The Hunter’s Week Ahead – 19 Nov
Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds.
Don’t go anywhere – it’s time for the week ahead
With American sport kicking off and Aussie sport showing no signs of slowing down, it’s definitely an exciting time to be a fan. With leagues, cups, tests, and friendlies all around the world this week, it’s tough to know what to watch. Luckily for you, I’ve picked out the best of the best for this week ahead in sports.
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
With the NFL season well and truly underway, we’ve reached a point in the season where any result could turn the tides of a team’s playoff hopes. The intensity of this round has shown that and some. The Vikings came back from a 20 point halftime deficit, an awe-inspiring feat considering teams down 20 at half time were 0-99 before that, Lamar and the Ravens steamrolled the Texans, and who could forget that all-out brawl on TNF between the Browns and Steelers? The last game of the round promises to be just as exciting, and the stake of both teams in this contest makes it even more crucial.
LA Chargers v KC Chiefs
The NFL takes its spectacle out of the USA once more, with this AFC West game between two division rivals to be played in front of 87,000 fans at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Unlike last years’ Mexico game, this time he pitch is ready – and the Mexican fans are palpably excited to see this clash.
The Chiefs come into this game with a worse-than-anticipated record of 6-4. Many Chiefs fans would be quick to argue that this is because Mahomes missed 3 games with an injury, but when you realise that Matt Moore lost just one of his three games in charge (against an extremely good Packers outfit at that), it leads one to think that perhaps the issue runs deeper. The Chiefs offense has been quite good, but the defence has left a lot to be desired. If they fail to put up a win against a fledgeling Chargers team, it could spell trouble for these Superbowl hopefuls.
Of course, it’s not like the Chargers have much of a chance of winning. At an astoundingly mediocre 4-6 record, Rivers and the rest of the Chargers offense has been one of the most inconsistent packs in the league. Just two weeks ago they played out of their skin to beat the Packers with ease, and then last week they were bested by a mediocre Oakland side. Who’s to say how they’ll play today.
It’s the Chargers’ offensive inconsistency that has me siding with the Chiefs here. If Mahomes is up to his usual tricks and supported by his stellar offense, the Chargers probably won’t be able to get it over the line.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Chiefs to Win
Wednesday – NHL
After a few weeks of NHL play, it’s finally time that we can see some trends emerging. There are some key teams vying for championships (Blues, Bruins, Oilers, Caps), and some others falling in the dust (Senators, oh the poor Senators). Two teams hoping to be included in the former, but risk falling into the latter, are the two playing in a prime-time match on Wednesday.
Vegas Golden Knights v Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas host cross-conference Toronto on Wednesday for a rare opportunity to climb the ladder without giving away points to a conference rival. Sitting at 10-9-3, they’re in need of a confidence-boosting win to launch their season into the next stages. Of course, the Leafs on 9-9-4 are in the exact same boat.
Both teams have shown promise, and have the potential to be in playoff hockey come seasons end. Ultimately, I have to back Vegas here. They’re better on the offense and in the powerplay. It’ll be close but the Knights with home advantage should get it done.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Vegas to Win
Thursday – CRICKET
Grab your sunscreen, bevvies and barbie. The summer of cricket is back.
Australia v Pakistan
The first test of the summer kicks off on Thursday when we host Pakistan at The Gabba in a heated match. After completely obliterating their T20 side, Australia were humbled when Pakistan tore through Australia A in the PM’s warm up. But, it’s a new day – and the game is anyone’s to take.
I think the Aussies should have this one in the bag. Despite some selection controversy (no Uzzie?!), the team seems relatively settled and the big hitters like Smith and Labushagne will be looking to reinforce their Ashes form at home. This should be a good test but I expect Australia to take the marbles.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Australia to Win