Tuesday, January 31, 2012



I suspect County might be running on empty, this will be their fourth start in ten days, they will be very disappointed to have gone out of the cup to Stevenage at the weekend , missing out on a huge 5th round match with Tottenham, whom boss Martin Allen has big family ties with. It will be hard for them to get "up" for this game with little to play for in the league and they have met two teams recently who play at a very high tempo, so energy reserves will be low. They have an early chance to get some revenge over Stevenage, who come to Meadow Lane on saturday and might be more interested in that, they are certainly stronger on home soil, having already lost nine times on the road, the most of any team in League 1. Striker Lee Hughes has renewed off the pitch problems and it is hard to see too many positives for County, who have won just once in ten starts.

Hosts have not played for ten days, so should be fresh and raring to go, they are coming off road draws at Carlisle United and Brentford and whilst they showed limited ambition in those games, it was hard not to be impressed by how they stuck to their task and they are clearly geared up for a big relegation battle, anything earned on the road is a bonus, but it is at home where their fate will be decided and they have already collected points here against a number of top teams. I was surprised that they were able to take Belgium U19 international attacking midfielder
Florent Cuvelier on loan from Stoke City, he is being watched by Tottenham and Manchester City and is definitely one with a huge future and was voted into the European Under-19 Championships team of the tournament last summer. He goes straight into the squad.

Saddlers are outside the drop zone only on goal difference and travel to Scunthorpe United, the team immediately below them on Saturday, so will be desperate to increase their advantage before then. They have a very tough finish to the season, playing all of the top six in the last two months, so this coming 5-6 weeks will go a long way to deciding their fate. Big game for the hosts and off level ball, they have to be my pick. 1.5 units Walsall level ball 1.98 asian line.

Good Luck.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


ITV executives must have been desperate for Novak Djokovic to win the fourth set, how many viewers outside the North East will be turning over to watch Sunderland - Middlesbrough, rather than the first ever fifth set between Rafa and Nole ?

I am exhausted from today's sport and it is still only lunchtime !

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 28, 2012



West London derby with added spice from the league meeting and the Ferdinand- Terry saga, which is still ongoing. Rangers won that earlier meeting 1-0, Blues played 50 minutes with nine men, yet still dominated most of the play and chances.

Chelsea's title challenge hit the rails that day and has never really got back on track.

They are fourth in the EPL and will be looking to move up to third before the end of the season, but 14 points adrift of Manchester City, their title hopes have realistically gone. Therefore, I think they will be eager to win today, not just for a little revenge, but to progress in a domestic competition. However, what they will not want is a replay on February 8th, that would come immediately after their meeting with Manchester United and would mean 4 games inside 13 days, directly before their Champions League trip to Naples.

Rangers defeat of Wigan last week has given them some minimal breathing space over the bottom three, but they are still five points adrift of WBA and remain one of five teams seemingly set to battle until the end of May, to avoid three relegation spots. They will likewise want to avoid a replay, which would be sandwiched between six pointers with both Wolves and Blackburn Rovers. Therefore , we can look for both teams to get this decided today.

This is an early kick off and as such, will surely suit the visitors more, being their seventh lunchtime kickoff of the campaign. QPR have played three "early" games and lost all of them, without scoring a goal. We have discussed before about how footballers are very much creatures of habit and do not like to change their match day schedule, particularly sleeping and eating regimes. Chelsea are far more used to this disruption, infact for them it is normal and 12.00 is very early for UK games to start. Think we will see Chelsea really up for this today and I expect them to win comfortably. 1.5 units Chelsea -1 ball 1.94 + asian line.


Yet another derby game here and quite a passionate one.

The Shrews have had the better of recent meetings under boss Graham Turner, who was in the hot seat at United for 15 years and knows the hosts as well as any man ( or woman ) alive ! They won 2-0 here in April and in the reverse fixture this season 3-1 and neither scoreline flattered them.

Despite this knowledge, Turner is taking nothing for granted and watched the Bulls personally in a 2-1 loss at home to Bristol Rovers recently, the latest in a series of dire home performances. They have not won here in seven starts since October, losing five and conceding 15 goals in the process. Turner remarked that Hereford play a very aggressive, physical game, not dissimilar to Southend United, whom Shrewsbury saw off last week, despite playing with ten men for an hour. That was very impressive and if the Bulls are a poor mans Southend, the visitors should be able to repeat that showing today.

Anyway, few surprises for Town who sit four points off an automatic promotion spot, but seven clear of eighth, so basically "freerolling" for that top 3 place, for any poker players out there . With little to lose and no need to settle for a point, especially with matches against highflying rivals Torquay, Swindon and Crawley next month.

Striker Marvin Morgan is suspended, but despite having three other options up front, Turner has still decided to add some cover, bringing in Romaine Sawyer on loan from WBA, this is a clear indication of the resources Town have and their determination to take no chances and get into the top three this time round, having missed out narrowly in recent seasons. 1,300 away supporters snapped up their full allocation of tickets and many more are expected to make it into the home ends, this should see them make up around 50% of the attendance and makes a huge difference in such a tiny stadium/ crowd, I expect them to go home happy. I would prefer the straight win, but that is circa 2.10, so the asian line quote offers better value... 1.5 units Shrewsbury Town -0.25 ball 1.88 asian line.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I have put up three selections today and whilst I do not wish to post any of those on the blog, I did discuss a couple of other matches briefly, which I am happy to share ....



I am not going to get overly involved in these games, but do have an opinion on each, which I will give briefly.

To be honest, I was very surprised by the opening asia quotes for Chievo and whilst their odds have fallen a little overnight, still feel they are a little big at circa 2.26 to win this and there is some 2.375 in places as I type. Hosts have 24 points in Serie A which sees them in 8th place and more importantly, nine points clear of Cesena and the drop zone. That should allow them to focus purely on this match and worry about the weekend visit from Lazio, tomorrow. They are 5-3-1 here in the league and have only conceded four times. The visitors have picked up recently and have a good record in this fixture and stadium, but remain just one spot outside the drop zone and have their big derby game with Fiorentina at the weeekend, they also play Juventus and Roma in the next couple of weeks and do they really need a two legged tie with the winners of the other match being played today, thrown into the equation ? They have also travelled with a huge group of players, every available player, 26 in total and that surely indicates that they will make wholesale changes. Either way, the odds on Chievo look wrong, given the likely motivation of each.

Inter have not won in Napoli inside 90 minutes in six visits and surely you would think they had bigger objectives, they are now up to 4th in the table and definitely in the title race and have a Champions League meeting with Marseille on the near horizon, things could hardly have gone better for Claudio Ranieri, but the "tinkerman" seems reluctant to let this match go. He has named a pretty identical squad (see below) to the one which battled past Lazio at the weekend and this son of Rome, seems determined to want to go to the final in the Eternal City. I find that hard to comprehend, given that Inter have won this four times already in the last seven seasons, but Ranieri has not won a domestic honour in his own country since 1996, so maybe that, is his motivation. Napoli like to play very narrow and on the counter and if Inter play like they did at Milan and sit back too, it is difficult to see too many goals. Last six h2h meetings here have produced just five goals, the last three have all been draws after 90 minutes and given their likely style of play, if there is not an early breakthrough, this should follow suit. Under 2.25 goals at circa 2.02 is a little tempting and would be my pick if you forced me to make one.

Goalkeepers: 1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;

Defenders: 2 Ivan Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 13 Maicon, 23 Andrea Ranocchia, 25 Walter Samuel, 26 Cristian Chivu, 37 Davide Faraoni;

Midfielders: 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 11 Ricardo Alvarez, 18 Andrea Poli, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 20 Joel Obi;

Forwards: 7 Giampaolo Pazzini, 22 Diego Milito, 28 Mauro Zarate, 30 Luc Castaignos.

In the African Cup of Nations, if you are not on Zambia outright.....

Good Luck.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



I do not rush to oppose teams desperate for points at this stage of the season, but I have to take on the Daggers tonight, they have had a nightmare ten days, losing a six pointer at home to Hereford United, crossing the Thames to receive a 5-0 hammering from Millwall in the cup, then travelling all the way to Crewe at the weekend to concede another four and now another long coach trip to deepest Devon, to face highflying Torquay United who are up to sixth after three straight road wins and can close to within five points of an automatic spot with the win tonight, they host basement club Northampton Town on saturday, so extra incentive for the win. Martin Ling knows how to get out of this division and has got the Gulls really playing well, no selection problems for him, he said yesterday "Everybody is fit and all 22 players trained together today," said Martin. "Our physio Damian Davey is taking all the credit at the moment and he's got his feet up"."It's brilliant to have everyone available and we'll go with the same 18-man squad we took to Morecambe on Saturday.

I have just watched highlights of a couple of recent Daggers games and they have really struggled to defend from dead balls and United have scored their opening goal from corners in three of their last five starts. I could see another collapse from Dagenham if they concede first tonight and they must be drained after so much time on the bus in the last 4-5 days. 1.5 units Torquay United -0.75 ball 1.91 asian line.

Good Luck.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I am not coming off a very good weekend, I previewed five events yesterday and whilst two won, it was the first two ( which is never the best way round) and at least two of the others should have followed suit and the other three games were all played late and I feel tired , hungry and very sorry for myself ! It was not the losses, goodness knows I am used to those after so many years and we always end up on the right side in the end, but the manner of defeat was a little tough to take.

Anyway, some brief details below from today's notes and also team news from one of tonight's games you might have missed.


I feel a little like I was personally violated yesterday .

Bilbao had plenty of the ball and chances, but two penalties and a red card saw Real win by three and on another day, in another stadium, possibly two of those would not have been awarded.

The Baltimore Ravens just threw the game and more importantly for us, the extra couple of points required, away. They had not made the most of a couple of earlier trips to the "red zone" but what happened in the last drive of the game, was hard to take. Firstly, Lee Evans "caught" a reception in the end zone, but it was stripped out of his hands, to many people, it looked like he had possession long enough for the touchdown to be awarded, but no. LINK Nevermind, minutes later, Billy Cundiff had a field goal attempt from 32 yards to tie the game, he has made 16 from 16 of these inside the fourth quarter in the last two seasons and 20 from 22 of all attempts at 40 yards or less this season and pushed this one wide. LINK

The San Francisco defeat was just as hard to take, they lost by three but "gifted" the Giants ten points, following not one, but two fumbled punt returns from Kyle Williams, the second in overtime. The first was a killer, as that was a terrible error, he had chosen not to return the ball, so had to just get "out of the way", instead he hung around like a bad smell and let it hit his leg, making the ball active, I guess he had as bad a night's sleep as me ! LINK

Manchester City and Milan had won in the afternoon and I suppose we had some luck with the late, late City winner, but they had led by two earlier in the game.......... pretty tough day !

A brief look at today's action ....

Hard to believe that Villarreal were still playing Champions League football early last month, they now sit inside the bottom three and host Barcelona on Saturday and then the very poor travellers go to Sevilla, where they have lost five straight and on nine of their last ten visits.Tonight they host a "must win" game with fellow strugglers Sporting Gijon and if ever there was a "six pointer" for the Yellow Submarine, then this is it . Fortunately for them, their form at El Madrigal has held up to a degree and they are 3-4-1 on home soil. New coach Jose Molina has been at the helm just over a month, but overseen just two games, a 3-0 defeat at resurgent Atletico last week and a 2-2 home draw with Valencia, where his team blew a two goal lead. Ruben and Nilmar looked lively together upfront in that game and they had chances to reassert their two goal advantage, before conceding a late equaliser. Ruben missed the game in Madrid but he and Camunas return today. However, Nilmar has not been named in the squad, he is said to have returned to Brazil and joined Sao Paulo, with Guiseppe Rossi already out, this means that Rubens and young "B" striker Joselu are the only two forwards named and with such limited options ( Valero is the only other player named who has contributed more than a single goal this season), I have to let this one pass.

In the ACN, the North African "derby" between Tunisia and Morocco takes centre stage . They are both fairly similar teams in that they are very disciplined defensively and ...... .....

Good Luck.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


In La Liga, email favourites Athletic Bilbao make the daunting trip to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid. They do not have the greatest record in the capital, very few do and have lost on nine of their last ten visits. However, they usually manage to register a goal and have scored in six of their last eight ( twice on two occasions) including on their last three visits. They also arrive in very confident mood ( unbeaten in ten domestic games) and I doubt they see themselves as lambs to the slaughter.

Hosts will want to bounce back from yet another loss to Barcelona in midweek and will want a positive result to take into the second leg in Catalonia, a match which is likely to have a knock on effect to any future meetings this season.

Real have conceded in six of their last seven starts, twice on three occasions and are very gung ho at times, for a Jose Mourinho coached team. They were lucky to follow up the league defeat to Barce with a cup trip to lowly Ponferradin this season, which allowed them to steady the ship somewhat,as, at the end of last season following their quartet of matches with Barce, they struggled especially defensively in subsequent games, including a 3-2 home defeat to Zaragoza.

Hard to know if it will have the same effect this time, but I do not see this talented Bilbao side as a lost cause and whilst I will not make that my bet, an away win at circa 14.0 would not totally surprise me.

I definitely think that Bilbao will score and if you can find the 1.80 for that, it offers value IMO, but I prefer the two goal option at more attractive odds, up to 5.50 is available and that is HUGE, anything around 4.50 is acceptable and that is what I will be taking if at all possible, my own odds are circa 3.20 !

However, liquidity is a problem there, so for the purposes of the email, I will take 1.25 units Athletic Bilbao +2 goals 1.86 asian line. In 30 starts across all competitions this campaign, Athletic have only once lost by two goals, in a meaningless Europa league tie. They are a club on the up, with an astute coach, getting stronger by the week and they might easily finish top 4 this season, infact, I think they will.

Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz, Toquero, Amorebieta, San José, David López, Iturraspe, Llorente, De Marcos, Koikili, Raúl, Susaeta, Iraola, Iñigo Pérez, Muniain, Ander Herrera, Ekiza, Javi Martínez and Ibai.

Real Madrid: Casillas, Adán, Mejías, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Coentrão, Arbeloa, Albiol, Varane, Kaká, Özil, Granero, Alonso, Altintop, Callejón, Lass, Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín and Benzema.

Good Luck.



Patriots were originally put up as a nine point favourite for this game which was too high and it has since been scaled down to a touchdown. The Patriots have benefitted from an "easy" home schedule IMO and the Giants ( 9-7) were the only team with a winning record they faced all season and they lost that one ! In the other games they gave up at least 21 points in all bar two, allowing the Cowboys 16 and only restricting the low scoring Chiefs ( ranked 31st for points scored). Now they meet the 12-4 Ravens and it is difficult for me not to see the visitors posting a decent total.

The Ravens have averaged 19.875 points on the road and in all starts against teams with a .500 + record, that total rises to 24.4, so you can argue that they perform better against the stronger teams.

We have seen playoff games become increasingly open and high scoring in recent times, rule changes are always made to the benefit of offense's and that has seen some big scores racked up. The last seven post season games last season averaged 52.28 points and 12 of the 14 teams scored 21 points plus. Last weekend the four games averaged 53.25

The two teams met here in the post season, two years ago, with Baltimore winning 33-14, that was nearly all earned on the ground, with 234 running yards, 159 from Ray Rice. They know that they can come to Foxborough in mid winter, move the ball, score points and win.

In that game, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was sacked three times and forced into throwing three interceptions. I think the Pats will be a little nervous early (they trailed 24-0 after just one quarter in that match up) ,will be focused on stopping the run and if the Ravens are brave enough to let Joe Flacco throw the ball early, there could be some cheap yardage up for grabs. The Pats defense has disappointed ranking 31st for total and passing yards given up, which is not what you expect to see from a potential Superbowl winner. They are unlikely to be able to stop Rice and that will leave them vunerable to the Ravens being able to mix things up at times. Given how freely the Pats have conceded to far worse teams than Baltimore and also the chance that this could also develop into a shoot out, I will take 1.25 units Ravens to score over 21.5 points 1.926 Pinnacle Sports/ Vegas Line..... this is under team totals on the main NFL page with Pinnacle, who appear to be doing their best to make it difficult to find odds !

Pinnacle offer 1.66 that Ray Rice scores a touchdown, that is way too short for me to get involved, but other companies affer as low as 1.17 and whilst that is wrong, the true price is probably closer to 1.45-1.50 , so the 1.66 offers value, if that is your kind of price.

Weather here in Foxborough cold, dry and sunny, with only very light winds, it is very different in San Francisco for the other Championship game where, heavy rain, maybe even thunderstorms and also high winds are forecast.... you wait 15 years for a Title game and with it comes a soaking !

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/21/3384340/afc-championship-preview-ravens.html#storylink=cpy

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 21, 2012



It is very hard not to see goals here, County have won just once in ten starts and conceded 21 goals in the process, with goals at both ends in nine of those. They are in midtable and in a situation where if they retain any lingering playoff dreams, a point is of absolutely no use, so they will surely have to go for it.

They might have one eye on their FA Cup fourth round tie next week, but this is the first of two league games before that and with home boss Martin Allen formerly in charge of Dons, this is probably the one he will be up for.

Allen is something of a "media whore" and will have been feeding on the extra attention that brings to the game, although he will also be looking at that win-able home tie with Stevenage as a route to the 5th round and an opportunity to raise the profile of both himself and his club on a national level, in a competition he loves. Anyway, pretty sure that will not overly change the way they approach today's fixture, but it might the midweek one !

Allen is missing five defenders for various reasons, so is short of options at the back and might have no option but to stick with their attack is the best form of defence policy, under the circumstances.

We saw how good Dons were in midweek at QPR and they really ought to have scored a couple, they have scored two or more in their last five starts on the road in the league , 15 in total at an average of three per game and will come looking for maximum points to keep the pressure on the top two. I think Dons will win but prefer to split my bet on two "over" bets,
1.25 units "over" 2.75 goals 1.99 and 0.5 unit Dons "over" 2.5 goals 4.33 + there is 4.50 on offer. They have already scored three on the road seven times this year ( !) and also achieved that total in the reverse league fixture.

Good Luck.

Friday, January 20, 2012


My daily notes today include a first preview of the African Cup of Nations, I do not wish to post them on here, but if any of you would like to receive a copy, just sent an email to stencelwade@btinternet.com , with the subject ACN before 22.00 UK time today ( I cannot send after this time) and I will forward it.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Please check your inbox, I have just posted my "Thursday" notes, with two confident picks @ odds of 5.0 and 2.06.

QPR found a way to win last night, but were very fortunate, MK Dons can at least move on and concentrate on their promotion bid. Having seen Dons and League 1 leaders Charlton Athletic both twice this season, it is very difficult to see the London club as the better team, think that current eleven point gap will be much closer come the end of the season.

The Bees appear to be close to signing a striker at last, but it is taking a long time to complete negotiations, my club never do things the easy way !

So much on at the moment, all the leagues back up and running, Australian Open Tennis, NFL playoffs, African Cup of Nations about to start, golf , test match cricket ( not for me) and whilst all this is going on, we need half an eye on the transfer window.... happy days !

Good Luck.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



Quick turnaround for Rangers, who were in the North East at Newcastle on sunday and with top flight survival surely their main priority, I would normally be looking to oppose almost any EPL side under similar circumstances. However, this is Mark Hughes' home debut as boss and starting with a defeat to a third tier team, is not going to instantly endear him to supporters. Also, the reward for winning here is a money spinning, high profile game with neighbours Chelsea, a former club of Hughes, so I think he will have his troops "up" for this one. There was quite a bit to like about their performance at St James' Park and they had chances to at least claim a share of the points, perhaps there were a few too many sideways passes, but they will be more expansive on home turf this evening. Talking of which, the smaller pitch size at Loftus Road should also give the hosts an extra edge, with the visitors more comfortable on the bigger playing surface at Stadium MK.

The visitors also have other priorities, with promotion their main aim, they have already played two games fewer than their main rivals, if they win those, they will be withing a point of the automatic promotion places. However, they play away to Notts County, Stevenage (6th), Huddersfield (3rd) and leaders Charlton, plus at home to Sheffield Wednesday (4th), all in the next 28 days, do they really need another game into the mix AND fall three games back, even if it is a glamour tie with the Blues ?

There are still two divisions between these clubs and with home advantage and a new coach desperate to kick start his reign, the shade of odds on quotes, look perfectly acceptable. QPR -0.5 ball 1.90 + asian line.

Good Luck.

Monday, January 16, 2012


January 1-8th inclusive :

Bets: 18 , Winners 10, Average Odds 2.19 , Stakes 21.5 units , Returns 27.85 units, ROI 129.53%.

January 9th-15th inclusive :

Bets 17, Winners 10, Average odds 2.106, Stakes 20 units, Returns 24.178 units, ROI 120.89%

I will update these every Monday or Tuesday and the blog results, every couple of months or so.

Good Luck.

Sunday, January 15, 2012



Huge amount to cover today, late football and NFL in the second email, which I will send at around 14.00 UK time.

Brentford were terrible yesterday, Walsall were even worse and it is going to be a very long season for them. Uwe Rosler, made some odd tactical decisions yesterday, playing Forrester wide was just one, leaving Logan out another and they appear to be coming onto the pitch on home soil, expecting to struggle. A poor pitch didn't help much either..... oh dear !

Overnight Charles Howell III shot a 66 and is in a tie for 3rd place at the Sony Open, so let's start there.

The leaderboard looks like this .....

-12 Maggert
-12 Every
-10 Wagner
-10 CH3
-10 de Jonge
-9 Points
-9 Waldorf
-8 eleven golfers including Stricker, Bradley and O'Hair

Maggert is 47 years old and has won just twice in 547 starts, he has not led on the final day for nine years, or played well for four !

Every has only played 30 events, never come close to leading , the first is always the hardest and he has posted only one top ten, I doubt he slept well last night.

Wagner has two wins, but is very inconsistent and is not a golfer I am keen on.

de Jonge has never won, he has posted the most birdies on tour in the last three years, but needed seven yesterday to shoot three under, which tells you all you need to know, as the bogeys flow almost as freely. He did shoot a 62 on Friday and that is probably how he will eventually win a tournament, going ultra low early in the day, but he was ranked 135th on tour for round 4 scoring last year.

Points won the Pebble Beach Pro Am event last year, but that was his only ever win, it came in an "odd" event and he has posted just one top ten in 25 starts since, so it hardly kick started his career.

Waldorf is even older than Maggert at 49, he has not won since 2000, or posted a top ten since 2006 !

Steve Stricker ground it out again yesterday, said he once again felt sluggish and "didn't hit the ball well", but it could all come together for him and let's be honest, there is not much to beat !

That leaves us with CH3, his all round stats were much better yesterday and he continues to putt pretty well. He was ranked 14th on tour for Round 4 scoring in 2011 and 10th the year before. On his last big finish here in 2010 he shot 64 on Sunday and that would probably be enough to see him home today. If you twisted my arm , I would have to nominate him as the most likely winner at circa 6.50, but he is far from a prolific winner and with our Top 10 bet ( see below and now available to LAY at long odds on), there is no real need to get involved. The Round 4 match bets do not appeal.

The Australian Open tennis starts overnight and we will be involved later in the tournament, no selections today, but a few words about the Laura Robson- Jelena Jankovic match. The 13th ranked Serbian always looks vunerable early and has performed increasingly poorly here since a semi final appearance in 2007, losing in Round 4, 3, and in her second match last year, the fifth time she has not gone beyond the second round in Melbourne. Robson was on crutches a month ago, but is young and recovers quickly, she took JJ very close in their only previous meeting at Wimbledon in 2010, when just 16 years old. Robson is 18 this coming week and is said to be looking very good this week both in practice and coming through qualifying, very good actually. She is british, but was born in Melbourne and is a two time finalist in the Junior event here, so very comfortable in the surrounds and on the surface. Robson is circa 6.0 to win, that looks big and this is a potential upset.

In the EPL, Newcastle United face QPR without Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba, who are both at the ACN. They did see off Blackburn Rovers reserves last week in the FA Cup without the pair, but they have been integral to the Magpies success and Ba has scored 52% of all their league goals this campaign.He missed one match previously, the 1-0 win at Sunderland, so they can win without him, but it is hard to see the goals flowing whilst he is away. The visitors have now slipped into the bottom three, so will be looking for the point to take them out and new boss Mark Hughes, who is expected to be very busy in the transfer window, will want to start with a positive result and we can also expect the new boss effect to kick in .Rangers have kept things pretty tight on recent road starts, with a 1-1 draw at Swansea and 1-0 defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool. They have gone with a defensive mindset in each and I am sure that is how Hughes will set his team out today, with avoiding defeat as a priority. An early goal could blow this open, but baring that, it is hard to see either scoring twice and I do think the draw offers a little value, but just prefer the "under" 2.25 goal option at 2.20, as this also covers the two lowest scoring draws. Hughes always had not losing as a priority at Manchester City and in a game where a point will be so valuable to his team, I am sure that will be his approach today.

Written Thursday January 12th
Now for a bet and at very juicy odds....

The PGA Tour moves onto Waialae, the venue of the Sony Open, it is usually windy here, but it is a fairly consistent, steady wind, however it is useful to be able to keep the ball low and once again, like last week, an ability to "scramble " also comes in handy. Step forward, Charles Howell III, the 32 yo from Augusta loves it here and has posted five top five finishes in ten starts, including a tie for second in 2007, He has a very low trajectory off the tee and has been ranked inside the top seven for scrambling on tour in each of the last two years. He posted six top ten's in his last 14 starts in 2011 and comes here for his traditional seasonal opener. CH3 claims to be coming off " his best ever off season preparation" and with no concerns about the US Masters, having already qualified to play, in what, for a son of Georgia, born and raised in Augusta, is a very big deal, he has no other golfing distractions. Interspersed between those high finishes here have a been a few low placings, like his 68th placing last year, but he has always bounced back with a very high finish the very next year and it is hard to see that not being the case this year. He is not a prolific winner, just twice on tour, way below the number he should have posted by now, but he is very consistent and I feel he will win a couple more in what should now be his peak golfing years, his game steadied after the birth of his first child in 2010, we have discussed how this makes a golfer more focused previously and it is clear to see how much more steady CH3 has been since then, the second arrived in October, so he should be doubly focused now ! Charles Howell III to finish top ten 3.25 + , there is up to 3.75 on offer if you shop around. Just a single stake, but I would increase that slightly if the top 3.75 quote is available to you.

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Two previews below, the first was written and sent out early Friday morning, the second overnight. Brentford have been well backed in asia, but the preview might still be of interest to some.....

Going to start in League 1 and the Brentford- Walsall match. Let's take a look at the Bees last six starts, just one win and seven points ( four draws), they really should have collected twelve points in that sequence, during which they played very poorly at home to Bournemouth and in the first half to MK Dons, when they shipped three goals and it could have been more. On the road, they completely dominated Bury, Tranmere Rovers and Charlton Athletic and collected two points in the process, they have been all over the league leaders in both meetings this season and lost both times, with Athletic hardly registering an attempt on goal....... only the Bees could manage this ! This sequence of games is a microcosm of their season so far, results at Griffin Park have been terrible, perhaps just three good performances, on the road they are 5-5-2 and should probably have won nine ! As I have said several times recently they are a work in progress, but will improve in the second half of the campaign and I think this improvement has started. If they are to get into the playoff picture, they need to start winning at GP Towers and soon. They have played Charlton twice and also both Sheffield clubs, Notts County and Carlisle on the road, so in therory, their run in should be significantly easier.

They have been unfortunate with injuries, losing Logan and both starting central defenders, plus Harry Forrester, who was brought in to help them play a certain formation, for most of the season. They create a lot of chances, but Donaldson really needs a striker with a little pace to play alongside him, Alexander is strong and will score his share, but is slow and the Bees desperately need a third striker, or fourth if you count Grella. I am sure that the funds will be found, if the right man is available, this could probably be funded by the sale of Karleigh Osbourne, who is likely to be sold in the next week or two, KO had one fantastic season at the club and has a lot of potential, but he is not certain to make it at a higher level and there is plenty of cover for his position, with four players vying for two starting spots. Better that Brentford take the money now and use it to strengthen elsewhere.

Brentford took a lot of confidence from the comeback against Dons and the performance (despite the result) at Charlton. I have not watched highlights of the Tranmere game last week, but someone who's opinion I respect wrote "we were substantially better than Tranmere, and whilst we had a mare with conceding goals, we created chances and looked in control. We passed the ball well, the movement up front was very good, and on that performance, it is hard to understand how we underperform so badly at home ". "Second half, and other than the own goal from Dean, Tranmere rarely threatened, whilst we really piled on some pressure, with Clayton playing extremely well to bamboozle their defence. In my opinion, we lost because of the own goal, no other reason. The performance was a good one, and we clearly can dominate teams away from home, so if Uwe works it out at home, then we can really go places."

Logan should be back in the squad tomorrow, Forrester is fit and getting a run of games, but needs to find some consistency, despite the own goal at Rovers and the debacle in the opening 45 minutes to Dons the defence looks very solid and one day very soon, someone is going to be on the end of a hammering.

Walsall have won just two of 16 starts, one of those came in extra time and in the other, they were losing entering the 92nd minute( !) and hover just above the relegation zone, they have a lack of creativity in midfield and their forwards have managed the lowest shot accuracy percentage in the whole Football League. They are one of the poorest teams Brentford have faced so far and the players signed in the summer, do not look up to League 1 level and confidence from supporters and players alike appears shot. If the Bees can get in front early, they could get a confidence boosting big win and I take them to do just that. 1.5 units Brentford -0.5 ball 1.80 + .

Onto League 2, where I am going to stick with Accrington Stanley, whom we have discussed several times recently ( three are at the foot of this email), they entertain Barnet at the Crown Ground. The hosts are unbeaten in eleven starts and have won six of their last seven, scoring at least two in everyone of those victories and it is looking more and more like a mirror image of last season, something we picked up upon pretty early.

Confidence is sky high at the club, as you might expect and midfielder Luke Joyce, speaking on the club website echos that and feels his club match up well with the North London club. They beat them 3-1 here last April, just like they had in five of the last eight meetings, the reverse fixture back in September ended 0-0, but Stanley had the better of the chances, despite ending the match with nine men and playing for over 50 minutes with ten. They have strengthened their squad since I wrote the notes for the Burton game, signing Aristote Nsiala from Everton, he played 57 minutes in that game and also made 13 starts for Macclesfield last season on an earlier loan, so knows the division well. The return of talented and vastly experienced Ian Craney to action, he scored two goals in the Lancashire Cup in midweek, gives them further options and it is "all gravy" for Stanley at present.

Barnet have tended to save their best performances for the cup this season and are just 90 minutes away from a Wembley final after a 1-1 draw with Swindon Town in midweek. That hard fought JPT Area final is bound to have taken plenty out of them and it also came at a cost, with right back Danny Senda breaking his leg, they do not have a "natural" replacement for him and will have to reshuffle the backline a little to cover. Big, big game for Stanley, three points will take them right into the playoff picture and with some tough games on the horizon, this is as "easy" as it gets for a while. Accrington Stanley -0.75 ball 1.98 asian line.

Good Luck.

Written 06/01
I am keen on Accrington Stanley as a club ( they are incredibly well run on a tiny budget) and team in Division 2, we talked about them ahead of the trip to Morecambe ( see below) and again before they went to Hereford United ( also below). That second game was odd, United were backed off the board, for reasons that were not entirely clear, luckily we picked up on that early and were not officially involved, it ended 1-1, since when United have won 2-0 at, yes you guessed it ..... Burton Albion, whom Stanley face today, at the same time Accrington were putting four unanswered goals past Morecambe in the return fixture. That makes nine league games unbeaten and they have won five of their last six, scoring at the rate of 2.5 per game in that sequence, they have not been prolific winners ( 2-8-2) on the road, but are very tough to beat and improving week upon week. Burton created a lot of chances against the Bulls, but couldn't find the back of the net, that is very dangerous as they have been conceding far too freely at the other end of the pitch and allowed two or more in seven of their last eight starts, that included games against AFC Wimbledon ( who have lost seven in a row), basement club Northampton Town and Hereford ( twice), which is about as bad as it gets, from a defensive point of view. Stanley have a good record here, being unbeaten in five visits to the Pirelli Stadium and travel in very good spirits, Andy Proctor, who is Mr Accrington and epitomises everything that is right at the club, gave an interview on the club website and was oozing confidence, he noted that they were in a stronger position than at the same stage last season, said they had "nothing to fear in this division", talked about how "very solid they were with the new formation, which allows more goals from midfield" and also how the blistering pace of Micah Evans ( on loan from Blackburn Rovers), had given them an extra dimension.
Hosts are 6-4-2 at home and in the playoff places as I type, but do not look in the best of places at present and Stanley can close to within a point of them and the top seven with a win. Albion are very leaky as discussed and no team in the top 16, let alone the post season places has conceded more, hard to see the visitors not scoring at least one, problem is, I do not like the current asian quote of +0.5 ball 1.70, I really do not like quotes below 1.80 much at all and prefer to reduce my stakes and take the draw no bet/ level ball option at odds against ( 2.25/2.30) or the +0.25 ball at 1.95 + if that is an option to you.


Stanley were another team we discussed on Boxing Day, they won 2-1 at Morecambe recording a fourth straight victory for the first time since 2006. They were perhaps not at their best in that local derby game, but battled really well in very difficult conditions and the team spirit at the club is sky high at present, this was touched upon by hugely experienced midfielder Bryan Hughes who scored the winner, his second goal in as many games, after not scoring for three years ! He also added that "we don't fear anyone in this league,I think it's one of those games that people will forget but I think it's a massive win for us. We leapfrog Morecambe now and they've had a wonderful start to the season ,we have some momentum now and we just have to stay focused ."

A win at Hereford today would take them to within three points of the playoffs and they will fancy their chances facing a United side that have already lost eight home games and are only a point off the bottom of the table. They looked to be heading towards a rare win on home soil against Port Vale on Monday, leading 1-0 with just 12 minutes to play, but still found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Supporters of the home side are at a very low ebb, they feel the club budget has been wasted and they have a crop of young inexperienced players, some of whom are at the club only to get some experience and they lack any guidance or leadership on the pitch.In spite of which, I think I will leave this one, the odds seem just about right ,Stanley do not have the best record here and seem to lose their way halfway down the M6 motorway. Having said that, they are a team I want to keep on the right side of in early 2012, but a watching brief for me today.

Just as I was about to send this I saw that the Stanley odds have drifted out to 2.28 ( -0.25) from 1.96 overnight, that is increasingly tempting, but also a little worrying, as there is no real reason, at least team wise, a couple of knocks for Stanley and possible late tests, but all are expected to pass and another hugely experienced player in Ian Craney is now fit to join the squad..... pretty odd. I think I will stick with the original two selections.


These two clubs look to be heading in opposite directions at the moment. hosts have not won in six and lost their last three, Stanley have won their last three with an 8-1 goal difference and after another slow start to their capaign, which was understandable as they lost half a team and arguably their five strongest players in the off season. I say "another" slow start as last year as we entered November, Stanley had posted only three wins and were languishing in 18th place, they only lost another four over the rest of the season, made it into the playoffs and only lost out on an automatic promotion spot because of a few too many draws. John Coleman has done a terrific job to get his club up and running again and once more he has found some classy, albeit relatively cheap , footballers who play the game in the right way and can produce results, they are not a side I would rush to oppose in the coming months. They have a good record in this fixture, are unbeaten in four visits ( winning three) and three have come in either Christmas or New Year games between the near neighbours. I take them to get another result. Accrington Stanley +0.25 1.86 asian line.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012



Lots of interesting matches today and we also have a couple more tomorrow, along with some more golf action, when the PGA Tour moves to Honolulu, the venue for the Sony Open.

Straight into the action and lets start in the EPL. I would have been very keen on Everton at White Hart Lane, getting a full ball handicap start over Tottenham, but the absence of Phil Jagielka is a big concern. The Toffees are a very tight defensive unit, keeper Tim Howard has only made an average of one save per EPL start this season and it is 15 games since they lost by more than a single goal. They have a solid record in this fixture, losing on just two of six visits to North London and manager David Moyes has come out on the wrong side only three times in 15 h2h battles with Harry Redknapp.

However, Jagielka leads the team in total clearances, has attempted the most defensive tackles and won the most defensive headers, obviously he will be sorely missed and the Distin- Heitinga partnership whilst adequate, is not quite as solid. Actually, Distin has started in four of the five games in which Everton have conceded two or more goals.

Even though Spurs will be without both Ledley King and William Gallas from the centre of their defence, the loss of Jagielka and the very young visiting bench, is just enough for me to swerve this one. However, Everton ALWAYS come on strong in the second half of the season and they are already two points better off than at the same stage last season when they finished seventh, so don't totally rule them out of that "best of the rest" placing just yet. Let's see how they play tonight and what happens in the next week or so in the transfer window and then we can review the situation.

It is cup week in most of the other major european leagues and the Copa del Rey fixture between Sevilla- Valencia catches my attention. Los Che arrive with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, they will be pleased to have kept a clean sheet in that and they will probably come looking for the goal that would then require the hosts to score three to advance. Sevilla have named a very strong squad tonight, adding Navas, Perotti and Varsas into the mix, one or more having missed recent starts and all look set to play. Hosts have a terrific record, both home and away in this match up, but at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium, it is outstanding, they are 7-2-0 in the last nine meetings, also keeping six clean sheets. The visitors arrive on the back of a 2-2 draw at Villarreal, where they made a couple of very poor defensive errors and they are a little beat up, with only one available keeper and looking to nurse several key players back to fitness, coach Unai Emery is looking to get involved in the transfer market, but appears keen on progression in the competition. I have discussed their position in La Liga before, they look booked for third spot, almost regardless of what happens, but do at least have Europa League involvement to look forward to and with some very big clubs involved in that now, the competition is being viewed in a slightly more favourable light, for Sevilla, out of Europe and only one of possibly eight teams battling for that "remaining" top four place, this is a realistic chance to earn some silverware. I favour Sevilla, especially with Valencia "happy" to lose 2-1 or 3-2 and Emery indicating that his team will sit back if scoring. Jose Antonio Reyes will make his home debut tonight after returning to the club, he left in 2004 , that adds an extra flavour to the game and he will be welcomed home like a long lost son, motivated home team and crowd to edge this one and remember the late goals in Valencia games we discussed ahead of their match with Betis, they equalised in the 88th minute at Villarreal at the weekend and this could also see late action for those betting "in running". 1.5 units Sevilla -0.25 ball 2.12 asian line.

In France, the goals have tended to flow, at least by normal French standards in League Cup fixtures recently, especially in the latter stages of the competition, the last round saw six of the eight games go "over" with all averaging exactly 3.0 goals, last year these quarter finals also averaged 3.0 and last night the Caen- Marseille produced, yes, you guessed it, three goals. Looking at the games tonight, Olympique Lyon host Lille and despite what both might say .............. rest of the notes and two strong selections are not available on the blog.

Good luck.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Since writing these notes early morning, Fleetwood have been backed in a quarter ball, but you might still find the preview of interest and as usual, there is content that might help you target a future winner in any case.


Steve Striker won the Hyundai overnight, so obviously landed our Top 4 bet, looking at the Monday selections, Jonathan Byrd beat Striker to secure a small profit and there was money to be made on the Arsenal-Leeds United game if you followed the trading hint, with the Gunners securing a 13th win of the season by the minimum margin, courtesy of a late Thierry Henry goal.

Going to start today in the Conference National and the match between Fleetwood town and AFC Barrow. We have covered Fleet many times in recent seasons, most recently on New Year's Day ( see below) and they have rarely let us down, they put six unanswered goals past Southport on that day, but were themselves on the wrong end of a "beating", losing their third round cup tie to local rivals Blackpool 5-1 on saturday. However, there was a big difference between the two defeated teams and there were a lot of positives for Town to take out of their defeat, the first half was very even, but the visitors were very clinical in front of goal and rememebr, they were in the EPL last season, whereas Fleet were in the tenth ( !) tier of english football just 12 seasons ago and have a favourite's chance of playing in the Football League next season.

This is all down to their financial clout and despite lying in second and with a huge squad, which I touched upon in the earlier post, they have already started to invest most of the money from the FA Cup campaign, yesterday they added influential midfieder Lee Fowler from league leaders Wrexham, the 12 times Wales U21 International is hugely experienced and will slot into what is now the best midfield unit in the division. They are also said to be adding Andre Bouchard from York City, these two clubs are probably two of the only three real rivals to Fleetwood for the automatic promotion spot and to sign key players from direct rivals at this stage of the campaign is virtually unheard of, but when Town go after a player they get him and are clearly going to spend whatever is needed to secure that FL place. I also heard that they turned down a circa £1m offer for Jamie Vardy last week, in the current climate, what other non league club would refuse a bid like that ? Or in any climate for that matter !

They will be looking to bounce back today, although to be honest, there is not much to bounce back from and three points would take them to the top of the table. They will also have a little revenge on their minds, Fleet have lost only three games this season and all came early season ( they are unbeaten in three months), including a 4-0 loss in the reverse fixture. That match was lost in the opening 45 minutes and was a big wake up call to Town, who had not conceded a league goal before that debacle.

Barrow arrive in a comfortable midtable position, but have been helped by a nice run of fixtures, they have a tough sequence of games on the horizon starting today and they are very much a "home" team, Holker Street is a tough and at times, intimidating venue and they have posted nine wins there ( only Wrexham have more), but just three on their travels, losing eight. They are short of numbers and whilst they can put out a starting eleven the bench has been thin to say the least recently, on saturday it included three defenders ( one of whom is playing out his contract and unhappy and another with little first tean experience) and also a 43 year old ! They have had to release a couple of key players and are looking to replace them, I understand that they signed a youngster from Burnley yesterday, this has not been officially confirmed, but it pales alongside the transfer news from Fleetwood and the hosts should win this with a degree of comfort. Fleetwood Town -1 ball 2.0 asian line.

Elsewhere I am keen on Yeovil Town making the tough trip to Sheffield United getting a huge handicap start. The Glovers are in the drop zone, but incredibly have not lost on the road in over three months, that is eight matches in all competitions and they have not been behind at any stage in the last five. Their home form has been poor of course, this happens sometimes ( Brentford !) and teams play better away from the pressure of their own stadium. Anyhow, this has led to a managerial change, with Gary Johnson returning to the club and former boss Terry Skiverton moving down to the number two position, it is a sign of the respect that Johnson has at the club that Skiverton would agree to that, the pair have worked together for many years previously and I feel that this switch might just keep Town in the third tier. This was only announced yesterday, but was I understand agreed last week and the pair have already been making plans and looking to bring back the success they enjoyed previously at Huish Park ( two championships in three seasons). They have been busy this week extending the loan of Tottenham striker Jonathan Obika until the end of the season and signing Ryan Dickson (pictured above, albeit not in the "classic" Bees shirt) on an initial one month deal from Southampton, this is exceptional business. Dickson is a player I know very well, despite things not working out for him so far at St Mary's he is without doubt one of the top left backs in lower league football and it is a real coup to get him. Town have had a week to rest since their last game and will travel fresh and keen to mark the return of Johnson with a positive result, United are very strong at home, but rarely thump anyone and have developed a potentially nasty habit of conceding too freely at home (15 in their last 12 starts) and that is going to catch them out sooner or later. I would not be surprised to see the points shared and have seen 26.0 quoted for a 2-2 draw and might "throw away" a couple of euros on that, or on the 5.0 for Town to score two or more, something they have done in three of their last six road starts, but let's keep things simple .... Yeovil Town +1.25 ball 2.03 asian line.

Good Luck.



These are the return fixtures of matches played on Boxing Day. These two played out an incident packed 2-2 draw at Highbury Stadium, where Town forced a late equaliser courtesy of the prolific Richard Brodie, despite playing 35 minutes with ten men, after Jamie McGuire was sent off, he is suspended for today's fixture. That would be a significant loss for most teams, but Fleet are a very well financed club and have an incredible 33 registered players, including former Manchester United player Danny Rose, who signed earlier this week, choosing Town ahead of Crystal Palace who were very interested in him, Rose goes straight into the squad and is a direct replacement for McGuire. Back in their BSS days we talked about Fleetwood and how they had funds that other clubs could only dream about, planning a £5m stadium upgrade and £250k on improving the playing surface, to say nothing on the investment in players. They have a dream FA Cup tie against Blackpool next week, who are the nearest "big" club and the one manager Micky Mellon made his name as a player at, so that will be a distraction of sorts and enough for me to scale down my stakes slightly, but it is promotion to the Football League that is the target this season and to those ends, this game is MASSIVE. Three points would keep them, at worse, within two of leaders Wrexham and effectively take Southport and the rest of the chasing pack out of the equation ( 9 points and a game in hand), at least for the time being.

Town missed out on promotion in the playoffs last season, losing to AFC Wimbledon in the semi-finals and are, as you might expect, keen to avoid that lottery this time round. They are more comfortable on the road, having already posted ten wins away from Highbury, in addition to a second round FA Cup win at League 1 side Yeovil Town and have actually won 9 of their last ten ( one draw) away starts in the Conference. In all league starts, home and away, they have averaged 2.5 goals per game and it is hardly surprising given their financial clout, as they can attract players like Brodie for whom they paid a significant five figure sum, just to take on a season long loan deal. Most of the others have either huge Football League experience or know how to get out of the Conference and all that knowledge makes for a very well balanced squad, which should go close to claiming the title. They are also full time and especially at this time of year, that gives them an advantage over part time squads like Southport, who were forced to fit in a Thursday night training session, the only time the players met inbetween the two matches. Fleetwood dominated the second half on Monday even with ten men and I expect them to come out on top today. 1.5 units Fleetwood Town -0.25 ball 2.05 asian line.

RESULTS .......

I am going to post the results from my daily notes on the blog on a weekly basis this year. This is mainly for my own benefit, but all of you that have registered for the occasional "freebie" email, will get one or two copies per month, so it at least has some relevance.

Anyway, January 1-8th inclusive :

Bets: 18 , Winners 10, Average Odds 2.19 , Stakes 21.5 units , Returns 27.85 units, ROI 129.53%.

I will update these every Monday or Tuesday and the blog results, every couple of months or so.

Back shortly .

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Looking to end on a higher note and take something positive into today, so despite not planning to cover the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, I can at least report that Steven Stricker ( see below) leads by five shots, after tearing up the course with a 63, there are only eight players within ten strokes of him and with Stricker ranked number one for Round 3 scoring last year on tour and third in 2009, it is very hard to see him blowing up big time today.

Kevin Na shot the second best score of the day and beat Martin Laird, whom he is paired with today, by six shots, Pinnacle Sports make the Korean born Na 2.12 ( with the tie no bet) to repeat that win over the Scot and that at least was tempting enough to make me take a quick look at the match up. Obviously, quite a lot went right for Na yesterday, it has to if you are going to shoot nine under par, meanwhile Laird lost a ball and also missed a couple of very short putts, he hits the ball a country mile, but is not my favourite golfer and his all round stats over the first two days, especially in the key categories we discussed on Thursday have been poor. Laird was an eyecatching 2nd on Tour for 3rd round scoring last year, but outside the top 100 in the two previous seasons, in this category Na has improved year upon year ( 52-25-18) and is very solid. Because of the nature of the leaderboard and short field, the tournament will have something of a feel of a final day today, especially being played on a sunday, so I also looked at the "in contention" final round stats and this is where Na has a big edge, he has improved his position 100% of the time starting in the final five, Laird is just 33% from the same number of starts. It is hard to go low two days in a row, but at the odds offered I would just about side with Na, but no bet for me.

Elsewhere, In Serie A, the always interesting Atalanta - Milan fixture catches my eye. Hosts remain unbeaten in Bergamo with a 4-4-0 record , in fact they have lost just once at home in over 13 months and that a meaningless fixture when promotion had already been assured last season, they come into this game unbeaten in seven starts and without their six point deduction they would have entered the weekend in 5th place and boast a good record in this fixture, losing just one of four here in the league and three of ten in all competitions. The squad enter the game in reasonably healthy condition and the only real decision is who will replace Daniele Capelli in the heart of the defence, he will miss the rest of the season. Milan
coach Massimiliano Allegri will be without the services of the banned Massimo Ambrosini, as well as injured quartet Ignazio Abate, Mathieu Flamini, Mario Yepes and Antonio Cassano. They have spent most of this week in Dubai, where they met PSG, so that might liven them up a little, they were very lacklustre after the Christmas break last season, finding a very late winner at Cagliari, losing entering injury time and conceding four at home to Udinese and drawing with Lecce. That especially applies to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has a reputation of peaking early season and "losing interest" in the second half of the campaign. Without the very important Abate and protection offered by Ambrosini, the visiting backline look vunerable and top Serie A marksman German Denis will be looking to add to his tally. I do not feel that Milan will few a point here as two dropped and with one eye on the Milan derby next week, will be very wary of picking up any more injuries, especially to their backline. I definitely expect Atalanta to score, especially if Antonini starts, as seems likely and take these two to share the spoils. Atalanata + 0.75 ball 1.89 asian line.

Two NFL Wildcard games to discuss. Perhaps the most interesting of all the games this weekend is the Pittsburgh Steelers - Denver Broncos match up. Steelers are the defending AFC champions and with regard to the post season, have been here and done it all many times before, the Broncos stumbled over the finishing line, losing their last three starts and are only here because they are in a very weak division and other teams, especially the Raiders, also failed to get the job done.

Steelers are definitely favourites, but travel West asked to give up 9 points and in what seems sure to be a big defensive battle, with the NFL’s top ranked rushing attack (Denver) facing the league’s number one overall defense, that does seem to be on the big side.

Pittsburgh lost running back Rashard Mendenhall for the season last week and that is a big loss as it will put increased pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his injured ankle, unless replacement Issac Redman can step up and that is in question after he came into the game last week and ran for 92 yards, but also fumbled the ball twice. They will have no option but to give him the ball, just to keep the Broncos honest, but will mainly be throwing to their outstanding receivers, this is a fine balancing act between winning the game and keeping Roethlisberger injury free for the rest of the post season.

Broncos do not throw the ball much at all, they lead the league in rushing yards and will be looking to establish this early and will only take limited risks through the air. Their operate more of a college style offense and whilst qb Tim Tebow has "an arm", it can go anywhere, however, he is mobile and can run the ball, which is not an option at present for his Steelers counterpart. They dare not go behind early by more than a touchdown, playing catch up is not their style and they do not have the personnel to do so. Defensively they will look to get to BR, they have a top ranked crop of linebackers and Dumervil and Miller alone have 21 sacks between them. Hosts have a big advantage with the noisy crowd at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and it is important that the Broncos keep the fans involved, this is all about how the opening quarter plays out IMO, if Denver can keep things tight early and run down the clock, the 9 point advantage will look big, but if they fall a touchdown or more behind and are forced to throw, the turnovers will follow and the Steelers could run up a big number. One to watch, savour and maybe play "in running".

I was very big on ....................

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

update ....

Not Chesterfield's day and definitely not mine !

Chesterfield started slowly and were forced to an early change when Westcarr went off injured, they worked their way back into the game and were awarded a penalty with 17 minutes to play with the score still 0-0, Whitaker who had apparently converted 14 in a row ( !) had his attempt saved, five minutes later they were a goal down .

Football League matches had seen 77% of all penalties scored this season before today, worst conversion rate was in the EPL ( 68%), best in League 2 ( 84%), not sure if that says more about the quality of keepers, or the pressure in the top flight, but feel like I have been on the wrong end of most of the misses !

Personally, I made one good move today, flat stakes and only three selections !

Good Luck.



The ten hour time difference between Hawaii and London is a bit of a killer with regard to following the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but it was nice to find Steve Striker ( see below) in a share of second place this morning, he shot a five under par 68, just one stroke behind Jonathan Byrd and he has taken an early five shot + advantage over several players ( Watson, Watney and Woodland to name three) who were well fancied pre tournament.Lucas Glover did not start by the way, leaving us with a 27 man field. I have just watched some brief highlights and Stricker really hit some nice iron shots late in his round and looked comfortable in the wind.This event ends on Monday, so I will put it on the back burner until then, when I will take a look at the usually profitable, last day's play.

I have three flat stake football bets for today, to be honest, it is not the most interesting day of the season IMO and the Las Vegas oddsmakers and I agree ( for once) on the points spread for today's Wildcard games in the NFL, however, that is definitely not the case tomorrow, when I have a very solid pick, along with a FAR more exciting day on the football front and much as I love the NFL, when I say football, it is always the beautiful game and the round ball I am talking about !

In Division 1 ,Chesterfield have a massive game when they entertain Exeter City, the Spirites are at the foot of the table, six points from safely and the club currently sitting in that 20th spot in the table which is Nirvana for the teams in the drop zone, is City. The hosts have upped their game recently, without getting their just reward, they lost by the odd goal in five at Wycombe after leading twice and had chances to win drawn starts against Scunthorpe, Walsall and Oldham, again leading in two. Time is running out for them and they have two road games up next, defensively they look to have at least steadied the ship and are not shipping goals at the same rate they were earlier in the campaign and this is a side with goals in them, only Scunthorpe in the bottom ten have scored more and with regard to attempts on goal, they are 9th in the table, averaging over 2.5 per game more than City. They claim to have been "mentally stronger" in their last two games and this is absolutely vital, once teams lose confidence, it is incredibly hard to turn things around. The board have promised funds to strengthen and Liam Ridehalgh has joined this week from Huddersfield, via Swindon, the Robins were keen to keep him ( more of that later), but his parent club wanted him to play third tier football, he is a young player with potential whom Chesterfield tried to sign in the summer. This will further solidify the back line and surely boss John Sheridan will go for it today and play two up front, he has the prolific Jack Lester ( a goal every two games at the club) backfrom suspension today and he should return alongside the promising Jordan Bowery, Drew Talbot has been creating a lot of chances from the right and now in Lester, they have the right man to make the most of them. Chesterfield -0.5 ball 2.25 general quote.

Into the FA Cup 3rd round games and first up is the match between .................


No football for me today, but I do have a confident selection, next email will be sent on Friday morning.

The USPGA Tour gets underway today, with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, at the Kapalua Plantation course on the North West coast of Maui. This, as the name might suggest, is for all 2011 Tour winners, 39 were eligible, but only 28 have entered, due to a variety of reasons, some better than others and only Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson of the top ten ranked players in the world are taking part.

It is Mr Stricker that I am interested in, he is a traditionally fast starter and prolific winner. He has finished top four on his seasonal debut in four of the last five years, including a 4th here last Janauary and second place finish in 2008, the only blip in that five year sequence was in 2010, when he was tenth here after a very poor start, he then finished third and first in his next two outings. He shot an opening round par score of 73 that year, basically giving up four strokes to the field and shot a very nice 66 on Sunday, in 2008 he also started slowly but finished like a train, with a 64 in Round 4. Last year he put things right in Round 1 and yes, you have guess it, slipped off the pace on Sunday with a 71, a 66 or better would have been enough for victory and he must feel that was a Tour win that got away. Time for him to put the fours rounds all together, on a course that clearly suits him.

The wide open and long fairways suit long hitters and Steve hit a 424 yard drive here in 2010, but key stats on these huge greens are scrambling ( last eight winners were all ranked within the top ten) and strokes gained putting ( seven of the last eight winners all ranked either first or second). Stricker was ranked second on tour for scrambling last year and inside the top 14 in each of the last four seasons, he was also second on Tour for strokes gained and he clearly ticks all the right boxes.

The injury concerns he had in November were put to bed, with a comfortable singles win in the Presidents Cup and a solid showing at the Franklin Templeton event in December, he has been practicing a lot in Arizona with Aaron Baddeley and Bubba Watson in the build up to this and looks primed to go well. He is favourite at circa 9.2 on the exchanges, but this is very much a reduced field and he is the highest ranked golfer on display and an eleven time winner on Tour, seven coming in the last three years alone and nine of them in the first half of the golfing year. Good course and stat form, a proven winner, who hits the ground running, hard to pick any holes in his chances. I am going to take 1.5 units on him to record another top 4 start to the season, this is on offer at circa 2.50 + pretty much across the board and for four figure liquidity at 2.80 + on the exchanges.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


We are only four days into the New Year, but already variance has raised it's ugly head with regard to blog readers.

My daily notes, all reproduced below, have included seven selections ( Hayes-Ebbsfleet was abandoned) and six have won, the only loser was the Bradford City selection, which was the only one posted on the blog ! I also wrote a decent preview ( no seletion)of the Real Madrid match yesterday.

This was the problem I tried to explain in previous posts, most recently on December 29th, there is a big difference between my notes which are written every day of the week and the occasional post on here. Having said that, I will try again and post something on here over the weekend.

Bristol City -0.5 ball 2.17 asian line. WON 1-0

Wigan-Sunderland "Over" 2.5 goals 2.13 asian line. WON 1-4

Blackburn Rovers- Stoke City 1.5 units "Over" 2.5 goals 2.02 asian line. WON 2-1

Doncaster Rovers -0.25 ball 2.21 asian line. WON 2-0

1.5 units Bradford City +0.5 ball 1.97 asian line. LOST

1.5 units Fleetwood Town -0.25 ball 2.05 asian line WON 6-0

1.5 units Hayes & Yeading- Ebbsfleet United "over" 2.75 goals 1.85 asian line.VOID

1.5 units New York -3 points 1.95 Pinnacle Sports / Vegas Line.
WON 31-14

By the way, Bradford were a "little" unlucky, having had the better of the first half, they then conceded three in eleven minutes, two via goalkeeping errors ( one was a real howler) and another a hotly disputed ( but then they always are !) penalty.

Good Luck.



It looked for long time that we were going to go three from three yesterday, Bradford City had the better of the first half, but conceded three in eleven minutes midway through the second, two were errors from the goalkeeper and one a wrongly awarded penalty.

Not a lot of matches today, but all very interesting.

Going to start with a few words about the Copa del Rey fixture between Real Madrid and Malaga, both clubs have named their strongest available squads for this first leg, with the return match scheduled for the middle of next week. Hosts had not taken this competition seriously in recent seasons, twice losing to lower league opposition, but last year made it to the final, where they defeated Barcelona. This time round, they are looking for the La Liga/ Champions League double and I suspect the domestic cup competition will once again take a back seat, that is not to say that they cannot win, just that later in the campaign it is going to be more of an inconvenience. Today, I guess it will be viewed as a nice warm up for the weekend league fixture.

Real have tended to start slowly after the mini mid winter break, easing past Getafe by the odd goal in five and losing a meaningless match at Levante 2-0 last season and drawing 0-0 at Osasuna in 2010, when they were already out of the cup. Big spending Malaga will probably be up for this, especially RVN returning to the Bernabeu ( he will be pleased to see that Carvalho is missing) and Santi Carzorla looking to retain his place in the national team and this is a great opportunity to impress Vicente del Bosque. If this game was in Malaga, I would be very keen to side with Los Boquerones and even in the capital, admit to being tempted by the huge looking 2.5 goal handicap start for the visitors. A few too many unknown factors here, think I will watch the opening exchanges and if Real look a little lethargic, I will take a little on Malaga, if forced to choose now, it would have to be them at odds against ( 2.08) getting 2.5 goals, they tend to find a goal on their travels and that would leave Real needing at least four to cover, which normally would not be too much of a problem, but they might need this outing to shake the Christmas cobwebs away.

Goalkeepers: Caballero, Ruben
Defenders: Jesus Gamez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Monreal, Eliseu, Sergio Sanchez
Midfielders: Camacho, Toulalan, Apoño, Cazorla, Isco, Duda, Buonanotte
Forwards: Van Nistelrooy, Sebastian Fernandez, Rondon, Juanmi

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adan, Mejias
Defenders: Arbeloa, Coentrao, Marcelo, Pepe, Varane, Albiol
Midfielders: Lass, Khedira, Granero, Sahin, Xabi Alonso, Ozil, Callejon, Altintop, Kaka
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain
In the EPL, WBA have a lot of problems today, but that has already been factored into the very low odds for Tottenham, so no bet there for us.

I am keen on goals in the Wigan-Sunderland match. Somehow the makeshift Sunderland rearguard held on against Manchester City, they only had one regular starting defender on the pitch at the end and were forced to work incredibly hard to keep pace with the league leaders who created 25 attempts on goal and battered the Black Cats in the second period. That must have left them drained and the 24 hours less recovery time, will have done them few favours with this quick turnaround between matches, Wigan having played a day earlier at Stoke City where they somehow found a late equaliser despite being down to ten men, with defender Gary Caldwell being sent off and he is suspended today. Wigan are looking to do the double, having won very fortunately at the Stadium of Light in November, three points would take them out of the drop zone, ahead of a visit from Manchester City, so would be very valuable. The visitors will be out for revenge and incredibly a win for them could take them into the top ten, if they had not found that late, late winner at home to Blackburn Rovers in Martin O'Neill's first game in charge they would have been in the drop zone and the turnaround in just 23 days has been remarkable. Wigan are very gung-ho at times , especially at the DW Stadium and there will be plenty of space for both to exploit and plenty of tired legs late in the game, when this will get very stretched. "Over" 2.5 goals 2.13 asian line.

In the Championship, I like Bristol City at home to Millwall, key here for me is Darius Henderson missing from the visiting line up, the Lions have won six matches this season and Henderson has scored in five of those, he is very much their main target man, so much play goes through him and it all breaks down in his absence. We discussed City's huge improvement under Derek McInnes earlier in his reign ( see below). That improvement continues and they recently ended Southampton's long unbeaten home run, they won at the New Den in the next match after the Burnley preview ( where they also won 3-1) and have continued to play well, without getting their due reward at times. This might be the last time we see Maynard and Adomah together at City and they will surely want to sign off with a win, hosts have had 24 hours longer recovery time, following that Friday night game at St Mary's. Wall arrive in low confidence after a saturday derby loss to Crystal Palace and without their big target man , I have to oppose them. Bristol City -0.5 ball 2.17 asian line.

Good Luck.


I was very impressed with the Robins performance at West Ham in midweek and travelling fans were buoyant with that and the display at Barnsley last weekend, now they really need one in front of their home supporters, especially ahead of the international break, which will be followed by a tough trip to Millwall and visit from leaders Southampton. If new boss Derek McInnes can go into the break with another win, it will give them three positive results to feed off for a fortnight and the juggernaut will be well and truly on the move .

I told you on wednesday about the Albert Adomah and Nicky Maynard partnership and this pair will give most Championship defences problems and should definitely be up to scoring against a Burnley side with just one clean sheet in 18 starts this season, which came against a Millwall side in freefall at that time. Defensively, City already look a different side under their scottish boss and he has been busy today, signing Stephen Pearson, a midfielder he knows well from their time in the SPL from Derby County. He has also named his own assistant, Gary Owers replacing Steve Wigley and allowed two other players to leave on loan, he has made a huge impact at the club in a very short space of time. The team have already made more sound tactical changes in two games than Millen made in his last two months and even the fringe players have upped their game, with a strong reverse side running in five against Southampton this midweek, increasing competition for places.Bristol City level ball 1.94 + asian line