Aussies fancied to retain the Ashes

Lewis Hamilton is fancied to repeat his success of last year when the British Grand Prix is held at Silverstone this weekend
Lewis Hamilton is fancied to repeat his success of last year when the British Grand Prix is held at Silverstone this weekend

The Ashes get under way in Cardiff in a week’s time but despite an improved showing against New Zealand, England remain underdogs at 4/1 (Paddy Power) to reclaim the famous urn.

The Baggy Greens arrive as Stan James’s 2/5 jollies and they’re hard to oppose, especially as Mitchell Johnson – England’s tormentor-in-chief in the last Ashes Series, is starting to rediscover his form.

There seems to be some disagreement amongst bookies regarding the likely extent of an Aussies success, with a crushing 4-0 scoreline favoured amongst some but chalked up at 7/1 by and 3-1 considered more realistic elsewhere; bet365’s 15/2 about the latter probably appeals more in terms of value. Alternatively, punters expecting England to cause an upset can tackle Skybet’s 16/1 about them shading it 2-1 and betway mark 8/1 against the series ending all square.

Joe Root has a game that suits the high-pressure atmosphere of the Ashes and so it’s hardly surprising to see him rated at just 11/4 by to be England’s top scorer with the bat, although Ben Stokes (9/1, William Hill) is also set to attract cash. For the tourists, Steven Smith is the eye catching choice at 9/4 with Skybet.

In terms of bowling, the aforementioned Aussie paceman Johnson is 3/1 via BetVictor to take the most wickets for his side and bet365 price Jimmy Anderson at 9/4 to do likewise for the hosts.

Next week’s First Test at the SWALEC Stadium is even money at Ladbrokes to go the way of Michael Clarke’s side, bet365 consider England to be 3/1 chances and it’s 9/4 with Stan James to prove inconclusive in South Wales – the famous British weather potentially a pivotal factor in that kind of wager.

First meets second in tomorrow’s (Friday) huge Super League scrap as Leeds entertain St Helens at Headingley.

Aided by home advantage, the Rhinos are William Hill’s 4/7 favourites to extend their lead at the table’s summit while Saints are a 6/4 chance at bet365.

The hosts should just about edge it in front of their own supporters and Paddy Power rate them at 10/11 in the handicaps, where they’re penalised by four points.

Lewis Hamilton holds a 10-point lead from team-mate Nico Rosberg going into this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The pair have traded victories of late with the German coming out on top in Austria last time out it’s Hamilton that gets the nod on home soil, Stan James quoting the Brit at 4/7 at Silverstone, where Rosberg is 15/8 (BetVictor).

Hamilton is also odds-on, this time at 8/15 with Paddy Power, to claim pole position and the two Mercedes drivers are 4/9 at Ladbrokes to occupy the first couple of places on the podium.

Manchester-based trio Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero contributed four of the goals as Argentina crushed Paraguay 6-1 in the semi-final of the Copa America.

Gerardo Martino’s troops will now take on hosts Chile in Santiago but despite the latter’s home advantage, it’s La Albiceleste that bookies strongly favour, William Hill rating them as 23/20 jollies to clinch the title in normal time.

Led by Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli, the Chileans are 27/10 at BetVictor to delight their supporters in the capital while bet365 chalk the two sides up at 12/5 to require extra-time.

Given the way Chile have performed in the tournament thus far they look to have been underestimated a touch and indeed it certainly looks like a contest in which both sides will find the net (5/6, Skybet). A score draw, at 7/2 via Ladbrokes, isn’t out of the question either and quote Sampaoli’s men at an enticing 6/4 in their ‘Draw No Bet’ market.

Chilean front man Eduardo Vargas – on loan at QPR last season – is the competition’s top scorer with four goals and he’s overpriced at 10/3 (bet365) to add to his tally at any stage in this showdown and at the other end the same firm price Man City’s Sergio Aguero at 7/4 to notch.

Bet of the week: Joe Root to be Top England Batsman – 11/4 (

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