Non-football bets for autumn - baseball, the prix de l’arc and the cricket

We’re a growing band, aren’t we. Once, the coming of a new football season would be a time of excitement – of fantasy league selections and of circling the fixture list. Not anymore. Instead it heralds the all-too-hasty return of a bunch of overpaid nancies in a game that is becoming all too predictable and boring. Summer events such as Test matches and Wimbledon capture the imagination much more – and the thought of another 0-0 between United and Chelsea in December doesn’t bear thinking about.

So what will keep us going through the autumn? We’ve been scouring the globe for the best bets – and there’s plenty to enjoy between now and the changing of the clocks!

Boston Red Sox to win the World Series

It hardly seemed likely at the start of May when the Red Sox had lost 10 of 12 games, the worst start they’ve ever recorded. However, since then, they’ve churned out the results and lead the American League East with Gonzalez, Ortiz, Pedroia and Ellsbury scoring runs galore. In fact, the addition of Gonzalez has been a master stroke – he is potentially the most important Red Sox player since Manny Ramirez.

Now, yes, as a Red Sox fan, you may expect me to be a little biased, but this is a side that has overcome an appalling start to triumph over almost everyone ever since. They would end up facing the Yankees in the American League final – and their record over the Yankees this season is as good as it has ever been. CC Sabathia can’t record a win against the Red Sox, and Beckett can’t record a loss against the Yankees. Everything points to the Sox, as they’ve got the batting and the pitching working brilliantly.

Talking of pitching, the opposition will likely be the Philadelphia Phillies, given the all-star pitching line-up they have. Cliff Lee, Cole Hammels, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt – four of the best pitchers in baseball, never mind the National League. The thing is, the Red Sox can just about match them in pitching – and better them at bat. It’s their best chance since 2007, and their best team since 2004.

Odds & free bets

Boston Red Sox @ 3.75 with Getwin (£20 risk-free bet)

Boston Red Sox @ 10/3 with Betfred (£50 free bet)

Pour Moi to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The Prix de l’Arc used to be solely won by 3-year-old French-trained colts. However, in recent years, we’ve seen a shift towards Derby winners – the last three all won the Derby, so it pays to add into the equation the fact that the Arc is now won by the best horse in it, which was not always the case.

Derby winner Pour Moi is – as the name suggests – French, and owned by Arc specialist Andre Fabre. If anyone knows how to prepare a horse for the Prix de l’Arc, it’s Fabre, and he’s doing exactly that. He refrained from putting Pour Moi out in the Grand Prix de Paris, and is setting him up for the Prix Niel, the Arc trial. We used to say that Derby winners never won the Arc, and that was true when they were they type of horse aimed primarily at the early part of the season. These days, trainers are getting better at resting horses for both races, ensuring that they're in their prime.

The Prix Niel produces a huge percentage of Arc winners, so it’s good to see Fabre has a clear plan for Pour Moi, who looks every inch an Arc horse. He’s been cut to 3/1 from 4/1, and a Niel victory would probably see his odds cut even further.

Odds & free bets

Pour Moi to win the Arc @ 3/1 with Coral (£30 free bet)

Pour Moi to win the Arc@ 3/1 with Paddy Power (bet 10 get 20)

India to win the one-day series

So far, in the Test series, they’ve looked like rabbits in headlights. The status of world number 1 looked to be something of an anomaly given that they appear so unable to cope with English conditions. Either that, or the status of Test cricket has dropped to such a low that this Indian side is perhaps the best in the world. Or at least, was.

However, when it comes to one-day cricket, they know what they’re doing. And their fans love it. Indian fans both amaze and amuse me – I love the fact that they love cricket, and I love how they consume every single delivery. At the Lords match, the Indian fans were cheering every dot ball – analysing every leave and chanting like crazy things. It wasn’t very Lords, to be honest, and it all died down around 4 o’clock when their voices gave in.

It was all highly amusing, but it does underline why Indian fans love one-day cricket so much. It’s quicker, it’s got more action, and you can cheer to it a lot more. Not my cup of tea, but hey ho, we’re all different.

So to the one-day series, and England’s one-day woes will continue. They simply don’t appear to have much of a strategy. Or at least, if they do have one, they’ll ditch it for another pretty soon. England have thrown all their eggs into one basket – Test match cricket – and ignored the one-day game. Where they field well in Tests, they field like a village side in one-dayers. Where they score at 7 an over on day 4 of a Test match, they score at 2 an over in the last powerplay of a one-dayer.

England are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. So many great players with so much potential in one-day cricket, but they give the impression they’ve never played the game before.

India play so much of it, it’s little wonder they’re the World Champions. Their technique has altered as a result of their focus on one-day and 20/20 cricket – take a look at the way some of their younger batsmen move their front foot towards leg stump when playing outside off stump. 20/20 has many financial rewards, but does nothing for the quality of their Test side.

India should win both series in England and at home – and if you want another easy win, South Africa are taking on Australia at home in October, too, in a one-day series. Banker.

published: 14th August 2011 by Free Bet Bookmaker

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