My tip for this week is the match between Bedford Blues (9th out of 11) and Ealing Trailfinders (4th) in the RFU Championship.
Bedford are coming into the game off a win vs. Rotherham, who are 10th in the league, a game they would have expected to win. Prior to this, you would have to go back to the 26th December for Bedford's last win. In my eyes, this game can be completely discounted, as their opponents Jersey were struggling with injuries and were forced to fly to Bedford at 7am on the day of the game - not ideal circumstances! Before this, the last game in the league that Bedford picked up points from was in mid-November; a long barren spell that looks to continue! Their record this season vs. top 6 opposition reads: played 8, winning 1 (the Jersey game) and losing 7 - makes tough reading!
Ealing on the other hand are currently playing a great brand of rugby, their only loses in the last 5 games have been to the top two in the league - teams that in my opinion are miles better than the league that they are in. This form bodes well for Ealing as they push to retain their playoff spot (top 4 go into a playoff for promotion) and confidence around the club seems at an all-time high! Ealing are back to full strength this week with flanker Kieran Murphy coming back into the starting XV after recovering from an injury. Ealing have been lucky with injuries and have been able to put out a regular core to their team which has gelled well.
I can only see this game going one way, and although Ealing have never won away at Bedford, I believe (and the facts dictate) that this should be the game that changes that run.
My bet - Ealing Trailfinders to win @ 2.25 with Betfair
Honda Classic Golf
The PGA tour this week moves on to Florida for the Honda Classic played at PGA National. A combination of the course layout and the usual windy conditions make this the toughest non-major of the year in most seasons. Adam Scott is rightly favourite for the event as the returning champion, with Thomas, Garcia and Fowler also in the teens in terms of odds, but we would like to take them on with higher priced players this week.
Daniel Berger E/W @ 33/1 SkyBet 6 places Each Way 1/4 odds
This Florida State graduate will be happy to make a return to where he plays a lot of his best golf. Berger will certainly gain psychological comfort from being at a course where he's been "a million times" since his teenage years. A missed cut here last year was disappointing but he will have fonder memories from his debut at this tournament in 2015 when he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. The forecast for the early rounds suggest it may not be as breezy as previous years will it will still have an effect especially on Sunday when it matters most. Berger is one of the better performers in the wind and we know he likes the course so should perform well down the stretch. With only 2 Par-5s on the course scoring on Par-4s takes on more importance this week. Berger was 14th on the tour in Par-4 scoring last year and 23rd in Strokes Gained:Approach to the green so should create good birdie opportunities.
Lucas Glover E/W @ 100/1 SkyBet 6 places Each Way 1/4 odds
Lucas Glover is always a name to look out for on Bermudagrass greens. He has been playing really good golf for a couple of years without getting that breakthrough performance. He is currently 16th in scoring average but this could be the course for him to do it. Looking at his performance here recently makes for mixed reading, 3 missed cuts and a 4th. Last year he ranked 2nd in Total Driving and 28th in Strokes Gained Tee to Green which shows how well he has been striking the ball. It is just when he gets to the green that he struggles with his chipping and putting. 8 of the last 10 winners here ended the season ranked worse than 118th in Strokes Gained Putting, so this course allows good ball strikers to rise to the top. He's a former US Open winner so we know he can play well at tough courses, he ranked 7th in Bogey Avoidance last year and if he can make a few putts more than normal could make a challenge here.
Alex Cejka E/W @ 300/1 SkyBet 6 places Each Way 1/4 odds, PP 7 places Each Way 1/5 odds
The German is someone whose best years are definitely behind him but it looks like this course sets up quite nicely for him. Last year he ranked 1st in bogey avoidance and 10th in Strokes Gained Approach to the green. He also scored well on Par-4s. These stats combined with the fact he is one of the best players on tour in windy conditions make us believe he can play well here. He is also an excellent chipper and with greens hard to hit this week could come in handy and allow him to avoid bogeys and keep momentum. He hasn't won since 2015 and his odds reflect that it is very unlikely he will win here. He has 2 top 20 finishes in 7 tries here, with a 21st and 26th also so backing him to finish in the top 20 looks good.
Alex Cejka to finish in the top 20 @ 10/1
David Hearn to finish top 20 @ 14/1 Bet365
The Canadian has missed 4 of his last 5 cuts. He has also missed 4 cuts in 5 tries at this tournament although the other time he finished 6th. He has solid bogey avoidance and Par-4 scoring stats and performs much better in the state of Florida. The world number 196 is struggling for form but did have 6 top 20 finishes last year. This is worth a small investment.