Football Betting

Oct 24, 4 mins ago

Premier League preview weekend 25-26 October 2014

Premier League preview weekend 25-26 October 2014

Chelsea continue to set the pace in the Premier League although their unbeaten start faces a tough test on Sunday as they travel to Manchester United in the tie of the weekend.

Elsewhere, Southampton and West Ham can continue their good form in front of their home fans while QPR could finally register their first win of the campaign. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

After several weeks of looking nailed on for relegation there were signs in QPR’s narrow 3-2 defeat to Liverpool last Sunday that Harry Redknapp’s side have not given up yet. Rangers were unlucky not to get something from the game and they can get their season up and running on Monday night when they welcome out-of-form Aston Villa to Loftus Road.

After a decent start to the season Villa now sit in the bottom half of the table and they have gone 441 minutes without a goal. Considering they haven’t scored in their last four Premier League matches and have conceded eleven goals in the process confidence isn’t high and QPR can exploit that by grabbing a valuable first win of the campaign at 6/4.

All Saturday’s matches

I tipped West Ham to continue their good run of form last week and the Hammers duly obliged with a comfortable win at Burnley. Things get a little harder for Sam Allardyce’s side this weekend, however, as they welcome Manchester City to Upton Park in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

Sergio Aguero scored four times in City’s win over Spurs last weekend and the Blues look like the only team that can challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title this season. It will be a tough 90 minutes for City and the draw looks good value at 16/5.

Liverpool still haven’t really shown any great form this season and face a tricky home tie against Hull City. Hull came within a couple of minutes of winning at the Emirates last week after an excellent performance and they could make it difficult against an under-pressure Liverpool team at Anfield.

Hull are 6/1 to win while the draw is available at 10/3.

Southampton stuck eight past Sunderland last week and can continue their excellent run with a win over Stoke City at 4/7. Sunderland have promised to refund fans who made the long trip to the South Coast and they will have to up their game significantly if they want to get anything out of their match with Arsenal.

The Gunners were lucky to escape with a draw against Hull and are 4/6 to win at the Stadium of Light. If you fancy a real turnaround from the home side you can back the Black Cats at 4/1.

West Bromwich Albion gave Manchester United a scare on Monday and should be good enough in front of their home fans to see off Crystal Palace at 10/11. In Saturday’s late kick-off Swansea City can end their five match winless run with a win over Leicester City at 19/20.

The rest of the weekend’s action

Louis van Gaal’s assertion that Manchester United were ready to make a title push was rather undermined by another shaky defensive performance on Monday night as his side grabbed a 2-2 draw with West Brom. It gets much harder for United this weekend as they welcome league leaders Chelsea to Old Trafford.

Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the campaign with a win at Palace and ought to pose United’s defence plenty of problems. The home side have conceded in all but one of their home ties this season and I expect Jose Mourinho’s to score. The away side look terrific value to win at 6/4.

Burnley have scored just four Premier League goals so far this season and face another tricky tie this weekend. Everton are the visitors on Sunday and I fully expect the Toffees to take the three points at 5/6.

Newcastle United finally won a Premier League match last weekend but the pressure could once again mount on Alan Pardew this Sunday as they travel to Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been frustratingly inconsistent this season and have scored just one goal in their last three home Premier League matches.

Spurs are the 8/11 favourites but there may be plenty of interest on the visitors at 4/1.

Premier League betting


Oct 17, 7 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 18-19 October 2014

Premier League preview weekend 18-19 October 2014

The two title favourites lead the way in the Premier League as domestic action returns after the international break.

There are some intriguing fixtures to look forward to this weekend and there’s some decent value available on a couple of away sides. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

Burnley are still without a Premier League win and face another tough test this weekend as they welcome West Ham to Turf Moor.

The home side showed plenty of spirit to twice come from behind last time out to earn a 2-2 draw with Leicester. However, despite a reasonably solid defence they have only scored three Premier League goals and have failed to hit the net in five of their seven matches so far.

West Ham have been much improved this season and could end up in a European spot at the end of the weekend if they can bag three points. Considering Burnley’s lack of goals and the Hammers’ current form the away win looks great value at 13/18

All Saturday’s matches

Saturday’s early kick-off sees Manchester City take on Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium. City are already five points behind league leaders Chelsea and need a win to keep up the pressure on their title rivals.

Spurs are unbeaten away from home in the league this season and could be tricky opponents having drawn at Arsenal last time out. City won the corresponding fixture 6-0 last season and are 4/9 to pick up another three points.

It’s a repeat of the FA Cup final at the Emirates on Saturday as Arsenal welcome Hull City. Just a point separates the two sides after seven matches and the home side have yet more injury problems with both Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey set to miss this match.

Hull recorded their first win since the opening day of the season last time out and could be stubborn opponents for injury-ravaged Arsenal. The home side should win but there’s not much value in the 1/3 available. Hull are a tempting 8/1.

Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at the end of March all but ended the Blues’ title challenge last season and the two London sides meet again at Selhurst Park this Saturday. Chelsea are already five points clear at the top of the table and I don’t expect lightning to strike twice in this fixture.

Jose Mourinho’s side are 4/11 to continue their excellent start to the season with Palace available at 15/2.

After a good start to the season, Aston Villa have come down to earth with a bump, losing three matches on the bounce and failing to score in 351 minutes of football. Villa travel to Everton this Saturday who themselves are enduring a shaky spell of form.

The Toffees haven’t won at Goodison Park this season despite scoring seven goals in their three matches and have just six points from seven games. A home win looks likely at 8/15 but Villa can call on the fit-again Christian Benteke and could be awkward opponents.


Every game seems to be a ‘mustn’t lose’ for Alan Pardew and Newcastle United right now but you can’t help feel that a home defeat to Leicester City would be the end of the manager’s reign.

Papiss Cisse has saved his manager’s job on two occasions this season and could be the man to fire the Magpies to their first win of the campaign. Newcastle look decent value at 6/5 to get the three points.

After five draws in six matches Sunderland finally won their first Premier League match of the season last time out. Gus Poyet’s side face a long away trip to Southampton on Saturday and look terrific value at 5/1 to secure back-to-back wins.

The Saints have been terrific this season but lost to Spurs last time out and face a well-organised Black Cats side who found their touch in front of goal last time out. The home side are 4/7 favourites with the draw available at 29/10.

The rest of the weekend’s action

It’s been a less than consistent start to the season for Liverpool who secured a valuable three points last time out in a nervy win over West Brom. Life should be easier for Brendan Rogers’ side on Sunday, however, as they travel to struggling QPR.

Rangers are bottom of the league with the worst goal difference in the division and have been poor so far this campaign. Harry Redknapp’s side have failed to score in four of their seven Premier League matches this season and Liverpool should secure a morale boosting win at 4/7.

Stoke City fans haven’t had much to cheer about at the Britannia this season. Mark Hughes side have lost two of their three home matches, scoring just one goal in the process, and will hope to do better this Sunday. Swansea City are the visitors and despite sitting fifth in the table Garry Monk’s side haven’t won in four Premier League matches.

The two teams drew 1-1 in this fixture last season and a draw could be on the cards again at 23/10.

West Bromwich Albion were unlucky to lose at Anfield a fortnight ago after back-to-back wins and face Manchester United in Monday night’s live match.

Last time these two teams met at the Hawthorns United won 3-0 and two seasons ago it was a 5-5 draw. Considering United’s shaky defence it could be another goalfest and it is 4/7 that both teams score. United are still struggling to find the right blend and so a home win could be good value at 10/3.

Premier League betting

Oct 3, 21 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 4-5 October 2014

Premier League preview weekend 4-5 October 2014

There’s some great Premier League action to look forward to this weekend. Sunday sees six of the league’s best sides go head to head in three intriguing fixtures including the London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

Only a linesman’s flag and the distance of a short head prevented West Ham United from securing a deserved point in last Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford and Sam Allardyce’s side have acquitted themselves well so far this season.

Match of the Day pundit Phil Neville believes that this is the best Hammers side for some seasons and they can carry on their good start to the season with a home win over struggling QPR on Sunday afternoon.

QPR have the worst goal difference in the division and have scored just four goals so far this campaign. Harry Redknapp is likely to receive a good reception from the fans of his former club but this looks like a comfortable home win. You can back West Ham at 10/11.

Saturday’s action

It’s been a mixed start to the season for Liverpool who once again dropped points last weekend. Phil Jagielka’s late strike saw Everton grab a draw in the Merseyside derby and Brendan Rogers’ problems intensified when defender Mamadou Sakho left the stadium ahead of the match and has since been omitted from the squad.

Liverpool host West Bromwich Albion this Saturday. After a slow start to the season the Baggies have come to life in recent weeks, beating Spurs a fortnight ago and comfortably seeing off Burnley last weekend. This could be a tricky tie for the home side on current form and the draw at 4/1 looks decent value.

Burnley haven’t scored since the 14th minute of the Premier League season and have now failed to find the net in five successive matches. While their defence has been pretty solid – at least until last Sunday – they are struggling at the other end of the pitch and sit at the foot of the table.

The Clarets travel to Leicester City this weekend who came down to earth with a bump last Saturday, losing 2-0 to Crystal Palace after their exhilarating win over Manchester United a fortnight ago. Despite their defeat last week Nigel Pearson’s side should win this one at 3/4.

If you want entertaining matches then Hull City have been the team to follow this season. Despite not winning since the opening day of the campaign there have been plenty of goals in the Tigers’ matches this year with fourteen in their last three Premier League games.

City take on Crystal Palace this weekend who remain unbeaten under new boss Neil Warnock. Steve Bruce’s side will surely begin to click at some point and I expect them to win this one at evens.

Stoke City lifted themselves into the top half of the table with their win over Newcastle on Monday night and Mark Hughes’ side travel to Sunderland on Saturday. Stoke won at the Stadium of Light in the Capital One Cup earlier this season and Sunderland are still searching for their first win of the campaign after three successive draws. It’s 11/5 that this will end up all square.

A win for Swansea City at home to Newcastle United would surely be the final nail in Alan Pardew’s coffin. Swansea already have ten points from their six matches and have only conceded one goal at the Liberty Stadium this season. The home side look good value at 4/5.

Saturday’s late kick-off sees Aston Villa take on Manchester City. After a good start to the season Villa have lost their last two games 3-0 to title challengers although they could have talismanic striker Christian Benteke back for this fixture. City should be too strong for Villa and you can back a 3-0 away win at 10/1.

Three big games on Sunday

If Louis van Gaal can manage to find eleven fit players then his Manchester United side take on Everton in Sunday’s lunchtime match. United scraped a 2-1 win over West Ham last week although lost Wayne Rooney to suspension and Ander Herrera to a fractured rib.

Everton will provide stubborn opposition and there’s not much value in a home win at 8/11. The draw is 11/4 and Everton are 15/4 to win.

There is little love lost between Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and Arsenal supremo Arsene Wenger and the two London sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea have a fearsome home record under Mourinho and head into this one on top of the table. The home side should win at 4/6.

Mauricio Pochettino faces his former club this weekend as Spurs welcome Southampton to White Hart Lane. Saints sit second in the league after Graziano Pelle’s spectacular winning goal against QPR last weekend and have performed better than anyone expected in their first half a dozen games.

Spurs have been better away from home than at the Lane this season and have already lost to both Liverpool and West Brom. This could be a close game but I like the home side’s chances at 6/5.

Premier League betting


Sep 26, 28 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 27-28 September 2014

Premier League preview weekend 27-28 September 2014

Chelsea continue to lead the Premier League after their 1-1 draw at title rivals Manchester City last weekend although few expected their nearest challengers in late September to be Ronald Koeman’s Southampton.

There are two local derbies to look forward to this weekend and eight other intriguing fixtures. Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

After a disappointing start to the season, West Bromwich Albion gained their first win of the campaign last weekend with an excellent 1-0 win against Spurs. With Alan Irvine having signed ten new players this summer it was always likely to take time to find the right blend but the Baggies seemed to gel well in their win at White Hart Lane.

West Brom face Burnley at the Hawthorns in Sunday’s live match. Burnley have certainly been well organised defensively in recent weeks – Sean Dyche’s side have three consecutive clean sheets – but have found goals hard to come by.

The Baggies have yet to win at home this season but can give their home fans something to cheer about this weekend. It should be a tight affair but I fancy West Brom to win this one at evens.

The weekend’s other action

The weekend’s Premier League action kicks off at Anfield as Liverpool face Everton in the first Merseyside derby of the season.

It’s not been the best start to the season for Brendan Rogers’ side and he admitted after their defeat to West Ham last weekend that they were nowhere near the standards he expects. Everton have also endured a shaky start to the season and lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace last Sunday in front of the Goodison faithful.

Everton haven’t won at Anfield since 1999 and I expect the home side to win this at 5/6.

After their 5-3 defeat to Leicester City last Sunday it was clear that Louis van Gaal still has plenty of work to do on his Manchester United side. While the Dutchman continues to find the right formation and blend of talent his side are blessed with winnable fixtures and this Saturday they host West Ham.

At home the expansive attacking approach is likely to pay better dividends and Man Utd should win, although there’s not much value at 4/11. It is 8/11 that both teams score and that could be the safer bet here.

After their great start to the season Aston Villa came down to earth with a 3-0 home defeat last weekend and Chelsea should inflict their second defeat in a week with a win at 2/9. Title rivals Manchester City face a trickier tie away at Hull City and the home side are a tempting looking 5/1 to win. City can be backed at 4/7.

If Leicester City continue their current form throughout the autumn then they should easily secure their survival in the Premier League. Nigel Pearson’s side have been terrific so far this campaign and travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Palace are a hard side to beat but I fancy City to continue their excellent start to the campaign with an away win at 7/4.

Southampton have been the surprise package of the Premier League so far this season and the Saints had an excellent win at Arsenal in the week in the Capital One Cup. Ronald Koeman’s side can continue their good form on Saturday with a win against struggling QPR at 4/9.

Sunderland have yet to record a win in this season’s Premier League although have an eminently winnable fixture this weekend as they welcome Swansea City. Swansea have been excellent under Garry Monk this season but I fancy the home side to finally get a morale boosting win at 13/8.

The second local derby of the day is Saturday’s late kick-off where Arsenal take on Spurs. Under Mauricio Pochettino Spurs have been better away from home than at White Hart Lane this season and are unbeaten on the road in both the Premier League and Europe.

Arsenal have injury problems in defence and lost at the Emirates in midweek. With neither team in scintillating form this could be a close match but I fancy the home side to prevail at 4/5.

Monday night’s fixture features two teams both in need of a win. Stoke City welcome Newcastle United with both sides in the bottom half of the table after disappointing starts.

Stoke have lost both their home Premier League fixtures so far this season while Newcastle are yet to register a win. A defeat for Newcastle could spell the end for Alan Pardew but I think Stoke are the better side and are great value at the Britannia at 23/20.

Premier League betting

Sep 19, 35 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 20-21 September 2014

Premier League preview weekend 20-21 September 2014

Chelsea kept up their 100% record last weekend with a 4-2 win over Swansea and head into Sunday’s big match with Manchester City at the top of the table.

A loss for Newcastle United, West Ham or West Brom could be a fatal blow to their manager – even this early in the season – and so it’s a big week of fixtures for all sorts of reasons. Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

Had Scott Arfield converted his 85th minute penalty against Crystal Palace last weekend, Burnley would sit in 13th place in the table on the back of a win, a draw and two clean sheets.

As it is, Sean Dyche will have been encouraged by his team’s last two performances in draws against Manchester United and Palace although a lack of goals could be Burnley’s problem this season. The Clarets are at home again this weekend and face Sunderland who have just three points from their four games.

Both teams have yet to win in the Premier League this season and Sunderland were a little lucky to escape with a point from last Saturday’s home match with Spurs. It took a late Harry Kane own goal to rescue a point for the Black Cats and Gus Poyet admitted that Sunderland had to work hard for a point.

This should be a close game but it’s only a matter of time before Dyche’s organised side get a little bit of luck and record their first win. Burnley look excellent value to beat Sunderland at Turf Moor at 6/4.

Saturday’s other action

It has been a frustrating season so far for Stoke City. A terrific win at Manchester City has been sandwiched between home defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester City and Stoke have now lost consecutive home matches for the first time since April 2013.

Mark Hughes’ side travel to struggling QPR in Saturday’s early kick-off in a match they would hope to win. QPR were well beaten last Sunday and I fancy Stoke to win at 9/5.

Before the season began you’d have got long odds on Aston Villa being Chelsea’s closest challengers in mid-September. An organised and disciplined performance saw Villa win at Anfield last weekend and Paul Lambert’s high-flying side welcome Arsenal to Villa Park on Saturday.

After their European exertions and with some defensive injury problems it could be a good time to face Arsenal. Villa are 7/2 to win with Arsenal available at a skinny 4/5.

A defeat for Newcastle United at St James Park this weekend would almost certainly be the end for Alan Pardew. The Magpies play Hull City and it promises to be a toxic atmosphere on Tyneside.

Despite their summer investment Hull haven’t really clicked this season and twice gave away a lead on Monday night to draw 2-2 with QPR. Newcastle ought to win – and desperately need to – but United have been rotten this season so far and Hull look the value at 13/5.

Third plays fourth at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday as Swansea City face Southampton. Both teams play attractive football and this could be an entertaining tie between two of the league’s more aesthetically pleasing sides. Swansea are 6/4 although this could be a high scoring draw at 23/10.

It’s been a disappointing start to the season for Liverpool and they face a tricky away tie at West Ham in Saturday’s late kick-off. Liverpool are 8/11 to win but the 4/1 on a home win looks tempting.

Top clubs in action on Sunday

Both Leicester City and Manchester United recorded their first league wins of the season last weekend and the two sides meet at the King Power Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.

United looked to have finally clicked in their win over QPR and, if their superstars play as they did last weekend, they should have too much for City at 8/13. In the 4pm kick-off, Everton can follow up their 2-0 win at WBA with a home win over Crystal Palace at 2/5.

Mauricio Pochettino said that Spurs had to improve after their 2-2 draw with Sunderland last week. His side look to have a winnable home match this Sunday against West Bromwich Albion where the pressure is starting to build on boss Alan Irvine with his side yet to record a win. Spurs should secure the three points at 1/2.

Sunday’s big match sees the two main title rivals go head to head. Manchester City host Chelsea and this promises to be an intriguing tie. City’s form this season has been variable while Chelsea have recorded four wins out of four and top the table.

I think the title will go to one or other of these sides but Chelsea can strike an early blow with an away win at 9/5.

Premier League betting

Sep 18, 36 days ago

2014/15 Europa League preview

2014/15 Europa League preview

It’s the sixth season of the revamped Europa League this season and while the group stage may be just beginning, the qualifying rounds have actually been taking place since early July.

48 teams enter the group stages from nations as far afield as Belarus, Norway, Slovakia, Croatia and Azerbaijan. There’s the usual mixture of big names and lesser known sides with the final set to be held in Warsaw in May. Keep reading for our preview of this season’s Europa League.

The favourites

One of the main issues with looking at potential winners of the Europa League is that, as yet, we don’t know who eight of the sides in the final 32 will be. Third place teams from the Champions League groups drop into the competition as the knockout rounds begin and, in the five years of the rebranded Europa League, two of the eventual winners haven’t even been in the competition at this stage.

Chelsea in 2013 and Atletico Madrid in 2010 both dropped into the Europa League after their Champions League elimination and so there could be some strong teams yet to enter the tournament.

Of the teams already in the group stage, Napoli look worthy favourites. Having finished third in Serie A, Rafa Benitez’s side would have expected to reach the Champions League group stages but were eliminated 4-2 on aggregate by Athletic Bilbao in the final play-off round.

Napoli fell to a surprise 1-0 home defeat to Chievo last weekend but in a group featuring Sparta Prague, Young Boys and Slovan Bratislava they should easily make the knockouts. Bear in mind, though, that an Italian side hasn’t reached the final of UEFA’s second tier competition since back in 1999.

Spurs have been a regular in the Europa League in recent years and are available at 16/1 but a better bet looks to be last year’s winners Sevilla at 20/1. Spanish sides have won three of the last five Europa League titles and Unai Emery’s side have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the La Liga season.

Wolfsburg are the Bundesliga’s leading challengers at 25/1 while Villareal could also go well at the same price. Everton are also 25/1 but face a tough challenge to overcome both Wolfsburg and Lille in Group H.

Outsiders to watch

For obvious reasons, Russian and Ukrainian sides won’t face each other in the early stages of this season’s Europa League. Both countries have boasted winners of this tournament in the last decade with CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg and Shakhtar Donetsk all claiming the title since 2005.

It is Dynamo Moscow’s first appearance in the Europa League and they reached the group stage by the skin of their teeth, eventually seeing off Omonia Nicosia after extra-time in the play-off round. They stand third in the Russian Premier League after seven matches and look to have a comfortable group alongside Estoril, PSV Eindhoven and Panathanaikos.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s side are 66/1 and that represents decent each-way value.

This season’s Europa League final will be in Warsaw and so it may be worth keeping an eye on the current Polish champions, Legia Warsaw. Eliminated from the Champions League in controversial circumstances – they beat Celtic but fielded an ineligible player – Henning Berg’s team have won the last two Polish league titles and aren’t in the toughest group.

Last season they lost five of their six group games – including a defeat to minnows Apollon Limassol – but I fancy they could emulate their 2012 performance when they reached the knockout stages. With a home final to aim for the 100/1 could tumble with a decent result against Trabzonspor, Lokeren or FC Metalist Kharkiv.

Europa League Betting

Sep 12, 42 days ago

2014 Champions League Preview

2014 Champions League Preview

The European Cup celebrates its 60th season this year and the competition had begun before this summer’s World Cup had even finished. 77 teams will participate in this season’s Champions League with just two left by the time the final arrives in Berlin on 6 June 2015.

Real Madrid are the favourites to retain the title they won last May. Keep reading for our preview of this season’s Champions League.

The favourites

After their 4-1 victory over city rivals Atletico in last season’s final, Real Madrid would already have been one of the favourites to win this year’s tournament. However, having invested €120 million in the likes of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos the ten-time champions look stronger than ever.

The Spanish giants have kept hold of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema and look to have the most potent attacking line-up in the competition, although they will have to adapt to life without their inspirational playmaker Xabi Alonso. Real don’t have the easiest group stage – they have both Liverpool and Basel – but are worthy favourites at 7/2.

Another team with a tricky group draw are 4/1 second favourites Bayern Munich. They will have to overcome Manchester City, CSKA Moscow and Roma to progress but the German side have arguably been Europe’s best club team for the last two or three years.

As well as boasting the spine of Germany’s World Cup winning side they also have added class this summer. Robert Lewandowski looks like an upgrade on the departed Mario Mandzukic while Mehdi Benatia will bring experience to the defence. Pep Guardiola has also signed Xabi Alonso who could be the key to Bayern’s success.

Last year’s semi-finalists Chelsea have also spent wisely this summer, adding Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa to their ranks. Jose Mourinho is a Champions League master and I expect the Blues to reach the latter stages of the competition. They look good value at 7/1 to win the trophy.

Barcelona should negotiate a straightforward group stage by which time they will be able to call on Luis Suarez to partner Neymar and Lionel Messi in a fearsome attack. Big spending Paris St Germain reached the quarter-final stage last year and could go better at 16/1 while the last two beaten finalists – Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund – are both available at 25/1.

Outsiders to watch

No-one gave Atletico much hope of success last season but the Spanish champions ended up being a matter of seconds from lifting their first European Cup.

Could this season’s surprise package be La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao? It’s the Basque side’s first Champions League appearance after finishing fourth in La Liga last season and with a manageable group they could go well.

Ernesto Valverde’s side have lost midfield playmaker Ander Herrera to Manchester United but should qualify from a group including Porto, BATE Borisov and troubled Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk. The San Mames is an intimidating stadium for any visitors and anything can happen in the knockout stages. Athletic are one to watch at 80/1.

It may also be worth keeping an eye on 2002 Champions League finalists Bayer Leverkusen. Having spent wisely this summer Roger Schmidt’s side have got off to an excellent start in the Bundesliga, winning at rivals Dortmund and putting four past Hertha Berlin.

Leverkusen don’t face a major European superpower in Group C – they face Monaco, Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg – and should qualify for the knockout stages. The 80/1 available looks like excellent value.

Champions League betting

Sep 4, 50 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 13-14 September 2014

Premier League preview weekend 13-14 September 2014

The transfer window has closed until January and this weekend will give thousands of fans the first chance to see some of their club’s new players in action. With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Danny Welbeck, Hatem Ben Arfa and Sandro moving clubs there will be plenty of interest in the debuts of some of these multi-million pound stars.

Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

Crystal Palace’s search for a new manager ended with the appointment of Neil Warnock: a man whose philosophy seems to be a reasonable match for former boss Tony Pulis.

Since his appointment Warnock has added proven Premier League experience in the form of James MacArthur, Kevin Doyle and Wilfried Zaha as well as promise in the form of ex-Spurs defender Zeki Fryers. More importantly, he has also been able to keep hold of the core of his team.

After their excellent run at the end of last season I don’t think Crystal Palace have become a poor team overnight. Still well organised and with some decent players they perhaps ought to have won at Newcastle last week and I expect them to get their campaign up and running with a home win on Saturday against Burnley.

Burnley have endured a tricky start to the campaign although were spirited in defeats to Swansea and Chelsea and secured their first point of the season last Saturday against fellow strugglers Manchester United.

Sean Dyche’s side really need a win sooner rather than later but Crystal Palace look fantastic value at 11/10 to get their first three points of the season.

All the other action

Two of the title challengers meet in Saturday’s early kick-off as Arsenal host Manchester City.

The Gunners’ early transfer business had whetted the fans’ appetite for the new season but the injury to Olivier Giroud and a lack of defensive reinforcements have left supporters concerned about the lack of arrivals. Danny Welbeck should slot straight into Arsenal’s attack for this match and the England international should prove a more effective front man than either Yaya Sanogo or Lukas Podolski.

Manchester City slumped to an unexpected defeat at home to Stoke last weekend and have rather blown hot and cold this season so far. When they have been good they have been very good and I fancy them to cause Arsenal’s defence some problems. An entertaining draw could be the call here with 2-2 available at 10/1.

Chelsea’s record at Stamford Bridge is second to none and they can end Swansea City’s 100% start to the season with a win at 1/4. Liverpool should also record a comfortable home win and are 1/4 to beat high flying Aston Villa. I also like Stoke City’s chances of following up their win over Manchester City with a home victory over Leicester City at evens.

Spurs had shown encouragement to their fans with their early performances before coming crashing down to earth in a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool last Sunday. Mauricio Pochettino’s side head to Sunderland this weekend and face a tricky test against Gus Poyet’s well organised if limited side. This is precisely the sort of match that Spurs tend to lose and the 5/2 on a home victory looks terrific value.

It may well also be worth a speculative punt on West Bromwich Albion to register their first win of the season as they take on Everton at the Hawthorns. Once Alan Irvine’s raft of new signings starts to click they should end up comfortably in mid table and could have enough to beat Everton at 23/10.

Southampton are 5/6 to follow up their win last Saturday with victory at home over Newcastle United.

Sunday’s match sees Manchester United try to register their first win of the season as they host QPR. While their attacking talent may be the envy of the league – Mata, Rooney, van Persie and Falcao – their lack of defensive reinforcements mean that Louis van Gaal’s side remain vulnerable. I fancy United to beat QPR but the evens on both teams to score looks good value.

Hull City have been one of the transfer window’s biggest spenders and can parade the likes of Gaston Ramirez, Mohamed Diame, Hatem Ben Arfa and Abel Hernandez as they welcome West Ham United on Monday evening.

Steve Bruce has added proven quality to an already decent side and they can hasten Sam Allardyce’s inevitable departure with a win at 6/5.

Premier League betting

Aug 28, 57 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 30-31 August 2014

Premier League preview weekend 30-31 August 2014

Four teams take a 100% record into the third weekend of Premier League fixtures with Spurs setting the early pace at the top of the table. There have been plenty of talking points already so far this season, and there are more intriguing fixtures this weekend.

Keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

To celebrate the 50th birthday of Match of the Day last weekend, the BBC brought back seasoned commentator Barry Davies for one week only. It had been 45 years since Davies had commentated on his first match for the show and he returned to the scene of his first report – Selhurst Park – for the anniversary.

What he saw was a spirited West Ham side with no shortage of quality comfortably beat Crystal Palace. Sam Allardyce has been charged this season with not only improving results but also the style of his side and there was plenty to enjoy in the 3-1 win.

West Ham host Southampton this weekend and while the Hammers were winning in style, the Saints were labouring to a 0-0 draw at home against West Brom. I have said it before and will say it again: Ronald Koeman’s managerial record over the years is extremely mediocre and I fear for Southampton’s season, especially considering their exodus of players over the summer.

If West Ham can play as they did last weekend they should have too much for the struggling Saints. Back the home side at 8/5.

All the other action

While there may have been an unfamiliar look about Manchester United’s line-up in the Capital One Cup this week, the combined starting eleven can boast almost 700 league appearances for the side. That makes their 4-0 capitulation to the MK Dons even more humbling and United head to Turf Moor in Saturday’s early kick-off knowing that they can’t afford another defeat – this time to promoted Burnley.

Burnley have played well in patches in both their games this season without any points to show for it but will take encouragement from their last season in the top flight when they beat United in an early season encounter. Angel di Maria could make his United debut after his record move (he is 11/5 to score on his debut) but considering how badly they have played to date the 8/15 on the away side doesn’t look very generous.

Everton take on Chelsea in Saturday’s tea-time kick off and that could be a terrific match. Everton were cruising to victory against Arsenal last week before switching off in the last ten minutes while Chelsea had to dig deep to see off Leicester. This should be close but Mourinho’s side can nick this at 11/10.

Manchester City should have no problem in dispatching Stoke City at 2/11 on Saturday afternoon while Newcastle can register their first win of the campaign by beating Crystal Palace who will have new boss Neil Warnock in charge at St James’ Park.  QPR are 6/4 to get off the mark with a win against Sunderland while Swansea can make it three wins out of three with a home victory over West Bromwich Albion at 17/20.

Sunday’s big match sees league leaders Spurs take on Liverpool at White Hart Lane. This fixture last season ended 5-0 to the Reds but I envisage it being closer this time around. Spurs are 8/5 to win and stay top of the table while Liverpool need to bounce back after their defeat to Manchester City and can be backed at 17/10.

Aston Villa have enjoyed a better start to the season than many expected and can continue their good form with a home win over Hull City at 5/4. And, now that they have safely reached the Champions League group stage, Arsenal can concentrate on the league and should start with a win at Leicester City at 4/5.

Premier League betting

Aug 22, 63 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 23-24 August 2014

Premier League preview weekend 23-24 August 2014

There was plenty of action and talking points in the opening weekend of the Premier League season. Louis van Gaal’s reign as Manchester United manager ended in home defeat while all the title challengers came through their opening fixtures with wins.

There are more intriguing fixtures this weekend and so keep reading for our preview of all the Premier League action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

Earlier this summer, Louis van Gaal admitted that his first three months in charge of Manchester United would be ‘a struggle’. The Dutchman confessed that his aim in the first three months at a club has been to ‘survive’ and that it takes time for new teams to get used to his tactics and management style.

That was apparent in United’s opening day defeat to Swansea where it was clear that van Gaal faces problems both in terms of personnel and performances. With a major injury crisis and another player departing this week (Nani has gone to Sporting Lisbon) things could get worse at Old Trafford before they get better.

On Sunday United travel to Sunderland who opened their campaign with an encouraging 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion. Gus Poyet still needs to add a striker to his squad – the talk this week has been of signing Danny Welbeck – but in recent years the Black Cats have shown that they can go toe to toe with the big guns at the Stadium of Light.

Van Gaal’s first three Bayern Munich games ended in two 1-1 draws and a defeat and with a threadbare squad it could be another tricky weekend. Sunderland look terrific value at 7/2 to heap more pressure on the United manager.

All the other action

The title contenders all opened with wins although some were made to work harder for them than expected. Liverpool overcome Southampton 2-1 and feature in the match of the weekend as they travel to Manchester City on Monday night.

City looked comfortable in their win at St James Park last Sunday and were excellent at home last season. They look good value at 17/20 to make it two wins out of two.

Arsenal scored a last minute winner to see off Crystal Palace before a reasonably successful trip to Turkey where they drew 0-0 with Besiktas in the first leg of their Champions League play-off. They face a tricky away tie at Everton in Saturday’s late kick-off and this promises to be a terrific match.

There is little to choose in the betting between these two sides but I fancy the Gunners to prevail in a close match at 8/5.

Chelsea should have too much for promoted Leicester at 2/9 while Spurs welcome back a former manager as they face Harry Redknapp’s QPR at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Spurs can make it two wins out of two at 1/2.

Aston Villa were surprise winners at Stoke City last weekend and face Newcastle United at Villa Park. A home win would pile more pressure on Alan Pardew and there’s not much to choose between the sides. The draw at 9/4 could be the call.

Sam Allardyce is many people’s favourite to win the sack race this season and his West Ham side travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Palace were unlucky to lose at the Emirates last weekend and could pile more pressure on the Hammers boss by winning at 7/5. I also fancy Hull City to see off Stoke City at 6/4 while Swansea City were excellent at Old Trafford and can beat Burnley at 7/10.

I remain unconvinced about Southampton’s chances this season despite their spirited showing at Anfield. They are just 10/11 to beat West Bromwich Albion at St Mary’s but the value looks to be on the away side at 3/1.

Premier League betting


Aug 14, 71 days ago

Premier League preview weekend 16-17 August 2014

Premier League preview weekend 16-17 August 2014

It’s only been a month since the end of the World Cup but the new Premier League starts this weekend. With many clubs yet to conclude their transfer activity there could be some intriguing results over the next couple of weeks and there’s plenty of value to be had in the first round of fixtures.

Keep reading for our preview of all the weekend’s Premier League action.

Premier League bet of the weekend

Stoke City went quietly about their business last season eventually finishing in 9th place, their best finish since their return to the Premier League. This was achieved with playing a more expansive type of football than fans had been used to under Tony Pulis and boss Mark Hughes looks to have made some excellent additions to his squad in the close season.

Steve Sidwell and ex Manchester United players Phil Bardsley and Mame Diouf have come in on free transfers while the former Barcelona wonderkid Bojan Krkic could be a terrific signing if he can rediscover the form he showed as a teenager.

Stoke start their campaign at the Britannia Stadium this Saturday against Aston Villa. Villa’s most high profile addition this summer has been the appointment of Roy Keane as assistant manager, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Irishman in the top job before the year is out. Signings including Joe Cole, Philippe Senderos and Keiron Richardson have hardly set pulses racing at Villa Park and most fans are expecting it to be another long, hard relegation battle.

Stoke are 19/20 to begin their campaign with three points and this looks like absolutely terrific value.

All the other action

The 2014/15 Premier League season kicks off at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime as Manchester United take on Swansea City in Louis van Gaal’s first league match in charge.

United have been in imperious pre-season form – winning six out of six matches – but it’s worth remembering that Swansea won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup earlier this year. United ought to get off to a flying start at 1/3 and new captain Wayne Rooney can net the Reds first goal of the new season at 3/1.

As well as siding with United, there looks to be value in backing some of the other home sides on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Manchester City looked strangely out of sorts in their 3-0 Community Shield defeat last Sunday and could be vulnerable to a revitalised Newcastle United side at St James’ Park. Alan Pardew is likely to field a number of new signings and the Magpies look excellent value at 4/1 to get off to a great start.

West Ham are 5/2 to beat Spurs at the Boleyn Ground and, again, that looks to be where the value lies. Leicester City are 2/1 to mark their return to the top flight with a win against Everton while I also like the chances of West Bromwich Albion. Alan Irvine has made some shrewd signings in the close season and the Baggies are 13/10 to get all three points against Sunderland.

QPR ought to have a better campaign than their last top-flight effort this time around and are 6/4 to beat FA Cup finalists Hull City.

The big guns have been given relatively straightforward ties in the opening weekend and all should open with a morale boosting win. Arsenal look to have the easiest task as they face Crystal Palace at the Emirates in Saturday’s late kick-off and are 3/10 to win. A handful of Southampton old boys are likely to face their former employers at Anfield where Liverpool ought to get off to a winning start at 4/11.

Chelsea face the promoted Burnley in Monday night’s match. There promises to be a terrific atmosphere at Turf Moor but I fancy Jose Mourinho’s side to send out a true statement of intent at 2/5.

One ante-post bet to consider

Southampton have lost most of their best players, bought replacements untested in the Premier League and have appointed a manager with no English experience. Indeed, with the exception of his recent spell at Feyenoord, Ronald Koeman’s managerial record is decidedly mediocre and previous stints at Valencia, AZ, Ajax and Benfica have been less than impressive.

You can get 4/1 on Southampton’s relegation from the Premier League and while there may be three worse sides on paper, it could be a year of struggle for the Saints.

Premier League betting


Jul 7, 109 days ago

2014 World Cup – Semi Final preview

2014 World Cup – Semi Final preview

After some superb performances by a number of the World Cup’s less fancied teams, the semi-finals feature four bona fide giants of the modern game. Hosts Brazil have somehow managed to find their way to the last four and face Germany in Belo Horizonte before new tournament favourites Argentina play the Netherlands in Sao Paolo.

Here’s our preview of the 2014 World Cup semi finals.

South America v Europe for a place in the World Cup final

They have been far from convincing in most of their matches so far but somehow Brazil have managed to make it to their first World Cup semi-final since 2002. The hosts scraped past Chile on penalties before a mighty scare against Colombia and needed a wonder strike from David Luiz to send them on their way to a 2-1 victory.

Brazil’s key player so far has been Neymar but the forward will miss the rest of the tournament after suffering an injury in the win over Colombia. The hosts will also miss the suspended Thiago Silva for the match in Belo Horizonte and coach Phil Scolari has one or two tactical and personnel decisions to make. Do Brazil stick with misfiring striker Fred? Who will partner David Luiz in central defence? And who will come in to replace the talismanic number ten?

Apart from an hour or so in their opening match against Portugal we haven’t really yet seen what Germany are capable of. They were functional more than exhilarating in their wins over Algeria and France and Joachim Low’s side have yet to burst into life in the knockout stages.

I actually still believe that if the true Germany turns up that they can easily win this tournament. It will be tough in front of a partisan home crowd but I think Brazil have been lucky so far and I can see their run coming to an end at the semi-final stage. Back Germany to nick it 1-0 at 13/2.

Argentina and Brazil have never both reached the semi-final stage of the same World Cup and now the pair are just one match away from a dream all-South American final. Standing in Argentina’s way are the Netherlands and this promises to be an intriguing clash in Sao Paolo.

While they may be a team packed with attacking talent – and in Lionel Messi they have one of the best players of the tournament – Argentina haven’t set the tournament alight. They have won three of their matches 1-0 and the other two by a solitary goal and so they have yet to really take another side apart.

It’s been 24 years since Argentina’s last World Cup semi-final and their only injury concern is over Angel di Maria who will miss the match. Sergio Aguero has trained and should play alongside Messi and Gonzalo Higuain who scored the winner in the quarter final.

Despite their heritage, it could be argued that the Netherlands have been this tournament’s surprise package. Arriving in Brazil with their weakest squad in decades – at least on paper – most observers expected the Dutch to either go out in the group stage or in the last 16. However, they have defied the odds to reach their second consecutive semi-final and have ridden their luck along the way.

Louis van Gaal’s side needed two late goals to overcome Mexico in the last 16 and Costa Rica gave them a mighty fright in Salvador before they finally prevailed after winning a penalty shootout in which Tim Krul – the substitute goalkeeper – was the hero.

There are plenty of neutrals who would love Holland to finally win a World Cup and I sincerely hope they play to the best of their ability on Wednesday night. Arjen Robben can cause Argentina’s defence lots of problems but I think the South Americans may have just enough to scrape through.

Don’t expect lots of goals, though. 0-0 after 90 minutes is available at 11/2 while you can back under 2.5 goals at 1/2.

World Cup Betting

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