28th April, 4pm
Our last punt was a shot at the Bayern Munich v Man Utd Champions League quarter final. We went for both teams to score at almost even money, and once Evra screamed one into the top corner the bet was looking nailed on. Sure enough Bayern responded within a few minutes and we were all £20 better off! A decent game of football and there’s little doubt that the best overall team were the winners, even though United will be left to rue their lack of concentration having got a decent foothold in the tie.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, including the massive news of a managerial change at Old Trafford. It was hardly a surprise when Moyes got the boot following a run of results worse than those expected even during a transitional season. A tough job following Ferguson, but Moyes never quite looked to fit the part. He simply didn’t talk the United talk, and football in this day and age is an unforgiving business.
All the signs are that Van Gaal will be taking over next season, is he the man to take United back to the top? Time will tell, but he certainly has an impressive looking CV to fall back on. What will no doubt irk Moyes somewhat is that the squad is still clearly in need of an overhaul, and following the World Cup this will be Van Gaal’s first job. For my money, no matter what happens I don’t think they can win the Premier League next year, the transition will continue and they’ll be happy just to get back into the top 4.
Moving back to the matters in hand, we’ve got plenty football this week, starting with Arsenal v Newcastle in the Premier League tonight. Then it’s the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday and Wednesday, with sole British representatives Chelsea looking to capitalise on their 0-0 away result in Madrid last week. They play on Wednesday, and it’s this game we’re looking at for a bet.
Chelsea did a job on Atletico Madrid last week, coming away with a goaless draw. But will they be left to rue the lack of away goal? The bookies think so, as these are the odds in the “To qualify” market:
Atletico Madrid 1.98
With suspensions and injuries also affecting Chelsea’s team selection, it looks set to be a nailbiter of an evening. It will be on a knife-edge, with a score draw suiting the away side and only really the win any use to Chelsea. Another 0-0 takes it to extra time, but neither side will want this. My guess is that Atletico Madrid will set up to keep Chelsea out, and spring them on the counter, much like Chelsea did to Liverpool yesterday so effectively.
So what’s the bet? I’m going to side with the bookies on this one, I think Madrid have got enough about them to get on the scoresheet, and if they do that, it’s going to be very difficult for Chelsea. Even if Chelsea are 1-0 ahead going into the added time, they would know that a single Madrid goal puts them out. It promises to be a cracker, maybe not a feast of attacking football and goals, but of tactical play and tension. Bring it on!
Final word on this – if there’s anyone who can mastermind the right result for Chelsea, it’s a certain Mr Mourinho. His record in the big games this season has been second to none, and he’ll have the team perfectly set up and well drilled to his brief. For this reason, we’ll keep the stakes low on this one.
Wednesday 30th April 2014, 19:45. Champions League semi final, second leg.
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid. Atletico Madrid to qualify. £10 @ 1.98
Enjoy the game!
9th April, 2pm
No joy on the Grand National, but as we said at the time it is a notoriously difficult race to call so not a great surprise. Still, it’s always a bit of fun to have a flutter on the big race. Let’s see if we can get back on track tonight though.
We’re returning to football betting tonight, and the eagerly awaited second leg between Bayern Munich and Manchester United. United put up a much better fight than many critics expected in the first leg, and head to Germany still in with a chance. Given some of their recent home form, the United faithful will be happy this was the case, with plenty of predictions for a heavy defeat and the tie being out of their reach by this stage. That it isn’t is down in part to their more reliable Champions League form this season, it’s well documented how inconsistent they have been in the Premier League.
So can they do it in Germany? In short, probably not. Bayern are Champions of Europe, already have the Bundesliga sewn up, and have a formidable side. On their day, United simply can’t match them. However, if they don’t perform at their best, there is hope for the reds. Despite a huge amount of possession at Old Trafford for Bayern, it was arguably United who had the better chances, a missed one-on-one for Welbeck and one harshly ruled out early on.
Going into the second leg, Bayern will be missing influential midfielder Schweinsteiger who was sent off for two yellow cards in the first leg. They have also lost important defender Javi Martinez, also out suspended after a yellow at Old Trafford added to earlier bookings in the competition. So maybe that bit weakened, United will be able to get at them on the counter.
I still expect this game to play out much as the first leg, with a substantial amount of possession for the German side, and United looking to defend the edge of their box and catch Bayern on the counter. It may well come down to whether or not United can get the first goal. If they notch first, they will have levelled any potential away goals problem, so any further goal would be a significant advantage at the end of 90 minutes. Either way, United need to score or they are out, so even if Bayern score first, United will still know what they have to do. The problem for United will be if they let Bayern in early, then Bayern subsequently grab a second. United would be pushing for two goals, and it’s likely in this scenario that they’ll let Bayern exploit any gaps they leave at the back.
So how do we bet on this? I wondered about the “To qualify market” – but given the prices below I think it’s still a little short.
Bayern Munich 1.16
Man Utd 6.8
So instead, I rather like the look of the “Both teams to score” market:
Just about even money either side. Given United have to score, and Bayern probably will score, I think this is a decent shot. If I was to try to predict the final score I’d be going for something like 3-1 to Bayern, as I think it could be quite an open game. Maybe not until the second half, but at some point United are going to have to have a go at them. My money is on the goals.
Lets hope for a cracking game!
Wednesday 9th April 2014, 19:45. Champions League quarter final, second leg.
Bayern Munich v Manchester United. Both teams to score. £20 @ 1.98
Enjoy the game!
4th April, 1pm
We’re well and truly into Spring now, and the start of April can only mean one thing! It’s Grand National time!
We’ll start today with a look at the big race, and as usual our featured writer has got a couple of tips for us. One strong bet, one decent outsider. If he does as well as his first Cheltenham pick we’ll be troubling the bookies once again!
So without further ado, let’s see what he thinks about the big race.
Hi! We’ll start with my top pick for the Grand National, and this is “Long Run” at around 14-1. When the first draft of this preview was written you could have had 16-1, but clearly this horse has caught the attention of the punting public and we’ve lost a couple of spots off the price. It’s still value at this price though, and given a decent run I’d expect him to amongst the leaders in the latter part of the race.
Why so good? This mount has history on it’s side, having won the Gold Cup a few years back. It’s the classiest in this particular race and the final ace up the sleeve is jockey Waley-Cohen, a bonafide specialist over the Grand National fences. Grab 14-1 today if you can, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go off at 12s.
For my outsider pick I’m going for “The Package” at 28-1. Again a horse that has been backed in already, having been seen as high as 33-1 earlier today. This is one that seems to have the odds compilers puzzled, as it stands there’s a real range of prices still available. Some are as low as 16-1 (far too low, don’t back at this price) whilst others stay in the 20s. If you can get an each-way price of 25-1 or better, it’s worth a small punt.
Quirky would be my description for this horse, and perhaps that is reflected in the different prices we can currently see. But it’s one that should stay the distance, and we all know how important that is in this sort of race. If you’re still seated at the finish line you’ve got a chance, and that’s what we hope for with a small bet here.
Enjoy the big race tomorrow, let’s hope it’s a cracker with a nice high priced winner!
Grand National, Saturday 5th April 16:15
“Long Run” to win. £5 each way @ 14/1.
“The Package” to win. £2 each way @ 28/1.
Finally for this update, a quick word about the Champions League quarter finals. We finished the first legs with 3 of the 4 ties still in the balance. The two English teams do have a lot do though, Chelsea could be left to rue the late 3rd goal they conceded to PSG, and despite a valiant home performance, Man United still have an awful lot to do if they are going to dump favourites Bayern Munich out on their own patch.
We’ll have a look at one of these games in more detail next week, when we’ll also be striking a footy bet.
Enjoy the racing, until next time.