Four ante post bets for 2018 you should get on now

Would make a nice little fourfold as well........

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Footpad to win the Arkle at Cheltenham – 7/4

Footpad’s claims for the Arkle are obvious. He was a very classy hurdler, rated 157 and finishing fourth in a Champion Hurdle. His two runs over fences to date suggest he’s a better animal again over the larger obstacles – with slick and sure-footed jumping belying his novice status. The second of these came at Leopardstown over Christmas when many of his stablemates seemed to be running below par. Owners Isaac Souede and Simon Munir also own Sceau Royale, the second favourite for the race, but they’ve shown on numerous occasions that they don’t mind running a few of their own against each other. So Footpad should run, he has the class, he jumps beautifully – he wins.

Chris Eubank to beat George Groves 4/6

Not exactly a steal on the odds this one, but a banker in our eyes. Either way, this WBA and IBO super-middleweight unification contest should be a decent watch if anything. Eubank Jr claimed in the presser that he’s ‘too young, too fresh, too powerful, too quick and too good’ and as much as we hate to admit it, we agree with all of it.

Groves is in a better place than he was two years ago following his split with Adam booth. He lost twice to Carl Froch (the second time he got knocked out in front of 80,000 people, did anyone know that? Carl?) and then to Badou Jack but looks to have built himself back up after partnering with Shane McGuigan.

Groves will have to do what Billy Joe Saunders did in the early rounds against Eubank Jr – be busy, be elusive and be winning on the cards. I think Eubank Jr learned a valuable lesson that night and he’ll be much more aware that he can’t concede early rounds by starting slow.

We think he’ll have too much power for Groves and we can’t see Groves picking him off for 12 rounds. Eubank will get the win here and we fancy him to stop Groves late. Get on now, he’ll only get shorter.

Grigor Dimitrov to win a Grand Slam in 2018 – 5/1

For years ‘Baby Fed’ has struggled to deliver on his talent, often showing flashes of brilliance and then flashes of pure crap. But he’s finally got rid of all the distractions in his life – Sharapova first and then he gave Serena Williams the boot (weird one that!). Now, he’s picked a less high profile, girl next door type in eh, Nicole Scherzinger. Whatever.

Anyway, the Bulgarian sits at a career high number three in the world rankings and finished off last year in formidable fashion, securing the biggest title of his career – the ATP Finals in London. He was unlucky to come up against a devastating (and eventual winner) in Federer at Wimbledon and then also to lose over five sets against Nadal in the semi-final at the Australian Open.

With Murray dropping out of the top 10 and Djokovic far from his best, we think this is the year Dimitrov lives up to the hype and delivers on all that talked about potential.

Tiger Woods to win a Major in 2018 – 11/2   Paul Casey to win a Major in 2018 – 9/1

Yea, we’ve gone head over heart here and stopped ourselves from backing the dream of Tiger to claim a major in 2018. It would be f*cking amazing though, wouldn’t it?

Instead we’ve gone for Paul Casey. Yea, not as inspiring is it? But focus on the money. This little thrill seeking Englishman has quietly gone under the radar. Since getting injured, divorced, giving up his European Tour card and moving to Arizona to focus on the PGA, nobody’s really paid attention to poor old Paul. But he seems to have his life in order. He’s got a new wife, been banned by Nike from mountain biking (minimal chance of injury folks) and he talks at peace about not having won a major yet – muck like Sergio last year – which, we think bodes well.

In addition, his stats speak for themselves. He’s had 10 career top 10’s in the Majors and had nine top 10 finishes this year. Yes, he only managed one top 10 in Majors in 2017 (at the Masters) but his other placings weren’t to be sniffed at – 13th in the PGA, 26th in the US Open and 11th in The Open at Royal Birkdale. He also made 23 out of 24 cuts and averaged 69.7 per round for the year, so the consistency is there.

Throw in the added distraction of the Ryder Cup that he won’t have to worry about and we think he’s a very good contender to be in the mix for a Major. Back him.

 Find all your 2018 punts over at PaddyPower.com

What do you think?