Premier League Preview - Game Week 23

Thursday, 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

Ready?

Saturday:
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.

Sunday:
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. 

Monday:
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. 
 

Matt Nesbitt

What we learned about Arsenal this week

Wednesday, 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.

(If I’m now talking gibberish, Football Index is a new-ish stock market for players. If you know your shit, you can turn it into daily cash. Have a look here…)

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.

Matt Nesbitt

TV Guide - Game Week 23: Man United v Stoke

Monday, 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…

Tap In

  • 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…

Smart Bets

  • 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.  

Long Shots

  • 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. 

Matt Nesbitt

Coupon Busters - Game Week 23

Friday, January 12 2018

 

I’ll level with you - it’s an ugly old coupon for us to get back to Premier League punting with. 

We’re not going to clear much of the Christmas credit card bill this week. But Badmen can’t be choosers. 

Match Results

Newcastle to beat Swansea
Man United to beat Stoke                          £1 Double returns £2.38
Chelsea to beat Leicester
Tottenham to beat Everton                         £1 Four-fold returns £4

Under 2.5 Goals

Palace v Burnley
Newcastle v Swansea
West Brom v Brighton                                 £1 Treble returns £3.75    

Draws

Palace v Burnley
Huddersfield v West Ham
West Brom v Brighton
Liverpool v Man City                                    £1.10 Yankee* returns £29 
                                                                     (Any two covers stakes)

*In this context a Yankee is not a morbidly obese racist, drinking a cawfee and telling a Yellow Cab that he’s ‘walking here!’ It is 11 bets in one – six Doubles, four Trebles and a Four-fold. A 10p Yankee bet costs £1.10 – 10 x 11 bets = £1.10.

To brighten up weekend wagers, I’m going to have a punt on the Half-time/ Full-time market. It’s a tricky one to land, so bet with money that jingles rather than folds. But it will add a bit of spice to Super Sunday…

Draw/ Arsenal
Draw/ Liverpool                                           £1 Double returns £32

I’ll be picking the bones out on Monday, plus having a squiz at the Man United v Stoke match.

Join me. 

Matt Nesbitt

Premier League Preview - Game Week 23

Thursday, January 11 2018

 

It’s back to Premier League business this weekend after those FA Cup shenanigans. Some gnat’s chuff pricing from the bookies means we only cleared 1.65pts from the six matches covered, despite a couple of clean sweeps. Eyes roll.

Still, I’ve squeegeed my third eye and focussed it fairly and squarely on this weekend’s coupon. And this is what it saw…

As per, the Tap Ins are short-price bankers best used in Doubles, Trebles and Accas.

The Smart Money bets are for pick-pocketing a bit of value out of the bookies. And there are a few Long Shots in there 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

Gertcha. 

Saturday:
Chelsea v Leicester

Coming sandwiched between EFL and FA Cup ties might add to the selection headaches, but it should be a straightforward enough home win. Chelsea are 100% at home to teams outside the Top Seven, conceding in just two of seven matches. Leicester are pointless in four visits to Top Half teams and have taken just 4pts from 32 v Top Six.
Tap in: Home Win but 2/7 is a no no.
Smart Money: Chelsea Win & Both Teams to Score is better at 19/10.
Scorecast: A repeat of the 2-1 at the King Power. 

Crystal Palace v Burnley
After five without a win in the Premier League, Burnley’s 100% white team lead by a ginger (not my words, L’Equipe magazine, fact) can’t afford to leave Palace empty handed. But Roy’s Boys have become accustomed to picking up points themselves. A creditable 17 from 10 games. And won’t roll over to those last century throwbacks with flat noses and big ears (yep, L’Equipe again).
Tap in: Burnley Draw No Bet at 13/8. 
Smart Money: Draw & Under 2.5 Goals isn’t bad value at 13/5.
Scorecast: A 1-1 would satisfy both camps.

Huddersfield Town v West Ham
Similarly, neither of these will be happy with anything less than a point here. But I’m not sure either team has got the juice to force three. This dilemma has been reflected in both teams’ recent results – six draws from nine between them. Wouldn’t back against another here.
Tap in: Nothing tap-innable here. 
Long Shot: Draw & Both Teams to Score looks the value at 7/2.
Scorecast: A slightly nervy 1-1.

Newcastle United v Swansea City
This match could be a defining one for both teams. A good cup win, four Premier League points and gutsy showing against Man City suggests a bit of momentum gathering for Newcastle. A win here will confirm it. Likewise, if Swansea lose here the stirring late revival at Watford can probably be put down to luck.  
Tap in: Home Win at Evens.
Smart Money: Newcastle Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 7/5. 
Long Shot: 1-0 and 2-0 Correct Scores at 5/1 and 7/1 (55:45 stakes).
Scorecast: I’ll go 2-0.
 
Watford v Southampton
Watford don’t seem to have won for months, but are still mid-table. But then you could say something about Southampton’s last five years. Just one away win all season – at a lowest-ebb Crystal Palace – should give Watford the chance to get a grip on their campaign again, but this isn’t one to put the farm on Badmen, so we’ll play the value.
Tap in: Watford or Draw at 4/11.
Long Shot: Watford Win & Both Teams to Score is value at 15/4.
Scorecast: Watford to edge it 2-1. I think.  

West Brom v Brighton
This has the look of another pivotal match for both parties. West Brom will see it as the best chance of a PL win since Palace at home (December 2nd) and until Southampton at home (Feb 3rd). That coming after three ugly looking away trips to Everton, Liverpool (FA Cup) and Man City. BUT…  Brighton will also see the chance to improve on their travel sickness – they’re five without a goal on the road.
Tap in: Under 2.5 Goals looks a gimme at 4/9.
Smart Money: The Draw & Under 2.5 Goals is worthy of the 9/4 offered.
Scorecast: Got a sneaky for Albion to pinch it – 1-0.

Tottenham v Everton
After a wobbly November, Tottenham had a good Christmas and look back ‘at it’. They have been very efficient against teams outside the Top Eight, with ten wins from 14 matches. In contract, Everton have gone flat after their initial Big Sam bounce. No wins in five – and just six shots on target (no, really!) – suggests Tottenham at a canter.  
Tap in: Tottenham at a canter, but 1/4 is too short.
Smart Money: Tottenham Win & Under 3.5 Goals at Evens.
Scorecast: A comfortable 2-0.

Sunday:
Bournemouth v Arsenal

Bournemouth seem to have come through the cruel run of December fixtures – United, City and Liverpool in the PL and Chelsea in the EFL Cup – relatively unscathed. No wins, but five points from the three matches since is as good a spell as they’ve managed all season. Still no points and just two goals from eight v Top Seven teams though. Although the visit of Arsenal isn’t daunting. Just three away wins has the Gunners punching around Leicester, Watford and Newcastle’s weight on the road. Can’t see them beaten though.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 8/15.
Smart Money: Mmm, I’m split between Arsenal Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 12/5 and the Draw & BTTS at 4/1 (60:40). 
Scorecast: Mmm, likewise 2-2/1-2, 2-2/ 1-2... 1-2.

Liverpool v Man City
Right then, who’s up for a little sport? I reckon Liverpool are one of the teams with the tools to beat City. And they’re in good fettle just now. With Dick Van Dyke on board their front four (five, or even six) will be happy to pour all over City and we know there are cracks, so expect a bit of seepage. Yes, yes, yes, City are well capable of scoring and winning at Anfield, but the value is with Liverpool. So let’s do it. 
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 4/9.
Smart Money: Liverpool Win & Both Teams to Score is value at 7/2.
Long Shot: The Draw/ Liverpool in the HT/ FT even more so at 6/1.
Scorecast: They both like a 2-1.

Monday:
Man United v Stoke City

Should be a bit of a free hit for United. Missing a manager for any length of time during January is bound to have agents circling like buzzards above Stoke’s dazed and confused players. A trip to Old Trafford doesn’t inspire the chills (or thrills) that is once did, but only City have been better at home so far - just three teams have scored there this season. And they owe Stoke for the dropped away points in September. 
Tap In: Home Win but 1/5 is,  like, waaay short. 
Smart Money: Man United Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 11/10. 
Scorecast: How about a 3-0.

Hows about that then?

Matt Nesbitt

FA Cup 3rd Round

Friday, January 5 2018

 

Quick update on my Christmas assessment…

That Arsenal and Chelsea lot did us a solid the other night, a-scoring and a-drawing at the Emirates. Adding 4/5 and a 16/5 winners into the pot. 

I had scored our four Christmas match days v the bookies as a win, a loss and two draws. But this counts as an injury time winner, so get ready for dressing room selfie. Shirts off, bellies in and say ‘win bonus’.  

Right, to FA Cup biznizz... I’ve picked six of the best, including the all-Premier League ties and a couple of Championship teams I happen to cover on duty for the bookies (don’t judge me – I’ve got an expensive wife-style to maintain). 

As per, the Tap Ins are short-price bankers best used in Doubles, Trebles and Accas.

The Smart Money bets are for pick-pocketing a bit of value out of the bookies. And there are a few Long Shots in there that are worth a punt. 

Suggested stakes: 1pt per Smart Money, 0.5pts per Long Shot up to 3/1, 0.25pts 3/1+.   

Friday:
Liverpool v Everton

If Everton’s unlikely draw – secured from their only shot of the match – at Liverpool a month ago tore up the formbook. Friday’s cup clash should Sellotape it back together again. Liverpool have scored 16 goals in the six matches since (including one blank) and won’t be anything like so wasteful this time.
The Big Sam effect has worn of in stages since assuming the throne at Goodison. Two wins were followed by two draws, which have given way to two defeats. But they are back in mid-table and that’s where their ambitions lay, not in the FA Cup. Liverpool, on the other hand will fancy their chances.
Tap in: Home Win but 2/5 is too short. 
Smart Money: Liverpool To Nil is better at 11/8. 
Scorecast: No mistakes – 2-0.

Man United v Derby County
With the big one (the Premier League) out of sight, the even bigger one (the Champions League) light years away, the Special One (Mourinho) might fancy the FA one this season. It would certainly help paper over a few cracks (just ask Arsene), just like the acquisition of the EFL and Europa Leagues did last term. It would also be one to add to the set for Jose and Zlatan.
Derby are going well in the Championship but this is likely to be as much a short-swapping exercise as anything. They have got smaller, but more catchable fish to fry. 
Tap in: Man United, but not at 1/4.
Long Shot: Draw/ Man United in the HT/FT at 27/10.
Scorecast: A late flurry 2-0.

Saturday:
Middlesbrough v Sunderland

Here’s a few things you might not know about Middlesbrough: It’s an industrial town on the River Tees and it’s a shithole. Only joking, of course - everybody knows it’s a shithole…
Currently 8th in the Championship Boro have been decent against teams outside the Top Six (W7 D2 L1) and beat Sunderland 1-0 in November. Six of their seven home wins have been To Nil. 
In the interests of balance, I should state that although Sunderland is bigger (it’s a city) it is every bit as shit as Middlesbrough, every day of the week. Except Saturdays. When it’s often worse. Three wins in the last eight matches is something of a revival in a dogs’ egg of a season which sees them bottom of the table. 
Tap in: Home Win at 3/4 – but I’d be more inclined to go…
Smart Money: Middlesbrough & Under 3.5 Goals at 6/5. Or even to cover both…
Long Shot: 1-0 and 2-0 Correct Scores at 5/1 and 7/1 (55:45 stakes for even coverage). 
Scorecast: I’ll go 2-0.

Man City v Burnley
Hmm, this might depend just how much Pep fancies the Quadruple. And I suspect he will. Which is a shame because Burnley might’ve been eyeing a cup run in their so far excellent season. Although – whisper it – but they had a stinker over Christmas. 
Three points from five matches, with just three goals scored is by far their worst form of the campaign. Of course, it’s all ‘look how far we’ve come’ and ‘this time last year’ from Sean Dyche – and quite right too. But if the margins of your success are small – six 1-0 wins so far, just saying – your collective arses are never far from reality’s snapping jaws. 
But, saying all that City can concede – just one clean sheet in six at home. And Burnley compete well. 
Tap in: Burnley (+3) Match Handicap at 4/7.
Smart Money: Man City & Under 3.5 Goals at 5/4.  
Long Shot: Draw/ Man City in the HT/ FT at 29/10.
Scorecast: City to find a way – 2-1.
 
Watford v Bristol City
Up until the end of November, Watford were the story of the Premier League season. Since then seven defeats from nine has introduced a nasty twist in the middle. But I think they’ve been a bit unlucky. A mixture of bad luck (v Tottenham, Palace and Swansea), a couple of unwinnable matches (v United and City) and a shitload of red cards (v Burnley, Palace and Huddersfield) has dealt them a raw deal.
Bristol City, however, will fancy their chances. Now they ARE the story of the Championship. A squad put together for a combined £65… favourites for relegation a year ago… a handicapped child for a goalkeeper… blah, blah, blah. Their efforts this season have been remarkable. Only leaders Wolves have been better on the road and seeing to Man United in the EFL won’t exactly deflate their big balls. 
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 4/5.
Smart Money: Watford & Both Teams to Score pays 2/1 – four times the Home Win.
Scorecast: Goalfest 4-2.

Monday:
Brighton v Crystal Palace

Someone on Five Live called this a derby the other day?! It’s 46 miles, for badness sake. That’s no more a derby than… I dunno… Stoke and Man City (43 miles).  But it is on TV. So…
Brighton are one of the most consistent teams in the Premier League. They pretty much punch their weight – W3 D2 v Bottom Five, L5 v Top Five and W2 D6 L4 v the rest. Palace’s form over the last ten matches – W4 D5 L1 – puts them smack in the middle of that and have added away wins to their armoury in two of the last three. Both have got more pressing business in the league but I fancy a little light relief of FA Cup magic might make this a bit of a thriller.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at Evens.
Smart Money: Draw at 17/5 could well land. 
Long Shot: Draw & Over 2.5 Goals is worth a punt at 14/1. 
Scorecast: Can see a desmond here – 2-2

Here’s to a sweet FA Cup weekend.

Matt Nesbitt

What we learned over Christmas

Wednesday, January 3 2018

 

Where do we start...?

Well, gin and Baileys doesn’t mix… Police horses are bigger than you think… It was Jesus born on Christmas Day, not Elvis…  Victoria’s Secret… (They’re vests and pants).

And at the halfway point of the season, we’re on track.

Punting is for life not just Christmas…

For all the talk of the crippling festive fixture pile-up – including from our own Ben Dinnery on the BBC, but I’ll get onto that in a moment. We emerged the side other of four match days in decent fettle.

Game Week 19 (pre-Christmas) and Game Week 22 (the New Year matches) broke even. The two in-between hit the heights of a 21pts profit and a barrel-scraping 9pts loss. So we’ll call that two draws, a win and a defeat. Same as Palace. 

Could’ve been better, of course. One less goal here (or, even better – Burnley)… a couple of Cards there… (or, to be specific Leicester and Everton)… and we’re bundling 4/1, 9/2 and 13/2 winners into the Collect column.  

But we’ll take it. The second half of the season is always more punter-friendly. The table has taken shape, agendas have developed and battles are chosen more carefully. Plus, there's half a season of form in the book so the sailing will get more plain from here on in.

Ben on the Beeb…

Normally the thought of waking up to the lilting Geordie tones of Ben Dinnery brings me out in a cold sweat – four years on the bottom bunk of that Mexican jail cell has left its mark… 

But when it comes via the radio on BBC Five Live, it is a thing of beauty.

Being the MAN when it comes to football injuries, the Big Dinn made more sense in five minutes on Wednesday morning than those clowns Savage, Hartson, Neville and Shearer have in the last five years. 

It’s only a matter of time until the world catches on that injury knowledge is a key tool to cashing at the bookies and elsewhere…

Taking stock…

We hear from plenty of tuned-in cookies who are trading on Ben’s injury insight on Football Index.

It’s a kind of stock market for footballers, where you can buy and sell players at fluctuating prices – based on their performances on the pitch and in the media. It’s good. Very smart. 

And lucrative too. The sharpest Fantasy Football-types have been turning over four-figure profits all season – which, between you and me, is two-figures more than I’ve made most weeks.

But I’m hooked. Especially now the Transfer Window is open. It's party time.

Have a look here. You just might love it. 

But when the fun stops… keep going. Yeah?

I’ll be back on your screens on Friday with a look at a selection of sweet FA Cup ties. 

Matt Nesbitt


 

 

Who the hell is Matt Nesbitt?

Punter. Tipster. Collector. Of winnings.

Meet the good boy behind Badman Betting...

World Cup 2010 Prediction Panel with Ruud Gullit and Sky’s Charlotte Jackson

World Cup 2010 Prediction Panel with Ruud Gullit and Sky’s Charlotte Jackson

The planned football career that would allow Matt to spend every afternoon in the bookies was cut mercifully short. So he was able to spend his mornings there too.

But rather than spunk his (sweet) FA pension on a day-tripper to Palookaville, Matt played smart. He watched, he listened. Learned his trade and earned a reputation.

But the bookies don’t like a winner...

First they closed his accounts. Then they tried legal action to shut down his tipping services. Now they employ him.

Matt has been providing winning football advice since 1998. And whether it has been via post, premium rate phone line, email, TV or Twitter – he has always made punters money.

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