The Longshot: Patience pays off in long-term bets

Rybakina's procession to semis Down Under is good news for followers of this page
The Longshot: Patience pays off in long-term bets

Elena Rybakina during their third round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

OUT of the many volleys of abuse that are hurled this way, the most vitriolic and saliva-forming do not, as you might surmise, come when we tip a dud, rather it is when we tip a long longshot: that is, when we recommend something that will possibly not happen until quite a patch of time has been covered.

Last week’s tips were nothing if not overly time-consuming. We didn’t have long to wait to see our call of Chris Eubank to KO Liam Smith being clobbered by Smith, who instead toppled Eubank.

Munster stayed within 14 points of Toulouse, thus clicking at 23/20, as per our recommendation last Friday.

There was potentially a couple of days’ wait on our Tuesday four-timer of the two Manchester clubs to win midweek and the Chiefs and Bengals to set up a divisional final in the NFL. That was 9/1, but was immediately scuppered by an exquisite injury-time free-kick equaliser by Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise against United (who didn’t even celebrate the late strike, possibly realising the damage he’d done to our hopes).

The longer-term open bet we do have is on Elena Rybakina to win the Australian Open at 25/1 (where you’d have to wait a whole fortnight for a payout!).

Her win over tournament favourite and number one seed Iga Swiatek saw her enter the quarter-finals as the 3/1 bookies’ fancy. We were complaining about the dwindling interest in the women’s game before the competition began, but hopefully more clashes between the Pole and the Russian/Kazakh lie ahead.

The match-up was the first time since Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber met at Wimbledon seven years ago that two reigning women’s Grand Slam champions have faced each other at a Grand Slam.

That they should face each other so early in the tournament was a consequence of Rybakina, the 25th seed, receiving no ranking points for winning Wimbledon last year after the WTA chose to sanction the All England Club in response to the event’s decision to ban Russians (Rybakina defected to Kazakhstan in 2018).

Rybakina has thus spent much of the past six months competing on lower courts and receiving difficult draws due to her low seeding (hence her price, and why we advised it was too high).

After seeing off Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the early hours of this morning to reach the semis she is now into 6/5 for the title.

So what was that I was saying about long-term bets? Well it’s now over a decade since we first brought readers news of a website that specialised in just such an enterprise, www.longbets.org.

This is the US site where you can wager a minimum of US$200 on events far into the future, but their result must not be revealed for at least two years.

Among the bets struck on the site include: ”At least one human alive in the year 2000 will still be alive in 2150,” which someone named Peter Schwarz’s great-great-great grandkids will hope to collect $2,000 on.

Back in 2012 I reported that my favourite bet struck was one predicting that the LongBets website would no longer be online in 11 years. The URL is still there, so someone named Matthew Haughey collected a cool grand off Jeremy Keith.

However, to show the appetite for such head-to-head patience is waning, only one bet was staked on the website last year and merely three in 2021.

Still it’s an option for any soothsayers out there. My own tip back in 2012 was that Facebook’s share price a year after they started trading (then at $38) would be below $40 on Friday, May 17, 2013, at 13-8. The social media giant would eventually hit $380 in 2021, but on that date it was less than $25. So a good call, but I still think I’ll stick to sports.

Crokes may have to do it all again without extra player

KILMACUD CROKES put their disappointment of a decider defeat in 2022 behind them to capture the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship on Sunday.

However at time of writing, there is the very real possibility they may have to replay the game against Glen, who they beat by 1-11 to 1-9.

The Dublin club went into injury time leading by two points, with their opponents pushing for a goal. After Conor Ferris pulled off a stunning save from Conor Glass in injury time, the Derry side would be given one final opportunity via a 45.

A low ball was arrowed in and went just wide of the post, missing the outstretched fist of a Glen forward.

However, it has since emerged that the Southside Dublin superclub (who had already ruffled a few feathers by parachuting in one of the best forwards in the country, Shane Walsh, from Galway in the summer) had 17 players on the pitch during that final play. Paul Mannion was at least halfway to the sideline, but that 16 Kilmacud men stood between the 45 being kicked in and the Crokes goal during that final play could mean there is an appeal by the Ulster champions. 

Last-gasp goals when two points down aren't exactly a rarity in the GAA and having an extra man to try to stop that opportunity is a serious breach. Nevermind that it was an obvious error rather than a thought-out strategy, if it happened in rugby or soccer, the organising body would already have stepped in, rather than expecting the side sinned against be expected to appeal the result. It's also a terrible precedent to set. Crokes may claim they have already celebrated the victory, but it is their mistake (allowed by the officials) that causes all this.

The most famous extra man on a GAA field remains Charlie Redmond, the Dublin goalscorer on the day they beat Tyrone in 1995 to win Sam. He was sent off with around 20 minutes to go by Paddy Russell (in the days before red cards were issued) but didn’t leave the pitch for another three minutes following another passage of play, when it was explained he had been sent to the line already.

As the curtain (probably) comes down on the club scene, it raises on the intercounty, with the return of league action this weekend. Dublin loom large in Division Two and are 1/6 to down neighbours Kildare in their opener. Cork welcome old foes Meath, now under the care of Colm O’Rourke. The Rebels are 4/7 to win their opener, while the Royal are 5/2.

The game of the weekend is the Division One clash of Galway and Mayo and looks impossible to call. Donegal may have soldier on without Michael Murphy but look a good price at 5/2 at home to Kerry, considering the Cliffords and Rathmore contingent (and probably more) will surely be allowed to take a break of longer than a week before returning to action. David Moran’s retirement also means Kerry’s midsection looks slightly more vulnerable this season.

Zalatoris can go one better at Torrey Pines

WITH four wins in his last six worldwide starts, Jon Rahm seems to be going supersonic at the moment.

The Spaniard won the The American Express tournament on Sunday by a shot and heads into the Farmers Insurance Open as the 9/2 favourite.

The American Express was played over three courses, and this event will be played over two, with the entire field playing both the North and South Courses of Torrey Pines over the first two days before the weekend fare is staged entirely on the tougher, longer, South Course.

The South Course was also the venue for the 2021 US Open, won by Rahm, who also took this tournament on his debut in 2017.

Torey Pines might sound like a character from Knots Landing but it is a severe test and usually only very good performers win there (Tiger Woods triumphing seven times there says a lot).

Last year’s winner in a playoff Luke List is 80/1.

He beat Will Zalatoris, who would have to get used to near misses as the year went on, finishing as runner-up in two Majors subsequently.

I fancy him to go one better here at 16/1.

Long road still ahead for Munster

DESPITE defeats, albeit narrow ones, home and away to Toulouse, Munster qualified for the last-16 of the Champions Cup, which will recommence after the Six Nations.

The Reds have drawn their longest ever European (!) away game by being pitted against the Sharks.

They will have three fixtures in South Africa in April now. In their only clash so far in the URC in 2021, Munster won 42-17.

If they were to win in Durban they would then meet the winner of Toulouse v Bulls in the quarter-finals a week later, away to Toulouse, but at home against the Bulls.

It is no wonder then they have drifted out to 40/1 to win the tournament.

Leinster remain 5/4 favourites and will not even have to leave the capital to go all the way to lifting the trophy this year for the first time since 2018.

The Bet

WE’LL go for another four-timer in the opening weekend of league Gaelic football action.

You’ll get 18/1 if you take home wins for Donegal against Kerry, Dublin to beat Kildare, Tipperary to down Down and Cork to get off to a good start by seeing off Meath.

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