IT’S that time of the week again!
Time to sift through the weekend’s sporting chaff and find a few gems that we can pack together in a multi to keep us entertained – and win us some dough.
We’re looking at the AFL, NRL and UFC this weekend.
AFL: Melbourne Demons to cover the -8.5 point line against Essendon Bombers ($1.92)
NRL: Penrith Panthers to hold the +6.5 point line against Sydney Roosters ($1.90)
UFC: Conor McGregor to defeat Chad Mendes ($1.54)
Total multi payout: $5.61 with sportsbet.com.au
AFL: Melbourne Demons vs. Essendon Bombers
Saturday, July 11, 2015, 1.40pm AEST
Pick: Melbourne Demons -8.5 ($1.92)
The Demons, you say?
Normally you stay away from Melbourne when it comes to punting, unless you’re going to back them to be on the end of a pummelling.
But this game is different.
They’re playing the once mighty, now meek, Essendon.
The Bombers have been gutted by injury and the looming shadow of a WADA investigation that threatens to drag the crippling performance enhancing supplements saga into a fourth season.
It’s been a remarkable effort from the Bombers players just to stay afloat.
But, with an injury list as long as your arm and the crushing weight of off field controversy weighing heavily, the Bombers were annihilated by St Kilda last week.
Nope, it wasn’t reigning premier Hawthorn or top of the table Fremantle meting out the destruction, but lowly St Kilda, which had won just four games for the season – the same number as the Bombers.
It was a sad sight – which would have delighted the haters – as the Saints treated the match like a training drill, romping to an embarrassing 25.12 (162) to 8.4 (52) win.
That’s right, 110 points.
How do you recover from that?
We don’t reckon you can and that’s why we’re backing in the Demons, who sit 1.6 percentage points behind the Bombers in 15th, equal on four wins.
Key men Tom Bellchambers, Jake Carlisle, Paul Chapman, Travis Colyer and captain Jobe Watson will all miss this game.
The Demons are also coming off a loss, agains the West Coast Eagles, 16.18 (114) to 9.6 (60).
They will welcome Cranbourne boy James Harmes for his AFL debut.
The Bombers lost to the Demons last time they met, in round 13 last year, by just one point, 12.6 (78) to 10.17 (77).
That day the Bombers had more disposals, more tackles, more scoring shots and dominated the inside-50 count, registering 69 to 36.
But they lost.
How the mighty have fallen.
James Hird was destined to be one of the most revered figures in the storied history of the Essendon Football Club.
But it’s clear all the performances, Brownlows and premierships in the world have been tarnished by his insipid showing as Bombers coach in the face of the supplements scandal.
We reckon the Dees are going to win this, and win it well, and Hirdy will be looking for a new job come Monday.
NRL: Penrith Panthers vs. Sydney Roosters
Saturday, July 11, 2015, 5.30pm AEST
Pick: Penrith Panthers +6.5 ($1.90)
WE reckon the plucky Penrith Panthers on their home deck are a good chance of knocking off the Sydney Roosters in their own right, but we’ve gone for a bit of an insurance policy with the benefit of a 6.5 point handicap.
Having rolled the West Tigers and then shocking reigning premier South Sydney, 20-6 in their past two outings, the Panthers have certainly made the rest of the NRL sit up and take notice.
It was all Panthers from the get go, with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who had a monster game, Dean Whare, Peter Wallace and Waqa Blake all crossing before the Rabbitohs even went near the try line. Apisai Koroisau bagged two goals.
While the Panthers have turned their season around, they will have to be on their game against a Roosters side that has won three straight – albeit those wins are unconvincing.
They dealt with the lowly Gold Coast Titans, 20-10 in their last match, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Michael Jennings and James Maloney scoring tries, while James Maloney booted four goals.
Sydney also won the previous clash between these two teams, 20-12, in round three, earlier this season.
In that match, Blake Ferguson was awesome, crossing twice and leading the way, while Shaun Kenny-Dowall also scored. Maloney, like last week, made it through the sticks four times.
Jamal Idris and James Segeyaro both scored tries for the Panthers and Matt Moylan made two conversions, but it wasn’t enough to get the Panthers over the line.
The way we see it, the Panthers are ninth, two points out of the eight and every game from here on in becomes increasingly important. Even if Penrith does not manage to win the game, its precarious position on the ladder makes it desperate. The Panthers’ good form, coupled with the tight margins in the Roosters’ previous recent outings bode for a close match, which we think will be decided by less than a try, either way.
UFC: Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor
Sunday, July 12, 2015, 1.50pm AEST
Pick: Conor McGregor wins ($1.54)
Love him or hate him, polarising Irish man Conor McGregor is one of the most divisive figures in mixed martial arts.
“The Notorious” McGregor is ranked number three in the feather weight division – actually behind his opponent Chad “Money” Mendes, who is ranked number one.
Funny thing, talking about the up and comer ahead of the number one man.
But that’s what the heavily tattooed, outspoken McGregor commands.
He’s already told Mendes, who stepped in for the injured Jose Aldo, ranked number two, for the interim title fight that he was “a substitute, the B-level.”
“I think he’s a wrestler with an overhand that gasses,” McGregor chided.
“His body weight to his height is in disproportion, and that hampers him as a fighter.
“That’s why he gets tired.
“That’s why, when I’m pressing in these exchanges and these scrambles, his belly is going to be breathing in and his body is going to be screaming for oxygen, and I’m going to be still there in his face cracking him with everything I have – the heel, the knee, the elbow, the fist, every shot in the book.
“And that will be that.
“Eventually, he will give in like they all do.”
Both men sport 17-2-0 records, both men weigh a tick over 65 kg.
Mendes, the wrestler, has only had two weeks to prepare for this fight, while McGregor has had months.
He has said he plans to “ruin the Conor McGregor show” and his jiu-jitsu coach Fabio Prado has predicted a second round finish for the bout.
“He will grab this opportunity and go for it. Everything will be alright,” Prado said.
“It’s on short notice, but his heart and experience will make the difference.
“(An) Alpha male doesn’t turn down fights and that’s why we have credit with the UFC.
“Chad is always training, dreaming about this.”
Tough words, but McGregor has promised to butcher Mendes and we reckon the Irish man will deliver on his promise.
McGregor, the striker, will want to stay on his feet and get the job done quickly. The longer the match goes, the better for Mendes.
We agree with Prado – this one is not going the distance – but we reckon it will be his man that falls.
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