All around is the World Cup, and if you were to visit a sports book or a bookmaker, you might be forgiven for thinking that there is only one sporting event going on right now! In fact, the sporting calendar away from Brazil is as busy as ever, and here are some of the highlights.
Tennis – Wimbledon
The All England Lawn Tennis Championships start on Monday and the smart money has already been laid down. The men’s tournament sees four players at the head of the betting, with Novak Djokovic, defending champion Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and seven times winner Roger Federer all under 10/1 – Djokovic the rightful favorite. The women’s tournament is looking like a two horse race – seventeen times Grand Slam winner Serena Williams and recent French Open victor Maria Sharapova the only players in single figures in the betting. Serena has won a Grand Slam event every year since 2007, and having failed at both the Australian Open and the French Open, she will surely be determined to add a sixth Wimbledon title to her collection.
Golf – Irish Open, Travelers Championship, US Womens Open
After the heroics of Martin Kaymer at Pinehurst No 2 last week, it’s the ladies turn at the course and two enticing tour events await. The Irish Open takes place Thursday at the Fota Island Resort in Cork – Irish golf on a high as Portrush has been named on the Open rota. Rory McIlroy is the headline name in the field, although countryman Graham McDowell will push him close, and either would be a popular winner. In Connecticut, the Travelers Championship features a surprisingly strong field considering its proximity to last week’s Major. Four of the world’s top ten tee it up in Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia. Pinehurst hosts an unusual second straight Major this week, with the finest female golfers on the planet trying to win the seasons second Major – Stacy Lewis the favorite.
Baseball – MLB
With both the NBA and the NHL finishing their seasons in the last few days, Baseball has center stage until late summer when the NFL boys roar back into town. The season is shaping up nicely, and there are some interesting match ups in the coming week. The Braves visit the Nationals, and with the two vying for the top spot in the National League East, this series could go a long way towards deciding the title. The Oakland A’s flying high in the American League West face struggling World Series champs the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka
After the dramatic draw that took place at Lords this week, this 2 match series will be settled at Headingley starting Friday. England will feel a little hard done by having missed out on a win by just one wicket, however Sri Lanka can take heart from their battling performance at Lords. England are favorites for the second test, but with their confidence brittle right now, a Sri Lankan win might be the value bet here.
Motor Sport – Formula One and NASCAR
This weekend sees the Austrian Grand Prix in Formula One and the NASCAR circus moves onto California for the Toyota - SaveMart 350.
The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are dominating the world championship this year, and it’s hard to look past the two again this weekend, but Daniel Ricciardo’s victory in Canada has given rival teams some renewed hope as they head to Austria.
Jeff Gordon currently leads the way in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series although Jimmie Johnson is the man in form having won an amazing three times in the last four outings. Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jnr is third in the standings and with the drivers more than halfway through the “regular season” this race on the non-oval track in California had added importance.