Late Mail: The NRL season is almost here with pre-season staples of the All Stars clash and the World Club Challenge taking place this weekend

THE start of the NRL season is almost upon us with both the NRL All Star Game and the World Club Challenge this weekend.

The Indigenous All Stars have won four of the past five editions of the NRL All Star Game and $1.55 favourites to claim another victory, while the Maori All Stars are $2.50 outsiders.

The lead-up to the game has been dominated by discussion over Latrell Mitchell’s ability at fullback and he leads a backline that is full of talent.”/>
media_cameraIndigenous All Star trio James Roberts, Latrell Mitchell and Wade Graham. Picture Glenn Hampson

The Maori All Stars have a stronger forward pack though and they could represent some genuine value at their price of $2.50.

The Ladbrokes market suggest that the World Club Challenge will be a more one-sided affair, with the Sydney Roosters $1.30 favourites to defeat St Helens.

The Australian sides have won seven of the past eight World Club Challenge clashes and the Roosters are 4-0 in the competition.

St Helens were beaten by the South Sydney Rabbitohs 39-0 when they last contested the World Club Challenge in 2015, and they are $3.40 to win for the first time since they upset the Brisbane Broncos in 2007.

All-rounder Ellyse Perry is a vital cog in the Australian side that hopes to salute on home”/>
media_cameraAll-rounder Ellyse Perry is a vital cog in the Australian side that hopes to salute on home soil.

Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup

The Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup gets underway today (FRI) and Australia are expected to cruise to the title.

Australia are $1.60 favourites to win the tournament for the fifth occasion and their form over the past two years suggests they will be very tough to beat.

However, they did show some signs of vulnerability in the recent Tri-Series against England and India, especially when chasing, and they are far from stone cold certainties.

England ($5) are on the second line of betting with India at $6, followed by New Zealand ($13) and South Africa ($17).

The X-factor in this competition could be the West Indies.

The West Indies, just like their men’s side, are far from the most consistent outfit in the world, but they do have matchwinning talent as they showed on the way to claiming the 2016 tournament in India.

The $34 available for them to win again is over the odds.

The Ladbrokes market is rounded out by Pakistan ($51), Sri Lanka ($67), Bangladesh ($151) and Thailand ($501).

Deontay Wilder (left) and Tyson Fury ahead of their WBC Heavyweight Championship title fight in Las”/>
media_cameraDeontay Wilder (left) and Tyson Fury ahead of their WBC Heavyweight Championship title fight in Las Vegas

Wilder v Fury

Sunday’s heavyweight bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is one of the most anticipated in recent memory and the Ladbrokes market suggests we are set for another classic.

The duo fought-out a famous split-decision draw in December of 2018 and the bookies are struggling to split the two fighters once again.

Wilder is a narrow favourite with Ladbrokes at $1.91, but there has been just as much money for Fury, and he is $2 to deliver Wilder his first-ever professional defeat.

As we saw in the first fight, a draw isn’t out of the question and $19 is available for that result.

The common theory is that Wilder will either win by knockout or Fury will win by decision.

Wilder is $2.25 to win by KO or TKO or disqualification, and $8 to win by decision, while Fury is $2.63 to win by decision and $6 to win by KO or TKO or disqualification.

The Ladbrokes “Gone in 60 Seconds” markets are also available.

They have $81 available for Wilder to win within 60 seconds, and a huge $201 for Fury to do the same.

Queensland Reds skipper Liam Wright needs to lead from the front for the home team to get on the board in Super”/>
media_cameraQueensland Reds skipper Liam Wright needs to lead from the front for the home team to get on the board in Super Rugby.

Super Rugby

It is now or never for the Reds.

Queensland are still chasing their first win of the Super Rugby season following their second-half capitulation against the Jaguares.

They are $1.17 favourites to beat the Sunwolves tomorrow (SAT) and it would take a brave punter to dive into the Reds at that quote.

The Sunwolves already have a win over an Australian side this season, after beating the Rebels in the opening round, and they aren’t the worst bet of the weekend at $5.

Both the Rebels and the Brumbies face tougher assignments this weekend.

The Rebels are $2.10 to beat the Sharks and that might prove to be under the odds.

The Sharks have won in Melbourne in the past and they face a Rebels outfit that have lost their past seven games as underdogs.

The Brumbies have a tough trip to New Zealand for a clash with the Chiefs.

The home side has won 11 of the past 12 games played between these two sides and it has been over a decade since the Brumbies beat the Chiefs at FMG Stadium.

The Crusaders are $1.13 favourites to beat the Highlanders, the Stormers ($1.44) are expected to account for the Jaguares ($2.63), and the Blues ($1.73) should be able to score a rare win away from against the Bulls ($1.73) on Sunday morning.

Brisbane Roar coach Robbie Fowler during the 1-0 win over Western United in Ballarat last”/>
media_cameraBrisbane Roar coach Robbie Fowler during the 1-0 win over Western United in Ballarat last weekend.


The Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar are two of the most in-form teams in the A-League and they will face-off in a fascinating clash tomorrow (SAT) afternoon.

Robbie Fowler has received plenty of criticism since he arrived in Australia, but the Roar have started to deliver over the past couple of months.

The Roar have won four of their past five games, but Perth represent a different challenge for the Roar.

The Glory have not lost a game since November last year and they head into this clash on the back of a comfortable win over the Wellington Phoenix.

The safest bet of the weekend looks like the Phoenix.

The Phoenix have won their past six games as home favourites.

Their opponents, Western United, have fallen away in recent weeks and they have won only one of their past seven games.

Sydney FC are the other short-priced favourites this weekend and are $1.65 to beat the battling Central Coast Mariners ($4.60), while there isn’t a huge gap in the Ladbrokes market between the Newcastle Jets ($2.25) and the Melbourne Victory ($2.85).

Best Bets

Racing – Hanseatic to win Blue Diamond Stakes @ $2.60

Hanseatic stamped himself as a colt to follow with his debut win in the Merson Cooper Stakes and his victories in both the Blue Diamond Stakes Preview and Prelude were excellent. The way that he savaged the line in both those wins suggests that he will relish the step-up to 1200 metres and he is already a very professional galloper.

EPL – Sheffield United to beat Brighton @ $1.91

Sheffield United continue to surpass expectations in the English Premier League this season and they are a safe bet to account for Brighton this weekend. They have won five of their past eight games as home favourites for a clear profit, while Brighton have won only three of their past 17 fixtures as away underdogs.

A-League – Adelaide United to beat Western Sydney @ $2.75

Taking on Western Sydney has been a profitable play all season long in the A-League and Adelaide United are great value at $2.75. Western Sydney have won only one of their past five games as home favourites, and they face an Adelaide outfit that have won four of their past five matches.

AFLW – Western Bulldogs to beat Carlton @ $2.35

The Western Bulldogs are a better side than their last start effort against Melbourne suggests and they are great value to upset Carlton. Carlton were no match for Collingwood last weekend and they may have been flattered in their opening round win over Richmond so $2.35 is well and truly over the odds.

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