March Sports Update 2016

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January and February were fairly active months with regard to racing and sports betting markets, but March is when things get going really strongly.

Thoroughbred racing punters will see high-level action with Group 1 races at Flemington, Randwick and Rosehill on most weekends. On March 5, Flemington will offer the Australian Guineas. Randwick will have the Randwick Guineas and the Canterbury Stakes that same weekend. The week after, Flemington presents the Australian Cup and the Newmarket Handicap. The Coolmore Stud Classic is Rosehill’s big race for the weekend.

The highly anticipated Golden Slipper Stakes takes place at Rosehill on the 19th on a day of Rosehill racing featuring five Group 1 races. Rosehill again takes centre stage on the 26th with The BMW and the Storm Queen Stakes.

Moonee Valley contributes the William Reid Stakes on the 24th.

Plenty of Group 2 and Group 3 races offer opportunities as well.

The final weeks of the NAB Challenge will serve as the lead for when the home-and-away season of the AFL gets underway toward the end of the month. There are already plenty of betting markets for Round 1 near the end of the month and the number will rise dramatically as the first bounce gets closer. Gold Coast is a heavy favourite for its opening season match with the Bombers, who are trying to field a competitive side by rounding up bodies displaying a pulse and respiration. A highlight match will be between the Bulldogs and the Dockers. The other one not to miss is the Hawks v. the Cats as Hawthorn tries to defend the flag against a strong Geelong side.

Those who like to have a little wager on rugby will be looking forward to the NRL when Round 1 gets underway Thursday March 3 with Parra hosting the Broncos. The rest of the weekend will have plenty of action, as league play for keeps gets underway.

All the other levels of rugby will offer something or other. Super Rugby gets its start late in February and the first weekend of March picks up where the previous month leaves off. The Hurricanes are favourites for the premiership at $6.50, but the Brumbies are hard on them at $7.00. The Chiefs, Highlanders, Crusaders and Waratahs could all easily figure into the mix as well.

Soccer fans can continue to follow the English Premier League. March markets are still a bit limited, but as games get closer, expect to see 60 or more markets per game. A-League is also an option with the Brisbane Roar versus the Western Sydney Wanderers leading things off on March 4. Later that same day, the Wellington Phoenix goes up against Adelaide United. At this writing both of those games offer 16 markets, but expect closer to 80 in the days leading up to the start.

Those who enjoy having a punt on cricket will find a decidedly ample supply. International Twenty2o matches for men and women, test matches and the Indian Premier League are all offering markets of one kind or another, to mention but a few.

Of course, there are plenty of futures markets for all manner of sports, so those with an interest in things such as surfing or the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Brazil have plenty to look at.

Racing punters will also enjoy putting their form skills to the test with Listed and Black Type races at metro and country tracks all over the country.

March offers a windfall for AFL and NFL fans who have been patiently waiting for the off-season shenanigans to wind down and give way to the real thing, so if for no other reason than that, the month of March is a welcome event.

One ocean over and one hemisphere up, the NBA continues its long regular season slog prior to beginning its best-of five or seven game series to determine if the Golden State Warriors can defend last year’s crown. They seemed a lock earlier in the season, but the San Antonio Spurs are closing the gap and have only lost nine games compared to Golden State’s ridiculous five. Those two teams will probably meet in the Western Conference Finals for the right to dispatch the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the Championship Finals. Cleveland is the only Eastern Conference team that seems capable of providing competition for any of the elite Western Conference teams.

The National Hockey League is likewise soldiering on with most teams currently having about 25 regular season games to play to determine who gets into the playoffs and who stays home. The top teams all have above 30 wins, but the favourite for the Stanley Cup at the moment would have to be the Washington Capitals with 43 wins against only 10 losses.

For motorsport fans, March 20 is the opening race for the 2016 Formula 1 season and Australia plays host at Albert Park in Melbourne on a course featuring high-speed straights and technically demanding slow-speed turns. Adelaide gets in on the action with the Clipsal 500 offering of the V8 Supercars series.