The Hunter’s Week Ahead – 8 Oct

Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds. 

Let’s get stuck in.

After the absolute wild ride that was the last weekend, let’s take a second to pause and break it down before we jump into the week ahead. The NRL gave us one of the most controversial finals in history and I’m not sure the Canberra fans will ever recover. The NFL gave us a great round of fixtures and the MLB has had a tense, if not predictable, start to the playoffs.

Of course, the week ahead promises to be just as good.

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 – ATP Shanghai

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One of the last stops on the tour, Shanghai always proves to be a hard-fought affair as players battle to claim that top ranking before the year’s end. This year has been no exception and we’ve seen the likes of Cilic, Shwartzman and Simon already bite the bullet. Tuesday gives us a great match up between two cult-heroes of their respective nations, as De Minaur and Isner face off in a trans-pacific showdown in the round of 64.

Alex De Minaur v John Isner

This might be my bias speaking, but De Minaur is one of the best young players on the tour right now. At the ripe young age of 20, he already has three ATP titles under his belt and a career-high number 24 ranking to show for his hard work. He’s fresh off a championship in Zhuhai and will be keener than ever to see if he can make it 2/2 in China with a win in Shanghai.

Standing in his way is the ever-impressive and consistent American John Isner. At the other end of the age spectrum to his opponent, the 34–year-old has seen his fair share of success, with 15 ATP titles and a couple of stints within the world’s top 10. He currently sits ranked 19th in the world but can compete with the best of them on a good day (or five days if he’s playing Mahut). At 2.08m tall, Isner’s gameplay has always been explosive and fast.

But it’s that explosivity that I think gives De Minaur the edge here. While Isner is certainly an endurance athlete, his age is definitely starting to catch up with him. This was on full display when he was trounced by the 21-year old Tsitsipas last week. Isner has been a top competitor for so many years, but it’s time for the new young guns to shine.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: De Minaur to Win

Wednesday – ODI Cricket

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You can tell it’s almost summer. Cricket has been slowly creeping its way back into our lives and as it continues to make headlines, I can only get more excited for the months ahead. Not to be neglected, the Australian women’s cricket team has been having an absolute screamer of a series against Sri Lanka and it’s about time I gave them some love.

Australian Women v Sri Lankan Women

On Wednesday, the Aussie girls face off against Sri Lanka in what will be the third of three ODI matches. Having absolutely trounced the Sri Lankans in the first two games, the Aussies will be feeling confident for the sweep come Wednesday – a win that will give them the new record for the longest win-streak (17).

I’ll keep this one short. With the way Healy, Perry and the rest of the Aussie girls have been playing, I don’t see Sri Lanka standing a chance.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Australia to Win

Thursday – FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

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Over now to the nation’s capital, where the Socceroos play their first home World Cup qualifier on Thursday. Hoping to give the Canberra fans something to cheer about after Sunday, the Aussie team will face off against Nepal for the first time in the two countries’ history.

Australia v Nepal

While not a critical game for the Australians, a loss at home against a minnow team like Nepal would not bode well for their qualification hopes. As a result, they’ll still be keen to claim a win here and catapult themselves to the top of their qualification group. Of course, a win won’t come easily, with Nepal already showing their worth in a 2-0 win over Chinese Taipei. Australia will be hoping for the same score-line as Kuwait (a healthy 7-0) to keep their World Cup dreams afloat, and are likely to do it come Thursday.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Australia -2.5

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