Formula One: This weekend sees the second race at the Red Bull Ring in a week and Max Verstappen will be highly fancied again after dominating the Styrian Grand Prix last week, bossing Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in their Mercedes. What will add to the occasion is the 100 000 crowd – the first full house since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Wimbledon: We’re already one week into the event and there have been some early casualties on the grass in south west London. Both South Africans, Kevin Anderson and Lloyd Harris, fell in the second round, as did Venus Williams, while sister Serena went out in round one. Novak Djokovic looks strong and the No1 seed can continue where he left off at the French Open. The upsets have come in the women’s side where Nos 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9 seeds were all beaten within the first two rounds. KA Pliskova could be a useful outsider to go far in the women’s event.
Euro 2020: It all seems rather amazing but in the so-called “Group Of Death”, none of the four countries managed to get past the Last 16 stage of the competition. All of France, Portugal, Germany and Hungary are already back home. That has left England as the bookies favourites to win the event. This weekend sees the quarter-finals. England certainly have the easier side of the draw. They play Ukraine in their quarter-final on Saturday, as do the Czech Republic and Denmark. Friday’s quarter-finals pit Switzerland and Spain together and Belgium take on Italy in a mouth-watering clash.
Copa America: We have also reached the quarter-final stages. Peru play Paraguay, Brazil meet Chile, Uruguay are up against Colombia and Argentina vs Ecuador close out the last eight in the knockout stages.
Currie Cup: The Pumas take on Griquas in the only Currie Cup match of the weekend, The teams meet at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday night.
Springboks: Finally, the world champions play for the first time since they won the World Cup in 2019. They play Georgia in a British & Irish Lions tour warm up at Loftus on Friday night. The countries have only played once before – with the Boks beating Georgia 46-19 at the 2003 RWC. The match spread offered by GGG is 37.5 points. Perhaps the bet is for the Boks to win but by no more than 37 points.
British & Irish Lions: They’re here! And they play their first game of the tour against Gauteng’s Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday. Although the visitors are expected to win comfortably, the bet here is in the spread. The bookies have drawn the line at 25.5 points which means that if you feel the tourists will win by 26 points or more you can back them at 9-10, or if they won’t win by at least 26 points you can back the local Lions also at 9-10. We feel the B&I Lions will win by 26-plus.
Other matches: There are three other top-flight rugby matches that catch the eye this weekend. The Maori All Blacks should beat Samoa, New Zealand’s All Blacks are a whopping 79-point favourites to beat Tonga, Ireland are fancied to beat Japan, while Wales should comfortably get past Canada by more than 30 points.
Tour de France: We’re already deep into the world’s most recognisable cycling race and there have been thrills and spills aplenty. The defending champion Tajed Pogacar looks to have already maneuvered himself to the front of the list of contenders and was impressive in winning Wednesday’s time trial. He will be hard to beat in the weeks coming forward and is a confident selection to retain his title.
Golf: There are 2 SA golfers in this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic on the PGA Tour which started on Thursday: Dylan Frittelli and Garrick Higgo. Frittelli has struggled for form recently, while Higgo might still be coming down emotionally after a few weeks which saw him win on the Tour for the first time, play in the US Open and get selected for Team SA to the Olympics. It will be hard for him to keep his concentration levels.
Golf: There’s a round dozen (12) South African golfers involved in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open which started on Thursday at Mount Juliet Estate in picturesque Co Kilkenny, Ireland. The players are: Zander Lombard, Shaun Norris, Daniel van Tonder, Thomas Aiken, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester, Haydn Porteous, George Coetzee, Brandon Stone, Darren Fichardt, Wilco Nienaber, Justin Walters. Norris loves European conditions and has qualified for the upcoming British Open, so he might be a sneaky outside bet for a top 10 this week.
Racing: The Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville on Saturday. We have a separate blog with our rundown on the field but Got The Greenlight looks a worthy favourite, while the three-year-olds Linebacker and Rascallion are also well weighted to be right there at the finish.