* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
13:15 – Clare v Laois: Laois (+11)
The prices available make Clare unbackable favourites to beat Laois this Saturday. So, this match is all about the handicap and if Laois can cover the 11-point spread.
Laois had their problems during lockdown and it prevented them getting in as much training as they would have in previous years. Now, that is also the case for most other counties but given where Laois were in their progression under Eddie Brennan management, the stoppage was particularly hurtful to them. However, having Mark Kavanagh and Jack Kelly back this weekend is certainly helpful.
It was a sticky enough game for Clare when these sides met in Ennis in the National League this season. It was only in the last quarter that The Banner County managed to pull away in that game. Both Brennan and his Clare counterpart Brian Lohan will be happy with drawing each other though.
The fact that this game is fixed for Nowlan Park is helpful to Laois though. It’s a long spin for the Clare players down to Nowlan Park and don’t forget they all have to drive down individually because of Covid-19 restrictions. Laois have a much shorter journey to Kilkenny for the game and I would give them a decent chance of beating the handicap here.
15:45 – Cork v Dublin: Dublin to win
I can’t for the life of me understand the match odds betting for this game, how are Cork such heavy favourites? Is it because they are one of the traditional ‘Big 3’ counties?
But, are Cork in the same mode as Tipperary and Kilkenny are now? Do they cause the same fear as those other two traditional counties when other teams have to play them? Cork just don’t do that anymore.
The fear of The Rebels is gone. There is no anxiety associated with playing against that famous red and white jersey these days. That’s simply down to the fact that the current crop of players have underachieved in the last decade.
Cork have had some good days, but the bad days unweight them heavily. This is going to be a really tricky game for Cork, especially as Cork are still without Darragh Fitzgibbon and that’s a colossal loss to them.
Dublin have an outstanding chance here and Cork is a good draw for them. You just can’t underestimate the quality of Dublin’s second-half performance against Kilkenny, they deserve huge credit to come back from 16 points down to level the game, and they were so unlucky not to win that game in the end.
The Dubs grabbed 2-20 last weekend and that’s a massive score to put up against any Kilkenny team, so I believe Dublin are coming into this game in Thurles in a really good place. So, if Dublin are ever going to beat Cork in a knock-out Championship this is it and I’m going to back Mattie Kenny’s men to do the business here.
John Mullane tips summary:
Clare v Laois: Laois (+11)
Cork v Dublin: Dublin to win
A double on these two best bets pays at approximately 4/1 with Paddy Power.
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