The Hunter’s Week Ahead – 17 Sep

Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds. 

What a week we have in store.

After an absolutely astounding weekend of sports where we saw NRL and AFL finals, NFL and MLB battles, countless other exceptional fights and matches, we’re ready and eager for another week of full-throttle action, as the world of sports looks to, once again, blow us away.

As always in this column, I’ll explore what Australians can look forward to in this week of sports – focusing on a different sport for each day – and provide the tips that I feel most confident in based on my research, analysis and expert intuition. 

Tuesday – NFL

Jason Campbell. Photographed by Debby Wong. Image via Shutterstock.

If there were ever a team that needed a win, it’s the Cleveland Browns. After a woeful few years (with a 4-44 record over three years) the Browns finally looked set to turn their fortunes around. A strong offseason included acquisitions of star wideout Odell Beckham Jr and running back Kareem Hunt. Their rookie quarterback looked finally broken in and everything was set to go Cleveland’s way. That is, of course, before they copped an embarrassing 43-13 defeat in their opener against Tennessee. The Browns will be desperate for a win to get their playoffs hopes back on track and if they lose on Tuesday their redemption could be over before it’s even begun.

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets

The opponent hoping to end the Browns’ hopes are none other than the New York Jets. A team with a losing record themselves, they’ll be hoping to get their season back on the rails after a harrowing one point loss at their New York State rivals in Buffalo. Their star running back Le’Veon Bell had a great opener and will be looking to pile on more yards come Tuesday (I hope he does – he’s in my fantasy team).

I think this’ll be a close game and will ultimately come down to whichever team has the better performance in the fourth quarter. Both quarterbacks are fresh in the sport and could prove themselves with a clutch performance here. I can see this going either way, but I think it is about time that the Browns lived up to their preseason hype.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Cleveland Browns to Win

Wednesday – FFA Cup

AAMI Park, Melbourne. Photographed by Scottt13. Image via Shutterstock.

Australia’s own domestic football cup competition is reaching its nitty-gritty final stages. The FFA Cup is famous for its upsets and twists, and we’re more than keen to see how this week’s quarter finals will play out. Headlining the round is a clash between two teams with the most passionate fans in the comp. as Melbourne City host Western Sydney in a do-or-die thriller.

Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers

Western Sydney’s path to this point has been one of relative ease, coming out of a 7-1 drubbing of Sydney United last round. They had a tougher win (2-1) in Perth the round before and even held their own against a well-rounded Leeds United in a preseason exhibition match (losing only 2-1). The Wanderers look primed for the season ahead and a bit of domestic silverware could work wonders to boost their morale heading into the season.

Playing host to the black and red are Melbourne City, a team that always seems to perform when it matters. Despite a shakier road to this point (including a close 2-1 win over Marconi), they still survived and can now start to really push for the trophy. Melbourne will be going into this season looking to avenge the 119’ goal from Halloran that knocked them out of the league last year, and to do so with the FFA Cup in their cabinet would be huge.

Both of these teams could win this game. Heck, both of these teams could win the league. I think the home advantage might be the ultimate decider here and as a result I’ll have to pick Melbourne to be playing in next week’s semis.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Melbourne City to Win

Thursday – MLB

Jose Altuve. Photographed by Keeton Gale. Image via Shutterstock.

The MLB is in its closing stages, but that doesn’t mean everything isn’t still on the line for a number of teams. Wildcard berths are still anyone’s game and those who have playoff spots locked-in will still be fighting for CS and WS home advantages. On Thursday, two Texan AL West rivals will slug it out to improve their standings in the division and end their season on the right note.

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers

The Astros host the Rangers for a two-game series this week, in a couple of games that they hope will give them the advantage over the Yankees in the American League. After their stellar display against KC, a couple of wins here might be all they need to solidify their position with the best record in baseball.

Altuve, Bregman and Springer have all been phenomenal with the bat post-all-star and will come out swinging for these two games. Verlander (18-6, 2.58 ERA) is opening the series, in what will likely be his last game before the postseason, and the second pitcher is yet to be announced (but with names like Greinke and Cole the Astros are spoiled for choice).

Honestly, I only see this series going one way. The Rangers have been mediocre all season and as the Astros look to build some momentum to push them through the postseason, they’ll be borderline impossible to beat.

The Astros should claim both games here.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Houston Astros to Sweep the series

Gamble Responsibly. Hunter and Bligh do not take any responsibility for any losses incurred.
Feature image: Minute Maid Park, Houston. Photographed by Joe Hendrickson. Image via Shutterstock.