Sports betting at the ultimate level

Football games which really matter.
The next 180 minutes – and possibly more – will determine which two clubs grace the biggest stage of all.
Betting odds point to a final between the giants of Spain and Italy but there are two other clubs with very different ideas.

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (May 3, 02:45 GMT+8)

A city will stop when these two collide – but can lightning strike three times?
Real, managed by the legendary Zinedine Zidane, will hope so as they bid for a repeat of the victories they managed in both the 2014 and 2016 finals.
Indeed, if resources determined the champions of Europe, they would claim the giant trophy most seasons.
But Atletico, managed by Diego Simeone, are brilliant as the underdogs and could be third time lucky as they attempt to upset their famous neighbours on the grandest stage of all.
They will be urged on by 4,000 fans in an 80,000 capacity crowd.
It’s a huge operation with more than 2,000 security officers also on duty at the Bernabeu.
And then there’s the man with potentially the most important job of all, an Englishman, in referee Martin Atkinson and his team.
There’s mixed team news for both sides.
Yannick Carrasco is back in full training for Atletico, although Jose Gimenez has been ruled out along with Juan Fran.
For Real, Gareth Bale, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao are the trio missing but Raphael Varane is set to return.
Too close to call then?
There’s no doubt Real are favourites which is why my 🌟🌟 bet is for them to edge the first leg: Asian Handicap -1.00 Real Madrid @ 2.49, yet it will be tight and my 🌟offering is Total Goal 0-1 @ 3.10.

AS Monaco vs Juventus (May 4, 02:45 GMT+8)

Few thought Monaco would be in the last four of the Champions League when the competition started.
Yet they topped a group comprising Spurs and Bayer Leverkusen and then went and knocked out Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund – on both occasions when they were outsiders.
Now this exciting, young attacking side is within sight of being crowned French champions for the first time since 2000.
And while Juventus are favourites for this tie, Monaco should not fear them.
Juve’s exceptional defensive efforts helped see off Barcelona in the last eight and it will be fascinating to see how Monaco’s young guns, led by teenager Kylian Mbappe with the help of the experienced Radamel Falcao, fare against Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
My 🌟🌟 bet is over 2.75 goals @ 2.20.

A short explanation on how our (🌟) bets are worth:

🌟🌟🌟 = £20
🌟🌟 = £10
🌟 = £5

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Spurs close the gap again

The gap between Chelsea and Tottenham remains four points at the top of the Premier League after both won on Sunday.

Chelsea put pressure on their nearest challengers, impressing in winning 3-0 away at Everton earlier in the day.

Spurs then had to win to narrow the gap back to four points and did so, beating north London rivals Arsenal 2-0 in the last game between the two at the original White Hart Lane.

Spurs, who will play home games at Wembley next season before moving into their new ground, had the better chances in the opening exchanges. First a Harry Kane shot was deflected into the path of Dele Alli who headed over, then, minutes later Christian Eriksen hit the bar.

The scores were level at half-time but the home side were ahead 10 minutes into the second period, Alli getting the ball into the net after an Eriksen shot wasn't cleared by the Gunners defence.

They made it two in two minutes from the penalty spot, Kane being fouled by Gabriel in the box and picking himself up to score from the spot.

The win means that Spurs are now guaranteed to finish above their great rivals for the first time in 22 years.

After both Manchester sides dropped points to relegation-threatened teams earlier on Sunday, the loss at White Hart Lane represents a missed opportunity for Arsenal as they aim for a top four place.

They stay sixth, six points off fourth placed Manchester City though with a game in hand.

Arsenal face Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley and are 3/1 to win and deprive the Blues of a likely league and cup double. Antonio Conte's side are 10/11 and they are 9/1 to win the game 2-0.

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Lucky City has Jesus to Thank for a Big Point

Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester City

A late equaliser from Gabriel Jesus won a vital point for Manchester City and dumped Middlesbrough deeper into relegation trouble.

Football betting pundits had this down as a regulation away win but Boro went ahead twice in an exciting contest, so unlike much of the fare dished out at the Riverside this season. The North East fans haven’t seen many thrilling football games but in a second half which swung back and forth, with live betting odds switching almost by the minute, it was edge of the seat stuff.

Boro played with the ambition and urgency their fans wish they’d seen before April in a well-contested first half. Uruguayan striker Christhian Stuani almost put the strugglers in front but failed to convert a bullet of a cross from former City striker Alvaro Negredo.

But it was Negredo who did put the hosts ahead on 38 minutes, seizing on a bouncing ball to fire in off the post.

Pep Guardiola’s men looked a little out of sorts as the second half began and could have gone two down when Fabio crossed for Adam Clayton to test Willy Caballero with a low strike. As City finally awoke and began pressing, Boro started to watch the clock and a cruel blow brought City back into the game. Leroy Sane went down in the box and was lucky to get a penalty which Sergio Aguero coolly converted on 70 minutes.

Brave Boro stuck to their task and amazingly went ahead again seven minutes later, through an unlikely source, when Calum Chambers turned in a scruffy but seemingly vital goal to send the home fans wild.

But then up popped Jesus on 85 minutes to head home a second equaliser from an Aguero cross. City pressed and almost snuck a win but Boro held out.

A point is better than nothing for the Sky Blues, but not much use to Middlesbrough.

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Conte says calmness key for Chelsea

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says that his team's patience and calmness under pressure helped secure a 3-0 victory away at Everton.

Goals from Pedro, Gary Cahill and Willian ensured the three points that moved the Blues ever nearer the Premier League title.

They are now, for the moment, seven points clear of Tottenham with four games to play, Spurs playing Arsenal later on Sunday.

With Everton having a good home record, the game at Goodison Park was seen as a big test in the race for the title but, after Pedro gave them the lead on 66 minutes with a 25-yard strike, they never looked back.

The celebrations at the end demonstrated the importance of the win, though Conte was quick to try and keep feet firmly on the ground.

He told Sky Sports after the game: "Everton are a strong team and they prepared the game well, so we must be pleased. We had a lot of patience for the right moment to hit, and we deserved the win.

"In this type of game it's easy to lose your head, lose your balance. For this reason at half-time I told them to be calm and to stay in the game.

"If in the next game against Middlesbrough you don't win you lose this victory. We must look step by step."

Chelsea also have the chance of a league and cup double this season. They play Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley next month and are 10/11 for the victory with Arsenal 3/1. Chelsea are 9/1 to win the game 2-0.

While the top two in the Premier League look certain to be Chelsea and Spurs, the race for a top four place took another twist on Sunday.

Both Manchester clubs missed the chance to stake a claim with a victory. Both were held to draws by relegation-threatened teams with City drawing at Middlesbrough and United held by Swansea at Old Trafford.

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Mourinho backs “exhausted” players

Jose Mourinho says his Manchester United players are exhausted as they near the end of the season.

Speaking after his team drew at home with Swansea, Mourinho suffered more injuries to a depleted squad with Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw both having to come off.

The United boss said after the game: "We lost players and we lost points, so yes today was a bad day. You cannot isolate the performance out of the context. This is the ninth match of April, it is not human. We have a squad of 22 that is reduced to 13 or 14 players. The players are very tired.

"Did Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young look sharper than other people. Of course, they did not play the last match. I am more than happy with the players, they gave everthing they could. I have zero criticism."

The game at Old Trafford had significance at both ends of the Premier League table. United, chasing a place in the top four, took the lead with Wayne Rooney converting a penalty at the end of the first half.

However, with about 10 minutes remaining the relegation-threatened Swans got the goal they deserved, an excellent Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick giving the visitors an invaluable point.

So, United stay fifth in the table, going level on points with fourth placed neighbours City who play later on Sunday, away to Middlesbrough.

At the other end of the table, Swansea remain in the bottom three, two points behind Hull.

United's gruelling season continues in midweek when they travel to Spain to take on Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.

United are 6/4 for the win with their opponents 7/4.

Mourinho's team are 10/11 to win the Europa League,a prize that would guarantee they play in the Champions League next season.

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Is the time right to bet online on Juventus?

Could this be the Year of the Old Lady? Juve fans certainly hope so as they’ve been waiting 21 years for European glory.

The Bianconeri were last champions of Europe in 1996, but at betting odds of 2.40 is now the outright favourite to lift the trophy this year. First they need to negotiate a semi-final against free-scoring Monaco while the Madrid giants go head to head.

With two mouth-watering ties to look forward to, let’s take a look at the best Asian Handicap Betting chances.

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (May 3, 02:45 GMT+8)

Before Juve cross the white line the next night, the Bernabeu will come alive as Atletico and Real Madrid renew their passionate rivalry. Diego Simeone’s men will be looking for sweet revenge having been beaten by Los Blancos in the 2014 and 2016 finals. Cristiano Ronaldo and pals know they have a real job on to break down the tough Atletico defence.
Under 2.50 goals is my first🌟🌟 pick, paying 1.85.

AS Monaco vs Juventus (May 4, 02:45 GMT+8)

If Los Blancos face a stern defence, how must Monaco feel? The Juve rearguard has been outstanding all season and saw off Barcelona without the Catalans scoring a single goal in 180 minutes. Coach Max Allegri knows he can rely on the defensive colossus Leonardo Bonucci while Gonzalo Higuan will aim to terrorise the French defence. Monaco will work on the principle that they can score against anyone though.
I think it will take time and so, for another🌟🌟bet at 2.02, I’m going for a half- time draw.

A short explanation on how our (🌟) bets are worth:

🌟🌟🌟 = £20
🌟🌟 = £10
🌟 = £5

Head over to the bet picks section and see how our writers perform in their predicted bets.

Click for more football betting options.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Hughton keen to secure title

Brighton boss Chris Hughton is still targeting the Championship title despite Saturday's shock defeat to Bristol City.

With just one match remaining, the Seagulls are only one point above Hughton's former club Newcastle United, who have won their last two games against Preston North End and Cardiff City.

In contrast Brighton have lost their last two matches against Norwich City and then the Robins, who cannot now be relegated from the Championship.

After the game, Hughton said: "It was a wonderful achievement to get promoted with three games to go, but we want to finish top. We have to be confident.

"The preparation was good, and it was a really good opportunity to win. We had a lot of the ball, but Bristol City defended very well, particularly their two centre-halves.

"We didn't have that bit of quality as we have in other games. We lacked that edge."

Brighton travel to Aston Villa next Sunday while Newcastle entertain Barnsley.

Hughton's side can be backed at 5/4 to beat Villa while Newcastle are 1/3 to come out on top against Barnsley.

Meanwhile, at the foot of the table Blackburn can be backed at 8/15 to be relegated and be playing in League One next season alongside already demoted Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United.

Sydney FC reach Grand Final

Sydney FC will have the chance of clinching the A-League double next weekend, after beating Perth Glory 3-0 in their semi-final at Allianz Stadium.

The Sky Blues, who won the premiership with a record number of points, had victory all sewn up by the interval when they scored three first-half goals.

They will host either Melbourne Victory or Brisbane Roar in the Grand Final.

Their nerves were settled when Josh Brillante scored in the 21st minute, and late in the half Jordy Buijs and Filip Holosko added further goals.

Brillante had the crowd on their feet when he received the ball in the middle of the park and, with few options, lashed a shot into the top left corner beyond keeper Liam Reddy.

Eight minutes from the break, Buijs stormed through the centre, collected a one-two with Alex Brosque and finished low through Reddy.

The Glory suffered a third and fatal blow on the stroke of half-time when Brandon O'Neill dinked a superb ball over their back four and Holosko rose high to nod beyond the onrushing Reddy.

Andy Keogh had a couple of chances for Perth, but coach Kenny Lowe was quick to concede after the game that his team had been second best on the night.

"We've been beaten by a better side and we can't hide from that," said Lowe. "They're focused, they're driven … albeit we went toe to toe for the first 20 (minutes); but I think they're the real deal."

The semi-final was controversial in that two of the goals were awarded by the Video Assistant Referee.

It didn't concern Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold, though, who felt his team had finally put in the 100 per cent performance he had been demanding all season.

"A little bit disappointed not to get a goal or two in the second half," said Arnold. "The aim at half-time was to go for the fourth and the fifth.

"Forty weeks ago we set our goals and standards. There's still seven days before we have that opportunity and we'll go for it."

Meanwhile, in English football, Chelsea are 4/7 to win next month's FA Cup final at Wembley with Arsenal 11/8.

Real Madrid are 13/8 to win the Champions League, also in May.

Sydney FC are 4/9 to win the Grand Final next weekend with Brisbane 9/1 and Melbourne Victory 13/5.

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Hungry Clarets thrill Dyche

Burnley manager Sean Dyche is refusing to relax even after his side clinched a crucial 2-0 victory at relegation rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.

The Clarets had drawn four and lost 13 of their 17 Premier League away matches before the Selhurst Park clash but goals by Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray condemned the Eagles to defeat.

The result leaves Burnley at 100/1 to be relegated this season while Palace are 33/1 to go down.

"We have had our fair share of critics on the road in the Premier League and I understand why, but we showed our hunger here," said Dyche afterwards.

"We won the one v one battles, which we knew we would have to do against a team who are on a roll. I thought Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes were magnificent, holding the ball up and putting a real shift in.

"We will keep going. That is my mentality, just keep going until the end of the season and then see where we are."

The result leave Palace seven points above the bottom three, with four games remaining, while Burnley are 14th, eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Lahm happy to go out on a high

Philipp Lahm is pleased that his final season with Bayern Munich has ended with yet another Bundesliga title.

Bayern clinched their fifth crown in a row thanks to a 6-0 thrashing of Wolfsburg, 5/1 to be relegated this season, on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti's team are ten points clear of RB Leipzig at the top of the table with only three matches of the campaign remaining.

Bayern have now won 27 German championships but this one is particularly sweet for Lahm, who will retire from the game at the end of this season.

"It is amazing what this team did again this season in the Bundesliga," said the club captain.

"It is not a given we will always march through the league like we did this season."

Robert Lewandowski scored twice against Wolfsburg while David Alaba, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Joshua Kimmich were also on target.

"The league is the most honest of titles," said Bayern's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"And now we have won it for the fifth straight time. That is something unusual and amazing. We will have a good party tonight and then on the last matchday with the fans."

Meanwhile, Lewandowski is 4/9 to be the Bundesliga's top scorer this season.