Thursday, April 29, 2010

THURSDAY ............

Back to earth with a bump on Tuesday, when Barnet failed to show up in what was a vital game for them at Accrington. Since when the North London side have terminated the contracts of virtually all their backroom staff, with Paul Fairclough re-taking charge for the final two games of the season, desperate times require desperate measures !

His first game back at the helm will be the crunch match at Grimsby Town on saturday, where they will be facing a very motivated home side. Some Town fans actually travelled to Accrington to watch the midweek game and will not be too worried by what they saw, with one of Barnet's better efforts on goal hitting an ice cream van in the car park !

Anyway, we are still batting at 10 from 12 winning previewand I am hopeful of getting straight back on track tonight with a bet in the Blue Square Premier playoffs. Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that I favour Chris Wilder's Oxford United to get a result at Rushden & Diamonds.

Oxford looked to be headed back to the Football League for much of the early part of this season, but lost their way and allowed Stevenage to take command at the top of the table and with it the sole automatic promotion spot.
Luton Town another playoff side with a huge following might argue otherwise, but IMO United are the biggest non league club and could regularly command 10,000 crowds in Division 2. They will take almost 3,000 supporters to the game tonight and,with a ground capacity set at less than 7,000, this is going to give them a huge advantage. They have regrouped after their mid season blip, come here basically injury free and had gone over 550 minutes without conceding a goal, before allowing a late and hotly disputed penalty at Eastbourne last weekend. Oxford rested a lot of key players for that game and the goal saved Eastbourne from relegation, so you will appreciate which of the two had the greater motivation .

Oxford have had the better of recent h2h meetings here, taking four points from the last two clashes at Nene Park, including a 1-1 draw here last month at a time when Rushden were on fire ( scoring for fun and on a long unbeaten run) and United looking to get back on track, despite which, the visitors enjoyed the greater possession and created more chances. I have some contacts at Oxford and know that they have been focused on the post season for about a month now, doing everything possible to keep everyone at the club in the right frame of mind, mood is very upbeat and I expect them to take all the beating over the two legs and have to take them with the minimum handicap start this evening.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



I have lost count of the number of times that Stanley have blown a 2-0 lead at home in the last two seasons, they are very gung-ho here, just do not know how to sit on a lead and continue to "go for it" regardless of the score.

Which is ideal for Barnet, who will secure their Division 2 safety with three points tonight, a draw will not change too much, as they travel to Grimsby, a team who are inform and the one looking to replace them in the sanctuary of 22nd place, at the weekend. Their season then ends with a home game against already promoted Rochdale, which is not a bad fixture, but Dale are very talented and if Barnet have not collected the points by then, the pressure on them might prove too much to handle. They have vowed to go all out for the win tonight and to put this matter to bed, they are kind of "freerolling" as defeat would leave them in a similar position to drawing, so there is little point in sitting back and they are well aware of the situation.

Hosts are 9-1-11 here, so you will see how rare draws are in any case and home fans have seen a league high 74 goals this season and they have played a game less than most other clubs ! We know what to expect from them, they will push forward and then do so some more, the score at the time being almost immaterial. That is not to say they are without ability, they can outplay the best this division has to offer at times, it is just that it is often only for 70-75 minutes.

They do not have a clean sheet since I was last in short trousers, ok, that is a slight exaggeration, they have managed one in the last three months, but have conceded two or more in their last five home starts, 13 in total and surely Barnet will be relishing this fixture, well, maybe not relishing, but if you had to pick an away fixture that would give you your best chance of victory, this one would be right up there near the top of the list.

If forced to big a winner, I would definitely opt for the visitors, but do not think either side is capable of keeping a clean sheet, so given Stanley's home record and Barnet's urgent need for three points I have to take the "over". Especially given the North London club's record on the road (4-2-15) with 42 goals conceded, a total only "beaten" by Darlington.

"Over" 2.5 goals 1.94 asian line..... this is now trading at some ten clicks less, which is obviously not as attractive, but might rise slightly nearer kick off, or be available "in play" if you are prepared to be brave and wait !

Good Luck.


I am interested in three games today, one in particular, where I have placed two bets on the match in question, one of which is just my fifth "maximum" bet of the year, so, I am effectively betting triple units on one game, which is big for me.
My plans are to put something online this afternoon, what this is exactly, depends on how the market reacts in the meantime.

I have not taken a position on either of the Champions League matches yet, but am genuinely excited by the Barcelona-Inter game tomorrow and at this stage do not have a preference. It would be fantastic (for the game) to see the hosts say one up at the break, or with 30 minutes to play and just watch it unfold.

Tonight I guess most neutrals will be rooting for Lyon, Bayern are not the most popular club ( well, they are German after all........ only joking !) and Louis Van Gaal, with or without his notepad, is a difficult man to love, although doubtless his family would say otherwise ! Having said all that, I was very disappointed by the lack of ambition shown by Lyon in the first leg, so I am sitting on the fence for this one.

Back later.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Valladolid won 2-0, they started a little slowly and Gijon had the best of the opening quarter,but the visitors came on very strong towards the end of the first half and were never in real danger of losing the game after that point.

All credit to JC who has got his team focused and well organised in double quick time and I would certainly not rush to oppose Valladolid at the moment.

That makes 10 winners from 11 selections on the blog, I do have one more idea left for today, but will not be posting it online, as the reason(s) for betting should still be valid next week and I cannot give all my ideas away in an open forum. I did send it as a "freebie" to a couple of blog readers who wrote to me yesterday on other matters, so am hoping it will oblige.

Good Luck.


Valladolid brought in Javier Clemente to save them from relegation at the beginning of the month and the vastly experienced coach, with 35 years of management under his belt, despite still being "only" 60 years of age, has immediately stamped his authority and style on the team, They have beaten Sevilla 2-1 with a degree of ease and were possibly worthy of a bigger winning margin and have also backed that up with two clean sheets on the road, in games where they enjoyed the better of long periods. The possession stats in the Sevilla match do Valladolid scant justice, they created 20 chances, dominated the game, took a two goal lead and then sat back, daring the high flying visitors to score twice. This is very much the Clemente MO, his well organised sides are very hard to break down. The visitors do remain in big trouble and every point is absolutely vital, but now have a bit of swagger and JC will have them scrapping for every ball and looking to keep things very tight.

Hosts have not scored in three and failed to beat Xerex and Tenerife another two sides struggling in the drop zone, in their last two home starts. They are not entirely clear from relegation concerns of their own, but do have a points buffer, they will be desperate not to lose and are aware that another point would be likely to keep their gap over the bottom three to a minimum five, which might be enough. This could well go under and 0-0 is certainly not out of the question, but I prefer the away side whom I see as the likeliest winner, if there is to be one and am happy to take them getting the minimal handicap start.

Quick side note, Valladolid could go to Barcelona on the last day of the season, needing something to stay up, in theory, if the Catalan side have already clinched the title this could be a good fixture, especially if they have a Champions League final ahead. But Clemente is said to have lost the national team job, despite a 31 match unbeaten run, partly because he refused to pick Bare coach Pep Guardiola after a falling out between the two. This meant Guardiola missed out on Euro 96 and I doubt that has been forgotten, better for Pucela to get the points they need before they find out for sure.

Valladolid +1/4 ball asian line, circa 1.93 as I type.

Good Luck.

SUNDAY MORNING .............

I awoke this morning to find that the big yellow ball that has been hovvering in the sky over my corner of South-East England for the last three weeks has disappeared and been replaced by rain, so basically, normal service is resumed !

Goals also rained in the second half of the Wycombe -Swindon game after the break yesterday and landed our 9th winner from ten blog selections. The point did not really help either, which is why both were gunning for all three at the death, it does keep Wycombe alive a little longer, but their Division 1 survival is now hanging by a very thin thread and Swindon are left planning for the post season.

Elsewhere, Brentford had to wait a long time for an equaliser at home to Yeovil, after falling behind to a hotly disputed penalty, but finally got the minimum their efforts deserved and are now eleven games unbeaten. Two games left for the mighty Bees and they have made it a target to finish the season with this run intact, they go to Swindon next week and finish with a home game against Hartlepool, who's survival was confirmed by results elsewhere yesterday.

I have picked out three "winners" today and am very keen on two of them in particular, both of whom I considered making "maximum" wagers, before taking the more cautious option. Will do my best to post at least one of these on the blog later in the day, maybe two, so please check back later.

Good Luck.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ADAMS PARK ..... HT 1-0

I have a friend at the Wycombe game and can update the situation, few chances in the first half in a VERY physical encounter, played in tough conditions, weather is warm and fairly humid for the time of year and some players are already struggling a bit.

Hosts took the lead deep in first half injury time, which will force Town to gamble and with the prevailing conditions, the match could get very stretched and I remain hopeful .......... famous last words !


That will be it for today on the blog.

Good luck with all your bets !


Three rounds remain in Division 1 and still much to play for, no more so than at Adams Park where I expect end to end action with both teams, sooner rather than later, throwing caution to the wind and going all out for the three points.

The visitors have a post season spot guaranteed and lie just two places and points off the automatic promotion spot, with their inferior goal difference this is effectively three points. However, they face Millwall one of the clubs above them in the table on the final day of the season, so a win today, together with any slip up from Leeds, would leave matters in their own hands. Therefore, they are basically "free rolling" for second place and can afford to go all out for the win, or rather, would be crazy not to.

Wanderers have shown a lot of fight in recent weeks and from an "impossible" position have given themselves a lifeline, by winning their last three and scoring eight goals in the process. They remain five points from safety, so failure to win today could mean relegation if other results go against them and there is no way they are going to sit back for too long.

I am taking the "over" 2.5 goals at circa 1.93 and expect to collect !

Good Luck.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Istres won by the minimum margin, which makes eight winners from the last nine blog selections at an average price of over 2.14, which I am very pleased with.

I know from correspondence received, that many of you have bet all or most of them and I am thankful for the feedback and kind words.

I have four bets for saturday, one in each of the four english divisions, which has a nice symmetry to it and hopefully I will be as happy with them come early evening !

Not sure about my plans blogwise, as I have a very busy schedule and am hoping to go to a game, but will advise you one way or the other by mid/late morning.

Good Luck !

FRIDAY .......

I have plenty of ideas today and even more for the weekend ahead, including what is looking like my fourth maximum bet of the year tomorrow, where I am hoping to go four from four !

Time is in short supply, so, as briefly as possible, I am keen on Istres in Ligue 2, who host highflying Brest and can be backed at circa 1.97 level ball, which seems more than acceptable to these old eyes !

Hosts are in desperate straits at the foot of the table, effectively three points from safety if we take into account goal difference, with just five rounds remaining. Next week they travel to face leaders Caen, who are 12-5-0 at home for a fixture which offers little joy and surely they will be greedily eyeing up the points on offer this evening, as a more likely route to safety. Realistically they can only be looking to catch one or more of the three clubs immediately above them in the table and with two of those, Guingamp and Chateauroux facing each other, a win tonight would carry even extra weight.

Istres do not score enough goals, just 28 in 33 starts and that has clearly been their downfall, but on home soil they make the most of the few they do manage and are a respectable 6-6-4, so just four defeats in 16 starts. Last year they ran away with Nacional and were very dominant here, so in total, have only lost 5 from 35 in the last two seasons, they should not really face anyone with an inferiority complex at the Parsemain stadium.

Brest have had a terrific season and are heading back to Ligue 1 for the first time in almost two decades, since when, they have spent most of their time in the third level of french football, so a real about turn in their fortunes. They would obviously like this confirmed as soon as possible, but it is going to happen regardless of what happens on the pitch tonight and results elsewhere could almost as easily confirm this in any case. This is a fairly long winded way of saying, that I do not feel they will be as motivated as Istres.

The visitors have a 6-6-4 record on the road, which proves they are tough to beat, but they have travelled to strugglers Strasbourg and Guingamp recently and failed to score in each, results which will give Istres encouragment to go with their motivation and off level ball, they have to be my shout.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WEDNESDAY ................

Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 last night to set a fascinating second leg at the Camp Nou, where the football world will be watching to see if they can complete the job. I love Jose Mourinho (not like I love Brentford, that would be akin to adultery), his interviews are always fanatstic and he just makes me smile, but one thing is for sure, his hat size will have increased just a little overnight and it was not small to begin with !

That made seven wins from eight selections on the blog, but such is the way with these things that I am still angry about the loser........... some people are never happy !

Speaking of Brentford, as I normally am, the Bees found a late winner to defeat Tranmere 2-1 and are now up to 10th and ten games unbeaten. Not much for them to play for, so it says a lot that Andy Scott has managed to keep his team focused and on a roll. Now they are just two points behind Bristol Rovers and if the Bees could get above them, it would earn me bragging rights for the summer, with a close friend a "Gashead". So hopefully they stay on the case.

The two clubs met at the weekend, the match was far from a thriller, but highlights, which you can view here, are worth watching for the wonder save at the finish from Wojciech Szczesny . We have discussed the young polish international goalkeeper, on loan from Arsenal many times and given the Gunners problems in that position and despite his age, surely he will at least be given a place on the bench next season.

Quite a few interesting games today and I have already picked three to get involved in, if possible, I will try to preview one or two on here this afternoon, but cannot promise anything at the moment.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS ................

Opposing Barcelona is not a good long term policy and a quick route to the poor house, but I find it impossible to pass up Internazionale the Italian champions, on home soil, getting a handicap start. Even more so, when the Catalan giants, who usually look for the win in every start, will surely be delighted to return to Spain with the tie all square and could even possibly live with a 2-1 reverse.

The visitors have been unable to fly to Milan and have made the 600 mile road trip in two parts, driving to Cannes on Sunday and completing the journey yesterday. That will be a minimum ten hours on the bus and it is very rare for Spanish clubs to make any trips of more than a couple of hours by road, so it will be interesting to see how they shape up, both here and at the weekend, if they have to travel home the same way.

Inter have looked impressive recently and doubtless, master tactitician Jose Mourinho will have a plan to stifle the creative talents of Messi, Xavi et al. His side have stepped up a gear or two since the competition entered the knockout stage and will take heart from the group game here, which despite Barce having the best of, ended 0-0. JM will have learnt from those two games and his team certainly seem on a different level confidence wise now, full of the self belief that the Portugese coach has himself in abundance. They have not had to travel and have had a full day's extra recovery time from the weekend league fixtures and three clear days on the training pitch to fine tune their game plan, whilst the Barce superstars have been working on their "wheels on the bus" harmonies, so advantage Inter in that regard.

I took them earlier in the week, with the half ball (update:quarter ball !! sorry, this was a typo ) option and whilst odds on this have dropped a little, it still looks the best way to play this game.

Good Luck.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SERIE A .....

I am quite keen on Atalanta today, their need is great and they are in arguably their best form of the season, looking for a fourth straight win at the Atleti Azzurri d'Italia stadium and on the back of a fine battling display at Roma, where they refused to lie down after conceding two early goals.

I really liked the spirit they showed in the Eternal City, which was in stark contrast to the way Fiorentina tamely gave up, after Inter took the league in the Coppa Italia semi final in midweek. The Tuscan side have only a Europa League place to play for and for many, that is no motivation at all. They will surely be focused on a push for a return to Champions League football next season and the prospect of a distracting and long campaign in the lesser competition, must have limited appeal.

The hosts have five rounds to play and are looking for a minimum eight points to give them a realistic chance of staying in the top flight. With road games at Inter and Napoli ahead, it is plain to see that points in Bergamo will be easier to come by, although the game in Naples might not be as tricky as it looks on paper, depending on what happens to the Azzurri in the meantime.

They will be looking to keep within touching distance of Bolgna, whom they have still to host and who look the most likely to face the drop , if Atalanta do pull off the great escape. I feel certain that the home side will have the greater motivation and stomach for a fight today and that takes you a long way at this stage of the season.

Atalanta -1/4 ball asian line ..... currently 2.19.

Good Luck.

SUNDAY .....

Way off the mark in the Birmingham -Hull game, where the visitors appeared happy to settle for a point, I must be missing something , I know they have three home games to come and they are fixtures you might well cherry pick, but the last match at the KC against Burnley, was even easier on paper and we all know what happened there. When the points are up for grabs, surely you have to go for them.

Tranmere saved our stakes and gave themselves a survival lifeline, Norwich confirmed their promotion to the Championship and Leeds ,once again, have decided to do things the hard way . Brentford have forgotten how to lose, are now nine games unbeaten and heading for a top ten finish, which is a fantastic achievement in a division where some clubs are operating on a budget 3-4 times greater than the Bees. I understand that the entire yearly playing budget for Tranmere, is equavalent to around six weeks salary that free agent Joe Cole is looking to earn from a summer move ! Footballers are entertainers, well, some are (!) and I do not have a problem with them earning decent money, but how can that possibly be right, or good for the game ?

Rochdale and Notts County will be in the third tier next season, congratulations to them, especially Dale who have earned promotion for only the second time in their 103 year history ! They have come so close in recent years and do so on a very tight budget, with a small squad and with a degree of style , is a fantastic achievement. Whether they will be able to compete with the likes of Southampton next year , is open to debate, Saints are run like a EPL side, have a wealthy owner, fanatstic facilities, huge gates and will probably budget to spend 80-90k per week more on salaries than a club like Rochdale. Not exactly a level playing field, but nobody said football was fair !

I have three selections today and will post one or two of these on the blog later in the day.

Good Luck.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


After a shocking 3-0 home defeat to Wycombe in midweek, Tranmere Rovers are drinking in the last chance saloon and simply HAVE to find a way to beat inform Exeter City this afternoon. Otherwise, supporters can start booking those away days at Accrington and Lincoln, a far cry from trips to Leeds, Norwich and Southampton, that have created so much interest in the third tier this season.

It will not be easy, the visitors are very well organised and are on a long unbeaten run, but most of those have been draws and doubtless they will set up to keep what they have got, right from the kickoff. That will be very different from the approach of Wanderers , who came out all guns blazing for the three points and today, Rovers should at least be able to take a while to settle and get a toehold in the game.

I expect boss Les Parry to return to 4-4-2 which suits Rovers much better and surely they will gamble on Andy Robinson and a couple of other key players, who might not be quite 100% fit, but what are they waiting for ? Robinson is very talented, too much so on his day for Division 1 and despite usually carrying a couple of kilos too much, could turn this match on it's head and it is time to start repaying the fans, who stumped up the cash to bring him in on loan. I understand that he will start and that is enough for me to take a chance on the home side and if they play as well as in the recent home defeat of champions elect Norwich, they will win.

I am not overly concerned by the 3-0 loss, as at 0-1, they had no choice but to go for it and they will certainly he helped at the back, by the emergency loan signing of giant 19yo goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi from Liverpool. The younster is well thought of at Anfield and has already been called up into the Hungarian national squad and played a lot of games on loan at Hereford. He will go straight between the sticks today.

Doubt that this will be too pretty and first goal might well decide it, but I have to take a little on Rovers giving up the quarter ball in asia.

Good Luck.


I do not have too much time to spare today, but want to post a couple of previews on the blog, however brief they might be, so apologies in advance for that.

Going to start at St Andrews, where Birmingham City host Championship bound Hull City, both will be looking to bounce back after very heavy defeats in games, where there were claims that both "gave up". For City, that seems harsh, as they have had a very solid season, have little to play for and were playing a talented Manchester City side, hungry for points. The Tigers, who have fallen a long way short of that nickname, tamely conceded four goals on home soil to fellow relegation rivals Burnley, a side who had taken on the role of division whipping boys and the manner of that loss is much harder to understand and accept.

Hull are still without an EPL road win this season, in fact, they have not won away from the KC Stadium since March 2009. That's 22 starts, 17 of which they have lost, conceding an eyepopping 51 goals in the process. Birmingham will not want to be the side to end that sequence and will be looking to get back on track ahead of their derby game and last "big" match of the season with Villa next week. They play a far more expansive style now and have both scored and conceded in their last seven starts.

The visitors will have to go out looking for the three points, might well score, but at the moment you fear for them should they concede and another collapse could easily transpire. Under the circumstances, I have to bet the "over"" 2.5 goals at oods against, circa 2.02 currently available on the asian markets.

Back later.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Leeds won very comfortably last night, it might have worried some of you (ok, me too) when Carlisle equalised just before the break, as the visitors should, once again, have been three or four up at that stage. However, they came out of the dressing room fired up and put the game to bed within five minutes of the restart. Leeds now have their destiny back in their own hands and will surely take care of business this time round.

That made four really nice winners in a row on the blog and I have found two very strong bets for today and am considering posting one or both on here, but am undecided about plans at the moment.

Elsewhere, the Bees drew with a desperate Southend side 2-2 and that is eight games unbeaten for the Bees, who are playing without pressure, although several are hoping for new contracts. We can expect another summer of "wheelin and dealin" at Griffin Park (The Theatre of Sleepless Nights), which has been the case for the last two seasons, plenty of coming and goings and once the dust has settled, the squad will be a little stronger.

That is the way of modern day lower league football, loyalty, on both sides, is a thing of the past and the loan deal is king . For an actual transfer fee to be paid for anyone outside the EPL , is a major surprise, you only need to look at deadline day business to see that, when only a handful of the dozens of deals done, were of the permanent variety.

At this stage, I would normally wander off down memory lane, but will resist the temptation just this once.

Like the rest of the footballing world I watched El Clásico at the weekend, of course, if the truth be told I watch everything and was actually viewing that, the Masters and PSG-Bordeaux at the same time ! Ronaldo again failed to show up in a big game and it is getting harder to refute the claims that he is a flat track bully who only shows his best against weaker opponents. He was not the only culprit, few of this very expensively assembled squad showed up and I had to keep reminded myself that Gonzalo Higuain was actually on the pitch.

These are the two best sides in Spain by a country mile of course, a quick look at the table will tell you that they are a point and a half per round (!) better than half of La Liga, that is both stunning and shocking. The overall standard has fallen like a lead balloon, Barcelona are the best club side in the world and Real are doing all they can to cling on to their coattails, but the rest are struggling. This is all to do with money, the big two have it all, they negotiate their own television deals separate from the rest, who have to live off the remaining scraps.

This basically means that Barce and Real receive about 2.5 times more from broadcasting rights than the EPL clubs and puts them right at the top of the footballing food chain. No other Spanish club is close to the top 20 of earnings, which ensures that third place is all they are ever going to be playing for, at least until someone in power realises how bad this is for the game, which is unlikely. I know we are in a similar position in the EPL, but at least the television money is shared more evenly, although too little finds it's way down the league ladder.

Watch some Spanish football objectively, the standard is very poor and for the forseeable future the league is likely to be decided solely by two "derby" games per season and that is not good enough. People call La Liga the strongest league in world football, believe me, that is no longer the case. Long term, there will be no winners, including the big two, from this situation.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Swindon's failure to beat Exeter last night, along with their inferior goal difference, has left them with a mountain to climb to claim what appears to be the single remaining automatic promotion spot. Therefore, we are virtually down to one from two, of Leeds United and Millwall.

Both have tough looking road games at Carlisle and Yeovil respectively tonight, but United must feel things are turning back in their favour after consecutive wins and the fixture compiler has done the south east London side few favours, with the schedule also throwing up an away game at playoff chasing Huddersfield on Friday night. Town are a very strong home side (11-8-1) and every point is vital for them. Millwall are faced with an enormous amount of travelling and two tough road games, in a very short space of time, when bodies are still recovering from the Easter programme.

Leeds know that whilst the last thing Huddersfield, arguably their biggest local rivals at the moment, would want to do, is help them in any way, but their need is equally as great which is perfect for United. They must feel that their destiny is back in their own hands and going to a venue where they have won on their last three visits, including 3-2 in the LDV Area Final in February, they will arrive with positive mental memories and looking for all three points.

Hosts are in reasonable form and have promised to attack and also look for the win, which is ideal and whilst it is always a big game when United come to town, they basically have nothing to play for. Also, I refuse to believe that they are not physically and mentally drained after one of the most gruelling schedules I can remember in the Football League. Carlisle is something of a football outpost and they are used to half a lifetime on the road, but the last month has been ridiculous in the extreme. They have been to Wycombe, Southend, Wembley and in the last eight days alone, Charlton and Brighton, all of which are round trips of circa 600 miles, So , we are talking about some 55-60 hours on a bus, 6-7 nights away from home and little true recovery time. I expect them to pay for this over the closing weeks of the season.

There is some bad feeling from the LDV game here, but it is hard to see how that will further motivate the locals, as there is never a lot of love for Leeds from opposing fans or players and really, it is the visitors who should be looking for revenge.

They played well for an hour at Yeovil last week and whilst they had to survive a few hairy moments at the end of the game, could and perhaps should, have been four goals up long before then. All that matters was that they claimed three much needed points and followed that up with an easy win over Southend. They created plenty of chances in both games, with double digit attempts on target in both, which with the offensive options they have, even with an out of sorts Jermaine Beckford, is enough to win almost any match.

They took a while to get going against Southend, but the visitors were looking to slow things down and Leeds are far happier when opponents play at a higher tempo, as the home side will this evening.

Beckford might be dropped, he was subbed before the goals came on Saturday and Gradel, Becchio and Snodgrass are in far better form and Sanchez Watt, who we discussed recently and who is on loan from Arsenal, will surely be given a little more game time after coming of the bench late in the last two. Arsene Wenger will not be overly pleased with the five minutes game time his youngster has had so far and I am sure we will see more of him tonight.

Carlisle are 10-3-7 at home, which indicates that they go for it at Brunton Park, which they have vowed to do this evening. They have already lost here to many of the top sides and with this game so important to the visitors and Leeds, despite recent woes, still having the best away record in the division (ok, same as Norwich), I fully expect Simon Grayson's men to come away with the spoils.

Took them last night at around 2.0, anything at or above 1.90 is acceptable in my book.

Good Luck.

Monday, April 12, 2010

MONDAY ..............

Phil Mickelson won the Masters by a comfortable three strokes and to be honest, he said blowing his own trumpet, the day's play went pretty much how I expected, with Big Phil pulling away over the back nine to earn an emotional triumph.

Sometimes the good guys win and PM seems quite a nice bloke too !

Going to take a day off today blog wise, tomorrow looks huge with a full lower and non league programme in the UK and I already have several solid ideas, so please check then, when I will do my best to post something on here.

Good Luck.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


OK, this one is easy, the US Masters is "always" won by one of the final pairing, at least it has in 18 of the last 19 years, this is not a course where it is easy to play catch up on the Sunday. So that leaves us with leader Lee Westwood and his closest challenger Phil Mickelson.

Next up, we all know that the first 63 holes of most golf tournaments are just for show, that not too much happens until the back nine on the final day, when the real business starts. Well Big Phil is ten under par for that stretch, six shots better than the englishman, so get that 44L green blazer pressed and ready !

Of course, it is not quite that simple, but the course sets up really well for PM, especially the par 5 13th, where he is already five under this week and it is over these holes, Amen Corner 11 through 13, that this tournament is likely to be decided. I think the others are too far back, although to write off Woods just four strokes off the lead is always foolhardy, but I think the baggage he carried into the tournament, will eventually prove too much and will see him come up short.

Westwood is a proven multi worldwide winner, but has never previously led in a major before this week and whilst he remained very focused yesterday, when Mickelson was charging. I think he was helped greatly by playing with his fellow countryman and friend Ian Poulter, which gave him a buffer against what was going on elsewhere on the course and there was plenty !

Now he has to battle head to head with Mickelson, who is ultra popular, looking for a third Masters victory and will have massive support from the galleries. 2010 has not been a great year for the newly slimline californian, just one top ten finish todate, at a time of year he normally racks up the titles, but he has had other issues. His wife Amy has been battling breast cancer but, and this is key to family man Mickelson, she and their whole family have travelled to a tournament for the first time in a year and it is plain to see that, this has left him more relaxed and able to concentrate fully on what he does best.

I fully expect Mickelson to win tonight and rate him a double stakes bet at anything above the generally quoted 2.50......... quite a bit higher available on the exchanges.

Good Luck.

SUNDAY ..........

I have three selections today, which include my second and third maximum bets of 2010, so it is going to be a massive or expensive day !

My beloved Brentford put in one of their better performances of the season yesterday and despite having little, to play for, they thumped playoff chasing Huddersfield 3-0. The first half was pretty even, but only one side in it after the break.

This was in stark contrast to their performance in the 0-0 draw with Exeter on monday, but the players admitted to being tired and out on their legs for that game and the five day break was clearly much needed. Brentford are a club on the up, look booked for a top 10/11 finish on their return to Division 1 and must have a chance of a playoff spot next season. From a purely selfish point of view, I would like to see Norwich, Leeds and Millwall all up by one route or the other this year and prefer neither Sheffield Wednesday or Crystal Palace, who would be big players at this level to come down. Not asking much am I ?

Southampton will be many people's (my) idea of favourites, but it is hard to see the division being stronger than this year and it would not take too much improvement to see the Bees get an extra dozen points or so next time round........... it's nice to dream !

Back later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Ebbsfleet were outclassed at Rushden today and could easily have lost by more, the other two selections won fairly comfortably, both at good odds and ensured a decent profit on the day for blog readers.

I have some solid news for tomorrow, including what looks at this stage, a maximum bet, only the second one of 2010 and will do my best to post something on here by late morning.

Good Luck.


Building skyscrapers, supporting Brentford, these are not pursuits for the faint of heart and only those with the strongest of stomachs should make their way to the KC Stadium today. For a match that will not be pretty, but might well decide the EPL fate of one of these teams .

Both will be fired up, no quarter will be given, neither can keep a clean sheet to save their life, just one in eleven for City, which came in that painful game with Fulham and said more about the lack of ambition and poor fortune of the London club, than the defensive qualities of the Tigers. For the visitors, it is 24 games, 36 hours of football since they last stopped an opponent from scoring. Infact, it was in the reverse fixture, which they won 2-0, but the Clarets have regressed since then and hit an all time low on saturday evening, when they lost 6-1 at home to Manchester City. They were a defensive shambles that night , 3-0 down inside seven minutes and it could easily have been five at that time ! I saw something new in that game, home supporters leaving the stadium after eight minutes of play ! Things were even worse after half time, when supporters were joined in the pub by Kevin McDonald , who was substituted at the break and made his way to the nearest hostelry to watch the rest of the game ! Whilst amusing if you are not a Burnley supporter, this was totally unacceptable and perhaps an indication of how low morale is at the Turf Moor club.

If this was earlier in the season, I would expect the visitors to change things round today, try to keep things very tight, get ten men behind the ball and get some confidence back. But they do not have the luxury of that option and have to go all out for three points, effectively five points from safety and running out of games, only a win will realistically help their cause.

Under Ian Dowie Hull have improved a little, but are very skinny odds today and I prefer taking the "over" option, I expect both to score and one earlyish goal could see this develop into a shootout.

"over" 2.75 goals 2.26 asian line.

Good Luck.


Massive game at the foot of the Championship, hosts lie just outside the drop zone, with a game in hand over most of their rivals, Argyle are in deep trouble, four points from safety and with an inferior goal difference to the two teams, including Watford, they are looking to catch.
Dire home form has got them in such a mess, on the road they have drawn just twice, but won six, two more than Nottingham Forest and the same number as Leicester City, who are both looking to make the promised land of the EPL via the playoffs. Therefore, they will arrive with a degree of confidence and can hardly be expected to sit back, they won't, they will go all out for the three points.
You could argue that the home side might settle for a point, but I do not think it will be that type of game and could get very stretched. The Hornets went all out for the win and played well against EPL bound WBA on Monday, so why look for less today. Anyway, despite having four games left after today, this is Watford's penultimate game at Vicarage Road and certainly the "easier" of the remaining points on offer. In form and "local" rivals Reading are the last team to visit this season, which will be just as competitive and against a more talented opponent, on the road, Watford have not won for six months ( !), so in many ways a win today is equally important to the hosts.

Although Plymouth struggle to score and no side has created fewer chances this season, I do think that there will be goals in this game, but when the dust has settled, I expect Watford to collect the points and go a long way towards securing their Championship status. They are set to be without two suspended players, which is not ideal, but at this stage of the season application is more important and gritty scottish boss Malky Mackay will have his team flying out of the dressing room with fire in their bellies.
Waford -0.5 goal 2.23 asian line.

Good Luck.


I am hoping to briefly preview several games on the blog today, just basic notes, because, as always, time is short and I have come to the conclusion that several days per week have less than 24 hours !

Going to start with the Rushden-Ebbsfleet game in the Blue Square Premier, discussed the visitors recently and have listened to their last two games on local radio. They are fighting hard, scoring (and conceding) freely and are desperate for points. In the loss at Salisbury, they were by far the better team for an hour and could, perhaps should, have taken the three points that day. However, despite having a man sent off in a six pointer with Eastbourne, they showed terrific heart to bounce back immediately and to hold on to win a five goal thriller.

Now they travel to meet a Rushden side unbeaten in ten starts, but which has drawn their last two and is all but guaranteed a playoff spot, they need a win from four games to be 100% certain, probably a point would be enough and in reality, results elsewhere will most likely confirm it regardless of what happens at Nene Park today. They are the better side of course, but look to be coasting into the post season and trying to conserve energy after a draining few weeks. They have a massive last game of the season, when Luton come to visit, in front of a sell out crowd, so that game will get them primed for the playoffs. I doubt they will match Fleet's intensity of performance today and a couple of the visitors have extra motivation, if that were needed, having failed to impress on trial at Rushden.

Hosts will rotate a little and give a couple a break. I have taken some +1.25 goals on the visitors at close to 2.0, this is still on offer at 1.90 + which is fair IMO as is the 9.0 for the away win which was available on the exchanges.

Back later.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


The two Ligue 1 bets were disappointing on Sunday, OM were always going to be happy to hold on to their single goal lead after being reduced to ten men with 20 minutes remaining. They restricted Lens to just three attempts on goal all game and under different circumstances would doubtless have looked for that all important second goal.

Auxerre also came up short despite taking the lead, they dominated possession (57%) and created an enormous number of chances, with 22 attempts on goal, but could not find a second goal. So, all in all, not much luck with those two !

Marseille play again tonight when Sochaux come to the Stade Velodrome, there are few surprises when the visitors come a calling, they will get ten men behind the ball and try to hold on to what they have got. This normally works pretty well for a time, they tend not to concede early, few inside the first 30 minutes or so and only one inside the opening 17 in their last 22 starts. They held out for the full 90 minutes on the road at Bordeaux , for an hour at Montpellier and until six minutes from time at Monaco, but eventually allowed two in each of those. They are three of the very best home sides in Ligue 1 and going to another this evening, it will surely be business as normal.

Hosts almost always find a goal, scoring in their last 14, but it usually takes a while for the OM steam train up to work up to full power and in their last eight starts, only one came before the 30 minute mark and that arrived after 20 minutes of football. Given those stats, how the game is likely to play out and the importance of the result to OM, who will go two points clear at the top of the table with a win, I am going to look to play them "in running" after 10-20 mins, hopefully giving up one goal or maybe even less (they are currently quoted at -1.25 and -1.5) , providing of course they are level or even a goal down (which seems unlikely) at that stage of the game.

I like live betting more and more, it enables you to get a feel for the flow of the game, if you are betting favourites or overs, you are almost always getting far more favourable quotes, even 2-3 minutes into a game and at that stage, how much has really changed ? If you have a clear idea about how the early stages might play out, like above, why bet early and take the much tougher quotes, it makes little sense.

No team in Ligue 1 has averaged more than 0.8 goals per game in the first half of games this season and in the top five european leagues, only Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Inter have averaged over one goal in the opening 45 minutes. No Bundesliga side has come close and that is considered a very open, high scoring league. We all know that more goals come in the second half of games in general, so why the rush to bet ?

Good Luck.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


I am very interested in Ligue 1 today, the title race is going down to the wire and is the most open in recent history with six teams seperated by a Gauloises cigarette paper.

Two fixtures catch my eye in particular Marseille -Lens and Auxerre -PSG. These feature home sides desperate to stay in the title hunt, meeting opponents that recently knocked them out of the cup, with both visitors having little to play for in the league and semi-finals on the very near horizon.

Massive incentive for OM who will go above champions Bordeaux if they win by two or more goals and that would leave the title destiny in their own hands. They have not lost since a cup loss away to Lens in the cup some seven weeks ago and are scoring freely, 18 in their last 7 on home soil and in their last 14 games in total. Visitors have other objectives and once falling behind, the floodgates could open and we can certainly expect OM to push for a second goal at the very least. Niang and Cheyrou out for OM , but they were going to rotate anyway, with another home game on Wednesday, so one or both would probably have missed out in any case and it is just that the decision has been taken out of Didier Deschamps hand's.

Auxerre met a very focused PSG here in the cup just 12 days ago, with the Parisians going through on penalties. Now they arrive in a comfortable mid table position, with a semi final ahead and home game with the current champions next weekend, I do not think they will play with the same level of intensity and any cynics amongst us, might feel that a win for the home side, which would see them go top of Ligue 1, would have left both teams getting exactly what they wanted from the two games .

I am not saying that is the case and that this is some sort of payback for Auxerre, but it is not impossible and I view that as a kind of bonus. What seems certain is that PSG will not offer such dogged resistance this afternoon and I expect the greater motivation of AJA to see them through. Hosts only have one national title in their history and would be shock winners of Ligue 1, but three points today would at least leave them in pole position to claim a Champions League spot, which is a mighty prize in itself.

Marseille -1.5 goals 2.0 +

Auxerre -0.5 2.14 +

Good Luck.

Friday, April 02, 2010

EASTER ............. DAY 1

Good start to the Easter period, with the Salisbury "over" selection following on from the two winners last night and I am personally 4 from 4 on the day (so 7/7 for April) , with one game in France tonight remaining, from my five "picks" this morning.

I could have posted all these on here I guess, as I no longer operate a paid service, however, IMO it would be foolhardy for me to share all this information and thinking on a public forum, when it costs me time, energy and money, especially time, to arrive at these selections. Also, I often like to follow teams, or trends, for a game or two and to pre warn oddsmakers in advance, who doubtless trawl the blogs and forums, also seems crazy. BTW for the cynics amongst you and we all like to be sceptical at times, I did actually send today's selections to one blog reader and a few friends this morning.

Pretty sure that I will post something tomorrow, so please check back then.

Good Luck tonight to anyone betting, including me and the Bees who are entering the Lion's den !


Huge amount of rain fell at Salisbury pre kick off and now, with five minutes to play until half time, it is absolutely torrential, game not 100% certain to continue after the break, as a date to replay the match was actually discussed before the start !

Update of the update ! Rain stopped just as half time came, guess that will give them a chance to work a little on the playing surface. With regard to the game, it was all Salisbury for the opening 15 mins, since when, Fleet have improved, looked the better team and the more likely to score next.

#2 Players on pitch for second half.

#3 1-1... 30 seconds into second half !

#4 ....... third goal has arrived ! 2-1 65 mins.


There are some going to be some very weary teams in non league football over the coming weeks, so many postponed games at the turn of the year, means that many clubs are facing a huge fixture pile up and are forced to play up to three times per week.

We have already seen the benefits of keeping track of these, errors will creep in and teams will lack the mental strength to fight back after failing behind, especially when they have little motivation to do so and are faced with another match in 48-72 hours time. Games will be more open, especially in the 5th tier and below, but this trend has already surfaced in the BSP, with only two of the last 21 starts, producing a 0-0 or 1-1 scoreline. In other words, the other 19 have produced a positive result, or involved four or more goals.

I think it is worthwhile looking at "overs" in this league, or backing any team you fancy to win, rather than with the level ball, or minimal handicap option. Personally I have bet "overs" in the Salisbury - Ebbsfleet game today at circa 1.86, the visitors are well rested atm, having not played for 13 days, infact, they are probably the freshest team in the Conference. They have also had to stew on a 6-1 thumping from Luton for almost a fortnight, so will probably come out fighting like wounded animals today. They have very few injury concerns and will be out to claim three points from a vital game, which could re-ignite their survival hopes.

A win for Salisbury would go a long way to sealing another season in the top flight of non league football and I think we will see two sides attacking each other, as both are struggling big time at the other end of the pitch. Fleet are "over" in 12 from 15 and have conceded 15 in their last five outings alone. Ten of the hosts last 15 have produced three or more goals and they have allowed 12 in their last five. Expect these two to go toe to toe, I feel that the visitors are overpriced to end up ahead at circa 3.70 and might also take a little on that, but rate the goals bet slightly superior.

Good Luck.

FRIDAY ..............

No real previews, but two from two in the blog yesterday, with Fulham taking a lead to Germany for the second leg and Valencia and Atletico sharing four goals, in a match that could not have been more open. It was an end to end thriller and if you did not watch the match live, I suggest that you take a look at the highlights, which should take about 80 minutes !

Wayne Rooney is out of action for 2-3 weeks and will be sorely missed by United, but I wonder if this is a blessing in disguise for the national team. He has been playing at such a high level for so long this season and carrying far too much responsibility within the team, that sooner or later, something was going to crack and if this is really just a short term injury, it might be better in the greater scheme of things to have a little time out.

Today, is a holiday in the UK and I want to spend some time with my family. I do have a massive five selections (!), including a strong pick amongst the non league fixtures and will try to post something on the blog later in the day, but cannot commit to anything at the moment and it might just be a line or two.

Good Luck.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

THURSDAY ............

We got back most of the Plymouth losses with Forest Green last night, the in form BSP side finding a late winner against a Barrow team that were looking for a 0-0 draw from the off and who did not mount an attack, worthy of the name, until after 70 minutes.
Most eyes were on the two Champions League games of course and even Arsene Wenger, who is often guilty of not seeing too much on the pitch, noted that his beloved Gunners were fortunate in the extreme to register a draw with Barcelona. Don't get me wrong, I rate the Frenchman very highly and consider the day he joined Arsenal in 1996, the best single day's business the club have ever done, but his eyesight frequently fails him on matchday !
Hard to believe that Barce did not return home with a win, or that Inter did not add a second or third goal against CSKA, after battering the Moscow goal in the second period, but the ball is round as the saying goes and sometimes has a life of it's own. All four quarter finals remain interestingly poised and doubtless one will be turned on it's head in the return legs, which take place next week. I mention that because it will be very interesting to see how these clubs perform at the weeekend, with most facing vital domestic fixtures, especially Bayern Munich and Manchester United, who play virtual title deciders against Schalke and Chelsea respectively. Sir Alex and Louis Van Gaal (notebook et al), perhaps not the two most lovable coaches in world football (!), will be earning their corn in the next seven days and neither can afford to put all their eggs in one basket. Their two blue opponents must be rubbing their hands with glee and sending off cheques to the schedulers as I type !
The Europa League is a decent competition now that we are at the business end and l assume that all eight quarter finalists will be anxious to win, what would be a hard earned trophy. Not going to write any previews, as I expect to be busy on here over Easter and my two fingered typing skill can only stretch so far.
However, I do expect both Valencia and Atletico to score this evening and have taken over 3 goals in that game at circa 2.11 and also feel that Fulham will be very motivated to take a lead to Germany for the second leg and might play at too high a tempo for Wolfsburg , 2.15 + for the home win looks decent value.
Good Luck.