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JamesPunts Fantastic Four for Fun in 2017

2017-01-29 00:00:00 (This report was created at 2017-01-04 14:24:30)

JamesPunts Fantastic Four for Fun in 2017

Formula 1 2017 WDC

Big changes in regulations for 2017 are likely to create an opportunity for one or more teams to end Mercedes three years of dominance. The emphasis will move away from the hybrid power units and back to aerodynamic performance which saw Red Bull win four titles in a row before the last regulation change allowed Mercedes to leap frog into being the top team.

Red Bull has the sports best designer, Adrian Newey, and he has been keeping Red Bull in the frame even in the era of the power unit when their supplier, Renault, failed in various degrees to provide a competitive system. They made good progress in that respect last year and won a couple of races, finishing as best of the rest.

What they also did, very shrewdly, was to promote the best driver to enter F1 in many years from their junior Toro Rosso team, into the main Red Bull team. Max Verstappen duly won his first race for the team after the two Mercedes drivers took each other out on lap 1. He then went on to make a reputation as a very fast and aggressive racer, upsetting most of the field who recognised him as a multiple world champion in the making.

His best race came in Brazil, in the pouring rain, a great test of skill and bravery for drivers over the years. Senna, Schumacher, Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso are proved themselves in wet races and Verstappen joined that club in Brazil last year. He simply rang rings around every one bar Hamilton who had the advantage of being in front with better visibility that day. He is an exceptional talent and finds himself in the right car at the right time, the key to success in F1.

Max Verstappen to win the Formula 1 WDC @ 3/1

The English F.A. Cup

Everyone has a chance in a knock-out competition as proven by the likes of Portsmouth and Wigan winning the F.A. Cup in the ‘new Wembley’ period. However history shows that it’s the top clubs who are most likely to shine. In the last 10 seasons Chelsea have won four, Arsenal two, Man Utd one (+1 RU), Man City one (+1 RU).

This season Liverpool are back in the ‘top club’ bracket and they, along with Chelsea, have the advantage of not playing in Europe this season, something that is helping their PL chances so much that they are 1st and 2nd in the league as we enter the new year. They are the two best teams at the moment and playing fewer big games helps them in terms of fitness and freshness. Man City will win nothing so long as they have such a porous defence and so many key players injured or suspended. Man Utd are improving and can’t be written off but they, not yet totally convincing and may have to take the Europa Cup seriously as it may yet be their only way into next year’s Champions league.

Chelsea and Liverpool both have cosy home ties in round three, as does Utd while City have a harder tie away to West Ham. Love ‘em or loathe them, Chelsea look the real deal this season and the F.A. Cup is important to them in a non-Champions League year.

Chelsea to win the F.A. Cup @ 11/2

The U.S. Masters

Never a competition I have had much luck in over the years, despite it being the ‘easiest’ of the Majors to predict. It’s played at the same venue each year, has the smallest field and with so many no hope past champions getting a valuable entry it has by far the fewest players who are in with any realistic chance of winning.

With Augusta National being the venue each year, course form is particularly important and this takes me to Jordan Spieth. He has a superb Augusta record of played three, won one with two 2nd places.

Jordan Spieth to win the U.S. Masters @8/1

The Australian Open

We now have a Scottish world number one in the shape of Andy Murray who is the 6/4 favourite for a tournament he has never won despite being in five finals. The current player with the best Aussie Open record is world number two, Novak Djokovic with no less than six titles. Djokovic will be highly motivated to get back to number one and this is a must win for him. Murray had a great ‘nappy factor’ year last year but you have to wonder if once that nappy factor has worn off, will he still be just as motivated?

With Federer getting too old, Nadal knackered by injury only Wawrinka stands out has a likely alternative and this has the look of a two horse race, hence the low prices.

Djokovic to win the Australian Open @ 7/4

1 point the above in an accumulator @ 555/1 with Betfred (539/1 with Hills, Stan James)