The month of April is punters’ paradise, so far as we are concerned, with top-flight thoroughbred races every weekend, and the home-and-away seasons of the NRL and the AFL entering the picture in force.
International sports are in full tilt as well, with the NBA and NHL playing regular season games to determine playoff rankings providing dramatic encounters and Major League Baseball making its debut for the 2017 season.
There are so many sports and so many markets that we do not find it conceivably possible to list them all, but here is a little sampling of what to expect in April that will supply punters with all manner of opportunities.
Let us start with a brief overview of the Australian thoroughbred racing markets for the month.
By our count, and not meaning to be braggadocios, we can count to at least 100, there are 38 Group 1, 2 and 3 races scattered around the country, from Ascot in Western Australia to Morphettville in South Australia and other locales as well, but it is Sydney’s Royal Randwick that truly commands the most attention. The very first day of the month, Randwick offers a meeting with three Group 1s, one Group 2 and five Group 3s. The following weekend is much the same, except that there are four Groups 1s on the card at Randwick. Big races are also the order of the day of Saturday the 15th, so punters of every stripe will have all distances and conditions from which to choose.
Some highlights include the Australian Derby, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, for those who want to see Winx’s next trouncing of the others, and the 1600 m Champagne Stakes, perhaps the toughest race of the autumn for the juveniles.
Footy fans might wish they were multiple people, as the task of punting from amongst the thousands of NRL and AFL markets.
One interesting market in the 2017 Toyota AFL premiership battle will be whether or not last year’s Cinderella story, the Western Bulldogs, who went into the finals in the number seven position, can make it a double Cinderella and take a consecutive flag. Sportsbet has them at $5.50, a dollar behind the Greater Western Sydney Giants, but anyone who wants to back the presumptive spooners Brisbane will make a windfall if the Lions take the flag from $501.00.
As the AFL competition gathers impetus, punters will typically find upwards of 200 markets for every game on the fixture, from the obvious to the exotic, so for all of you dedicated punters out there in punting land.
There are a lot of intriguing futures markets in the 2017 Telstra NRL Premiership as well, with a battle shaping up between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm sharing $3.00 favourtism to reach the Grand Final. As this is being written near the end of March, the Wests Tigers are seeking a permanent coach and an unlikely victory over the Melbourne Storm in a game that offers over 140 markets.
At the end of March, with April fast approaching, only the Roosters and the Storm remain flawless as the fourth round comes to a close and it would surprise us no end if the Storm does not join the Roosters with four wins against zero defeats.
Round five wraps on April 1, with the Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels and Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers looking like entertaining games. For the Roosters to carry their unbeaten start to the 2017 season through the end of April, they will have to get past the Eagles, Broncos, Rabbitohs, Knights, and Dragons. Melbourne will have to get past the Panthers, Sharks, Eagles, Dragons and Gold Coast.
There is another major sport on which we should comment, but the name escapes us at the moment. Oh, yes, cricket will be going strong in April, even though Test will be on hiatus until June. The Indian Premier League will be one outlet for the stump and willow set. There will be plenty going on in the lead-up to the 2017 ICC Cricket World Cup that takes the pitch in May.
For motor racing fans and followers of F1’s Perth born Daniel Ricciardo of Team Red Bull and his young teen sidekick Max Verstappen, April offers the Chinese Grand Prix on April 9, Bahrain Grand Prix on the 16th and the Russian Grand Prix on April 30. New cars make their debut in the Australian Grand Prix, taking place in a matter of hours beyond when this is being written, and fans will be interested in learning if Mercedes can be challenged this year in a way in which they were not last year.
The Yanks will see the NBA and NHL wending inexorably, some might say interminably, towards their playoffs.
Basketball’s defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers are looking vulnerable as the team seems to expect LeBron James to carry the entire load of scoring, rebounding and selling the hot dogs to the spectators as he seeks to cement his place in the history of the NBA sans the services of Andrew Bogut, who, if the Cavs repeat, will get a championship ring for having played all of 58 seconds for Cleveland.
As for the National Hockey League, which will award the Stanley Cup to the champions at some distant future point, none of the Canadian franchises, other than the Montreal Canadiens seems to enjoy good prospects. The Chicago Blackhawks are the favourites according to Sportsbet, and if they should succeed and supply a bookend to the Chicago Cub’s 2016 MLB World Series victory, the supporters in Chicago will be even harder to tolerate, if such a possibility is conceivable.
See there? We have reached the end of our appointed space for April sports without even a breath of soccer, which as everyone knows, is really futbol, and as is also known, is ongoing throughout the year, so punters can always find at match at some level.
There are at least a dozen, in all probability several dozens, of sports we have neglected, and to fans of those, we apologise, but all any of you need to do is visit the websites of the many fine Australian bookmakers to find comprehensive market coverage of every sport under the sun.
Always remember to gamble responsibly, not to chase losers, and to seek help if you feel as though gambling is gaining control of you, rather than the other way ‘round.