Hello everybody, and welcome to this week’s football betting tips.
After the unparalleled excitement of the mid-week European games, we’re back to the drudgery of almost entirely meaningless league football. Hurray! It’s times like these when we most need gambling, to give us some reason to watch a series of 90 minute inconsequential encounters. Aside from our basic love of the game, of course…
We got off to a good start last week, returning £26.48 on £10 bet (you can get more detailed round-ups of the weekend’s gambling picks in Monday’s recap columns). It was so good, in fact, that I’ve taken to calling myself Professor Trelawney to anyone who’ll listen, thanks to my supernatural soothsaying abilities.
This is, then, the difficult second week, in which I seek to prove that I’m not the Federico Macheda of football betting.
Let’s get to it.
(Odds courtesy of PaddyPower.com)
It’s another tricky week to call in the Prem, and I fear – with so many teams having so little to play for – it will remain thus for the rest of the season. In fact, I’d say all four of the 3pm kickoffs could go either way, so we’re steering clear of those in our accumulator.
Because there are so many hard-to-call matchups, our acca this week is going to be smaller than what you’re probably used to. I usually like to include around five teams , but I just don’t see five games – with reasonable odds (i.e. not Man Utd to beat West Brom at 1/6) – that I like this week. We’re going with three instead, which should prove much safer.
We’re starting off in the Championship, with Fulham to beat Brentford. Fulham have been in absolutely spectacular form since the turn of the year. They haven’t lost since December 2017 (against Sunderland, oddly enough). In that span, they’ve beaten every promotion-chaser around them – Middlesborough, Villa, Cardiff, Derby and Wolves. More recently, they’ve won four games on the bounce without conceding a single goal. 10th-placed Brentford are no slouches, but with their middling recent form I simply don’t see them stopping this fantastic Fulham team.
Our only Premier League game in the accumulator this week is Tottenham to beat Manchester City. I don’t like betting against the champions-elect, but I do like the 13/8 odds Spurs are getting. Everybody knows that City are reeling. Their confidence has been shattered in recent weeks, and – although they will win the league eventually – I don’t see them doing it this weekend. Spurs have been on a revenge tour since getting knocked of the Champions League, scoring 12 goals in their past four games and winning each of them. They’ve also been brilliant in big games at home all year, beating Liverpool 4-1, Real Madrid 3-1, Man United 2-0 and Arsenal 1-0.
Finally, we’re rounding out our acca with a good old fashioned sure thing – Bayern Munich over Mönchengladbach (author reserves the right to remove the words “sure thing” upon conclusion of the game if necessary). Gladbach are fine (they’re currently eighth in the league, albeit with a -5 goal difference), but Bayern have been utterly dominant in the Bundesliga this year. I don’t expect them to let up just because they won the title last week – with a massive Champions League game against Real Madrid coming up, Jupp Heynckes knows how important it is for Bayern to keep their foot on the gas.
We’re betting £2 on this accumulator, at odds of 4.69/1, to return £11.38
This is where the real money is to be made this week, because even though it’s hard to pick a winner (with good odds) in a lot of the matchups, we can still predict the general direction in which many of these games should go.
That’s why we’re cutting way back on our accumulator, and putting this week’s remaining £8 into eight individual £1 bets.
1. Zaha to score anytime vs Brighton – 15/8, £2.88 return
I love this bet. It’s not a “guarantee”, but the odds are simply irresistible. Palace are fighting for their Premier League lives, and Zaha – a wonderful footballer – showed last week against Bournemouth that he’s ready to lead from the front. Benteke is fit again, but after seeing what Wilf could do up front last week, Hodgson simply must stick with him in that position. Brighton haven’t kept a clean sheet since December 30th 2017. Palace will score in this game, and I’m backing Zaha to grab at least one.
2. Liverpool vs Bournemouth, over 3.5 goals – evens, £2 return
The bookies know this is going to be a high scoring game, so they’ve made the odds for over 2.5 goals an unpalatable 1/3. Over 3.5 goals sounds high, but this is a top-class attack, at home, going against a side who’ve shipped nine in their last four games (they even conceded to West Brom). Liverpool have beaten up on lesser teams multiple times this season, putting five past Swansea, four past West Ham and five past Watford. The first leg against Roma is still 10 days away, and they can rest players for that when they play the woeful West Brom next weekend. Given that Bournemouth have scored twice in each of their last three games, this match has got “GOALS” written all over it.
3. Firmino to score anytime vs Bournemouth – evens, £2 return
Generally speaking, see above. The odds for Salah to score anytime are terrible, as you’d expect, so I’d recommend grabbing either Firmino or Mane (11/8). Liverpool shouldn’t have much trouble getting goals in this game, and either of them (or both) have a good chance to get on the scoresheet. I slightly prefer Firmino, because he tends to chip in when Liverpool do hammer lesser teams (he scored in the routes against both Watford and West Ham).
4. Burnley vs Leicester, over 2.5 goals – 5/4, £2.25 return
In a fairly drab weekend, this is one of the more interesting matchups. I do like Burnley to win it (particularly at 8/5 odds), but I prefer the safety of the over 2.5 goals bet instead. Burnley have fully flipped in recent weeks, from defensive stalwarts to to a genuine attacking force (with a much shakier defence). Each of their last four games has gone over 2.5 goals, and I don’t see that stopping against a Leicester side with a decent attack and a similarly shaky back line.
5. Swansea vs Everton, under 1.5 goals – 7/4, £2.75 return
The game that absolutely nobody is waiting to see. I’m dozing off just thinking about it. Everton have generally been terrible on the road since Big Sam took over, and Swansea have managed just one goal in their past four games (which came against West Brom). Swansea are hovering just above the relegation zone and won’t want to take any chances. Everton have absolutely nothing to play for, and the manager will be off at the end of the season anyway. I don’t love going so low on an over/under, but the 7/4 odds are excellent. Bet on this game, but don’t watch a second of it.
6. Southampton vs Chelsea, over 2.5 goals – 10/11, £1.91 return
A fascinating matchup, in the most morbid sense. Southampton are a team that has underachieved all season, and find themselves in serious danger of going down. Chelsea are a team who’ve provided an embarrassing attempt at a title defence, their form in 2018 has gone from bad to worse, and their coach mentally checked out months ago. This is very much the footballing equivalent of a car crash you can’t look away from. Southampton seemed to suddenly realize they were fighting for survival last weekend, managing two goals against Arsenal. Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet since February 12th… and that was against West Brom (are you seeing a theme developing here?) This might be a terribly-played game of football – played, managed and watched by men who don’t really want to be there – but I think there will be goals.
7. Aubameyang to score anytime vs Newcastle – 10/11, £1.91 return
I’m going to keep making the “Aubameyang to score anytime” bet until either he stops scoring every game, or the bookies raise the odds. He’s scored in four games on the trot, and I’m backing the streak to continue this weekend. Premier League survival is essentially assured for Newcastle, and – with the best way to beat Arsenal clearly to go straight at them – I think Benitez will cut loose a little this weekend, leading to a nice, open game which should suit Auba perfectly.
8. Rashford to score anytime vs West Brom – 7/5, £2.40 return
And welcome to this week’s edition of “How to Make Money Betting Against West Brom”! The bookies have largely got this game on lockdown, with the odds for a Man U win, over 2.5 goals and Lukaku to score anytime all terrible. That means we have to get a little more creative to profit off the Baggies’ ineptitude this time, and I’m turning to Marcus Rashford to help us do exactly that. There have been rumblings that young Marcus has (justifiably) been unhappy with his playing time under Mourinho. Mou is stubborn, but not stupid. He knows how important Rashford is to his long-term plans, and – even if he’s played the story down in public – I think he’ll get him involved this week. Even if he doesn’t start, expect Rashford to play a decent role in this game, and snatch a goal against a less-than-exceptional West Brom side.
Total Bet – £10
Potential Return – £29.48
Season Total, After 1 Week – + £26.48