Your best bet
Sky Bet's tipsters pick out the best odds on this weekend's football, F1 and tennis
Last Updated: 22/03/13 5:00pm
Formula 1, International football and ATP tennis are on the agenda in this week's Your Best Bet.
Tennis tipster Tim Clement returns to the column to give his verdict on Andy Murray's chances in the ATP tournament in Miami.
For all else, Jamie Casey is on hand with his value tips on Republic of Ireland's tough trip to Sweden and Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Republic of Ireland and Sweden meet in a competitive fixture for the first time on Friday night with the odds stacked against Giovanni Trapattoni's men. Defensively, the boys in green have been shocking of late, with their confidence-sapping experience at Euro 2012 carrying over into the World Cup qualifiers.
Although they've got six points from nine, Ireland have conceded eight goals in their three games thus far, half a dozen of which came in the humiliating 6-1 home defeat to Germany last October. Minnows Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands emphasised just how easy it is to score against the Irish by breaching their defence in their other two group games, and I dread what's in store from Sweden.
Any side who fights back from four goals down against Germany is a force to fear, and they're not about to take their foot off the gas just yet as Sweden will be eying up top spot in Group C. There's still no Richard Dunne available, so Trapattoni may stick with the same defence that kept Poland at bay in their last friendly outing, but the hosts are good value to score within 10 minutes at 9/2.
The Republic have beaten Sweden in their only two meetings (friendlies in 1999 and 2006) but I expect Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his peers to prove far too strong for them on this occasion, albeit with a degree of mercy that the Germans were lacking. Ibrahimovic is the obvious choice to score first at 3/1 but for a better chance of collecting some winnings go with Sweden to win both halves at 9/4.
Andy Murray presents rare value as he looks to shrug off a wretched record in March's American hard-court swing by winning the Miami Masters.
The last three years have seen the Brit only go past the second round once at either event in Indian Wells and Miami, clearly feeling the effects of disappointing losses at the Australian Open.
While he suffered another final defeat at Melbourne Park this year, the 25-year-old is galvanised with the confidence of being the reigning Olympic and US Open champion.
His preparations are also geared towards performing here, having taken a month away from the tour to train near his Florida home, with his practice at Crandon Park ensuring he will be able to cope with the potentially gruelling humid conditions as well as anyone.
Murray looked slightly rusty in California following his break, suffering a quarter-final exit to eventual runner-up Juan Martin del Potro, but it always looked a tough ask as he went in cold, with all of the game's top names in attendance.
However, with matches under his belt and the added motivation of being able to move up to second in the ATP Rankings by winning the 1000 event, the Scot should be expected produce his best tennis in Miami, while his task is made significantly easier with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both absent.
Malaysian Grand Prix
Heavy rain on Saturday followed by light rain on the Sunday reads the weather forecast for Kuala Lumpur this weekend, so keep an eye out for rain masters Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton ahead of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Although he loves a good outing in the rain, Alonso is unlikely to steer his Ferrari to pole position, so I'd avoid backing that at 10/1 as the F138 is nowhere near quick enough to outperform the Red Bulls, even with Alonso behind the wheel in the wet.
However, Lewis Hamilton pushed his Mercedes hard in qualifying in Australia and I expect him to provide Sebastian Vettel's biggest threat in Saturday's fight for grid position. At 9/1 he's a great price to snatch pole whether it rains or not, with Vettel too short to back at evens considering the uncertain weather conditions and his unconvincing showing in practice.
It was a little wet, though, and should it turn dry and humid come qualifying then there's no overlooking Red Bull, who are 8/13 on to have a driver at the peak of the grid - there's no sense in backing against that but I'd avoid it until there's greater clarity on the weather. Mark Webber is 6/1 to claim a 12th career pole, which is fantastic value for a Red Bull - he set the fastest time in P1 and he could quite easily sneak in a quicker lap than Vettel on Saturday.
If it's raining during qualifying, though, back Hamilton to clinch pole with a 9/1 value punt, while Alonso is your man for race day if the wet persists, depending on how he gets on in qualifying, of course.
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