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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Who's the best bookmaker for signup bonuses?

Who is the best bookmaker for FREE Bets ?


Now we move onto one of the most common questions I'm asked by punters via email and on the forum ...

Who is the best bookmaker for FREE Bets ?

Ahhh ... free money.

It's true that money that is won by sports betting seems to be twice as sweet as money that is earned through hard graft - and nothing seems as sweet as that initial deposit bonus that online bookmakers offer.

BEWARE OF THE ROGUE BOOKMAKER
However it's also true that there is never a free lunch - and many of the rogue bookmakers out there will advertise huge bonus offers in order to entice unsuspecting punters to deposit their money ... knowing that they'll never actually payout.

So how do you avoid this trap? By being smart of course - and only using the bookmakers that we're prepared to endorse on the main site.

We offer a EURO €1000 guarantee for all accounts that are opened using the links on the main GoonersGuide.com betting site (as well as this blog). We stand behind punters who use and support this site.

Why bet online if you're not going to be paid out - don't take risks - play smart and use only the bookmakers that we've selected.

OK - with that out of the way lets get on with the awards.

OUR METHODS - SAFETY - SECURITY - GOOD ODDS
Over the course of the last five years we've checked out over 200 bookmakers and betting exchanges and from that we've selected the best twenty (or so) sites to be recommended on our site.

The most important criteria are things like safety, security, good customer support, and good betting odds. Having a good signup bonus is NOT a criteria is itself (as we've discussed above some of the biggest bonuses are offered by the worst type of bookies).

So after finding the best 20 sites - we now are prepared to answer the question about best bonuses - for these twenty sites. As we KNOW that you will not be ripped off.

GBP £20 to GBP £30 OFFERS
The first thing that we did was eliminate all bookies who are offering between GBP 20-30 to join up.

While that's a reasonable deal for small depositors, especially as most are 100% deposit match deals, it's small potatoes and not worth of the award.

Bookmakers in this group included : Betfred, Betfair, Globet, Gamebookers, Interwetten, Paddypower and SportingOdds.

So if you're betting with a small bankroll then you won't go wrong using these sites, and you can see that if you opened one account each weekend you could quickly get access to around £120 to £150 over a couple of months.

Nice! But you want more don't you? We thought so !!
;-)

GBP £50 to GBP £100 OFFERS
Then we move into the mid-tier bookmakers who are more serious about taking on action from punters. They'll offer a little bit more to you in the form of a free bet - but will often have some wagering restrictions to handle.

CenterBet will offer you a matched stake bet of up to £50 as long as your first bet is at odds of 1.90 or more. You'll also have to turnover the winnings 1x before withdrawal.

VCBet will also offer a matched £50 bet but your first bet must be at even money (2.00) or more and there is no turnover restriction.

Again we think that these are useful bonuses to collect - but they were not good enough to win the award - we wanted more !!
;-)

WINNER - BEST BOOKMAKER FOR SIGNUP BONUSES
(1) Canbet (Australian Bookmaker)


Canbet stood out and won the award for having not one but THREE offers to choose from on their sports betting side plus a further two more in Casino and Poker.

Sports Betting HIGHROLLER Offer
Register and make your first deposit at Canbet of £600 (€1050) or more and receive a 10% deposit bonus of up to £200 (€350). To redeem this bonus, simply enter the Promotional Bonus Code: HIGHROLLER, when registering an account.

There is a 4 x deposit + bonus turnover requirement, so if you Deposit £2000 you get an extra £200, and must play 2200 x 4 = £8800 before withdrawing it.

Sports Betting PLAYER Offer
Register and make your first deposit at Canbet of £60 more and receive a 20% deposit bonus of up to £60. To redeem this bonus, simply enter the Promotional Bonus Code: PLAYER, when registering an account.

This has a 3 x deposit + bonus turnover requirement, So £300 deposit earns a £60 bonus which must be turned over 3x (£1080) before withdrawing.

Sports Betting FREEBET Offer
The usual recreation bonus. Register and make your first deposit at Canbet of £20 or more and receive a £30 free bet. To redeem this bonus, simply enter the Promotional Bonus Code: FREEBET, when registering an account.

We felt that CANBET had tailored three pretty good offers to different segments of the market - and that the turnover requirements were not onerous at all

(Some US / Costa Rica bookamkers have 10x turnover restrictions)

HIGHLY COMMENDED BOOKMAKER FOR SIGNUPS
(2) PinnacleSports (Netherlands Antilles Bookmaker)


PinnacleSports actually offer a higher bonus of up to $500 if you deposit $5,000 (10%) and only a 3 x turnover restriction ...

But they also have a little clause that states that you can't withdraw your deposit or bonus for 30 days and you must depsoit a minimum of $250 to claim any bonus at all.

Still giving away $500 FREE is good enough to earn PinnacleSports the #2 spot.

HIGHLY COMMENDED BOOKMAKER FOR SIGNUPS
(3) Bet365 (UK bookmaker)


Bet365 offer non-UK customers a 15% first dpeoist bonus up to $500 with a 3x deposit + bonus turnover requirement

(see how quickly you get used to all the terms and conditions)

However, current UK restrictions mean that they cannot do the same for UK customers and instead provide their Bet Basket which offers up to four £25 FREE Bets after you've made several qualifying bets.

This geographic split and the complicated terms of the Bet Basket meant that Bet365 finished in the #3 spot.

SUMMARY
So there we have it - all the free bet signup bonuses explained in one easy place (webmasters feel free to link to the blog post) - and the top three bookmakers for signup bonuses are spelt out.

(1) Canbet (Australian Bookmaker)
(2) PinnacleSports (Netherlands Antilles Bookmaker)
(3) Bet365 (UK bookmaker)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Tips Sheet - England 31st March

Betting Tips Sheet - England 31st March



(Click the image for a full size image)

Hey - thanks for checking out the blog - I've been able to produce the betting sheet for the Premier League for the weekend of 31st March / 1st April.

The sheet throws up three likely home winners this week, as well as one travelling side :
- BOLTON (67%) to beat Sheffield Utd
- MAN UNITED (78%) to beat Blackburn Rovers
- TOTTENHAM (59%) to beat Reading
- CHELSEA (63%) to win at Watford

There's also some additional potential VALUE BETS to consider :
- FULHAM (51%) @ 2.30 to beat Portsmouth (116% value)
- WIGAN (36%) @ 3.60 to win at Charlton (129% value)
- EVERTON (34%) @ 3.25 to win at Villa (11% value)

Note that we ignore the possible indicator of value for Watford as their win chances are just 19% suggesting that they might need 5 attempts before finally beating Chelsea.

There's nothing to really recommend in the lunchtime kickoff match on Saturday, Liverpool are fairly priced - Arsenal are poor value (yet again) so perhaps you could consider a LAY of the Gunners there.

Ok. That's the lot for this post. If you want anything more you'll have to get onto the forum and ask !!
;-)

Cheers,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Win GBP 100 with Paddy Power

Win GBP 100 with Paddy Power and The Gooner


We've struck a deal with the lovely Sinead at PaddyPower.com to be able to run a competition in conjunction with this years Grand National at Aintree.

To enter all you have to do is answer this easy peasy question ...
- Who won last years Grand National?

Send your answers along with your Paddy Power usernames to competition_2007@goonersguide.com

Here are the T&Cs :
- Closing date is midnight Friday 13th April 2007
- Entries one per person
- Over 18's only
- No purchase necessary

But you must have an active account at Paddy Power to enter - athough it doesn't have to have been signed up with this site.

(although that would be nice)

We will then draw the winner from all the correct entries and they'll receive the GBP £100 FREE Bet.

============================================
Paddy Power - top European bookmaker
About Paddy Power :

Paddy Power are one of our top five ranked bookmakers and right now they're offering you £30 in FREE BETS if you join up as a new customer from GoonersGuide.com

That means that you could :
- Spend £30 (say in England to beat Andorra)
- And then you get 3 x £10 FREE BETS from Paddy Power.

Read our review of Paddy Power bookmakers on the main site

Or if you're already convinced then why not visit PaddyPower now and join up.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Neteller ditches more gambling players

NETeller Ends Business with Canada and Turkey

The United States authorities have obviously been using the red hot pokers and water torture devices successfully - as their recent actions against Neteller seem to have convinced the once high-flying payments processor to exit two more popular countries.

NETeller announced today that it would no longer deal with transfers for online gambling sites for Canadian or Turkish residents due to "regulatory risks".

A statement was released saying "Recent actions by regulators, payment processors, and online gaming operators have increased the uncertainty around certain activities related to online gambling in some jurisdictions".

"The risk to the group's ongoing business in Canada and Turkey has increased in the light of such developments. The board has therefore concluded that the group will no longer process transfers related to online gambling sites on behalf of Canada or Turkey resident customers."

===========

I've been saying since December that Neteller are a dead duck. Get your cash out of this company as soon as possible - they have absolutely no gumption at all.

The most viable option (for non-US customers) is MoneyBookers e-wallet, which seems to function very well as a sports gambling e-wallet for online players.

Read our Moneybookers review or visit Moneybookers now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Euro 2008 : Germany take a big step to Austria

CZECH REP 1-2 GERMANY

Germany held off a late rally by the Czech Republic to clinch a well-deserved 2-1 win in the battle of the Group D leaders in Prague.

Kevin Kuranyi gave Germany a comfortable 2-0 cushion with two headers in the 42nd and 62nd minutes before a goal from Milan Baros shifted the momentum in the 76th.

Germany scored just before the break after a Frings corner from the left found Kuranyi and he rose highest to acrobatically nod the ball past a puzzled Cech, who reacted too late to prevent the danger.

The Czechs improved after the break, with Jan Koller having an effort blocked and Baros dangerously heading over a right-wing cross from Tomas Ujfalusi. Then Jens Lehmann caught a promising long-distance effort from Arsenal team-mate Tomas Rosicky, and Baros put a header inches past the right post.

But Germany made the Czechs pay in the 62nd minute with a fantastic counter-attack when the rampaging Lahm's pinpoint centre from the left was nodded home by Kuranyi to double the lead.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Polak hit a 25-yarder which bounced over the line and past Lehmann after it had taken a deadly deflection off Baros' foot.

The Czechs upped the pressure in the last 10 minutes, but Germany prevailed to move three points clear at the top of the pool - but both sides are still well placed to qualify.

Germany 5 games 13 pts, Czech Rep 5-10, Rep. Ireland 6-10, Slovakia 5-9

Euro 2008 : Holland, England and Serbia stumble

We're starting to get to the business end of qualifying for Euro 2008, and the latest round of group matches were notable for some high profile stumbles by England, Holland and Serbia.

GROUP E
============================
England will get all the headlines after another slip-up in a 0-0 draw in Israel, and that's the 3rd competitive game in a row that England have failed to score in - which makes a mockery of coach Steve McClaren's statements about playing attaking football.

With Croatia beating Macedonia 2-1, and Russia easing past Estonia 2-0 it puts England three points off a qualifiying position - but there are still plenty of games to go.

IF England can win their home games then qualification will be assured - but England's lack of creativity, and Rooney's petulance up front must surely be ringing the alrm bells in the FA.

Croatia 5 games 13 pts, Russia 5-11, England 5-8, Israel 5-8.

GROUP G
============================
But European heavyweights Holland were also held 0-0 by Romania, a result that keeps both Romania and Bulgaria in the hunt for a qualfication spot - especially as both sides have a match in hand over the Dutch.

Holland 5-11, Bulgaria 4-8, Romania 4-8.

GROUP A
============================
The biggest shock of the day though was previously winless Kazakhstan beating Serbia 2-1, while group rival Poland thrashed Azerbaijan 5-0 and Portugal were too strong beating Belgium 4-0.

This 8 team group is a tight one - and there are still 4 sides battling for the two qualification spots.

Poland 6-13, Finland 5-11, Portugal 5-10, Serbia 5-10

GROUP B
============================
In Group B, it was the expected results (just) as Scotland beat Georgia 2-1 thanks to an 88th minute winner, while France eased past Lithuania 1-0 and Ukraine beat the Faroe Islands 2-0.

Italy also are in this group - but has a rest day - and with 3 World Cup quarter-Finalists this was always gonig to be the tightest group - and the surprise leaders Scotland still have a real battle.

Scotland 5-12, France 5-12, Ukraine 4-9, Italy 4-7.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who is the best bookmaker for Fixed Odds ?

Continuing on in our search for the best place to bet online ... and today we will handle the second most frequent question.

"Who is the best bookmaker for European football fixed odds betting?"

The most popular form of Sports Betting is simply betting on a team to win a match.

This is usually called fixed odds betting, or 1X2 betting (after the old football pools style) or Home-Draw-Away betting.

And it's just because it's so popular that makes this question so hard to answer - because the market is hugely competitive and finding the best bookmaker really does depend on exactly what you are betting on.

WE FOUND THE BEST BOOKMAKER ... BUT ...
At the end of last season (2005-06) we did a comprehensive analysis of all the bookmakers out there - taking odds from over 1000 matches spread over 6 different European football league in order to find the best odds.

The answer was clear - it was PinnacleSports who were the best price for 42% of favourites in European leagues and 45% of outsiders in English games.

Question solved !! Except that during the 2006 World Cup they took a beating and in July 2006 the PinnacleSports management team took a look at their books and found that they were being beaten by the UK and European football punters and promptly withdrew from those markets !!

That's right - they do not offer 1x2 betting on football anymore - except on the highest profile games - so they're no use to most football punters.

So now in order to answer this question of "Who is the best bookmaker for European football fixed odds betting?" we now need to give you a two part answer.

WINNER - BEST BOOKMAKER FOR FIXED ODDS - FAVOURITES
(1) Interwetten (Maltese Bookmaker)


That's right, European Bookmaker Interwetten are the #1 ranked bookmaker to try if you are looking for the best odds on a heavy favourite.

They do not seem to change their odds often after initially posting them - a fact which perhaps reflects that they usually have cheaper prices for outsiders - and this means that if you are cruising around looking to get a late bet on Chelsea, or Man Utd, or Barcelona or Inter Milan then a trip to the Interwetten site is usually in order.

We will retest at the end of this season - but right now we estimate that if a team is price at 1.50 or less then Interwetten are the best price a staggering 50% of the time.

Other highly commended sites were Paddy Power with 17% of English favourites, and Globet with 16% of European favourites.

If you bet on favourites then you need these bookmakers on your list of betting places.

WINNER - BEST BOOKMAKER FOR FIXED ODDS - LONGSHOTS
(1) Bet365 (UK Bookmaker)


This was a much more competitive field but the winner was Bet365 who were best priced for outsiders (teams at odds of 4.00 or more) 22% of the time.

Of course longshots are a tricky bet to land - and prices can change quickly if a team suddenly becomes a popular bet - but from what we monitored over the course of the 2005-06 season this UK bookamker stood out.

Other highly commended sites were Eurobet (13%), Paddy Power (13%), and Globet (10%).

SUMMARY
So there we have it - there is no single bookmaker that can guarantee the best odds - and depending on your style of betting you will need to choose 2 or 3 good reliable bookmakers to ensure that you are getting a good price.

But if you are just getting started then you need :
#1 FOR FAVOURITES Interwetten
#1 FOR LONGSHOTS Bet365

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who is the best bookmaker for Asian Handicaps?


Let's start with an easy one first up ...

"Who is the best bookmaker for Asian Handicap betting on European Football?"



We have a big Asian readership on the site, particularly from Singapore and Malaysia, and Asian handicap betting in also gaining acceptance in Europe as well as punters see the potential value that can be had.

But this is an easy question for me to answer because there is one of my recommended bookmakers that stand out head and shoulders above the rest for AH betting.

WINNER - BEST BOOKMAKER FOR ASIAN HANDICAPS
(1) PinnacleSports (Netherlands Antilles Bookmaker)

PinnacleSports have the sharpest asian handicap odds on the internet, a good deposit scheme, and also allow free banking transactions every month - which all adds up to Curacao based bookmaker coming out as my top bookmaker for Asian handicap betting.

PinnacleSports regularly prices this market to an over-round of just 104% - meaning odds of 1.96 / 1.96 compared to most UK bookies who go to 108% to 110% which translates to a 1.90 / 1.90 price.

Pinnacle also have a generous 10% first deposit bonus up to $500 (if you deposit $5,000) which is attractive to bigger players, as well as having all the major banking options covered in respect to credit cards and e-wallets.

Throw in the fact that Pinnacle also allows one FREE deposit and one FREE withdrawal every month and it's relatively easy to see why I think that PinnacleSports are #1 in this market.

HIGHLY COMMENDED - BEST BOOKMAKER FOR ASIAN HANDICAPS
(2) Betfair (UK Betting Exchange)


Betfair are a quality betting destination, and their aggressive commission pricing on the asian handicap market of just 1% commission means that they should also be checked out by Asian handicap punters.

Being based in the UK means that they take all the usual options that UK and European punters expect, debit cards, credit cards, Moneybookers, Neteller, bank transfers and various money payment methods, and they're offering a £25 bonus as well.

However, on the downside market volumes on handicaps are still small outside the main games, and real liquidity only seems to kick in a couple of hours before the game starts, so the prices are still not as sharp as the PinnacleSports prices for many games - and available volumes can be quite small.

HIGHLY COMMENDED - BEST BOOKMAKER FOR ASIAN HANDICAPS
(3) Bet365 (UK bookmaker)


Coming in at #3 was Bet365, who have an aggressively priced set of odds that usually beats the rest of the market, but they cannot quite manage to match the first two sites on a regular basis.

Bet365 cover a wider range of games than either Pinnacle or Betfair though, and their handicap system is very flexible - allowing you to modify the handicap to choose the advantage that you'd like - although that will affect the price that you get - but it's still a nice touch.

With good bonus offers and a 100% rock solid base with plenty of bricks n mortar shops you know that your cash is safe with Bet365 and you can also use their one wallet system to find your poker and blackjack habit too.

SUMMARY
So there we have it - three quality sites for asian handicap players - and any one of these three will serve you well for the asian handicap markets.

UK punters may prefer to stay close to home, as there is more flexibility in the money management of the two UK sites, but (#1) PinnacleSports really are the best handicaps site out there and win the top recommendation.

Who is the best bookmaker for ... ?

I get plenty of emails and PM's asking for help - and at least half of it is about one particular question ...

... "Gooner - who's the best bookie for me?"

And of course it's not an easy question to answer.


The short answer is ... "it depends".

The medium answer is ... "it depends on what you're betting on and how you bet. There are many styles of betting and many different markets - and so your personal best bookie will depend on exactly how you bet.".

And the long answer that actually tells you who is best suited is so involved that it would take many blog posts to write about - and that's exactly what I'm going to try do through a series of posts on this blog.

Hopefully I'll be able to get through one per day - so if you've got a betting style, situation, specialty sport, or some other factor that I haven't covered then feel free to raise it with me either here or on the forum.

So let's get on with it then ...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

FA Cup Semi-Final, Final and Winner ?


Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1, and Manchester Utd edged past Middlesbro 1-0 on Monday night to complete the quarter-final stage.

However the bookmakers think that the Semi-Finals will be a formality with some prominant bookies pricing a Chelsea v ManYoo final at just 1.33 (1/3)

Manchester United are now the favourites for the Cup (given their easier semi-final draw) and are priced at just 2.00 (evens) to win the trophy with Chelsea out to 2.25 (5/4).

The other two sides have been dismissed by bookmakers and punters alike with Blackburn Rovers out to 10.00 (9/1) while relegation bound Watford are priced up at 26.00 (25/1)

SEMI-FINAL DRAW (14/15th April)
Manchester United v Watford
Chelsea v Blackburn.

BEST OUTRIGHT WINNER PRICES
Manchester Utd 2.00 @ Bet365 and PaddyPower
Chelsea 2.25 @ Bet365, Ladbrokes, and PaddyPower
Blackburn 10.00 @ BetFred and and PaddyPower
Watford 26.00 @ Bet365, BetFred and and PaddyPower :)

Good luck with your bets.

Zamboni knows his NHL Hockey

Just a heads-up for readers to make sure that they check out our Hockey tipster Zamboni who has been tipping up a storm on his NHL Hockey Picks Page.

He landed another winner on Monday night as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 to rack up his 7th winner on the trot.

His tips are often coming in late (with only an hour or two until the puck drops) and so it pays to check his page after all the European football has been played for the night as he continues his great winning run.

7-0 can't last of course, but the man is running at about 70% winners overall - so he's building a good track record up on the main site.

Remember that nothing is a sure thing and don't go crazy - but one thing is for sure ... Zamboni knows his NHL Hockey.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I hate Mondays ..

.. especially when Arsenal have lost on Sunday afternoon.

The match against Everton was yet another game where The Gooners created more chances, and were guilty of some bad misses.

It was another match were the lack of squad depth was ruthlessly exposed (why did Walcott come on for 10 minutes to hurt himself?).

It was another match where Arsenal lacked experience in key positions - Baptista off ... for Denilson ???

And it was another match were we condeded a goal from a set-piece situation -to end up losing 0-1 away from home.

Anyone else reminded of the movie GroundHog Day?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mar 17/18 Weekend Spreadsheets out now

How's your week gone?

Hopefully you didn't blow your betting bank on the Cheltenham festival and you've got some cash left for the weekends football.

I've posted all three weekend sheets (England, Germny and Italy) on the forum in their respective threads now - and it's a bit of a mixed bag this week.

Here's a quick summary by country.

ENGLAND - LIKELY BETS
There are four probable home winners forecast by the spreadsheet in the English Premier League this weekend :
- Chelsea (85%) to beat Sheffield United @ 1.20
- Tottenham (77%) to beat Watford @ 1.50
- Manchester United (76%) to beat Bolton Wanderers @ 1.33
- Blackburn Rovers (66%) to beat West Ham @ 1.75

and there is also a "half" recommendation for :
- Reading (61%) to beat Portsmouth

ENGLAND - VALUE BETS
There are three home sides who look reasonable "value" with Reading, Tottenham, and Blackburn all seen as giving at least 115% value options.

The sheet also thinks that the price of 3.40 for draws in Aston Villa v Liverpool and Everton v Arsenal look bit over-priced.

GERMANY - LIKELY BETS
Nothing appears too liekly on Saturday - but the two Sunday games look to have their chances for the home sides :
- Leverkusen (66%) to beat Monchengladbach @ 1.73
- Werder Bremen (64%) to beat Mainz @ 1.45

GERMANY - VALUE BETS
One option for value seekers may be to oppose Bayern Munich on Saturday - they've lost a lot of road games and Eintracht Frankfurt are priced at a high 5.50 to score a home win.

Elsewhere you could consider taking either Hamburg or Bochum to score suprise away wins at nice prices.

ITALY - LIKELY BETS
Italy provides us with the only "likely" away win of the wekend - and no surprises that it's Inter Milan that is picked - along with two obvious home win choices :
- AC Milan (75%) to beat Atalanta @ 1.36
- Inter Milan (67%) to win at Ascoli @ 1.40
- Lazio (65%) to beat Empoli @ 1.67

Good luck with your punting - feel free to drop by the forum and offer any comments.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Henry's staying at Arsenal. END OF STORY

Good to see that Thierry Henry has taken time out to make sure that everyone understands that he's going to end his days as a Gooner.

Henry is quoted in The Sun (I know ... I know .. they're hardly the bastion of journolistic truth ... ) as saying "People are still saying I am going to leave Arsenal. I am not going to leave. Never. I am staying here for life."

Henry goes on to say "I love the club. I love the fans and I am 100 per cent behind the boss ... When I signed my new contract I said I never wanted to kick a ball for another team and nothing has changed."

So that's the end of it then. I expect all the papers to shut the f*ck up about this Arsenal legend leaving. Finito !!

Now we will be able to spot which papers simply make up stories by looking at whatever it was that they were writing about this time last season eh?

Get a new headline you lazy Journos !!

Of course they could keep the same story and just change the name to ... Lampard, Terry, Gerrard, Mourinho, Robben or Ronaldo eh?
:-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

FA Cup Semi-Final Draw : Chelsea and ManYoo kept apart.


English Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea could possibly play in the 2007 FA Cup final at the new Wembley Stadium after being kept apart in the semi-final draw.

Blackburn will play the winner of Chelsea against Spurs and relegation bound side Watford have been drawn against United or Boro.

Both of the "big two" still have plenty of work to do though as they must overcome tricky replays before confirming their place in the actual semi-finals, with Chelsea still to play Tottenham at White Hart Lane and United facing Middlesbrough at home.

The ties will be played on the weekend of April 14 and 15.

TOP OUTRIGHT WINNER PRICES FOR ALL SIX CLUBS
Manchester United 2.40 @ SportingOdds
Chelsea 3.60 @ PremierBet
Blackburn Rovers 7.50 @ Gamebookers
Tottenham Hotspur 7.50 @ Gamebookers
Watford 23.00 @ SportingOdds
Middlesbrough 26.00 @ Eurobet

Monday, March 12, 2007

English FA Cup Quarter-Final Review

So there we have it - four quarter-finals played and a fair share of drama involved and neither of the two heavily favoured sides were able to make it through at the first time of asking.

But were any of the results a REAL surprise ?

Certainly three of the games went the way I expected, with Blackburn (beating Man City) and Watford (over Plymouth) always the most likely winners, although Rovers had to battle hard when reduced to 10 men.

I also picked Manchester United to struggle to subdue Middlesbro - and I had that game marked down as a 1-1 draw on my card - but I'll take final 2-2 scoreline as a successful prediction.

So that's three results that were porbably on most people's cards.

In the final game I expected Spurs to try hard - but tire after a tough game on Thursday night - and be swept aside by Chelsea's second half effort.

However, I was extremely surprised at the fight that Spurs put up at Stamford Bridge as I did not expect them to keep their recent goal scoring streak alive with three first half goals. When was the last time Chelsea conceded three goals at home?

Chelsea's defending did look woeful in the first half - and the absence of John Terry was obvious - it's certainly interesting to hear that his contract negotiations with Chelsea have suddenly stalled too.

In the second half I thought that the game did go as expected - with Spurs tiring noticaeably late on - and you did always get that feeling that the equaliser was coming didn't you?

Mind you Jermanie Defoe rattled the Chelsea crossbar with only a couple of minutes left when he had the winning of the game in his hands - and you just wonder if that crucial miss may come back to haunt Spurs as they had to settle for a 3-3 draw.

Certainly Tottenham should not be frightened in the replay at The Lane - but Chelsea are now well warned - and it'll be a huge clash.

Looking forward to it already.
;-)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Champions League Quarter-Final Draw

The prospect of an English winner leapt on Friday when the three Premiership sides - Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool - were all kept apart in the last eight.

The weight of money has quickly backed the three side into the favoured positions at the bookmakers - although punters optimism is routinely misplaced and it does serve to make some of the European clubs very good prices indeed.

Chelsea were given the most difficult draw of the English sides against Valencia, where they must travel to the Mestalla for the second leg.

Man United were paired with Serie A side Roma while Liverpool were matched against rank outsiders PSV Eindhoven and both they and the Red Devils will play the second leg of their tie at home.

OUTRIGHT WINNERS - AND THE BEST ODDS
Chelsea 4.50 @ Ladbrokes
Manchester United 5.07 @ PinnacleSports
Liverpool 7.00 @ Bet365
AC Milan 9.00 @ EuroBet
Valencia 10.00 @ Interwetten
Bayern M√ľnchen 12.00 @ Ladbrokes
AS Roma 12.00 @ Interwetten
PSV Eindhoven 26.00 @ Eurobet

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm not sulking - it's tax time ...

I've received email asking why I'm not writing so much this week - is it because Arsenal have been eliminated from their 3rd knockout competition?

ARSENAL'S SEASON ALMOST OVER
Well - yes a bit - it's always hard to wind up the enthusiasm when you're watching your club struggling to live up to their potential - and that's certainly been Arsenal's fate over the last 3 weeks.

On Wednesday night Arsenal huffed and puffed and "almost" blew PSV Eindhoven's house down but when they conceded yet another soft headered goal from a 83rd minute free-kick the jig was up.

Well done to PSV - the Dutch side battled well over both games - and scored two good goals which was one more than Arsenal managed to convert - and they deservedly go into the Quarter-Finals.

For Arsenal the follow-up news is that Theirry Henry suffered ripped groin and stomach muscles - almost certainly season ending for him - and they'll now have to concentrate on achieving a top 4 league finish and a tilt at the Champions League again next season ... as we're out of everything else.

All season Arsenal have looked to be short of a couple of experienced players whenever the injuries and/or suspensions have hit - no matter what Mr Wenger says - and it's not good complaining about fixture congestion as it should not be a surprise anymore - it happens every season.

PROVISIONAL TAX TIME
However ... the main reason that I've been a bit quiet is simply that it's provisional tax time in my part of the world.

March 7th, July 7th, November 7th. These are all days which fill the self-employeed and small company owners full of dread - as we struggle to calculate earnings and liabilities, estimate the profits and then stump up huge portions of tax payments - finding the cash somewhere.

Pay too little and you'll be whacked with huge penalty taxes when the end of year accounts come through - so you end up pouring almost all your savings into the state tax coffers - keeping just enough for a few beers and a tin of baked beans.

Working for yourself has plenty of benefits - but financial security and certainty at tax time isn't one of them. Still at least I can afford a beer.

Catch ya soon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sunday 4 March - English Premier League Roundup

Tottenham beat West Ham 4-3 in an extraordinary game at Upton Park.

Mark Noble had given the home side the lead on the quarter-hour with a cracking half-volley from Carlos Tevez's clever knockdown. Four minutes before the interval he curled a free-kick in off the bar to double the lead and send the Hammers' fans into ecstasy.

Spurs came out firing after the break and halved the deficit through a Jermain Defoe penalty before Teemu Tainio lashed home a volley from Aaron Lennon's inspired flick.
Then former Spur Bobby Zamora came off the bench to head the Hammers back into the lead five minutes before full-time.

But in a breathless encounter there was still time for Dimitar Barbatov to curl home an 89th-minute free-kick before Stalteri's late clincher in the fifth added minute.

Two second-half Benni McCarthy penalties gave Blackburn a 2-1 win over Bolton at the Reebok.

Nicolas Anelka scored a late goal to make the last few minutes nervous for the visitors, but the Trotters could not salvage an equaliser, although Abdoulaye Faye did have the ball in the net in injury time but was rightly flagged offside.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

English Premier League roundup - 3rd March

John O'Shea scored a dramatic late winner as Barclays Premiership leaders Manchester United snatched a crucial 1-0 victory at Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

United were outplayed for much of the match at Anfield but grabbed all three points when Ireland defender O'Shea turned in from close range after a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick in injury time.

Liverpool spurned a number of opportunities to take the game but United held firm, despite the sending off of Paul Scholes, to take another huge step towards the title.

Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou scored the goals to earn defending champions Chelsea a 2-0 win at Portsmouth and ensure their title hopes are still alive.

But they were made to work hard at Fratton Park and needed two brilliant saves from Petr Cech to keep them in front after Drogba's superb opener.

Kalou then put the game beyond doubt with nine minutes remaining when he slipped the ball under David James after Ashley Cole had headed on Frank Lampard's punt upfield.

Arsenal beat Reading 2-1 to move within a point of Liverpool after with two second-half goals at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners made the breakthrough after 49 minutes when Gilberto struck from the penalty spot following a foul on Gael Clichy by Andre Bikey.

Julio Baptista added a second with a solo effort to settle the game on 62 minutes although Reading grabbed a consolation when Cesc Fabregas - who missed a sitter in the first half - put through his own net late on.

Charlton snatched a vital point against Watford in a 2-2 draw as they came from 2-0 down to at Vicarage Road.

Darren Ambrose headed the equaliser a minute from time after Luke Young had got his side back into the game with a tight finish on 67 minutes.

The Hornets had led since the 15th minute when Hameur Bouazza smashed home on the rebound after Scott Carson had saved a header from Damien Francis, who added a second six minutes later.

Meanwhile Wigan secured an important 1-0 win over Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Caleb Folan, who scored against City for Chesterfield earlier this season, repeated the feat as he headed in the only goal from a Leighton Baines cross after 18 minutes. City pressed heavily in the second half but Wigan's resolute defence held out for the win.

Aston Villa had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Fulham after seeing their first-half lead quickly cancelled out.

Norwegian John Carew put the visitors into the lead after 21 minutes at Craven Cottage but the hosts responded immediately to level at 1-1. Carlos Bocanegra headed in the equaliser after he was left unattended at a Franck Queudrue free-kick.

Mikel Arteta smashed in a penalty equaliser as Everton drew 1-1 against battling Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Rob Hulse had put the Blades on course for victory when he finished brilliantly with a shot across goal from a Colin Kazim-Richards cross on 52 minutes. Everton got back into the game after goalkeeper Paddy Kenny dropped a high ball and brought down Andrew Johnson in the ensuing scramble. Arteta's goal was given after his penalty bounced down over the line off the bar.

The Tyne-Tees derby between Newcastle and Middlesbrough at St James' Park ended goalless.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Sheets - England / Italy / Germany - 3rd/4th Mar

Hello - thanks for checking out the blog today.

Because I'm running a bit behind schedule this weekend we're going to do things a little differently today, as I'm going to discuss each sheet briefly and then point you to the Betting Forum where the sheets are posted and you can join in the discussion.

ENGLISH SHEET. (FORUM LINK - or go DIRECT TO POST )

LIKELY BETS
===========================
Arsenal to beat Reading.
Chelsea to win at Portsmouth.

Of course the sheet knows nothing about injuries to John Terry, or to Thierry Henry, or about upcoming European geames (etc) so you have to apply your own modifiers to those percentage numbers and decide whether it's still worth a play.

VALUE BETS
=================================
An interesting sheet for the weekend with 6 teams raising the GREEN FLAG for value :

Liverpool to beat Manchester Utd
Arsenal to beat Reading
Fulham to beat Aston Villa
Sheff Utd to beat Everton
Portsmouth to beat Chelsea
West Ham to beat Tottenham

Place six singles and if you get three or more winners then you'll be in profit.

ITALIAN SHEET. (FORUM LINK - or go DIRECT TO POST )

LIKELY BETS
=============================
There are three games that most people would pick and all of them appear to be at fair or better value too.

Milan AC to beat Chievo @ 1.40 (Saturday)
Fiorentina to beat Torino @ 1.40
Lazio to beat Sampdoria @ 1.80


GERMAN SHEET. (FORUM LINK - or go DIRECT TO POST )

LIKELY BETS
===================
Only one is recommended by both halves of the sheet with Werder Bremen the obvious choice to beat Bochum - but the price of 1.33 is very poor value.

There are two "half recommendations :
Wolfsburg to beat Mochengladbach at 1.95
Dortmund to beat Cottbus @ 1.65

The first bet is on Saturday and seems to have some value as well

VALUE BETS
=============================
Hertha Berlin to beat Bayern Munich at 3.30 !!
3.30 !! that's a good price.
:-)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rovers in to 6/1 to win FA Cup after beating Arsenal

Blackburn have been made 3rd favourites and are into as short as 6/1 for FA Cup glory after they knocked out Arsenal in their fifth-round replay on Wednesday night.

Benni McCarthy's late strike earned Rovers a 1-0 win at Ewood Park and a quarter-final with Manchester City. You can still get a bet on Blackburn as big as 9/1 (10.00) at SportingOdds

Chelsea (13/8 with Ladbrokes) and Manchester United (7/4 at PaddyPower) have both been shortened following the Gunners' demise.

IF you want to bet against recent history and still think that an outsider can win then you can get some very tasty prices :
- Spurs can be backed at 12/1 at BetFred and Ladbrokes
- Manchester City are 16s at SportingOdds
- Middlesbrough on 20/1 at SportingOdds,
- Watford on 33/1 over at Victor Chandler
- and biggest of all is Plymouth at 66s at SportingOdds

(all prices accurate as at midday Fri 2nd March)