Decent day yesterday and all our long term selections started with solid results, wins for Fleetwood Town , Oxford United, Colchester United and good points for Bolton and Brentford, with only Town playing at home.
I am only previewing three events today, two football matches and a look at the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, where I am very keen on my selection.
MLS: New England Revolution-Toronto FC
Wins for both Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo last night, who are direct competitors with Revolution for one of the Eastern Conference playoff positions, has put the pressure on the hosts to follow suit this evening and with a trip to second placed Sporting KC up next and visit from an on fire Chicago (see what I did there !) to follow, they will be desperate for the three points. They are coming into the game with back-to-back wins for the first time since winning three in a row at the end of May, I was particularly impressed with the road wins at Columbus Crew and DC United as they rotated heavily for those two matches and coach Jay Heaps now has a lot of options at his disposal . Up front, what looked an offensive line short of experience through early season, is now one full of potential, 18 yo Diego Fagundez (18-7-4.... improving on a daily basis) and 23 yo Dimitry Imbongo (9-3-0.....three goals in his last five appearances) both scored in DC. Fagundez has scored in the last two and they are his first goals since scoring in four consecutive games, he is obviously "streaky" like most strikers and you know I love an inform frontman ! One of those goals came when the teams met here at Gillette Stadium on May 25th, Revolution won 2-0 with 20 yo US International Juan Agudelo (11-4-1) scoring the other. Both goals came from crosses in that game and that could be key again today, the first via a Chris Tierney ball which set up Fagundez, in recent starts left sided back/wingerTierney (17-3-3) has been forced to hold back a little more , but he set up the equaliser last week and the introduction of left back Kevin Alston from the bench ,who has been injured since March, allowed Tierney to get far further forward.
Coach Hicks spoke about this after the game:“He’s exactly what we needed—a shot of energy. He’s been great all week in training and up to this point in two weeks of training,” Heaps said. “He’s been itching to get on the field and you could see when he came on he was like a shot out of a cannon.“We needed a player and we needed an outside back, we needed cover and you saw how it changed tonight when we were able to get Chris up by bringing on Alston. “It’s an awesome story,I know he’s going to make an impact on our team, it’s almost like a signing and a lot of the players feel like we added a really excellent outside back.“In the second half we really wanted to get Tierney in some better spots. We switched Saer Sene to the other side to give ourselves a bit more width because he naturally wants to come in so we pushed him wider. “We found the little gaps. I thought Dimitry had a nice finish and Saer really should have had two goals.”
Toronto also arrive on the back of a win, only their third in 34 starts, following a 2-1 come from behind win over Columbus Crew at BMO Field ( where they had not won in over a year). last week, they were trailing with seven minutes to play and it seemed a most unlikely win at that stage. They conceded again, just two cleansheets in 36 starts and it is very hard to see them keeping one this evening. The visitors are still missing strikers Danny Koevermans and Robert Earnshaw (17-6-0) and are set to be unchanged despite the signing of Swiss defender Jonas Elmer this week, they look toothless offensively and are facing the meanest defence in the MLS (just 19 goals conceded) where 21 yo right back Andrew Farrell, who was first overall draft pick in 2013, has been a revelation. So much potential in the hosts, who are only going to get stronger. Home win. 1.5 units New England Revolution -0.75 ball 2.03 asian line/Ibramarket.
Brazil Serie A: Gremio Porto Alegre - Internacional
The visitors look in good shape for this, they get both midfielder Andrés D'Alessandro (9-2-2) and left back Fabrício (8-0-2.... conceded 11 goals in the last five matches he has missed) back from suspension, they both sat out the 3-0 loss to Nautico, as did star striker Leandro Damião, who scored the winner at Sao Paulo three days earlier, he trained with the squad this week and will surely play. Also in action on the training pitch were two new signings, striker Ignacio Scocco ( six Copa Libertadores goals for Newell's OB) and midfielder Alex, who has returned from Al-Gharafa. The squad worked behind closed doors for two days, with coach Dunga trying out several formations and he and the visitors have used their free midweek well to fully prepare for this game. Centre back Índio (3-1-0) also returned to training this week, he is available if required and it is all positives for Inter, who could go second with a win. Hosts lost at Corinthians in midweek, so have had far less preparation time, they also picked up knocks to Zé Roberto (10-2-1) and Eduardo Vargas (6-3-0) neither of whom will play tonight, defensive midfielder Adriano (8-0-0) is said to be starting by coach Renato Groucho, but he has been unable to train and has only done very limited jogging this week. Inter have scored 14 times in their last nine visits (although none were in the new stadium), but one tonight looks likely to earn them at least a share of the spoils and I like them with the draw no bet option.
1.25 units Internacional level ball 2.05 asian handicap/Ibramarket.
WGC Bridgestone Invitational
You can view the leaderboard and follow the action "in running" on the WGC website.
Tiger Woods is seven shots ahead of the field and this is all about the "best of the rest" and the market "without Woods" we are focusing on.
There are some good players and email favourites in Scott, Johnson and Stricker at -3/-2, which is "only" 5-6 strokes off second spot, but whilst I would not rule them out completely, they have a lot to do today, to pass the seven quality golfers between themselves and Tiger.
I am also "eliminating" Henrik Stenson from my portfolio, he can most definitely win and is favourite from this position, but I priced him at circa 3.70 in my 100% book and that is virtually a full point more than his general quote and I have to look elsewhere.
My strongest idea is Luke Donald, who has had a terrible season by his own very high standards, he missed the cut on his last two starts, the Open and Canadian Open and that is virtually unheard of for this most steady of golfers. However, he showed hints at a return to some form just before that at the US Open, that and this, is an event far more suited to his game and he has played well this week and been solid with the putter. Coming into this season, I made a case for Donald being the best, or at least most consistent, R4 player on the planet, he was ranked #2 on Tour in 2012 and #1 in 2011 and rarely disappointed in contention. He finished 8th here last year and T2 in 2011, shooting a final day 66, which is what we are looking for today. There is no pressure on any of the chasing guys today, they have no real chance to win, but I feel that will especially help Donald who can just concentrate on his game and not worry about winning. He has made a lot of birdies this week (16) and if he can find a little more accuracy with the irons, he could go very low today, with the perfect game for Firestone.
I am going to have a small cover bet on Bill Haas, who like Donald is also on -6, two behind Stenson. Haas has made fewer bogies than anyone this week, but has not holed a lot of putts, that is ironic as he was in great form with the flat stick coming into the event. If he can sink a few today and he said he "felt really good with his putter" on Friday night, he will go close ( to the runner up spot).
1.25 units Luke Donald "without Tiger Woods" 7.0 + general quote ... there is 7.4 on Betfair for limited liquidity.