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Two winning doubles out of two to the free list last week to return a profit of 3.71 points. Let’s see if we can strike again this week.
In the England match I don’t really know what to expect. England have been awful for a while now but then again, Scotland are pretty poor too and this just might be the game that England finally rise to the occasion. But might isn’t good enough. I’d rather go with what I know. If Bournemouth and Napoli are corners bankers at club level, then so are England at international level.
Go figure why, because they play the same 4-3-3 system that just about everyone else does. But the stats don’t lie and they managed over 7.5 corners in five of their last six matches. And that included matches away from home (or neutral venues) and against better sides than Scotland.
On Saturday I think Croatia are a bit of a banker against Iceland. I loved Iceland’s fairytale run at Euro 2016 as much as the next person but I think they had their moment in the sun and will struggle to replicate that togetherness and form for a while.
Croatia away is one of the toughest challenges in football and the fit-again duo of Modric and Rakitic in midfield should be enough to deliver a Croatia win one way or another. And I’m putting that together with over 2.5 goals in Wales v Serbia. I’m not entirely sure why the bookies keep on thinking Serbia are an ‘unders’ side (some of you will remember us backing over 2.5 goals in their previous match against Austria at 2.3, it finished 3-2) given six of their last seven have had over 2.5 goals but that’s fine by me.
Wales have key absences in defence and Vokes, Ramsey and Bale in attack so even though their overs stats aren’t as good as Serbia’s, I see no reason for this match not to produce at least three goals.
2pts Back England Over 7.5 Team Corners @ 2.0 with Bet365
1pt Double (Acca bet) on Croatia to beat Iceland (1.4) http://www.oddschecker.com/football/world-cup/croatia-v-iceland/winner+ Over 2.5 goals in Wales v Serbia (2.25) with Bet365/Ladbrokes/Betfred @ 3.15
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First up, I’m going to go with two PL outsiders to avoid defeat. The first is Burnley who are actually a pretty solid price to win at 3.35 and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing them to do that. But I’m a little worried about just how few shots on target they have a game- an average of just 2 a match so far- that’s the only thing that puts me off backing them outright. On the plus side they’re in much better form than Palace and will be on a high after that remarkable 0-0 at Old Trafford last week so expect them to at least take a point.
And I think it’s a similar story with Stoke at West Ham. The Hammers clearly don’t like their new home and are out of form themselves. I’m not entirely sure what happened with Stoke at the start of the season but they’re now looking like the consistent side who is going to be in this division for the long haul. They already look a far better side with Joe Allen playing in the number 10 position and now that he’s got the monkey off his back, I think Wilfried Bony could kick on from here and provide Stoke with the goals they were craving up to a few weeks ago. A 1-1 draw sounds about right to me in terms of how this could end and that would do us just fine.
The second theme is for two teams to win two slightly different corners battles. How’s this for a stat: Napoli have had more corners than their opponents in 10 of their 11 Serie games so far, including all five at home. That’s unlikely to change when Lazio come to town and even though the latter have a decent record at corners themselves, it’s not in Napoli’s league.
Those who have been following this service for a while should know about another team who has an 100% record at getting more corners than their opponents at home so far. Yes, it’s Bournemouth. The bookies are obviously aware of this and are making them just 1.14 against Sunderland to get more corners and even though it’s a double, I’m not going to put that sort of price up as a selection. Instead, I’m going to push the boat out a bit and back them to defy a -3.5 corner handicap, meaning the Cherries have to get four or more corners than Sunderland for our bet to win. This could well be touch and go but Sunderland’s corners record is poor, having lost all their corners battle away from home so far this season. If the game goes the way I expect it to, with Bournemouth having the majority of the ball and getting the ball out wide as much as possible, we could well be in business.
1pt Back Burnley on the Double Chance market ( 1.62) http://www.oddschecker.com/football/english/premier-league/burnley-v-crystal-palace/double-chance + Stoke on the Double Chance market (1.91) http://www.oddschecker.com/football/english/premier-league/west-ham-v-stoke/double-chance @ 3.09 with Bet365
1pt Back Napoli to get most corners in the corner match bet (http://www.bet365.com/home/FlashGen4/WebConsoleApp.asp?rn=84126798091&stf=1 (1.5) + Bournemouth -3.5 on Asian Handicap corners market (1.75) http://www.bet365.com/home/FlashGen4/WebConsoleApp.asp?rn=84126798091&stf=1 @ 2.62 with Bet365
A very small win last week courtesy of Leicester, who truth be told, won very convincingly. If you were to choose the most basic football betting strategy that was likely to show you a profit it would be this: back them at home, oppose them when they’re away and don’t bet at all on the weekend before a Champions League match (which by the way would include this weekend).
I’ve said to Sports Betting Pays subscribers over the past couple of weeks that this India v NZ series has got the better of me regarding the match winner market and that remarkably I’ve managed to back NZ on the two occasions they lost and refrained from backing them on the two occasions they won.
Mind you, we’re still showing a decent profit on the series after siding with Tom Latham on Sunday at 5.0 for top NZ bat and Mishra this week at 4.5 for top Indian bowler.
So as we head into the decider of what’s been a really good series we have to ask ourselves the question: so what’s our next move?
If you’ve been following this service for any longer than two weeks, you should know the answer straight away. We’re guided by the price. And that obviously means backing NZ at 3.05 rather than India at 1.48.
There are three main reasons why NZ are huge value.
1) Just look at the current score. It’s 2-2.
2) The prices might have been acceptable as being accurate if Ashwin, Jadeja and Shami- their three best bowlers had been around. They’re not and even though I haven’t mentioned this before, they’ve also been without the super-experienced big-hitting Suresh Raina, though he may admittedly play in this match.
This all boils down to the fact that these are two evenly-matched sides and that the gulf in price isn’t justified.
Now to the caveat: Virat Kohli. I’m very afraid of him.
Not in the sense that I’d fear for my life if I saw him in a dark alley. Rather that in the sense that whatever the game situation is and I’ve backed the side that he’s not on when he’s at the crease, I worry. He’s that good.
Look at just the facts from this series. On two occasions he kicked on and India won both times.
On two occasions he failed and so did India.
My initial temptation was to back him for man-of-the-match but if he gets a huge score, NZ win and he’s not MOM because 95% of the time the MOM comes from the winning side, then we will have waste a betting point.
So I’ll back him instead for top India batsman at a shorter 3.5 and if he goes on ‘to do a Kohli’ we’ll still be up 0.5 points if he does get top bat honours… and NZ lose.
There is of course also the possibility that he’s top bat and NZ win anyway. Which would suit us just fine.
Watford are doing pretty well at the moment and are up against a Hull side in awful form and missing their best player in Robert Snodgrass. A few weeks ago the pattern was that Watford needed to score two or three to win a match because they couldn’t keep clean sheets. But they then kept two in a row (both away) so that certainly makes me more confident about backing them.
And I’ll combine that with Juventus to win. Napoli have a couple of key players missing and Juve will be viewing this match as arguably the most important one of the whole league campaign. No resting players ahead of Champions League and a full Juve side is a very strong side indeed.
2pts Back New Zealand to beat India @ 3.05 on Betfair
1pt Back Virat Kohli to be Top Indian batsman @ 3.5 with Paddypower
1pt Back Watford to beat Hull (1.75) http://www.oddschecker.com/football/english/premier-league/watford-v-hull/winner + Juventus to beat Napoli (1.83) http://www.oddschecker.com/football/italy/serie-a/juventus-v-napoli/winner @ 3.2 with Ladbrokes
We really should have shown a profit last week but didn’t because Christian Benteke missed a penalty. Very infuriating when the fact a particular player is on penalty duty is part of the reason why you’ve backed him, only for them to go on and miss but not really much you can do about it…other than wonder what exactly it is that footballers practice all week in training. But anyway…
First up, I just can’t resist going with Nacer Chadli to score again at what is an even bigger price than what he was last week. That’s hardly surprising given an away fixture at Liverpool doesn’t look like the most obvious place to go and add to your goal tally but amazingly, Liverpool’s clean sheet in that 0-0 draw against Man Utd was their first of the season in the league.
Having scored last week, West Brom have now scored at least one goal in seven of their nine fixtures this season and 7.0 is no sort of reflection on a man who has 4 goals from 5 matches and plays for a team who almost always scores, against one who almost always concedes.
I could say almost the same thing about Hull v Stoke as I could about Swansea v Watford in that all four of those sides have some decent players going forward but all four of them seem practically incapable of keeping clean sheets.
I won’t go through all the individual stats of all four teams but despite not being amongst the sexiest teams out there, I have a feeling that the lack of real quality could well lead to plenty of goals. But 1-1 in both of them would do us just fine because the bet is that both teams will score in both matches.
I’ve decided that Leicester are worth opposing in the week prior to a Champions League match but there’s nothing wrong with their results after European action. There’s also not much wrong with their home form either.
It’s seen them win two Champions League matches out of two, beat Burnley and Swansea and draw 0-0 with both Arsenal and perhaps a little less excusably…Southampton. So a home match against Palace when they’re fresh from winning in the CL in midweek should be right up their street.
Palace have some decent players, particularly in attack, but they were poor against West Ham last week and just don’t seem like they’ve gelled yet. A low-scoring home win is how I’d see this one going.
1pt Nacer Chadli to score against Liverpool @ 7.0 with Betfred
1pt Back both teams to score in Swansea v Watford (1.75)
Both teams to score in Hull v Stoke (1.8)
2pts Back Leicester to beat Crystal Palace @ 2.1 with Betfair
Been a bit of a case of feast or famine over the past few weeks but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. But with the Premier League back, I’m hoping it’s at least a hearty meal if not as full blown feast.
I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Crystal Palace outright, so poor have West Ham been for no particularly good reason. Well, I say that. They have been missing Andy Carroll (love him or hate him he’s always a handful), the excellent Aaron Cresswell and Andre Ayew though the latter was only bought this summer so they can’t have got used to him being around too much and for that reason can’t be missing him too much. I can also understand that they’ve found it difficult at their new stadium but none of that completely explains how disappointing they’ve been.
But I’ll show the great Dimitri Payet a little bit of respect because he can win any game by himself and instead side with a Palace goalscorer given that West Ham have kept exactly one clean sheet in seven attempts in the Premier League this season.
It’s the obvious one but he’s a pretty good price.
I advised a bet on Christian Benteke to score when Palace beat Stoke 4-1 and he somehow managed not to…before going to score in his next two Premier League matches, followed by a World record for scoring the fastest ever goal in World Cup qualifying (after just seven seconds) as part of a hat-trick against Gibraltar. So he certainly can’t be accused of not being in form. He’s worth a punt at 2.38.
Just a quick summary of our weekend bets so far: there’s Chelsea to get more than 1.5 cards against Leicester, Chadli and Rondon to score for West Brom and Benteke to score for Crystal Palace.
And I’ve got one more for Saturday’s action.
Napoli are in action against Roma on Saturday afternoon and there are few sides in football who are as much of a banker for a high corner count as Roma. They don’t get quite as many away from home as they do at home but it’s still two from three away from home to go with the four from home that have gone over 10.5 corners. Napoli’s stats aren’t quite as impressive as Roma’s but again, it’s still four from seven of their matches that have gone over 10.5 corners. But it’s Roma’s stats that I’m really relying on and there’s no way than any match they’re involved in should have over 10.5 corners at 2.0.
And I’ll double that up with what appears a very obvious bet but that doesn’t stop it being a decent one. I like Everton and I think Koeman is definitely the right man for the job but what their good start to the season doesn’t really reflect is how easy their fixtures have been so far. Of their seven games to date, only Tottenham are a side you’d expect to finish in the Top 8, let alone Top 4. And they drew that one at home 1-1, which you’ll remember was a 6.5 winner for us on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
With Aguero fully fit after an injury scare last week and the possibility of the wonderful Kevin de Bruyne involved, this could end up being pretty straightforward for a side with an 100% record at home against one that the jury is still out about.
1pt Back Christian Benteke to score anytime @ 2.38 with Bet365/Ladbrokes
1pt Back over 10.5 corners in Napoli v Roma (2.0)
+ Manchester City to beat Everton (1.5)
@ 3.0 with Bet365