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Without doubt, the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse is the centrepiece of the Australian horse racing calendar. It goes beyond that however, in a similar way to the Grand National in the UK, or the Kentucky Derby in the USA. Its appeal extends past committed horse racing fans, stretching out into the general public. That’s true not just in Australia itself, but internationally too. Of course, Melbourne Cup betting is also enormously popular. For veterans, this is a key opportunity to get some serious bets down. For the more casual punter, this is a great time to dabble in racing betting with a few smaller wagers.

Whatever your betting experience, and whatever the size of your bankroll, this article will tell you everything you need to know about Melbourne Cup betting. Help you choose the best site for your needs, give you a rundown of the special offers you’ll typically find, provide a step-by-step guide on exactly how to bet on this prestigious event, and plenty more besides.

Top 10 Melbourne Cup Betting Sites

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Fixed odds & exchange betting options

  • Fixed odds and spread betting available
  • Useful horse racing tips
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android users

Horse racing live streaming

  • Huge number of horse racing markets
  • Price boosts available
  • Horse racing specials available

Mobile app available

  • Horse, greyhound and harness races covered
  • Excellent betting odds
  • Large number of future markets

Dedicated horse racing page

  • Leading horse racing odds
  • Virtual horse racing markets available
  • Live streaming on desktop & mobile

Daily Horse Racing Promotions

  • Dedicated horse racing betting page
  • Regularly offers best odds on horse racing
  • Meetings from AU and rest of the world covered

New horse racing markets every few minutes

  • Live streaming available
  • Competitive odds
  • Large number of daily horse racing markets

Large number of futures markets

  • Australia-owned bookie
  • Horse racing-specific promotions found
  • Harness racing markets available

Filter form feature

  • Huge number of horse racing markets
  • Filter form racing feature
  • 24/7 customer support

Racing multi builder

  • Attractive horse racing odds
  • Fast payouts
  • Ante post markets available

Melbourne Cup 2021

The Melbourne Cup field and weights have last year’s winner Twilight Payment framing the handicap. Irish hander Joseph O’Brien has been a great supporter of the race in his short training career so far, winning it twice since 2017. Whichever Hemisphere’s age system for thoroughbred racehorses you use, Twilight Payment is the oldest in the Melbourne Cup 2021 line-up, yet retains all of his ability for seven-time race winning owner Lloyd Williams.

He has had a similar prep to last year, winning the Irish St Leger Trial and then placing in the Irish Leger itself. That is stop Flat staying form in the Emerald Isle with only York Ebor Handicap winner Sonnyboyliston too good for him in the latter. Twilight Payment has significantly more weight than he carried in last year’s Melbourne Cup result under Jye Mcneil, who again takes the ride.

The leading British contender in the Melbourne Cup 2021 is Spanish Mission for Andrew Balding. A globetrotting gelding, this horse began his campaign out in the Middle East with two credible efforts, first when runner-up in a valuable staying handicap in Saudi Arabia and then fifth in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan. Once he returned to the UK, Spanish Mission landed the Yorkshire Cup from 2020 Irish Derby hero Santiago.

There were also a couple of subsequent winners in-behind that day.  Spanish Mission was a fine third in the Ascot Gold Cup to Subjectivist, although Stradivarius has since reversed that form with a game head success in the Lonsdale Cup back at York. Given his experience of racing overseas, however, it would be foolish to ignore the claims of Spanish Mission in the Melbourne Cup 2021 even if he’s high in the weights too.

Incentivise Heads Home Team & Melbourne Cup Betting

The complexities of European horses running in Australia means most Melbourne Cup horses are domestic animals this year. They include the favourite, Incentivise, who is two from two at Flemington and has made successful steps up in distance. The only defeat this in-form horse has suffered in his last 10 racecourse appearances came in a Cranbourne barrier trial.

Following wins in the Makybe Diva and Turnbull Stakes at the home of the Melbourne Cup 2021 earlier in the Australian spring, Incentivise took his form to a whole new level when bolting up in the Caulfield Cup. That is one of the ballot exemption races for this. At current Melbourne Cup 2021 odds and given his sequence of wins, Incentivise is favourite with bookmakers around the world with good reason.

There are a few from last year’s race back for another crack at the race which stops a nation. The fourth horse home, The Chosen One, stayed on but weakened close home. Going back up in trip should suit this one, but there is plenty to find on Caulfield Cup form with Incentivise. The Melbourne Cup fifth from 2020, Persan, also has some five lengths to make up with the favourite on recent runs.

Verry Elleegant is best known for her exploits in and around Sydney, but ran seventh in this 12 months ago. She has three Group 1 wins over shorter distances since that effort, but shaped well enough when a length third in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Very Elleegant represents the best of that form with the front two not running the Melbourne Cup 2021 unfortunately. She has more weight than last year, but is clearly one of the best mares in training in Australia right now.

Tralee Rose & Grand Promenade Closely Matched in Melbourne Cup 2021

Off the revised weights, there is little to choose between Geelong Cup scorer Tralee Rose and Bart Cummings winner Grand Promenade. The former has been consistent in hitting the frame on each of his outings this spring, culminating in that Group 3 success at Geelong. Grand Promenade meets Tralee Rose off worse terms than his Flemington triumph, however. For those looking to bet on the Melbourne Cup 2021 each way, it may be well worth considering both on the pick of their form.

Floating Artist is one of several former British and Irish trained horses shipped out to new handlers in Australia with an eye on this. He has a low weight among Melbourne Cup horses this year and went down fighting by a short-head in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last time out. Hotham Stakes scorer Great House is ex-Irish and thus has a similar profile to Floating Artist. The question with that one is whether he’s top class after two fifth place finishes in Group 1s beforehand, including behind Incentivise in the Caulfield Cup.

Similar comments apply to 2020 Irish St Leger Trial winner Delphi, who has spent the last the year in Australia. He did win the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield on his penultimate outing, though. Sir Lucan shaped like a non-stayer in the St Leger at Doncaster in September, so even a low weight in the Melbourne Cup 2021 comes with risks attached. Curragh Cup second Pondus was a close up fourth in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, so may have the most upside of the exported horses, especially on his placed efforts in Australia last spring.

Melbourne Cup 2021 Odds – Incentivise a Strong Favourite

Only two favourites have justified their Melbourne Cup odds being the shortest-priced runners since 2005. That is a poor record for the market leader, but such trends can easily be reversed. It’s worth knowing what the Melbourne Cup 2021 odds are before placing a bet. Here is the latest Melbourne Cup betting on this year’s race with current prices listed in the table below (odds correct as of 03:30 AEDT on Monday, 1 November):

Declared Melbourne Cup Horses Melbourne Cup Odds 2021
Incentivise 2.75 (7/4)
Spanish Mission 10.00 (9/1)
Twilight Payment 12.00 (11/1)
Grand Promenade 15.00 (14/1)
Tralee Rose 15.00 (14/1)
Verry Elleegant 15.00 (14/1)
Floating Artist 16.00 (15/1)
Great House 21.00 (20/1)
Sir Lucan 23.00 (22/1)
Delphi 26.00 (25/1)
Pondus 26.00 (25/1)
Persan 31.00 (30/1)
Explosive Jack 41.00 (40/1)
The Chosen One 41.00 (40/1)
Selino 67.00 (66/1)
Ocean Billy 101.00 (100/1)
She’s Ideel 101.00 (100/1)
Knights Order 102.00 (101/1)
Carif 126.00 (125/1)
Future Score 126.00 (125/1)
Master Of Wine 126.00 (125/1)
Johnny Get Angry 151.00 (150/1)
Miami Bound 151.00 (150/1)
Port Guillaume 151.00 (150/1)

With only two horses shorter than 11.00 (10/1) in the Melbourne Cup field this year, it’s clear that there is a strong favourite. Incentivise has very short odds but with good reason as noted above. A shock isn’t out of the question based on Melbourne Cup 2021 odds and you should never be put off betting on a horse by its price if there are bits of form you like. Overseas runners are next in the betting, simply because they have come a long way from the UK and Ireland to compete. Winners of key trials and horses who shaped well in them are prominent in the Melbourne Cup 2021 odds too. This explains why Australian Derby victor Explosive Jack and Sydney Cup hero Selino are such big prices in comparison.

What to Look For in Melbourne Cup Betting Sites 

Australia doesn’t have the widest selection of online sportsbooks, but there are still plenty of good options. Narrowing these down to the very best choices for you isn’t always easy, but it can still be a lot of fun. To help guide your search, here are a few of the biggest things you should look for when picking a Melbourne Cup betting site.

  • Competitive Melbourne Cup Odds

    Quite simply, if a bookie doesn’t have good odds, you’re already on the back foot. Turning a profit on any sports market is a big enough challenge, without being handicapped by poor prices. 

    Fortunately, when it comes to a specific event like the Melbourne Cup, comparing prices is easy. Simply pick a handful of races, and open the list of odds up on a few different Melbourne Cup betting sites which you’ve got your eye on. Check the prices for the same runners on each sportsbook, and immediately discard any offering disproportionately low odds. 

  • Special Offers

    Thanks to some strict government legislations, Australian punters get a tough deal when it comes to betting promotions. Welcome offers are completely banned, and there are restrictions on ongoing deals too. 

    That said, there are a few offers available when betting on the Melbourne Cup online, and you can see a handful of them in the ‘Melbourne Cup Betting Offers’ section below. The important thing is to pick a bookie with offers that specifically appeal to you. If you’re a risk-averse bettor, for example, getting extra places deals are extremely useful. If you’re planning to follow a no-risk matched betting strategy, prioritise offers which dish out free bets instead. 

  • Ease of Use

    Some bookies might have excellent odds and offers, but are a chore to actually use. To fully enjoy your betting experience with the Melbourne Cup, you need to find a platform on which this isn’t the case. Crucially, you must do so before the event actually kicks off (the feature race of Melbourne Cup day is always on the first Tuesday of each November). 

    Doing so is easy. Identify a bookie you like the look of, and either head to their desktop site or download their mobile app. Then, simply begin browsing. Test out the horse racing betting section, and the specific area for the Melbourne Cup. Gauge how intuitive it is to actually place wagers. Is the customer service easily accessible? Do all the pages and features load quickly on your device, or are you experiencing lagging or crashes?

  • Payment Methods

    This one’s pretty straightforward. Simply identify the payment method, or methods, which you’d like to use to fund your betting account – debit card, eWallet, bank transfer, and so on. Then, look at the available payment options on any Melbourne Cup betting sites you’re considering, and check the method you want to use is actually provided. 

    There are a couple more things you might also want to look at. Firstly, are there either minimum or maximum payment limits which might affect you? Secondly, does the bookie charge fees for processing a deposit or payout – if so, how much are they?

  • Security

    This is another key thing you must scope out before signing up with a bookie for your Melbourne Cup betting. After all, you want to be sure that both your money and personal details are going to be protected at all times. 

    Top betting sites will provide details on their security measures. At the very least, these should include SSL encryption, firewalls, and a separation between customer and company funds. Know Your Customer checks are also important to prevent fraud, and be sure to check the bookie’s licenses too.

Melbourne Cup Specials

The Melbourne Cup carnival is not only a great opportunity for punters to make money, but – naturally – for bookies to drum up new business. One of the most tried-and-tested ways to do this is through special offers, some of which will be exclusively available for the Melbourne Cup. Because of government restrictions, bookies can’t advertise these promotions as they do in other countries. You can simply create an account for free with any online bookmakers you’ve got your eye on though, and check them out for yourself. 

The specifics will change between Melbourne Cup betting sites, but these are several of the most popular offer types you’ll find:

Free Bet

Any offers giving you a free bet should be immediately prioritised. Some will require you to spend a certain amount of money to get a token, while others will refund certain losing wagers as a free bet.

Money Back if 2nd

This offer type applies to race winner bets. With it, if your chosen runner fails to win but does finish second, your entire stake will be refunded. This might be as cash or a free bet.

Extra Places

Each ways are a very common bet type for wagering on the Melbourne Cup. With an Extra Places deal, the number of positions in the place part of your bet will increase by one. Two becomes three, three becomes four, and so on. Your odds for a place win will drop slightly, however.

Predict the Card

This promotion is almost impossible to win, but is fun regardless. Some bookies will give you the chance to guess the finishing positions of every runner. In the unlikely event that you get it right, you can win as much as $1 million.

Melbourne Cup Betting Offers

Australian bettors in general aren’t blessed with a huge range of promotions, because of the aforementioned tight government restrictions. That said, the cupboard isn’t completely bare here, with a few highly respectable offers still available. These are three of the best ones available right now, each of which would also be useful on the next Melbourne Cup. 

Best Melbourne Cup Betting Offers

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100% Match on Second Racing Wager as Bonus, up to $100


    Double Your Fixed Odds Winnings on Certain Races


      Money Back if Your Horse Finishes 2nd or 3rd

        How to Place a Bet on the Melbourne Cup

        Sportsbooks tend to be incredibly easy to operate nowadays, regardless of your experience level as a bettor. This definitely applies to Melbourne Cup betting sites too. To help you on your way though, here’s a quick-and-easy guide on exactly how to get started betting on the Melbourne Cup online. 

        Step 1: Choose Between Melbourne Cup Betting Sites

        You’ve got a couple of dozen good options here, but we’ve already narrowed those down into a top 10, which you can see at the top of this page. If you don’t fancy any of those, check out the ‘What to Look For in Melbourne Cup Betting Sites’ section instead, to help guide your search. 

        Your number one priority here should be finding the right site for your specific needs. Identify your own priorities – for markets, promotions, payment methods, and so on – then pick a bookie which definitely matches them. 

        Step 2: Create an Account

        Now that you’ve picked a site, you’ll need to create an account. This is extremely straightforward with most modern bookies. You’ll simply need to provide a selection of personal details across several short stages. These will include your name, date of birth, address, and so on. You’ll also need to agree to the full T&Cs of the website here, and should be able to set both your marketing preferences and deposit limits. 

        Step 3:  Fund Your Account

        Before you can actually place wagers, you obviously need some money in your account. If you followed our earlier advice, you will have picked a bookie which supports your payment method of choice. 

        If so, simply head to the deposit screen and pick that method from the available options. Type in your card details, or link your betting account to that on another site like PayPal. Then, just enter the amount you want to deposit, and complete the payment. 

        Step 4:  Find a Melbourne Cup Betting Market

        With your account funded, it’s time to place a wager. Head to the horse racing section of your chosen sportsbook. The Melbourne Cup should have its own subsection within this. Browse the list of markets therein, and – when you see a selection you like – click on its odds to add it to your betslip. 

        Step 5:  Place Your Bet

        Head over to your betslip (usually on the right of your screen), then check that you’ve added the correct wager, and that the odds haven’t changed. Enter how much you want to bet in the stake box. 

        If you want to place a simple singles wager, you can now go ahead and confirm the bet. If you want to place an each way instead, there will usually be an ‘E/W’ box you can tick (remember, this will double the size of your stake). If you want to place a fixed odds multiples bet, you’ll typically enter your stake in a box near the bottom of your betslip, rather than next to an individual selection. 

        When Do Melbourne Cup Race Betting Markets Open?

        There are two main ways to bet on horse racing: ante-post, and pre-race. Both are available options when betting on the Melbourne Cup. 

        Ante-Post Melbourne Cup Betting Markets 

        Ante-post (also called ‘futures’) betting is much more long-term. These markets open for the contest months in advance. In fact, sometimes they open for the following year straight after the current edition of the event finishes. 

        The attraction of ante-post markets is that they have significantly higher odds than their pre-race counterparts. The drawback is obviously that they’re much more unpredictable. You could be backing the best horse in Australia last year, but – by the following year – it might not even sniff the starting line due to injury. 

        Pre-Race Melbourne Cup Betting Odds

        This is the more common way to bet on the Melbourne Cup. It might offer lower rewards, but it also carries much less risk. 

        Melbourne Cup race day is on the first Tuesday in November. The regular pre-race markets will typically be opened on the Saturday night prior to this. By this point the final field of runners will have been finalised, and you’ll have plenty of information on the health and form of each final field horse heading into the race. 

        5 Utimate Melbourne Cup Betting Tips

        As with any other sports event, making money on your Melbourne Cup race betting is never easy. Of course you can simply swing for the fences with a few high risk, high reward wagers, and you might get lucky. You might also blow up your account, however. 

        The smarter play is to gamble responsibly, in a considered way. Here are five top Melbourne Cup tips to help you do just that. 

        Pick the Right Bookie

        This should be done comfortably in advance of the Melbourne Cup kicking off – at least a week before, preferably. You can pick one of our top 10 Melbourne Cup betting sites, or find your own by following our advice earlier in this article. Either way, make sure you choose a bookie which is suited to your needs, and get a new account created and funded in plenty of time. 

        Do Your Research

        The Melbourne Cup is one of the biggest events on the Australian sporting calendar, even surpassing the Caulfield Cup. As such, it gets a huge amount of online attention, with most of that related to betting. 

        Use that information to your advantage. Find a whole range of different experts with proven track records, and read or watch their online content. You can get access to the vast majority of these betting tips without paying a single dollar. Getting hold of the racing form for the whole Melbourne Cup field is also easy, and you can use this to analyse the runners’ previous form – not just in this event, but in other recent races too. 

        Have a Staking Plan

        One of the keys to responsible long-term gambling is to only set aside a fixed amount of money. Identify exactly how much you’re comfortable wagering – and potentially losing – before the Melbourne Cup kicks off. 

        When you’ve got that overall amount, decide how you’re going to divide it up. Work out how many runners you like, based on your research, and allocate your stakes accordingly. 

        Mix Your Bet Types

        This ties into our last tip. A decent variety of bet types are available for the Melbourne Cup, representing different ratios of risk and reward. 

        A trifecta (see below), for example, is a highly risky bet, and you should only allocate a small amount of your overall staking plan to it. Melbourne Cup winner bets are more straightforward, but – with some 24 or 25 different horses typically running – still difficult to win. As in greyhound racing, each ways deliver smaller rewards, particularly for the place part of the bet. They give you a significantly better chance of making a return, which is why many punters view them as the best bets.

        Of course, you’re not limited to simply placing one bet. In fact, an advisable strategy is to have some high-risk, high-reward wagers with lower stakes, and vice versa. 

        Use Those Promotions

        All betting promotions should give you value one way or another. This might come in boosting your winnings, or simply reducing your chances of making a loss. 

        Either way, as an existing customer of a sportsbook, these deals are available to you. Use them. An extra places offer, for example, can be the difference between losing your entire stake on a sizable each way bet, or making a respectable return instead.

        Melbourne Cup Odds 

        As mentioned above, it is incredibly important to do plenty of research prior to your Melbourne Cup betting online. With that said, we should also point out that neither expert opinions nor a runner’s form are any guarantee of success. 

        To get a sense of what we’re talking about, here’s a quick list of where the favourite has finished in the last 10 Melbourne Cups:

        Year Favourite Finished
        2021 Incentivise 2nd
        2020 Surprise Baby 13th
        2019 Finche 7th
        2018 Yucatan 11th
        2017 Marmelo 9th
        2016 Hartnell 3rd
        2015 Fame Game 13th
        2014 Admire Rakti 22nd
        2013 Fiorente 1st
        2012 Dunaden 14th
        2011 Americain 5th

        As you can see, in the past decade literally one favourite has actually won the Melbourne Cup. You have to go all the way back to 2005 for the last time it happened before that. What does this mean for your Melbourne Cup betting? Mainly, that there is no ‘safe’ pick. With around 25 horses competing, the chances of even the supposedly-best horse winning – the favourite – are pretty slim. 

        Thus, one of our biggest Melbourne Cup tips is to sprinkle wagers across a few different horses. Betting on all 25 won’t be profitable, but – by backing at least several runners in this incredibly unpredictable race – you greatly increase your chances of hitting a big win. 

        Melbourne Cup Betting Guide – Trifecta

        Melbourne cup bettingDifferent bettors have different levels of risk and reward with which they’re comfortable. If you’re happy to take on some extra risk, in return for some seriously big rewards, a trifecta might be the perfect way for you to bet on the Melbourne Cup. 

        A trifecta bet – as the name suggests – involves betting on three different horses. In a regular trifecta, you must actually predict the top three finishers – in order – to win your bet. Alternatively, you can place a ‘boxed’ trifecta. You still need to pick the top three runners here, but they can finish in any order. The former will deliver higher returns, but your chances to win are obviously better with the latter.

        Either way, winning a trifecta bet is tough. That’s why we’d definitely recommend being sensible with your stakes. The Melbourne Cup betting odds for trifectas are always high anyway, so – even for a smaller spend than usual – you can still make an impressive return.

        Where To Watch the Melbourne cup Live in Australia

        From a practical point of view, live streaming isn’t as important here as it is with a sport like soccer or rugby. In-play betting isn’t a factor, after all, and neither are cash out tools. The reason for wanting to watch the Melbourne Cup live is far more straightforward – because it’s fun! This race is exciting enough in itself, but – when you’ve got a few wagers on it – it becomes even more enthralling. 

        If you simply want to watch it on TV, then Network 10 provides coverage most years, including several hours of lead up previews. Subscribers to Foxtel can also watch the event on several channels, including Sky Racing 1, while cord-cutters can use an online service like Kayo. In addition, several Melbourne Cup betting sites each year will also let you watch along live. The exact brands vary from year to year, but the three listed below are usually your safest bets. 

        Best Melbourne Cup Streaming Sites

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        Horse racing live streaming

        • Huge number of horse racing markets
        • Price boosts available
        • Horse racing specials available

        Dedicated horse racing page

        • Leading horse racing odds
        • Virtual horse racing markets available
        • Live streaming on desktop & mobile

        Racing multi builder

        • Attractive horse racing odds
        • Fast payouts
        • Ante post markets available

        Melbourne Cup Betting Online – Previous Winners

        It goes without saying that each Melbourne Cup presents its own challenge for bettors. That said, it really can be useful to look into the past when you’re trying to plan for the future. In that spirit, here’s a list of the 10 previous three year old-plus runners who claimed the Melbourne Cup prize money in Victoria, along with the jockeys who led them to victory. 

        Year Horse Jockey
        2020 Twilight Payment Jye McNeil
        2019 Vow and Declare Craig Williams
        2018 Cross Counter Kerrin McEvoy
        2017 Rekindling Corey Brown
        2016 Almandin Kerrin McEvoy
        2015 Prince of Penzance Michelle Payne
        2014 Protectionist Ryan Moore
        2013 Fiorente Damien Oliver
        2012 Green Moon Brett Prebble
        2011 Dunaden Cristophe Lemaire 

        Bottom Line

        The interest and excitement generated by the Melbourne Cup each year is unparalleled in Australian horse racing. It’s known as ‘the race that stops a nation’ for a reason. If you’ve always wanted to get a taste of the betting action, there’s never been a better time to do so. 

        To get the ball rolling, just pick between our recommended Melbourne Cup betting sites or find your own by following our guidelines. Fund your account, then get started on your research in plenty of time before the big event. Remember to monitor your stakes, and you should enjoy a responsible – and potentially profitable – Melbourne Cup.


        What are the best sites for betting on the Melbourne Cup online?

        Betfair and Ladbrokes are extremely well-known brands, who provide excellent coverage of the Melbourne Cup. If you'd prefer to go with a more local Australian brand, the likes of, PalmerBet, and Neds are all strong options.

        What is the minimum bet you can have on the Melbourne Cup?

        The minimum bet amount varies from bookie to bookie. An industry standard amount is $0.50, but this can be as low as $0.01 on, or as high as $1 on BlueBet.

        What are the most important Melbourne Cup tips?

        There are two. The first is to do plenty of research, taking advantage of the wealth of expert betting tips available online. The second is to set a strict overall budget for the event, and be sure not to exceed this.

        How can I find the best Melbourne Cup betting odds?

        This is pretty straightforward. Identify two or three horses you have your eye on, and a handful of bookies you like the look of. Then simply compare the odds on those runners across the different sportsbooks, and pick the one with the best prices.

        What are the best special offers for Melbourne Cup betting?

        You should definitely prioritise anything which gives you free bets, which can subsequently be used on future horse races, greyhound races, or anything else you like. Any offers which boost your odds are obviously useful, and - if you’re planning on placing each way wagers - look for Extra Places deals.

        About Joe Halliday

        About Joe Halliday

        Joe is a highly-experienced writer, with a focus on sports betting content. His specialties include sportsbook reviews and betting tips. A keen football fan, he also loves analysing and writing about the beautiful game.