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The rugby world cup kicks off tomorrow with the hosts and tournament favourites, New Zealand taking on the friendly islands of Tonga (Population 100,000) in the opening game.

Picking the winner essentially comes down to whether you think New Zealand have the bottle to do it this time. Currently trading at 1.67 ish, the All Blacks are certainly the red hot favourites, but they don’t have a track record of converting ability into success. Since winning the world cup in 1987, they have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in subsequent tournaments.

It would be nice to see New Zealand have something to celebrate this year after the devastation caused by the Christchurch earthquake, but ultimately only the All Blacks themselves know if the All Blacks can do it this time.

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Dark horses, sleepers and teams to avoid this football season

Today we released SBC’s Essential Guide to Football Betting stacked with free systems, tipster and analysis for the 2011/2012 football season.

We couldn’t fit all this content in a single edition, so as a special bonus we have made available one of the sections for all to read.

Editor in chief Greg Gordon asked a selection of the football experts that we monitor to provide some ideas on dark horses, sleepers and teams to avoid in this coming football season….

Dark Horses, Sleepers and Teams To Avoid

Having covered The Premiership, We set our caucus of top tipsters the onerous task of unearthing value bets hidden with the morass of Europe’s football markets.

Here is our rundown of the best long-term wagers on offer, those teams to oppose and teams we should side with.


Like Scott Armstrong of The Sportsman, Greg Gordon of Scottish Football Bets, and Phil Brown of Betting Laying Club have taken a shine to Brighton.

Phil Says: “I feel Brighton under the guidance of Gus Poyet will give the Championship a real go this season at 20/1 and expect their big signing Mackail-Smith to score plenty of goals.” Continue reading

Cheltenham Festival Preview: Paul Jones on the Fred Winter Handicap

With Cheltenham just around the corner, we’re keeping tabs on a number of festival previews. Paul Jones comes with a good reputation and we’ll be previewing his antepost service and Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide in our February edition.

Paul has kindly sent us an extract from his Cheltenham Festival guide, focusing on the Fred Winter Novices’ handicap. The full book is available at and costs £12.95 + £2 post and packaging. We hope to preview the full book in the February edition. Here’s the excerpt with analysis of the Fred Winter taking place on Wednesday the 16th.




Although the ‘Fred Winter’ is developing a number of very strong patterns so early in its existence (remarkably I’ve found as many as 12 worthy of being listed in the Trends Summary), I am aware that this may come across as a blatantly obvious statement but, trying to finding the handicap blot is key here and, boy, was there one last season as Sanctuaire left his rivals stone motherless dead. Paul Nicholls knew it beforehand. All he would say when discussing the race at the Sandown Preview Evening was: “He’ll win” and not a word more. French-bred hurdlers have really come to the fore in this race but take note of the top-rated horses from the Flat too as they have won or finished second in three of the six runnings. No new trends to add this season, only a strengthening of existing ones which is what I like for winner-finding purposes and Sanctuaire ticked virtually every main box 12 months ago hitting the crucial ones square on the head.


Yet another 1-2 for last-time-out winners in last year’s race so that is three years in succession now, and the fifth consecutive year that the winner had also won its previous outing. In fact, the only ‘Fred Winter’ winner not to have been successful on its previous start was Dabiroun in the inaugural running (and he was beaten in a Grade 2 hurdle) but the race has now found its feet. On average, one-third of the field come into this race off the back of a win so it is not like the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, for example, where most contenders are coming off the back of a victory so I will be making this my number-one priority before I start looking at other factors. The success rate of last-time-out winners is also very much in-keeping with the Festival handicap hurdles in general since 1993 where almost half of such races (27-55) were won by last-time-out winners from under 20% representation.


Sanctuaire fitted the profile on so many factors last season, another being the curious stat that every ‘Fred Winter’ winner had been beaten on its first two starts over hurdles. In fact, the first three horses home last season had been beaten on their first two juvenile hurdle races. That’s some stat when we consider that five of those six winners then won on their final start before the Festival which is remarkably similar to the chasing equivalent race at this meeting, the Cententary Novices’ Handicap Chase (formerly the ‘Jewson’). Perhaps it is not so curious a stat given that well-handicapped horses tend Continue reading