July is a busy month for punting just about anywhere you turn.
July 2018 is busier this year than is usually the case, as the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals draw attention from a worldwide audience watching national teams compete for glory and bragging rights for the next three years.
The Socceroos are still alive as of this writing, although they do not control any fate other than to beat Peru and advance on goal differential, but the Socceroos and Australia have no case for shame, as they have gotten to the finals for the fourth consecutive time, dating back to 2006.
Richmond has found its way back to the top of the ladder on the strength of percentage alone, as they have identical won/lost records with number two Sydney Swans and number three West Coast Eagles, all on 40 premiership points.
The Collingwood Magpies and the Port Adelaide Power are lurking right behind at 36 points, waiting for any sign of weakness by the top three. Both Melbourne clubs are in the top eight and the Hawthorn Hawks are right in the wings, so the finals may make up for what the home-and-away season has lacked.
The NRL is moving into a critical stage of the Telstra 2018 NRL Premiership competition. With a bit under three months remaining, St. George Illawarra is leading the way, closely pursued by South Sydney, Penrith and the surprise of the fixture, the New Zealand Warriors.
The thoroughbred racing scene is quiet, at least so far as the big races are concerned, but there is never any lack for punting opportunities for racing punters who are attracted to the smaller tracks.
As for the other racing codes, well the trotters and the greyhounds are always busy and offer plenty of markets for those who seek the higher dividends markets with multiple competitors often afford.
Cricket fans, especially the loyal ones who long for a return to better times and respect will have T20 on the calendar with Pakistan and Zimbabwe in the early days of July. Those matches will serve as an opportunity to restore lost lustre and build for the future as the loyalists await for March of 2019, when Steve Smith and David Warner are eligible to return, although it does remain to be seen if they will be offered redemption selection.
For motorsports fans, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has the Watpac Townsville 400 in early July, backed by the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint nearer to the end of the month.
Scott McLaughlin is leading in the points standings for the moment, but his lead over Shane Van Gisbergen is just 161 points and not the sort of margin that leaves room for error. David Reynolds, Craig Lowndes and last year’s champion, Jamie Whincup, are also well-positioned and in no mood to concede the championship to McLaughlin or Van Gisbergen, so expect the racing to be as tight or tighter than usual.
Switching gears, so to speak, to the international racing scene, the 2018 Indy-Car Standings find Kiwi Scott Dixon at the top, with Australia’s Will Power, winner of the 2018 Indianapolis 500, in fifth position, with just 65 points separating those two.
The month of July is particularly busy for drivers and constructors on the F1 circuit, as the competition stops in Austria, move to Great Britain, Germany and Hungary during the month.
Lewis Hamilton of Team Mercedes is leading with 145 points from three wins and eight top fives, but Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel are only six points in arrears. Daniel Riccardo occupies third for the moment with 96 points and Valtteri Bottas in next, with 92. Ricciardo has two wins in the bag and six top fives, so he has been making the best he can for Team Red Bull as the builders try to squeeze performance from the Renault power plants that will be supplanted next season by Honda engines.
Elsewhere on the international scene, we would be entirely remiss if we did not mention The Championship, as the Brits would like everyone to call what everyone calls Wimbledon. The premier Grand Slam tournament of the year gets underway on July 3 and culminates on July 16.
On the men’s side, as would be expected Roger Federer is on the top line of the betting with the short price of $2.75, followed by Novak Djokovic ($6.50), world number one Rafael Nadal ($7.50) and Marin Cilic ($8.00). Nick Kyrgios’ chances are intriguing and if he can play his best and eliminate his distractions.
The women’s side is less settled. Petra Kvitova is on the top line at $5, followed by Serena Williams at $7. Aussie Ashleigh Barty looks to be the top Australian prospect at $29.
Never a country to avoid confusion, The Championship, or as those of us who live on the lesser continents and islands refer to it, the British Open, will run from July 20 – 23. This year’s edition will be held at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Golf punters might find July the ideal time to join Sportsbet.
It looks to be a tight affair, with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIllroy sharing the top line at $11. Dustin Johnson ($13) and Justin Thomas ($17) are next, but Justin Rose ($21), Tiger Woods ($21) and Tommy Fleetwood, the hot form golfer of late ($21) are all solid chances.
Across the pond, Major League Baseball will stage the All-Star Game on July 18. The Washington Nationals are hosting this year at Nationals Park. The top players from the American League are on a five-game winning streak after losing the previous three to the National League.
Since the infamous tie in 2002, MLB has made the game worth something, with the winning league between the National and American securing home field advantage for the World Series at the end of the season.
July is truly a good punting month, with thousands of markets and significant games being played all over the world.