Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
All still to play for at the top and bottom of Segunda with just a single point separating third from seventh in the hunt for a La Liga spot and as many as 12 teams looking to avoid the drop. Normally in these circumstances, I like to take the home side looking to avoid relegation, as their desire is often a little greater, but I don't quite see it like that today. Spanish football is in something of a mess, only three clubs and I doubt you could name the third (Numancia) are opearting at a profit and there are going to be some huge changes in the next season or two.
Real Betis: Goitia, Ricardo, Rivas, Juanma, Arzu, Caffa, Damiá, Capi, Mehmet Aurelio, Pavone, Odonkor, Iriney, Jonathan Pereira, Carlos García, Nelson, Nacho, Juande y Rodri.
Real have made hard work of this at times, but seem to be coming with a perfectly timed challenge and are on a four match unbeaten run.They lie in fourth spot outside the top three on goal difference, but with so many teams battling for promotion probably know that they need 9 or 10 points minimum from their remaining four starts and this hugely experienced group, both on and off the pitch will be greedily eyeing up the three on offer today at Huesca, who usually play at a lower level and who have conceded ten in their last four outings.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I will start with some basic info and then discuss how this is likely to benefit or put at a disadvantage, individual teams.
All teams have to annouce their 23 man squadS on June 1st , although injured players can be replaced up to 24 hours before that team's opening match.
The Venues :
Durban .... sea level, although much of the metro area is hilly, with some parts as high as 850m, but for our purposes... sea level.
Cape Town .... sea level, but it can get very windy and wet here, remember this is South Africa's winter.
Port Elizabeth ..... sea level.
Nelspruit ..... altitude 700m
Pretoria ...... altitude 1350m
Bloemfontein ..... altitude 1395m
Polokwane ..... altitude 1300m but proably the "short straw", venue is isolated on the Mozambique border, with coldest seasonal tempuratures, tiny size wise with a population of just 140,000 and facilities to match, some countries are set to play both here and Cape Town, which is some 18 hours by road (they will fly of course) away.
Rustenburg ...... altitude 1500m.
Johannesburg ...... 1750m +
Lets put these altitudes in context, highest capital city in europe is Madrid at 646m, five of these are double that, with parts of Joburg three times higher. It will be an advantage for any teams that have played at altitude coming down to sea level and tough for those moving up, to acclimatize in the few days available between games.
I will of course be looking further into the games, but have to point out one or two things for you to keep an eye on.
Firstly teams that played in the Confederations Cup last year, will have got invaluable experience of the conditions, with all those matches played at high altitude venues. Brazil and the ultra fit USA side flourished in the conditions, Spain less so, although they were coming off almost 18 months with little break, however, I do have my doubts about their ability to handle the conditions (certainly in relation to their very short odds) and see a potential banana skin in their second game, when after starting at sea level, they face underdogs Honduras in Joburg. Their opponents will also be making the move up, but at least from Nelspruit and will be more used to playing at altitude. I would not be rushing to take the talented european champions at the circa 1.16 currently offered for that game !
Germany start with two matches at sea level and will be ultra keen to get maximum points from those starts, before finishing in Joburg against a talented Ghana side, who will have two games at altitude under their belt, we all know how well prepared the Germans are and they will to looking to have progression assured ahead of this tough looking encounter.
Argentina will already have a match at Joburg under their belts before they face South Korea on the 17th, Seoul is at sea level and SK open in Port Elizabeth, so this will be really tough for the Koreans.
Brazil already have a couple of games at Joburg in the bag from last year and after opening with another two, will be full of running moving down to sea level for their final group game to meet Portugal.
1400-2200 m is the optimal height for high altitude training, too much above that and your desire to work is diminished. Therefore, this is an absolutely perfect start for Brazil IMO.
Finally for now, France have it very tough in their second game, when, after opening in Cape Town at sea level, they make the ultra long journey to Polokwane, which is like another world, there they will meet Mexico, who will not only be stepping down from JoBurg, but most of the squad will have grown up at altitude with Guadalajara at 1600m and Mexico City 2200m. The 3-1 about the Mexicans in places looks very tempting at this early stage .
This is a World Cup where wind, rain and thin air will all play a big part and I suggest you do plenty of homework before parting with your hard earned cash
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Busy weekend, in addition to the "big one" with the "special one" we have the Championship playoff final, where Cardiff and Blackpool do battle for the ultimate prize, a place in the EPL and the well documented £90m that comes with it. Blackpool will have the support of many neutrals, as it would be a true fairytale story, not least for Ian Holloway who has done a fantastic job with the Seasiders, especially with his "wheelin and dealin" in the transfer market, the on loan signing of Seamus Coleman from Everton was a masterstroke. Whoever decided to risk £60k on the left back, who looks to have a massive future in the game, must be in line for a very big bonus from the merseyside club.
I recall Holloway doing some pundit work on the radio little more than a year ago, basically begging someone, anyone, to give him a job back in the game he loves. Suspect he would work for free and it is not always about the money !
Tomorrow also sees the start of the French Open and I have had my first bet of the tennis season this week and am hopeful of landing that today. Pretty sure that I will be covering the action from Roland Garros on here in the next fortnight, but it is almost impossible not to discuss the Champions League final, so ............
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL :
Inter -0.5 ball 2.31
I have read in several places that Jose Mourinho will not be too concerened about the result today, as he is already on his way to Real Madrid next season, that is pure hogwash ! Yes, the "special one" will be gracing La Liga with his talents, but the thought that he would pass up the chance to showcase his talents on such a world stage are laughable, his massive ego would simply not allow that to happen, he also happens to be the best coach in the world and remember, he was already on his way to Chelsea, when winning the title with Porto.
He is a master at finding oppents soft spots, searching out any weaknesses and exploiting them, whilst at the same time suffocating the greatest threats. Bayern are clearly weak in central defence and Diego Milito , who is on fire atm, must be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Van Buyten and Demichelis, if Milito wasn't enough for those two to handle, then Eto'o, Pandev and Balotelli most certainly are .
Of course, we all know Bayern are much happier on the front foot and Arjen Robben has looked world class this Champions League campaign, however, the absence of Franck Ribbery means that Inter can concentrate on stifling him and that job will probably fall to Javier Zanetti, who did a similar job on Lionel Messi in the semi-finals. Inter also nullified Drogba in similar fashion during an earlier round and Mourinho knows all about Robben from their time together at Chelsea, I suspect we will not see him as such a force this evening. I give Inter an edge in all three areas of the pitch and a pretty big one on the bench, although I should say I am not a huge fan of LVG and as a former Barcelona coach , JM would love to rub the nose of his former boss in the Bernabeu turf, especially playing in what will be his new home town. Inter all the way for me.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Millwall had the better chances in the first leg, but Town still had plenty of the ball and put 26 crosses into the Lions box, a very acceptable number.
It will be very difficult for the visitors tonight, the New Den is an intimidating place to go at any time, let alone in front of a big crowd, under floodlights, in cup tie, which this effectively now is. Millwall have only lost once here all season and are an incredible 6-1-0 against the other top 8 teams. However, and this is where I think we have a spot of value, they fell behind in four of those, the matches against Southampton, Norwich, Swindon and Colchester, they also took an age to get going in the local derby with Charlton . Also, in the league fixture here between these two, Town had a "good" shout for a penalty turned down with the game scoreless. Jordan Rhodes was still complaining about that several weeks later he was so aggrieved ! It was only really in the Leeds game that Wall came out all guns blazing and at that time the visitors were unbeaten , so there was little pressure or expectation on the home team.
It is fair to say that as intimidating as the venue is and believe me, it is, that at least early on, this puts as much pressure on the home team as it does the visitors. I like the 3.0 for Huddersfield to qualify with Sbobet, these playoff games are rarely as clear cut as they look and this could easily go to extra time IMO, if Millwall start a little sluggish again and Town take the lead, I will probably look to tie in a profit at that stage.
BTW, everything I wrote on saturday about Town's help with the mental side of things of course stands double for tonight. Also, I have just remembered that 9th placed Brentford also took the lead here and led for a long time before the hosts scored a late equaliser and that was another vital game for the Lions, so don't be surprised to see the visitors in front !
Sunday, May 16, 2010
one stake on each....
"over" 4.5 goals 5.0 + ........ 5.1 on the exchanges for tiny stakes.
"unquoted" correct score 6.4 exchanges.
The unquoted scoreline basically pays out on either team scoring four or more goals.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I expect Chelsea to win with a degree of comfort, but prefer a little on Frank Lampard to score. We have talked in the past about FL and the fact that his goals come in groups, with a barren spell usually followed by a really hot streak. Since scoring in the last meeting between these two, that's nine starts, he has scored in seven matches, 11 goals in total, he will take any penalties, there will be no wrestling for the ball with Drogba today and I suspect Lampard will be extra hungry to impress after missing out on the PFA team of the season, in arguably his best season for several years. This is said to have hurt FL, especially with several others chosen having missed large chunks of the season through injury and I do not think it is coincidence that his performance levels have stepped up since the "team" was announced.
I like these two teams, in any other season, at least one of them would have gone up automatically, but this was the strongest third tier in history and they both have to look to do it the hard way. I also have to admit to having a soft spot for Millwall, with a very good friend who passed away some years ago (RIP Frank), having been a massive fan and who once took great amusement in "outing" me as a Brentford supporter in the main home stand at the Old Den .... happy days !!!!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Good Luck with your bets today !
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The visitors did rest several key players and still got a point at champions Kaiserslautern on Sunday, but those that did play put in an awful lot of work, the home side had 60% possession and you do much more running when your opponents have the ball. They will also have had 24 hours less recovery and preparation time, as FCN completed their regular season on saturday afternoon.
Hosts came up through the playoff system last season, so have vital experience of these extremely tense encounters, when the pressure can become too much for some. They will have a massive home crowd behind them and will be looking to put this tie to bed in the first game, which is what they did against Cottbus last year.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
I will be a little more adventurous today and whilst I have bet three football games already, which is and will always remain ,our bread and butter, I want to talk a little about golf this morning and the final round of the Players Championship, often referred to as the fifth major.
As we enter the final round at Sawgrass, once again Lee Westwood leads the way, he held his nerve well at the Masters, will have learnt a lot from that and is a proven worldwide winner, but I do think he is plenty short enough in the betting and that there is better value out there.
I am very keen on final round stats,as long term readers of the blog will know, this is the "money" round and proven sunday performers tend to produce the goods time and time again.
Ben Crane has played well week in week out in Round 4, since returning from injury in 2008. That year he was ranked 38th on tour for sunday scoring, climbed to 6th last year and is a very solid 26th this year after just seven rounds, to put that into perspective, it would put him in the top five on tour for the three seasons combined.
Today he is paired with Lucas Glover, who is/was 98th, 121st and 145th for the three years respectively. That means that in 17 final rounds last season he averaged almost 1.8 strokes per round more than Crane and a whopping 2.86 this campaign, if you are not big golf fans you will have to take my word that these are HUGE numbers.
After an up and down opening round Crane, who is known as the slowest player on tour has played flawless golf for the last 33 holes, which he has completed in seven under par. Just two strokes off the pace he might be the one to benefit from a Westwood slip up , at 10-1 plus is a working man's price and with a title under his belt already this year, there will be less pressure on the man from Oregon, but it is the odds against quote to beat Glover that I am most interested in.
Sawgrass suits Crane perfectly and after finishing 5th last year and 6th in 2008, he is a winner in waiting. I have to say that BC a committed christian and a man who never does anything in a hurry, would not be your first choice for a drinking buddy , or someone to organise your stag night,unless you wanted to be home before nine o'clock. But it also means he makes few mistakes out on the course and very little fazes him.
I would suggest splitting your stake across two bets with the much bigger slice on the two ball bet.
75% unit Crane to beat Glover 2.05 in two ball betting general quote ............. 2.0 is acceptable, we lose on the draw, if you can bet with Pinnacle, the 1.80 draw no bet option is probably just about better.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
The visitors are a big physical team who will match up well against County's pick and mix of youngsters and those a little too long in the tooth. Rovers caused Brentford problems especially early doors just three weeks ago, they were perhaps unlucky to lose that night and have since earned a point at Colchester and beaten highflying Millwall, so arrive in a positive frame of mind and hungry for the points. It is true that they are much happier at Prenton Park, where a number of top sides have been put to the sword this season, but they will have some 3,000 travelling fans behind them today and with County's loyal and long suffering supporters not in a rush to suffer another afternoon of humiliation, it should feel like a home fixture for Rovers.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
The games are really coming thick and fast at the moment, with many countries having double rounds in an effort to get some prep time in before the World Cup, which starts in just over five weeks !
I have taken a view on four games today, however, most eyes outside of Spain, France and Italy will be on the match at the City of Manchester Stadium, where City and Tottenham will do battle, with both hoping to emerge in pole position for that final and much desired remaining Champions League spot.
I like the "over" 2.75 goal option pre match (currently on offer @ 2.02), but am likely to get more involved during the course of the action. Happy Harry Redknapp knows that a draw would suit his side well, especially with a trip to Turf Moor on the last day of the season. Burnley's early season home form was enough to worry even the big 4-5-6 in the EPL, but it is many months since anyone has taken the field against them without feeling superior and usually left the pitch with all three points and a boost to their goal difference. So I expect his side to start slowly, as is normally the case with them on the road, get as many men behind the ball as possible and try and keep things tight. Infact, since last October in matches against EPL teams, that is seven months and 15 away starts, they have only managed two first half goals, one came after 27 minutes, the other deep in first half stoppage time.
Harry likes the other side to make the early running and then look to shuffle things around a bit. City are also often a little slow to put forward and I have noted that they have only scored inside the opening 37 minutes in one of their last seven starts, that in the game at the aforementioned Turf Moor, when Burnley defended like nine year old schoolkids and home fans were making for the exits after eight minutes of "football" !
In their last five outings, City have scored an incredible seven times between the 38th and 58th minute, coming on strong immediately before and after the break.
Therefore, I shall probably be looking at the "over" market in play if we are scoreless after say 20 minutes, or looking to get with City shortly before their golden period, even more so if Spurs have managed an early lead. Especially as the home side will be forced to go all out for the winner.
This is always the kiss of death............ but I cannot resist ...... I am expecting to be entertained tonight !
Monday, May 03, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
I have been very busy this morning, four straight football selections, my second golf bet of the year, hoping to build on the Masters success and several "fun" bets, which is not my normal style, for the Championship matches, where I have spotted a big trend on this, the final day of the regular season.
I did send my personal notes on all of these to some of you that have written to me recently, but these are very basic and not anything I would feel comfortable posting on the blog..... we have to keep up standards you know ! Therefore, as I am very short of time, it will not be possible for me to preview anything on the blog today and it is not just because I am sulking as my beloved Bees (unjustly, of course) saw their long unbeaten run ended at Swindon yesterday !
Good Luck with all your bets today and please check back tomorrow.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Still plenty to play for , but it is hard to see too much being resolved in the EPL, even with City hosting Villa and Spurs at home to Bolton, the battle for 4th spot seems certain to go down to the wire.
In the fourth tier, the three automatic spots have been decided, but amazingly we still have nine clubs in contention for all four post season spots and at least two of those still seem likely to be up for grabs come 17.00.
It is in Division 1 where the picture might be a little clearer by that time. Leeds United fans will be hoping that results at Prenton Park and The Valley will leave them celebrating a return to the Championship. They can certainly expect every help from Tranmere, who host Millwall and are desperate for the points to help their survival bid. Wycombe make the short but not easy journey to East London , with their safety hanging by a very thin thread. However, they can expect no favours from Orient, who have relegation concerns of their own. Hard to see this all being decided today, but there will be plenty of drama ,heartbreak for some and unbridled joy for others in the next six hours.
Brentford are looking to make it twelve games unbeaten and end any lingering hopes Swindon have of clinching the automatic promotion spot. It must be obvious (!) that their chances of beating the mighty Bees is so small, that they would be better off resting players and preparing for the post season !