Best Premier League Bets 16/17

The Premier League returns in just over a week and having finally settled down in the aftermath of France’s disappointing Euro defeat (see last post); we’re back and ready to look forward at domestic football once again.

Antoine Griezmann’s heroic effort has ensured we should be heading into the new season with a bit of extra cash to use, so why not make the most of the ante-post markets and try and snaffle some season-long value?

There are a whole host of markets, more than we’ve ever had to enjoy before, yet it may pay to stick down the traditional route and cover Premier League title winner and Top Goalscorer markets to begin with, before moving on to special markets at a later date.

Cup competitions can often be a huge question mark, which each individual manager having their own opinion on how to set-up their sides in-terms of strength, so it may be best left until we see how the new managers bed in during the early rounds.

So, without further ado, onto the Premier League 2016/17 season!

Premier League Outright – Chelsea @ 13/2 (Various)

Firstly, we’ll start with the Premier League outright market in what looks the most competitive season in possibly the history of the league. Usually, there will be a short-price favourite with perhaps one or maybe two sides that could realistically challenge them.

(Excluding last season, which was just an anomaly for so many reasons…)

However this season we have Manchester City, worthy favourites with the addition of Pep Guardiola and recent strong signings in Gundogan and Sane.

Then, ‘The Special One’ returns with the unenviable task of returning Manchester United to their perch, yet the signings of Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan and Bailly with the potential for further (cough *Pogba* cough), as well as the emerging talents of Rashford and Martial.

They have to be serious contenders for the title, while Arsenal and Spurs are always there or thereabouts and both Chelsea and Liverpool can concentrate on solely the Premier League, with no European football as a distraction. Oh, and Leicester could retain the title? Though, not for me.

For me, the prices reflect the Manchester side’s chances fairly well at the head of the market but the value may lie with Chelsea.

Liverpool’s tremendous title challenge when they last had European football showed the benefit of having a week to prepare for games and this is what they and Chelsea will get to enjoy this year. Klopp’s Reds are a work-in-progress and he may need another year until he fully beds in his philosophy.

However Chelsea’s new manager, Antonio Conte, is walking in to a solid unit, who began to realise their roles towards the back-end of last season. They lacked discipline at times and their key players struggled to make an impact early on, however with time to prepare for their big weekend games and the new regimented approach from Conte, Chelsea have to be real challengers,

Michy Batshuayi adds an extra dimension to the side, as does N’Golo Kante, while the potential move for Kalidou Koulibaly and Romelu Lukaku would further add to the strength of the side. There is less emphasis on depth this year, without Europe to focus on, and as we seen with Conte’s Italy side during the Euros, he can form a side that are extremely hard to break down and very hard to contain on the counter.

Nemanja Matic was rather underwhelming in the system used by Chelsea last season but given Conte’s love for a holding midfielder, it would be no surprise to see him build on his earlier promise in a Chelsea shirt.

He is fantastic at breaking up play and provides the stability for the creative midfielders, such as Fabregas and also box-to-box midfielders, such as Kante, to go about and complete their roles to the best of their ability.

Diego Costa is a solid enough striking option, those it would be no surprise to see him used in the same way Pelle was for Italy, creating for the likes of Eden Hazard who will be coming from midfield/out wide.

Last season’s transitional phase will have been a real wake-up call and now with a solid base to start from and no European football to take precedence, Chelsea look value to win the Premier League  at 13/2.

Premier League Top Goalscorer – Daniel Sturridge @ 25/1 (Various)

Next up is the Top Goalscorer market and as usual, it’s headed by Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. If the awesome Argentinian stays fit for the entire season he is sure to be there or thereabout come the end of the year, yet with his fitness issues, is it worth taking a rather short price?

It is often worth taking a gamble on fitness, given injury can strike at any stage, yet with our selection, that eventuality appears to have been factored into the price.

The man, of course, is Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool’s main man has a record of injuries and fitness issues but given when fit, he will almost certainly be Liverpool’s lone striker (supported by two wide men) he looks outstanding value at 25.1,

There is no doubting his superb finishing and natural goalscoring ability and now that Liverpool can focus solely on the league, Jurgen Klopp wont have to balance out his playing time between league and European games. He can manage his star striker, with only one game a week in-store and this may well be key to getting the best out of Sturridge,

There is no questioning his best season came back when Liverpool came within touching distance of winning the league (scoring 21 PL goals) and it was that season when he enjoyed his most consistent spell of playing time.

Liverpool weren’t in Europe and he had a nice break between games which seemed to bode well for his fitness. If Klopp can reproduce this again, now the Reds aren’t in Europe, then Sturridge could be the man to guide Liverpool bac into the Champions League.

Coutinho, Firmino and Origi, as well as the new signings, all offer a creative talent that is likely to ensure Sturridge receives plenty of service and as such, he should be able to make his presence felt towards the top of the goalscorer tables.

At 25/1 he looks big enough to take a chance on and if he stays fit for a large part of the season, it would be a surprise if he were not to at least go close to landing each-way money.

Selections:

Chelsea to win the Premier League 16/17 @ 13/2 (Various)

Daniel Sturridge to be Premier League top goalscorer (each-way) in 16/17 @ 25/1 (Various)

Premier League – Opening Weekend Preview

Alas the Premier League is back, and so is the unbridled faith that this OUR year. Our team will outperform their odds, and in doing so, help us make it a profitable year.

Well, I can’t ensure your team do the business in their respective leagues, but I can certainly attempt to you help you make it a profitable year. Whether it eases the pain on a Saturday evening or adds that extra bonus for a few beers toasting your team’s success, the lure of the accumulator is back.

We hear the monster success stories, often alongside the hashtag #bookiebashing (revolutionary, I know..) but these are fairy-tale bets, which require mass amounts of luck. There is no harm in throwing ‘a life-changer’ on, but small stakes are required, with trebles, doubles and singles looking the best way to make money this season.

Opening Day Treble:

The first bet of the season is a fair value treble, in the shape of Stoke, Tottenham and Everton, which pays 8.62/1 with Sky Bet.

Stoke have had a solid pre-season, and have improved their squad with the perfect balance of Premier League stalwarts with a wealth of experience at the top level and young exciting attackers, who could cause havoc among defenders this season. They face a rather disjointed Aston Villa, who look as though they may well struggle in the Premier League this year. Paul Lambert faces a stiff task and his sides are often slow starters, with Villa’s 3-1 win over Arsenal last season the only time he has picked up three points on the opening day. Stoke are unbeaten on the opening day at the Britannia, and 22/23 looks a good price.

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Tottenham struggled against West Ham last season, losing on all three occasions they faced the Hammers, however this season they are in a good position to get off to a flyer. A solid pre-season has gelled the side and there is no longer the ruggedness that appeared towards the early parts of last year, with so many players to integrate. This is in contrast to Sam Allardyce, who has the pleasure of being one of very few managers whose fans have called for the sack solely on pre-season performances and should Spurs play their game, they should be able to compile big Sam’s misery and turn up the pressure on David Gold.  Tottenham performed well away from White Hart Lane last year, winning 10 on the road (only Arsenal won more, with 11), so the venue shouldn’t be a factor. They are shades of odds-on in places, so the 11/10 with Sky Bet comes as a welcome surprise.

It will come as a surprise to many that Everton are trading at such a big price on the opening weekend, as they travel to newly promoted Leicester. Injury worries to Lukaku and Mirallas have plagued their pre-season, however they still have class in abundance and Roberto Martinez is one of the best in the business at making sure his systems are performed to a tee. Leicester will attempt to control the game, as they did on plenty of occasions last season during their climb to the Promised Land. However should Gareth Barry and James McCarthy manage to break up the play, and cut off the passage between midfield and attack, Everton should be able to make their class tell and win the game, even without some of their big names. The atmosphere will be electric at the King Power, however take the 13/9 for Martinez’s men to get off to the best possible start.

First Goalscorer Patent:

Manchester United entertain Swansea at Old Trafford in the first game of the new Premier League season, and Wayne Rooney will be leading the side out for the first time since being given the armband permanently by Louis van Gaal.

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The 28-year-old will be given a more attacking role in the absence of the injured Robin van Persie and he could well lead the line. He needs two more goals to join Thierry Henry at third in the table of all-time Premier League scorers with 175, and he could well have done that come Saturday afternoon. His fantastic accuracy and intelligent position means he is a nightmare for any defender and he will be out to prove his manager was right to make him the new skipper. The 7/2 with Ladbrokes looks fair, and this is the first selection in the patent.

The second selection comes in the late kick-off, with Arsenal taking on Crystal Palace. Alexis Sanchez will be the centre of attention in the build-up to the game following his big money move from Barcelona; however it is Olivier Giroud who is the selection. The Frenchman has netted six times in his last six appearances at the Emirates and has started pre-season well, netting in the 3-0 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield.

Sanchez will be a valuable provider for the forward line, and Giroud should be able to capitalise. He is a stand-out 9/2 with Boylesports to net first, and this looks massive value.

It will be an edgy wait to Sunday if the first duo deliver, as the final selection doesn’t line up until early Sunday afternoon, as Daniel Sturridge completes the patent.

The 24-year-old is set to spearhead the attack with Luis Suarez no longer at the club, and he is 4/1 to net first, as he did on the opening weekend of last season. He has slowly been hitting some form towards the end of pre-season and with the service he will be getting from the midfield/attacking wingers, he is sure to get the opportunity to terrorise a rather depleted Southampton defence. The patent pays a best-priced 114.5/1 with Boylesports, while the any-time scorer treble of the same trio is also worth a small bit of interest 7/1 with Bet 365.

Win-to-Nil Double:

Manchester City travel to St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon, a place they have a fantastic record in recent years. Although their Community Shield loss to Arsenal showed very few signs of positivity, they will be aiming to come out and prove a point to those raising questions of their class. They are 11/5 with Coral to win-to-nil against a Newcastle side that look rather weak defensively. Add this to Chelsea to win-to-nil on Monday night against new boys Burnley, and you have yourself a tasty 5.88/1 double.

Selections:

Win Treble: Stoke/Spurs/Everton @ 8.62/1 (Sky Bet)

FGS Patent: Rooney/Giroud/Sturridge patent @ 114.5/1 (Boylesports)

Any-time Treble: Rooney/Giroud/Sturridge @ 7/1 (Bet365)

Win-to-Nil Double: Manchester City & Chelsea @ 5.88/1 (Coral)

F.A Cup – Fourth Round Best Bets

Following a rather disappointing third round, with very few upsets, attention turns to the fourth round of England’s most prized cup competition.

Sticking with the trend of last rounds predictions, it may pay to delve into a mixture of outsiders and goalscorers, with teams now stepping up the hunt for glory and putting out as strong a starting eleven as they can muster.

Double Delight;

Tony Pulis has done a fantastic job since taking over at Crystal Palace, and his side travel to holders Wigan on the back of a solid run of form which has seen them climb out of the relegation zone to 16th place.

Wigan on the other hand have found themselves floundering in eleventh place in the Championship, way below expectations. They have struggled to show the spark which seen them win the trophy last year, and it took a replay to see of MK Dons in the last round.

All this added together, means the current 27/10 for Crystal Palace seems exceptionally large. Usually it pays to steer clear of bottom-half Premier League sides travelling to Championship opposition, with questions asked over desire and commitment.

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However, you can guarantee Pulis will have his men completely motivated and up for the challenge, and he will hope to improve on his record in the competiton, having guided Stoke to the final in 2011, before being beaten by Manchester City.

They should have too much class to see off Wigan, and they become the first selection in an enticing double.

The second selection is ironically, also a bottom half (relegation threatened) side, travelling away to a Championship side.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over the reigns at Cardiff City and guided his side past Newcastle in the previous round, and he has pinpointed a cup run as important to instilling confidence around the club, which will help them fight against relegation later in the season.

His side travel to Bolton, who are currently struggling in the Championship, and come into the game on the back of a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Reading.

You can be certain confidence will be extremely low, and Solskjaer’s men may well be able to take advantage of this. The Bluebird’s should realistically be favourites, yet are currently being offered at 9/5 to beat Dougie Freedman’s men.

Cardiff have managed to take the scalps of many big Premier League sides this season, and although they are currently sitting at the foot of the table, they have the belief and ability to be able to beat any side in the league on their day, which should mean they can surpass Bolton Wanders, and it is worth chancing at the prices.

This means that the double pays 9.36/1 and is definitely worth a small punt.

Any-time scorer double;

Any-time goalscorer bets are becoming increasingly popular with punters, and it is easy to see why. It gives hope throughout the entire game, as you know regardless of the score, if your player is on the pitch, you have a chance of winning your bet up until the ref blows the full-time whistle.

The first member of the elite duo we are going to back, may well be a surprising choice. The early kick-off is between Bournemouth and Liverpool, in which Liverpool are firm favourites to go through.

However, the Reds always look prone to conceding of late, and with Simon Mignolet’s current form being questioned, it would be no surprise to see the magic of the cup occur, and Bournemouth net a goal at some stage of the afternoon.

This means siding with Lewis Grabban (7/2), to net any-time could well be a profitable venture. The striker recently celebrated his 26th birthday by holding talks with Brighton about a potential move to the fellow Championship side, however he turned them down and signed a new contract at the Cherries.

It would be perfectly fitting for him to show his loyalty to the fans, by netting a goal against such esteemed opposition and his pace and prowess are sure to give Liverpool defenders a torrid time at Victoria Park, and he is definitely worth chancing at odds of 7/2 to score any-time.

The second part of the double comes in the shape of Adam Lallana, with the Englishman likely to be starting in an attacking role against Yeovil, on Saturday.

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His ability to find the right spaces and class to choose the right pass or finish, has led the 25 year-old to be given his first chance in an England shirt this season. He will be looking to try and barge his way into Roy Hodgson’s plans for Brazil, and he knows the F.A Cup is one of the best ways to do it.

He netted in the previous round against Burnley, and will be hoping he can do the same against a weaker defence. The bookies are split with his odds ranging from 11/8 to a top-priced 2/1, and this should be exploited and added to the other selection of Grabban to form a 12.5/1 double.

Highest Scoring Game;

It is always difficult to predict the highest scoring game in an F.A Cup weekend, with thrillers being played out left, right and centre.

However, this particular market looks of great interest this round, due to a rather generous price on Manchester City taking on struggling Watford.

City have been sweeping all before them at the Etihad this season, and they have already registered over one hundred goals so far this season. They may not play their first string against Watford, but they have class in abundance and could well run riot.

Aguero will be given the nod to continue his return to fitness, and he alone will cause Watford some serious problems. They are 5/1 to be the highest scoring game, with Southampton v Yeovil at the same price. The Saints may well rest a few players, and take their foot of the gas when they establish a decent lead, whereas you can be certain City will be out to knock up a massive margin.

So, the 5/1 does look extremely tempting, and should be taken on City v Watford to be the highest scoring F.A Cup game this weekend.

Selections;

Crystal Palace & Cardiff both to win @ 9.36/1

Grabban & Lallana to score any-time @ 12.5/1

Man City v Watford to be the highest scoring game @ 5/1

Premier League Football Preview – 14/12/13

One of the biggest games of the season so far kicks off at 12:45, Saturday lunch-time, with leaders Arsenal travelling to Manchester City who are currently sitting in fourth place.

Arsenal have been in great form this year, with the re-emergence of Aaron Ramsey proving pivotal, as the Welshman has been in impeccable form. They are managing to overrun teams in the centre, using three strong midfielders, and two wide man, that can turn into a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1 when defending. It is more than likely going to have to be a 4-5-1 tomorrow, as they come up against a City side who are imperious at home.

They have won every Premier League game they have played at the Etihad this season, and will be looking to carry on the tradition in the manner in which they dispatched of Arsenal’s north-London rivals last month.

The fact Arsenal suffered a defeat in Napoli midweek might have been irrelevant in terms of their Champions League qualification, but the mental implications may well follow through into their Premier League performance, and with City beating Munich 3-2 away midweek, momentum is definitely with the Manchester side.

For this reason, we must add the 5/6 on offer for the first part of the treble.

The second selection to go in to the treble is Everton at home to Fulham. Roberto Martinez’ side has been surprising everyone (apart from Everton fans) this season, as they continually play brilliant attacking football, something not seen under David Moyes.

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The front four of Barkley, Mirallas, Deulofeu and Lukaku has the potential to put any team to the sword if they are all given the chance to play. Whereas Fulham have been exceptionally disappointing, failing to fire under Martin Jol. They showed glimpses of hope against Tottenham going 1-0 up before conceding two second-half goals to crumble to a defeat. René Meulensteen did manage to get off the mark at the second time of asking, beating an Aston Villa 2-0, that just failed to turn up.

Everton should have far too much class at Goodison, but at 4/11 they are no value. However when you take into account Fulham’s failure to fire on the road this season and the fact that Everton have kept nine clean sheets in their last twelve league games at Goodison, the 5/4 for Everton to win-to-nil looks great value.

This goes into the treble, with City, and our final selection plays at 4pm on Sunday, in the shape of Tottenham.

Liverpool have been surpassing expectations, flying high in fourth place but with recent injury worries, going to Tottenham and getting something is going to be a difficult ask. Gerrard, Sturridge, Enrique and Henderson (possibly), are all out, and it paves the way for a make-shift midfield of Joe Allen and Lucas, who will find it hard to cope with the strength that Sandro and Paulinho offer in the centre.

Spurs’ attacking full-backs will give Johnson and Flanagan endless amounts of trouble, and with Soldado finally finding his shooting boots midweek, he looks sure to be testing Mignolet on a regular occasion.

Liverpool do have the players to get something from the game, but there will be a lot of pressure on Luis Suarez to keep up his tremendous run of form, averaging a goal every hour (15 goals in 10 games). But Liverpool’s poor record at White Hart Lane looks set to continue, and the 6/4 on offer for Tottenham boosts the price up to 9.31/1.

Midfielders’ any-time scorer patent;

Any-time goalscorers are extremely enjoyable, as as long they’re on the pitch, it doesn’t matter what score it is, you still have a chance of landing your bet. Midfielders’ prices are often great value, and a combination of three to score anytime in a patent (could even add a small first-scorer one to, if feeling adventurous), often result in great odds.

The first midfield maestro to go into our patent is Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko, who is priced at 10/1 to score first, and 7/2 to score any-time. His box-to-box prowess will be key if Newcastle are to win the game, as his direct running style is something that will constantly haunt Victor Wanyama.

Wanyama is used to man-marking attacking-midfielders out of the game, but with Sissoko the king of late surging runs, and efforts from distance, it is a whole new proposition for him to deal with. He will be in confident form, after netting against the Saints’ last season and having recently scored a magnificent strike against West Brom to win his side the game. He goes in at 7/2.

The next man to be added is Ross Barkley of Everton, who is continually attempting to cement a place on the plane for the World Cup in the summer.

He knows a big run of games is all he needs to prove his worth to Hodgson, and by showing he can score goals adds a key part to his game, with the potential to play behind the striker proving his versatility.

Fulham are rather poor defensively on the road, and Everton should be able to control the game in the way they want it to be played. Barkley is young and fearless, and loves nothing more than running at the defences. He will put fear into an aging Fulham defence, and he should manage to get himself on the scoresheet, so at 15/8 at http://sports.williamhill.com he goes into the treble.

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If these pair manage to net, then we shall be waiting until Sunday for the final leg, as hopefully Shinji Kagawa can do the business against Aston Villa.

He hasn’t had a consistent run of games in the number ten role to be able to prove his worth, but now with RVP out, he may well get his wish in behind Wayne Rooney. He is undoubtedly brilliant on his day, and if he is able to replicate his Dortmund form, the 11/4 for him to net any-time against an inconsistent Villa side, looks a great bit of value.

That rounds off the treble, which pays 47.51/1  or if you wish to be extremely adventurous, the first-goalscorer treble pays a whopping 741.5/1.

Selections;

Treble: Manchester City & Tottenham to win, with Everton to win to nil @ 9.31/1

Patent: Sissoko, Barkley & Kagawa to score first @ 741.5/1

Patent: Sissoko, Barkley & Kagawa to score any-time @ 47.51/1

Liverpool v Manchester United & Arsenal v Spurs – Preview with Selections

A magnificent day of football looks in prospect on Sunday, with two big ties to create the first real Super Sunday of the season.

Liverpool entertain Manchester United at Anfield in the 1:30 kick-off, and for the first time in a while. Liverpool enter the game as favourites, and rightly so.

They have started the season in impressive fashion, showing resilience in two 1-0 victories over potential tricky opposition.

Sunday offers the first real test for Rogers’ men, and they will be confident they can get one over on their Manchester rivals, who landed the double against them last year.

However, stats are against Liverpool, with the last time the Reds started a season with three consecutive wins, being back in 1994 under Roy Evans. This, mixed with the fact that the last time Liverpool won five games on the bounce (they have won four so far), was back in May 2009.

This will give David Moyes, who interestingly enough has never won at Anfield as a manager, a bit of extra hope.

His side have started well, inflicting a severe 4-1 defeat at Swansea on the opening day of the season, before being held to a goaless draw by tital rivals Chelsea last Monday.

Moyes opted for a rather defensive side, seemingly taking his tactics from Everton with him. He can’t rely on such tactics tomorrow, with a patient Liverpool side happy to keep possession under Rogers,  and with the likes of Coutinho and Sturridge, are likely to break a deep sitting side down.

He will be forced to play his hand, and attack a rather makeshift Liverpool defence, with Skrtel likely to deputise in the place of the injured Toure, who will be a real loss for Liverpool.

He has struggled with the imperious RVP over the past few seasons with Van Persie scoring four in his last three appearances against Liverpool, and the Dutchman looks fair value at 5/1 to be the first-scorer at Anfield.

With rash challenges galore in these games, it often pays to side with penalty takers and with RVP being covered each-way at 5/1, we turn our attention to the Reds’ skipper, Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard has been a tad out of form this season, failing to fire on all cylinders as expected. Age could well be playing a part, with him residing in a more defensive role, as Coutinho and Henderson have come to the fore in the more attacking midfield roles, however he never fails to turn up in the big games.

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His record against United is outstanding, and he seems to save his deadliest set-piece expertise for against his rivals. He looks a massive 14/1 to be first-scorer, and with Liverpool ‘due a pen’, it’s worth taking on the 11/2 for him to score any-time as-well.

However, De Gea’s brilliant shot-stopping ability, mean he will be tough to beat, even from the spot, and it could be up to the rebound for Gerrard to blast home. It’s 16/1 for Liverpool to miss a penalty (17/1 for United), and as much as it pains me, it may pay to have a small saver on it, to cover the bets slightly.

I would be looking at backing Rooney any-time at 11/4, but the rumours circulating that he has sustained a head injury, and may well miss the match, mean we won’t look at this, and instead turn our attentions to following the stats into another value bet.

Nemanja Vidic has often seen red against Liverpool over the years, being sent off in three consecutive games between the two sides, and he is a massive 23/10 just to be carded tomorrow. As short as 6/5 in places, the Serbian could prove one step behind the pacey Sturridge, and Sterling if he is given the nod.

He enjoys letting the striker know they are in a game, and will be out to leave his mark on the game early. 23/10 looks a solid bet.

Elsewhere, the North London derby kicks-off late afternoon, and Spurs will look to pile even more pressure on Arsene Wenger.

Roberto Soldado has started brightly, netting two in two (albeit penalites), and looks a solid bet at 7/1 to be the first scorer on Sunday.

AVB has been absolutely magnificent during the transfer window, and he’s assembled a side that look firm favourites to bag the all important fourth place and Champions League spot.

With Bale’s future in major doubt, he will be looking to his new side to step up to the mark in his absence on keep on improving. Paulinho has been a tremendous acquisition and the 14/1 about him bagging the first goal could be worth a small punt, as-well as the 11/2 about him scoring anytime.

Neither team will want to risk losing so early in the season, and it could be a day for first’s, with Tottenham aiming to score their first goal from open play, and also may come a cropper to conceding their first goal of the season, potentially surrendering their 100% record in the process.

Jan Vertonghen has been a revelation since moving to Spurs, improving with each passing game, however up against Theo Walcott tomorrow, he will have to be constantly on his toes.

Covering when his left-back attacks, he will often be left against Walcott’s blistering pace and he may well be in a position where at times he has to take one for the team and purposely bring down his opponent.

A booking is likely at some stage for the Belgian, and the 11/4 on offer should be snapped up with open arms.

Advice:

1 point: RVP to score first @ 5/1 (William Hill)

1 point: Gerrard to score first & any-time @ 14/1 & 11/2 (William Hill)

1 point: Paulinho to score first & any-time @ 14/1 & 11/2 (Coral)

0.5 point: Liverpool to miss a penalty @ 16/1 (Paddy Power)

1 point double: Vidic & Vertonghen to be booked @ 11.37/1 (888Sports & UniBet)

 

 

 

 

Manchester United v Chelsea – Match Preview with Selections

The first real big clash of the season is that of champions Manchester United versus a rejuvenated Chelsea side.

All eyes will be on a clash between ‘The Special One’, Jose Mourinho, and ‘The Dubious One’, David Moyes.

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Mourinho’s Chelsea side have started with two wins out of two, with rather workmanlike efforts over both Hull and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. With both Hull and Villa sitting very deep to try and nullify the creativity of the Chelsea front-line, it became a struggle to break down the back-four, yet they did and managed to maintain a 100% record.

On Monday evening, Manchester United will no doubt name a strong attacking force and go out to dominate proceedings. Their 4-1 win over Swansea proved their attacking prowess is still going strong under Moyes, yet for the opening part of the game they looked vulnerable against a solid passing game.

With Rooney’s future at the club still up in the air, it is unknown whether he will start the game, and he may well opt for Van Persie with Welbeck or Giggs sitting behind him. Welbeck’s pressing game, and Giggs’ experience in the big games would be extremely valuable, but in terms of actually playing football it would make a lot more sense to incorporate both Rooney and play-maker Shinji Kagawa into the side.

This will give them plenty of opportunities to cut down the defensive pairing of Terry/Cahill, but with Welbeck/Giggs, chances will be harder to find. Fortunately RVP can make chances out of nothing, and although he may not get the greatest service, his natural goal-scoring ability will come to the rescue for Moyes and his side plenty this season, and the 11/8 about him scoring anytime looks a brilliant bet.

However, United’s defensive frailties are there to be exploited, and if Moyes attempts to encourage his side to attack (something he’s never really done before), there is plenty of pace and trickery to test the aging pair of Vidic and Ferdinand.

After a poor pre-season defensively, leaking goals, they didn’t look completely confident against the Swans, and Mourinho’s Chelsea will be a completely different proposition to the side they faced last week.

Romelu Lukaku made an massive impact last year for West Brom, when on-loan from the Blues, and he could be in line to start his first game of the season after Ba and Torres have both failed to fire when given their chances so far.

He bagged a hat-trick against United in the last game of the season, rounding off a fantastic season in the Premier League. The 20-year-old, (yes, he is only 20 years old..) can lead the Chelsea front-line, and be the pinnacle of their counter-attacking strategy on Monday evening. He looks set to bully Ferdinand and Vidic, and can guarentee that the defensive nature of the two sides (Chelsea for certain, United slightly likely under Moyes) should be punished, with over 2.5 goals being a solid bet at 5/6.

It will be a great spectacle for the neutrals with so much pressure on the new managers (Moyes more than Mourinho), and the pressure on Moyes not to lose may end up costing his side dearly.

Chelsea have the right attitude under Jose, and with Ramires set to have a field day against the rather slow United back-four, he could be the difference between the two sides, and the Blues should have the class to see off United. Available at 11/5, they looks a great bet, but with the unpredictability of the Premier League, it could pay to side with Chelsea draw-no-bet at 5/4, which still looks a solid play.

So that’s three short-priced bets for the game, but there are plenty of punters who prefer to get involved with small stakes at bigger prices, and that’s extremely fair. If that is the case, the best bet I could advise is Chelsea to win 3-1.

With United entering a period of change under Moyes, this is the best time to be heading to Old Trafford, and with Chelsea feeling rejuvinated under Jose, he can guide his side to a big win (on the way to claiming the title in my opinion..).

United are always likely to score at home, but if they fail to score first and are forced to chase the game, the pace Chelsea have on the break can be deadly, and it would be no surprise to see the Blues grab a good few goals against a weak United defence.

Advice:

2 points: RVP to score anytime @ 11/8 (BetVictor)

2 points: Over 2.5 goals @ 5/6 (BetVictor)

2 points: Chelsea (draw-no-bet) @ 5/4 (Bet365)

0.5 points: Chelsea to win 3-1 @ 28/1 (Betdaq)

 

 

Premier League – Opening Day Advice

Finally, after an excruciating long summer without football, the Premier League returns, and with it, an opportunity to win some money to make Match of the Day even sweeter.

There’s nothing worse than conceding an injury time equaliser, to ruin your acca (apart from Garth Crooks), but on the flip-side, there is nothing sweeter than hearing Jeff screaming “there’s been a goal at the Emirates!”, when waiting on Arsenal for the last leg of a tasty treble.

Swings and roundabouts, and there are plenty of ups and downs to be expected over the coming season, but hopefully we can start with a profit.

Under/Over treble;

I’ve never put up any predictions about over/under 2.5 goals before, but looking at the prices this weekend, there seems to be some brilliant value floating around.

Liverpool kick-off the new season versus Stoke in the early kick-off, and the last two games at Anfield between the two sides have finished 0-0.

Liverpool always seem to start the season slowly, but should have enough firepower to see off a Stoke side that will take a while to adjust to the new playing style of Mark Hughes.

I can’t see Stoke troubling new boy Simon Mignolet too much, and a 2-0 victory for the reds looks a solid prediction. However, you can never be too confident on Liverpool bagging too many goals against the Potters, and the under 2.5 goals price at Evens looks a solid bet to add to the multiple.

Swansea v Manchester United is the late kick-off on the opening day, and we can expect goals galore at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea have had the benefit of being back in competitive action earlier than most, with the Europa League qualifying having already commenced.

They looked solid, with new-boys Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey linking up well with one of the finds of the season Michu. They will cause a rather worried David Moyes some problems, and with United’s pre-season being rather mixed, it would be no surprise to see Swansea bag a couple.

Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League

However a side with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney in will always score goals, so the safe option is to side with over 2.5, and just enjoy the game, which looks set to be a cracker. 4/5 is a fair price, and is worthy of going in the multiple.

The final leg of the over/under treble is the West Brom v Southampton game, which looks set to have plenty of action.

The Baggies’ new signing, Nicolas Anelka will be looking to get off the mark straight away, and with new England front-man, Rickie Lambert on the opposite side, there looks to be goals in the offing.

Both are rather attacking sides, and will be a bit slow defensively earlier on in the season. It is worth risking the front-men being able to stick away the chances they are sure to get. 10/11,. tots up the over/under treble to 5.87/1, and adds a bit of interest during the televised games.

Opening Day BTTS & Win double;

Norwich entertain Everton at three o’clock, and the Blues has been in great form pre-season, showing they can match it with the big boys over in America. Kevin Mirallas looks like he is set for a massive season, and he can lead Everton to an opening day victory at Carrow Road.

Roberto Martinez seems to have fazed in his new passing style seamlessly during the season, and has a solid back four to base it off. Coleman and Baines are arguably the best full-back pairing in the league on their day, and both are set to go on to bigger things unless Everton step up and mount a European challenge this year.

fellaini

Norwich have signed well, but still lack defensive depth and a central midfielder to run the show. This is where Everton can take advantage on Saturday, and with Fellaini pulling the strings in the centre, Everton should just have enough to see off the challenge of Chris Hughton’s men.

It’s worth taking advantage of Ladbrokes’ 18/5 about Everton to win, with both teams scoring.

Add this with Manchester United to beat Swansea, with both teams scoring at 11/4 and we have a 16.25/1 double that is extremely enticing.

Any-time scorer treble;

Theo Walcott looked in good nick for England in midweek, getting himself on the score-sheet, and he can replicate this come Saturday, against a rather week Aston Villa defence.

walcott

He is 5/4 to net any-time, and with his pace like to cause the Villa back-four problems all afternoon, he looks good value to start the season with a bang.

Kevin Mirallas can also carry on his pre-season form by getting his name on the score-sheet at the first time of asking. The Belgian has gone from strength-to-strength since arriving in the Premier League, and has excelled under the guidance of Roberto Martinez, slotting in to the fluid formation with great ease.

Employed as a wide-man, Mirallas is keen to link up with the lone striker, and this means the 5/2 about him netting looks a decent prospect.

Tottenham have brought in Roberto Soldado to bolster their attack, and mount a challenge for top-four next season, and he will start his campaign away at Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon.

He has strength, and a sharp finish and although he won’t be used to the physical presence that Palace offer, he had the ability to be able to adapt quickly.

He is set to be penalty taker for Spurs, which could come in handy Sunday, and at 5/4 it’s worth adding him to our any-time trio, which will hopefully result in us having a bit of interest come Sunday.

Advice:

1 point treble (Over/Under 2.5 goals): Liv/Stoke – Under, Swa/MU, WBA/South – Over @ 5.87/1 (William Hill)

1 point double: Everton to beat Norwich & BTTS, Manchester United to beat Swansea & BTTS @ 16.25/1 (Ladbrokes)

1 point treble (any-time scorer): Walcott/Mirallas/Soldado @ 16.72/1 (BetVictor)

Premier League 2013/14 – Preview with Tips

The 2013/14 Premier League season is approaching rapidly, and we can finally indulge in our footballing feasts once more.

There will plenty of thrills and spills along the way, tears will be shed, but where else can you experience the ups-and-downs that 90 minutes of football offers?

There is a new look and feel to this season, with Sir Alex Ferguson finally giving up his mantle as the greatest Premier League manager of all-time, handing it down to the extremely consistent David Moyes.

There has always been plenty of questions of how Moyes, would do with money, and this is where we find out.

Last year’s Champions looked imperious, romping the league by a cosy 11 points with very few worrying moments along the way.

Robin van Persie looked sensational, settling in to his new surroundings and bagging 26 league goals, finishing top scorer in his first season at the Red Devils.

Yet, pre-season has not gone very well for Moyes so far. It is only pre-season, and too much shouldn’t be read into the performances, however it’s always nice to begin your reign as boss with a steady few wins.

The players have looked lacklustre, and this could be a big factor in whether or not Moyes will be able to draw in the high-calibre players he needs to, to ensure they stay ahead of the competition, with both Chelsea and Manchester City improving their squads over the summer.

United haven’t managed to bring in any high class players to help boost their side, after failed bids for Cesc Fabregas and Thiago, and non-existent efforts to sign Fellaini and Baines from former club Everton.

There used to be a massive pull to United, to play under one of the greatest manager’s to have been involved with football, Sir Alex, but now there are many who are not feeling the same about playing under someone who failed to win a trophy on his 11 years on Merseyside.

Players are deciding to head elsewhere, and this could play a factor in Manchester United falling behind both Manchester City and Chelsea.

City and Chelsea have both been involved in manager changes as-well, with Mancini leaving Manchester after failing to win a trophy in his final season (the current state of modern football, where money is involved), being replaced by former Malaga manager, Manuel Pelligrini.

Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo and Stefan Jovetic have all been bought in an attempt to bolster the squad at Eastlands, and look to have a great chance of doing so.

They could add the extra spark that was missing at certain parts last season, and on paper, it would seem that City have the stronger side in Manchester. This leads us to believe the Evens currently on offer for City to finish the season as the highest North-West club, looks a solid bet.

However, in terms of winning the league, I do feel they will fall slightly short, due to the magic that one man can work in London.

Step up, the Special One..

mouinho

Jose Mourinho makes his return to the place he once made his own, Stamford Bridge, and has inherited a brilliant squad which he looks set to round off in his own special way.

Romelu Lukaku returning is almost like a new signing in itself, with the 20-year-old returning from a successful loan spell at the Hawthorns, proclaiming his time there ‘made him a man’.

He adds depth to an already strong Chelsea attack, with Torres, Matam Hazard, Ba and the newly signed, and highly-rated Andre Shurrle.

The only thing that was lacking last season for the Blues was a calm head in front of goal, and with Mourinho extremely interested in Wayne Rooney, he could offer the missing link that Chelsea needed to become the complete unit.

They have a brilliant goalkeeper in the shape of Petr Cech, a solid defence, and sensational attack. Another holding midfielder would be the only position that really needs taking care of, however in the shape of David Luiz, they have a more than able deputy, who could slot in their when needed.

His fast feet, surprising pace, and brute strength make him an ideal candidate for the holding role, and playing him centre-half has often caused problems when the Brazilian neglects to curb his attacking instinct.

He is a great passer of the ball and has tremendous vision, so if he is played in what looks to be his best position, he could set the world alight.

This leads me to believe that Chelsea should just about prevail in the race for the title, after a strong battle with Manchester City, while Manchester United take a season to adjust under David Moyes, back in third.

Advice: Chelsea/Manchester City/Manchester United @ 10/1 (Bet365)

Robin van Persie is a worthy favourite for the top goalscorer market, but 4/1 looks far too short to get involved in, so we have to look elsewhere for each-way value.

With Luis Suarez banned for the opening six games, and maybe even venturing to Madrid before then, Daniel Sturridge is set for a more central role, the kind of which he’s always dreamed of.

With Suarez banned towards the end of last season, Sturridge spearheaded the Reds attack, with great effect.

Liverpool opened up defences with great team moves as opposed to just getting the ball to Suarez and hoping the Uruguayan would create some magic.

sturridge swans

Sturridge scored ten goals in fourteen games, and seemed to strike up a great understanding with the midfield trio of Gerrard, Henderson and in particular Phillipe Coutinho.

He is 20/1 for the top goalscorer prize, and this looks tremendous each-way value, with the Reds seemingly set for a big season.

At a bigger price, Olivier Giroud appeals at a surprisingly large 50/1.

The Frenchman began to hit form towards the back-end of last season, managing to bag 17 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign.

At the moment he looks set to be the central figure of the Arsenal attack, with the Gunners failing to bring any other attackers so far this summer.

They are still attempting to bring Luis Suarez to the Emirates, a move welcomed by Giroud, but even if they are successful with the move the Uruguayan could easily play behind the Frenchman, or on either side of an attacking trio.

Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta are two of the best at threading through balls, and with Jack Wilshere returning to fitness, Giroud is sure to receive to impeccable service.

All in all, the 50/1 looks far too big on a player who will know a lot more about the Premier League, having been here a year. 11 goals in his first season is a solid base, and he now has the ability to kick on, and must be key if Arsenal are to make a bold challenge for fourth spot.

Advice:

1pt e.w: Daniel Sturridge @ 20/1 (Various)

0.5pt e.w: Olivier Giroud @ 50/1 (Various)

The bridge between Championship football and Premiership football is something many find hard to adapt to, and Crystal Palace and Hull look set to struggle again this term.

Palace only just managed to make it to the promised land, via a very dramatic play-off final, and failing to replace their key man Wilfried Zaha looks set to come back to haunt them.

Hull as though they have failed to make enough moves in the transfer window so far to ensure survival next year, whereas Cardiff’s squad looked as though it could have stake a claim for a solid placing in the Premier League last year, and with high profile names such as Dirk Kuyt being linked, they look as though they should manage to escape relegation.

This means there is one team left to fill the bottom three, and at the time of writing the most likely candidates look to be Stoke City.

After looking as they were going to be Premier League stalwarts under Tony Pulis, the Potters finishing between 11th and 14th on four successive occasions under the Welshman.

mark hughes

However heading in to their fifth successive campaign, now under the tutoring of Mark Hughes, Stoke look as though they may well struggle over the coming season.

A massive dip in form seen the Potters pick up only five points in thirteen games during 2013, which managed to draw them into what could easily have escalated into a relegation battle. The fans were nervous before back-to-back victories over Norwich and QPR ensured Premier League survival for another year.

However they needed to improve during the transfer window just to make up for the rather dubious managerial expertise of Mark Hughes whose QPR side (30) were the only team to score less than Stoke (34) in the Premier League last season.

Goals win games, and if Hughes attempts to change Pulis’ tactical style of play too much, the Potters may well be in trouble. Stoke are not an overly footballing side, but do the basics very well. However Mark Hughes is renowned for making sides his own (usually negatively) and this could well spell trouble for Stoke City and it’s fans, with Hughes already offering a false dawn of ‘a new brand of attacking football’.

Advice: Crystal Palace/Hull/Stoke @ 20/1 (Ladbrokes)

ALL ADVICE:

2 points: Tri-cast: Chelsea/Manchester City/Manchester United @ 10/1 (Bet365)

1 point: Relegation treble: Crystal Palace/Hull/Stoke @ 20/1 (Ladbrokes)

1 point e.w: Top scorer: Daniel Sturridge @ 20/1 (Various)

0.5 points e.w: Top scorer: Olivier Giroud @ 50/1 (Various)

Champions League – Round of 16 (2nd leg) Advice.

All eyes will be on Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, as Manchester United host Real Madrid in the return leg of their last-16 game.

Both sides go into the game evenly poised, after the sides drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu.

It looks set to be a thriller, with both sides going all out to land a place in the quarter-finals. They both come into the game in great form, but United hold a slight advantage after managing to grab what could be an all-important away goal in Madrid.

ronaldo madrid

This means Real Madrid have to score on the night, and will be going all out from the off. With the likes of Ronaldo, who is returning to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the club, Benzema and Ozil all available when going forward, you would have to fancy them to hit the net at least once.

Veteran Ryan Giggs looks set to earn his 1000th appearance for the Red Devils, and it looks written in the stars he is set to have a major part in the way the game swings.

Yet, for me, the bet lies with the slightly out-of-form Robin Van Persie, who is in a dry-spell by his incredible standards.

He will be looking to make up for his glaring miss in the opening leg by getting on the score-sheet at Old Trafford. The more Madrid begin to push in search of a goal, the more gaps will appear across the back-four. RVP only needs one sight of goal when he’s on form, and he looks set to get a few chances against Los Blancos.

The 11/8 for him to score anytime appeals, and would be a slightly safe bet in what is set to be an enthralling fixture.

Elsewhere on Tuesday evening, Dortmund entertain Shakhtar Donetsk after a 2-2 draw in the first-leg.

Two away goals for Dortmund mean they are in a strong position to advance.

They are imperious at home and know they can play their normal football without having to chase the game. This means they will be able to pick off and counter Shakhtar, allowing Robert Lewandowski to enhance his already growing reputation.

With the likely attacking attitude of Donetsk, he should get his chances to hit the back of the net, and the 5/1 on offer for him to score two or more looks too big to resist.

However with Dortmund beginning to come under so much pressure, due to a dip in their league form, they know they have to qualify in order to ease the pressure.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has scored 18 goals in his last 18 appearances, and will be a lot sharper after both he and his side have played a few games since finishing the winter break. He looks potentially massive at 3/1 to score any-time, and with Shakhtar looking to get their key man on the ball as often as possible in the final third, it would be no surprise to see him hit the back of the net at least once.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Meanwhile on Wednesday evening, Celtic face a near impossible task of re-clawing a three-goal deficit as they head to Turin to take on Serie A leaders, Juventus.

Celtic by no means disgraced themselves at Celtic Park, yet the difference in class showed, as Juventus were clinical with their limited chances, whereas Celtic were slightly wasteful.

This looks set to be the same for the second leg, yet Juventus will be allowed to simply dictate the pace of the game, as Celtic are set to be all-out attack from the outset.

This will leave them incredibly exposed, and I expect Juventus to grab an early goal and then patiently see the game out. This makes the Evens for Juventus to be leading at both half-time and full-time, a great price.

The final game I will preview is the PSG v Valencia fixture, which looks set to be a tasty affair.

With Ibrahimovic suspended, PSG’s attacking threat has been lessened  however they should have just enough to see off a gritty Valencia.

It looks set to be an open game, with Valencia knowing they have to score at least twice to have any chance of qualifying. Yet, PSG look far too strong defensively, and should stand up to the task well.

The 9/10 for a PSG win looks solid, and should be added to any multiples.

Advice :

1point: Double: Juventus/Juventus and PSG to win – 2.88-1 (BetVictor)

1 point: RVP any-time @ 11/8 (Bet365)

1 point: Henrikh Mkhitaryan any-time @ 3/1 (BetVictor)

2013 profit: +0.8 points profit

Champions League – Last 16 – Value Bets

As I have been away from the blog for a little while, I have decided to adopt a slightly new approach to proceedings, by keeping up to date with the profit/loss made. Last year we made a healthy profit, but I never included actual figures, which could effectively help make your decisions as to whether you trust my judgement, with my tips.

This week signifies the return of Champions League football, with the feature game undoubtedly being Real Madrid hosting Manchester United at the Bernabeu.

ronaldo

The pre-match hype has surrounded Cristiano Ronaldo facing his former club (and rightly so..), and he also takes centre stage with one of our main bets this week. Since moving to Madrid from Manchester United, the Portuguese hit-man has notched up a staggering 136 goals in 123 games, including a hat-trick  against Sevilla last Saturday. He is currently in an incredibly hot streak of form, and will be looking to send a message out to his former employers about what they’re missing (if they didn’t already know..).

With Ronaldo in the side, Madrid look a cut above United, whose defence has already struggled against the likes of Andy Weimann this season. This all points to a Madrid victory and the current 13/8 on offer with William Hill, for Ronaldo to score in a Madrid win, looks too good to ignore.

The other game to be played on Wednesday looks set to be a tasty fair as the gritty Shakhtar Donetsk entertain the classy Borussia Dortmund. It looks set to be an open game, as Dortmund have failed to keep a clean sheet in all but one of their last 19 Champions League away games.

No Ukrainian team has ever beaten Borussia Dortmund in European competitions in six games, however Shakhtar are unbeaten in their last 4 encounters with German clubs in European competitions. These statistics mean that the game looks set to be a draw, and this is backed up by the fact that Dortmund are still unbeaten in the Champions League despite only winning one of their last six away from home, and that Shakhtar have only won two of their last seven Champions League games at home.

The draw is currently a best-priced 5/2 with Bet365, and looks tremendous value.

The ITV fixture of the week takes place at Celtic Park, as Celtic host Juventus. It looks set to be a very tense affair as Celtic know to have any realistic chance of going through, they have to take a lead to the Juventus Stadium. The atmosphere will be electric as Gary Hooper leads the line and attempts to get the all important first goal, however the Italians are renowned for their ability to soak up pressure and hit sides on the break.

The Juventus defence is incredibly disciplined, and should be ready to handle all that Celtic can throw at them. They never look likely to score too many, and for this reason, the 11/4 on offer with Ladbrokes for Juventus to win by exactly one goal appeals.

The final game I will be previewing this week, is the Valencia v PSG game, which is set to be a tight affair, full of attacking flair. PSG arrive in Valencia on the back of six consecutive victories, only conceding two goals in the process.

ibra

The French side play free-flowing attacking football, which mirrors the type of football often played at the Mestalla, where goals are always on the menu.

The fact that Thiago Silva, and Thiago Motta, two key defensive figures for PSG are both missing,means the likelihood of Valencia having more luck down the centre has dramatically increased.

It is set to be a footballing feast with Ibrahimovic, Soldado, Gameiro etc all gracing the same pitch, and the result looks extremely hard to call. For this reason, the 13/10 for over 2.5 goals with BetVictor looks a steal, and will allow the viewers to sit back and enjoy what has the potential to be a fantastic game of attacking football.

Advice:

1 point: Ronaldo to score and Madrid to win @ 13/8 (William Hill)

1 point: Shakhtar/Dortmund draw @ 5/2 (Bet365)

1 point: Juventus to win by exactly 1 goal @ 11/4 (Ladbrokes)

1 point: Valencia/PSG – Over 2.5 goals @ 13/10 (BetVictor)