Week in Sport Betting Preview : Djokovic to dominate and England to excite
- 9-17 November
- Live on ITV, Sky Sports, BBC and BT Sport
There is world class tennis in London, Euro 2020 qualification at Wembley, a huge darts event in Wolverhampton and a very, very strange fight in Moscow in the coming days...
UFC Moscow: Alexander Volkov v Greg Hardy –Saturday 9 November
Arguably the craziest matchup of the year in the UFC, if not of all time sees Alexander Volkov take on Greg Hardy at UFC Moscow this Saturday. A legitimate, elite level heavyweight taking on a man who only took the sport up three years ago and appears to have a pretty flimsy grasp of the rules.
Hardy left a career in American Football to take up MMA and his name power in the States, along with actual knockout power has seen him rise to prominence in the UFC extremely quickly. He only made his professional debut in June last year and already has a record of 5-1 (1), with the loss coming by disqualification and the no contest from him using an inhaler between rounds, in a fight he won. He would argue that he has not legitimately been beaten, but he has made mistakes befitting of his rookie status and it has cost him.
He has been chucked in as a late replacement for Junior dos Santos against one of the most underrated fighters in the division, if not the sport as a whole in Volkov. A former Bellator champion and two-time heavyweight tournament winner, the Russian came to the UFC and racked up four straight wins, including a huge knockout victory over Fabricio Werdum. He was en route to a comfortable points victory over Derrick Lewis at UFC 229 before a late one-punch knockout that will have haunted him since, as it possibly cost him a shot at the heavyweight title.
That is the level he is competing at, though, a genuine title contender who was seconds away from being 5-0 in the UFC against top level guys. Hardy has power, but Volkov is streets ahead in every other aspect. This is a complete mismatch and Hardy will be finished fairly quickly.
Grand Slam of Darts – 9-17 November
One of the most popular events on the darting calendar starts this weekend in Wolverhampton as fans get to see PDC players take on the best of the BDO at the Grand Slam of Darts.
There is a handful of players who realistically have a decent chance of winning the event, with Michael van Gerwen leading the way as the clear favourite. The world number one is coming off victory at the World Series Finals and recent wins at the Champions League and World Grand Prix. He is the best player on the planet and in good form, maybe not his very best, but still extremely hard to beat nick.
Defending champion Gerwyn Price is also a serious contender and playing very nicely, but he has a terrible record against MVG and is in the same half of the draw as the Dutchman.
The man we should be looking at is Rob Cross who has been handed a tough group, but is on the favourable half of the draw and is in major-winning form having already claimed the Matchplay and European Championship this year. Voltage has to get past Dave Chisnall, Jamie Hughes and Lisa Ashton in his group, which is no small task, but he should do so and then he would be the favourite to come through to the final from the bottom half of the draw.
There he is likely to meet either MVG or Price, which would be tough to call, but if we take Cross each-way then even a runners-up spot will be a great result.
ATP Tour Finals – 10 -17 November
The tennis world will be focussed on London over the coming week as the world’s best head to The O2 for the ATP Tour Finals and it appears that it is one man’s to lose, despite it being such a high quality field.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are in with a chance of any tournament they enter, and Daniil Medvedev has also attracted some interest ahead of this one, but it is very difficult to look away from the favourite, Novak Djokovic.
The Serb is as low as EVENS in some places ahead of the tournament starting and it is easy to see why. He has won this tournament five times before and reached two more finals. Djokovic has won two Grand Slam titles this year – the Australian Open and Wimbledon – and claimed four of the last six available to him.
Despite this incredible success it is Nadal who holds the world number one spot thanks to his pair of Grand Slam titles this year. However, the Spaniard has such a poor record in the ATP Finals that he is not appealing at all, despite his superb season. Eight times Nadal has entered the tournament and he has never won it, with his win ratio of 55% lower than any other serious event he has entered. He just does not play well here and can’t really be considered to back.
Federer has won this competition six times, so is certainly a contender, but Djokovic has been outplaying the Swiss legend over the last couple of years, so despite his skinny price, he is worth backing.
England v Montenegro – Thursday 14 November
England can wrap up qualification for Euro 2020 with a game to spare on Thursday when they host Montenegro at Wembley and they should do so with little issue against a team that poses almost no threat.
The previous match between these two sides finished with a 5-1 England win, having gone behind early to Montenegro in Podgorica. It was a sloppy start from the Three Lions but they ultimately proved their dominance over the underdogs. Montenegro looked like they might be having something of a bright qualification campaign at that point, having drawn with Bulgaria in their opener, and having England briefly worried, however, things have tailed off significantly.
After scoring in each of their first three games they have failed to score in their last three, being hammered 3-0 by Czech Republic twice and drawing 0-0 with Bulgaria. They can no longer make the play-offs and will have nothing to play for in north London.
England have scored 4+ goals in five of their six matches in the group and they are likely to do something similar on Thursday night. The Three Lions have scored 26 goals to Montenegro’s three, so we can safely assume this will be a very one-sided affair.
- Alexander Volkov is 30-7 as a professional
- Volkov as 20 knockouts on his record and three submission wins
- Greg Hardy made his pro debut after Volkov won his 30th fight
- Novak Djokovic has won the ATP Finals five times
- Djokovic has won four of the last six Grand Slams
- World number one Rafael Nadal has never won the ATP Finals
- Rob Cross has been to four major finals this year, winning two of them
- There have only ever been five Grand Slam winners – Phil Taylor, Van Gerwen, Scott Waites, Raymond van Barneveld and Price
- England have scored 26 goals in six games over qualification
- Montenegro have managed three goals in the same space of time