Tuesday, February 28, 2012



Dartford saw off Basingstoke Town 4-1 last night courtesy of a Danny Harris hat-trick, that closes the gap at the top to "just" nine points, if they can win their game in hand and continue to play at their current level, there might still be some life left in the BSS title race, with the Darts playing the better football right now and Woking showing signs of feeling the pressure, anyway, something to keep our eye on.

Busy midweek and tomorrow's email will be of special interest with four previews and selections at odds of circa 8.0, 5.50 and 3.75.

Today, I am going to concentrate solely on League 1, where three of the four fixtures offer betting opportunities, but first, a few words about the title and playoff race. Despite Charlton Athletic having a ten point lead at the top of the table, I still do not feel that anything is decided yet, with almost a third of the season remaining. There is very little to split the top five teams IMO, it is just that the South East London side have yet to hit the kind of blip that almost every team has, but it doesn't mean that it isn't coming !

I have been through all the remaining fixtures and feel that xxxx xxx xxx xxx ( rest of this part of my notes is restricted)



Three hugely interesting match ups.

Rochdale are rejuventated under John Coleman, a talented coach who performed miracles in over a decade at Accrington Stanley, on what, to describe as a shoestring budget would be a major understatement, probably the lowest in the Football League. Not only did he keep them afloat financially, got them into the FL and challenging, but did so, selling all the time and playing an attractive brand of football.

Dale will not be too worried about the style of football they play for the time being, last year was their first season in the third tier, after 41 years in the "fourth" division and Coleman's mission is just to keep them in League 1.

He immediately endeared himself to supporters, by winning the derby game with Bury 3-0 on his debut, the two clubs are huge rivals and that was really a dream start. They didn't have the chance to build on that as the weather interfered and after a 17 day break, they were rusty in a narrow loss at Scunthorpe United, but have since beating promotion hopefuls Bournemouth 1-0 here and taken road points at leaders Charlton, where they were close to a famous win and Colchester United, so just one defeat and eight points from five very tough fixtures. Things do not get any easier after tonight, they host 3rd placed Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend and they then travel to Carlisle United (6th) and Huddersfield Town ( 4th), both strong home teams, so this is as good as it is going to get for the time being.

County also have a new boss, Keith Curle replacing Martin Allen recently and he started with consecutive home wins against Stevenage Borough and Chesterfield last week, fantastic way to start, but good fortune in that they met a Boro side running on empty, just three days after they chased Tottenham Hotspur all over the pitch for 90 minutes and then found a late winner against the run of play, against Field, who were having an off day after a good run of form. County also made the most of home advantage and basically flooded an already heavy pitch at the half time break to suit their style of play. The visitors are far less effective on the road, where they have already lost ten times, the most of any team outide the bottom eight and after two very gruelling games in the last six days and however tired Boro were, they will work you very hard, I give the hungry hosts the clear edge today. Rochdale -0.25 ball 2.25 asian line.

xxx xx xxxx x x x ..... Other League 1 previews are also "restricted".

Good Luck.

contact : gowi8@btinternet.com

Monday, February 27, 2012


Marseille's loss was tough to take, they were denied a very obvious penalty in the first minute, when Brandao was brought down clear on goal, I just do not understand why match officials think that any striker is going to "go down" under those circumstances, unless clipped. The incident came just 23 seconds after kickoff, yet somehow the referee was 40 metres behind play, you can see him just crossing the halfway line in the background ( not that I am bitter or anything !).OM later hit the woodwork twice, had 22 attempts on goal, 13 corners and 65% of possession !

If, that left me feeling a little grumpy, what happened later in the day , saw the laptop land halfway up the back garden and me on the window ledge debating about whether to follow !

On the USPGA tour , I had put up a bet on Robert Allenby at 16.0 + in the morning ( see below), he had a two stroke lead with one hole to play and was trading at sub 1.05 on the exchanges. He had played a bogey free round until then and could afford a one over par five at the 18th to win, he had played the hole 4-4-4 over the first three days, yet took a SIX ! This put him into a playoff with rookie John Huh, again Allenby traded very low in running, I saw 1.23, but the Australian found a way to lose at the eighth extra hole ! So many things happened from say the 16th regular hole onwards, it was incredible and maybe one day soon I will laugh about it, just not today ( !), under identical circumstances, Allenby would probably have to play 250-300 rounds without coming out on top !

I am assuming that Lady Luck has something very nice in prospect for me shortly !

Good Luck.

written Sunday @ 11.20 UK time



BAIRD and four others

This is a poor leaderboard, full of players who have never won, or others for whom their sole claim to fame is so long ago, even they have forgotten it.

Summerhays is favourite across the board by virtue of his lead, but has played 34 tour events and only twice made the top 25, never the top ten and only played over the weekend ten times, hard to know how he will be feeling today, I doubt he slept too well last night. He does speak spanish, which probably helps him a little playing in Mexico, but I couldn't consider him at the odds offered. His post match interview hardly filled me with confidence either, you learn to read between the lines with these comments made post round and he sounded worried about his putting and the conditions. This is a tough course when the wind blows btw and there are some gusty conditions forecast for the area today.

Chris Stroud has yet to win either, or post a top 3 finish, his best ever placing was fourth here last season, so he clearly likes it here, but he is steady and a bit of a plodder, a journeyman pro who will make a good living on tour, but little more. He is also 30 on Friday and this is a difficult age for a golfer, we have discussed this many times before, so most of you know my thoughts, he could win from this position, but any big improvement is likely once this key birthday has passed and not before.

This pair have a four stroke lead over the field and that might be enough for one of them to hold on, however, I would prefer to chance a few euros on someone else and the class act in the field is Robert Allenby. He is a four time winner on the US tour where he has banked $21m and is a big winner and earner around the rest of the world. He has never quite lived up to his huge early promise, but knows how to get the job done and key stat might be that three of those wins came in playoffs, this event went to extra holes last year and if the front pair start to come back to the field, that knowledge in his memory bank will help the Australian. Having grown up in Melbourne, he is a fine player in windy conditions and unlike most of the others on the leaderboard, he will be hoping the wind gets up this afternoon. I assume he is only playing here at the request of his idol and great friend Greg Norman who designed the course, Norman played this week but missed the cut ( he is 57 yo) , however, pretty sure that he will be following his pal today and with Norman having shown great faith in Allenby at the Presidents Cup, it would be the perfect way to repay him by putting in a huge charge today and of course, no one knows the layout here better than Norman. Allenby's all round stats have looked good all week, maybe his driving could improve a little, but conditions might throw everyone off in that respect today, at least a little and he is also a good early season player. We can try a little at big odds .... 0.5 unit Allenby outright 16.0 + on the exchanges.

contact : gowi8@btinternet.com

Sunday, February 26, 2012



To say that Brest are draw specialists is a bit of an understatement, they have finished all square in 14 league starts already and I feel that lack of ambition and negative approach is likely to cost them dearly come the end of the season. It is all well and good to set up defensively against the best that Ligue 1 has to offer on the road, but to adopt the same policy at home to Dijon and on the road at Ajaccio was too much IMO. They got a point in each, but surprisingly didn't look that solid at the back and it is a very dangerous game they are playing. I can see that they might feel they are playing to their strengths and their is a case for them looking to keep things tight today, but my problem is that this would be their gameplan regardless of who they were playing, or whom they had available.

The hosts lost top scorer Nolan Roux who joined Lille in the transfer window ( one goal , deep in injury time from a defender in four starts since he left), as replacement(s) they brought in Issam Jemaa from Auxerre, who is suspended today and Alexandre Alphonse from Zurich who is injured. Also out injured are eight other players, they are mainly fringe players, but all play in midfield/forward positions so options in those areas, especially in the holding role are a little limited.

OM have been playing a lot of football and are still battling on four fronts, but they do have a free midweek after this game and I think they will be very motivated to pick up maximum points today, which would take them right back into the Champions League race for next season. They have a decent enough record at the Velodrome, but always look a better side on the road to my eyes, I hope they start with Brandao up front again as away from home his hold up play works well, Valbuena is one of the most mobile "playmakers" you will see and I think he will get plenty of time on the ball today. Think the visitors will be happy to play a road game, on the basis that a change is as good as a rest, with this their first away league game of the month, that should freshen them up after a run of games under intense pressure/ levels of expectation from their loyal supporters. 1.5 units Marseille -0.5 ball 2.07 asian line.

OM: Gardiens : Mandanda, Bracigliano
Défenseurs : Azpi, Fanni, Diawara, Nkoulou, Morel, Sabo, Traoré
Milieux : Diarra, Kaboré, Cheyrou, Amalfitano, Valbuena, A.Ayew
Attaquants : Brandao, Gignac, J.Ayew

BREST :Elana, Cappone - Baysse, Kantari, Martial, Daf, Zebina, Makonda, Coulibaly - Licka, Ewolo, Lesoimier, Guidileye, Sissoko, Grougi, Khaled - Poyet, Ben Basat.

Blessés : Culma (hanche, reprise), Touré (pubis), Lorenzi (cuisse, reprise), Micola (genou), Ferradj (genou), Ayité (cuisse), Alphonse (cheville, reprise), Brou Apanga (genou, reprise).
Suspendu : Jemaa.

Good Luck.

Saturday, February 25, 2012



Barnsley did us a favour last weekend eventually seeing off ten man, injury hit Portsmouth, but they made quite hard work of it and also had a tough game in midweek, losing 3-1 at home to Birmingham City, the Championship's form team. That result effectively ended their season, they are booked for a midtable finish almost regardless of what happens between now and the end of this campaign and boss Keith Hill will soon start to look building for next season, team selection today might alreday indicate that if he sticks with 17 yo Paul Digby. The match against City was the tenth time in 15 starts that they have conceded two or more and just one cleansheet in that sequence appear to tell you everything about where their problems lie, however, they are losing the battle further up the pitch, bad luck with season ending injuries to key players have left them overrun in midfield at times in quite a lot of recent games and that is putting too much pressure on the backline.

City have had a terrible time of things this season, both results and injury wise, but the treatment room has started to clear and coach Andy Thorn has Cody MacDonald and Sammy Clingan back in training this week and with Oliver Norwood ( Man U) and Alex Nimely ( Man C) on loan form the top two clubs in the EPL and already making good contributions, Thorn has said this is the strongest his squad has looked all season. We have yet to see too much of an improvement on the road, but they have won four of their last five starts here at the Ricoh Arena , beating Leeds United, Brighton and Middlesbrough, all of whom are top ten sides and also Bristol City, they lost to Southampton in that sequence, but did lead the Saints for an hour. Portsmouth's ten point deduction has given all the other clubs battling relegation a boost and three points tonight, might well take City out of the drop zone, which is huge motivation, especially ahead of a tough run of fixtures in March.

Hosts have a terrific record in this fixture, being 6-1-0 in home starts and they have scored three or more goals in five of the last six h2h meetings at the Ricoh. 1.25 units Coventry City -0.25 ball 1.95 + asian line.



Dean Court is a very big playing surface, even bigger than the one at Stadium MK and should ideally suit the visitors style of play, they play a very high possession game and force teams to do a lot of work. They like to play from the back and the 78m wide pitch here should be perfect for them, any of you who watched the FA Cup replay with QPR will probably appreciate what I am trying to put across. I have seen them play a couple of times this season and feel they might be the best team in League 2, despite the table saying otherwise, they are very well coached by Karl Robinson, who will surely be at a bigger club next season, if Dons do not get promotion this time round. I feel they were distracted by that cup run, losing discipline in a couple of games immediately after and ground in the promotion race. They looked to have steadied the ship with points against Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday, games in which they were clearly the better team, but then lost 2-1 at Charlton Athletic in a joke of a game, Dons were best, played 50 mins with ten men and both goals conceded came from penalties, any visiting supporters at the game will have taken huge encouragement from the desire, heart and commitment shown by Karl Robinson's man in that game. They build on it with a 5-0 demolition of Oldham next time out and followed up with a narrow defeat of Bury in midweek. The loss at the leaders was only their third in ten road outings, the other two came at Stevenage, where again they played 30 mins with ten men and were allsquare before the dismissal and the other in that cup game at QPR, where they matched the EPL side and deserved at least to take the game into extra time. They scored in the other nine road games, averaging 2.33 goals per game and only Charlton, who are certainly the luckiest, if not the best team in League 1, have won more away starts.

Dons are nine points clear of Carlisle in seventh, so with that post season spot looking pretty assured at present, they are almost freerolling for an automatic place, they trail Sheffield United who are currently second by seven points, but have still to host the Blades and with MK having five home fixtures in March, there is still plenty of potential to make up ground before they meet. Finaces have improved for Bournemouth and they are a club to watch for in the future, but the real improvement is likely next year and tehy remain a team in transition. They have won just once in five starts, losing three, failing to score in two of those, both of which came against teams in the drop zone. The Cherries are injury hit all over the pitch, but especially at the back, where they have huge defensive problems, they have taken Miles Addison on loan from Derby County, but lost Stephen Purches with a double leg break during the1-0 defeat at Rochdale,Steve Cook in midweek for up to three weeks and four further defensive players in captain Adam Barrett, Mathieu Baudry (both hamstring), Shaun Cooper and Nathan Byrne (ankle), with 70 starts between them this campaign, are all struggling for match fitness. 1.5 units MK Dons level ball 1.97 asian line.

Good Luck.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I was away for a few days last week, in the ten days since returning I have had 23 bets, 12 winners and 11 losers, one of the winners was 5.0 but a small bet, nothing very exciting, no fortunes won or lost. Unfortunately, I have posted five of them on here and all five have lost !

Not sure what the odds are on that, actually, I probably do ( 33649 divided by 462) , so 71.83 -1 to pick five losers .............obviously I have a talent for this !

That is the problem, as the blog posts are (almost) randomly selected from all my match previews, luck is going to play a big part. I could have picked five winners, which would have been much easier at 41-1, but obviously, either should be extremely unlikely from such a sample.

Anyway, bit frustrating to say the least. Having said that, I will not give up just yet and will be back tomorrow with a couple of previews.

Good Luck.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23RD .... sent overnight

Saint Etienne won 4-2 and Matteo Manassero beat Webb Simpson 3 &2 yesterday, hopefully we can add to those today. I have two emails planned for today, the second will contain one more football preview ( my strongest news of the day) and a look at day two of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and that should be with you by 10.30 UK time.



Olympiakos won the first leg 1-0 in frozen Moscow last week, the match was played in an empty ( 1,600 spectators) stadium, devoid of atmosphere, Rubin had just flown in from a Spanish training camp and the weather and conditions were as much a trial for them as they were for the "visitors". It was hard to see too much advantage for the Russians, who looked rusty and also missed a penalty to further add to their woes.

Rubin have a vastly experienced squad, 14 full internationals were involved in the first match and they have picked up plenty of european knowledge over the last three seasons and I very much doubt they will be prepared to give up on this tie just yet. Coach Kurban Berdyev who has been in charge at Rubin for over a decade, admitted that he got the tactics wrong in the first half last week and felt his team would really benefit and come on for the 90 minutes of proper competitive action, which is very likely.

At the same stage last season , they lost 2-0 in Moscow to Twente and really came out all guns blazing in Enschede, pulling the two goals back inside 24 minutes. They eventually lost 4-2 on aggreagate, but will take confidence in how quickly they turned that tie on it's head and having avoided defeat at both Panathinaikos and PAOK in the last two seasons, this is far from a trip into the unknown for them.

Hosts will surely be looking to keep this tight and hold on to what they have got, which is very much the Greek way and they would snatch your hand off for a draw right now, especially coming into the game without four starting players.

Rubin will strip much fitter tonight, looking to play their favoured high pressing game which works well on the road, they really impressed in the group stage at White Hart Lane, at Dynamo Kiev in CL qualification and were close to putting Lyon out of the premier club competition. They have received a big boost with the return of veteran goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov for this tie, he is a steadying influence on the whole defensive line and I have to take the visitors and the draw. 1 unit Rubin Kazan +0.5 ball 2.20 asian line.


First game ended 0-0, the Italian side enjoyed much the better of things as you might expect and created quite a few chances, but not for the first time, they looked toothless without Antonio Di Natale and they have failed to score in 243 minutes since both he and Mauricio Isla limped out of the match with Milan,earlier this month. They have travelled with the following group of players....

Udinese :Keepers: Handanovic (1), Padelli (21), Romo (28).
Defenders: Armero (27), Basta (8), Benatia (17), Danilo (5), Domizzi (11), Ekstrand (24), Ferronetti (32), Neuton (13), Pasquale (26).
Midfielders: Abdi (23), Asamoah (20), Battocchio (18), Bedin (42), Pazienza (4).
Strikers: Fabbrini (31), Floro Flores (83), Marsura (43).

That means no Di Natale, Isla, Barreto, Badu, Torje or Pinzi ( with an average of 19 starts between them this season) and instead just three strikers in Flores, whom they dare not risk losing to injury, Fabbrini arguably more of a midfielder and untried 18yo ( birthday last monday) Davide Marsura.

PAOK are in good shape, unbeaten in ten european matches and fully focused on this competition and having not conceded in three starts, they are coming off a 0-0 home derby draw with Aris, but will have had one eye on this and were denied five times by the woodwork, so they are due a change of luck this evening. They really impressed in the Group stage and looked a good team in their 2-1 win at Tottenham. Italian teams have no recent history in this competition, which they tend to treat with a hint of derision. Udinese have a massive Serie A game at Bologna on Sunday, where they desperately need to get back on track and retain their top three position. If they had to choose between winning tonight, or at the weekend, the domestic fixture would win hands down.

Hosts are very tough to beat here in Thessaloniki and even if Udinese were up for this and I am not certain that they are, their most likely route would be via a score draw, so no damage with PAOK with the draw no bet option, which has to be my pick. 1.25 units PAOK level ball 1.81 + asian line.

Good Luck.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SUNDAY .....

Way off the mark with the two blog posts yesterday, I have/am looking at seven events today, so have a little leeway to put a couple up on the site , so hopefully we can get the blog back on track....


We have discussed the Eredivisie outright market twice this season, both posts are reproduced below and in each we were firmly in the PSV camp. I have seen little to change my mind since. The Eindhoven club are now odds on across the board to win the title and Ajax, already eight points off the pace and having lost four in a row in all competitions, look to be out of the equation. AZ look their biggest rival in the title race and PSV can put some pressure on them, ahead of a tricky trip to Utrecht, by winning this late morning kick off.

They are coming off a 2-1 win at Trabzonspor in the Europa League on Thursday, that was a very convincing performance and they were worthy of a much greater margin of victory and never really troubled by the Turkish side. PSV kept all their stars in the transfer window as expected and have plenty of strength in depth in all positions and competition for places. Zakaria Labyad suffered a groin injury and not join his team-mates for the trip to Turkey, but trained Thursday and Friday in Eindhoven after an MRI scan did not show any abnormalities. Georginio Wijnaldum started on the bench and came on after 78 minutes in Trabzon, he is likely to be ready to start today and it was a sign that no one wants to miss out, as places are not easy to get back, that he chose to travel in midweek.

Groningen have lost their last three with a 1-9 goal difference and are desperate to get back on track, but the hosts are missing several key players today and have had big disruptions to their training schedule and seem low on confidence. The two clubs played the reverse fixture at the end of November, with PSV running out 6-1 winners, with the first five goals coming inside 55 minutes, that was a big deal for the Eindhoven club, coming against an opponent they struggled to see off last season and I expect them to follow up today, with a little style. 1.5 units PSV Eindhoven -0.75 1.80 asian line.

Back later.

written 29/12
We originally looked at the Eredivisie outright market in early October, that post is reproduced below in blue type and re-reading that, would probably be a good place to start. PSV have since closed the gap to AZ at the top of the table to just a single point, with FC Twente and Ajax a further four points adrift and Feyenoord six behind the team from Eindhoven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck.

Saturday, February 18, 2012



I have had a good look at the PGA event the Northern Trust Open today, where Phil Mickelson leads entering the third round, but have decided to pass and will wait for tomorrow.

A few words about Big Phil though, I wrote about him in my February 5th email notes and have highlighted a few basic points I made that day .....

I feel all time great Phil Mickelson is a player we should keep a close eye on in the coming weeks. Big Phil traditionally starts the year very strongly, but has stumbled out of the blocks this season, but has shown clear signs this week that his game is close to coming together. He is a fantastic putter, but we have not seen the best of him with the flat stick in recent seasons, however, if you take a quick look at the transcript from his Thursday post round interview below, you will get a feel for how excited he is by his form on the greens.

PM also has a reputation as sometimes going through the motions when off the pace and whilst that might have been the case a few years back, especially late in a round, the stats do not bear that out when he is anywhere close to the top ten and he improved his position in three of the four times he started in the top ten last year, at a time when he was struggling with medication relating to an arthritic condition, in addition to both his wife and mother dealing with breast cancer, all three problems are much improved and now he is position to focus on his game.

He looks very fit and healthy and has played the back nine this week in -10, the front in +2, to put that into perspective, leader Levin is -8 and -9 respectively. So if Phil could pick up a shot or two early, or at least get through the sixth hole without dropping a stroke to par, there is no knowing how low he could shoot today. He is ranked first for putting this week and flew in his coach Butch Harmon to help with the rest of his game on saturday, which looked to have worked, as he hit the ball tee to green better yesterday. Mickelson went to college in Arizona and lived here for 12 years, meeting his wife and having a couple of children in the state. He feels a lot of affection for the area and is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, which is why he is so well liked,this is not a course where he is going to give anything less than 100%.

I can see a huge run at the Masters for PM this year if he can stay injury free and without off course distraction.

He finished down the field that day, but now just 13 days later, he not only won at Pebble Beach last week, but also leads at the halfway stage at the Northern Trust and is trading at circa 2.75 to win again. So, not much longer to get our money back.

I know a couple of you backed him last week and again this and also that at least three of you backed Zambia at 70.0 -85.0 + to win the ACN ( written 20/01 I do think that Zambia, available at 85.0 on Betfair for tiny money, will trade much shorter at some stage and will offer trading opportunities for whomever is quick enough to take it !) , so there have been some big priced winners between the lines in recent weeks. So, it is always worth reading the previews fully and getting the most out of them.


Huge game for these two clubs and one which neither dare lose. They have already met twice this season and both finished all square after 90 minutes and another stalemate is definitely a possibility this evening, but if there is to be a winner, it is far more likely to be the visitors IMO. They will certainly be the fresher after having a free midweek and have more options today, with Kafoumba Coulibaly back from the ACN and Lloyd Palun who returned from Africa last week and who came of the bench in the 0-0 draw with leaders PSG, both pushing for starts. Nice have upped their game since Christmas and had chances to win last week and performed well against the better clubs in recent weeks. They are battle hardened, in their tenth straight season in the top flight, seven of which they have spent in the bottom half, so old hands at these relegation battles. Dijon are in their first ever season in Ligue 1 and have made the most of their "go for it" style, despite conceding the most goals ( 42) and recording most defeats ( 12) in the division, their six wins have allowed them to stay three points outside the drop zone. However, they have not kept a cleansheet in eleven starts and they are probably a little too defensively naive for this level and it looks set to be a long three months or so for Dijon. They also played PSG this week, but only three days ago and lost 1-0, the goal ( once again) came from some suicidal defending and to be honest, they were fortunate not to conceded more and lucky to score nil ! Nice arrive full of confidence after becoming the first side to deny PSG maximum points under Carlo Ancelotti and believe they are much better than the league table suggests, I agree and have to take them with the draw no bet option. 1.25 units Nice level ball asian line.... currently 2.21

Dijon : Tchagouni, Reynet – Diabaté, Meïté, Diallo, Souprayen, Varrault- Marcq, Kumordzi, Sankharé, Bauthéac, Kakuta, Guerbert, Corgnet, Baradji, Bérenguer- Koné, Jovial, Thil

Nice : Gardiens : Fernandez, Ospina
Défenseurs : Civelli, Clerc, Gomis, Monzon
Milieux : Abriel, Anin, Coulibaly, Digard, Meriem, Palun, Sablé
Attaquants : Dja Djedje, Grandin, Guie Guie, Mouloungui, Mounier

Good Luck.

Contact : stencelwade@btinternet.com



We have talked about United the last two weekend's, the most recent is reproduced below. They won that 5-1 and are now up into the top six, they should have an eye on that fourth spot currently held by Hearts and a european place. They are currently six points off the pace but have a game in hand and two home games in the next four days, before travelling to Tynecastle next weekend, so they will be looking to go there with everything to play for.

Saints starting the season well, but are without a win in five SPL starts and are bound to be a little drained after a midweek cup trip up to the Highlands to meet Ross County, they won that replay 2-1 but it involved eight-nine hours on a bus, much on non motorway roads and played almost an hour with ten men ,now a trip to the division's form team ( Celtic aside ?) is far from ideal. However, they have a reasonable record in this fixture and normally find a goal, the pair shared four in the reverse fixture over New Year and at least two in five of their last ten visits here. I expect United to win, but think odds of around 1.76 are just about correct, maybe even a little short, but feel the "over" option at odds against offers real value, given the h2h record and that only Rangers have failed to score against the Arabs in ten starts and the Gers would not have scored if they were still out there now, it was one of those days for the troubled Glasgow giants. 1.75 units "over" 2.5 goals 2.14 asian line.

Back later.


We discussed how poorly Glasgow Rangers played against Dundee United last sunday, but we also have to give credit to The Arabs for their performance, they were very professional and allowed Rangers almost no goal scoring chances and must be delighted with the cleansheet, their first in ten starts, goals have never been an issue for them and they have scored the most of any team outside the top five in the SPL. They can forget about the Cup for a month or two and concentrate on getting into the top six and the additional revenue that will bring. They make the very short 30 minute journey along the A90 to Perth to face Saint Johnstone, who have struggled on home soil recently, losing four of their last six ( 7 of 12) and collecting 63% of their points on the road this season. United have a fantasitic record here, 6-2-2 in ten visits, unbeaten in four, eight home and away and keeping six clean sheets in the process. United have only lost one of six on the road ( at Celtic) and only one to a non "Old Firm" team all season. They have the pace up front to really scare teams on the break and I can see them getting a lot of joy, especially down the left in this game, Saints also have a cup replay scheduled with Hearts in midweek and they might be tempted to give one or two players who are doubts for today, the extra couple of days to recover. I really like the visitors with the draw no bet option. 1.5 units Dundee United level ball 2.05 asian line.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Strange game in as much as these two meet here again in the FA Cup next week, there is a strong case for arguing that a win today is more important for the Gunners and next week for the home side.

Arsenal are coming off a rare free midweek, so have had seven days to bask in the glow of their 7-1 defeat of Blackburn Rovers and Arsene Wenger at least knows his team are creating plenty of chances ( 54 in their last two starts, or one every 3.33 minutes), even if that was the first time they have really cut loose in many weeks, probably since the Wigan game in early December. Oxlade-Chamberlain looks the real deal already and he, along with Thierry Henry take some of the pressure off RVP, add the return of Arteta in midfield and suddenly, despite their defensive issues, they look a real team again. They do have the small matter of a midweek trip to Milan to consider, but first priority is a top 4 place and already trailing Chelsea and Newcastle United and with Liverpool now just a point behind and coming on strong, the Gunners have to go all out for three points today, especially with their next two league starts against Tottenham and Liverpool.

For the hosts, this will be their fifth start in 13 days and after extra time on Wednesday night, a lengthy injury list , secure in eighth spot in the EPL and with no realistic ambitions of a higher position and a big game next week, they can be forgiven for letting the intensity drop just a little. I have to take Arsenal and will opt for the bigger handicap now that they have found their touch in front of goal. 1.5 units Arsenal -0.75 ball 2.49 asian line.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012



These Coppa semis tend to be keenly fought close affairs and I see this one following type. For the hosts, Zlatan has picked up a three match domestic ban, but it only applies to Serie A games, so he should play tonight. Milan have a very tough week in prospect, they go to Udinese at the weekend and host Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday, despite anything the club might say, tonight's game is definitely a poor third in order of importance and they will also be wary of collecting any further injuries, having an already busy treatment room , or to give too much away ahead of what might well be a title deciding league meeting with Juve here at the end of the month. Latest of those is goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, more of him later.

Storari will be start in goal for Juventus and coach Antonio Conte has also said that transfer window signings Martin Caceres, Simone Padoin and Marco Borriello will all feature at the San Siro.You could look at that as weakening the squad, but they are all either proven International players, or, in the case of Padolin, one already closing in on 300 games, most in "A" . In addition, 13 of the other outfield players named in the 22 man squad, have made at least a dozen starts this season, so hard to view this as the "severely weakened squad" I have seen it called elsewhere.

Milan have turned into flat track bully's, almost always beating the lesser teams ( they are 6-1-0 in starts against teams in the bootom seven), however, they are 1-3-4 in eight outings against other teams in the top seven, the only win coming 3-2 against Roma, where their opponents had 23 attempts on goals and 13 corners and that man Abbiati saved his team on numerous occasions. They did beat Lazio here in the last round, but that was on the back of the visitors second trip to the San Siro inside 4 days, they had lost 2-1 to Inter late on Sunday after leading and rested a lot of players for the second game. Actually, they led there too and Milan's third goal was offside, but that is another story !

Hosts have a powerful midfield, but they appear to lack the flair to really trouble the top teams in Seri A and with two such huge games ahead, I think we will see a low key home performance, having said that, they will not want to go into those games with a loss, so the draw option for me, a result I suspect both teams would be happy with ,btw, Milan have drawn their last three Coppa semi final first leg games. Draw 3.20 + quite a bit of 3.30 on the exchanges at present.

Good Luck.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

SUNDAY .......

EPL: CHELSEA - MANCHESTER UNITED ( written 19.00 saturday)

No Cole or Terry for the Blues, Drogba and Kalou are still at the ACN, Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young should return for United. Many people might feel that the visitors will have twelve men on the pitch with Howard Webb chosen to officiate, he has a reputation for favouring United, but the stats do not really back that up, although Liverpool supporters might disagree ! We have seen a big change this season in matches between the top teams in the EPL, all have been open, more aggressive , high scoring affairs, with Chelsea's meetings with the other five averaging 4.0 goals per game and United's nine starts an eyepopping 4.67 . Those fourteen matches have seen both teams score in 13, the only team who came up short, was Tottenham in their early season visit to Old Trafford and to be honest, Spurs should have scored a couple at least. Included in that squence of games, was United's 3-1 win in the reverse fixture, Chelsea didn't deserve to lose that day and missed a host of chances, 29 in total, along with 10 corners. The hosts will probably be a little more relaxed today than they usually are going into these fixtures and it is certainly more important to United who are set to go toe to with City for the title. However, I expect the trend to continue and definitely both teams to score, but also each to press in search of a winner, I have a feeling this might be Fernando Torres' day, goodness knows it has been long enough, but he played well in the first meeting and one day soon things will fall for him. Anyway, a confident "over" pick for me. 1.5 units "over" 2.5 goals 2.02 asian line.

Good Luck.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Everton didn't win, but the late goal came and that was available at 2.96 in asia at the 80th minute mark.

I briefly previewed one other early EPL game ....


This pair had 58 attempts between them in midweek and scored..... zero goals ! Quite how Rovers came up short at Ewood Park against the Magpies will have to remain one of life's great mysteries, Yakubu must have scored six from the stands and the person sitting in front of him will have been black and blue in the morning. He is still suspended and Christopher Samba will not be considered, but these two create a lot of chances and in a fixture which almost always produces goals and a lot of them, it is easy to see an excess of excitement. The pair played out a seven goal thriller in the reverse fixture and something similar is not impossible, Robin van Persie always likes to face Rovers and he has scored 10 in his last dozen games against the visitors. Hosts had Sagna and Arteta back in midweek and they should strip fitter today. I think the three goal asian line is a little on the skinny side and am happier taking a little on the "over" 4.5 line @ circa 4.60 or the "over" 5.5 line at around 10.0, which would not surprise me at all, but for the purposes of the email I will leave those.

So, "officially" I have lost on those two games, despite "suggesting" four bets, three of which won at odds of 10.0, 4.60 and 2.96 . As I always say, my daily notes are about so much more than the basic results and there are plenty of winners contained within the content, if you are not too lazy to look.

Good Luck.



A good transfer window for the Toffees and it is a very long time since we have been able to say that. Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar have joined/returned and both look set to be involved at least on the bench ( Darron Gibson signed earlier in the month), although David Moyes might be loathe to change the team that has just beaten the league leaders. They have made a habit of beating the struggling teams on the road, already posting wins at Bolton, Fulham, Blackburn and WBA. also winning on three of their last five visits here in a stadium where they always get huge travelling support.
Everton almost always pick up after Christmas and in the last three seasons have averaged 1.19 points before Boxing Day and 1.92 after, which is a massive difference and the signs are there for a similar improvement in the second half of this campaign. They trail Newcastle United by ten points in the "best of the rest" race and that will be their EPL target for the rest of the campaign, along with a big run in the FA Cup. Wigan have posted just three wins all season and one in nine, they are almost at the stage where a draw is not much help and we can expect this match to get very stretched after the break. Everton have scored 74% of their goals in the second half and a third of all scored, have come from substitutes, which could be interesting if the new guys start on the bench. In the four Everton road wins I mentioned earlier, six of the seven goals they scored came after the break, four inside the final three minutes, four of Wigan's last five games have also seen late goals ( after the 80th minute). This is another game where you could look for at the in running "over" market as the match enters the final ten minutes, a bet which has served us very well this season. However, for the purposes of the email, I will take Everton -0.5 ball 2.19 asian line.

Good Luck.


Rickie Fowler is in a share of 22nd place at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after two rounds, a two over par six at the 17th hole cost him dear and what would have been a share of sixth place overnight, but he is still very much in contention for that top ten finish.

There is a bet below for today's African Cup of Nations quarter finals, but it is the pre tournament preview, part of which is also reproduced, that contained the real "gold" and all of you were offered a free copy of that on January 20th.

I will be back later in the day with some more thoughts.



My original ACN notes are reproduced below, we were firmly in the Ghana and Zambia camp then and I am happy with the way things have gone so far and we have a good value outright bet, even better if you have taken Zambia too, even if it was only for a couple of euros.

Zambia have continued to impress me and were it not for the monsoon in Bata on Matchday 2, I am certain the would be three from three so far. Sudan have overachieved to reach this stage and were fortunate that they met an already eliminated Burkina Faso team in the last round of matches and also that the Ivory Coast played fair and beat Angola, a match they did not need to win. I am convinced that Sedan will sit back today and try and stifle the game, but do not feel they are solid enough defensively, having conceded in all three group starts, to keep the talented and pacy Zambian forwards out for 45 minutes, let alone 90. They lost a key central defender in their last game and that means a defensive reshuffle too today. I cannot see beyond this very talented Zambian team who have unfinished business in this competition. 1.75 units Zambia -0.5 ball 1.80 + asian line.

Written 20/01
Zambia arrive here without Jacob Mulenga, the Utrecht striker and he will be missed, but I expect them to go well none the less. They will arrive as one of the best prepared, the squad having been together pretty much since early December, that is over six weeks and included some high altitude work which is going to serve them well down at these sea level venues, we discussed the ( perhaps obvious) benefits of this during the last World Cup. They are a confident bunch and with many still in their early twenties, are improving and they look set to play a part in all major championships in the next 4-5 years. Four of the starters were regulars in their own "golden generation" team which performed with great credit at the 2007 U20 World Cup, beating Uruguay and running Spain, who included Mata and Gerard Pique, close and even ragged at times.

If you watched the last ACN, you will doubtless remember them, they lost in the quarter finals to Nigeria on penalties in a match they totally dominated and previously were all over Cameroon in the group decider, losing to a very late winner after missing several chances to take a two goal lead. That is a problem, they do not score quite enough in relation to the chances they create, but mark my words, this is a very talented group.

They have extra motivation to do well, as much for a former generation as theirselves, with 28 national players and officials dying off the coast of Libreville, Gabon en route to a World Cup qualifier with Senegal in Dakar in 1994. Even the President spoke of this in a personal message to the squad, saying
“You will recall from history and from your football leadership the special place that Gabon – venue of the 2012 final match – holds in our football history. It is the place where your predecessors valiantly died off the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Therefore, this tournament brings us those memories and makes this Africa Cup a very emotional one. That, however, should not put you under any pressure. It should instead inspire you to conquer.”

He then went on to urge his team to "die a little for Mother Zanbia " and to "fight for every ball, cover every space and in the true sense of the might of the Chipolopolo, never to feel intimidated by anybody or surrender to any opposition."

I wonder if David Cameron will get so passionate before Euro 2012 !

Back in charge since October is Herve Renard, who guided them to the last eight in 2010, he left after that and was replaced by italian coach Dario Bonetti, that didn't work very well, an italian in Zambia was like oil on water and the players called upon their FA and President to remove him, they admitted afterwards that Bonetti had given them a tactical edge they perhaps lacked before, but are so much happier with Renard at the helm and the six weeks together have helped them re-bond as a unit. They are still as explosive, but feel they have added discipline to their approach and that will serve them very well here. If not, keep them in mind for World Cup qualification, even though they will have to finish above Ghana to advance.

I am sure that we will make some money in the next month following Senegal and Zambia, unfortunately they start against each other, my feeling is that Zambia at circa 6.50 are ridiculously big to win and if pushed to pick on the asian line, I would have to side with them getting a 0.75 goal handicap start, in a match where a draw would not be the end of the world for the favoured team, but think I will have to pass.

On the other side of the draw are Ghana, who look very strong indeed. We all got a glimpse of their potential in the last World Cup, 14 of this squad were involved in South Africa and which made the quarter finals, seven of those are still only aged between 21 and 23 and this is a group of immense talent and potential which is going to continue to improve. Whilst young, they are battle hardened and the core were in the squad which lost in extra time to a star laden Spain in the semi-finals of the 2007 U17 World Cup. Seven were in the group which went even better in the U20 running in 2009, beating Brazil in the final

Seventeen of this current squad are aged 25 or younger, but experienced, with 13 having over 23 apperances, well above average for the tournament. After finishing 3rd in 2008, runner up in 2010, they are poised to go one better this time round and in a group where it is difficult to see them struggling and no Ivory Coast, Senegal or even dare I say it, Zambia on the immediate horizon, they should be able to work their way slowly into peak form.

They look so much stronger now than the team which made the last 8 in South Africa and they are my idea of the winners. 1.5 units Ghana outright 5.0 + ... there is some 5.50 available.

I do think that Zambia, available at 85.0 on Betfair for tiny money, will trade much shorter at some stage and will offer trading opportunities for whomever is quick enough to take it !

Good Luck.

Thursday, February 02, 2012



Next email will be sent Friday morning at the "normal" time which is circa 10.00 UK.

I have two golf selections for this week and a football bet for the weekend, this is my first two unit football bet of the year, two things about that, one I obviously like it a lot and as I explained last month, there will not be many of these in future and the difference between a 1.5 unit and 2 unit bet is big, as it ticks ALL the boxes and not just most of them, however, two units is my max bet, so there it is. BUT, it is very far from a sure thing, just one I feel offers very good value, odds are close to even money and my idea of the correct quote is nearer to 1.55, but 1.55 shots lose every day of the week.

I am going to start with the PGA event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, played at the TPC Scottsdale, in front of the biggest , most raucous crowds in golf, which suit 23 yo Rickie Fowler very well. Fowler is very happy playing on the West Coast and was born in Murrieta, just a couple of hours along Interstate 10 from Scottsdale.

Fowler played here as a rookie in 2010 and finished second, shooting four really solid rounds of 65-67-69-68, he was bogey free on the sunday, so the pressure certainly didn't get to him. last year he made his season debut at Torrey Pines, where he finished top 20 and then came here and posted a tie for 13th, he shot a low score of the day 62 on Friday, but nothing really fell his way on the other days,however, he was under par on each and eight from eight sub par rounds is impressive. He again played Torrey Pines last week on his 2012 debut and shot 68-70-71-70 for another tie for 13th, an improvement on last year and so we are sure about his well being coming in.He was also ranked first for greens in regulation with shots hit from 100-125 yards, which will be a key stat here, as the ball flys quite a way in the desert, so you are usually playing shorter approach shots. He didn't play the back nine particularly well at TP, or have much luck, but he was great off the tee all week (also ranked 2nd for fairways hit), so is obviously in pretty good shape. Fowler has a breakthrough victory in Korea in October, by six strokes from Rory McIlroy and that win should set him up nicely to break his duck in his homeland, it should definitely come this year and why not this week ? 1.25 units Rickie Fowler to finish top ten 3.25 +... there is quite a bit of 3.50 on offer and I am pretty sure that you will get matched at that quote on the exchanges, over the next 24 hours. He was focused on this tournament immediately after he finished his final round last week, twice mentioning it in four questions at his post round interview ....

RICKIE FOWLER: Definitely a good start to the year, and I got a lot of momentum out of it. Ready to go for next weekend.
Q. Who is this guy Kyle Stanley? Have you seen him play much?
RICKIE FOWLER: I have. '07 Walker Cup teammate of mine. Great guy. Obviously, he's showing off his skills this week.
Q. Talk to me again about the crowd and what's it like playing near home?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I definitely have a lot of great fans and supporters, especially here in Southern California. Lot of friends and family come out as well. It's fun for me. I get to see some people I don't get to see all the time and play in front of people that are here to support me. So definitely makes it for a fun week.
Q. What is your schedule like the next three weeks?
RICKIE FOWLER: So far playing in the next two and that's what I'm planning on. Really just kind of focusing on playing well next week in the Waste Management.

The European Tour moves onto Qatar and the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. They have ......

Good Luck.