Sunday, October 30, 2011


We have another two "neighbours" playing in Ligue 1 when Lille travel down the A23 to face Valenciennes in what visiting coach Rudi Garcia is describing as the "true" northern derby. He understands the significance of the match to supporters and especially his team, who with main title rivals/ Champions League rivals PSG, Montpellier, Lyon and Marseille already having posted wins this weekend, need three points to stay in touch.

Les Dogues have added a robustness to their game in recent campaigns and are no easy touch on the road any more, they have fallen behind in their last three away starts and gone on to win two, collecting seven points from the trio of games. Those results came against teams who had only previously lost a combined one home start in 14 and that is a very impressive stat. Both teams are carrying knocks and will make late decisions on key players, but Lille have far more options available to them and this looks to be the season when Valenciennes will struggle. They have a small budget, spent virtually nothing in the summer and have done terrifically well to remain in the top flight for five seasons, after coming up from the fourth division in five years, They have never lost an average of over 14 games each season in Ligue 1, with a mean finishing position of 13th and already in the drop zone this time round and looking to have regressed it is going to take a big effort to survive this time. Regardless of that, this is a huge game for Lille if they are to mount a title defence and I take them to win a hard fought battle.

1.5 units Lille -0.25 ball 1.94 asian line.

Good Luck.


SUNDAY .....

Really unlucky to lose the Wigan Athletic bet yesterday, not much is going right for the Latics at present and after one key player failed a late fitness test, they lost Mohamed Diame after just 12 minutes, which forced them into a reshuffle. Despite that, they dominated possession (62%) and created far more chances ( 18-7) than Fulham and were denied twice by the woodwork. Once things start to go against you in football, it is very hard to turn things around and Athletic need something to go their way and quickly.

Goals continue to flow in the EPL, eight of the 97 matches played to date have produced six or more goals, but the really stunning fact is that Arsenal twice ( 8 and 4 conceded), Manchester United ( 6) and Chelsea ( 5), were on the receiving end of beatings in those games. In the last seven seasons this trio have conceded an average of 0.95, 0.74 and 0.66 goals per game respectively. This campaign, the big three clubs in english football over the last decade, have kept a clean sheet in all competitive games an average of once every three starts and United, in particular, have been very fortunate to register several of those. The Gunners defensive problems are well documented, I have been banging on about United's lack of a true defensive midfielder all season in my daily notes and Chelsea are in transition under Andre Villas-Boas. It is hard to see any let up in the entertainment and this looks a classic EPL season in the making.

Good Luck.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


In the EPL, I think Wigan Athletic are too big for the visit of Fulham, who are not a visitor to strike fear into any opponent,with just four road wins in 42 starts. They have not won in eight visits to the DW Stadium, posting a 0-5-3 record, last five have all been draws and a sixth would certainly not surprise, but off level ball, I feel the value is with the Latics. Hosts have lost six in a row, which is not much of a recommendation, but they were unlucky at unbeaten Newcastle United last week and have shown signs recently that they are about to turn the corner. Hugo Rodallega has returned to the team and the somewhat surprising news that he is busy negotiating a new contract, has given the club a boost this week, they were further buoyed by the return to training of Franco Di Santo and James McCarthy this week and both should play today.

Massive month ahead for Wigan and one that might well seal their top flight fate, with a series of very winnable matches against Fulham, Woves, Blackburn and Sunderland, it certainly gets harder after that with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United to face in December. I am sure that Roberto Martinez will have his troops fired up today and they should certainly be fresh, with this only their 11th start in 76 days, Fulham have played their last eleven fixtures in 29 days fewer and in that sequence, have travelled to Poland and Denmark. They come into the match with some defensive problems, Aaron Hughes is out and a couple of others are carrying knocks, this is as easy as it is going to get for Wigan and a match they have to look to win if they are going to survive. Wigan Athletic level ball 2.23 asian line.

Good Luck.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Athletic Bilbao won 3-0 and my "red type" bet also won comfortably. I am a perfect six from six with these "official" bets this week, with an incredible 26 of the last 35 winning !

I have just put up a confident pick for Friday's action ( please check your inbox) and am planning to preview four matches for saturday ( two very strong picks). Please check back at the weekend when I will try to post something of interest on here.

Good Luck.


Thursday October 27th

Finally ! The late goals have started to come the correct way, which of course, is in our favour ! Levante and Liverpool both found winners inside the final five minutes and kept up our 100% record ( five from five) for the new week, actually the last 34 "official"football selections have produced 25 winners.

One of those was
Athletic Bilbao (see below) and I am going to start with their attractive home fixture with Atletico Madrid. They started on fire in the Osasuna game, racing into an early 3-0 lead and coasting home despite the visitors claiming an injury time consolation goal. Bilbao have subsequently continued their recovery with a draw at Mestalla and can move into the top eight with three points this evening. Wildly talented Iker Muniain scored in both matches and looks a player to build a franchise around. Now that coach Marcelo Bielsa has got his team up and running and signing from his hymn sheet, I do not want to rush to oppose Athletic, a top four push is certainly not out of the question, they were sixth last year anyway and it is hard to make a case for Valencia, Sevilla and especially Villarreal being stronger this time round. With a tough November ahead, including a visit from Barcelona and trip to Seville, they should be extra motivated for points tonight and at Gijon over the weekend and this looks a very good time to be playing Atletico, who are another potential rival for a high finish. The capital's second club started the season well enough, but a heavy loss to Barce appears to have knocked their confidence and they have lost their way, they are without a win in six, or a goal from open play in four starts ( they scored against Mallorca from the penalty spot), or of any kind on the road domestically. Star 40m euro striker Radamel Falcao has not been firing and is said to be struggling with gastroenteritis over recent days. Hosts will be without Carlos Gurpegi for several months, but the veteran midfielder has been a fringe player under Bielsa and I do not see this as the loss it would once have been. I have to stick with the hosts Athletic Bilabo -0.25 ball 2.12 asian line.

Bilbao: Iraizoz, Toquero, Aurtenetxe, Amorebieta, San José, David López, Iturraspe, Llorente, De Marcos, Gabilondo, Raúl, Susaeta, Iraola, Muniain, Ander Herrera, Ekiza, Javi Martínez, Ibai , Ruiz and Galarreta.

Atletico: Courtois, Sergio Asenjo, Godín, Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Sìlvio, Álvaro Domínguez, Miranda, Mario Suárez, Salvio, Reyes, Arda Turan, Paulo Assunçao, Gabi, Koke, Diego, Adrián, Falcao and Pizzi.

In Serie A, a few words about ....... xxx xx xxxx sorry, my other two match previews and my sole red type selection of the day are only for readers of my daily notes.

Good Luck.

Written Monday October 17th

In La Liga we have an interesting Basque derby game between Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, hosts are the big power in the region and after seeing off Sociedad (another local rival) just before the international break, will be keen to follow up and do the double. I suspect they could have done without the break, as that was their first win of the campaign and it followed on from an impressive 2-0 defeat of big spending PSG in the Europa League. New coach Marcelo Bielsa is a real one off and it has taken a little time to get his ideas across, but the benefits are starting to show and we can expect Bilbao to come on very strong in the next couple of months. Bielsa is very meticulous, he personally checks pitch measurements before every away game and has been known to give four hour press conferences ! He favours a high pressing game, with the strikers putting a lot of pressure on opposing defenders, whilst at times this looks a fairly rigid formation, he makes a lot of subtle changes during the course of the game, which sometimes give them five forward players. 18 yo Iker Muniain has been outstanding in the last two seasons and he has been very influential in the last two games, setting up a lot of chances for the front three. Far more options for the coach tonight with the return of big summer signing Ander Herrera from injury and Ekiza to the centre of defence after suspension and this is a young, developing team of huge potential. Fernando Llorente who has found his scoring boots recently, missed training twice last week, but is named in the squad and Bielsa has a habit of sometimes training strikers separately from the rest of the group in any case, so you can never be sure with him, I told you he was a one off ! You always get a tough physical challenge from Athletic and the visitors have really struggled here in recent seasons, not scoring in five visits and losing the last four. Osasuna are not great travellers at the best of times and probably still have nightmares about their recent 8-0 loss at Barcelona, where their goalkeeper was their star performer and they look a little fragile. Goals are always a problem for them, just five this season and only Gijon of the other top ten clubs scored fewer last season, defensively they are very short of numbers with four players out, two of whom (Raitala and Ruben) started in the last league game, when they conceded two at home to struggling Mallorca, the second when the visitors were already reduced to ten men. They have added Roversio to the squad, but he was said to be a big doubt a couple of days ago and including him, every available defensive player has travelled. I like this home win a lot, but am not madly keen on these Monday night home televised favourites, having said that, everything else looks in Athletic's favour and they desperately need a home win in the league, especially ahead of tougher games against Valencia and Atletico. Just one unit Athletic Bilbao -0.5 ball 1.86, but I might press this early in the game if signs are good and 2.0 + becomes available.

:Iraizoz, Toquero, Aurtenetxe, Amorebieta, San José, David López, Iturraspe, Llorente, De Marcos, Gabilondo, Raúl, Susaeta, Iraola, Gurpegi, Muniain, Ander Herrera, Ekiza, Javi Martínez y Ibai.

:Andrés Fernández, Riesgo, Marc Bertrán, Damià, Lolo, Miguel Flaño, Roversio, Sergio, Annunziata, Cejudo, Lamah, Nekounam, Puñal, Raúl García, Timor, Ibrahima, Sola y Nino.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SUNDAY .....

I put up three early selections yesterday, two won, the other I posted on here ! That is the problem playing lucky dip !

Not going to waste anyone's time today, I have previewed five matches in my daily notes, putting up three "red type" bets, one strong, at odds of 2.12, 2.14 and 3.25, but am unable to post any on here, so no point in checking back. I do have just one bet planned for tomorrow ( Monday), but that is a maximum ( two point) selection, so cannot post that either, but please take a look back here on Tuesday, when there is a full lower league programme in England.

Fantastic sporting action today, we have just had the Rugby World Cup final ( not really my cup of tea) , up next are some very enticing EPL fixtures, with the Manchester derby taking pride of place. Later in the day the NFL, featuring the now traditional Wembley match and the last official event on the PGA Tour, something for everyone !

Good Luck.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


"Only" one of my two selections won yesterday, but the pair still produced a 26.6% profit overall and being 8 from 9 on the week is not too bad ! I eventually previewed three matches today and am going to cover another three "in running", which basically means "Pre Match Notes" and a "Half Time Update". Most of you know the form they take, the first is meant to give us a guide to finding a good "in play" situation, the second is a round up on how the first half has played out and the best available bets at half time. The last four of these bets have won, but the real beauty of following these matches so closely, is that we get to know the teams so well and they lead to a lot of future winners. 90% of the matches covered are from the Championship, where I think we have a big edge over the oddsmakers.

Anyway, that is an explanation for those of you that come across my notes for these type of games and I have included a few of you on the mailing list for today. For the rest, just the one selection at present ....

Starting from the top, if Bolton Wanderers- Sunderland can ever be described in that way ! Hosts did us a big favour last week and will definitely be looking to follow up today against a fellow struggler, with the pair separated only by goal difference, albeit a big one given Wanderers dire defensive record. The Black Cats were big spenders in the summer, with only the "Big 5" or the big six sans Tottenham investing more and they will be disappointed with their lowly position. Visiting boss Steve Bruce has had the dreaded vote of confidence and assurance that his job is safe, we all know what that means, safe until the next defeat ! At times his side have shown real potential, like in the 4-0 defeat of Stoke City and the away games at Arsenal ( for thirty minutes) and Anfield when they opened up in the second half. They will be happier here facing an opponent they have beaten in the last four h2h meetings and they have lost only two of their last eight trips to the Reebok, Bruce will also be able to call upon Phil Bardsley after suspension and Nicklas Bendtner who was inelligible to play against the Gunners, he seems sure to go with a more adventurous line up today, after receiving criticism for his formation last week. I expect both teams to go for the win and that we will see goals, all of Bolton's league starts have gone "over", at an average of 4.25 goals and they have not kept a clean sheet since the opening day of the season. Sunderland's last five have all produced at least three goals and early strikes have been a feature with their last four games, seeing five inside the opening 11 minutes, Bolton opened the scoring last week in the 4th minute and conceded in the 2nd minute at home to Chelsea the previous game, so certainly don't rule out plenty of early action. 1.5 units "Over" 2.5 goals 1.97 + asian line.

Good Luck.

Friday, October 21, 2011

FRIDAY .....

None of the selections below were posted on the blog, but I did send out 73 free copies of my daily notes each midweek day this week to long term readers of the blog and I have gone a perfect 7 from 7 with "official selections" so far. They have received another email with two selections today, after which, they are on their own ! As that is a reasonably large percentage of my regular readership, I feel ok about talking about the results.

I have a big weekend planned with four early previews, including a double stake ( maximum) selection , in addition to covering three matches in "running", where I am also four from four in the last seven days ! I will do my best to post something on the blog preview wise over the weekend, so please check back before 15.00 ( UK time) tomorrow.


These are the ONLY red type ( official) selections given this week.

MONDAY Athletic Bilbao -0.5 ball 1.86. WON 3-1

TUESDAY 1.5 units Fleetwood Town -0.75 ball asian line 2.06. WON 4-1
Ajax level ball 2.20 asian line. WON 2-0
Crystal Palace -0.25 2.06 asian line. WON 1-0

WEDNESDAY Arsenal +0.25 ball 2.06 asian line. WON 1-0

THURSDAY 1.5 units LA Galaxy -0.75 1.76 asian line. WON 1-0
FC Twente -0.5 ball 2.06 + there is some 2.10 on offer if you shop around. WON 4-1

Good Luck.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I put up two selections this morning and am also covering another two matches "in running", I am at the Reading match myself, but here are my pre match notes from the other fixture...

Crystal Palace - Bristol City

Overnight lines: Palace -0.5 ball 1.96- 1.96 2.5 goals 1.96- 1.94

Movement: Markets virtually unchanged

Confirmed Team News: Crystal Palace: 1.Julian Speroni i, 2.Nathaniel Clyne , 3. David Wright, 5.Patrick McCarthy , 6. Anthony Gardner, 7.Darren Ambrose 11 Sean Scannell, 15. Mile Jedinak, 16. Wilfried Zaha, 17. Glenn Murray, 38. Peter Ramage Subs: 34. Lewis Price, 4. Jonathan Parr, 8. Kagisho Dikgacoi, 19. Jermaine Easter, 20. Jonathan Williams................. Darren Ambrose returns to the starting eleven.

Bristol City: 1. David James, 5. Lewin Nyatanga, 7. Louis Carey, 8. Neil Kilkenny, 10. Nicky Maynard, 14. Cole Skuse, 20. Jamal Campbell-Ryce, 21. Kalifa Cisse, 27. Albert Adomah, 35. Damien Stewart, 36. Ryan McGivern

Subs: 22. Dean Gerken, 2. Jordan Spence, 12. Ryan Taylor, 18. James Wilson, 34. Brett Pitman .......Not quite so adventurous tonight for City

It will be interesting to see how City line up tonight, under their caretaker boss they went 4-3-3 at home to Peterborough United at the weekend, with Adomah, Maynard and Pitman up front. That almost paid off with the Robins dominating the first half against a lacklustre Posh, but as we discussed at the break then, they had expended a lot of energy and they have lost a lot of second half's this season. Two very good goals from the excellent Boyd and Tomlin secured the points for the visitors. To be fair, the Robins didn't give up this time and scored a late consolation goal.

Palace did us a favour at Watford on Saturday and the Eagles are playing at a pretty high level at present and three points tonight, could very well see them move into the playoff spots. They have a tough month ahead with games against Ipswich Town, Reading, Cardiff City and Leicester City, so will be greedibly eyeing the three "easier" points on offer this evening. Latest in the production line of young talent at the South London club is Wilfried Zaha, the 18 yo who already has 60 appearances under his belt and a whole host of bigger clubs watching him, scored a wonderful goal on saturday and the EPL scouts will be out in force tonight. Dougie Freedman has assembled a very nicely balanced squad at Selhurst Park, with a pleasing mix of youth and experience, they play with a lot of energy and could go really well this season.

Both teams have drawn five of their eleven first half's, but City have failed to go on and win a single one of those and they have collected only six points in the second half table, as opposed to 17 for their hosts, 73% of the goals that City have conceded have come after the break and 9 of their last 14 after the 73rd minute. City are without a win in 9, have only won one of three in which they have led at the half and lost all three in which they have trailed.

Palace are one of only three teams to gain 7 points from losing positions, taking four of them from the two games in which they have trailed at half time. However, when they have gone in ahead, they are an odd looking 2-0-2, one of those losses came on the opening day at Peterborough and the other at Elland Road, where they led Leeds United for 50 minutes. Having also led twice recently against the Hammers, you could easily see them having another 4-5 points on board already and pushing Saints for the lead at the top of the table. This is a team far from the finished article, but clearly moving in the right direction . I will update both games at half time ( BY EMAIL), along with any betting opportunities.

Good Luck.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 yesterday and Ipswich Town took a point , despite Cardiff City being backed off the boards, I can only think that one of the big asian syndicates were backing the Welsh club, but this time it just meant bigger odds for my selection and I had to bet again ..... which was nice ! I am not going to post any football or NFL bets on here today, going to save them for regulars, but there are some notes taken from today's email below.

Whenever you get the chance to see my notes and you all do at times, please read them carefully, as I always say, they are about so much more than the basic selection and it only takes a couple of minutes each day. For example, on Monday, I wrotes those few lines at the very foot of this post about Trevor Immelman, he traded at 340.0 to win earlier this week and is now circa 7.0 !

Most people are too lazy to do a little bit of research, even if I have already done most of the hard work for them, they are "only interested in the red type". Or the "good stuff" as someone recently said to me in an email, he couldn't be more wrong, the "good stuff" is everything between the date and the "good luck" sign off.


Decent day on the football yesterday with six of the seven selections winning, but I want to get straight into today's events and will start with the McGladrey Classic, where Webb Simpson is still hanging around the top of the leaderboard and certainly looks likely to claim enough prize money to pass Luke Donald in the Money List. Good news is that Donald has entered the Disney event for next week, that doesn't mean he will definitely play, but he can if he wants to and has shown an intent.

I feel that Simpson will feel a little pressure today and will be thinking as much about the Money List as he will winning the tournament and it could affect his game. He has been paired today with Trevor Immelman, whom I discussed last Sunday and Monday (see below ) and who shot a course record 62 yesterday. Whilst it is very hard to go ultra low two days running in golf, the South African tends to hold his form very well and is driving the ball and putting like a dream. We have already talked about his form in Round 4 and I only wish I had taken my own advice and backed him this week ! Pinnacle have priced him at 2.47 to beat Simpson with the tie no bet option, elsewhere he is as big as 2.625 with the tie, both quotes are WAY too big IMO and the match is more of a toss up in my book.

This is just for advice, but the Top 125 players on Tour after next week who have not already got an exemption, will retain their playing cards for next season, the rest risk being out of a job, at least such a high paying one, so there is huge incentive for these players to do well today, especially those on or around the "bubble". Here are three to keep an eye on 15.32 two ball Billy Mayfair 1.91 to beat Bio KIm, 15.05 two ball Stephen Ames 2.10 to beat Henrik Stenson, 16.26 two ball DJ Trahan 2.50 to beat Lucas Glover.All times are UK as always on the email, Mayfair is an old experienced pro who is a proven winner and currently projected just outside the promised land at 128, he will be looking to improve on his current position here of 33 and is a solid Round 4 player, ranked 22nd this season. Trahan is currently 127 and is actually ranked 46 places higher for Sunday scoring than major winner Lucas Glover. Ames is another long in the tooth gritty competitor, from a family of gritty competitors, he needs a very solid round to improve upon his current projected 137 and looks big to beat the talented Swedish player who has lost his way and is ranked 178 on Tour for Round 4 scoring, which is 127 spots below the Trinidadian Ames. Anyway, three very motivated golfers to keep an eye on.

The early football games xxx xxx x xxxx the rest of the notes are only for subscribers

Good Luck.

Written 09/10
I must admit to be tempted by Pinnacle's pairing of Tiger Woods and Trevor Immelman in the, two golfers who have had huge problems off the course in recent years, with the big difference being that the South African's have not been self inflicted.
Consecutive rounds of 68 are a big improvement for Woods but he has to do a lot more to convince me that he has finally exorcised his demons, or even really started on the long road back. On thursday he putted poorly, but the flat stick has saved him the last two days, when he has been very wayward off the tee and also with his irons at times, of course you could argue that it is all close to coming together, but I am not so sure. He is ranked outside the top 70 off the tee and to me this is worrying, as he is not even trying to hit the ball a long way, being way down distance wise. Immelman withdrew in Boston recently following a death in his extended family, but returned at the Justin Timberlake and shot a very promising 67-67-69-69 for a high finish and his 70-69-70 this week offers further encouragement that the 2008 Masters champion is finally over the illness problems that have plaqued him for the best part of four years. He has shot 67 , 68, 69 the last four rounds he has played on Sunday on Tour and Immelman seems sure to give anyone looking to take on bad boy Tiger, a good run for their money at a tasty looking 2.63 with the tie no bet option.

Written 10/10
We really have to keep an eye on Immelman, he looks fit for the first time in several years and the former major winner is still only 31 years old and only just about to enter his peak playing years. He has entered the McGladrey Classic this week and might be fired up by returning to Georgia, the state where he won the Masters. He has now played eight solid rounds in a row and more importantly, gone low in Round 4 the last four times he has played on Sunday shooting 67 , 68, 69, 66 with one of those rounds in a Grand slam event. The US season is winding down, but there are plenty of worldwide events left and he looks a winner about to happen, we have to keep on the right side of the South African.

Contact :

Saturday, October 15, 2011


In the EPL, I cannot really let the early kick off between Liverpool and Manchester United go without comment, this match is huge and could blow the title race wide open. Steven Gerrard looks set to make his return and first league start in seven months, what a match for a comeback ( !) and who knows how Wayne Rooney is going to respond following the massive disappointment of his three match international ban, where once again UEFA have decided to make an example of english players/clubs, if Rooney was German, Italian or French ( definitely French) he would have received a one match ban for sure. Michel Platini loves the english ! Anyway, glad to get that off my chest !

Definitely think Liverpool should be a small favourite here, they have had much the best of recent meetings and this is their biggest league fixture of the year and King Kenny will have the troops well and truly fired up. Pool have won the last three meetings here and six of the last eight h2h have gone "over", with a few being blown wide open. Given the way that United are playing this season and I touched upon that yesterday, hosts are going to get chances and probably quite a few, they are also struggle to keep a clean sheet, just one in seven and it is difficult not to see both scoring. I see some minimal value in the home team off level ball at odds against, but given the likelyhood of both scoring, also like the over 3.5 goals option at 3.40 on the excahnges for small money, or how about the 2-2 draw @ 17.0 ? No bet for me, as this is one of the few games we do not need a financial involvement to really enjoy.

The relegation six pointer and yes, even seven games into the new season it already looks like one, between Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers, is a far more attractive betting medium IMO. The visitors are bottom of the pile and have suffered a couple of hammerings, but have suffered terribly from injuries/ suspensions and a dire schedule which has already seen them play, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs ! That is as tough as it could possibly be and they have had no chance to build on an opening day win at QPR, when they returned home from the capital buoyed by a 4-0 win and oblivious to what was around the corner. They have done better on the road, in addition to that win there was another at Villa Park in the League Cup and given their lack of attacking options at times, they have been happier not to have to make the running. However, today they have Ivan Klasnic ( top scorer) and David Wheater back from suspension and striker Gael Kakuta available once again and Owen Coyle will be delighted to have increased options. A win will take his team off the bottom and they have a terrific record in this series, being unbeaten in seven h2h meetings and only conceding once in four short trips to the DW Stadium where their supporters travel in big numbers. I feel the two week break will have done them a lot of good and I am sure that Coyle will have been working extra hard on dead ball situations. Athletic have really struggled to defend these, conceding from high balls into the box against Spurs, Villa and Everton in recent starts and Bolton are stronger than at least two of those in that department. Wigan have Crusat and Gohari back today, but are still without Hugo Rodallega, he is a big loss and they have not won in his absence. 1.5 units Bolton Wanderers +0.25 ball 1.87 asian line.

Into the Championship and a few words about Cardiff City- Ipswich Town, I could see the rugby World Cup semi final having some bearing on this, the match is huge in Wales, beyond huge and if they lose this morning, the mood here will be a little sombre, of course it could have the opposite effect if they win, but I see it as more of a potential negative than positive. We have discussed both recently, backing Town at home to Coventry ( 3-0) and at West Ham, where they recorded a famous 1-0 win, they have now taken ten points from four starts and in that sequence played, the Hammers, Middlesbrough and Brighton, three of the strongest teams in the second tier. They like playing City and have won the last five h2h meetings, including three in a row here. I talked about the quality in the squad ahead of the Coventry game ( reproduced below) and all those players have steeped up to the plate and listening to the Brighton game on the radio, I was taken by the way the match commentator ( a neutral) twice said that Town would be promoted, not might be, would be, which for a mid table team is a little odd, but a guide to the quality they have in their ranks. Michael Chopra has hit form now, with two fanatstic goals in his last start and had previously had very little luck, he is a top top striker at this level and will be keen to impress returning to his former club. Gestede and Earnshaw give City more options up front but Kenny Miller seems likely to miss out. Ipswich Town +0.25 ball 2.17 asian line.

Good luck.

written 19/09
I only want to discuss the Championship televised game between Ipswich Town and Coventry City today. It is incredible that Town have struggled so badly this season, they have some quality players, maybe a couple a little long in the tooth, but vast experience and a squad including Mark Kennedy, Lee Bowyer, Keith Andrews, Carlos Edwards, Ibrahima Sonko, Jimmy Bullard, Michael Chopra, Jason Scotland, Nathan Ellington, Ivar Ingimarsson , Daryl Murhy and Jay Emmanuel - Thomas etc, should not be hanging around at the wrong end of the division. Kennedy and Ingimarsson are available today which will give Paul Jewell even more options and his club will have really benefitted from the nine day break ahead of this televised game. Jewell arranged a training ground match with Gillingham last week and the Kent team brought some youngsters, along with 3-4 first teamers and were thumped 8-1 by a very experienced Town eleven. The Gills were probably not happy about that, but it appears not to have done them any harm, as three travelled with the first team to Hereford United at the weekend and won 6-1 ! In the friendly, Nathan Ellington scored a hat- trick and missed at least four good chances before the first went in, JET also scored and those two will be looking to put pressure on the current favoured starting front pairing of Chopra and Murphy, with Scotland also desperate to start. These strikers, along with Tamas Priskin, who has been told he is surplus to requirements ( you can understand why), have a mountain of Championship goals between them, enough to have won three titles and with so much competition, should be scoring for fun.
Instead Town have been conceding for "fun",but with Ingimarsson having played the full 90 minutes against Gillingham, he should slot in right alongside Sonko, the pair must have played 200 times together at previous clubs ( Brentford and Reading) and are good friends. This will make them far more solid and we can surely expect Ipswich to improve greatly over the coming months, they go to leaders Middlesbrough at the weekend, so will want the points tonight.
There are normally goals when these two meet, last 18 meetings home and away have seen both score in every single gamewhich is amazing, 15 of those have ended "over", including the last seven at Portman Road, with four of those producing at least four goals. Last ten starts here have seen seven home wins, one road victory and an average of 3.5 goals. City finally got a league win at home to Derby County last time out, thanks somewhat to some odd decisions from the match officials, which Nigel Clough was still complaining about several days later. They are struggling on and off the pitch and really are opponents that Paul Jewell's team should be defeating with the minimum of fuss. I am going to put up two bets.....

1.5 units Ipswich Town -0.5 ball 2.14 + asian line.
1 unit "over" 2.75 goals 2.21 asian line.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I sent out some 20 freebie copies of my notes for today this morning, they included the three football matches below. Falkirk won 3-0, Notts County who are 1-0 up at the break and the draw was denied by a goal in the 95th minute of the match ! Ouch !

For now it is football only and I will start with the Serie B game between Empoli and Varese. We talked about the hosts ahead of their midweek Tuscany derby meeting with Livorno ( see foot of email) and the possible new coach effect, Giuseppe Pillon got an immediate response from his players and was especially pleased with the cleansheet in a 0-0 draw. The visitors had not played in Serie B for 25 years, before promotion the season before last and nearly forced another promotion after only losing out in the play offs on their return, that would have been a fourth promotion in five years after being in the Eccellenza league ( 6th tier) as recently as 2005 following bankruptcy. That would have possibly been one promotion too much and this is likely to be a key season in the always difficult second season following promotion, when the glow of success has worn off. Goals never flow freely for them, just 51 last year with the three clubs ahead of them all scoring at least ten more and teh situation was compounded in the summer with the loss of several key players, including top scorer Ebagua who joined Torino and both full backs. They did win 2-0 at struggling and winless Vicenza in midweek, but that doubled their goal tally ( just two in seven previously) for the season and they meet a far more robust opponent today. The home side and especially Pillon will want to build on the point at a big rival on his home debut, but it will not be easy with four players still away on international duty and Coppola and Ficagna both unavailable after leaving the game with inuries on wednesday, the natural replacement for Ficagna is also missing. Varese tight defensively, but with few goals are also missing three players, so two teams who will both be looking to build on midweek results might easily cancel each other out. If Empoli were at or close to full strength I would be firmly in their camp, but as things stand, I see all the value in the draw. Empoli- Varese draw 3.0 + .... there is some 3.10 on offer.

In Scotland, we have the semi finals of the Challenge Cup and tiny Annan Athletic, who come from a town of only 8,000 people are expecting to break attendance records today, with the visit of Falkirk. Hosts only got into the league in 2008, but are sitting proudly atop Division 3 this morning and have got to this stage, by playing teams really struggling in their division, previous round was a "big" scalp for them winning at First Division Ayr United, but their hosts had other priorities and rested a lot of players. Falkirk will not do that today, with no immediate other distractions and a proud record in this competition, which they almost always take seriously and have won a record three times. Their supporters are also travelling in huge numbers and are likely to make up at least 60% of the crowd at the very homely stadium. The visitors are expected to put in a big promotion push back to the SPL this year and look a class apart from Annan, both in terms of personnel and resources. We might see some goals here, as both are missing starting defenders, but for me their can be only one winner, despite Athletic's fantastic form this season, the gulf is big IMO. Falkirk's only loss in eleven came recently at Morton, but that was understandable, soming as it did just a few days after a famous 3-2 defeat of Glasgow Rangers in the League Cup, they have since recorded a very nice win at strong Hamilton and should be finely tuned after a free midweek. Odds for them are a little skinny at circa 1.72 but that would be my pick, however, in running might be a more attractive option. The Bairns have scored 19 in their last eight starts, but only one has come inside the first 39 minutes, which is incredible and that was scored in the 17th minute. Therefore, they are bound to trade bigger "in play" and will not panic if the early breakthrough doesn't come..... as it rarely does for them !

In League 1 Notts County host Hartlepool United. I am not getting overly involved, but County were only interested in this game as I advised in midweek and you can forget the JPT loss to ten man Chesterfield. Home boss Martin Allen loves the television cameras and will have his troops pumped up for this. These are two evenly matched teams, but I believe the hosts have more potential, even though Allen is a little tactically naive IMO and rarely has a Plan B. United have really overachieved so far, they are unbeaten on the road with a 3-2 record, but committed highway robbery in collecting four points from trips to MK Dons and Bournemouth, in the first they scored with their only two attempts at goal and were battered senseless for 90 minutes ! They got a real thumping here last season, losing 3-0, it could have been five ( !) and the performance that day still rankles with the coach, especially as they came into the game on the back of seven wins in eight starts and full of confidence. They lost their unbeaten record last week and it will be interesting to see how they respond. In January they were 0-2-5 with a 2-17 goal difference on the back of that loss here and Mick Wadsworth will be looking for a much better response. If pushed... Notts County -0.5 ball 2.02 asian line.

A little later today, I sent a follow up email with a solid bet for tonight's NFL and this for the PGA golf .....

I must admit to be tempted by Pinnacle's pairing of Tiger Woods and Trevor Immelman in the, two golfers who have had huge problems off the course in recent years, with the big difference being that the South African's have not been self inflicted.

Consecutive rounds of 68 are a big improvement for Woods but he has to do a lot more to convince me that he has finally exorcised his demons, or even really started on the long road back. On thursday he putted poorly, but the flat stick has saved him the last two days, when he has been very wayward off the tee and also with his irons at times, of course you could argue that it is all close to coming together, but I am not so sure. He is ranked outside the top 70 off the tee and to me this is worrying, as he is not even trying to hit the ball a long way, being way down distance wise. Immelman withdrew in Boston recently following a death in his extended family, but returned at the Justin Timberlake and shot a very promising 67-67-69-69 for a high finish and his 70-69-70 this week offers further encouragement that the 2008 Masters champion is finally over the illness problems that have plaqued him for the best part of four years. He has shot 67 , 68, 69 the last four rounds he has played on Sunday on Tour and Immelman seems sure to give anyone looking to take on bad boy Tiger, a good run for their money at a tasty looking 2.63 with the tie no bet option.

I think the outright market is a little more interesting, Briny Baird leads on -13, two shots clear of Paul Casey and Ernie Els, with Hadwin, Wi, Molder and Cauley on -10, Rollins -9 and the field at -8 or worse. Casey ( he of the Popeye forearms) and Els are proven worldwide winners sandwiched between a whole host of non winners. Baird has banked circa $12m in prize money but has now played 374 Tour events without a win and he must have had a very sleepless night. Casey has only won once in the US in 2009, but has had some problems since, however, he is a 13 time winner around the world, twice already this year, including in South Korea last week, which was a big confidence boost. He hit a fantastic run of form last Fall, finishing 2-4-6-3 on his last four starts on US soil. He is -7 for his last 22 holes here, with no dropped shots and must go close today. He feels he was "trying too hard" with the putter yesetrday and didn't take advantage of the chances he had, but holed a nice putt on the last when he "just relaxed" and hit the ball.

Ernie is a 57 time winner around the world and normally starts and finishes the season strongly, he has not forgotten how to win and has improved his finishing position 75% of times when starting the final round inside the top 5 in the last 18 months. Now that he is back with long time caddie Ricci Roberts he looks far more comfortable, the two have been together on and off for two decades and I feel Els needs him on the bag. Roberts said yesterday "Tee to green, he hits the ball better than any guy out here,'' "If he putted like some of these youngsters, he'd be winning six or seven tournaments a year. He's been patient this week and just hung in there. Probably left a few out there." Ernie has worked incredibly hard on his game in recent months and it is finally starting to fall into place, he said "I changed a lot of things and feel that the work I've put in is starting to come through. I'm starting to feel comfortable on the things I've been working on. I think the FedEx race [he made it to the third tournament, the BMW Championship] was good for my game. I kind of scraped through, and I had a lot of pressure on me and my game. You're just trying to survive. So I feel that's helped me, and then obviously the work. I don't think you forget how to win.'' If he holes a couple of putts today, it will take a very good performance from one of the others to stop him.

Casey, Els and Baird will all play together in a three ball, which IMO only increases the pressure on the non winner. Casey is 4.80 on the exchanges, Els 5.50, that equates to combined odds of 2.56 for either to win and looks good value. Two proven winners who both hit form at this time of year, one with a recent victory to his name, the other very hungry and with an old friend back in his camp.... sounds OK to me ( and I make it a 1.5 unit selection). To win the same on both selections at those quotes, you would need to invest 46% of your stake on Els and 54% on Casey.

Good Luck.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011


I have previewed three matches today, putting up two strong ( including one maximum) selections, the one below is not either of those, but still a bet I like.

In League 1 the home form of Sheffield Wednesday has probably kept Gary Megson in employment, they are a perfect 5-0-0 at Hillsborough, but have struggled on their travels, conceding twelve goals in six starts, which is in stark contrast.

Some teams have come here and froze this season, (that is understandable, it is a famous stadium and Wednesday a very big, well suppoted club) a couple of others, like Scunthorpe United and Notts County were just downright unfortunate. Today, Chesterfield, who did us a big favour in midweek, try their luck in this "derby" game, only 12 miles of the A61 separate the two teams and supporters of the Spirites are travelling in huge numbers, with well over 3,000 tickets already sold . This is a very big day for the visitors and especially their manager John Sheridan, who spent seven years as a player with the Owls and I think they can get a result.

After winning League 2 with a degree of comfort last season, it has taken Field a little time to come to terms with life at the higher level and also the loss of 23 goal top scorer Craig Davies in the summer. But there have been a few signs recently and a couple of very encouraging results, that indicate an upper mid table finish and maybe even a playoff push are not totally out of the question. I think this pair have over and under achieved respectively so far this campaign and expect them to be a lot closer together in terms of league position in say two months time.

The visitors already hold the upper hand in the attempts on goal table, having 115 as opposed to Wednesday's 93, that is exactly two per game more and adds support to my belief that results for these two clubs are going to even out in the coming weeks. I am not a great fan of Megson and will be surprised if he is still in charge in the New Year, Sheridan, as a favourite son of Wednesday and the scorer of the winning goal the last time they won a major trophy, would be one of the main contenders to replace him and this is a big opportunity for him and his team to put themselves in the shop window.

Chesterfield +0.75 asian line 1.98.
Both teams are missing key defenders and a few goals would not surprise me, the" over" 3.5 option is available at 3.0 and is a good cover with both teams having goals in them.

Good Luck.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011


The Johnstone's Paint Trophy takes centre stage tonight and the key here is to read between the lines.
Unlike in the past, clubs are forced to name "strong" line ups, with at least six players who started the last league game, or, who are regular first team players. That still leaves plenty of room to manoeuvre of course, but with the threat of a £5000 fine for non compliance, clubs are very guarded in what they say. So you almost always read that "they are motivated to do well", "see this as a chance to get to Wembley" etc etc. Normally the teams that are more focused and I don't believe that anyone really is through the early rounds, are those that are fairly sure that they are in for a mid table campaign,or those that are very strong, pushing for the title, but secure that a run in this competition is not going to cost them promotion.

Swindon Town have taken this competition quite seriously in recent years , but having just missed out on promotion in the first of those and been relegated in the second, I wonder how motivated they will be tonight ? They have only really put in one road performance this season and that came at Crawley Town, who were in the middle of an injury crisis and in poor form at the time. Paulo di Canio has said he wants to go to Wembley, but we have already spoken about that. His team simply have to get promotion, or at least go very close this season and I think they could do without involvement in this. Looking at the league table, you could also say the same about League 1 strugglers Exeter City, but after five games without a win they finally broke their duck at the weekend and surely boss Paul Tisdale (pictured in his normal cap and scarf, we might see the cap tonight, scarf is unlikely) will want to keep the momentum up.

We spoke about the Grecians quite a lot earlier in the season and how they were good enough box to box, but had no strikers due to injuries and lack of investment in the summer and were toothless up front. They were waiting for the loan market to open up and the treatment room to clear and then, for these players to gel, well, they have five strikers now and Bauza, Nardiello and Whichelow do have a touch of class. They started well at home to Oldham on saturday, like they have in several recent games, but the difference this time was that the goal came and with it, the confidence returned, they scored a second and then chose to sit on their lead. That was understandable, as it was desperately needed, it did allow the visitors back into things somewhat, but the clean sheet was also fantastic for the mood at the club and having reached the Area Final in this last year, I think they will be up for the tie tonight. Exeter City -0.25 ball 2.07 asian line.

Southend United are top of League 2 and have won their last four with a 1o-0 goal difference, the last two against big promotion rivals Rotherham and Shrewsbury by a combined 7-0, it is hard to be more impressive than that. Huge credit to boss Paul Sturrock who has done miracles in his 14-15 months in charge, about two weeks before the start of last season he had no registered players. His squad is in good shape, with only two long term injuries, he will rotate his eleven, giving the league trip to Crewe priority over tonight's "derby" fixture with Dagenham. But there is now huge competition for places and those coming in, Hall, Sturrock ( junior) and especially Bilel Mohsni, who was the clubs saviour before quality players like Neil Harris and Liam Dickenson were brought in, will be very hungry to impress and win a starting place back. Their supporters will travel in force for tonight, they had 800 in this competition travel to Barnet last year at the same stage ( won 3-1) and are in much better form now. Over 1,000 are expected to make the very short journey, which is likely to give them over half the crowd and United will not want to disappoint such support and it can make a huge difference at games like this. Support, competition for places and momentum to keep up and build upon, off level ball I have to take the Shrimpers. Southend level ball 2.06 asian line.

Good Luck.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

SUNDAY .... written 13.30

In Ligue 1, Marseille can almost forget a run at a Champions League spot this season if they do not beat Stade Brest today. They already trail four teams by a minimum ten points and really need to close that gap. They travel to Toulouse after the break, never an easy place to go and only have one more home start in October. With six points in the Champions League group to their name and buoyed by a fine, but far from flawless 3-0 defeat of the German Champions in midweek, they can fully focus on beating the small club from Brittany who have never won in the Velodrome. OM won this match up 3-0 last season and that was just five short months ago. The visitors have yet to win this season ( six draws from eight starts) , or even score on the road and with a host of injuries and very short of options at the back, with five of the ten defenders registered at the club unavailable today. I have to side with OM.

1.5 units Marseille -1.5 goals 2.17 asian line.

Good Luck.

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