Monday, November 18, 2013

Subscriber newsletter for Sunday November 17th .... posted 18/11

This is a sample of a clubgowi newsletter, details of how the previews are set out can be viewed on the website , but in a nutshell, anything in blue type is a snippet from a previous preview, anything below the good luck" sign off is a related previous preview in full and figures after a player's name are (appearances/goals/assists).

Subscribers receive an average of ten newsletters per week, which contain circa 30 match/even previews, a long term subscription costs around 19 euros per week.

Sunday November 17th
Wins for Brentford, Preston North End and Chesterfield and losses for Bristol Rovers (half) and Luton Town made for a decent enough day, but as the last two both led, it was a little frustrating.

However, we know quite a bit more after yesterday and a little knowledge is always to be savoured. XXXX are starting to look the real deal in XXXX X and Brentford have won six in a row without playing well yet (apart from the second 45 minutes yesterday), in League 1 terms the Bees have almost limitless potential. I also got quite a bit out of the League 2 matches, especially the Rovers-Bury game and we will definitely be getting involved with both of those teams in the coming weeks.

Next newsletter is at the standard time of 10.00 UK on Monday.

Brazil Serie A:

There are plenty of motivational picks in Brazil today, which is a great starting point, especially if an opponent has other (or no) objectives, but that alone isn't enough and above everything else, the odds still have to offer value. Anyway, just four rounds left to play and plenty still to be decided at both ends of the table.

Fluminense-Sao Paulo

I briefly previewed Flu's home game with Nautico on Thursday ....

If you lose to Nautico you are really in trouble and this is a season defining game for defending champions Fluminense, who are incredibly, three points from safety and have 36 points less, than at the same stage last season.
Later in the same preview ....They (Nautico) lost that 1-0 and clubgowi team of the week, Criciuma have used it to launch their own survival run and have given themselves a little breathing space with those six points. Fluminense have to do likewise, we and they know that, unfortunately, so too do the oddsmakers and I am not sure being asked to give up 1.5 goals and only get circa 1.82 for our money is good business about a team who have not won in 9 ( scoring only five goals), or won a match by more than a single goal in 33 starts, regardless of opponent. They are also missing a couple of key defensive players including Edinho (30-0-0) in the holding role, but win they surely will, by whatever method necessary. Just one goal inside 59 minutes for Flu in 8 matches and at home they are 7-15 (goals scored/ conceded) in the first 50 minutes, 15-6 in the last 40, an amazing 6-0 between the 51st and 60th minute, on the road Nautico are 0-18 (!!!) between the 41st and 80th minute.

Fluminense did win 2-0 and again scored in that 51-60 minute period (now 7-0) which is worth watch if you are trading on this game. Those points have taken them out of the drop zone, but with this their penultimate home game and a relegation six pointer at Bahia on the final day of the season, they could do with the win again this evening. Criciuma showed how valuable one win, regardless of opponent , can become and they have ridden that wave of confidence picked up from the victory over Nautico, to collect nine points in the last week and Flu have to try to do something similar. They get all those short term missing back today including Edinho ( see above) and really ought to beat Sao Paulo.

The visitors got a win for supporters at home to Flamengo on Wednesday, which ended any relegation fears and now their focus is clearly on their Copa Sudamerica semi final first leg with Ponte Preta in midweek and any "domestic" energy, surely saved for home games. They are going to rest players today and you can see where the focus is with a quick look at the website, where it is all about how many tickets have been sold for midweek and the game today appears a bit of a distraction. Luís Fabiano (31-12-4 all comps) and defensive midfielder Denílson ( won 8 /13 when he plays an hour... just 6/21 when he doesn't) are both suspended. Flu should be ashamed of themselves if they do not win this,home win. 1.5 units Fluminense -0.75 ball 2.08 asian line/Ibramarket.


We spoke about Goias in midweek....

Hosts earned a point with ten men at Flamengo over the weekend which was good for us .....
"These two have met twice in the last 11 days in the Copa do Brasil, Flamengo won both by the same 2-1 scoreline, including here on Wednesday. That would have been the main target for Flamengo this season and now they will be looking towards the final, having put huge effort into those two games and also their big derby game with Fluminense which was sandwiched inbetween, I wonder how much they have left in the tank. Even if they are running around like spring lambs, I doubt they can match the intensity of Goias who are battling hard for a Copa Libertadores spot. The visitors remained in Rio after the midweek game and will be in better shape and with more options for this evening with midfielder Hugo (22-3-0), left back William Matheus (24-2-1) and young striker Leo Bonatini , who is starting to make a name for himself, being added to the squad from midweek. Top scorer Walter (24-10-5) has sat out the last two league games ( both wins) and was not risked in midweek, but did train the day before on Tuesday, so might be able to play some part this evening, but regardless of that, I have to go with Goias."

Whist satisfactory for us, the draw meant they remained in 5th place and with Vitoria closing to within two points in sixth, with a 3-0 road win at Ponte Preta, the race for top 4 and a Copa spot is hotting up. Goias only have two home games left after tonight and their road matches look very tough on paper, so they will be greedily eyeing up the points this evening. The decision not to rush back Walter (see above) on Saturday might serve them well this evening.

They beat Ponte Preta 2-0 and it was pretty easy, 2-0 up early, they could step off the gas, with today in mind.  Results elsewhere have meant that win tonight and they will move into the top three and have Copa Libertadores qualification in their own hands. They have few real problems for this match and face a Inter side who are not 100% safe from relegation, but still have two home games to play and the last is against a Ponte Preta side who are likely to already be relegated by the time they meet, so that is their ace in the hole. Also, today the visitors are missing a whole host of key players including Leandro Damião (19-4-5), Diego Forlan (13-5-2), central defender Juan (25-4-0), both right backs and several others.... you get the picture. They will go with the same side which lost at Atletico Mineiro in midweek with the addition of striker Rafael Moura ( who has only played 19 minutes of football in three months), which is hardly going to get supporters pulses racing. I have to take the hosts. 1.5 units Goias -0.5 ball 1.99 asian line/Ibramarket.

Portuguesa- Atletico Mineiro

Five matches without a win (four draws) have seen Portuguesa slip back dangerously close to the drop zone and they need a win to steady the ship. Their next two starts are on the road and after that, they finish with a home match against Copa chasing Gremio, so these are definitely the "easiest" remaining points on offer.

They are solid at home (8-6-3) and I suspect that Atletico are a good opponent, for reasons outlined ahead of the visitors last road game, a 0-0 draw at struggling Bahia....In my opinion the rest of 2013 for the visitors, is all about preparing for the World Club Cup next month, they have already quaified for next year's Copa Libertadores and any motivation for domestic games will surely be saved for home games, when they can entertain their own supporters. In truth, they have been pretty poor ( 2-5-9) on the road in any case, scoring a league low six goals, even Nautico have managed seven !Bahia are in trouble, six rounds to play, just two points ahead of the drop zone and facing two road games after this, they desperately need a win and fast. I am not interested in team news, hosts are without a couple of suspended players, but are fighting for their lives now. Atletico have a lengthy injury list which they will not want to add to and will surely be heavily rotating on a match by match basis.

Another blank on the road and as suggested, they got the midweek points at home, hard to see them putting in too much effort this evening. Portuguesa are missing a couple of players and the loss of top scorer Gilberto is very far from ideal, but it gives us a price and is offset by the visitors being without Marcos Rocha and Alecsandro who are suspended, Jo and keeper Victor on international duty and Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Leandro Donizete , Guilherme, Josué and Pierre to "injury". The last two named picked up a knock in training, the two midfielders are not in the first flush of youth and this sounds like just an excuse to rest them, I suspect only one team is fully committed to this and I doubt it is Atletico ! That doesn't mean they cannot win, just that I strongly favour the home side. 1.75 units Portuguesa -0.25 ball 2.0 asian line/Ibramarket.

NFL : Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks

12 points is a lot to give up, but when you score freely and do not concede many like the Seahawks, that number starts to look an awful lot smaller ! I discussed Seattle on Thursday (notes are reproduced below) and they have been boosted this week with starting left tackle Russell Okung being activated from short-term injured reserve and wide receiver Percy Harvin looking set to make his debut. Okung is going to offer greater protection to Russell Wilson (see below) over the coming weeks and Harvin says he is ready to roll and is eager for some game time against his former team mates and very hungry to do well. Vikings big offensive weapon is of course Adrian Peterson, the League's number one running back and if there is a weakness in the Seahawks it is the run defense and they have looked suspect in this area, but coach Carroll has been determined to put this right and there were signs last week that the work was starting to pay off and they limited the Falcons to just 64 yards on the ground. AP had 182 yards when these two met here last season, but still the Seahawks won by ten points, the two teams have gone in largely different directions since and I do not see him racking up anything close to those numbers this evening ( famous last words !). Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder looks set to play after dislocating his shoulder just ten days ago, there is no sympathy in the NFL and the Hawks will be looking to get at him from the off, I suspect this will be all about the run for Minnesota and if Seattle slow that down, it will be very difficult for Ponder and his team.1.5 units Seattle Seahawks -12 points 1.96 Pinnacle Sports /Vegas Line.

NFL : Washington Redskins@ Philadelphia Eagles

Most of you know my thoughts on the Eagles and coach Chip Kelly and for those that don't, my preview of the opening day meeting between these two is reproduced below, right at the foot of this page, scroll all the way down below the midweek Super Bowl notes.

I do not want to add much, the Eagles are still a work in progress and have been unfortunate with the quarterback issues, but Nick Foles has the job by right now and Philly will be desperate to win and go into their bye week at the top of the NFC East, they already trail Dallas  (both are currently 5-5, Cowboys have a bye week) in terms of their h2h record. Philly are very explosive on offense and have recorded a NFL high 61 plays, which have gained 20 yards or more, to put this into perspective , the Seahawks are second with 45, of course, there is a downside to this, which is that the Eagles have also given up 43 of these plays, Seattle just 21. But the Philly +18 differential compares hugely favourable with the Redskins -6 and gives the Eagles a huge edge on game defining plays in this game.

Last week Philly rushed for over 200 yards against a strong Packers run defense, Redskins are ranked bottom five for most main defensive categories and it is impossible to see them restricting the Eagles on the ground, add in a few of those big aerial plays and we should see Kelly and his team win this by 7 points + and head into the break 6-5 and top of the division for at least a week. 1.5 units Philadelphia Eagles -4.5 points 1.95 Pinnacle Sports/Vegas Line.
Good Luck.

Super Bowl XLVIII (written 14/11)

This is going to be the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in cold weather and will favour teams that are used to playing end of season Championship games in such conditions, but the problem is that they have to get there first and I am looking for the most likely team to do that and will worry more about how the MetLife Stadium will suit them, once they have booked their place .

Looking at the outright market, I feel the Broncos are too short for me, given that they are still not even ranked number one in their own division yet and  have to play the Chiefs twice and the Patriots on the road. They probably have to win both match ups with Kansas ( the first is this weekend) just to secure the number one position and under the circumstances, I feel the circa 3.75 is on the skinny side.

Last year we were very keen on the 49ers and I still wake up in a cold sweat from time to time with first and goal from the eight yard line etched on my brain. They should have won, the only team that handed that SF defense a real spanking last season were the Seattle Seahawks in a late regular season game at Century Link Field (42-13). Seattle ended the regular season with five straight wins , scoring an incredible 150 points in a three game streak, within that sequence.

That was their first winning season under Pete Carroll, his third at the helm, in the first of those he made an unheard of circa 200 transactions and the Seahawks were always going to take a while to develop and become his team. It kind of happened on that day, against the 49ers, they then went and won on the road in Washington in the Wildcard game, keeping a Redskins team who had looked impressive under RG3, scoreless for three quarters. Next up they went to the number one ranked Atlanta Falcons and were 20 points down at the half, they scored 28 second half points and were ahead, before the Falcons kicked a field goal with 8 seconds remaining.

I think that was more about a lack of experience for the team and coach and I feel they will have learned a tremendous amout from that. They have had an easy schedule this season, but are 9-1 and look booked for the number one spot in the NFC, you can see how the playoffs would look "if the season ended today", on this link to the NFL website. That would ensure a week off in the post season and only playoff games at Century Link Field, widely regarded as the noisiest stadium in the NFL. They hold a three game edge currently over the 49ers and two over the New Orleans Saints, who play this weekend, not both can win ! If it is SF, that will almost certainly give Seattle, who are 12 point favourites to win this weekend a three game buffer over the field, if it is New Orleans, that will make it tough for the Niners to even make the post season and these three teams, along with Carolina, look the most likely contenders from the NFC. Seahawks get their bye week after this, playing the Saints and 49ers after that, before an easy looking finish including two home games to complete the regular season. There is a good chance they will be the number one ranked team and for them to enter the post season in good shape and maybe even to conserve a little energy over the last week or two.

They hit the ground running in 2013, even in pre season when they were 4-0 and in all of those and half of their regular season games (9 from 14 in total), they have kept their opponent to under 14 points. They look well balanced and quarterback Russell Wilson is the real deal, his numbers have been very impressive and were put up with his offensive line missing key players. The Seahawks blog wrote this about him earlier in the week...

"Wilson has the NFL’s fifth-highest passer rating (101.8) among qualifiers, trailing only the likes of Manning (121.0), Brees (108.9), Aaron Rodgers (108.0) and Philip Rivers (105.9) through Week 10. By record and statistically, Wilson is the best performer this season among the “big four” youngsters (Wilson, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick), and is tied for the league lead with four game-winning drives.
The raw numbers: Wilson has completed 163 of his 257 passing attempts for the league’s 10th-best completion percentage at 63.4. He has thrown 17 touchdowns to just six interceptions, and also has a score on the ground.
Wilson has run the ball more than any other quarterback, rushing 70 times (including 35 scrambles after dropping back to pass) for a total of 395 yards. That rushing yardage ranks Wilson 28th in the NFL, and he also is second in the league with 5.6 yards per rushing attempt — not just among quarterbacks, but everyone.
Meanwhile, with 330 rushing attempts, the Seahawks have run the ball more than any other team in the NFL through 10 weeks. They have kept it on the ground in 55.5 percent of their offensive snaps, meaning Wilson hasn’t even had the chance to accumulate statistics like Manning and Brees."

The whole franchise is hungry for success, they have a incredibly well balanced running and passing game and solid defense and are going to improve with three key players set to return to action in the next week or so and make a strong team, who have just exorcised that Falcons loss with a 33-10 win in the Georgia Dome, even stronger. I expect them to make the trip to an icy New Jersey in February . 1.75 units Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl 5.0 +... there is a little higher in places if you shop around.

NFL : Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins (written 09/09)

This is an incredibly interesting game. Redskins introduce a number of rookies in key areas and quarterback Robert Griffin III, who took the Skins from 5-11 in 2011, to 10-6 last season in his rookie year, returns to action after his ACL injury last January. RG3 has not taken a single snap in any game since then, which is over eight months and he starts havinf missed all of pre season, which is, if not kind of unheard of, very unusual. The injury/surgery to his right knee was similar to those which kept Tom Brady out of 2008 ( Brady started seriously dating Gisele Bundchen at this time, so did not waste his time !) and RG3 also missed his 2009 college season with his first such injury. Both underperformed slightly ( by their own very high standards) the first year back, but were better than ever the following season. So, possibly we can expect RG3 to be very rusty and short of match practice, to favour his knee slightly and to fall a little off his form of last season, at least for a week or two.

Skins will start with second-round draft pick David Amerson, at right cornerback and sixth-round pick Baccarri Rambo, at free safety. The speed of the Eagles and they are as quick as any team in the NFL, is going to give them a debut to remember and the pair will have their work cut out and the speed of play will also come from the tempo and pace that new Eagles coach Chip Kelly likes to play at.

It has taken Kelly a long time to make it to the NFL, but this is a hugely talented coach who did a stunning job at Oregon, not least in 2012 when he lost all-time leading rusher LaMichael James and starting quarterback Darron Thomas, with a career starting record of 23-3, who both left college early for the NFL, yet Kelly still led his team to their best ever year in school history. That got massive interest from the NFL and I understand that Kelly put in one of the most impressive interviews ever at the Eagles, who after he initially turned them down, returned with a $6.5 per year salary offer and begged him to take the job.

He is a coach that does things his own way and as one journalist described him, he is the first rock star football coach. Philadelphia are a changed club, more training and much of it unlike anything they have ever done before, they are looking to hit the ground running and surprise teams with plays that no one has seen and many things they have worked on all summer, were not used in pre season and opposing team's defensive coordinators are going to be in for a very hard time keeping pace. We did see "read option package plays", which give quarterback Michael Vick three different options, but that is just the tip of a big and very exciting iceberg.

I am a little pumped to see what the Eagles can do and have a whole lot of other information about what Kelly has been up to in training with his very innovative approach,but we can talk about that later in the season, what is important for now ,is that there has been no complaining about the extra sessions and NFL players do love to moan, so that is a hugely positive sign.

Eagles had a nightmare season in 2012, but started well and were 3-1 after their first month, which included wins over the Giants (defending) and Ravens (current Super Bowl champions), before losing their way completely and a similar flying start would not surprise me. I will take 1 unit Philadelphia Eagles to win 2.66 Pinnacle Sports... there is plenty of 2.65 around and 2.70+ on the exchanges for tiny liquidity, the +3.5 points on the spread were an option, but I just about prefer the straight win.

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