The Hunter’s Week Ahead – 22 July
Tips, Tricks, Picks, and Odds.
The action never stops.
After another weekend for the history books – where we saw the Netball World Cup decided by a single point, Mack Horton staging a silent protest, and the Wallabies, once again, playing terribly – we’re ready for another action-packed week ahead.
The global sporting world never sleeps, and it’s my job to ensure you’re aware of the best of the best that’s happening.
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 – MLB
The two greatest home-run scoring teams in baseball history (whether or not that’s a by-product of the new balls) are set to face off on Tuesday morning Australian time, in a battle for American league dominance that should go right to the wire.
Twins v Yankees
The Minnesota Twins have had a season to remember. They’ve been blasting their rivals out of the park like there’s no tomorrow – looking set to obliterate the franchise single-season home run record and (at their current pace) the MLB record in just 26 games – with 62 left this season. They need to average less than one dinger a game to break the MLB record.
So, has this translated into wins for the Twin City team? Sitting atop the AL Central on a comfortable 59-38 record, it’s safe to say it has. Barring some unforeseen cataclysmic form at the back-end of this season, the Twins should safely (at worst) slide into the wild card game.
Also sitting pretty in the AL are the Yankees in the AL West. Tied with Houston and only two games behind LA for the best record in the MLB, the Yankees have (once again) been a frustratingly good side. LeMahieu has the best batting average in the AL (0.333) and his pitching and hitting support have been solid all season. The Yankees are a tough team to beat on a bad day – and I have a feeling this game won’t be a bad day.
Sabathia (5-4) is pitching for New York against Perez (8-3). Both have had fairly stellar seasons and I don’t see either performing under par here. I can see this one being decided in the seventh inning or later, and I can’t help but side with the Yankees bullpen here. The Twins are a solid side, and they’ll go far this season, but NY are serious title contenders – and I think they’ll walk away with the win.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Yankees to Win
Wednesday – Test Cricket
Serving as a bit of a warm-up for the ashes, England take on cricketing minnows and geographic rivals Ireland in a four-dayer at Lord’s on Wednesday. Emerging from the triumphant highs of winning one of the greatest finals in the history of sport, the English cricket team will be looking to double-down and solidify their stature with a solid performance against Ireland.
England v Ireland
Ireland, a relatively new cricketing nation, will relish the opportunity to play a test at Lord’s – just their second overseas test after their close defeat to Afghanistan in India – and a ground where their headline bowler, Murtagh, has shone in his county performances since 2007.
England will head into this match expecting a comfortable win. Ireland can barely compete with teams like Afghanistan and Bangladesh – let alone the cricketing leviathan that are the English team. With that being said, there’ll always be a little bit of doubt. Ireland have looked solid in their ODI’s and T20’s leading up to this game – and wouldn’t it be oh so English for them to lose to Ireland on the same ground they lifted the world cup at the week before?
Obviously, I have to pick England to win this, but don’t be surprised if Ireland put in a good fight.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: England to Win
Thursday – NRL
Another Thursday, and with it comes more Thursday night footy, this time between two teams desperately clawing away for a spot in the eight. The Sharks host the Cowboys down in Cronulla for a game that could make or break their respective seasons, and with everything on the line, it’s setting up to be a great 80 minutes of action.
Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys
Cronulla come into this game desperate for a win.
After an embarrassing defeat to the baby Broncos a couple of weeks back, they suffered a cruel one point defeat against the Warriors on the weekend – two teams they would have hoped to beat on the path to finals footy. Fifita, the marquee player, has been nothing short of terrible these past few games, and that culminated in a binning against the Warriors – something that opened the door for the New Zealanders to claim the win. They’ll have to come together as a side if they want any hope at all of making the finals in, what is, one of the closest NRL seasons I’ve seen in a while.
The Cowboys come into this game sitting down in 13th place, but still, only two points away from the eight. They’ve put in a few solid performances at the back end of this season, and with a couple more wins could easily see their finals hopes revitalised. They put on a great show to beat the Roosters, and looked solid in defeat against a stellar Rabbitohs side. They’ve been improving all season and I can honestly see them squeezing into a finals berth.
So who’ll come away with the win on Thursday? Despite their home advantage, I can’t see the Sharkies doing it here. They’ve been too ill-disciplined and just don’t seem to want it enough. Cowboys should take this one.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Cowboys to Win