Premier League Preview - Game Week 23Thursday, January 18 2018
VAR. Huh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again.
Or over and over again, if you’re a BBC pundit. But never mind that shit, it’s tip time…
As per, the Tap Ins are short-price bankers best suited to Doubles, Trebles and Accas.
The Smart Money bets are for snaffling a bit of value out of the bookies. And in the absence of value, I’ve dropped in a few Long Shots that are worth a punt.
Suggested stakes: 1pt per Smart Money, 0.5pts per Long Shot up to 3/1, 0.25pts 3/1+.
The Scorecasts are for tackling things like Sky’s Super 6 £250k or Colossus’ £5k - £5 million jackpots
And there’s £100 in free bets with Colossus is you sign up with this code: RAFMTS5UU4
Brighton v Chelsea 12.30
Sniff, sniff… I smell a bit of betting value here. Watching Chelsea creep (and creak) past Norwich in the FA Cup in midweek will have done Brighton’s confidence no harm. A similarly neat and tidy team, with a solid home record – one defeat in 12 – and Liverpool and Man City are the only teams to leave with 3pts so far.
Chelsea are in that ballpark, but not the same league right now. Five draws on the spin tells us that. With their big hitters back they should just have enough, but only just.
Tap in: Priced out of it.
Smart Money: Chelsea & Under 2.5 Goals at 11/5 & Draw/ Chelsea at 3/1 are both value.
Scorecast: An ugly 0-1.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Arsenal have filled plenty of column inches this week, but none of it mentioned the five games without a win. Or two horribly soulless performances at Bournemouth and Forest. They’ve always picked their matches, to be fair and don’t like playing so I fancy them to maintain the third best home record in the PL.
Palace (and Roy Hodgson)’s resurrection began by being hard to beat away from home and going toe to toe with their hosts could be their undoing here. But it’s a free hit. Their next three – West Ham, Newcastle & Everton – are bigger games in the narrative of their season.
Tap in: Home Win is too short at 1/2, even for an Acca.
Smart Money: Arsenal to win by 1 goal at 11/4 is value
Scorecast: An edgy 2-1.
Burnley v Man United
Burnley may have been the story of the season, but the last few chapters haven’t been great. No wins in six, four blanks in front of goal and two 90th minute point-dropping goals conceded tells me they are running – or have run – out of juice a bit.
United look like they have been chugging along on the wrong kind of fuel all season, but the thought/ arrival of Alexi Sanchez might get a spark out of their laidback mavericks. Which should be enough to nick this.
Tap in: Nothing tap-innable here.
Smart Money: Man United by 1 goal at 9/4.
Scorecast: The old Mourinho used to love a 0-2. This one seems happy with 0-1.
Everton v West Brom
The Big Sam effect wore off for Everton almost as quickly as it did for England. But it lingered long enough to find the comfortable mid-table obscurity that will probably lead to the same conclusion, but that’s 18- months or so away. Their perfect home record v teams below them (six from six) suggests they will end West Brom’s two-match winning streak. (And if you’re wondering if you can call two matches a ‘streak’, after 21 without a win Baggies fans are probably calling them the fucking ‘Invincibles’.)
It’s hard to see Albion taking more than a point. And it’s easy to see them leave with none. But you don’t read this for me to hedge, so I’ll grow a pair and do this…
Tap in: Everton Draw No Bet at 8/15.
Long Shot: 1-1 at 5/1.
Scorecast: Er, 1-1.
Leicester v Watford
Aside from an odd blip v Palace, Leicester have been pretty reliable at home – winning five of seven v teams outside the Top Four. They generally punch their weight and with Mahrez getting his mojo back in the last month, they are probably as close to their title winning swagger as they are going to be. Plus, they were robbed in the 1-2 Boxing Day defeat to Watford too.
It has been a bearly season so far for the Hornets. They seem to have been a couple of minutes, or the width of a post, or a red card away from a lot more points. But I can see the same again here.
Tap in: Home Win at 4/5 is fair.
Smart Money: Leicester & Both Teams to Score at 12/5.
Scorecast: Leicester to reverse the 2-1 on Boxing Day.
Stoke v Huddersfield
El Clasico it ain’t. The arrival of Paul Lambert might not have excited the Stoke fans, but it will stop them shipping the stupid amount of goals they have this season. Luckily for all concerned, Huddersfield rarely pack an away goal in their travel bags – just three times in 11 away trips in fact. But 4pts from their last three on the road will have their tails up – and thinking they can make it 5pts from four. Odder things have happened. And Stoke wouldn’t turn their nose up at a share of the spoils either.
Tap in: Under 2.5 Goals at 8/13.
Smart Money: Draw & Under 2.5 Goals at 11/4.
Scorecast: 0-0 written all over it.
West Ham v Bournemouth
Two teams on the up. Their ‘win, draw, win, draw’ records match perfectly over the last four games. Both teams played reserve teams in their midweek FA Cup ties, suggesting that they both fancy something here. And it has the look of goals, with BTTS paying out in West Ham’s last five and Bournemouth’s last four. And let’s not forget the Boxing Day slugfest that just wouldn’t quit (until the referee stepped in at 3-3. I’m struggling to see much different, but will go for a more cagey version.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 8/11.
Smart Money: Draw & Both Teams to Score at 17/5.
Long Shot: Draw & Over 2.5 Goals is value at 11/1.
Scorecast: I’ll take a 1-1.
Man City v Newcastle 5.30
Hmm, can Newcastle nick an away goal? That’s my quandary here. City will win, we know that – despite perhaps not looking quite as snappy as earlier in the season. But winning matches is not the challenge, it’s managing the workload.
Newcastle have picked up decent points in recent weeks but 1pt from a possible 30pts v Top Half teams tells you everything you need to know. And don’t be hoodwinked by the narrow 0-1 at the Etihad at Christmas. More than a third of City’s PL wins have been by a single goal margin. It’s enough to win any game and plenty in some.
Tap in: Newcastle (+3) Handicap at 1/3.
Smart Money: Man City Win, Under 11.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 11/4 (Coral’s #YourCall)
Long Shot: Man City Win, Both Teams to Score; NO, Under 11.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 6/1 (Coral’s #YourCall).
Scorecast: A steady 3-0.
Southampton v Tottenham
Throwing away (potentially vital) Premier League points in the last few minutes of a match twice in a row, after a stoic draw at Old Trafford tells me Southampton’s players are bored. Perhaps disillusioned at the revolving exit door at the club. Perhaps frustrated they haven’t gone through it. Who knows. But the latch on the trap door below is looking less secure with every match without a win. Now ten and counting.
If they players are picking their matches they might fancy this one. But didn’t look that interested in the return fixture a couple of weeks ago. If Tottenham turn up in similar mood, this could get emotional.
Tap in: Tottenham at 8/13.
Smart Money: Tottenham & Under 3.5 Goals at 10/3.
Long Shot: Tottenham Win, Over 10.5 Corners & Over 35.5 Booking Points at 13/2 (Coral’s #YourCall).
Scorecast: Standard 0-2.
Swansea v Liverpool
It would be Liverpool-like for Klopp’s lot to piss all over their own shoes and drop points here, coming just a week after tweaking Man City’s ear. But not even Johnny Cochrane could make a case for Swansea.
The ugly duckling won’t want another 0-5 hiding like at Anfield on Boxing Day, but I suspect this match has been written off now they’re in survival mode.
One stat that is niggling me is Liverpool’s habit of conceding on their travels. Just two away clean sheets from 11 on the road so far. So I’m side-stepping it.
Tap In: Away Win but 3/10 is too short.
Long Shot: Liverpool Win, Both Teams to Score: NO, Under 10.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 4/1 (Coral’s #YourCall).
Scorecast: Threesy does it 0-3.
Make money, not VAR.
What we learned about Arsenal this weekWednesday, January 17 2018
A tough set of fixtures last weekend made for a break-even result – actually a minus 0.05pts, but who’s counting? – so nothing much to get excited about.
But, as ever, there were pointers to help us going forward…
Arsenal are one of the PL’s most reliable teams…
No, really. So long as you apply some basic punting principles: At home v teams below them – Home Win (seven from seven so far); Everywhere else – oppose or avoid.
Their home record this season is only bettered by the Manchester pair. But their away record has them rubbing shoulders with Watford, Newcastle and West Ham. Their only success on the road has come at a lowest ebb Everton and via a last minute act of charity from the referee at Burnley.
I have been guilty of thinking that this wonderfully gifted bunch of players – and they are – would pull it out of the bag, as has become their modus operandi in recent seasons. Most recently at Bournemouth. But no more. It’s time to face facts. So I would solemnly advise friends and family members that if they want a last look at the Arsenal they have known, visit in the next couple of weeks.
I’m no economics graduate (unlike Arsene) but I have been in a dressing room. And seeing your best (paid, respected and just best) players toy with the club and then head for a rival does NOT stiffen your resolve. You lose respect and get in line for the exit.
With five tasty looking teams scrapping for four Champion League places – all on the up, all with money to burn – this is the worst season ever to finish sixth.
Checking out and cashing in at Arsenal…
The Gunners can also be relied upon to fire the best transfer news into the air these days too. A month ago it was all about Ozil, but it seems his summer deal is already neatly tucked in his top pocket. Leaving the stage clear for Dirty Sanchez and young Theo.
Walcott is still 17, right? Oh no, hang on… he’s closer to three-oh Walcott. He is what we used to call a ‘speedboat with no driver’. But the burden of being the new Thierry Henry was a big one, to be fair. The ‘new Steven Pienaar’ do you, Theo?
It’s not just Arsenal and Man City fans who are going to be gutted when the Sanchez saga is finally over. Members of Football Index have been creaming money off the daily back and forth, making proper profits on Sanchez’s stock.
Upwards of £120,000 has changed hands in the last week. Okay, it’s only about a day’s work of Alexis but he doesn’t live in our world.
Speaking of which…
Dementia, Football and Alan…
What has Alan Shearer got against managers?
When Mark Hughes left a few big hitters out of his Stoke team at Chelsea - targeting the more winnable home match against Newcastle two days later – Alan couldn’t wait to winch up the sword of Damocles and push Sparky into position…
‘He HAS to win against Newcastle’, deadpanned Shearer helpfully from his oh so comfy Match of the Day high-horse.
Of course, they didn't and that was that.
Ryan Giggs hadn’t been appointed a day in the Wales job and Alan was at it again…
‘Good luck trying to get your players together for friendlies…’ squealed Shearer to his mini-me Danny Dour (Murphy) referring to Giggs’ reluctance play in Welsh friendlies (en route to a 1,000+ match, 24-year career winning…erm… oh yeah, everyfuckingthing).
[Note: I resisted including the clip as Shearer’s voice goes so high at the end he could be mistaken for Richard of Undateables fame - another half sympathetic, half laughable manchild that doesn’t know how to behave in public.]
Is it a problem with Welshmen? Or just ex-Man United players?
Or perhaps it’s because he knows people at the FA are still laughing about his application to be England manager. Writing it is crayon didn’t help, Alan. But let’s remind ourselves of your managerial record…
Pld: 8 W:1* D: 2 L: 5 Relegations: One Anything else: Fuck all
(* v Middlesbrough, also relegated)
Back at it with a Premier League preview tomo.
TV Guide - Game Week 23: Man United v StokeMonday, January 15 2018
Hope you were on the 7/2 and 6/1 winners highlighted in Liverpool v Man City match. Not a bad watch too.
After 70-odd minutes of Bournemouth v Arsenal I was daring to dream about the 32/1 flagged up in Friday’s Coupon Busters. But Petr Cech clearly had his money elsewhere.
Probably for the best – I’d have never shut up about it. And probably woken up in a bin this morning.
But there’s always tonight…
Man United v Stoke. 8pm on Sky Sports.
On paper, this isn’t a difficult puzzle to solve: The Premier League’s second best home team + the worst away team = home win. All day.
The challenge is dredging a bit of betting value out of the match...
The appointment of a Paul Lambert might get a bit of a bounce from Stoke. Either from players keen to impress their new boss, or from those thinking they might prefer to a new boss elsewhere. It happens.
Plus, Stoke can play free from the pressure of trying to win the match. Their next six will define their season, not this one.
The potential/ possible arrival of Alexis Sanchez might also get a response from one or two of United’s front players. And with Arsenal and Chelsea dropping points at the weekend, Jose can make ground in the race for second place. No room for a third home draw here.
So let’s play it like this…
- Man United to Win To Nil at 10/11
It makes my sphincter pucker to go below Evens for a Win To Nil bet, but you’re not gonna thank me for telling you to back a Home Win at 2/9, are you? Personally, I’m swerving in this for the following…
- Draw/ Man United in the HT/FT at 14/5
United have been level at the break in their last six matches (all comps). So there might be a bit of value in backing a hardworking Stoke keeping United’s workmanlike attack out for an hour or so.
- Man United & Under 3.5 Goals at 6/4
This covers the 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and 2-1. United haven’t hit three or more for ten matches, so we should be good.
- Man United to Win, Both Teams to Score: NO, Under 11.5 Corners & Over 35.5 Booking Points at 7/1 (via Coral’s #YourCall)
To add a bit of spice, lets reinvest a bit of our Liverpool v Man City winnings on this four-way. I’m happy with United winning to Nil with a measure of control that will bring it in under 11.5 Corners. And I’m going over 35.5 Booking Points (i.e. four Yellow Cards) based on one or two Stoke players playing to the crowd/ new manager. Worth a silly fiver.
I’ll pick up the pieces tomo with a review of the weekend.
Who the hell is Matt Nesbitt?
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World Cup 2010 Prediction Panel with Ruud Gullit and Sky’s Charlotte Jackson
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