancies Pakistan are still in there pitching and we certainly weren't surprised to see them top Group A. They are now a best 13/2 to win the final with extrabet having been paired with general 22/1 outsiders the West Indies. Pakistan certainly aren't perfect and you always get the impression they are one bad decision away from a meltdown but, in Umar Gul, they have the best bowler in the tournament with both old and new ball and look certainties to make it into the last four at least as the Windies, despite the emergence of one or two promising youngsters, have already been exposed as very average by the better teams. New Zealand (25/1 with sportingbet, totesport and Victor Chandler) are always capable of scoing runs but, without a fuly-fit Daniel Vettori, their attack is very one-dimensional and you feel Group B winners South Africa will have their measure in Mirpur. The Proteas have realised that spin could be the key to winning this World Cup and they also bat a long way down the order so it's no surprise that they are general 10/3 favourites.

So what of England? On paper, it's difficult to see how their patched-up side can possibly trouble Sri Lanka in Colombo. Yet one certainly couldn't see them forcing a tie with India or beating South Africa. Equally, defeats by Ireland and Bangladesh wouldn't have been in the script. Andy Flowers and Andrew Strauss gambled against the West Indies and won but getting enough runs on the board against the bowling of Muralitharan and Malinga might not be as straightforward unless someone like Eoin Morgan gets in a position to cut loose. England, therefore, make little appeal at the 10/1 with bet365, Boylesports and Victor Chandler though Sri Lanka haven't done enough either to suggest the general 9/2 to go on and win the competition is any kind of value.


Everything up for grabs as Cheltenham Festival gets under way

Cheltenham Festival

Reigning champion Binocular's surprise defection from the Stan James Champion Hurdle has taken away a bit of the glamour from the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival - but not much! There remains more than half-a-dozen high-class performers with genuine ambitions to recapture the blue riband of hurdling, among them Menorah (10/3 with bet365, extrabet and sportingbet) who has a terrific record at Cheltenham and won last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle at The Festival ahead of Dunguib and Oscar Whisky. Hurricane Fly (4/1 with William Hill) heads the Irish challenge while Peddler's Cross (a general 4/1) defends his unbeaten record over timber.

The highlight on the second day of The Festival is the sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase in which Colm Murphy's Big Zeb is defending his title as Europe's top two-mile chaser. The 10-year-old is a general 3/1 chance to retain his crown but faces a stiff challenge from two-times winner Master Minded (10/3 with William Hill) who comes into the race in better form than when only fourth last year. This is by no means a two-horse race, however, as Somersby is an improving young chaser who can be backed at 15/2 with totesport and Victor Chandler. But the value in this may lie with Sizing Europe, who is a generous-looking 9/1 with William Hill. Arkle Chase winners have a tremendous record when lining up in the following year's Queen Mother Champion Chase and trainer Henry De Bromhead has been very bullish about the chances of his nine-year-old.

For a long time it looked like Thursday's Ladbrokes World Hurdle would be another stroll in the park for reigning champion Big Bucks. Paul Nicholls' stayer is still only a best 5/4 and has, after all, won all 10 starts since having his attention switched back to the smaller obstacles in 2009 and is chasing a hat-trick in this race. But that was before the emergence of young pretender Grands Crus, who decimated the opposition in a Grade 2 event at Cheltenham in January having been equally impressive in a couple of well-contested handicaps previously. Martin Pipe's striking grey will appeal to plenty seeking a bit of value at the general 9/4.

Friday's totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup sees former winners Kauto Star and Denman seeking to recapture past glories. The former is a 7/1 chance with William Hill but ran no sort of race in this last year and it was probably indicative of his waining powers that he finished well adrift of Long Run (a general 5/1 here) at his beloved Kempton last time. Denman (7/1 with Boylesports) was runner-up to Imperial Commander (7/2 with sportingbet) in the Gold Cup last year, however, and has had a comparatively light campaign this time around so will have no excuses if he doesn't put his best foot forward. If I had to have a bet in the Gold Cup, however, I'd have a few pounds each-way on the enigmatic Tidal Bay at the general 20/1. He may simply lose interest, or run on when it's far too late. But he loves Cheltenham, won't mind the ground and is the type to relish a fast pace. If Brian Hughes can keep him interested, Howard Johnson's gelding is capable of springing a surprise.

And my bet of the week? Quevaga looks a class apart again the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle on the opening day and can complete her hat-trick in the race at Blue Square, 888sport and William Hill's Evens.



Horse Racing Betting – Menorah looks just champion

Cheltenham Festival

Defending champion Binocular heads a list of 13 acceptors for this year's Stan James Champion Hurdle but Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old may be facing a stiffer task this season than last in what promises to be one of the most competitive races of recent years.

Binocular (a general 3/1) was an impressive winner last March having disappointed when favourite 12 months previously. He was beaten by Peddlers Cross in the Fighting Fifth at Newbury on his reappearance this term but easily confirmed last year's Champion Hurdle form with Khyber Kim (a general 16/1) in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton next time and strolled to victory in his prep race at Sandown subsequently. A fluent jumper of hurdles, AP McCoy's mount has plenty in his favour but is far too short in the betting considering the quality of this year's race appears much stronger.

Peddlers Cross (6/1 with Paddy Power and Wiliiam Hill) is certainly a contender. Winner of last year's Neptune Investment Management Novices'  Hurdle over a longer trip at The Festival, Donald McCain's charge has extended his unbeaten record under Rules this season despite not being at his best when beating Bygones Of Brid (a general 250/1) at Kelso last time. One who is certain to be suited by the likely strong pace, Peddlers Cross makes more appeal than Ireland's chief hope Hurricane Fly. Willie Mullins' gelding is 5/1 with Victor Chandler and extrabet on the back of a three wins in his homeland this winter. Undoubtedly talented, those victories in falsely-run races haven't told us a great deal about the seven-year-old, however, and he's never raced at Cheltenham before which is normally a disadvantage. Fellow countryman Dunguib (14/1 with bet365, Coral and William Hill) has never really lived up to his hype and still has a lot to prove at this level. Along with Oscar Whisky, who is a 12/1 chance with Boylesports, Coral and extrabet, he also finished behind Menorah in last seasons' Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Menorah has hardly stood still since last year's big win, scoring twice more in a Grade 3 and a Grade 2 back at Cheltenham. He clearly loves the track and, with decent ground forecast, could be the one to beat at the 9/2 with Betfred and Paddy Power as the five-year-old Mille Chief (16/1 with Coral, Victor Chandler and William Hill) wasn't that impressive in landing the Kingwell at Wincanton and his age group have a shocking record in the Champion Hurdle,


Double welcome offer from Extrabet for Fixed Odds and Spread Betting

Free Bets & Promotions

Online bookmaker Extrabet are able to offer you a little something different for your big weekend of sports betting. The online bookmaker is one of the best destinations to find spread betting. Even if you are a novice when it comes to this mode of betting, Extrabet really excel with their excellent help files, all done in a graphical interface which looks like a cool graphic novel. The great thing about Extrabet, and what makes them so popular, is that not only do they offer an excellent spread betting service, but running alongside that is the fixed odds betting which you would find at any other online bookmaker. It is just the power of their spread betting which really stands out as an extra bonus. Spread betting is not just landing a correct prediction, but it is about how right you can be with your predictions. The more correct you are with a bet, then the more you are going to stand to win. There are higher risks involved with spread betting though, which newcomers need to be aware of, because you can lose more than what you stake as well. But with Extrabet, everything is presented so clearly that you are helped all along the way with the process. Extrabet will be worth checking out ahead of the weekend, and the good thing is that you can take some time to explore their guides in order to get yourself accustomed to spread betting.

If you just want fixed odds betting, then you will be well served at Extrabet as well, who offer extremely competitive prices on their excellent website. There are two ways to get yourself started at Extrabet, and when you open an account, you will need to upgrade to gain access to the Spread Betting. But, there is good news all around on that front, because Extrabet offer not one, but two great welcome bonus offers. First of all, when you open a regular betting account with them, you can get a free £25 bet for your fixed odds account. The Extrabet welcome offer doubles your stake when you have your first bet on a new account. So, if you place the minimum £10 qualifying bet for your first stake, Extrabet will match that stake on your selection, so you will be actually betting with £20 which would give you twice the amount of profit back! This offer on your free matched fixed odds bet is up to the value of £25 (which they will match pound for pound), so this is a generous way to get things started.

If from there you wanted to go ahead and move ahead with the spread betting offer, there is a £100 Risk Free Spread bet offer to take advantage off. This is another warm welcome from Extrabet, giving you two opportunities for free bets. When you open a Spread Betting account and place a total of five settled spread bets, then Extrabet will give you that £100 risk free spread bet on total goals or supremacy in any live football match. If football is not your thing, then the offer is valid for a similar level on tennis, horse racing, golf, cricket or rugby union as well. This gives you plenty of room to make the most of this great introduction. However, this double welcome offer from Extrabet is only valid up until the 31st May 2011, so you will have plenty of time to assess your interests in spread betting and see what Extrabet have on offer for you. They do run a great live in play service, and their help files throughout their sports book and website itself really are excellent. So even if you just wanted to stick to fixed odds betting, you will be in excellent hands as well. Just open both accounts by May 31st this year and you will be able to get your £125 worth of free bets.


Tennis Betting – Slick Serbs still look to hold the Davis Cup aces

Sports Betting

Some say that the mighty dollar, pound or euro has crowded out patriotism from the modern world of sport. But try telling that to the 16,000 Serbs who filled the Belgrade Arena last October to cheer their team on against France and win the Davis Cup for the first time. Serbia are 4/1 with Betfred to retain their title this year and start off in Novi Sad with a very winnable home tie against a young Indian team without established doubles pairing Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. The champions themselves will have to cope without talisman Novak Djokovic, arguably the best hardcourt player in the world at present, but Viktor Troiki and Janko Tripsarevic have been around the block enough times to compensate for his absence. In fact, let's ignore the usual ploy of pointing out relative pros and cons and say that I fancy the Serbians to retain their crown because they are almost guaranteed to field their strongest line-up once the action gets serious whereas you can't say that about every nation in this year's World Group.

Considering their resources, it's surprising that the USA have only won the Davis Cup twice in the last 16 years and I don't rate their chances this time around either, even though they should gain some impetus from Jim Courier's appointment as non-playing captain. Andy Roddick will be their lynchpin this year but he won't be suited by the red clay of Santiago, where they play their opening match against Chile, and extrabet's 10/1 looks poor value if you consider they will probably face Spain in the quarter-finals in July if they get through that one. Rafael Nadal has pledged to lead the Spaniards whenever possible which is why they have been installed as 5/2 favourites (Boylesports and Paddy Power). But that's not the same as saying he will play in every round, which tempers enthusiasm slightly as back-up David Ferrer is decidedly second division nowadays and they can be very fragile, as they showed when whitewashed by the French last year. France are a general 6/1 but no certainties to get past the first-round clash with Austria at Vienna Airport. Amid rumours of off-court differences of opinion, it's unlikely that the French are going to be anywhere near fully staffed with Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet having already cried off. The Austrians have Jurgen Melzer coming into the match in the form of his life and their odds of 125/1 (Boylesports) will shrink noticeably if they perform well. Argentina (13/2 with Bet365 and Stan James) are capable of going close, as are the Czech Republic (a general 9/1) but the patriotic Serbs could hold all the aces again.


Golf Betting – Strike out with Stricker in Arizona

Sports Betting

Tiger Woods is a 16/1 chance with totesport and extrabet to win the Accenture Match Play Championship but the three-times winner is just one of a number of former champions in action in Tuscon, Arizona this week.

There are 64 of the world's 65 top-ranked players competing in the first World Golf Championship event of the season at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club - at 7849 yards the longest course used on the US PGA Tour - and the sudden-death format should provide some thrilling golf over the next five days. Woods is seeded three but looks to be facing a tough draw in his section, starting with recent Qatar Masters winner Thomas Bjorn (200/1 with Stan James) in the opening round.

Matchplay, of course, isn't everyone's cup of tea and current world number one Lee Westwood has a particularly poor record in this event. The Worksop golfer (25/1 on betfair) has never got past the second round at Dove Mountain and is no certainty to get the better of wildcard Henrik Stenson on the opening day. Australian Geoff Ogilvy has to be taken seriously, however, as he's already won this tournament twice and has begun the new season in steady-if-unspectacular form. The 2006 US Open champion comes alive here and can be backed at a tempting 28/1 with Betfred, Paddy Power and William Hill. Paul Casey, runner-up twice in recent years, is a general 14/1 shot and should make the latter stages again, while I'm a big fan of last year's third Camilo Villegas. The Colombian looks a surefire bet to land a Major in the not-too-distant future and is a big price in this with totesport and Paddy Power at 100/1. If I wanted to give a chance to an Englishman, apart from Casey, Ross Fisher would have to be high on the list. The Wentworth pro did this column a massive favour when storming to the 2009 Volvo World Matchplay Championship and clearly loves the cut and thrust of this format. The general 60/1 quote has had my index finger hovering over the 'bet' button for days but, having denounced loyalty in betting recently, I'd feel a hypocrite if I went against my own advice and, instead, have risked a couple of pounds on Steve Stricker.

'Mr September' can comfortably be classed as a veteran nowadays and his record in this tournament has been modest since he won the event 10 years ago. But the 44-year-old, who hasn't has many golf course miles on the clock as his age might suggest, still knows how to win (he was successful twice on the US PGA Tour in 2010) and he's made the cut in all three tournaments he's contested so far this year. The draw has been comparatively kind and I feel Stricker can give us a run for our money at Skybet's 35/1 this week.

  • Steve Stricker to win Accenture Match Play Championship @ 35/1 (Skybet)
  • Camillo Vegas to win Accenture Match Play Championship @ 100/1 (Paddy Power)
  • Geoff Ogilvy to win Accenture Match Play Championship @ 28/1 (Betfred, Paddy Power and William Hill)



Cricket Betting – Reliable Yardy looks overpriced in England batting and bowling markets

Cricket Betting

We'll be taking a closer look at the 2011 Cricket World Cup before the tournament gets under way but most bookmakers have priced up several markets surrounding England's performance on the sub-continents over the next few weeks. The general consensus of opinion is that Andrew Strauss and his men will make it to the quarter-finals, a minimum requirement I'd have thought despite a sobering experience in the recent one-day series in Australia, with nearly all the layers putting up 11/10 against a last eight exit. Betfred are offering 10/1 that England fail to make it through the group stages, while totesport will lay you 7/1 that they finish as either runners-up or winners.

The odds for England's top scoring batsman make interesting reading. No doubt, Eoin Morgan would have been close to the head of the market had he been fit but, in his absence, bookmakers are undecided about who to make favourite. Many have captain Strauss shorter than Jonathan Trott (a general 7/2) but totesport offer 4/1 against England's only recognised opener. It's an indication of Kevin Pietersen's current form that he is also a 4/1 chance with Betfred, though KP should certainly enjoy the slower Indian pitches more than those in Australia. Even this close to the start of the tournament, there still remains a question about who will partner Strauss at the top of the order. Matt Prior hardly thrived in the pinch-hitter role against the Aussies but was noticeably among the runs when dropped down the order so the 7/1 (Stan James and totesport) against the Sussex wicketkeeper would make some appeal if he were bat six or seven. That would probably mean Ian Bell (6/1 with Boylesports) would have to open, though that would weaken the middle order. Two who look interesting at big odds are all-rounders Luke Wright and Michael Yardy. Both looked in decent nick in the latter stages of the one-day series Down Under and will get plenty of opportunity to showcase their talents with the bat if the England top order struggles again. Stan James give both a 100/1 quote, which is just way too big. Eoin Morgan's replacement, the enigmatic Ravi Bopara, is 9/1 with bet365, extrabet and Victor Chandler.

The market to be England's leading wicket-taker makes interesting reading with Graeme Swann, Ajmal Shahzad, Tim Bresnan and Paul Collingwood all likely to arrive on the sub-continent carrying injuries and Stuart Broad not having played since before Christmas. If you could guarantee his fitness, the wickets may best suit Shahzad (9/1 with extrabet and sportingbet) and I'd rather take a risk on the Yorkshireman than the general 7/2 against Jimmy Anderson, who looks fatigued. Yardy, again, makes some appeal at Stan James' 10/1 as he's shown a mastery of pace and direction and few batsmen, in the group stages at least, will have faced him before.