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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Sheet - Italian Serie A - Feb 28th

Here is the sheet for Wednesday night's games :

Click the image to see the full sheet

There is not too much to say about the four "likely picks" indicated on the sheet with the (+) home wins and (-) away wins as they're all fair solidly backed up by league standings and current form.


Inter Milan (77%) to beat Udinese @ 1.33
Lazio (66%) to beat Catania @ 1.53
Empoli (64%) to beat Messina @ 1.73
AS Roma (55%) to win at Chievo @ 2.10 (Asian Handicap)

Interestingly - all of these games are best priced at Bet365 and because each bet is considered to be a fair value (100%) or better it's one of those rare cases where a set of doubles or treble bets are worth a shot.


And here are a few bets that have good enough odds to be considered value - but they are less likely to win on an individual basis.

Cagliari (31%) to win at Torino @ 4.20 (129% value)
The bet here is really betting against Torino who have lost 6 in a row and just sacked their manager.

Cagliari are just 1-5-5 on the road though ... so perhaps taking them at +1/4 ball on the AH (price is 2.03) is a better play.

AC Milan (48%) to win at Palermo @ 2.70 (131% value)
That's right - AC milan have become so poor that they're no longer an automatic "likely" pick and are actually at value at Betsson.

Milan might have squeaked home 1-0 on the weekend - but they're 7-3-0 in their last 10 SErie A games ... so it's a good price against Palermo who are 5th but haven't won in their last three games.

Ascoli (46%) to beat Parma @ 2.88 (133% value)
A real relegation scrap as Ascoli (20th on 14 points) face Parma (19th on 16 points).

Ascoli have picked up a pair of draws in thier last two games - but will be without several players for this game after picking up some suspensions on the weekend.

Parma drew 3-3 at Udinese on the weekend for their first point in four games, and they're 0-5-8 on the road.


So there's seven bets for you to consider on Wednesday night in Italy - you should not expect them all to win as the sheet can only forecast mathematically - but I'm looking for 5-6 winners from that set

... so it's just a question of spotting and avoiding the upset result - or staking correctly so that you make a profit anyway.

Good luck with your punts.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Sheet - Italian Serie A - Feb 24th/25th

The Italian sheet continues to pick a lot of home winners - although nothing for the two games being played on Saturday.

On Sunday we have five likely home winners :

Milan_AC vs Sampdoria
Udinese vs Parma
Livorno vs Ascoli
Fiorentina vs Empoli
Roma_AS vs Reggina

All of them are rated between 92% to 120% of fair value suggesting that they're reasonable bets to consider but we will still have tob check out team news and such like.

Betting value on Italian football is much harder to find - as my statistics on the last three seasons show that blind betting (taking level stakes on every match) would have lost -13% on home sides and -18% on away sides.

These numbers reflect the fact that the betting markets on Italian football are far less competitive when compared to the English league ... and you need a bigger margin.

There are two value bets on offer :
Fiorentina to beat Empoli @ 1.60 at Canbet
Chievo to beat Torino @ 2.20 at Eurobet.

I'll ignore the 10.00 (9/1) being offered at Betfred for Catania to beat Inter Milan even though it is far above the rest of the market - as at 13% it's too much of an outsider for me ... (although the draw at 4.50 might be worth a sneaky wager).

Good luck with your punts.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Sheet -> England - Feb 24th/25th

(click the image to see the full sized sheet)


It predicts "likely" winners for both Liverpool and Manchester Utd and with both prices in fair value ranges (99% and 100% respectively) they're a reasonable play - at fair value.

Manchester United to win at Fulham @ 1.50 at Interwetten
Liverpool to beat Sheffield United @ 1.36 at Ladbrokes


On the "value" bet side the sheet recommends a play on Charlton @ 2.40 (115%) and Blackburn @ 2.30 (111%).

Note that although Fulham are at 125% value - they are not included in my personal system becasue they are at less than 25% chance of winning.

The estimated 17% equates to a 1 in 6 chance - meaning that I might have to wait for up to six seasons for a payoff and I'm not going to chase that.

So although Fulham are at 7.50 (instead of a fair price of 6.00) it just too unlikely to be worth a play in my opinion.

Charlton Athletic to beat West Ham @ 2.40 at Betsson
Blackburn Rovers to beat Portsmouth @ 2.30 at Bet365

That's four plays worth considering this weekend.
Good luck with whatever you're backing.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Sheet - Italian Football - Feb 17th/18th

(Click image to see the full sheet)

With the English Premier League taking another break due to the FA Cup - we have to turn our attention to Europe and Italy in particular to find quality league action.

Most likely wins :
The sheet has come up with four games where the home team is considered to be the most likely result - and here is a list of the sides who are at 55% or better :
- Inter Milan (74%) to beat Cagliari (1.20 @ Interwetten)
- Palermo (57%) to beat Chievo (1.57 @ Bet365)
- Lazio (61%) to beat Torino (1.62 @ BetDirect)
- Livorno (58%) to beat Messina (1.72 @ Ladbrokes)

Value punting :
However, I'm a big fan of looking for value when taking a punt - and so I'll only have a shot on those home teams where they've got green ink in the value column - meaning that the odds being paid are better than the risk that I'm taking.

I see two home sides that are worth a shot :
- Empoli 27% @ 4.35 to beat AS Roma (117% value)
- Catania 37% @ 4.00 to beat Fiorentina (146% value)

Staking suggestion for value bets (using a Kelly Criteria variant) :
- Catania 100 units.
- Empoli 50 units.

Goood luck with your Italian Bets.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

FA Cup Review : Bolton 1-3 Arsenal

Arsenal travelled to Bolton without their central spine as Henry, Cesc and Lehmann were all rested but the players that went North did a great job and secured passage into the weekend's 5th round.

Emmanuel Adebayor's deflected shot had put Arsenal ahead in the 13th minute and, right until the final seconds of normal time, the visitors looked like they were going through.

ARSENAL 1-0 : Adebayor

However in the dying seconds Abdoulaye Meite scrambled the ball in from close range to send the tie into extra time. (don't expect me to post coverage).

The deciding goal was struck by Freddie Ljungberg 13 minutes from the end of extra time after Freddie raced clear after excellent work by Jeremie Aliadiere and steered a wonderful shot into the far corner of the net.

ARSENAL 2-1 : Ljundberg

Ljungberg's goal seemed to finally extinguish the life from Sam Allardyce's side. But much of the drama was still to come. In the dying minutes, Tal Ben Haim was sent off for his second booking and Julio Baptista managed to miss another spot kick and then Adebayor added a third goal.

ARSENAL 3-1 : Adebayor

The result sees Arsenal into the Fifth Round. They now play Blackburn on Saturday at Emirates Stadium.

(If you want to read an entertaining pro-Gooner view then checkout this match review post from ArseBlog which made me laugh out loud ..

Note - not recommended for Sam Allardyce's mother)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Premiership Relegation Analysis

Relegation Battle Likely to Go Right to the Wire
In football as in life, everything that goes-around, usually comes-around. On the final day of the Premiership season, West Ham travel to Old Trafford for a game that could conceivably be decisive in both the title and relegation battles. For Manchester United fans it could also serve as payback for the painful memory of the final fixture in the 1994/95 season. The Red Devils were denied a historic third straight Premiership title following a 1-1 draw at Upton Park, by what a pig-sick Alex Ferguson called, "An obscene amount of effort".

West Ham Signings Expensive Throw of the Dice
The Hammers will probably need an equally obscene amount of effort in order to avoid relegation this term. Their final seven games feature Everton, Bolton and Chelsea all at home, as well as a visit to the Emirates Stadium on April 7th, so the bubbles might have already burst before they visit the Theatre of Dreams on May 13th.

The Hammers have endured a turbulent season changing both manager and owner while suffering a negative backlash from the signing of Argentine duo, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, whose arrival coincided with the club's worst run for 74 years. Alan Curbishley replaced Alan Pardew in mid-December and made a dream start defeating Man Utd at Upton Park but the necessity of a defensive overhaul was underlined by a 6-0 defeat at Reading on New Year's Day.

Curbs has followed the example of Harry Redknapp last season, and splashed the cash, investing heavily in defenders Lucas Neill and Matthew Upson. This represents an expensive throw of the dice, the danger of which was demonstrated when both were injured on their debuts. West Ham's problems cannot necessarily be solved by money alone. A lack of desire dubbed the 'Baby Bentley' mentality won't necessarily be helped by parachuting in big earners, who will need to integrate quickly.

Wigan Suffering Backlash of Success
In contrast Wigan aren't prepared to mortgage themselves against the potential rewards of Premiership survival. Manager Paul Jewel declined to sign any 'big' players, but at least he and Wigan's supporters can draw some comfort from a relatively kind end-of-season run-in. Wigan's survival battle is however handicapped by consistently being the worst supported club in the Premiership despite slashing ticket prices. "We need the fans to be our 12th man" said Jewell. "I hope the supporters will join us for the battle."

After a first season in the Premiership when Wigan shocked everyone by finishing 10th and reaching the Carling Cup final, the Lancashire club has become a victim of their own success. Many of those players crucial to last term's achievements, particularly Pascal Chimbonda, Jimmy Bullard, and Jason Roberts - cashed in with lucrative transfer deals and with them went some of the heart that drove Wigan to success last term.

Charlton Must Avoid End-of-Season Wilt
In their seventh consecutive season in the Premiership, Charlton are in their greatest peril of relegation. It is no coincidence that Alan Curbishley, who took them into the top flight and kept them there with modest resources, left at the end of last season. His successor, Iain Dowie, struggled with the legacy lasting just three months in charge,

The responsibility of saving the club has now passed to Alan Pardew, available after being relieved of his duties at West Ham. His biggest challenge is breaking the club's tendency to wilt badly towards the end of the season. In 2005/06 the Addicks took just five points from their last seven games; in 2004/05 just two points over the same stretch. That kind of form would be terminal this time around. Charlton have found goals hard to come-by, so the form of Darren Bent, who many had expected to leave in the January sales, is critical.

Writing Has Been on the Wall for Watford
The writing has been on the wall for Watford since defeat at Goodison Park in the opening game of their first Premiership season. The Hornets went ten games before finally recording a victory and have been favourites with to finish bottom of the pile throughout. Despite some bad breaks, manager Aidy Boothroyd has remained philosophical. However, the sale of Ashley Young in January was probably the final nail in the coffin and an indication that the board were cashing in their chips and preparing for life in the Championship.

Watford's revenue is 4% of United's demonstrating the widening gap between the Premiership's haves and have nots since it was reduced to 20 teams. 40 points was considered the survival watermark, but as the Premiership has become increasingly polarised by wealth, point distribution has changed. 35 points would have been enough to stay up in five of the last seven seasons, and should be regarded by punters in the relegation market as a benchmark for this term.

This year's Premiership survival battle has special resonance with the new media and TV rights packages worth GBP 2.7 billion over three years. In real terms, survival is worth a minimum of GBP 30 million.

Arsenal 2-1 Wigan : 3 points (w. Video)

Arsenal are never at their best after an international midweek break and so it proved again as the Gunners had to battle long and hard before scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to beat Wigan 2-1.

Wigan score a beauty

Wigan opened the scoring in the first half via a screamer of a goal from Danny Landzaat, who thumped the ball home from about 28 yards after the ball broke to him from a tackle.

Heskey might have made it 2-0 but Jens Lehmann got his fingertips to the strikers finish and pushed the ball onto the post and the Arsenal keeper reacted quickest to gobble up the rebound.

Into the second half and Heskey missed a couple more half chances to grab a second goal and then was involved in a penalty claim after a clash with Flamini.

Get up you big girl ...

Flamini touched Heskey, thats "touched" him with his arm. He didn't grab, push or throw him, he didn't trip him or make contact with his legs - but Heskey piroletted to the ground in a scene very reminiscent of Swan Lake - yelling and appealing on the way down.

The referee said play on - Wigan boss Paul Jewell is still whining about it asking "why would Heskey dive? - Perhaps because he'd already missed 3 chances and knew he had far more likelihood from the penalty spot ?!

Controversial Equaliser

Arsenal went down the other end and scored through an own goal by the unfortunate Fitz Hall - who had to get a foot in to stop Henry from applying the finishing touch.

All sorts of controversty with Paul Jewell complaining about offside (but of course ignoring the fact that Adebayor had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside 10 miutes earlier) ... while Theirry Henry got in trouble for taunting Wigan Keeper Chris Kirkland and asking him if he was going to keep on timewasting.

Of course the TV pundits decided that Henry was comitting some sort of crime against humanity and that he should make a public apology - while Gooners everywhere think that Kirkland has been wasting time since halftime with overlaborate goal kick routinues and having wasted at least 5 minutes and got exactly what was coming to him.

Cracking Winner

Of course what it really did was put some more emotion into the game - with Arsenal players and fans winding themselves up ... and Four minutes later Arsenal created a similar move, this time it was Batista crossing and Tomas Rosicky who supplied a headered finish ... and the reaction in the ground said it all.

... and Arsenal had completed yet another comeback win.

In the end it's three more points in the bag - but the first 45 minutes were pretty lacklustre - and there is plenty for Arsene Wenger to think on.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Sheet -> England - Feb 10th/11th

Welcome back to the blog - apologies for the lack of posts during the week - but International friendlies is just not my thing - and neither are the silly little stories that the press run that sound like they've come direct for the players agents.

I've run the betting sheet for the wekeend - and here are the results for the English Premier League.

(Click the image for a full size sheet)

As you can see there are quite a few punts indicated - and not surprisngly most of them are favouring the home sides ...

Most likely winners are :
- Manchester Utd (85%) to beat Charlton
- Chelsea (77%) to beat Middlesbrough
- Arsenal (74%) to beat Wigan Athletic
- Bolton (65%) to beat Fulham
- West Ham (58%) to beat Watford

They're all perfectly understandable - and although nothing is a sure thing I would not be surprised to see the sheet score a 4-1 record there with maybe only one surprise.

However, taking the most likely winners ahs not proven to be the best way to profits, as the bookeis also know this and the prices on offer are usually pretty meagre.

If you look at the home value indicators this week though (HOME %) you can see that all the numbers range from 96%+ meaning that all are at fair value or better - so get on them.

Value Bets are :
Value betting - that is to say taking home sides who are considered at least 20% likely and are being offers at 110% value or better has been the best way to make a profit - and we do have several recommendations :
- Everton (50%) to beat Blackburn @ 2.25 (112% value)
- Newcastle (39%) to beat Liverpool @ 4.00 (157% value)
- Sheffield Utd (41%) to beat Tottenham @ 2.90 (119% value)
- West Ham (58%) to beat Watford @ 1.90 (110% value)
- Bolton (65%) to beat Fulham @ 1.73 (113% value)

Any three winners should show a profit - and over the course of the last three months this has returned a positive yield of +37% over at WantaWinner where we run a proofing system under the name of VICTOR in the value bets section.

OK ... that's it for the English sheet - I may publish an Italian list later on - although all this talk about empty stadiums may mean that the strange circumstances make all the ratings a bit useless.

Catch ya later.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

London Hosts Four Internationals on Tuesday

Arsenal host tonight's biggest international friendly match between Brazil and Portugal at the Emirates Stadium as part of an unofficial "football festival" in the English capital tonight.

Brazil versus Portugal is one of four friendly internationals taking place in the capital this evening with Nigeria and Ghana meeting at Brentford's Griffin Park, Australia and Denmark at Loftus Road and Greece and South Korea at Craven Cottage. No city has ever hosted four internationals on the same date.

Arsenal's flash new 60,000-seat arena was built with the aim of hosting major international fixtures and this is the second game involving Brazil within six months of the stadium's first competitive match as Arsenal push Uefa to allow them to host a final.

If Arsenal's home is capable of successfully hosting a match between Brazil and Argentina, which was played last September, then they can stage the two biggest ties in the European club football calendar.

All-in-all the new stadium is already proving it's revenue generating value to the club in its first season of operation.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Betting Tutorials - Handicaps, Juice and Over-rounds?

Sports Betting is a complicated past-time isn't it?

It's a world with it's own colourful jargon, a myriad of betting methods, and a vast number of of betting styles available to the internet punter.

Over the last couple of years we've slowly build up a "betting toolkit" of pages on the main site to try and help newbies (and experienced punters too) to answer their own questions and better understand it all.

If you get onto the Online Gambling Guide page you should see easy to follow links to most of the articles and guides - and more links on the toolbar.

The site covers a lot of Sports Betting questions such as basic betting tips, money management principals, jargon busting pages, and a review of best odds.

We also have sections on Poker, and casino games such as Backgammon, Blackjack, and Craps with recomemndations on safe places to play.

But we're always getting more and more basic questions too - on the different style of betting, from asian handicaps, to spread betting and bookie over-rounds, that need to be approached from a different angle.

So I sat down and started writing over at the site (where I help out) and have begun posting a series of blog articles and betting tutorials on the various methods of betting.

There will be more added in the next few weeks - so if you've got a question that you've always wanted to know about gambling - then get onto the forum and ask it ... it may turn into an article.

Good punting.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham (AET) With Video

Arsenal have squeezed through to the final of the Carling Cup - after having to go to extra-time before finally dealing to a dogged Spurs side.

While it's been a story of "Young Arsenal" throughout the preliminary rounds - it was a more senior team tonight - with only Thierry Henry given the night off (although that is a very LARGE only).

We had Gilberto back and Adebayor on up front - and this team dominated Spurs in the first half but were unable to make a breakthrough.

The standout player for me was the young Brazilian Denilson (18yo) who seemed inspired by playing alongside his world cup winning countryman and really dominated the show from start to finish.

By comparison the English wonderkid Theo Walcott had another effort to forget, showing an appaulling touch on many occasions, and he was very wasteful with both passing and crossing. He may be fast - but he's constantly choosing to attempt balls that he doesn't have the skill to complete.

Walcott was substituted in the 63rd minute for Tomas Rosicky and Arsenal instantly looked a much more dangerous outfit - and it was no surprise when Adebayor finally gave the Gunners a 1-0 lead in the 77th minute.

But Spurs boss Martin Jol reacted - bringing on the transfer-bound Mido who almost immediately popped up with a set-piece goal and it was 1-1 with 5 minutes left and extra-time loomed.

But Arsenal were dominant now - with Cesc Febregas (who had replaced Diaby) and Denilson running the middle or the park and a goal just before the extra-time break from Aliadiere gave Arsenal an advantage that looked to be enough.

Spurs had top chase the game, and Arsenal's lead was extended 4 minutes later when a Rosicky shot went in off a post and the unlucky Tottenham defender Chimbonda ... and at 3-1 on the night the game was done.

Arsenal ended the night showboating with a display of possession and Tottenham were chasing shadows ... and not getting close.

Bizarrely Spurs fans started chanting "England, England, England ..." which seemed a little xenophobic and certainly made a rather weak point. (except perhaps that England don't win many trophies either?)

Arsenal through to the final then - to face Chelsea's expensively assembled squad of veterens ...

All in all - an interesting encounter - and another derby win for Arsenal over Spurs - but despite the headlines it was NOT the kids who won the game as by the end of the match it was Silva, Denilson, Fabregas and Rosicky who were the difference - and three of that quartet are first choice players.

So I wonder if Arsene Wenger will play "the kids" or whether the team that finished at the end will be closer to the team that plays the last English trophy in Cardiff ?

We will see ...