England Lead 11/1 International Accumulator

One international fixture down, one more to go. It was refreshing to see Gareth Southgate go with a much-changed side in Amsterdam on Friday night and most England fans were left relatively happy with the performance.

Jesse Lingard’s goal was the difference between the two nations and England now turn their attention to Italy. The Italians struggled against Argentina, losing 2-0 in front of a small crowd at the Etihad Stadium.

Wembley is a sell-out for Tuesday evening and England will be looking to put on a show for their supporters. Southgate’s side lead my 11/1 four-fold here; check out the best bets ahead of Tuesday’s fixtures…

 

Russia vs FRANCE

Russia were put firmly in their place by Brazil on Friday night and Tite’s men, currently 19/4 favourites for World Cup glory, could prosper this summer.

The hosts gave a decent account of themselves but three goals in a crazy 13-minute spell in the second half saw Brazil pull clear. Russia could collapse again when France travel to St Petersburg.

Les Bleus let a two-goal lead slip against Colombia and Didier Deschamps will be demanding a response in this contest.

Okay, it wasn’t the strongest of France line-ups but it was almost certainly good enough to defeat their South American opponents. I would be shocked to see France fall short again and the 7/10 for an away win is a good price.

TIP: France to win @ 7/10

 

GERMANY vs BRAZIL

Germany are well fancied for this summer’s World Cup – and with good reason.

The 2014 winners were a class above their rivals throughout that tournament and a second successive triumph would cement their spot as one of the greatest international teams of all-time. This could give us some indication as to whether Germany are still the team to beat.

If nothing else, one thing is for sure: this one won’t be finishing 7-1. Brazil will be looking to send out a statement four years after that embarrassing defeat on home soil and they look well placed to push Germany close.

Both teams have enough quality to score goals and that makes the 4/6 very appealing indeed. It could be a very entertaining fixture.

TIP: Both teams to score 4/6

 

POLAND vs South Korea

Poland will be quietly confident of winning this one. Losing to Nigeria on Friday was not in the script and Adam Nawalka’s side will want to bounce back at the first time of asking.

It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Poland respond in the best possible way here; Robert Lewandowski was very critical of their performance and the hosts should improve.

South Korea were dominant for long spells against Northern Ireland but were defeated by Michael O’Neill’s side.

On paper, the visitors have the talent to cause problems for Poland but I can see this one being fairly straightforward. 19/20 for a home win is excellent – their sixth spot in the FIFA rankings is a stretch but Poland are a well-oiled football team.

TIP: Poland to win @ 19/20

 

ENGLAND vs Italy

As previously mentioned, England produced a polished effort to get past the Netherlands in Amsterdam – much to the delight of fans across the country.

The Three Lions have scored just three goals in their last 450 minutes of international football but they’ve not conceded during that timeframe either. Let’s focus on the positives instead of the negatives with the 2018 World Cup approaching.

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Italy were poor against Argentina and this is England’s match to lose. 11/10 is a great price for Southgate’s side and plenty of punters will be getting on England in the coming days.

This is a sub-par Italian side and, with no World Cup this summer, their players probably aren’t as determined to win. Don’t read too much into this clash.

TIP: England to win @ 11/10

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Argentina Head 10/1 International Four-Fold

Good news, this is the final international break of the season. Bad news, there’s no Premier League football because of it. However, there are at least a few exciting-looking fixtures this time around – most of the top nations are preparing for the 2018 World Cup.

Plenty of punters will be keeping a close eye on Argentina’s clash with Italy on Friday night. Jorge Sampaoli’s men are my top tip ahead of this weekend and I’m backing Lionel Messi and co to get the job done at the Etihad Stadium. Check out my best bets below…

 

ARGENTINA vs Italy

Argentina should have enough to emerge victorious in this fixture. Just look at their squad on paper; there are very few weaknesses, particularly in attack.

Inspired by Lionel Messi, Argentina can put on a show for the fans and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is well priced at 27/20 to score on Friday night.

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Meanwhile, this Italy side is in a sorry state. It will take some time for the Italian people to forgive the national squad after failing to qualify for the World Cup – it is hard to put too much faith in Italy at this moment in time.

This ageing squad may struggle to keep tabs on Argentina’s potent offense and that is why I fancy the 10/11 for Sampaoli’s men to prevail.

TIP: Argentina to win @ 10/11

 

GERMANY vs SPAIN

Another exciting encounter Germany and Spain are two of Europe’s strongest nations. 2014 World Cup champions Germany will be quietly confident of victory and Joachim Loew’s men may want to send out a statement.

Unfortunately for them, Spain are no slouches and the 2010 winners will be expecting to challenge this summer. They will rely heavily on a mixture of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid…

Both teams to score is probably the best bet here at a very appealing 7/10. At that price, it is well worth sticking in an accumulator and crossing your fingers.

International football can be difficult to predict at the best of times but both have the attacking quality to score. Neither side will be going hell for leather and there could be a few lapses in concentration at the back.

TIP: Both teams to score @ 7/10

 

NETHERLANDS vs ENGLAND

Like Italy, the Netherlands also failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but Dutch football is now heading in the right direction.

On home soil, you’d have to fancy Holland to capitalise against this shaky England defence and the 17/20 for both teams to hit the back of the net is printing money.

Another big test for Gareth Southgate as England prepare for the World Cup. There will be an intense atmosphere and the Three Lions could struggle to slow Holland down if they go for the jugular.

England will have spells of control though and I fancy the visitors to grab a goal or two. Difficult to predict a score due to so many unknowns.

TIP: Both teams to score @ 17/20

 

Peru vs CROATIA

A slight change of pace here. Peru ended their 36-year World Cup drought by qualifying for this summer’s competition and the South American side may struggle against some of the best teams in the world.

Yes, they play regularly against the likes of Argentina and Brazil but Peru’s lack of experience against European nations may come back to haunt them.

This should be a comfortable affair for Croatia. 10/13 is a decent price for the European side to emerge victorious in this fixture – even with a couple of key men ruled out.

Croatia have enough class and quality at both ends of the pitch to control this contest and it could be a predictable encounter. Back against Croatia at your peril…

TIP: Croatia to win @ 10/13

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Champions League: 15/4 Bayern Munich The Value Bet After Draw?

The 2017/18 Champions League draw took place earlier today and Bayern Munich will be very happy with their quarter-final draw.

The German giants, five-time winners of Europe’s elite club competition, will take on Sevilla in the last eight and Jupp Heynckes’ side look very well priced at 15/4 to claim another triumph this season.

Sevilla produced one of the performances of the last-16 when beating Manchester United and the Spanish side will fancy their chances.

The first leg on home soil is crucial – Sevilla cannot afford to let Bayern take a lead back to the Allianz Arena. The 8/15 available for both teams to score in the opening clash is well worth considering.

 

All-English Affair The Tie Of The Round?

Most of the early focus has been on Manchester City’s tie with Liverpool. On paper, this is a tasty contest and plenty of punters will be keeping an eye on the early odds.

At the time of writing, Pep Guardiola’s men are 27/20 to win the first leg at Anfield but Liverpool, the only Premier League club to beat City this season, offer more value at 21/10.

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Jurgen Klopp will have his side fired up for that contest and the Anfield faithful will be fully behind the Reds. Another memorable European night awaits if Liverpool approach this clash in the correct way.

City might get through over two legs but it would be foolish to dismiss Klopp’s side on home soil.

 

Real Madrid Too Strong For Juventus

Zinedine Zidane’s side have failed to inspire confidence in La Liga this season but have saved their best form for Europe’s elite competition.

It would take a brave man to back against Los Blancos – punters will fancy another Madrid triumph. Currently 7/4 to take a lead into the second leg in Spain, Real will be looking for a positive result in the first fixture.

Two goals in as many minutes handed Juventus the initiative against Tottenham Hotspur and the Italian giants defended resolutely to snatch a memorable win at Wembley.

All of the romantics will be hoping for a Gianluigi Buffon success this year; the Serie A champions will find it difficult against this potent Real Madrid offense though.

 

Barcelona Confident Of Reaching Semi-Finals

Barcelona face Roma in the fourth and final last eight clash – and most will be expecting a straightforward win for the La Liga outfit.

Lionel Messi was simply sublime against Chelsea last time out and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner can inspire Barca to another Champions League win. They are 3/10 to win the first leg at Camp Nou…

The Italian outfit will try to keep things tight defensively ahead of the second leg in Rome but that is easier said than done.

Barcelona are usually red hot on home soil and this one could be over after the first encounter. With a favourable tie, Barca have been priced up as 5/2 favourites in 888sport’s Champions League odds.

 

Europa League: Arsenal And Atletico Well Placed?

Arsene Wenger’s men will face CSKA Moscow in the quarter-finals and most Gunners fans will be happy enough with that tie. The thought of travelling to Russia isn’t exactly appealing but Arsenal will fancy their chances of advancing to the next round.

Meanwhile, Europa League favourites Atletico Madrid (27/20) take on Sporting Lisbon and Diego Simeone’s men have to be preferred over two legs. The La Liga outfit will take some stopping in this competition.

Lazio face Red Bull Salzburg whilst dangerous dark horses Marseille will go up against the Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. Arsenal, Atletico, Lazio and Marseille could make up the final four…

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Premier League: Bournemouth Top 8/1 Four-Fold

The footballing world is all giddy about the FA Cup this weekend. We are not falling into such a trap. The Premier League continues– albeit with a depleted schedule – and it’s as important as ever with some matches that could have seismic implications.

Here are a few thoughts and tips on the Saturday matches…

 

AFC BOURNEMOUTH vs West Bromwich Albion

Bournemouth are doing that thing where they go on a bad run and suddenly look incapable of winning matches. While the Cherries were good against Spurs last weekend, the eventual score line made it look a thrashing.

It’s now four without a league win. Risk of relegation is minimal, but Eddie Howe’s side would like to end that worry before it becomes a greater concern.

The visiting Baggies continued their slump towards the Championship with their own heavy defeat last time out. Alan Pardew is extremely fortunate to have kept his job this long. It would not be a surprise if West Brom lost all their remaining matches.

I fancy Bournemouth to finally get those crucial three points. West Brom are a mess on and off the pitch this season, the hosts will be as good as safe with victory.

TIP: Bournemouth to win @ 17/20

 

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN vs CRYSTAL PALACE

Crystal Palace head into this desperately needing a result. The Eagles have returned to the bottom three after a poor run lately, but are up against it here. A total of 10 away goals all season and two wins does not suggest a road win.

The hosts were held off by Swansea last weekend despite completely dominating the match with over 80% possession and having a barrage of shots.

A victory would have earned some real breathing space for the Terriers, instead they face Palace with only four points separating them from the drop zone.

The return of Wilfried Zaha is huge for the visitors. The Ivorian’s presence gives Roy Hodgson’s side more than a fighting chance of victory, but this is still so hard to call. I don’t anticipate a heavy victory either way.

TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 3/5

 

STOKE CITY vs Everton

This match falls into that early-spring, must-win category for Stoke. Paul Lambert’s Potters have the trickiest schedule of any side in serious relegation trouble, and desperately need three points if they are to have any chance of escaping the bottom three.

Since Lambert took over in January, Stoke have won just once. A win here will give the hosts a major lift as the race to avoid relegation heats up.

Everton ended a poor run with a 2-0 victory over Brighton last time out. That was at Goodison Park, however, where the Toffees have been okay. They have the second-worst away record in the league, picking seven points up on the road all season.

Stoke have avoided defeat more regularly under Lambert, but I’m wary of backing them for victory. The 7/5 price is on the short side even with that supposedly ferocious crowd, so I’m hedging a bit.

TIP: Stoke to win or draw @ 4/11

 

LIVERPOOL vs WATFORD

Liverpool are the only top six team in action this weekend. Jurgen Klopp’s side have an opportunity to make up for the disappointment of defeat to Manchester United last weekend.

Watford are the perfect opponents, having lost seven of eight matches away from Vicarage Road. Meanwhile, it has been 17 home league matches since Liverpool suffered defeat.

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Watford have a long injury list. Liverpool are only missing Nathaniel Clyne. Everything seems to be pointing towards the home team, doesn’t it?

I think Liverpool will win this fairly convincingly. There’s no value in backing the Reds, but a goal fest could have some decent returns.

TIP: Over 3.5 goals @ 21/20

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Tottenham Head 10/1 FA Cup Accumulator

This weekend sees the return of the FA Cup. Premier League football continues for those already eliminated, but this is where things get interesting in the oldest cup competition on the planet.

Teams are playing for a semi-final spot at Wembley. Okay, that’s not quite as exciting for most of these teams as it once was, but it’s still something!

Here we are going to look at the best bets for this weekend’s last eight…

 

Swansea City vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Swansea have been formidable at home under Carlos Carvalhal. The Welsh club have won four in a row at the Liberty Stadium, including the shock victories over Liverpool and Arsenal. The draw at Huddersfield with 10-men last weekend showed how resilient the team is.

The visitors extended their lengthy league unbeaten run with a win over Bournemouth last time out. The absence of Harry Kane – who is due to miss two months – obviously changes things, but the form of Heung-Min Son lessens the blow.

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I think Spurs will find a way past Swansea. It may well be a tight match, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side are looking very good at the moment. The Cup takes on extra importance with Spurs’ Champions League elimination, this should be another step towards that elusive silverware.

TIP: Tottenham to win @ 4/9

 

MANCHESTER UNITED vs BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

The atmosphere at Old Trafford on Saturday evening will be interesting. The crowd were noticeably frustrated with the limp performance that saw United leave the Champions League with a whimper on Wednesday. Failure to win here would mean Jose Mourinho’s days are numbered.

Brighton have been superb of late, but their good run hit an abrupt end with defeat to Everton last weekend. They are just a win or so from safety, however, which will allow them to relax for this Cup clash.

I don’t see this being comfortable for the hosts. Brighton may not come out victorious, but they will make it difficult for Mourinho’s side. It might take some second-half heroics for United to make it to Wembley.

TIP: Drawing at half-time @ 31/20

 

WIGAN ATHLETIC vs Southampton

Wigan have a relationship with the FA Cup sweeter than any other team in the country. Despite dropping down to League One, their Cup day heroics have continued. The smash-and-grab win over Manchester City will go down as one of the great upsets. Now they have a favourable home tie against Saints, now managed by Mark Hughes.

Sacking Mauricio Pellegrino was puzzling. Had this decision been made a month ago then, sure, go for it. Now it is a clear panic after the dire defeat to Newcastle. Either way, I doubt the south coast club will be heartbroken if they lose this one – Hughes’ main aim is to avoid relegation.

Wigan to avoid home defeat is the value option in this one. Saints will be hoping for the new manager bounce, but Wigan are full of confidence at the DW Stadium.

TIP: Wigan to win OR draw @ 4/6

 

LEICESTER CITY vs Chelsea

Chelsea’s 2018 has been woeful. Antonio Conte is on the brink of the sack and Eden Hazard is seemingly fed up. The performance against a depleted Crystal Palace last weekend was good, but missed chances still saw the Blues sweating at the end.

The Blues’ hosts this weekend pulled themselves out of a winless run with a thumping win over West Bromwich Albion last Saturday. The Foxes could be accused of relaxing a little with their league season as good as finished. It should be very different in the Cup.

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I think Leicester will upset the odds here. Chelsea are dysfunctional, their defence is vulnerable, and Leicester are perfectly set up to exploit that.

TIP: Leicester to win OR draw @ 7/10

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Arsenal Feature In 20/1 Europa League Four-Fold

Europa League action is relentless during the late winter weeks. Thursday nights are now dedicated to Europe’s undervalued competition, just as it should be.

The first legs were, for the most part, good to watch. Ties are not as balanced as the general footballing public would have liked, but that does set us up perfectly for some dramatic second leg turnarounds.

Here are some thoughts and tips on the second leg matches…

 

ATHLETIC BILBAO vs MARSEILLE

Athletic Bilbao’s poor season got even worse with their 3-1 defeat to Marseille last week. Aritz Aduriz’s penalty gives Bilbao a sniff of progression, though it will require a special effort that they have looked unlikely to produce. The 2-0 victory over Leganes at weekend does give a confidence boost, mind.

It took a late Kostas Mitroglu goal, but Marseille returned to Ligue 1 winning ways away at Toulouse. Their attacking football has been superb for much of this season. Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet are producing numbers with the best in Europe, and I can’t see them being contained this Thursday.

Marseille are unsurprisingly heavily odds on to qualify. There’s not a great deal of value in this one, so I’m leaning towards over 2.5.

TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 17/20

 

ZENIT SAINT PETERSBURG vs RB Leipzig

Zenit dispatched Celtic 3-0 at home in the last round of the Europa League despite a deficit. With this tie heading to St Petersburg the Russian club again have a disadvantage, but their away goal gives them a good chance of progression.

Leipzig were frustrated to concede the late goal at home in the first leg. That has left this tie wide open and puts the pressure on the Bundesliga club to get on the scoresheet themselves against an impressive Zenit defence.

The visitors were held to a 0-0 draw by Stuttgart at the weekend to make it four league matches without a win. While Zenit’s match also finished 0-0, I fancy Mancini’s side to qualify given their formidable home record.

TIP: Zenit to go through @ 17/10

 

ARSENAL vs AC MILAN

Arsenal were very good in the San Siro last week. Milan, though, were as poor as the Gunners were impressive. Gennaro Gattuso’s side quickly moved on from that to win a fourth-straight Serie A match at the weekend.

Arsene Wenger’s side built on their first leg victory by easily seeing off Watford on Sunday. If they can replicate a performance like either of their last two, this will be another comfortable evening at the Emirates. You can never write off the possibility of a Gunner meltdown, however.

As much as it would be so very Arsenal, I just can’t it happening. Arsenal seem to have pulled out of their really poor run and should do this relatively easily. Milan to get on the scoresheet is good value.

TIP: Both teams to score @ 4/6

 

RED BULL SALZBURG vs BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Salzburg recorded the shock of the last 16 first leg matches with their victory in Dortmund. Valon Berisha’s brace at the start of the second half has the Austrian side in firm control of this tie. Dortmund require at least two away goals to progress to the quarter-finals.

The visitors for this one picked themselves up at the weekend, however. A frenetic clash with Eintracht Frankfurst ended in a last gasp win through another two goals for Chelsea loanee, Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian is in fine form at the moment and will need to get on the scoresheet again if Dortmund are to turn this around.

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This match will have goals. Plenty of them, I reckon. It’s set up to be the tie of the night, and, whether Dortmund turn it around or not, this should be a thriller. That’s why I think there’s value in over 3.5.

TIP: Over 3.5 goals @ 8/5

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Champions League: Barcelona Top 4/1 Double

Wednesday night will see two sides advance to the quarter-finals and fans from all over Europe will be expecting another dramatic evening of Champions League action.

In Turkey, there probably won’t be any shocks – Bayern take a five goal lead into the second leg but Bestikas will want to play for pride in front of their home supporters.

But in the other last-16 clash, there is still everything to play for. Barcelona head into the second leg as favourites to progress but if anyone can mastermind Chelsea to a surprise win, it is Antonio Conte.

The tie is firmly in the balance at 1-1 and an early goal for the visitors could see Barca get nervous. Here are my thoughts on Wednesday’s double header:

 

BESIKTAS vs BAYERN MUNICH

Besiktas are now just three points behind Super Lig leaders Galatasaray and Senol Gunes’ side may decide to rest players in favour of their domestic efforts.

Having said that, the Turkish outfit know that victory over Bayern would be huge for morale and they will want to put on a show for the ardent Besiktas faithful.

Jupp Heynckes is a fantastic football manager and he has transformed Bayern into genuine Champions League contenders this season.

The Bavarians may also rest a couple of key men ahead of their clash against RB Leizpig. As is the norm, Bayern are clear at the top of the Bundesliga table but Heynckes will be taking no chances.

Predicting a result either way is tough so I’ll go with ‘NO’ in the both teams to score market at a very appealing 31/20. The gulf in class between the two sides was clear for all to see in the first leg and Bayern may go for the jugular here.

In some ways, Bayern have been Europe’s forgotten team this season; Manchester City, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have been in the limelight.

This is the ideal opportunity for Heynckes’ side to send out a real message to their Champions League rivals.

TIP: Both teams to score – NO @ 31/20

 

BARCELONA vs Chelsea

Still widely regarded as one of the best club sides on the planet, Barcelona are hard to look past in this contest. When you've got Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack, you are usually difficult to oppose.

Clear at the top of La Liga, the Spanish giants are still very much in the hunt for another Champions League crown (9/2) – it would be foolish to back against them on current form.

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Chelsea may come to rue Andreas Christensen’s mistake in the first leg. The Blues were 1-0 up with less than 15 minutes remaining when his individual error gifted Barcelona a way back into the tie.

Since then, Antonio Conte’s side lost successive Premier League fixtures against the two Manchester clubs but got back to winning ways against Crystal Palace. At the very least, Chelsea will be confident of scoring.

An exciting encounter awaits at Camp Nou and the travelling Chelsea supporters may be disappointed with the result.

Barcelona aren’t the invincible force that they were under Pep Guardiola but they are still very difficult to beat at home and Conte’s men will find it tough to stay focused throughout.

The EVS available for Barcelona to win a relatively high-scoring fixture represents solid value and punters should snap that price up. Goals are usually on the cards when these two teams go up against each other…

TIP: Barcelona to win and three or more goals in the match @ EVS

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Manchester United Top Tuesday’s 3/1 Champions League Double

Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Juventus are already in the Champions League quarter-finals. This week we will find out which four teams will complete the draw.

Both of these ties are perfectly poised heading into Tuesday’s action. So, here are a few thoughts on the matches.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED vs Sevilla

The first leg of this tie was one of the worst matches all season. The Manchester United performance was similar to so many they have produced this season. Set up to avoid defeat rather than win, Jose Mourinho’s side leant on reflex magic from David De Gea to stay level.

Chances were almost non-existent for Manchester United at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan a couple of weeks ago. With the tie goalless after 90 minutes, though, they are still favourites to progress but will be under severe pressure should they give up the first goal at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

Sevilla’s flickering hopes of a top four finish were as good as extinguished at the weekend as they fell to defeat to Valencia. The La Liga side have been up and down this season, which has – for a large part of the campaign – been down to their poor finishing. Their first leg struggles in front of goal were no shock.

Away form has hardly been great, either. Sevilla have taken 18 points from 14 La Liga matches on the road this season, losing eight of them. A draw would at least force this one to extra time, but the signs are not good.

I would be surprised to see United knocked out. The failure to score in Seville could make this a tricky evening, but I think the hosts will just have enough to make it through.

TIP: Manchester United to go through @ 1/2

 

ROMA vs SHAKHTAR DONETSK

The comeback victory for Shakhtar in the first leg leaves them 2-1 up heading to the Italian capital. Cengiz Under’s first half strike keeps Roma well in the tie, however, with the away goal meaning even a mere 1-0 victory would put the Serie A side into the last eight.

Shakhtar will be comfortable sitting deep on Tuesday. Their attacking players are all capable of carrying the ball in transition and are a threat on the counter. The advancing full-backs of the hosts are vulnerable to pace on the break. Bernard and Marlos will be looking to get behind Aleksandar Kolarov and Alessandro Florenzi down the flanks at every opportunity.

The onus while the score is level is on Roma to find the net. That’s not been an issue for them, though, having scored seven in their last two Serie A outings. The 3-0 thumping of Torino at the weekend was the perfect preparation for what is the biggest match of their season to date.

Chances were pretty even in the first leg. It took a wonder goal from Fred to put Shakhtar’s noses in front heading to Rome, and it might have to be a moment of individual magic to turn the tie again.

Early goals could provoke a high-scoring affair. As Roma chase the game, this could become end-to-end, and that’s why I like the price on over 3.5 goals.

TIP: Over 3.5 goals @ 31/20

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Brighton Lead Saturday’s 15/1 Premier League Accumulator

The Premier League is entering the home straight. We are at that point where teams begin to see doors close, and it’s bordering on last-chance saloon for a few teams. In some cases, that has passed and they are requiring divine intervention.

As is now tradition in these parts, we are looking at the Premier League’s 3pm kick-offs…

 

Everton vs BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

There’s unrest again at Goodison Park. Sam Allardyce has almost squeaked his side over the line to safety, but several dire performances have seen the former England manager criticised.

The football has been bleak, and failure to win this match could see Allardyce edge towards the door.

Brighton, meanwhile, have been the story of the league recently.

A five-match unbeaten run featuring three victories has pulled the Seagulls level on points with the Toffees, and Chris Hughton might finally be about to receive the acclaim he has deserved for so long.

I like the 7/10 price on Brighton to avoid defeat. Hughton’s side are secure at the back, having conceded just 38 goals this season, and have a knack for scoring goals at the right time.

TIP: Brighton to win OR draw @ 7/10

 

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN vs SWANSEA CITY

Swansea’s Carlos Carvalhal revival recovered from an awayday hiccup at Brighton to smash West Ham last weekend.

Home form continues for the Swans, but their road troubles are still prevalent, though they have lost just once in four away matches.

Huddersfield’s home form is not great either. Their 4-1 win over Bournemouth was a needed relief from relegation pressure, but they had conceded seven goals in their two home matches prior to that.

Last time out they were ineffective, and calmly seen off by Tottenham at Wembley.

The visitors have been hard to beat away from the Liberty Stadium, even if results have not been fantastic. The onus is on the Terriers to push for a win here, but I think Swansea will frustrate them and this could eke into a low-scoring draw.

TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 13/25

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED vs SOUTHAMPTON

One point and one place separate these two in the league at the moment. The Magpies are marginally ahead of their Saturday afternoon visitors, but could be in the bottom three by Monday.

Rafa Benitez’s side have won just one match in seven in the league, but have lost only two in that span.

Southampton are no strangers to a draw themselves. The south coast club have tied a league-high 13 matches thus far, including their last two.

Saints have won once in their last 16 in the league, but will likely head to the northeast with avoiding defeat as the priority once again.

Like so many of the matches this weekend, this will be cagey rather than expansive. Pragmatism from Benitez and Mauricio Pellegrino could make this a tough watch.

TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 3/5

 

West Bromwich Albion vs LEICESTER CITY

West Brom’s defeat last weekend was the final nail in their Premier League coffin. Alan Pardew’s calamitous spell at the Hawthorns has left the Baggies playing for nothing but pride in early March.

The visiting Leicester are winless in five league matches, and have not won in their last five away from home.

Claude Puel’s side have little to play for either this season other than chasing Burnley for seventh. The Foxes have not been as poor as results suggest, however. They are deserved favourites to win this one.

Barring a shock performance from the hosts, I fancy Leicester to win this comfortably. West Brom are in freefall. It’s surprising Pardew has lasted this long, but a heavy defeat here could provoke managerial change.

TIP: Leicester to win @ 31/20

 

WEST HAM UNITED vs Burnley

Burnley are without a win in seven straight Premier League away matches, having failed to score in five of those fixtures.

Sean Dyche’s side returned to form of sorts with their win over Everton, but are still my underdogs for this one.

David Moyes’ side were dismantled by Swansea last weekend, just as they were by Liverpool the week before.

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The Hammers are deep in relegation trouble. Moyes still has to deal with a lengthy injury list, and will likely stick with a 3-4-3.

I think the hosts will get back on track in this one. There isn’t great value to be found anywhere, so I’m siding with West Ham to avoid defeat as they aim to rebuild their cushion from the bottom three.

TIP: West Ham to win OR draw @ 3/10

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Manchester United vs Liverpool: 5/2 Draw The Best Bet?

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool travel to arch rivals Manchester United this weekend knowing that victory will be enough to claim second spot.

Confidence is sky high in the visiting camp after booking their place in the Champions League quarter-finals earlier this week and bettors will fancy Klopp’s men at 7/4.

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For United, a win will cement their status as the second-best team in England. The Red Devils, priced at 13/8 to prevail, have an excellent home record and Jose Mourinho’s men will be quietly confident of securing three points.

For me though, the draw (5/2) is the one to be on – the selection has landed in each of the last four matches between the two sides.

 

Old Trafford IS A Fortress

The atmosphere may be lacking at times but United’s performances on the field are not. Since losing to Southampton in January 2016, the Red Devils have lost just two games – both to Manchester City.

That’s a grand total of 62 home games without defeat; United have won 44 of those encounters. 13/8 is an excellent price considering that record.

Romelu Lukaku has scored in four successive home fixtures and the Belgian will be keen to extend that run this weekend.

With 14 goals in 28 matches for the Red Devils, Lukaku has settled quickly at Old Trafford and he is central to their chances of victory. Currently valued at 5/1 to open the scoring, the United striker is well worth backing.

In the hunt for value, I stumbled upon Ashley Young at 11/5 to be carded. Taking Liverpool’s potent attack into account, this has a solid chance.

Young will need to keep tabs on the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for 90 minutes and United’s makeshift left back may struggle. Back Young to receive a card – if he starts…

 

Liverpool Juggernaut Will Take Some Stopping

Firmino, Mane and Salah have been simply sublime in 2017/18 – the Reds trio have scored 68 of Liverpool’s 105 goals so far this season.

Defensively, United are far from assured and Klopp’s side can exploit their weaknesses. The visitors are currently valued at 13/10 to score over 1.5 goals on Saturday afternoon…

Salah is a leading contender for the PFA Player of the Year award and the Liverpool forward will be quietly confident of adding to his tally for the campaign.

The Egypt star has scored 32 goals this season – an incredible achievement. Already a firm favourite with the fans, Salah’s price of 37/20 to score in 90 minutes should be snapped up.

Emre Can is the pick of Liverpool’s players to receive a card – 6/4 is a short price but the Germany international will be tasked with slowing the United attack down.

If that means breaking up play and taking a yellow card for a professional foul, so be it. Jordan Henderson is another worth considering at a slightly longer 5/2.

 

Prediction

Surely this one can’t be as dull as October’s fixture at Anfield? Both teams are capable of causing problems in attack and this could be an entertaining affair.

Liverpool will come out of the blocks quickly whilst United will try and combat that attacking threat. An early goal for either side could see this one blossom into a memorable encounter. A score draw looks likely…

MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 LIVERPOOL (Priced at 27/5 with 888sport)

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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