Sporting Life pick out five betting highlights for the week ahead

Five for the week

Every week throughout the year, we pick out five sporting highlights so you never miss a beat.

Our writers will provide all of the key information such as TV channels and kick-off times.

We continue with five sporting highlights for the week ahead.

Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival

When: Tuesday to Friday

Where: Cheltenham

TV: ITV and Racing TV

It’s the biggest week on the racing calendar as Cheltenham stage the Festival. Huge crowds, massive betting turnover and the biggest names in jumps racing make for an unmissable occasion.

Tueday sees one of the most open renewals of the Unibet Champion Hurdle in living memory with Christmas Hurdle heroine Epatante favourite for Nicky Henderson.

The Lambourn handler saddles Altior in Wednesday’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase as he bids for a third successive victory in the day two feature. It would be a fourth win at the meeting for the ten-year-old but he faces his stiffest test to date in against rising stars Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil.

It should be more straightforward for Paisley Park as he defends his Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle crown on Thursday while Frodon, the first half of the infamous golden hour, is back to defend his Ryanair Chase title. He too faces a tough examination with A Plus Tard and Min heading the Irish challenge.

Willie Mullins, trainer of the latter, sends Al Boum Photo over on Friday to try and become the first horse since Best Mate to win back-to-back Magners Cheltenham Gold Cups. Stablemate Kemboy, Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work and Henderson’s Santini head the opposition.

Horse Racing - Midlands Grand National

When: Saturday

Where: Uttoxeter

TV: ITV and Sky Sports Racing

The National Hunt season continues post Cheltenham with a huge betting heat in it’s own right. The Marstons 61 Deep Midlands Grand National is the highlight of Uttoxeter’s season and looks set to attract this year’s Ladbrokes Trophy hero De Rahser Counter.

He took in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on his only run post Newbury, finishing fourth behind Santini, and reverts to handicaps from an eight pounds higher mark than at Newbury.

Paul Nicholls’ Truckers Lodge finished second to Potters Corner in the Coral Welsh National last time and has been pointed at this ever since but the ante-post favourite is Christmas In April. He’s won three of his last four starts over fences, impressing when thumping Pertect Candidate at Exeter last time. He’s firmly on the upgrade and in very good hands, hailing from the Colin Tizzard yard.

Football - Liverpool v Atletico Madrid

When: Wednesday

Where: Anfield

TV: BT Sport

Liverpool are cruising to the Premier League title but their defence of the Champions League hasn’t been as straightforward as they would have hoped for.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently 1-0 down on the aggregate score following defeat in Spain and will need to find a way to get past an Atletico side with a reputation for strong defence.

The Reds are the favourites but Atletico can’t completely be ruled out. Diego Simeone’s men are top-four regulars in LaLiga and have experience of getting to the final of this competition in recent seasons. As much as Liverpool have positive European memories, so too do their opponents.

Liverpool are the favourites, but you can never rule out this Atletico team…

Golf - The PLAYERS Championship

When: Thursday to Sunday

Where: TPC Sawgrass, Florida

TV: Sky Sports Golf

The PLAYERS Championship marks the first time in 2020 that all of the world’s best golfers are together to do battle for one of the sport’s most coveted trophies.

Rory McIlroy’s return to the top of the world rankings can be traced back to this tournament last year, as he held firm to see off Jim Furyk and win by a shot. From there he added titles in Canada, Georgia and China to confirm that he’s right back to his best.

Victory in the PLAYERS had a similarly significant impact on Martin Kaymer in 2014, as he went on to win the US Open the following month, and whoever does triumph seems sure to be slashed in the betting for The Masters.

Others of note include Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka, though Tiger Woods does not take part as he nurses a troublesome back with Augusta on the horizon.

Sky Sports are providing wall-to-wall coverage of the tournament and viewers will be able to sit back and watch the field take on the par-three 17th, one of the most famous holes in golf.

Darts - Premier League

When: Thursday

Where: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool

TV: Sky Sports

The Premier League Darts continues at apace in Liverpool this week with the heavyweight clash between Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen the match everyone is talking about.

Van Gerwen is chasing a sixth Premier League crown, and fifth in succession, but faces stiff competition this time around with the likes of world champion Peter Wright, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson all present in a star-studded field.

Others matches of interest on Thursday see Wright take on Michael Smith and Anderson come up against the classy Nathan Aspinall.

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