Thursday, December 29, 2011


A fairly quiet day on the sporting front today, but I did discuss two long term events in my daily notes , one of which can be read lower down the page. I have also found a fantastic maximum stake bet at odds of 6.0 which I believe offers fantastic value. I have a good record with these big odds "maximum" stake bets, the only four decided in the second half of 2011 produced winners at odds of 9.0, 4.50 and 6.0 , with one loser.

Updated blog stats :

Number of posts: 3,802 , Page views: over 1.1 million hits, Original content : circa 15 million words ( about 17 average novels !)

STAKES 991.5 RETURNS 1,154.806 ROI 116.46 %
2007 STAKES 1,187.5 RETURNS 1,331.677 ROI 112.14 %
2008 STAKES 482.5 RETURNS 664.675 ROI 137.75 %
2009 STAKES 548.5 RETURNS 642.43 ROI 117.12 %
2010 STAKES 225.13 RETURNS 259.585 ROI 115.30 %
2011 STAKES 162.25 RETURNS 171.025 ROI 105.41%

TOTALS 3,597.38 RETURNS 4,224.198 ROI 117.39 %

There is an event and country by country breakdown for the first five years of results on this LINK.

These results ONLY apply to selections posted on the blog, nothing else, you almost all receive occasional copies of my daily notes, so should be well aware of that.

Stakes/ number of previews have reduced pretty much two year, upon two year, this is because nowadays ONLY a small number of my selections appear on the blog ( maybe 10-15%), in the past it was close to 80-90%. With reduced output on here, variance is always likely to come into play and this is something I discussed recently LINK.


We originally looked at the Eredivisie outright market in early October, that post is reproduced below in blue type and re-reading that, would probably be a good place to start. PSV have since closed the gap to AZ at the top of the table to just a single point, with FC Twente and Ajax a further four points adrift and Feyenoord six behind the team from Eindhoven.

PSV are now trading at a best priced 2.625, so any of you that got on following the original write up, has got a good value bet.If you missed out, I still feel the current quote is still too high and it seems sure to trade an awful lot lower in the coming month or two. PSV restart after the Winter Break with matches against Utrecht, Vitesse, Heracles and de Graaf, three are in the bottom half of the table and even allowing for Vitesse, they have an average placing of 12th in Eredivisie. They is a very comfortable programme in the opening month and fixtures that PSV have averaged 2.42 points per game from in the last decade. During this sequence AZ host Ajax and the Amsterdam giants also travel to Feyenoord,both fixtures where the points have tended to be shared around.

Looking at the longer term fixtures, PSV have already travelled to AZ, Twente and Feyenoord and whilst they still have to visit the Amsterdam Arena in late March, the other three contenders all have to to come to the Philips Stadion, where PSV have yet to taste defeat this season and have lost only twice in the league in 35 months ( 46 starts). All five named players in the original preview are in a settled PSV team now, Matavez, Toivanen and Wijnaldum scored the five goals between them in the 5-1 road win at Heerenveen immediately before the break and incredibly, all five were on the scoresheet in the 6-1 recent thumping of Groningen, so all are clearly contributing to a very strong offensive line up. They look sure to get stronger in the second half of the season, if anyone finishes above them, they will be champions, but it is hard for me to see beyond PSV for the title and if you are not already on and don't object to tying your funds up for several months then I make them a 2 unit bet @ 2.625 general quote, I anticipate that you could trade out for a profit shortly in any case, as you now could with the "original bet".Several players are being actively courted by EPL clubs, namely Erik Pieters, Jetro Willems and Martens, but Willems is only a "baby", Martens only joined in the off season and any moves for them would surely be more likely in the summer and the club have stated ( as they all do) that nobody is for sale.

I would like to discuss the outright betting market in Eredivisie, where I am far from certain that the oddsmakers have the correct favourite. Ajax are circa 2.25 across the board to follow up last year's win, but no team has retained the title since PSV won four in a row between 2004-5 and 2007-08, with AZ , Twente and Ajax winning one each since then, they are and remain the "big 4" and whilst Feyenoord look set for a better season than last campaign's woeful 10th place finish, they have a lot of ground to make up and have not troubled the top three places in over half a decade.

AZ lead the way at present with a four point lead over Twente and PSV, with the favourites a further two points adrift. Therefore, Ajax already have ground to make up on all three and their road form is a real worry, it almost cost them the title last season, especially when a defeat at Den Haag late in the season, left matters out of their own hands. Incredibly, they have now fallen behind in each of their last NINE Eredivisie road starts and there are only so many times that you can play that get out of jail free card ! After the international break, they host the leaders, so at least one of them is going to drop points and follow that up with another home start, when Feyenoord visit the capital. Either side of those matches are two Champions League meetings with Dinamo Zagreb, where six points for Ajax would put them back firmly into contention to qualify, with Lyon and Real Madrid also playing a double header in the next two rounds of games, the Amsterdam giants are far from out of things and they will surely be firmly focused on these upcoming games.

It really is PSV's turn for the title and they spent big in the summer to give themselves the best chance possible to win back the Championship. They spent close to 30m euros in transfer fees to sign Tim Matavz from Groningen, Georginio Wijnaldum of Feyenoord and the Utrech pair of Dries Mertens and Kevin Strootman. Mertens hit the ground running and has scored 11 in just 8 starts, Matavz was a little slower off the mark, as were a number of the new signings, but he also has six goals now and with Ola Toivanen also adding five, it is clear that this group and Wijnaldum scored 14 last season, are going to more than make up for the loss of last season's top scorer Balazs Dzsudzsak , PSV have spent the huge fee they received for him ( and more) wisely and look a much better squad this season IMO.

They are scoring freely with 20 in their last five starts alone and seem very unlikely to get sidetracked much in the Europa League, where one more win with four games to play is likely to take them close to qualification and they will be focused on their next two league starts, where they play two teams against whom they have fantastic records, firstly hosting Utrecht ( 10-0-0 in the last decade) and then traveling to Vitesse where they are 6-4-0, having won on five of their last seven visits. They have already hosted Ajax this season and had to settle for a share of the points in a 2-2 draw, but there were plenty of positives to take from that, they led twice and had good chances to extend their lead and have clearly improved since then. Ajax are unplayable domestically on a real going day, but concede too easily against even the weakest Eredivisie sides and are a little too willing to go toe to toe and shoot it out, sometimes you have to grind out a result. I do not think AZ and Twente have the class of either, or the staying power over 34 matches to win the title this year. I make PSV a narrow favourite and feel that at 3.25 + they are a very solid bet. I cannot put this in red type, as the top quotes are not avaiilable to all ( 3.75 V Chandler/ Blue Square..... 3.50 Corals/ Boyle/ Sky) , if there were similar quotes for big liquidity across the board they would be a maximum ( 2 unit) bet for me.

Good Luck.


Monday, December 26, 2011


Full domestic programme in England "today" and I have six matches to discuss......


Forest are one of the clubs I want to keep an eye on in the coming month or so, they have been big underachievers this season, they have not won or even scored in five, but their two most recent outings, a 1-0 loss at Brighton where they had the better of the chances and a 0-0 draw at Bristol City, where only the heroics of David James denied then a 2-3 goal victory, hinted that an upturn in fortune was close. They have two home games in a row now, the second is against 5th placed Cardiff City and that is followed by starts against the top two sides in the Championship, Southampton and West Ham, so these are clearly the easiest points on offer for the time being, at least on paper. Confidence appears to remain high and Marcus Tudgay has talked this week about that and other players about how they are so much more solid at the back and just lacking a goal or two and it is not like they are not creating chances. This is a very big game for them and boss Steve Cotterill, however, for this game, unless Joel Lynch recovers it will mean probably playing returning defensive midfielder Guy Moussi in central defence, that is far from ideal, but Moussi has filled in there before successfully. Cotterill is well used to these type of problems from his time at Portsmouth and will certainly not be too fazed by the situation.

Posh also have problems and said earlier in the week they would be without three key players with striker Lee Tomlin having joined Grant McCann and Mark Little on the sidelines, however, it is now claimed that Tomlin might be available. They always look stronger when he plays, so I understand why they would give him every opportunity to prove his fitness, but with so many games on the horizon, it could prove to be the wrong decision to rush him back. I do think that Forest will come good very soon and with Posh only having beaten hapless Coventry in six starts and with just four wins from 34 away games at this level, today might well be the day. If Lynch makes the starting line up and /or Tomlin misses out, I would be even more keen, for now, just a flat stake .... Nottingham Forest -0.5 ball 2.01 asian line.


Just one cleansheet in six for Town, who have struggled since losing that incredle unbeaten record recently. However, striker Jordan Rhodes remains on fire and notched all four goals in the 4-4 draw at Hillsborough last saturday. He must feel that the schedulers have given him a Christmas present with the holiday trip to the B2net Stadium, as the Spirites have conceded 22 goals in their last ten starts and not kept a clean sheet since boss John Sheridan was wearing short trousers to school. We discussed the hosts ahead of their game with Walsall last week, which ended 1-1, they created a lot of chances 19, including nine on target, but took too long ( over an hour) to get back into the game after falling behind in the first half. Having just got striker Jack Lester back, they are going to lose him for three games on a violent conduct charge. Even without Lester, I would not rush to take the understandably low odds on the hosts, but I do think there will be goals and Rhodes has far too much pace and energy for Neal Trotman at the heart of the visiting defence and the Terriers know him well from a lengthy loan spell at the club, two seasons ago. Field have leaked an average of 2.6 per goals per game on the road and the "over" could be landed by Rhodes on his own, even without Lester the visitors do have goals in them and have scored in their last 12 road starts, notching at least two in half ( six) of those. Given that Town have also been leaking recently a 3-2 ( odds 34.0) or 4-2 ( odds 51.0) home win is far from impossible and 5.0 + for the visitors to score over 1.5 goals is a tempting pick at juicy odds and something they have already done at Notts County and MK Dons, teams with similar home records to Huddersfield and they also scored one at both of the top two Charlton and Wednesday, at Hillsborough, it should have been three ! Town are worried about their defence and tried to get Jamie McCombe recalled from Preston where he is on loan, but with no recall clause in the deal, it was refused . However, I will keep things simple and opt for 1.5 units "Over" 2.75 goals 1.93 asian line.

Good Luck.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I know that not all of you celebrate Christmas, but most of you will have some extra free time with your family, or loved ones, over the next few days.

Make the most of it, enjoy yourselves and have a happy and peaceful time.

Good Luck.


Inverness CT and Aberdeen meet in the "North East" derby game, a fixture traditionally dominated by the visitors, the Dons come into the match on the back of two wins and with it a degree of mid table safety, but will surely be looking for the hat-trick, ahead of a pair of tough looking New Year fixtures. They are 7-2-1 in their last ten visits, matches which have averaged 2.7 goals, with the last six all producing at least two and this one seems likely to follow suit, with ICT being involved in some recent high scoring encounters. They have scored in 7 of their last 8, only coming up short against Celtic in a match where they were holding their own, before a red card, meant they had to play the final 55 + minutes with ten men. Terry Butcher's side have not had much luck or decisions go their way ( see the Rangers write up below), but are prepared to take the game to opponents and their last four and 6 from 7, have all gone "over". They seem unlikely to sit back today, they are without a key defensive player in Chris Hogg and are already without an option or two at the back, they have not kept a cleansheet in 21 starts and will probably need two goals to get a result this afternoon. Aberdeen have just one clean sheet themselves in nine starts and that came against a poor Hibs side, who had the better of the game and chances. Weather should not be a concern, goals for me and the odds look good. "Over" 2.5 goals 2.09 asian line.

St Mirren and Glasgow Rangers meet in the televised fixture and this seems sure to be a tough, close, hard fough affair. Saints nine home games have only seen 18 goals in total and three of their four losses, have come by the miminum margin. Rangers will be ultra keen to win this and go into Wednesday's Old Firm derby holding at least the four point advantage over Celtic they currently enjoy. They will also be looking to conserve as much energy as possible and I do not see them needlessly chasing a second goal if and when they take the lead. Rangers have won on eight of their last ten visits here, with five also coming by the single goal margin and that is what I think is the likely outcome again today. Both teams have lost their way a little recently and any wins that have come the way of the league leaders, have been hard earned, like their 2-1 win over ICT at Ibrox last time out, when the visitors took the game to Rangers laying siege to the home goal in the second half and being denied two big penalty shouts.

Three of Rangers last five victories have come by a single goal, in their last 12 starts they have only scored more than two goals on one one occasion and they have conceded in six of their last nine starts, fixtures which came against teams with an average league placing of 8th ( in a 12 team league). They are trying to address this lack of goals and are set to get busy in the transfer window. Saints will be without Jim Goodwin and Lee Mairs today, which are big losses, but they have a couple of players, especially youngster Kenny McLean who will be looking to impress ahead of the window, infront of the tv cameras and they will be very motivated today. The two clubs played out a 1-1 draw at Ibrox two months ago and this should again be close, my suggestion would be Rangers to win by one goal @ circa 3.50.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Rather surprisingly, away day's at Craven Cottage have been Manchester United's nemesis in recent seasons and given the Red's ongoing defensive woes, which we have touched upon many times, I can see that sequence continuing this evening.

United have taken just one point from their last three visits, with Fulham scoring in eight of the last ten visits, at least two in the last three, including a 3-0 win here in the pre Christmas fixture two seasons ago, to be precise, two years and two days ago. There is still not too much protection for the United backline and the hosts will doubtless take the game to the visitors, as they normally do when the "bigger" clubs come calling, with far too many of the other "minnows" adopting a much too cautious approach. They fought back from 2-0 down to claim a share of the spoils with Manchester City, a result all the more noteworthy, as they were struggling a little at that time, since when, they have beaten Liverpool and taken a point at the Emirates. The only blip verses top six teams, came against Tottenham, with Happy Harry's inform team winning 3-1 here in West London. That result was very unfair to Fulham, they created 26 attempts on goal, including a massive 20 on target, I lost count of the number of times Brad Friedel saved his team that day and the third goal and decisive goal came in the 96th minute, a reverse of the scoreline would have been a truer reflection of the game. So, we can see that the home side tend to show their best against the best and of course, United fall into that category. Both teams arrive on the back of easy weekend wins
and in good form, but I still think that United have to get very busy in the transfer window, if they are to claim yet another EPL title. They have only kept consecutive clean sheets in that mini sequence following the horror show 6-1 home loss to City and the only "strong" team they met then was Everton, who were very wasteful. In my opinion they have over achieved in the EPL this season, probably having at least five more points than they should have and which their performances have merited. Bobby Zamora is set to return to the home line up and I have to take Fulham and the draw. Fulham +0.5 ball 2.20 + asian line.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


In the EPL, all eyes will be on Ewood Park and the relegation six pointer ( or is it more), between local rivals Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, hard to see where the loser will go from here, for Rovers boss Steve Kean it will definitely be the job centre and the protesters will be out in force tonight at the first sign of things going wrong. That hardly helps anyone, apart from the visitors, but that is what Rovers have to deal with at the moment, Kean's days have been numbered for months now and the decision should have long since been taken. Wanderers have lost five in a row since putting five past Stoke and were poor at Fulham over the weekend when the two goal margin of defeat, could easily have been doubled, they are very vunerable from crosses and we should see Rovers giant defender Christopher Samba up at every opportunity and they have conceded an average of 2.375 goals per game. Rovers are without a cleansheet in 19 EPL starts and we discussed them ( below) ahead of the 2-1 home defeat to WBA on saturday, they are very gung-ho because they have to be and are very dependent on the aforementioned Samba at the back. Problem for me, is that Samba and his Bolton counterpart Gary Cahill both seem highly likely to be off in the transfer window and whilst it should not stop them from performing, it will surely be at the back of their mind, that they could miss out on a career defining move, by picking up an injury in the next fortnight. Anyway, it is very hard not to see goals again tonight and whilst both will be anxious early, the first goal and it shouldn't be too long coming with these two, is going to throw this wide open. Wanderers have won big at both Wigan ( 3-1) and QPR ( 4-0) , in addition to the victory at Stoke and I feel they are the better team, but they have not won, or been involved in what I would call a "battle" and that is what it will definitely be tonight and looked short of a true leader on the pitch at Craven Cottage, with even Kevin Davies "hiding". There is only one real option, both teams will score and it is "over" for me. 1.5 units "over" 2.75 goals 1.98 asian line. If you wanted a small interest at a big price, 7.0 + for Wanderers to score over 2.5 goals is an option, they have already done it twice on the road and Rovers have conceded three to Arsenal, Newcastle, Norwich and Wigan.

Good Luck.

written SATURDAY 17/12

At Ewood Park, I have to go for goals again in the Blackburn Rovers- West Bromwich Albion game, we have collected twice in recent Rovers starts and goals are a regular feature for them, with 7 of their last 8 going "over" and both teams on the scoresheet in 8 of their last 9 starts. Their last 14 matches have seen nine go over the 3.5 goal line, with five of those producing at least six goals, which is incredible. They have beaten Swansea 4-2 , Arsenal 4-3 and Newcastle 4-3 ( AET) at home and posted two 3-3 draws on the road at Norwich and Wigan.

Albion look to be regressing to pre Roy Hodgson defensive woes and are without a cleansheet in seven, they are another team who seem happier in their travels, where they are more expansive and appear to play with less pressure. Rovers took the lead at Sunderland last week and were denied another "good" goal when leading, before defending too deep and conceding two heartbreaking late goals. They will not make that mistake today and it is hard not to see both going toe to toe and another shoot out.
1.5 units "over" 2.75 goals 2.02 asian line

Sunday, December 18, 2011

UPDATE .....

I have had a very, very strange month, with some unbelievably good ideas and big priced suggestions, like circa 17.5 the "over" 5.5 goals in the Dinamo - Lyon game ( see 7-8 posts below), the 5.0 Preston to win yesterday ( post directly below) and I have just started today with another, having put up Real Betis + 1 ball 1.91 as my main bet, but also writing ...... If Betis can keep the game and crowd quiet early and then show the same attacking intent as on display in their last road game, a "shock" away win could be on the cards.

Betis won 2-0 with two second half goals, despite ending the match with ten men and traded at circa 6.80 on the exchanges and 6.0 pretty much across the board.

I say that it has been a "strange month" as my main "red type" selections have not performed so well, but I do not run a tipping service, I preview a number of events and matches and it is for the reader to match up what they read, with their own thoughts and incorporate them into their personal betting portfolio. There is a huge amount of valuable information contained within my daily notes and if you get to see a copy, even only occasionally, you should read them fully to get the most out of them. Most of my readers do not need to be spoon fed and use them as they are designed, which is as a betting aid.

I would love to subscribe to my own service, or ideally, three or four just like it ( but there aren't any IMO), that would certainly make my job so much easier.

I write about a lot of leagues and sports, too many some would say " you cannot be an expert in all of them ", well, I don't claim to be an "expert" in any, just that for over 20 years I have made a profit in all of them and you can view five years of proofed stats here ( LINK) and if you see any leaks or weak spots, then you really need to book an eye test.

Actually, upon reflection, my ego has got the better of me and I have to say that I probably would consider myself an "expert" in several sports/ leagues, just probably not the obvious ones.

Brentford threw away two points yesterday btw, 1-0 up against ten men who had only created one goalscoring chance in 80 minutes with eleven players, the Bees were perhaps a little too negative and happy to try and hold on to what they had, although to be fair, the Bury keeper made a fantastic save to keep his team in the match just before the equaliser. I would have liked the extra points to take into a difficult sequence of New Year fixtures, but the Bees are a work in progress and can only get better IMO.

I might put one more preview on here later today, lets see how the Ligue 1 match goes first !

Good Luck.


In Ligue 1, Rennes travel to Ajaccio and simply have to win to keep pace with clubs battling for a Champions League spot, as discussed before, a long awaited camapign in europe's premier competition, is the be all and end all of their season and all their eggs are in this particular basket.

The visitors come into the game having collected just one point from their last two starts, in both of which they paid the price for a very sluggish start and they have done everything possible to prepare fully for today and are looking to come firing out of the blocks. They took a 25 man party to Madrid in midweek (see below) for the Europa League game with Atletico, which was a friendly", they then stayed in the city and trained on Friday, before flying directly to Corsica.

They are 5-0-4 on the road and only leaders Montpellier have scored more away goals, a win would take them into 5th and perhaps more importantly to potentially within 5 points of the summit. The current top 3 all face road games on Tuesday/ Wednesday, when Rennes have a very win-able home tie, so three points today could see them in a strong position entering the mini winter break. Hosts are already booked for a swift return to Ligue 2 and reading some comments on their website, are kind of focused on a run in the cup, they were said to be devastated by conceding a very late goal at Nancy last week and added that the single point felt like another loss and was proving tough to get out of the system.

Big boost for Rennes with the return to the squad of Onyekachi Apam, he had not played in 18 months since completing a 4m euros transfer from Nice, following major surgery. He was signed to build a young defence around and his return to action, is like having a new big money signing.

1.5 units Rennes -0.75 ball 2.00 + asian line

Keepers: Costil, Diallo, Ndiaye Defenders: Mavinga, Apam, Mangane, Kana-Biyik, Jebbour, John Boye, Danzé, Foulquier, Theophile Catherine
Midfield: Tettey, Feret, Mandjeck, Brahimi, Pajot, Doumbia, M'Vila
Attackers: Pitroipa, Kembo, Boukari, Hadji, Montaño, Diarra

Back later.

Saturday, December 17, 2011



There is quite a lot to get through today, so let's start in League 1 and the televised match between MK Dons and Preston North End. New North End Chairman Peter Ridsdale only took eight days to get rid of Phil Brown and I am sure the decision was already taken before he took charge of the club on December 6th. The hugely experienced pairing of Graham Alexander and David Unsworth will take charge of team affairs whilst a replacement ( Billy Davies ?) is sought. I think Brown was a little unlucky, he got Preston really buzzing and set up to play a certain way and the 4-3-3 formation was working incredibly well, before he lost all three front players at the same time and for extended periods. however, he spent too long trying to stick with his game plan, when he clearly didn't have the personnel to do so and paid the price, when results nosedived. If you had said to me ten weeks ago that PNE would be available at circa 5.0 to beat any third tier team this season, firstly I would have laughed and secondly I would have made it my bet of the season, however, like in politics one week, let alone ten, is a long time in football and that day has arrived and I hesitate to pull the trigger. I am sure that the new coach when he arrives, especially if he can keep both Mellor and Hume at the club, will oversee a big upturn in fortunes, but there is no "new coach effect" today, having said that, the mood at the club seems likely to have lifted, despite one or two senior players speaking up for Brown this week, they are the more vocal players and I suspect the silent majority are probably relieved.

Dons are very strong at home, where they are unbeaten and their high possession style of play is well suited to the big playing surface, something we have discussed on several occasions.They have quite a few knocks today a couple have been openly discussed, but boss Karl Robinson has admitted there are a couple more, but he doesn't want to disclose the players concerned.

I will probably play a minimal stake on Preston at circa 5.0, as I couldn't handle it if they won unbacked at that price and IMO, any stake lost on them today is only loaned, as there will be money to be made on North End in the next month or two. There is a good chance that we will see Neil Mellor and Iain Hume from the start today, Hume played 45 minutes last week on his comeback, so I see no reason why he will not be available for 75 + today and if the pair have a going day, they can give Dons plenty to think about.

Elsewhere in the third tier, the Chesterfield board gave a big vote of confidence to boss John Sheridan this week, it seemed a little more than the normally dreaded vote and in it they detailed that funds would be provided to strengthen in the transfer window. That is good news for Sheridan and the supporters, but it doesn't really ease the pressure today, when Walsall are the visitors. The Spirites go to Huddersfield on Boxing Day and failure to win today is going to leave them cast adrift at the foot of the table, with a mountain to climb in the New Year, they need three points and soon. It is certainly not going to get much easier than today, the Saddlers are still reeling from an extra time defeat on home soil to Dagenham, who are 92nd of 92 clubs in the Football League in midweek and that was an expensive loss as it came along with injuries to three players and with Ryan Jarvis still suspended, the visitors are short of options today.

Hosts have lost Leon Clarke, who has returned to Swindon Town after completion of his three month loan, but the prolific Jack Lester looks set to be available to play some part today, even if it is from off the bench. Chesterfield do have goals in them and get forward very quickly, but defensively have struggled all season. However, this is kind of their season on the line, it is their last home start of 2011 and they desperately need the points, they are facing a tired opponent, who might be forced to play a youth team player in the key central defensive role and one who arrive at a similar low ebb confidence wise. There was plenty to like about Chesterfield's unlucky loss at Wycombe last week and in recenty starts against Preston and Sheffield United, I take them to claim a much needed three points. Chesterfield -0.5 ball 2.25 + general quote.

I have a further "red type " selection at odds of 3.50 and two strong ( 1.5 unit picks) in the EPL, both at odds against and also a speculative suggested bet at odds of over 21-1 ( trying to pay for Christmas and New Year in one fell swoop) that I feel has a real chance of success. However, I will not be able any of those on the blog today, but will probably return with a pick or two tomorrow, so please check back.

Good Luck.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Next up is the relegation six pointer between Istres and Amiens, where I am keen on the hosts. Istres meet two teams immediately below them in the table before the winter break and if they don't manage to win at least one of them, are very likely to spend Christmas in the drop zone. I think that will come tonight, home coach José Pasqualetti is very focused on this game and in getting those so valuable three points, his team have stopped the defensive rot ( only Monaco have conceded more goals) with a pair of draws in the league, those results were sandwiched inbetween two cups wins, where they managed nine unanswered goals, they may have come against lower league opposition, but were huge confidence boosting fixtures. In the last of those, they notched six and all three strikers contributed, a hat trick for young Nicolas de Preville and three between Nassim Akrour and Sid Ali Yahia-Cherif their hugely experienced Algerian pair. All three are in the squad and will be salivating at the prospect of facing this goal shy Amiens side ( just 12 all season, a third of which came in one game a shock 4-0 defeat of Chateauroux and we have seen nothing like that, before or since !), especially since they are without Paul, Lybohy and Cisse, the first two would be the first names on the team sheet and Cisse is seen as cover for Lybohy and this is going to leave them severely weakened at the back.

This problem is compounded tonight, as there has been a huge amount of rain in the Amiens area and the club have been unable to train or prepare for this match on grass, with all work done on a synthetic surface. All the advantages are with Istres and on what I have seen ( both teams twice in full and highlights of other fixtures), they are the better team anyway and certainly the one with more offensive threat and I take them to win. 1.5 points Istres -0.5 goal 2.14 +asian line.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011



Wins for Oldham Athletic and Internazionale at very nice odds, steadied the ship after a poor weekend and after taking Monday "off", that was a promising way to start the new week.

Four selections today, including two very strong ideas in the Europa League.
Going to start with the Thursday morning ( for those of us in Europe) kick off between Al-Sadd this year's AFC Champions League winners and Barcelona, far and away the best club side in world football, in the "semi final" of the Club World Cup, which this year returns to Japan after the UAE played host the last two years.

Barce need no introduction, so let's start with a few words about Al- Sadd, they are certainly no lightweights, or shrinking violets and have a big physical presence, being renamed "Al Badd" by the South Korean media after a hugely controversial, which is a bit of an understatement, two legged semi final with Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the AFC Champions League. They then had to return to Korea for the final, with all the baggage and media attention hanging over them from the earlier game and showed huge courage to beat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on penalties, in front of a very noisy and huge home crowd. The South Korean clubs had dominated the competition in recent seasons, something we discussed earlier in the year and for Al-Sadd to beat not one, but two of them, including the domestic champions in the final on home soil, tells you all you need to know about the mental fortitude of the team from Qatar. They are match fit after beating Espérance in the "quarter finals" and have a lot of experience in their ranks with Kader Keita ( 60 caps Ivory Coast), Marmadou Niang ( 50 games for Senegal) and Nadir Belhadj ( 50 + appearances for Algeria) all well known to european audiences, Lee Jung-Soo has played over 50 times for South Korea and all the others are Qatari internationals.

Of course, they have not met the like of Barcelona before and if the Catalan giants put their best foot forward, they can probably win this with ease. They have taken a squad of 23 players to Japan, all the big names are there and we are sure to see each in action, if not in this game, then in the final against Santos or Kashiwa Reysol. Barce got the result they craved in Madrid at the weekend and that will have hugely lifted the mood on the very long flight over, all were given one "day off ", but like their training day, with it came a lot of calls from the media and PR work. We talked about this in the summer, when Barce went to the US, there is huge demand on them, as a club and world champions to "get out there" and be seen and they take these responsibilities seriously, it has a big payback of course, especially in huge still untapped markets like Asia and the USA, but it is time consuming.

When Barce last played in this competition in 2009, they opened with a 3-1 win over Atlante of Mexico, their opponents led for over half an hour and it was only half way through the second half that they really got on top and then they relaxed and eased off a little. Messi only played the final 35 minutes btw. This whole competition is a PR event, of course, Barcelona will want to win and we could see the best of them in the final if they face Santos, but it doesn't really help anyone if they come an embarrass the "minnows", especially with Qatar ( at least at the moment) due to host a World Cup and looking to raise their profile at every opportunity. That is kind of a cynical view I guess, but even if that is not the case and Barcelona look to score as many as possible, after their biggest game of the season on saturday, a 14 hour flight and a couple of days with jet lag and the media following them everywhere, I think they will struggle to notch four against such a professional, physical opponent, far more used to the surroundings and I have to take Al- Sadd and that huge handicap start. Al-Sadd +3 goals 2.19 asian line.

There are three bets that I like in the Europa League, I am not going to spend a huge amount of time talking about the matches, they are all ......... rest of the notes are restricted.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The weather is going to play a huge role in the UK domestic games today, there is heavy rain and more importantly high winds all over England, they battered Scotland at the weekend and have now moved South and even in the South East, which normally misses out on the worst of this kind of weather, it is very nasty and certainly not condusive to playing football.

The FA Cup ties at Yeovil, Walsall, Grimsby and especially Oldham, which is regarded as the coldest and most exposed ground in the country, at least to lower league football fans and is not called " Ice Station Zebra" without good reason, are likely to be very hard hit, but probably more of that later in the day.

For most neutrals, Chelsea's win over Manchester City was a good result for the title race and it puts Roberto Mancini and his team under increased pressure ahead of the visit from the Gunners on Sunday. That pressure will be cranked up, if Manchester United win at QPR and/or Chelsea at Wigan on saturday. Three points for United would take them back to the top of the table and give City players something to ponder when they go for their saturday night curry !

I really hope that happens, not just because as an "old school" Brentford fan, I still consider QPR as my club's real rival, but I really want to see how City react under real pressure. Very interesting weekend in prospect.

The photagraph is of Boundary Park , Oldham in high summer, which is "kind" of a joke, but if you have spent a midweek night there in December-February, you will not be laughing ! I do admit to being a "southern softie" though and keep my shirt on at all times whilst watching the beautiful game !

Back later.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I did not have a good day at all yesterday, poor results and frozen to the core watching a game where I was on the away team and had to sit surrounded by delirious home supporters !

I would like to say that I was unlucky, but that was not really the case, Scunthorpe United led for an hour and had two chances late to win the game before that late, late Carlisle winner, but it would have been an injustice and it has to go down as "one of those days".

Brentford won at Griffin Park, which is rare this season and always cause for celebration, at least in my household ! The Bees are now in the top six, but trail the five clubs above them by six points and you can argue that they are the five biggest, or five of the six biggest clubs in the division, so Brentford are going to have to cling on to their coattails for the time being and try to put some pressure on them in the New Year, when I do expect the Bees to improve......... All I want for Christmas is a kindly Championship side to lend us a promising young striker !

Back later.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I discussed seven of today's matches in my daily notes, putting up three selections and one is reproduced below. This is an important stage of the season for so many teams, the crowded holiday fixtures are fast approaching and they are always regarded as key for every club, but I feel these matches just before are of , at least, equal importance, as they set the tone for the busy fortnight ahead, when there is little time to do anything other than play and recover.

Manchester City will get a real examination of their title aspirations in the next eight days, going to Stamford Bridge on Monday and then hosting the Gunners next Sunday. If they slip up, Tottenham Hotspur might be one the biggest beneficiaries and continue their run towards the top with an "easy" run of fixtures in the next month. I highlighted their mid season fixture list a few weeks back and suggested that 2.50 to claim a top four spot looked big and a price that you could definitely trade out for a profit short term and they are now a general 1.40 .

Aside from hosting Chelsea in 12 days time, seven of their next eight fixtures come against teams outside the top 7, with an average league position of 13th, so if you favour them to win at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow, the 18-1 for them to win the title could also halve very quickly, however hard it might be to envisage them as eventual champions.

In La Liga tonight we have El Clasico with Real Madrid hosting Barcelona, a match half the world will be watching. The boot is on the other foot this time round, with Barce not daring to lose this match, in recent seasons it has been Real coming into the game in that situation and seemingly unable to play their normal game. This time round the hosts will still have a lead ( game in hand) at the top of the table, regardless of what happens tonight and that takes off much of the pressure IMO, last season, even at the Bernabeu, Jose Mourinho was too cautious to really go after Barce, but he learned from the numerous meetings since that frightful 5-0 loss in November 2010 and in six h2h games this year, they been very competitive in all bar one. I hope JM throws off the shackles tonight and goes for it, Barcelona have looked vunerable on the road this season and their only two domestic wins have come at Gijon and Granada, both by the minimal margin. However, we all know that they if the visitors have "one of those nights" then no team can live them. This is one game I am happy to watch without a financial interest, but if you pushed me to pick, it would have to be Real off level ball.

In League 1 with the Scunthorpe United - Carlisle United fixture, the visitors sit eleven places and the same number of points ahead of their hosts, but I do not feel that is the a true reflection of their ability and I certainly expect that gap to close, maybe even turn around before the end of the season. Scunny and boss Alan Knill have had a very tough time of things injury wise , they have really struggled for consistency, at times being woeful, like in most of their last five games, at others, like in the four matches before that sequence when they drew at Brentford and MK Dons and played two strong teams Tranmere Rovers ( 4-2) and Huddersfield Town ( 2-2) off the park here at Glanford Park, they should have been the team to end the Terriers record breaking unbeaten run, but missed not one, but two penalties in that game ! Carlisle have not scored in four road starts against League 1 teams, but as two of those came at league leaders Charlton Athletic ( one in the FA Cup), I suppose we can cut them a little slack, but goals are a problem for the visitors and the mood amongst supporters of the club is poor, especially for a club on the playoff fringes and they are hyper critical of boss Greg Abbott and especially his negative tactics and team selection, this is another club desperately trying to add a striker asap, but one operating on a very tight budget.

Scunthorpe have had the most attempts on goal on any League 1 team this season ( 251) and the highest number on target ( 136), they have also been denied by the woodwork a division high eight times, which, when you add in the missed penalties, it doesn't take a genius to work out that they could/should be much higher up the league.They have targeted today as a must win fixture and I believe they will have benefitted from the 13 day break, that has enabled them to clear the treatment room slightly and put in a lot of work on the practice ground. I understand that this has gone really well and coach Knill has focused on his team keeping their shape, something that has been a problem with several youngsters and loanees coming into the squad and also working on pressing when his side lose possession

Jimmy Ryan, Jordan Robertson, Sam Togwell and Andrew Wright all return today, Cliff Byrne is also a possible and the hugely talented Damien Moziaka probably needs one more week on the sidelines, but his return to training has been a huge boost and now at least, there is real competition for starting places.Hosts have three of their next four starts at Glanford Park and this is a real and probably last chance to kick start their season, they have a terrific record in this series and are considered Carlisle's bogey yeam, with a 6-0-1 record here and 6-1-1 in the reverse fixture. I like their chances of adding to that today. I almost forgot, after taking training last saturday morning ( no game remember) Knill then drove personally to London to watch Carlisle play at Charlton in the cup, he could have sent a coach or scout, so that shows how importantly he views this game, either that or he didn't want to go home to his wife ! Scunthorpe United -0.25 ball 2.11 asian line.

Good Luck.


Thursday, December 08, 2011


We are still coming to terms with Manchester City as a major force in european football and they played in the Europa League last season, so it comes as less of a shock to see them in europe's "other" competition. However, for the red half of Manchester, it is more a case of an embarrassment which has to be endured and an encumbrance which will hang around their necks like a yoke of shame for the rest of the season.

United have played for four months with no protection for their back line , I first raised this and was laughed at for doing so, when United beat Tottenham 3-0 and Arsenal 8-2 early season, but it was clear even then, that it would cause them major problems and a series of recent cleansheets against "weaker" opposition, merely papered over the cracks and long term, this painful elimination from the Champions League might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as Sir Alex will now surely make a quality holding midfielder ( or two) a priority in the transfer window. Every cloud has a silver lining and United will not have to worry about any new signings being eligible for the Champions League !

Good Luck.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


I only covered three Champions League matches in my daily notes this week, Marseille and Chelsea both won yesterday and I sent my preview of the Dinamo Zagreb- Olympique Lyonnais, out yesterday by email and posted it today on the blog and wrote ....

I make the "over" a solid bet and given Lyon's need for goals and if they can get a couple early, it might increase the pressure on Ajax, allied to the potential mental let down for Dinamo, who go on their winter break after this fixture, the score could really be anything here and over 4.5 goals at circa 7.0 + ( 7.40 on exchanges) and/ or "over" 5.5 goals at 17.0 + ( 17.5 exchanges) might also carry a tiny investment from me, 2-4, 2-5, 1-5 something like that is far from impossible and one of those is available at 200-1. For my main bet, a more cautious 1.5 units "over" 2.5 goals 2.03 asian line.





LYON WON 7-1 !


UPDATE .....

Just to advise that because of the Christmas and New Year emails, which you should all have been advised about ( deadline to sign up 09.00 Friday). There will not be any "freebie" emails until after January 9th.

Good Luck.


I discussed two Champions League games in my notes yesterday, just two btw, they are reproduced below. Both Marseille and Chelsea won, but it is the OM match that I would like to discuss. This was a golden opportunity to win decent money on a single fixture.

If you read my match preview you will know what each team was looking for and when the Dortmund players and coaching staff went back to the dressing room at half time and saw that Olympiakos were 2-0 up, they knew that any dreams of further progression were over. For Marseille, who had pulled a goal back just before the break to trail 2-1, they knew that a win and only a win would see them claim that all important second spot in the group. How is each team going to approach the second half ? Who has everything to play for and all the motivation in the world ? Which team already has one, maybe both eyes on a vital Bundesliga game at the weekend ? The goals came late for OM, but they came and whenever they come , they count and the visitors were never going to give up trying.

You have to try and think about how matches are likely to play out and much of this, is as much about a mental state of mind , as the physical situation. As I am fond of saying, 90% of all sport is played between the ears and getting a team/player onto the field of play, with the right mental approach is absolutely key.

Most people can't be bothered to do the research, even if you present them with all the facts, they are still too lazy to take a minute or two to read them and think about the match/event. To be blunt, that is idiotic IMO, if you are betting for fun/entertainment then fine, if you do not really care if you win or lose and only regard money spent on sports betting as the same as night out at the pub/ restaurant/ cinema, that is your choice and you are no different from the 96% of the betting public who do likewise.

We are back to that hard work ethic here, to make money sports betting you have to work hard and even if you get some help along the way sometimes ( my daily notes ?), you still have to read them and think about your bets.

I have one Champions League selection for today, which I sent my regular readers yesterday afternoon, it is also reproduced, at the foot of this post. It might win, it may not, to be honest it doesn't overly matter to me personally, as I know that I will win, if not today, then tomorrow, next month, or the one after , long term I always do, because I work harder at it than anyone else I know.

Here endeth the sermon for the day !

Good Luck.


I am going to start in the Champions League and the very "odd" fixture between Borussia Dortmund and Olympique Marseille. Hosts have to win by four or more and hope that Arsenal , who have already won the group and travel without several key players and with a massive domestic holiday campaign on the horizon, get something in Greece against Olympiakos, who are desperate for the three points. There is very little chance of that scenario happening and also, IMO, the worst case scenario for Borussia is that the Gunners win and they narrowly defeat OM and find themselves in the Europa League. The Bundesliga title race looks sure to go down to the wire, as will the battle for CL spots for next season and any further european involvement this time round, in anything other than the premier competition will surely be seen as an unwanted distraction. Dortmund are without Bender, Schmelzer, Subotic and both Leitner and Kehl are doubts and coach Jurgen Klopp is going to make a late decision about what kind of starting eleven he puts out.

I like OM as a side and feel, as I have said many times before, that they are ideally set up to play on the road, where they do not have to make the running. They can afford to lose this game by a narrow margin if Arsenal beat Olympiakos and will also be without a couple of important players, but the difference with them is twofold, one they can win and all other calulations are irrelevant, so at least they are in control of their own destiny and secondly they are a huge price to win (5.0 +) and we can always take a chance, against what might be a leseer motivated opponent at those kind of odds. Marseille to win 5.30 exchanges, there is some 5.50 in places.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea entertain Valencia, the Blues will progress with a win or 0-0 draw, but a 1-1 scoreline will see them lose out and already ten points adrift of Manchester City in the title race, the prospect of Europa League football is going to be very hard to swallow for owner Roman Abramovich and will massively increase pressure on coach Andre Villas-Boas . Chelsea do not do too many 0-0 draws and even if this match was heading that way with 20 minutes to go, Valencia would have to open up and look for a goal, which will open up the game and space at the back for the blues to exploit. I expect AVB to stick to his attacking principles, that is why he was bought to the club, not only to bring success, but to do so with some style. In the reverse fixture at the Mestalla, which finished 1-1, Chelsea were coasting, before gifting the hosts a penalty, they created the better chances ( ten on target, a massive number on the road in europe against quality opposition) and it was an awkward fixture for Juan Mata, who had only left Valencia the previous month. Having come to London, to further his career ( as well as the money), he will be desperate not to lose out to his former club and all the spanish players in the home squad tonight will surely be busting a gut to progress. Chelsea usually step up in these must win fixtures at the Bridge and I take them to win and to do so with a touch of class. Chelsea -0.75 ball 2.0 asian line.


I am going to stick with just the one Champions League match, the tie between Dinamo Zagreb and Olympique Lyonnais. The visitors look to have blown their chance to progress out of the group stage by failing to beat Ajax in France on Matchday 5, now they need to win this, combined with a Real Madrid win in Amsterdam, with a seven goal swing somewhere along the line. That would have been at least a possibility had Real something to play for, but they do not and a handful of their big name players have not even travelled to the Netherlands.

However, a chance is a chance and should Lyon take the lead and then hear from Amsterdam that Madrid are ahead, it will then be "game on ". At the same time that Lyon were toiling against Ajax, Real were thumping Dinamo 6-2 in the Bernabeu, they were 4-0 up inside 20 minutes and could probably have scored eight or more if they had really pushed things, that should at least give Lyon encouragement. Dinamo scored their two goals late on and gave their fans in the stadium something to cheer. If the hosts approach this match in a similar frame of mind, we should at least see some entertaining open football and I think one goal will throw this match wide open, almost regardless of what is happening in the other group game. I make the "over" a solid bet and given Lyon's need for goals and if they can get a couple early, it might increase the pressure on Ajax, allied to the potential mental let down for Dinamo, who go on their winter break after this fixture, the score could really be anything here and over 4.5 goals at circa 7.0 + ( 7.40 on exchanges) and/ or "over" 5.5 goals at 17.0 + ( 17.5 exchanges) might also carry a tiny investment from me, 2-4, 2-5, 1-5 something like that is far from impossible and one of those is available at 200-1. For my main bet, a more cautious 1.5 units "over" 2.5 goals 2.03 asian line.


Good Luck.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Osasuna found a late, late winner at home to Betis on Sunday. After dominating much of the first half they went into the break ahead 1-0, but then seemed content to sit on their lead and invited the visitors to take the intiative. Real equalised and spurned a couple of good chances to edge ahead with the hosts defending far too deep, before Osasuna found that dramatic late winner. It was fortunate, but we were due a late goal our way and I will try to remember this match the next time things go against me/us ! Only joking ! Of course, I won't recall this game, it is only the bad beats that gamblers remember !

I am coming off a VERY good week, with some good priced winners and a huge ROI in the last seven days and I am particularly proud of the two NFL winners over the weekend. Many people think that football is my best sport and that is true I suppose, it is my bread and butter and you can see how consistent I have been across all markets on here over the last five years + of posting on the blog. LINK.

However, my best returns, albeit from far fewer bets of course, come from the NFL, WTA and USPGA tours. My strike rate on american football over the last 15 years or so is staggering to be honest. Anyway, I digress, there is kind of a moral to this story.

Every August, once the UK domestic football season has, or is about to start, I turn my attention to the NFL and spend all my "spare" time for two or three weeks focused on that sport. I watch a little pre season, re read my notes from the previous year and watch highlights, read everything I can about what has happened during the off season . This year I did not have time and the situation was further complicated by the "lock out". I told myself that I had a good handle on things and that I would pick everything else up through the opening week or two.

Well, that didn't work out and I was angry with myself, not that I hadn't done the work, I seriously didn't have the time, but because I had tried to bet without doing my homework. I did not back a lot of losers, but they came in a sport where I normally win and the difference between, three or four losers, as opposed to the same number of winners is big at the end of the season. So I stopped for a few weeks, it was tough because I love the games so much, but over those weeks I watched around 40-50 hours of highlights from the opening weeks and worked really hard. What happened ? I returned to NFL betting on Thanksgiving Day and went three from three and have an 83% strike rate since that day, of course, that is a short sample, but it is not a coincidence. There are no shorts cuts in doing this ( sports betting), it is a job like any other, but hard work is almost always rewarded and as the saying goes, "the harder I work, the luckier I get".

Looking at those 5-6 years of stats I linked to earlier, you will see through the first two years I posted circa 1,000 units on the blog, around 500 through the next two and 225 units in 2010. Returns were fantastic over all five years, in 2012 I am probably going to break even from an even lower turnover.

I think it is worthwhile talking about this. With far fewer bets, I will probably have posted just 12% of my turnover from 2007 come the end of this month, variance is always likely to raise it's ugly head. Therefore, whereas four years ago I was posting virtually all of my selections on here, now it is just one in eight or nine and NEVER my strongest picks.

Over the long term and I am talking months and months, not weeks, that shouldn't make a huge amount of difference and I still feel that there is a lot to take from each preview posted. But with regard to results, it is kind of pot luck, I might put up eight selections over the weekend, seven could win, but the one I post on here lose, of course, the exact opposite could also be true.

My personal turnover is little changed from 2007, the only difference is the number of these matches/ events posted on the blog and the reasons behind this have been well documented previously.

I have previewed four matches in my daily notes today, two from the Champions League and a couple from the UK domestic football, with three red type selections and sent out copies to many of you this morning. Therefore, I will not be posting any on the blog today, but will definitely put a couple up before the end of the week. So please check back.

Good Luck.


Sunday, December 04, 2011


Osasuna entertain Real Betis and I am always happy to back the hosts on home soil at odds against, facing all but the very strongest that La Liga has to offer, this season they are 3-3-0 and last season they were 7-6-1 as late as April, having lost only to Barcelona until then. Very few non top 4 teams have won here in the last three seasons and Betis, who have not win in nine certainly fall far short of that high level. The visitors will be without suspended captain Iriney and their coach Pepe Mel is under intense pressure and has supposedly been told that he is unlikely to remain in the job should Betis lose today. Mel is obviously low on confidence and openly stated that he believes he should be sacked, which is honest, but hardly the type of motivational speak you normally expect. Only Jonathan Pereira has scored for them in the last 561 minutes of football and they have only managed 3 goals in nine starts. Hosts are boosted by the return of several players including Jukka Raitala and Sergio Fernandez , which gives coach Jose Luis Mendilibar far more options today and I expect them to win. Osasuna -0.5 ball 2.17 asian line.

Into the NFL, we opposed the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day and they lost 27-15 to the Green Bay Packers, there was no shame in losing to the reigning Super Bowl champions, who are unbeaten this campaign, but they continually shot themselves in the foot with a number of costly penalties, one of which came courtesy of their star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has since been suspended for two games and cannot play tonight, which is little short of a disaster against the very highly ranked New Orleans Saints offense. If that was bad ( and self inficted), they also suffered injuries to several other key players, not only might running back Kevin Smith miss out tonight and if he does play, it will be at less than 100%, but they have a treatment room full of "secondary" players, which means that Drew Brees will be able to almost throw at will to his receivers tonight. The Saints running game has been improving on a week by week basis which will keep the Lions "honest" and buoyed by a very impressive 49-24 defeat of the Giants last week and looking to retain their lead over Atlanta in the division and put some pressure on the 49ers for home field playoff advantage, I cannot see beyond a two touchdown win for New Orleans tonight. 1.5 units New Orleans Saints -9 points 2.03 Pinnacle/ Vegas Line.

Good Luck.

Saturday, December 03, 2011



Very pleasing day yesterday, on the football front, our "suggestion" Olympique Marseille won 2-1 and both red type selections eased home, Racing Club Lens taking the lead inside the first minute and eventually winning 3-0 and the Bastia- Sedan game producing four goals.

The golf continues to go well, Lee Westwood is in a tie for second in the Nedbank Challenge and in a group of seven players who are "getting away" from the other five, he is now trading much lower for a top three place, but it is Tiger Woods who is
the icing on this week's cake at the moment, he leads the Chevron World Challenge by three strokes from KJ Choi and Matt Kuchar after taming the Sherwood course yesterday and is now trading at circa 1.57. The potential seven point payout here is huge as it equates to circa 6 or 7 standard winners and the option to trade out for a huge profit ( at around 1.61) on the exchanges is there, if you wish. Both original previews are reproduced below.

Four football selections in this email one each from the EPL, Ligue 1, Championship and FA Cup and I will also be looking at three ,maybe four of QPR- WBA, Wigan- Arsenal, Blackpool-Reading or West Ham United- Burnley "in running " today, starting with the "pre match notes" at 14.15 UK time and followed by the half time update at 15.50.

OK, straight into the action and I will start with in the EPL and the match up between struggling Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City. The pressure continues to mount on home boss Steve Kean, there will be further protests aimed at both him and also the owners today and after putting all his eggs into this particular basket, by resting several of his "stars" for the Carling Cup quarter final at Cardiff City in midweek, a 2-0 loss in that game, means surely that is last chance time for him today. I do feel that if Rovers are going to win a match, it will have to be today, they travel to Sunderland next, for what will be Martin O 'Neill's home debut after taking charge this week of the North East club and then go to both Liverpool and Manchester United over the holiday, so it looks a case of now or never. They are helped in this cause by the visitors being without defender Angel Rangel and almost certainly striker Danny Graham, with Leroy Lita waiting in the wings to replace him. Kean is also set to be boosted by a few more options today, with the return of Samba, Salgado and Olsson, those along with the players rested in midweek are at least going to freshen up a team which is scoring quite freely and certainly has goals in them, but one which is incapable of keeping a clean sheet. They have not managed one in 17 competitive starts this season and with a severe lack of pace wide at the back, the speedy Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair have the potential to make it another long afternoon for the Rovers backline and in midfield they will miss the suspended N'Zonzi. I feel Rovers might do enough to win, but hard to see them doing so without conceding and with Swansea adopting a far more open approach against teams of a similar standing and intent recently( 2-2 A Wolves, 3-1 H Bolton, 1-3 A Norwich and 3-0 H WBA), I have to go with the "over" 2.5 goal option at 2.04 asian handicap.

I appear to have "lost" my notes for the next three games, so am typing these on the "hoof", so please bear with me. In the FA Cup, Gateshead, who did us a big favour in the last round, entertain fellow Conference side Tamworth, in the wide open spaces of the International Stadium. The Tynsiders are looking to reach the 3rd round of the competition for the first time in over 50 years and are very motivated to do so, as you might expect, they have turned into a real cup team in recent seasons and get really up for these fixtures. Locally they have been "bigging" the match up as huge, for not just the club, but the town and they have "massive" support from the local community.

These two clubs met here two months ago and played out a 1-1 draw, but that doesn't tell the full story, Gateshead were totally dominant and leading 1-0 when they lost not one, but both central defenders inside 15 minutes, with one of the replacements giving away the penalty which allowed the visitors to equalise. Home boss Ian Bogie said afterwards "we were so far ahead in terms of ability in the first half that it was like a practice game and we should have been two or three up ".

Reading all this reminded me that I had watched extended highlights of their match here last season which The Heed won 3-1. The hosts ran Tamworth ragged for 90 minutes and made full use of the strange ( by Conference standards) big pitch and surroundings, they scored three, it could have been eight, the visitors had terrible trouble defending crosses as they were getting so stretched by the hosts out wide. The recent match sounds very similar and given the desire for Gateshead to progress and their current form ( they are unbeaten in seven) and dominance in recent h2h meetings, I have to go with the home win. Gateshead -0.5 ball 2.07 asian line.

In the Championship, we have discussed ...... the rest of the email is restricted to subscribers to the daily service, please contact me for details ...

Good Luck.

BACK AT 14.15

written December 1st
The very prestigeous Nedbank Golf Challenge takes place at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City and has seemingly attracted the usual quality 12 man field ,including three of the world's top four players, but half the field are without a win this year and/or lack experience, with only defending champion Lee Westwood and Anders Hansen returning from last year . Westwood coasted home by a stunning eight strokes in 2010, with Hansen 15 strokes adrift in a share of 9th place.

Key here is keep the ball in play off the tee and putt well, or at least avoid three putts, so a little course knowledge goes a very long way.

Westwood obviously has a great chance to repeat and his biggest rivals at first glance look to be world number one Luke Donald, number four Martin Kaymer and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

Donald's wife has just had their second child, he has not played golf for five weeks and his father died earlier this month, that is a roller coaster of a month, in addition to becoming world number one and winning both Money List's ! The only time he really undeperformed this year has been upon his return following a break and given all that and his decidely average record on the course, I have to let him pass.

Schwartzel is the only local golfer in the event and as such, will have massive support from the galleries, but is coming here following a very disappointing final day in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, where he and partner Louis Oosthuizen, had a truly terrible sunday, when both played like amateurs and he has previously underperformed here, so, not for me.

Kaymer has very few peers in world golf on a going day and signalled a major return to form with a mindblowing final round of 63 to spreadeagle a world class field including seven of this week's rivals at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai in early November and alongside partner Alex Cejka, tied for second in the World Cup on Sunday . However, he has never played here before and I have to feel that lack of experience might cost him this week and two trips to China inside a month, before arriving here, might also take their toll.

That leaves us with Westwood ,he hit 75% of greens and shot 21 birdies last year ,far and away the best in the field as you might imagine, he said that he likes his chances this week and proved his well being with a win in China last month, albeit against a weak field.

It is hard to see him out of contention and I will take him to finish in the top 25% of this 12 man line up. 1.5 units Lee Westwood top 3 finish 1.84 + on the exchanges, up to 1.87 offered.

This week Tiger Woods is hosting his own charitable event the Chevron World Challenge, from the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.

The event always attracts a high class field , but there is an argument this year that it is a little weaker than in 2010, with Luke Donald ,Rory McIlroy and several others, opting out. As you might expect, Tiger has a fine record here, winning four times, including three in four years between 2004-2007, he did not play in 08 or 09 , returning last year when he was in much worse shape than he currently appears and he lost out in a playoff to Graeme McDowell, the pair in turn four strokes clear of the field, under the circumstances, that was an incredible performance, even though he blew a big lead on the final day.

I very much doubt that we will ever see Woods dominate the game again, he is no longer feared by the other golfers and the younger players have only ever seen him struggle on the golf course, so that unbeatable "air" will never return, however, that doesn't mean that he cannot still win plenty of tournaments and you can argue that he is five strokes better here than anywhere else and I doubt any of this field can give him five shots on this golf course. His confidence is returning, he led the Australian Open late in the tournament and eventually finished third and played well tee to green all week in the Presidents Cup, also getting the putter going in the singles, where he took Aaron Baddeley to the cleaners ! He has only ever finished outside the top two here once in nine starts and the 1.88 for a top four finish on the exchanges looks very solid and I would not put anyone off going down that route, but I will be a little braver and take him to win..... 2 units Tiger Woods 4.50 exchanges/ 4.38 Pinnacle Sports.

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Friday, December 02, 2011


In the Championship this evening, Crystal Palace host Derby County in match where they will kick off just about 38 hours after returning from Old Trafford , where they recorded a famous extra time victory over Manchester United. Regardless of the team United put out and they still fielded eight internationals, that was a very hard earned win for Palace, who did a lot of chasing and boss Dougie Freedman will have to rotate his own squad this evening. County lost again at home to Brighton on Tuesday night, but that 24 hours longer recovery time could still prove key, however, having documented Derby's problems ahead of that game I am loathe to pull the trigger on them tonight, despite the fact that it was an improved performance against B&H.

In Ligue 1, Olympique Marseille travel to Caen, ahead of a key Champions League match in Dortmund next midweek, however, in many ways this game is of equal importance and having beaten bitter rivals PSG 3-0 last week, they will not want to undo all that hard work, especially as those points, have got them firmly back in, at leas,t the hunt for CL spots for next season. There has been a clear upturn in performance for OM at least in the Ligue recently and they have targeted four very win-able games in the lead up to Christamas to get them back in the title race and come looking for all three points this evening. They have a good record here ( three wins and a draw in the last four) and this is a fixture which normally produces goals with the last eight h2h meetings averaging 3.88 . The visitors arrive without Remy and Morel, but Andre-Pierre Gignac has apologised to Didier Deschamps after a bust up between the pair and returns to the squad. But it is the return to form of Morgan Amalfitano, who really impressed against PSG and the return last week of Stephane Mbia that give them the energy and flair to dominate the centre of the park and with the hugely experienced Gregory Leca missing out for the hosts and that is a big loss, I expect OM to push on and win this. They have an incredible record with Mbia in the team, only losing three of 43 Ligue 1 starts and his is the first namee you should look for on the team sheet. Caen have already lost three home starts and conceded eight in their last four matches, more look on the cards this evening. Marseille -0.5 ball 2.05 +.

I have a trio of matches to discuss briefly in Ligue 2, leaders Clermont travel to Angers, where they have not won in eight visits (0-3-5), they seem sure to be a little jaded after their top of the table battle with Reims on Monday and it might be difficult to get "up" for another tough game so quickly afterwards, Angers have scored two or more in 6 of the last 7 h2h meetings and might need to do so again to get a result against a team who have got the winning habit. I have seen Angers "over" 1.5 goals at circa 2.60 and if that had been freely available, I would probably have put that up as a selection, especially with Clermont playmaker Alessandrini missing out, but it is not, so I will pass, interesting game though.

Regular readers know that I like ................. the rest of the notes and my main selections of the day,are not available to blog readers, sorry, I am hoping to be able to post a couple of match previews both tomorrow and sunday on here, so please check back.

Good Luck.

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