SUNDAY JUNE 17th
The Russia- Greece game was hugely disappointing, if the Russians had come out , shown us 70% of what they had on Matchday 1 and won the group, we would have been in an incredible position on all our outright markets. After that opening performance, it is hard to believe they are on their way home, but Dick Advocaat made some very poor choices across all three games IMO and the only consolation is that if they had found an equaliser last night, they would not have won a quarter final against anyone from Group B playing has they have for the last 135 minutes.
Luckily the day at least ending on a high note with both MLS selections winning ( see below) and it is those results I will try to focus on coming into a very interesting Sunday.
I am betting three football games today, one each from Euro 2012, the MLS and Brazil, with two strong bets, including my biggest individual match bet so far of the championship, available at odds of up to 2.375
I also have some thoughts for the US Open golf, but they are kind of from the school of the blindingly obvious variety.
MLS : CHICAGO FIRE - NEW YORK RED BULLS
PREVIEW IS RESTRICTED
SERIE A: PONTE PRETA - CORINTHIANS
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Hosts have forward Roger back from suspension, which will help as they still have a handful of long term injuries, they have yet to win this season, but recent performances in draws against Atletico-GO, Flamengo and Figueirens have indicated that that first win is just around the corner and they are not going to get a better chance for a while than tonight, when a distracted Corinthians come calling, especially with tough road trips to highflying Botafogo and leaders Vasco up next. The home coach says he is not worried, infact he is encouraged by the quality shown recently, feeling that defensively they look solid and he expects the goals to follow. Corinthians only have one point this season and that is because at present, they are only interested in their Copa Libertadores campaign. That is the only major title missing from their CV and this is their big chance to claim it, they have effectively rested all players for league games ahead of Copa fixtures and did the same last week ahead of the semi final first leg with Santos in midweek, which they won 1-0, job half done and now they have taken a B squad to face Ponte, the only exception being Emerson, who is suspended for the Santos return game. This is a huge game for the hosts, who have won three of the last four h2h meetings and the least important by far of three matches inside seven days for the visitors. 1.5 units Ponte Petra -0.25 ball 2.13 asian line. Figueirense
US OPEN GOLF :OUTRIGHT
Jim Furyk winner in 2003 and Graeme McDowell champion in 2010 lead the way at -1 and have a two stroke lead over the field and whilst that can disappear in the blink of an eye on any golf course, let alone one as difficult as the Olympic Club, these two know to get this particular job done and will feel very comfortable in each others company having played together for the first two days.
Final round pairings have won nine of the last twelve Opens ( 75%) and 65% of all majors in the last five seasons, this pair can be backed at close to evens and that look value as I made them a combined 60% in my 100% book. These are two grinders, which is a compliment on a course like this and it is very hard to see both slipping up and that is what is problably needed for someone to come out of the pack at say +4 or higher ( which includes Tiger).
Furyk played with Tiger yesterday, beat him by five and looked composed, even after a sluggish start, he has a mighty record on Tour posting ten wins and seven runner up spots, on the 17 occasions he has led or tied after 54 holes.
McDowell admits to being a nervous golfer and he probably slept a little fitfully last night ,but he has made big improvements in his mental approach, being a major winner has helped of course. He said he was concerned before his round yesterday, but his "team" got him focused and he shot a bogey free back nine, commented afterwards "I was happy that I got myself emotionally in the right place today, probably for the first time this week, I actually enjoyed the round of golf. It was quite nice out there." Infact, he is -6 for the last six holes this week, no other pro golfer in the top 13 of the field is better than -1, so he could have a huge advantage at the business end of this event. So, keep a close eye on him in the "in play" markets over the closing holes.
The Ulsterman is 3.90 and Furyk 4.10 on the exchanges, which equates to 2.0 for the pair combined and that is my 1.5 unit selection.
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PHILADELPHIA UNION- DC UNITED
Hosts are up against it here, they have not won in five MLS starts and have conceded five in their last two home starts, against teams with arguably a lesser potent attack than United, who are the league's top scorers and out for a little revenge after Union beat them in a US Cup match just ten days ago ( 2-1 after extra time in Maryland). That was an ill tempered affair, which saw the red cards fly , Ben Olsen the DC coach rounded on his players after that, for what he described as an unacceptable performance. Olsen was probably the greatest player in the club's history and the current crop will be embarrassed that he was so angered by that showing. That have won their last three league starts and scored 20 goals in their last eight starts.They have defender Robbie Russell back tonight and should have their trio of strikers Chris Pontius, Maicon Santos and Dwayne De Rosario with 17 goals between them, all back in the line up. Three points will ensure they stay top of the Eastern Division.
This is a fixture that usually produces a lot of goals. With the last four MLS meetings all seeing at least four, but it is hard to see Union contributing too many this evening. For a start, they have been pretty toothless all season, scoring just eight and tonight they miss their suspended top scoring striker Lionard Pajoy. They have brought in Jorge Perlaza from Portland, but it cwas at the cost of another and perhaps more promising forward and the Colombian's strike rate of six goals in 44 starts is not going to strike fear into too many DC defenders. This is just the latest in some very strange decisions by Union coach Petr Nowak, who for some unknown reason got rid of Sebastien Le Toux, captain Danny Califf, and now Danny Mwanga, he is said to be looking to move overseas and obviously wants to sell the crown jewels before he goes ! The rats are leaving a sinking ship, two teams heading in different directions and the better one has a little revenge on it's mind. 1.5 units DC United level ball 1.98 asian line.
HOUSTON DYNAMO - FC DALLAS
This is the big "Texas" derby and the hosts have had the better of meetings in recent years, with a 5-3-1 record in Houston and they currently hold the 19th-century Civil War replica cannon ( !), that these two clubs play for every season, just one scheduled meeting this season, so the cannon is on the line tonight ! This will be the first meeting between the clubs in Houston's brand new home, the BBVA Compass Stadium, they have taken seven points and kept two cleansheets from their three games in the Arena, all matches which like tonight, have been played in front of sell out crowds. Also, the stadium and especially pitch have been laid out to give the hosts every advantage, just us you would expect and hope. The grass is a particular variety of bermuda that they favour and the pitch is very small and a couple of teams have already complained about this, officially it is around 8% smaller than Dallas' home field, but many suspect it is even more compact and the crowd are very much on top of the playing surface making it appear even smaller and more intimidating. Their reasons for this and they have been quite open is that, their most valuable asset Brad Davis who was runner up in the MLS MVP voting last season, to Dwayne De Rosario btw ( see above), is a dead ball specialist, producing fantastic deliveries from corners and free kicks, the reduced field means that he can deliver more of these and to an even greater degree of accuracy.
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