From the Trading Floor - Week 31

From The Trading Floor

Join Jay and DAZN Bet’s trading team as they bring you the pick of this week’s sports bets in “From The Trading Floor”

 

Trent Rockets v Southern Brave – The Hundred – 18:30 – August 1

With the Ashes out of the way, and the urn heading back to Australia, the focus of cricket supporters during August will no doubt be on the third edition of The Hundred. The season opener of the Men’s competition on Tuesday evening will see the 2022 winners, the Trent Rockets, take on the winners of the 2021 edition, the Southern Brave.

The Rockets had an almost impeccable run to the title last season, winning six of their eight group games, including all four home games at Trent Bridge, before claiming a two wicket victory over the Manchester Originals in the final at Lord’s. They have also pretty much retained the entirety of their squad from last season, including the starting eleven from the final, and should feel confident of another successful run this year as a result.

The Rockets’ Dawid Malan was the competition’s top scorer in 2022, with fellow Rockets opener Alex Hales finishing fifth on the same list, showing that they have plenty of firepower at the top of the order. Whilst their bowling options include Afghan spinner Rashid Khan, who has consistently proven himself to be one of the best short format bowlers in the world over the past few years.

The Southern Brave finished a disappointing seventh last year, winning just one of their four fixtures away from Southampton’s Rose Bowl, that being a resounding victory over a hapless Welsh Fire at Sophia Gardens. They’ll be hoping to perform much better this time around, their opening pairing of Paul Stirling and Quintin de Kock has been replaced by the likely pair of Finn Allen and Devon Conway. Whilst New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner is the only overseas addition to a predominantly English bowling line-up.

Tuesday’s match promises to be a very exciting fixture as a result, as we all get used to the slightly altered short game format for the next four weeks. Although the Brave do seem to have attempted to address the issues from last season, it may take a short while for the team to truly gel together. Whereas the Rockets have a full squad that has proven themselves successful in this format and should be expected to go well once more, they have lost just one of their seven home fixtures over the first two years of the Hundred, and I can see them once again emerging victorious at Trent Bridge to get the 2023 season underway.   

Traders’ Tip: Trent Rockets to Win @ 4/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.

Argentina v Sweden – 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Group G – 08:00 – August 2 

The Group phase of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will draw to a close during the course of this week, before the excitement of the knockout stages begins with the Round of sixteen fixture between Switzerland and Spain early on Saturday morning.

However, one of the more surprisingly priced games in the final round of group fixtures has to come Group G, where an impressive looking Sweden side will be looking to secure top position when they face an all but eliminated Argentina in Hamilton on Wednesday morning.

Sweden opened their campaign with a come from behind victory over South Africa, with newly signed Arsenal defender Amanda Ilestedt heading home a corner in the 90th minute to complete the turnaround. Their second match was a much more comprehensive affair, with the Swedes beating Italy 5-0, with Ilestedt scoring twice during a frantic 11 minute period either side of half time in which they scored four times.

Those two results have left Sweden already assured of a place in the knockout stages, but victory over Argentina will be a perfect way to round of the group stage and set them up nicely for the knockout stages.

A 1-0 opening round loss to Italy, followed by a fortunate 2-2 draw with South Africa, has left the Argentines effectively needing snookers in order to progress. They will need to beat Sweden, and hope that Italy fail to win their fixture to stand any chance, but that already looks to be potentially beyond the South Americans when you take their history in to account.

Argentina are yet to win any of their 11 World Cup matches across all four of the tournaments they have appeared in, and it feels like it would need to be a monumental reversal of form if they are to overcome the third best team in the world, according to the official FIFA Rankings.

To me, Sweden have shown that they posses more than enough ability to safely see off their opponents on Wednesday morning, and their ability to find the back of the net is evident from the plethora of goalscoring talent amongst their ranks. Eleven of their twenty outfield players have scored double figures for the National side and it’s no surprise to see them coasting towards a place in the knockout stages as a result. They are the rightful favourites to emerge from this fixture with a perfect Group G record and I believe they should have more than enough to claim a victory by at least a couple of goals.  

Traders’ Tip: Sweden -1.5 @ 7/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £24.

Castleford Tigers v Huddersfield Giants – Super League – 20:00 – August 4

The 2023 Super League continues to take shape as we enter round 21 of the 27 round regular season this weekend.

Although the battle for the League Leaders Shield looks set to go down to the wire, with Catalans holding a four point advantage over a chasing pack led by Wigan and Leigh. The battle to avoid relegation is also starting to feel quite tense, with Castleford now level with bottom club Wakefield following the events of the last couple of months.

With no wins from their opening 14 fixtures, it looked for all money like Wakefield were going to be relegated to the Championship at the end of the season, however, four victories over their past six matches, paired with just one victory for the Castleford Tigers over the same period, now sees the two clubs level on eight points at the foot of the table.

This Friday presents an opportunity for Castleford to put some momentary breathing space between themselves and Wakefield though, as the Tigers host the 10th placed Huddersfield Giants at Wheldon Road.

Huddersfield themselves looked like they could have been brought in to the relegation mix, but three successive wins, including a 22-14 victory away to leaders Catalans at the start of July, has instead given them an outside chance of progressing to the playoffs, with the Giants now sitting just six points behind sixth placed Warrington following their recent run, meaning this weekend’s fixture could potentially have a lasting impact at both ends of the table.

Castleford feel like a team entering this one seemingly in a bit of a freefall, but Friday presents a decent opportunity for them to get their season back on track. Huddersfield’s recent form has will have been a relief for Giants supporters, but that success at Catalans was just their first victory on the road in nine previous attempts, and there’s every chance they could return to form when they make the short trip east on Friday night.

I feel that neither team really holds much of an advantage ahead of this fixture, and that the overall outcome pretty much lies in the balance as a result. The Tigers have produced much better performances when playing at The Jungle, so taking them, as the underdogs, to emerge victorious for this one seems to be the most sensible option.

Traders’ Tip: Castleford Tigers To Win @ 6/4. A £10 bet at these odds could return £25.

EFL League Two Outright – 15:00 – August 5 

We may have seen plenty of action in the Scottish League Cup over the past couple of weeks, but this weekend sees the true return of domestic football with the start of the second, third and fourth tiers of the English Football pyramid as well as all four Scottish Football League divisions getting underway for the first time this season.

Friday’s evening fixture between Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton will get the Championship season started, but 3pm on Saturday is where everything really does kick back in to gear. Rather than picking out just one of the 49 fixtures taking place, I have decided to take a look at one specific division, and League Two looks to be the best place to focus ahead of the new season.

There may be some bias behind this choice, my own team kick off their season at home to Barrow at this level on Saturday afternoon, but it’s hard to ignore some of the other teams who will be plying their trade in the bottom rung of the EFL ladder.

Stockport enter this season as one of the favourites for promotion, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Just over two months ago they suffered a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to Carlisle in the League Two play-off final, missing out on the chance to clinch back-to-back promotions in the process. Manager Dave Challinor has managed to keep hold of ten of the starting eleven from that defeat at the end of May, meaning they should have enough to go close once again.

MK Dons failed to win any of their last eight fixtures in League One last season, and suffered relegation on the final day as a result. The Dons will be playing at this level for just the fourth time in their history, having finished fourth, first and third previously. They will undoubtedly be expected to challenge for the League One title once more as a result.

Bradford and Salford will also be hoping to improve on defeats in the League Two play-off semi-finals, whilst Notts County are also one team who could go well having picked up 107 points in the National League last season having kept the majority of a squad that performed so well in the fifth tier.

The main focus however will be on Welsh club Wrexham, who clinched the National League title with a record breaking 111 points. They are another club who has retained the bulk of their squad, and they are rightfully favourites to seal the League Two title on their return to the EFL following a 15 year absence. There’s a real feel good atmosphere around the racecourse, mainly emanating from the hands-on ownership of Hollywood pair Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, as their belief in the club has transferred to the Dragons on field performances as a result.

The question of whether or not they can transfer their dominance of the non-league to League Two remains to be seen, but their run to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup last season, beating Championship side Coventry and taking now Premier League club Sheffield United to a replay, shows that they have little reason to be concerned ahead of the new season. They will miss star striker Paul Mullin for the first part of the season, after he suffered a punctured lung during their recent pre-season trip to the USA, but they will still feel like they have plenty of firepower to cope in his absence.

As a supporter of one of their rivals it pains me to admit it, but Wrexham are a team oozing with belief, and I find it hard to look past them marching away with the League Two title this season. Bookmakers seem to also follow in this belief, considering they are strong favourites to claim three points this weekend at home to the previously mentioned MK Dons. If they secure a comfortable victory on Saturday then it could be an early indicator of how their season is likely to go. I can’t see past them almost running away with the fourth tier, and that’s a difficult admission to make.

Traders’ Tip: Wrexham To Win The 2023/24 League Two Title @ 7/2. A £10 bet at these odds could return £45.

Manchester City v Arsenal – Community Shield – 16:00 – August 6

Manchester City completed the final part of their treble winning 2022/23 season by defeating Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul almost eight weeks ago. This Sunday will see the newly crowned kings of Europe get their 2023/24 season underway with a trip to Wembley to face Premier League runners-up Arsenal in the Community Shield.

The annual curtain raiser ahead of the start of the Premier League season is usually a chance for two of the expected domestic front runners to showcase new talent. Last year saw the introduction of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to English football during their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, in what would eventually turn out to be a record breaking debut season for the Norwegian ace.

This year City haven’t yet made a marque signing, but they could give a run out to new addition Mateo Kovacic, following the midfielders £25m signing from Chelsea during the summer, as they aim to dominate domestically once again.

Arsenal ran The Citizens close in the Premier League last season, but a capitulation during April, culminating in a 4-1 loss away to Manchester City, saw them surrender a five point lead to eventually finish second. The Gunners will be hoping to once again challenge for domestic honours this season, and this Sunday could see debuts for the midfield duo of Kai Havertz and club record signing Declan Rice, who have joined from Chelsea and West Ham respectively, and Dutch defender Jurrien Timber, who signed from Ajax in July.

As is usually the case with this Wembley encounter, it’s difficult to know how seriously either team is likely to take the fixture as a contest, but it is also ignore the fact that it hasn’t been fruitful for the reigning Premier League champions in recent seasons.

Over the past nine years, only two Premier League winners have gone on to win the Community Shield a couple of months later, both of which were Manchester City at the start of the 2018/19 & 2019/20 seasons. With five Premier League champions losing to their opponents over ninety minutes during this period.

Taking this in to consideration, the logical choice for me is to side with Arsenal coming out on top. The Gunners are currently well priced to emerge with the victory inside regular time, and given how Mikael Arteta seems to be improving their performances year by year, this could offer a decent opportunity for them to lay down their own marker ahead of the new Premier League season.

Traders’ Tip: Arsenal To Win @ 33/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £43.

A £10 5-Fold on the above selections could return £2,089.80.

 

*Odds correct at the time of publishing. Available to UK residents (excluding Northern Ireland) aged 18+ only. T&Cs apply. www.begambleaware.org

 

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