Week in Sport Betting Preview : BDO World Championship, ATP Cup, EFL Cup and the Masters
- 6-18 January
- Live on Eurosport, Sky Sports and BBC
2020 is well underway and there is all sorts of sport to be watching at the start of January. There is also plenty of value to be had on the oche, tennis court, football pitch and snooker table.
The Dutch Giant can rise above the competition at the BDO World Championship
BDO World Championship – Concludes 12 January
The BDO World Championship is operating under something of a cloud this year, with terrible ticket sales and a reduced prize fund as a result, but there will still be two world champions crowned this weekend at the O2 in London.
Both the men’s and the women’s tournaments are pretty open this year, especially given the new surroundings. We saw this in 2008 when the PDC moved to Alexandra Palace for the first time and it threw up a load of upsets, with John Part beating Kirk Shepherd in the final. It is worth considering some big outsiders to win big this year, especially with all the uncertainty surrounding the event.
In the men’s event, Martijn Kleermaker fits the bill and had an impressive first round win on Sunday night. The Dutch Giant hammered Gino Vos 3-0, landing five maximums en route to the comfortable victory. He has four tournament wins to his name over 2019, including the Welsh Open, as he shot up the BDO rankings.
After the first round, Kleermaker is still available at 16/1, partially because he is in the same part of the draw as tournament favourite Jim Williams, but he looks tremendous each-way value at this price.
Having backed upsets in the men’s it actually seems much less likely in the women’s event, due to the draw. Lisa Ashton is the favourite to lift the trophy, while all the other viable contenders appear to be in the other half of the draw.
Mikuru Suzuki, Anastasia Dobromyslova and Beau Greaves are all in the lower half of the draw and no one else has a particularly convincing argument to win the tournament. With those three all capable of beating each other, you have to back Ashton as she has the more comfortable route to the final, where she will be very tough to beat over five sets.
Rafael Nadal can lead Spain to glory at the ATP Cup
ATP Cup – Concludes 12 January
The ATP Cup plays to a conclusion this week and there are going to be some interesting contests as the group stage ends and the knockout contests get underway.
Spain came into the event as favourites and it is very difficult to argue with that conclusion given the three players they are able to put forward. Rafael Nadal, Robeto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta are comfortably the most level and consistent trio on show in the tournament. Carreno Busta came into the event ranked 27 in the world as the team’s lowest ranked player, with Nadal at number one. Serbia might have Novak Djokovic (2), but they also have Nikola Milojevic (160), Russia have Daniil Medvedev (4), but they also have Teymuraz Gabashvili (276).
The Spaniards have a pretty straightforward group and will make short work of Uruguay, Japan and Georgia. There will be tougher tasks in the group stage, but Spain are well worth backing early before their price shortens prohibitively.
Do not expect fireworks in the Carabao Cup semi-final first legs
Manchester United vs Manchester City – Tuesday 7 January
The Carabao Cup has reached the semi-final stages and we move into two-legged affairs in the last four as Manchester City take on Manchester United and Leicester City face Aston Villa.
After the torrid festive period of fixtures and with another leg to deal with, we cannot expect any of these sides to be going full pelt in the first leg. Ignoring Man City’s battering of Burton Albion last season, these first legs are often very tight affairs, neither team willing to come out of their shell too early. Chelsea and Arsenal played out an incredibly dull 0-0 at this stage two years ago, while just a Harry Kane penalty separated Spurs and Chelsea last season.
City are weary of United after they lost to their rivals at home in the Premier League earlier this season and will not be going out aggressively at Old Trafford. Without gaps being left by City on the front foot, United are not good enough to do very much against Pep Guardiola’s side at all. This will could be a narrow win for either side, or a very low-scoring stalemate.
Leicester City vs Aston Villa – Wednesday 8 January
This may not be a goal-fest either, but Leicester are so considerably better than Aston Villa right now, and the Villains are so short of options up front, the Foxes are well worth backing in this one.
Leicester have bounced back from defeats to Man City and Liverpool with three straight wins over West Ham, Newcastle and Wigan. They will have Jamie Vardy back for this one and will be ready to assert their dominance over Villa.
Dean Smith’s side were beaten by Fulham in the FA Cup at the weekend and are perilously placed in 17th in the Premier League. They will not be dismissing this tournament, having reached the last four, but they will be very happy with a goalless draw, given their injury problems up front, and having home advantage in the second leg. Leicester have too much for them, even if they play negatively and will pick up a win without conceding.
Mark Selby can shine at the Masters once again
The Masters Snooker – 12-19 January
There is no Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Masters this year, with the Rocket choosing not to compete at Alexandra Palace this year. Whether the five-time world champion was involved or not, Judd Trump would have been favourite to win the title, but it is not the world number one we are backing for glory.
Mark Selby has won this event three times before and lost in two more finals. He has had a strangely bad record in recent years, but the Jester from Leicester has surged back into top form this season after a prolonged spell out of nick. He has won the English and Scottish Opens this year, and reached two further semi-finals in ranking events, reminding people just how good he is.
An in-form Selby is a match for absolutely anyone and he is the man most likely to dethrone Trump in north London. The defending champion will be keen to stamp his authority again after surprise defeats at the UK Championship and Scottish Open, but Selby is exactly the right man to kick him while he’s down. They are likely to meet in the semi-finals, and if Selby can down him, he will win the title.
- Scott Mitchell, Martin Adams and Scott Waites are the only former champions in the BDO Men’s World Championship draw
- Lisa Ashton, Mikuru Suzuki and Anastasia Dobromyslova have all won the women’s event previously
- Fallon Sherrock pulled out of the women’s event due to reduction in prize money and Trina Gulliver pulled out through illness
- Spain have the highest ranked third player in the ATP Cup
- Man Utd have failed to score in three of their last five games
- Man City have won seven of their last eight games since losing to Man Utd
- Leicester have lost just two of their last 16 matches
- Aston Villa’s fit strikers have scored no league goals this season
- Mark Selby has won the Masters three times in the past
- Selby has won two tournaments in the last four months after going 12 months without a trophy