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View From Down Under: Early form boosts Jason Day as favorite for Australian Open

Jason Day is the betting favorite to win a star-studded Australian Open after rocketing up the leaderboard in the opening round of the Australian Open.

The former No. 1 wasted no time chasing a first at his home open at the Australian Golf Club with a five-under 66 for a tie for second behind clubhouse leader Cameron Davis.

Fellow Aussie Rod Pampling, who broke the course record in the final round of the Open in 2015, shot a 68, alongside Geoff Ogilvy (69).

Day’s first-round effort ensured he was Sportsbet’s top pick at $3.25 (+225) to lift the trophy on Sunday, with fellow former No. 1 Jordan Spieth paying $5.50 (+450) and 22-year-old rookie Cameron on a tempting $11 (+1000). Pampling is on $21 (+2000) to win, with Ogilvy at $26 (+2500).

Spieth teed off in the afternoon with US PGA Tour winner Cameron Smith, who is fourth favorite at $17 (+1600) to win.

Not even a late double bogey could stop Day roaring up the board as he looks to resurrect a lackluster season marred by injury and personal issues.

Australia’s odds of winning the ongoing first Ashes Test have lengthened despite a promising start at the Gabba.

England opener Alastair Cook made just two runs before being caught off Mitchell Starc in the second over of the day.

Despite late confirmation that David Warner had overcome an injury scare in time for the match, local punters will be happy to know Australia’s odds have opened up from $1.70 to win last week to a more appetizing $2.20 (+120), with England paying $3.10 (+210) and $3.60 (+260) for a draw.

Daniel Ricciardo is looking to end his F1 season on a high at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

Ricciardo has gone three races without a sniff of a podium, despite a fast-improving Red Bull car, and will pull out all the stops to earn a career-best 10th top-three finish for the season on Sunday.

The Aussie came home sixth in Brazil after an impressive drive through the field and is fourth favorite at Abu Dhabi at $7 (+600), behind world champion Lewis Hamilton on $2.50 (+150) and teammate Max Verstappen at $4.50 (+350).

The odds are tighter for Ricciardo to finish on the podium at $1.36 (-278).

The Wallabies were brutalized by a series of tough decisions in a 30-6 loss to England last week, but are expected to bounce back against Scotland on Saturday.

The Australians have improved significantly since their shocking 24-19 loss to the Scots at home in June and are paying just $1.50 (-200) to win at Murrayfield, with $2.60 (+160) for a loss.

Back in Australia, Sydney FC is the $1.50 (-200) favorite to hold on to the A-League lead with the most interest on the tussle between the second-placed Newcastle Jets and the under-performing Melbourne Victory.

The Victory finally claimed their first win of the season last week in Perth and are the bookie’s favorite to add a second in Newcastle on Thursday night.

Newcastle, meanwhile, lost 2-1 to Sydney FC, giving up its share of top spot.

Melbourne heads into the match on $2.50 (+150) for a win, $2.65 (+165) for a loss and $3.55 (+255) for a draw.