England v Australia Rugby World Cup Betting Analysis

Australia go into Saturday's quarter-final with England as underdogs but Michael Cheika will be busy creating a siege mentality in the Aussie camp says Tim Cocker…

“England's real advantage is in the back division where they should have too much firepower against a disjointed Australian backline (shorn of their best player Israel Folau of course) where they've been trying to work out their best combinations during this World Cup.”

There are some serious grudge matches in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

England v Australia feels especially “grudge-y”. The historical niggle is added to by the men in charge. Eddie Jones against his countrymen and Michael Cheika as proud an Aussie as you'll find, but beginning to resemble Michael Douglas in Falling Down with his levels of belligerence. And belligerence, ironically, is a quality Australia will need on the field.

Australia's weakness at previous World Cups has been their set piece, a traditional English strength. No more. England are favourites, but will find themselves up against a gnarly pack and solid set piece.

England's real advantage is in the back division where they should have too much firepower against a disjointed Australian backline (shorn of their best player Israel Folau of course) where they've been trying to work out their best combinations during this World Cup. That said, Marika Korobeite is a match-winning talent on the wing, and absolutely someone whose opportunities England need to limit. I think it's that threat, along with that of Reece Hodge and Kurtley Beale, which is why Eddie Jones has shunted George Ford onto the bench and Henry Slade into the midfield.

A lot of attention will be on Billy Vunipola who hasn't been in full training in the build up to this match and is so important for England in winning the gain-line and making sure Michael Hooper and David Pocock spend most of the afternoon on the back foot rather being the breakdown menaces they can be. Australian fans won't know much about England's dual threat in Tom Curry and Sam Underhill. This is the biggest stage and the perfect setting for them to realise the potential they have in spades.

Speaking of the breakdown, the appointment of Jerome Garces will make the game more unpredictable as he applies the stereotypical “lassez fair” approach to the tackle area. Discipline and decision making, in the heat of battle, will be crucial.

Back to Michael Cheika, he'll be creating a siege mentality, telling his side the world and his wife is against them (I think he believes it too!). It's just ironic he'll be doing that against England, who everyone else in the World actually does love to hate.

This post first appeared here

Wales v France Rugby World Cup Betting Tips

Wales v France
Sunday, 08:15
Live on ITV

Wales aiming for glory in Gatland's swansong

Wales came into the tournament with their best chance of success at a World Cup and Warren Gatland's side are worthy favourites in their European showdown against France in the quarter-finals. The Six Nations Grand Slam champions built momentum after an outstanding run of 14 successive wins over the last year and have impressed in Japan after topping their pool.

Gatland bows out at the end of the competition and he has given his players the belief they can go the distance at this World Cup. Wales landed a significant victory in the group stage after clinching a 29-25 win against Australia. While the team were far from at their best in wins over Fiji and Uruguay, Wales still look in excellent shape and have the joint top tryscorer in wing Josh Adams.

Wales are at full strength for this match with fly-half Dan Biggar passing concussion tests to line up in their backline. Centre Jonathan Davies has recovered from a knee injury against Fiji to feature while Hadleigh Parkes is fit following a shoulder problem. Gatland can call on his key players as he reverts to the same team which overcame Australia.

France remain unpredictable

France have reached the World Cup final on three occasions, most recently eight years ago, so cannot be discounted but it is hard to know what to expect from them. Renowned as being unpredictable, France have displayed extraordinary highs and lows within matches in Japan. Despite that, Jacques Brunel's side have won all of their matches heading into the knockout stages.

Their opening win against Argentina typified their performances as a superb first half was paired with a dreadful second half which almost led to defeat. Late tries helped France pull away from USA before an almighty scrap with Tonga saw them edge to a 23-21 victory. Typhoon Hagibis forced France's game with England to be cancelled which has given them an extra week to prepare for the quarter-final.

France have made five changes from the team which defeated Tonga with scrum-half Antoine Dupont overcoming a back injury to start the match. Dupont will form the half-back partnership alongside Romain Ntamack. Full-back Maxime Medard is the only player that featured in the France team which defeated Wales in the 2011 World Cup semi-final.

Wales have enjoyed the upper hand against France in recent meetings winning seven of the last eight clashes. This includes this year's thrilling comeback victory in Paris when Wales fought back from 16-0 down to win 24-19 in February. Winning from this position should give them a psychological advantage heading into the game in Oita.

France cannot be discounted, with their individual flair capable of troubling Wales, but their lack of consistency across 80 minutes is likely to be telling. Wales have found a way to win tight matches and should be able to overcome France to advance to the semi-finals. The last five games between the sides have been settled by no more than nine points and Wales can hold their nerve to edge through.

Check out our Rugby World Cup podcast, with the Pod Nations Predict panel previewing the knockout stages and picking out the best bets

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

This post first appeared here

Weekend Premier League value Bets and Sportnation Odds

Get your bets ready for the weekend Premier League action with Sportnation's weekend match odds and highlighted bets.

Weekend Premier League value Bets

Good value is with West Ham who are 5/2 to beat beleaguered Everton in the earlier kick-off, while a Southampton win at Wolves (3/1) should not be discounted. Manchester United being 4/1 to beat Liverpool on home soil during Super Sunday shows how far they have fallen – but now is as good a time as any to create what would be a huge victory.

Everton v West Ham Odds

Everton: Evens
Draw: 53/20
West Ham: 5/2

Highlighted bet – West Ham to win to nil: 11/2

Leicester vs Burnley Odds

Burnley: 20/33
Draw: 3/1
Everton: 19/4

Highlighted bet – Leicester to win by two goals: 15/3

Aston Villa v Brighton Odds

Aston Villa: 27/20
Draw: 49/20
Brighton: 2/1

Highlighted bet – Neal Maupay first goalscorer: 9/2

Wolves v Southampton Odds

Norwich: 29/20
Draw: 51/20
Leicester: 37/20

Highlighted bet – Teemu Pukki to score two or more goals: 27/10

Wolves vs Southampton Odds

Wolves: 20/23
Draw: 5/2
Southampton: 3/1

Highlighted bet – A goal in the first 15 mins: 7/2

Bournemouth vs Norwich Odds

Bournemouth: 20/27
Draw: 3/1
Norwich: 33/10

Highlighted bet – Bournemouth clean sheet: 5/2

Tottenham vs Watford Odds

Tottenham: 5/1
Draw: 15/4
Watford: 25/4

Highlighted bet – Watford to win from behind: 14/1

Chelsea vs Newcastle Odds

Chelsea: 1/3
Draw: 19/4
Newcastle: 37/4

Highlighted bet – Mason Mount to score from outside the box: 11/1

Crystal Palace vs Man City Odds

Crystal Palace: 11/1
Draw: 11/2
Man City: 1/4

Highlighted bet – City to win by over four goals: 21/4

Man United vs Liverpool Odds

Man Utd: 4/1
Draw: 14/5
Liverpool: 4/7

Highlighted bet – Five goals in the game: 17/2

Sheffield United vs Arsenal Odds

Sheff Utd: 57/20
Draw: 27/10
Arsenal: 20/21

Highlighted bet – Sheff Utd to win 1-0: 13/1

Latest Premier League outright bets

See the latest Sportnation betting odds for markets on the Premier League.

To win the Premier League

Man City: 4/6
Liverpool: 5/4

To be relegated

Norwich: 4/6
Watford: 5/7
Newcastle: 15/13
Aston Villa: 2/1
Sheffield United: 2/1

Top four finish

Leicester: 11/4
Man Utd: 4/1

Top goalscorer

Sergio Aguero: 3/1
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/2
Harry Kane: 5/1

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Japan v South Africa Rugby World Cup Betting Tips

Japan v South Africa
Sunday, 11:15
Live on ITV

History-makers Japan ready for another huge upset

Japan have provided the outstanding story of this World Cup with the brilliant hosts making history in reaching their first quarter-final. Jamie Joseph's team have been exceptional during the tournament, winning their pool and setting up a crack against South Africa – four years after their monumental upset against the Springboks in the pool stage.

The Brave Blossoms have produced an exhilarating brand of rugby with their high-tempo attacking game bewildering opponents. Japan stunned Ireland in the second match but this was no fluke and the side raised their level again in last weekend's 28-21 victory in Yokohama which eliminated Scotland from the tournament.

Joseph has only changed one player from the win against Scotland with Ryohei Yamanaka replacing William Tupou at full-back. Japan's electrifying backline is led by Kotaro Matsushima, with the wing joint top tryscorer on five tries for the tournament, alongside the rapid Kenki Fukuoka. Joseph has promised to surprise South Africa and he has no shortage of individual match winners in his side.

South Africa focused on out-muscling opponents

South Africa were one of the most well-fancied teams coming into the World Cup and the two-time winners are still viewed as strong contenders despite starting with a defeat. The Springboks were handed the toughest possible opener against defending champions New Zealand and first-half mistakes cost them in the 23-13 loss as they finished pool runners-up.

Rassie Erasmus' side are built on their physical strength and a direct gameplan but South Africa still have plenty of flair players in the backline. Cheslin Kolbe is an immense talent with the wing's phenomenal pace and footwork providing a cutting edge. Makazole Mapimpi is another prolific finisher on the other wing which will test Japan's defence.

South Africa opted to announce their team a day ahead of schedule and hooker Malcolm Marx has been left out with Mbongeni Mbonambi preferred. Erasmus has admitted he will probably use Marx for most of the second half and their strength in depth could be decisive in this match. Handre Pollard plays at fly-half with Damian de Allende selected at inside centre.

There have been only two previous meetings between the teams with Japan famously beating South Africa at the last World Cup. Eddie Jones masterminded a sensational 34-32 victory in Brighton in arguably the biggest upset in the competition's history. But the teams faced each other last month in a warm-up game and South Africa ran out 41-7 winners.

This scoreline should not be a significant factor and it flattered the Springboks in a clinical performance. Japan must be taken seriously as a force after their world class performances against Ireland and Scotland. The hosts are deemed 15-point outsiders and this looks extremely generous. South Africa's physical muscle could ultimately tip this in their favour, but they will have to overcome a fearsome attack and the overwhelming home support, in a contest which is likely to be much closer than the odds suggest.

Check out our Rugby World Cup podcast, with the Pod Nations Predict panel previewing the knockout stages and picking out the best bets

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

This post first appeared here

Cardiff City 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday: Lee Tomlin rescues Bluebirds with late strike

Lee Tomlin's free-kick skims the Wednesday wall before finding the net for Cardiff's equaliser

Lee Tomlin's late free-kick saw Cardiff City maintain their unbeaten home record in the Championship this season as they drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls had seemed set to go second in the second tier after Julian Borner's 19th-minute goal, the German central defender volleying home as he latched onto a Kadeem Harris shot.

But boss Garry Monk was denied what would have been a fourth victory in six league games thanks to Cardiff substitute Tomlin.

Wednesday dominated the first half, then looked like holding out even as Cardiff put the pressure on after the break.

Neil Warnock's men had struggled to produce any quality in the final third until Tomlin lifted his free-kick over the wall and inside the post.

The point means Wednesday are up to sixth in the table, while Cardiff stay 11th.

Warnock had suggested on the eve of the game that this would be the toughest week of Cardiff's season.

His team go to Millwall on Tuesday before heading the other way down the M4 on 27 October to face Swansea City.

Last time Cardiff met their neighbours, in a Premier League game in 2014, Monk was making his managerial debut in the Swansea dugout.

Monk finished up celebrating that day thanks to a 3-0 Swansea victory, but the now Wednesday boss was left frustrated by Cardiff's late leveller here.

The Owls impressed from the outset, with Cardiff old boy Harris looking keen to show Warnock he had made a mistake by releasing him at the end of last season.

The winger sent an early sighter over the bar, but his next effort brought the opener as Borner instinctively guided home.

Borner, another summer signing at Hillsborough, then headed over before Steve Fletcher's shot was parried by Neil Etheridge, who was back in the Cardiff goal for the first time since the opening day after injury.

Kadeem Harris (left) was one of Sheffield Wednesday's brightest attackers against former side Cardiff

Harris then rattled the crossbar with a well-struck free-kick before Fletcher's chested effort was gathered by Etheridge.

Warnock reacted to Cardiff's lack of threat by replacing midfielder Leandro Bacuna with forward Danny Ward after just 32 minutes, but the hosts' solitary first-half chance of note came from a set-piece.

When Aden Flint nodded the ball down, a sliding Josh Murphy could only steer wide of the target.

In need of a big improvement after the break, Cardiff began to ask questions of their visitors through a succession of set-pieces.

A Robert Glatzel header drew a first save of the night from Cameron Dawson, who was drafted into the Wednesday starting side after Keiren Westwood picked up an injury in the warm-up.

Ward's snapshot meant more work for Dawson before Tomlin's 87th-minute moment of magic saved Cardiff.

Wednesday felt Flint was lurking in an offside position – and interfering with their keeper's view – as the dead ball was struck, but the officials were not interested.

Cardiff might still have won it in stoppage time, with Dawson getting down well to deny Gavin Whyte.

A defeat would have been particularly harsh on Wednesday, who for a long time seemed set for three points rather than one.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock said: “I am disappointed we conceded the way we did. We had to make a change early doors because I think we would have got beaten easily if we hadn't done that.

“Leandro Bacuna has done some miles and I think he has played every game for club and country this season. He just looked jaded to me and I thought we could play Danny Ward with the way they were playing.

“I said to the lads at half-time I thought we could win it – I thought they were vulnerable.

“We had quite a lot of crosses going astray – some of the balls into the box were poor tonight – but we kept going and I thought we could have won it in the end.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk said: “We are frustrated that we didn't get the win because we had enough chances to make it comfortable.

“The first 50 or 60 minutes was exactly what we wanted. We didn't allow them to turn the game into a physical scrap, which is what they wanted.

“But we just didn't have control in that final period, although I am disappointed with the goal.

“If it had been a legitimate goal, fair enough, but I am told it wasn't even a foul for the free-kick.

“Then they had one of their players doing star jumps, trying to distract our keeper.

“How they missed that, I don't know because it's not hard to spot – a 6ft 5 inch player doing star jumps.”

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Saturday 19 October 2019 Horse Racing Tips

Timeform pick out their best back, lay and smart stat bets on Saturday…

“…of obvious interest on debut given his stable’s record in bumpers…”

Timeform on Mille Sussurri

Count d'Orsay – 15:25 Catterick

Count d'Orsay had to wait for a gap from two furlongs out before running on for second in a York handicap earlier this month and that running would suggest that Tim Easterby's gelding is still ahead of his mark. Moss Gill finished two lengths ahead of him that day but Count d'Orsay is 6 lb better off at the weights here and another bold showing could see him reverse the form.

Yasir 18:15 Wolverhampton

Yasir put in a good performance at Kempton recently but enjoyed a clearer run than many and the bare form of that race may be somewhat flattering. Sophie Leech's gelding is a seven-time course winner and can give a good account of himself but will struggle to pose a serious threat to the principals here. Konigin is off a career-low mark while Sacred Sprite was poorly placed last time and both may have more to offer.

Smart Stat
Mille Sussurri – 17:20 Ffos Las

£16.55 – Harry Fry's profit to a £1 level stake with bumper debutants

Not a lot to go on in this field with only three runners having raced previously but Mille Sussurri is of obvious interest on debut given his stable's record in bumpers. His breeding warrants attention (out of a winning pointer and brother to a point winner), suggesting he will stay further than this in time, but Harry Fry does well with such types and any confidence in the market would be encouraging.

This post first appeared here

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Back against Barca in 36/1 fourfold

More away woes for Barca


Eibar vs Barcelona
Saturday, 12:00 GMT

Another away game for Barcelona, will it be more dropped points?

They travel to the Basque country to face a rejuvenated Eibar side, who are unbeaten in their last four La Liga games, registering two wins, both of which came at home.

A draw at Real Betis was a good result for Eibar before the break, but both home wins, against Sevilla and Celta Vigo, were very impressive performances and deserved results, and the Ipurua Municipal Stadium is always a tough place for any team to go.

The main reason I'm looking at this game is because of Barcelona.

On the face of it, things are back to normal at the Nou Camp, with Ernesto Valverde's side registering four wins in their last five league games, but the results don't tell the full story.

Their 4-0 win over Sevilla was an unbelievably fortunate result, as Barca actually lost the xG battle in that game (xG: BAR 2.46 – 3.27 SEV), and the reigning champions sit 8th in Infogol's xG table, with an expected goal difference of just +0.53… their actual GD is 10 – a huge over-performance.

Away from home, Barca rate as only the 12th best team in the league on xG, generating an average of 0.86 xGF and allowing 1.40 xGA per game – that is a process of a bottom half team – so clearly don't like playing on the road.

They have already lost at Athletic Bilbao, drawn at Osasuna and lost at Granada, so there is no reason why Barca should be so short to win this game (1.59).

Infogol calculates that Barca have only a 38% (2.63) chance of winning here, so laying Valverde's side on the Exchange is the selection, or if you bet on the Sportsbook, back Eibar or the Draw.

Another big win for Atalanta

Lazio vs Atalanta
Saturday, 14:00 GMT

A big game in Italy, as two top four hopefuls do battle in Rome.

Lazio come into this game on the back of a 2-2 draw with Bologna, a fortunate result according to expected goals (xG: BOL 2.81 – 1.62 LAZ), and yet another game in which they looked vulnerable defensively.

They are allowing 1.24 xGA per game this season, so will likely give up chances to this excellent attacking Atalanta team.

Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta side sit in third spot in Serie A, picking up from where they left off last season, and come into this having won four of their last five matches, including a victory in Rome already.

Atalanta rank as the best attacking team in Serie A so far this season, averaging 2.27 xGF per game, and even though Duván Zapata is out for this game, the visitors still possess enough attacking talent to cause serious problems for the hosts.

Infogol makes the visitors favourites for this game (41% – 2.44), so given that they are priced as outsiders here (3.20 – 31%), there is huge amount of value in backing Atalanta here.

Wolfsburg to extend unbeaten start

RB Leipzig vs Wolfsburg
Saturday, 14:30 GMT

After a hot start, RB Leipzig's season has stalled of late, managing just one win in their last four matches, meaning they sit fifth in the table after seven matches.

Julian Nagelsmann's side do create good chances in matches, but they remain vulnerable defensively (1.52 xGA per game) as shown in recent games against Schalke (2.87 xGA) and Bayer Leverkusen (2.02 xGA per game).

Wolfsburg remain the only unbeaten team in Germany this season after four wins and three draws from their opening seven matches.

They sit second in the table, and their underlying process has been very impressive, especially defensively, where they rate as the best defensive team in the Bundesliga, allowing just 0.81 xGA per game.

RBL are expected to struggle to breakdown this Wolfsburg defence, and I'm hugely surprised to see the hosts such short favourites (1.59 – 63%) for this game.

The Infogol model suggests RBL should be priced closer to 1.96 (51%), so laying the hosts on the Exchange is the selection, or backing Wolfsburg or Draw on the Sportsbook.

Lille to get back to winning ways

Toulouse vs Lille
Saturday, 19:00 GMT

Toulouse entered the international break third bottom of the Ligue 1 table after a winless five game stretch, so are desperate for points as we head into gameweek 10.

Their underlying numbers suggest that they are a relegation threatened team, as they barely offer an attacking threat (1.10 xGF per game), while continuously looking weak defensively (1.68 xGA per game).

Lille on the other hand, have been extremely impressive so far this season, and are unfortunate to only sit fifth after nine games.

They rank as they second best team behind only PSG, so are clearly doing an awful lot right in 19/20, just like in 18/19 when they secured a second-place finish.

Defensively they are solid (0.95 xGA per game), and in attack they pose a serious threat (1.64 xGF per game), with Victor Osimhen leading the line and the scoring charts in France.

Infogol gives Lille a 49% (2.04) chance of getting the win, so the 2.24 (44%) available on the Exchange represents good value.

The Infogol model calculates that this fourfold should be around 15/1, but it is available at 36/1 on the Sportsbook

This post first appeared here

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India v South Africa Third Test Stats Betting and Tips

Ton-up or half salute for the great man?

Last week in this column we waxed lyrical about Virat Kohli's abilities to take top-bat honours in India's first innings. And he won. And so we waxed lyrical some more in the Cricket…Only Bettor podcast.

It is rare indeed in betting – whether it be cricket or tiddly-winks – one gets the opportunity to bet an outcome which occurs 45% of the time (two-year data) at an implied probability of 35.7% with the layers. Kohli is 9/5 with Sportsbook for a repeat in Ranchi. There is no doubt that after his seventh Test double he is in nick.

That sort of data dive is in direct response to several years of musing how best to make sound wagers on top bat (and bowler) markets. In days of yore – about three years ago – the perceived wisdom about such markets was to plump for someone with several planets in line. Was he in form? Did he have ground form (the psychological aspect of being at a venue where he felt comfortable was thought to be significant)? Did he have form against the bowlers he would be facing? If all three were present, as well as some technical deficiencies for some of his team-mates or horror runs at a venue, that might be enough.

Still, the tops markets are, as one Twitter user got in contact to say this week, “notoriously” hard to get right. It's one thing picking a guy to score runs. It's something else picking a guy to score more than the rest. That twitter user said it was best to go for ‘to score a hundred' or ‘to score a fifty' markets. And he wouldn't be wrong.

There is nothing more infuriating then betting a guy for honours, watching him cream a big century only to get pipped after a weary attack, worn to the point of exhaustion by our guy, gets pipped by someone else. Think how you might have felt had you, in 1946, bet Sydney Barnes for top Australia bat in Sydney against England. He made 234 opening the batting. The Don then came in later and matched him.

Kohli is 5/2 for a first-innings century and 11/10 for a first-innings fifty. Doesn't the stress just melt away when thinking along the lines of ‘all he has to do is…won't have to worry what others are up to'. It is appealing, particularly on a wicket which could be very flat indeed in Ranchi. What often puts us off such markets is the counter argument: ‘yes, but what if we bet him for a ton, shying away from top bat, and he wins it with a 70-odd'.

The answer to such conundrums is, as ever, in the data. Kohli is only a bet for either of those ‘easier' markets if the prices are incorrect. We have good news.

In the last two years, Kohli has a century in seven of his 21 first digs. That's bang on a 2/1 chance. Even better, four of them came in seven home Tests. For a fifty, he is rated as shorter than Sportsbook make him. He's odds on at 10/11. If we extend the study period to five years, including only home Tests, Kohli is still value at 2/1 for a ton but perversely not for a fifty with a record of nine half-salutes in 23.

Rabada ready to raze

Kagiso Rabada has little to beat for top South Africa bowler. Our database tells us he should be 5/2 for honours. Sportsbook say he's a 3s chance. Get on.

Rabada is lethal and benefits from unique skills in comparison to his team-mates. No one matches his speed or accuracy. Vernon Philander goes close on the latter but not the former. Anrich Nortje manages the former but not the latter.

Lungi Ngidi, if fit, is his greatest rival on the market. But judging by Faf Du Plessis's comments after defeat in Pune, he might come up short. Keshav Maharaj's injury removes the one bowler we worried could have taken Rabada down. Likely replacement Dane Piedt is struggling and India's batsmen are toying with him.

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India v South Africa Third Test Betting and Tips

India v South Africa
Saturday 19 October 05.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

India power

India made it a record 11 home series wins in a row by defeating South Africa in Pune. It was punishing on the tourists who, once again, lost the toss and were in the field, conceding a whopper.

The result was never in doubt once India had dropped anchor. Mayank Agarwal followed his double in Vizag with 108 and then Virat Kohli purred his way to a double of his own, the first time he had top scored in a first dig in six.

Kohli insists India will not take their foot off the gas. Before the Test Championship was introduced we would have suggested India would have struggled to find the intensity. But every point counts these days.

India picked three pacers and two spinners for Pune, which meant all-rounder Hanuma Vihari missed out. The balance of that XI looks the smartest way to go again.

South African struggles

South Africa probably can't wait to get home but, in truth, they have been beaten as soon as the toss goes against them. They are desperate for a wearing, crumbling fourth-innings pitch to bowl on (with scoreboard pressure) to try to reduce the gulf.

Their record in Asia also backs up the need for outside help. They have lost seven of their last ten (five years) and have made more than 250 only times in all innings. Their first innings average is 200.

Although the likes of Dean Elgar, Quinton De Kock and Faf Du Plessis have shown ability against the spinners, precious few others have. Aiden Markram's weakness against spin and on the road has been exposed. And he knows it. He has hit out at an “object” and damaged a wrist, ruling him out. Zubayr Hamza comes in.

To make matters worse, their best spinner, Keshav Maharaj will miss the final match with injury. The ineffective Dane Piedt may have to come back in. Lungi Ngidi might play his first game of the series in place of Anrich Nortje.

This could be a road

There has been only one Test played at Ranchi. In 2017 India and Australia played out a draw on a road. India responded to Australia's 451 with 603. The game petered out in the third innings with Australia making 204 for six. There was still turn, though. Ravi Jadeja claimed nine wickets in the match while Aussie Steve O'Keefe also found purchase.

Draw price appeals

India are [1.40], South Africa [12.50] and the draw is [4.8]. The price about the home team will disappear if they bat first. But there is potential for movement in the other two.

For both to shorten up significantly, South Africa are going to have to bat first and go big. A minimum would be 400. That [12.50] could become [7.0] post toss but only with 400 would it come close to halving.

What is likely to prevent South Africa from getting too small is the stalemate price. That will be the big mover if the tourists show gumption because the market will believe that if they can bat well, what could India do? There could be an overreaction. It could well be close to even money with the expected India solid start in their first innings.

Kohli all the rage

Kohli topped for India in the first dig in Pune and he was well-backed to do so. He has a 45 per cent win rate in the market in the last two years. Betfair Sportsbook go 9/5 and it's still value. Chet Pujara got a double on this ground in that Australia match. He is rated at 3/1. Agarwal is also 3s and the destructive Rohit Sharma, who destroyed South Africa in game one, is 9/2.

For South Africa, there doesn't seem much for Elgar, who got a big ton in Vizag, or the obdurate Du Plessis to beat in the first innings to take South Africa honours. Sportsbook agree, making them joint 7/2 favourites.

Rabada and Ashwin on fire

As discussed in Betfair's new cricket podcast, Cricket…Only Bettor, this week you could do a hell of a lot worse in punting life than taking Kagiso Rabada at 3s for top South Africa bowler and Ravi Ashwin for top India at 7/4. Both bets are not skinny enough in terms of how often they win.

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Man Utd v Liverpool: Pick a team from 2013 champions and 2019 leaders

How do Liverpool's current Premier League leaders compare with Manchester United's last champions? Here's a chance to put your selection skills to the test and pick a team from those two squads.

Jurgen Klopp's side travel to Old Trafford on Sunday looking to match the record for the number of successive Premier League wins.

They have won 17 league games in a row – a run stretching back to March – and victory this weekend will see them match Manchester City's record, set between August to December 2017.

Liverpool are chasing their first English title since 1989-90 – while Manchester United are enduring their worst start since that season, having collected just nine points from eight Premier League matches.

To mark Sunday's game, we are looking back to a United side from better times – their last title-winning squad, of 2013 – mixing them in with Liverpool's current set-up and challenging you to pick a combined XI from it.

Have a go and share it with your friends using #bbcfootball.

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Olly Murphy Friday Runners Preview Fakenham Calipso Collonges could run a big race at a decent price

It's the start of the winter season at Fakenham and Olly is back with a bang with seven runners – and with a 26% strike rate at the track is hopeful of a successful Friday

“Calipso Collonges runs in a high-quality 3m Handicap Chase, has won over hurdles on this track, seems in very good form, and is a horse that could run a big race at a decent price.”

13:55 – Some Boy McCoy

We start Some Boy McCoy in the conditional jockey's selling hurdle, he has plenty of ability, but getting it out of him hasn't always been straightforward. He runs in first-time cheekpieces, and would have every chance if he puts his best foot forwards.

14:25 – Todd & Smart Getaway

We have two runners in this Handicap Hurdle. Firstly, Todd, a dual course winner, seems in great form with himself and Callum McKinnes gets on really well with him and takes a useful 7lbs off. Smart Getaway has her first run in a Handicap here, with Aidan Coleman aboard. Her mark seems about right and I would not be surprised to see either of them filling the place spots.

15:00 – Angel of Harlem

Angel of Harlem lines up in a really tight looking five runner race, where a case could be made for the quintet. She has a penalty for her previous win at Uttoxeter, which won't make life easy for her.

15:30 – Notre Paris

Notre Paris takes his chance in the 2m Novice Hurdle for J P McManus, and we are glad to see Barry Geraghty make the journey for the ride. He ran with great credit on debut at Warwick, seems a sharp type so should be suited by the track. I would hope he will run very well.

16:05 – Calipso Collonges

Calipso Collonges runs in a high-quality 3m Handicap Chase, has won over hurdles on this track, seems in very good form, and is a horse that could run a big race at a decent price.

16:35 – The Wolf

The Wolf has his first run for us, in what looks like a match between him and the Paul Nichols-trained Dragon. The track may not be ideal, but a four runner race is a good place to start, he's an exciting prospect and I am very much looking forwards to running him.

This post first appeared here

Serie A Betting Tips and Predictions – Fiorentina v Brescia – Sat 19, Sun 20 & Mon 21 October 2019

Four in a row for Fiorentina

Brescia v Fiorentina
Monday, 19:45
Live on Betfair Live Video and Premier 1

I've enjoyed watching Fiorentina's return to form in recent weeks, and after a break, Franck Ribery and co will be ready to go again against Brescia and try to make it four Serie A wins in a row.

All of those early season concerns now look a little premature, with La Viola up to eighth in Serie A and playing attractive football. They could even end the weekend in the Top Four if results were to go their way.

Brescia looked like being a team to follow this season, and I still think that they're finding their feet, but they've lost their first two home games, against Bologna and Juve, and all six of their points have come in hard fought 1-0 wins away from the Rigamonti.

La Viola have lost only one of their last 18 Serie A games against Brescia, and that, frankly, is because they have traditionally had significantly better players. That remains the case, and makes Fiorentina, showing form and determination, a good bet to come away with a fourth successive victory and have observers wondering what all of the on field fuss was about.

Atalanta march on Rome again

Lazio v Atalanta
Saturday, 14:00

After a confusingly desperate showing in the Champions League, Atalanta have found terrific form in Serie A, and they head to Lazio as very lively [3.1] shots.

There's always a worry with Atalanta that they can throw in a poor performance when you least expect it, and their Cup Final in this stadium against this opposition was a case in point.

They've now won three Serie A games in a row, though, including here against Roma, and they'll be full of confidence as they take on a Lazio team who themselves can be frustratingly inconsistent.

Lazio have won here this season against Parma, Genoa and Rennes, but this represents a step up in class, and if Atalanta can impose their uptempo style on Simone Inzaghi's team, and take their chances, then I think that they'll come away with the win. Duvan Zapata is injured, but Luis Muriel is raring to go in his place.

Atalanta have now won their last four Serie A away games, and won their last two against Lazio. I think that they can extend those runs, and are handily priced to do so.

Perfect debut for Ranieri

Sampdoria v Roma
Sunday, 14:00
Live on Betfair Live Video and Premier 2

Claudio Ranieri takes over his 17th different club this weekend, and faces the team that he supported as a boy, his beloved Roma.

Samp have had an awful start to the season, losing six of their opening seven games, and it was no surprise to hear that Eusebio Di Francesco had left the club. Ranieri wasn't first choice, isn't a very sexy choice, but he did do some good work at Roma last season, and he may just be the right fit for Samp.

The home team will look more organised than they have all season so far, and that may allow Fabio Quagliarella, starved of service so far, to hurt Roma. Samp have won only two of their last seven in Serie A against Roma, and are clear outsiders here, but given Roma's considerable injury worries, and the absence from the touchline of their fiery Coach Paulo Fonseca, I wouldn't be surprised to see an emotional home win.

Roma will be without Lorenzo Pellegrini, Edin Dzeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Perotti, Amadou Diawara and Davide Zappacosta, and for all Fonseca's talk of the injuries being an irrelevance, I don't think that they are.

Given their less than impressive showings, it seems odd that Roma have won their last two away games, leading layers to favour them strongly for this, but Dzeko in particular is a huge miss, and Marassi may just welcome in a new Sampdoria dawn under a smiling Claudio Ranieri.

This post first appeared here

El Clasico: Barcelona boss against moving Barca v Real from Nou Camp

Barcelona and Real Madrid have a passionate rivalry that stretches back nearly a century

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says he is “hopeful” their match with Real Madrid on 26 October at the Nou Camp will not be moved to the Bernabeu.

La Liga has asked the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to switch the game to Madrid over fears of civil unrest.

There have been days of protest in Barcelona after nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed on Monday.

Valverde says the club “weren't in favour” as they play away at Slavia Prague three days before El Clasico.

La Liga made the request because of “exceptional circumstances beyond our control” as more protests are expected in Barcelona on the day of the match.

The RFEF competitions committee is asking both clubs for their opinion and a decision is expected by Thursday, 24 October.

“Under normal circumstances we'd play at home,” said Valverde.

“They're anticipating certain different circumstances and while we know that this week has been out of the ordinary, we are hopeful of playing the game at our ground. That's what we want to do.

“We don't envisage El Clasico being played in the Bernabeu and we want to respect the schedule. There are still nine days to go.”

Protests have continued into a fourth day in Spain's Catalonia region with protesters clashing with riot police. At least 96 people have been hurt across the region.

“It's a chance for people in society, as well as our fans to demonstrate a number of things. We respect the opposite – in this case our opponent – and that by being civil the match can be played,” Valverde added.

“We want to get rid of all the doom-mongers who say the game won't go ahead. We can show that the match can be played as normal and forget about them.”

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in north-east Spain and in a referendum on 1 October 2017, declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court, about 90% of Catalan votes cast backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

The nine separatist leaders were convicted of sedition over their role in the referendum and handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years by Spain's Supreme Court.

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