Back against Dortmund and Barcelona in 29/1 fourfold

Dortmund to fail to win again

Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday, 14:30 GMT

Dortmund suffered their first set back of the new season before the international break, as they were rightly beaten by Union Berlin after a poor defensive performance (xG: UNI 1.70 – 1.35 DOR).

Lucien Favre's side have been creating good chances this season, but continue to look vulnerable defensively, allowing an average of 1.21 xGA per game.

Bayer Leverkusen have been in great form ever since Peter Bosz took over in December, and have started the season very well, picking up seven points from three games, but have been unfortunate not to win all three.

They are creating good chances (1.89 xGF per game) and looking assured defensively (0.98 xGA per game) once again this season, picking up from where they left off in 18/19, as they rated as the second best team in the league on xG since Bosz's arrival.

This is one of the bigger games in Germany this weekend, and Infogol suggests the bookies are showing Bayer 04 no respect in this match up, with Infogol suggesting Bayer have a 60% chance (1.67) of avoiding defeat.

Dortmund are an extremely short price (1.75 – 57%) up against a fellow top four contender, with Infogol suggesting the home side should be priced up around 2.50 (40%), so the selection is to Lay Dortmund on the Betfair Exchange at 1.87, or back Bayer Leverkusen or Draw if you play on the Sportsbook at 2.00.

Another entertaining Napoli game

Napoli vs Sampdoria
Saturday, 17:00 GMT

You may have kept an eye on Italy's Serie A so far this season, but if you haven't, Napoli are now the entertainers.

Carlo Ancelotti's side have played two games so far, and both have finished 4-3, one in Napoli's favour against Fiorentina, and one to their opponents Juventus last time out.

They are averaging 1.79 xGF and 1.95 xGA per game, so chances at both ends as the two seven goal thrillers would suggest, and there are no signs of that changing, with Ancelotti himself saying they will continue to play open football.

Sampdoria have lost both of their games so far, going down 3-0 to Lazio and 4-1 to Sassuolo, and have looked as bad defensively as those two results would suggest.

They will more than likely concede in what is another tough game, but have shown glimpses of attacking quality this season, averaging 1.03 xGF per game.

Given the way both of these sides have been defending at the start of the season, the obvious play is to back BTTS, with Infogol calculating there is a 59% chance (1.69) of this landing, suggesting there is a small amount of value in backing this on the Sportsbook, but even more value on the Exchange.

Back to back defeats for Rennes

Brest vs Rennes
Saturday, 19:00 GMT

Brest have started the campaign pretty well, having collected five points from four matches, and there have been some promising performances in there, notably a win over Reims, as they are unbeaten at home.

The main reason I'm looking at this game though, is Rennes.

While on the face of it they have made an excellent start to the campaign, picking up nine points, their underlying numbers are terrible, with them ranking as the worst team in the league according to expected goals.

They have over-performed in both attack (6 goals, 3.1 xGF) and defence (3 goals against, 7.1 xGA), and are performing like a team we would expect to see in a relegation battle.

This level of over-performance isn't sustainable moving forward, and if they continue performing in this manner, more defeats will follow, and it is a surprise to Infogol that Betfair make them favourites to win this game (2.30 – 44%).

Infogol suggests that it should be the home side that are favourites (37% – 2.70), so the value play here is to back Brest to get the win at a huge price.

Valencia to haunt Barca again

Barcelona vs Valencia
Sunday, 20:00 GMT

Barcelona have made an extremely poor start to the campaign by their standards, picking up just four points from three games, with two underwhelming performances on the road.

They were very fortunate to get a point against Osasuna last time out, a game in which they were comfortably second best according to xG (xG: OSA 2.09 – 0.43 BAR), with the main issue for Barca being that their talisman Lionel Messi is missing, along with Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé.

It could get worst before it gets better for Barca, as not only is Messi a doubt for this game too, they play their bogey team this weekend.

Valencia have been in the news for all the wrong reasons this week, as they sacked manager Marcelino – the man that registered back-to-back top four finishes and delivered a trophy – due to disagreements with the owner, replacing him with Albert Celades.

Celades has a different style to Marcelino, he wants to implement an expansive, possession based style of play compared to Marcelino's pragmatic, direct style, but Celades won't have had enough time to work with his players ahead of this game, which is seen as a good thing.

Marcelino's style with Valencia has caused serious problems for Barcelona over the last few years, with the Catalonians unable to deal with the high-press, high-energy, counter-attacking football.

Last season, Valencia held Barca twice in the league, 1-1 at the Mestalla (xG: VAL 1.38 – 0.40 BAR) and 2-2 at the Camp Nou (xG: BAR 2.08 – 3.15 VAL) but were the better team on xG on both occasions, and they beat them in the Copa del Rey final, so really have Barca's number.

Infogol suggests Barcelona are too short in this game (1.47 – 68%), with the model rating them as having a 59% chance (1.69) of winning, so the value play is to Lay Barcelona in this game at 1.53 on the Exchange, or back Valencia or Draw at 2.62 on the Sportsbook.

The Infogol model calculates that this fourfold should be around 18/1, but it is available at 29/1 on the Sportsbook

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Markets boosted by Trump’s decision to delay China tariffs

Donald Trump has announced a delay in the planned introduction of higher tariffs on goods imported into the US from China.

The president described the move as a “gesture of good will”, and some are viewing it as a sign of more positive relations between the countries, which have been locked in a trade dispute for the past year. Further talks between the two sides are due to take place in Washington next month.

Markets in Asia, the US and Europe all reacted positively to the news.

An anniversary gift

Trump announced the delay in a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon (September 11th), which confirmed that a planned increase in tariffs on $250 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, from 25% to 30%, will now take effect from October 15, rather than October 1.

He said this followed a request from the vice-premier of China, Liu He, and was in recognition of the fact that the first day in October will mark the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

Beijing welcomed the news and issued some positive signals of its own, publishing a list of 16 US imports that will be exempted from tariffs. The Commerce Ministry also said some Chinese firms are starting to inquire about prices of US agricultural goods.

These new developments in the long-running trade war between the world's two biggest economies follow recent escalations in tensions, with Trump threatening to place new duties on all Chinese imports to the US by the end of the year.

Are relations improving?

These are clearly positive signs that the frosty relationship between the US and China is beginning to thaw. However, analysts have stressed there is still some way to go before the dispute is fully resolved.

The Chinese government may have confirmed tariff exemptions on 16 products it purchases from the US, but thousands more goods are still subject to higher taxes, including major imports like pork, soybeans and American-made cars.

Artur Baluszynski, head of research at investment management firm Henderson Rowe, said the Chinese tariffs that “really matter” are the ones on agricultural and manufacturing goods, which are produced mainly in states that support Trump.

“We just don't see China [being] willing to negotiate on them before the race for [the] US presidential election really kicks off,” he added.

Iris Pang, greater China economist at ING, said the tariff exemptions could be viewed as a “gesture of sincerity”, but are “probably more a means of supporting the economy”.

Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics took a similar view, telling the BBC a “broad settlement is not in sight”, with Beijing prepared for “a continuation of tariffs and hostile rhetoric” going into 2020.

“And Trump cannot back down without getting a storm of criticism from the hawks, both Democrats and Republicans,” he added.

Despite these reservations, the fact that the latest actions taken by both the US and China have been positive offers some hope that genuine progress will be made when the countries return to the negotiating table in October.

Markets encouraged

Stock markets around the world were generally buoyed by Trump's announcement that the next tariff hike would be delayed by two weeks.

US stock futures rose late on Wednesday, immediately after the president's tweet confirming the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 0.6% before retreating slightly. Nasdaq futures climbed by 0.31%, while the S&P 500 was up by 0.14%.

Asian markets were also mostly up on Thursday, with Japan's Nikkei 225 and the Shanghai Composite Index both rising by 0.75% over the course of morning and early afternoon trading.

European indexes, meanwhile, reached their highest levels in six weeks, with the FTSE 100 seeing an early jump of 0.43% and Germany's DAX gaining 0.33%, before falling back slightly.

There were also some points of concern in Europe, however, including a forecast from the Munich-based IFO think tank that the German economy will slip into recession in this quarter.

This post first appeared here

Super League Betting Tips – September 12

Home comforts can see Trinity survive

Wakefield Trinity v London Broncos
Friday September 13, 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event

Friday sees one of the most exciting nights in the 24-year history of Super League. Neutrals will be relishing the drama but for fans of London Broncos, Wakefield Trinity, Hull Kingston Rovers and Huddersfield Giants it's squeaky-bum time, and by 10pm one of those clubs will be preparing for Championship rugby in 2020.

The winners in the televised match between Wakefield and London will be safe and it's worth backing Trinity to be the masters of their own destiny with a win on the handicap over their visitors from the Capital who will consequently be relegated barring a meltdown from either of the other two troubled sides courtesy of their -273 points difference.

A wicked run-in has seen Trinity come up against teams currently in the top five in five of their last seven games and they've often held their own, putting in another strong second-half performance when going down 23-16 at Warrington last week. They've breezed past the other relegation candidates Huddersfield and Rovers for their only two wins since round 15 and two defeats at London this season don't quite tell the full story as they've put 58 points past Danny Ward's men at a ground that has seen even the best in Super League come unstuck.

The Broncos are just a win away from pulling off the unthinkable and staying up having been 1/4 to finish with the wooden spoon at the start of the season. They were 16-14 down and heading for the Championship with just four minutes to go at Hull KR last week before captain Jay Pitts' heroics and must now defy the odds once more on their first visit in 2019 to Wakefield and a stadium where they've lost their last eleven matches stretching back to 2003.

Neither team have reported any fresh injury worries and Wakefield are set to give a second debut to centre Ryan Atkins, who started out at the club in 2006, and has been granted permission to play by Warrington Wolves, where he won two Challenge Cups in his ten years there.

Both sides have winning form in shootout rugby, with Wakefield having beaten Castleford in a relegation decider in 2006, and Bradford in the Million Pound Game in 2015, while the Broncos owe their place in Super League thanks to their heroics against Toronto Wolfpack in last year's Million Pound Game.

Brace yourselves for a momentous evening and back Trinity to stay safe with victory.

Dozy Giants can get over the line

Huddersfield Giants v Catalans Dragons
Friday September 13, 19:45 BST

Two teams who have whimpered to a finish in 2019 meet in one of the other potential relegation deciders and it could pay to side with the Giants in the hope they are on one of their going days.

The queue to back a team who are 0-68 in their last two home games shouldn't by rights be long but the fixture list looks to have worked out well for the Giants, with the calamitous Catalans Dragons rocking up at the John Smith's Stadum for their final match of the season, one that has been described as a “nightmare” by their president Bernard Guasch in a recent warts-and-all interview.

The Dragons have conceded 40+ points in their last three away games having been blown away 46-12 at Wigan last week and travel without eight first-team regulars, including captain Remi Casty.

Huddersfield have lost both matches against their French rivals this year but went down fighting 28-32 against a much-stronger Catalans side in July and have shown at times they can still be a match for anyone in Super League when it all clicks. They've seen off Hull twice and are the last side to win at Wigan and also pick up points from Salford. Take a punt on them to cover the handicap and also back Matt Frawley to score. The half-back had a huge game on his last appearance in the 22-12 win at Hull a fortnight ago and is a very-tempting 3/1 to notch another vital try.

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Genius Sports Announces Plans to Expand Operations in Bulgaria

Sports Data Supplier Expand Operations in Bulgaria. Genius Sports Opens new 400-employee Office in Capital City Sofia.

EU stars

Genius expanding through Europe.

Analytical data specialist company Genius Sports have expanded operations in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. The expansion of the office will enable the site to become the hub for the company’s data collection and monitoring operations.

Described as the “centre point”, Genius will continue with its strategy of creating revenue from the intellectual property of sports firms that Genius Sports have partnered with — located on Tsarigradsko Shose, which at 11.4km is the longest boulevard in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. The office is on two floors and employees working for Genius Sports have access to mini-golf, indoor basketball courts, and TV and games rooms. The company have said that they will allow its staff to travel around the office by micro scooter.

The expansion at the site is part of a strategy to increase activity in Eastern Europe and Genius Sports state that they expect to double the size of operations in Bulgaria over the next 2-3 years. Genius opened their first office in Bulgaria in 2015 and in that time its workforce has trebled in size.

Genius Sports Group chief services and delivery officer, Stephen Gardner, was full of praise of the calibre of employees they have attracted in Sofia and said the company had “never looked back” following their expansion into Bulgaria. He said;

The talent we’ve been able to attract has been hugely impressive, building one of our largest global locations and continually enhancing business-critical services that are used by the largest brands in sports and betting. Stephen Gardner, Genius Sports

Genius Sports describe themselves as a global leader in sports data technology, distribution and commercialisation services. The company say they provide innovative and data-driven solutions to sports leagues and federations. The company’s website currently shows vacancies for .NET Developers, DevOps Engineer, Match Observers Trainer, Office 365 Administrator, QA Engineer, Sysadmin Technical Solutions Lead and Technical Director positions in Bulgaria.

Genius Sports are headquartered in London and have offices in 16 countries around the world. The company state they are recognised as one of the fastest-growing sports technology companies in the world and provide services to some of the most popular brands and leagues in the world including International Basketball Federation (FIBA), English Premier League, La Liga, the ATP and WTA.

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KLM Open: England’s Callum Shinkwin surprise leader after first round

Callum Shinkwin's best result on the European Tour came at the Scottish Open in July 2017 when he finished second, losing to Rafael Cabrera-Bello in a play-off
KLM Open – first-round leaderboard
-6 C Shinkwin (Eng); -5 G Green (Mal), P Langfors (Swe), M Warren (Sco), C Paisley (Eng), M Southgate (Eng), N Hojgaard (Den), S Horsfield (Eng)
Selected others: -4 S Garcia (Spa), S Jamieson (Sco), M Orrin (Eng), J Morrison (Eng); -3 S Brown (Eng); -2 N Colsaerts (Bel), E Molinari (Ita), L Westwood (Eng); -1 P Harrington (Ire); E P Reed (US); +4 JM Olazabal (Spa); +5 M Kaymer (Ger)
Full leaderboard

England's Callum Shinkwin, 446th in the world rankings, is the surprise leader after the first round of the KLM Open.

Shinkwin produced an eagle on the 544-yard par five third in his six-under 66 to hold a one-shot lead in Amsterdam.

The 26-year-old has only made the cut at eight of 17 events on the European Tour this season.

Seven players are on five under, including England's Chris Paisley, Matthew Southgate and Sam Horsfield, and Scotland's Marc Warren.

Spain's Sergio Garcia, winner of the 2017 Masters, is one of eight players on four under.

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Unai Emery MUST find space for ‘genius’ Mesut Ozil in his Arsenal team, says Glen Johnson

Mesut Ozil remains one of the Premier League’s best players and MUST be found a role in the Arsenal team, believes Glen Johnson.

The German playmaker is yet to play in the Premier League this season following a disrupted start to the campaign.

Glen Johnson has urged to give Mesut Ozil a place in this starting XI

Glen Johnson has urged to give Mesut Ozil a place in this starting XI

Ozil missed the Gunners’ opener against Newcastle over concerns for his security, was ruled out of games against Burnley and Liverpool with illness and was then included in the matchday squad for the north London derby against Tottenham, but was left on the bench by Unai Emery.

The 30-year-old doesn’t appear to be in the manager’s good books, having been in and out of the Arsenal team throughout the Spaniard’s first campaign in charge at the Emirates.

But Johnson believes Ozil is a ‘genius’ player and has urged Emery to resolve his issues with the midfielder and find a place for him in the starting XI.

“He’s one of the best players in the Premier League, I really believe that,” the former Liverpool and England defender told talkSPORT host Jim White.

“He’s a genius.

“He’s clearly got issues with something within the club, whether it’s the manager or even something else behind the scenes, I don’t know.

“But, for me, they’ve got to do what they can to resolve the issue and try and get him in the team.”

Johnson was reacting to talkSPORT’s exclusive interview with former Gunners skipper Per Mertesacker, who challenged old friend Ozil to ‘step up and deliver’ for the club this season.

Per Mertesacker sent a strong word to his former Arsenal, German and Werder Bremen team-mate Mesut Ozil on talkSPORT


Per Mertesacker sent a strong word to his former Arsenal, German and Werder Bremen team-mate Mesut Ozil on talkSPORT

“We need players who step up on the field and show what they’ve capable of, and Mesut needs to, there’s no doubt about that,” the German told talkSPORT’s James Savundra.

“He needs to play at this best. He has this magic touch no one also has in the squad and we really need that.

“I want him to be as fit as possible and the manager to get the best out of him by putting him in the number ten position, because that’s him playing him at his best.

“But the manager has requirements for that to happen. So I wish that Mesut puts a shift in, gets fit as quickly as possible and blows everyone away again.”

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Per Mertesacker IN FULL here

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The Rab Havlin Blog – Doncaster St Leger Meeting – Day Three Special

The last two days at Doncaster have been big for our yard, especially yesterday’s success for Enbihaar in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes, but today is even bigger with public favourite Stradivarius out to bag yet another win, this time in the two and a quarter mile Doncaster Cup at 3.10pm.

It’s been a gradual process, but as I’ve talked about on plenty of occasions in my FansBet blog he’s now established as a real star in the eyes not just of those of us who are lucky enough to see him on a daily basis, but also with racegoers everywhere.

A real trier with a massive engine, one who finds a way to win, his sequence of victories now stands at nine and it would be incredible if he could extend it to double figures.

He looks a million dollars at home and in his exercise, but as with Enable we never take anything for granted and have enormous respect for the opposition, especially big talents such Dee Ex Bee, who has chased Stradivarius home the last three times at Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and York.

Don’t forget we’ve got to try and concede five pounds to the likes of him which makes it even harder, but Frankie will have him in the right spot and it’s hard to look past him.


He has been taking big races in his stride all season, putting up some memorable performances along the way.

I don’t think anyone wants to see him beaten, and fingers crossed he can raise the roof and make it to double figures.

Elsewhere on a cracking day three card at Donny, I’d have been more than happy if my agent’s phone had rung with the offer of a spare ride in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes (3.45pm).

This five furlong juvenile contest looks set to be a good match between Simon Crisford’s A’Ali and Joseph O’Brien’s Alligator Alley.

A’Ali will appreciate the drop back to Group 2 company having failed to stay in the Prix Morny at Deauville after travelling menacingly into the race. That was a hot contest and he surely won’t be far away, but I marginally prefer the Irish challenger Alligator Alley.

Stepping up in class after a listed win at York, he interests me. His last two runs were very impressive, particularly when you consider he was badly hampered on both occasions.

At York he got up to win from the rear despite the eventual second and third holding handy racing positions throughout, while in the Molecomb at Glorious Goodwood he was blocked when in the process of delivering a dangerous looking challenge. Liberty Beach, who beat him a length there, gives that form strong look having herself gone on to be second in the Lowther Stakes at York.

I’ll be watching all of that unfold from the comfort of the weighing room at Sandown Park where I’m based for three rides this afternoon, before heading on to Salisbury for a couple more in the evening. Here’s hoping for a Stradivarius victory plus a winner or two among my book rides.

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Southampton vs Man United Prediction

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English Premier League 2019-20 preview: Southampton vs Manchester United – Saturday 31st August 2019 – St Mary's Stadium – 12:30 hrs BST

Southampton Form

If Southampton fans were looking forward to the same magic that new coach Ralph Hasenhuttl created when he led a nondescript RB Leipzig side to a runners-up finish in the Bundesliga in their first season, they were bitterly disappointed.

The season started for the Saints with a 0-3 thrashing at the hands of Burnley. But Hasenhuttl's men seemed to have got their bearings back when they lost narrowly at home to a rampaging Liverpool 1-2.

But last week's game away at the Falmer stadium where they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 should give the Saints some confidence going into August 31st's clash against Manchester United.

Hasenhuttl emulated the 4-2-2-2 formation he used to use at Leipzig properly for the first time, a system that requires the physicality of Che Adams along with the guile and energy of his upfront partner Danny Ings.

Manchester United Form

It genuinely seemed like a new Manchester United side on the opening day of the EPL season, as big backline summer signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka came up really good against a youthful Chelsea attack, while the pace of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford and the ability of Paul Pogba to thread a ball and launch a counter-attack shred the Blues to pieces.

Solskjaer's men won 4-0 and looked a different proposition to the side that limped to sixth last season.

But the same old ghosts reared their head in the previous two games with defensive errors at one end and lacklustre finishing on the other, the upshot of which was a solitary point against the Wolves and a humiliating home loss to Crystal Palace.

Roy Hodgson's game plan at Old Trafford of sitting deep and starving United of the ability to play on the counter was effective and provides a blueprint for similar smaller Premier League sides looking to keep frustrating the Red Devils.

New signing Dan James has scored in two of three appearances so far this season and could be given a start as injuries are gradually beginning to bother Solskjaer.

Anthony Martial looks doubt for Saturday's St. Mary's clash while Alexis Sanchez has been shunted off to Italy on a loan-move to Inter Milan. So, it could be an opportunity for the young James to start alongside the likes of Juan Mata on Saturday.

Southampton vs Man United Prediction Stats

Southampton are winless in their last eight home Premier League games against Manchester United (W0 D3 L5) since winning 1-0 in August 2003.

Manchester United have won more away games at St. Mary's than any other side (10 wins). So, on paper, the visiting Red Devils look the favourites to take three points from Saturday's fixture.

(Odds subject to change and correct as of 28/08/2019)

Manchester United to win: 11/10

Southampton to win: 29/10

For a draw: 12/5

Southampton vs Man United Predictions

Manchester United's only clean sheet from their last 14 Premier League games was their 4-0 win over Chelsea. The Red Devils have conceded at least a goal in every other game.

Hence the odds of both teams to score are high at 3/4

In fact, there's a feeling among many that Hasenhuttl's high-tempo tactics could derail a shaky United defence. A hard-fought game could be on the cards.

Recommended correct score predictions: 1-1 at 6/1

Other correct score line predictions & odds worth looking at are

Man Utd 2-1: 17/2

Southampton 1-0: 12/1

Draw 2-2: 14/1

Man Utd 3-1: 16/1

First goal scorer odds:

Marcus Rashford: 9/2

Anthony Martial: 5/1

Paul Pogba: 6/1

Danny Ings: 15/2

Man Utd predicted XI:

De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Young, Pereira, McTominay, Pogba, James, Mata, Rashford

Southampton predicted XI:

Gunn; Valery, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Danso; Romeu, Hojbjerg; Ward-Prowse, Redmond; Adams, Ings

This post first appeared here

Fifth Ashes Test Day 1 In-Play Update:

Latest score: England 271-8

The Ashes may be staying in Australia but, thanks in no small part to another rally from the tail, England are rated favourites to draw the series by winning this final test from The Oval.

England's tail wagging again

All things considered, England should probably be happy with 271-8 after losing the toss. Had the visitors performed better in the field – Joe Root was dropped three times – they may have struggled to make 200. Likewise, 300 looked a pipe dream before the current ninth wicket pairing put on 45.

It isn't clear, however, just how good that total is. Seven of the last eight first innings in tests at The Oval were at least 328. That score wasn't enough against Pakistan in 2016, nor 385 against South Africa in 2012.

Aussies may get best of the pitch

Indeed Oval pitches often play better on the second day. In those eight matches, three of the second innings were 486 or better, and only one score was worse than 292.

With that in mind and an eye on the Australia 1st Innings Runs market, England make no appeal at around even money. It will need a great bowling performance, and probably taking Steve Smith's wicket cheaply, to establish a meaningful first innings lead.

For my money, Australia are likelier to reach 400 than be all out for 200 and must be the selection at current odds. A draw is highly unlikely given a good weather forecast so this will ultimately boil down to a run chase.

Batting last is never ideal, and Tim Paine could indeed come to regret that toss decision, but Oval pitches can hold up pretty well. India made 345 in the fourth innings last year, South Africa 252 in 2018.

Visitors preferred at current odds

In that run chase scenario, I reckon [2.5] about the visitors will be a decent position. It has drifted since I took [2.18] at the beginning of the current partnership, but I'm still confident despite the bad timing.

Outright seems like the best way to back Australia right now. I wouldn't deter anyone from taking [2.5] on them getting 350 plus 1st Innings Runs, but would rather wait to see if lower is available in the event of early wickets falling.

Two more markets to consider are Top Australia 1st Innings Runscorer and Test Match End. Smith is rightly short for the former at [2.5], ahead of Marnus Labuschagne at [5.2]. [9.4] about Marcus Harris is eyecatching about an opener.

Back a Sunday evening finish

Test Match End involves picking the final session of the match. In the previous test, I laid out a scenario after day two for the rest of the match, that proved very close for the last three innings totals and timing of the finish. Starting half an innings earlier, here's my prediction.

England to add 29 runs in the morning to get 300. Australia to score 360 in fairly quick time, taking us through to just after lunch on Saturday. England to score 250, leaving the Aussies a target of 190.

This should take around 250-260 overs, which would result in a Day Four Evening finish. If slightly longer is needed, the extra half hour might be applied – that angle often pays off in evening sessions during tests.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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Friday’s gossip column: Maddison, Ruiz, Kante, Aurier, Terry, Lindelof, Vardy, Bolasie

Manchester United are monitoring Leicester City midfielder James Maddison over a potential move for the 22-year-old next summer. (Manchester Evening News)

Former England striker Wayne Rooney believes Pep Guardiola would have “won everything” if he had taken the England job. (Manchester Evening News)

Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are interested in signing Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, 23. (Calciomercato, via Daily Mail)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane wants to sign Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, 28. (The Athletic, subscription required)

Ex-Chelsea captain John Terry has been backed by former manager Roberto Di Matteo to one day become the Blues' boss. (Athletic, via Birmingham Mail)

Forward Willian believes Chelsea are still capable of winning silverware this season despite new head coach Frank Lampard taking charge in difficult circumstances. (Standard)

Manchester United are prepared to double the wages of defender Victor Lindelof, 25, and offer him a contract worth £150,000 a week. (Sun)

England boss Gareth Southgate says 32-year-old Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy could still return to the national team, despite him announcing his retirement from international football last year. (Times, subscription required)

Former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has urged midfielder Mesut Ozil, 30, to “step up and deliver” again for Arsenal, saying he has gifts no other Gunners player has. (Talksport)

Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier, 26, admitted he wanted to leave the club in the summer. (Football.London)

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie, 30, currently on loan at Sporting Lisbon, hopes the deal will be made a permanent one next summer. (Record, via Sport Witness)

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley says he has been portrayed as a “pantomime villain” and laughed off suggestions he had previously picked the team. (Newcastle Chronicle)

Manchester United have scouted Reading's 16-year-old goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke. (Mirror)

Crystal Palace midfielder Jadan Raymond, 15, is a shock target for Valencia and Benfica after impressing for England Under-17s. (Mail)

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O’Brien set for St Leger ride

Donnacha O’Brien will ride Sir Dragonet (3/1 to win race) in Saturday’s St Leger Stakes at Doncaster.

O’Brien, who is the son of trainer Aidan O’Brien, previously rode Sir Dragonet to glory in the Chester Vase Stakes in May, but Ryan Moore had been handed riding duties for the three-year-old’s most recent two runs.

However, Moore will instead be heading to Leopardstown for Irish Champions Weekend, where he is expected to ride Magical in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and dual Classic winner Hermosa in the Coolmore “Fastnet Rock” Matron Stakes, which means Donnacha will be reunited with Sir Dragonet for Saturday’s Classic.

“The plan is that Ryan will be riding at Leopardstown and Donnacha will be going to Doncaster,” Aidan O’Brien confirmed.

The Irish trainer will be hoping his son can deliver in the St Leger. He has won the oldest of Britain’s five Classics six times in the past, including in each of the last two years, with Capri in 2017 and Kew Gardens 12 months ago.

The John Gosden-trained Logician (Evens to win race) is expected to be Sir Dragonet’s main rival following a perfect start to his career.

The three-year-old has won on all four of his starts, including his most recent success in the Voltigeur Stakes at York last month.

The other six confirmed runners for Saturday’s Classic are Il Paradiso and Western Australia, who are both trained by O’Brien, Mark Johnston duo Nayef Road and Sir Ron Priestley, as well as Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby and Technician, who is trained by Martyn Meade.

Whenever you bet on Racing, Betfred

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5/2 Burnley wait on Gudmundsson

Burnley boss Sean Dyche says Robbie Brady could make his first appearance of the season at Brighton on Saturday although Johann Berg Gudmundsson is a doubt (Brighton 23/20, draw 9/4, Burnley 5/2 – Match Betting).

Brady suffered a rib injury in pre-season and has been sidelined since but, after coming through an Under-23s match earlier this week unscathed, he could come into contention.

Gudmundsson has a calf injury and Dyche says the Clarets will make a late decision on the Icelandic midfielder.

“Robbie came through with no problems and comes back into the thinking for Brighton,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“But we will have to make a decision on Johann. Last season he had a few niggles with his calf, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Midfielder Danny Drinkwater, on loan from Chelsea, will miss out after reportedly being attacked outside a Manchester nightclub two weeks ago.

Dyche says Drinkwater won’t be involved against Brighton but the injuries he sustained are not serious although they need to “settle down”.

The Clarets had a number of players involved with their respective countries over the international break and Dyche expects them all to be available for the trip to the Amex Stadium.

Burnley, who did the double over Brighton last season, go into the game seeking to end a four-game winless streak in all competitions.

Any Burnley player to score a header is 4/1 in Betfred’s #PickYour Punt market, while the Clarets to win both halves and take the most corners in each half is 100/1.

Whenever you bet on Football, Betfred

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NFL Week 2

How we missed you … welcome back!

Stunning Week 1 action saw our audio nap fly in, and several others do the business. Throw in a cheeky winning margin coup at 3/1, too. Happy days!

A great start all round, and some brilliant football from the likes of the Saints, Ravens, Vikings, Chiefs, Pats, Titans and Cowboys.

It’s wonderful to have the NFL back – and what a season it promises to be.

Without further ado, here’s how Week 2 looks, with a little nod in the direction of some of last week’s highlights, courtesy of and it’s brilliant Twitter presence.

…..and here’s Week 2’s audio nap. A reminder – last week’s Chiefs -3.5 absolutely flew home, and we’re boldly going for 2-from-two. Listen below, please.




Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

Carolina narrowly failed to contain the far greater threat of the Rams last week, and should have no trouble disposing of Tampa Bay, who lost to SF.

Panthers -6.5 @ 5/6




Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

Tennessee spoiled the Browns’ party last week in some style, while the Colts got close to the Chargers. Good match-up, this, and I’ll side with home-field advantage – just.

Titans -3.5 @ 20/21



LA Chargers @ Detroit Lions

Another fiendishly tricky one to call. ‘Under’ 47.5 is the shout, @ 20/21. Small stakes.



Buffalo Bills @ NY Giants

Buffalo go back to MetLife after a thrilling one-point win last week against the other NY outfit, the Jets.

It’s virtually a pick ‘em on the spread, so anything can, and will, happen here. Giants on the Money Line, @ Evens.



Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens

Wow. Take a bow for last week, Ravens. Absolutely fantastic. Lamar Jackson at QB is starting to fulfil all the heady predictions – and in wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, we have a bona-fide box-office blockbuster in the making.

Mind you – Miami, as we flagged up beforehand, were lucky to finish second. Awful wouldn’t begin to describe it.

Tough ask for Arizona here, with Ravens’ tails well and truly up – so I’m looking at Baltimore’s team points total, and playing ‘over’ 28.5, @ 20/21.



New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

The Pats were, well, the Pats last week, dismantling the Steelers girder by girder. Miami were, hmmm, let’s not go there. New England are a massive -18.5 on the spread, but that’s absolutely justified. An alternative handicap line has the Pats -22.5, @ 13/10 – and we’ll have a bit of that, to small stakes and in accas.



Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

Good start for Dallas, and star turns Elliott and Prescott. Even veteran Jason Witten got in on the scoring. Washington frightened the Eagles before going down narrowly, and this is intriguing.

I’m siding with ‘over’ 47.5 @ 20/21, given the attacking talent on show. Looking forward to this one. Looking forward to most of them!



Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

Texans gave the Saints a mighty scare in a thriller in the Big Easy last week, while the Jaguars were no match for the Chiefs, but still put up 26 points. Another mouth-waterer in prospect.

‘Over’ 43.5 is the confident shout, @ 20/23.



Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 1, Seattle sneaked past the Bengals while Pittsburgh sank without trace in New England. Big Ben and company will want to get their season off to a start of sorts at home, while Russell Wilson and his ‘Hawks will always be a challenge for anyone.

‘Over’ 46.5 is the call, @ 20/21.



San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Niners come to week 2 action after a great win against TB, while the Bengals ran Seattle oh so close. Another tricky one to call, but we’re heading in the direction of ‘over’ 44.5 @ 20/23.



Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Vikings readily disposed of Atlanta last week, while GB did a number on the Bears at Soldier Field. The Pack can win a close one – Green Bay -3.5 @ 21/20.



Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders

Another absolute cracker in the making. Pat Mahomes put the Jags to the sword on one leg last week, and without Tyreek Hill for the most part, who could be out for several weeks, which is a huge blow. Oakland beat Denver, so they’ll be very hopeful.

Unconvinced at present about KC’s allegedly improved defense, but their offense is Rolls Royce. It’s a big total (54.5), but I’m hopeful that Kansas -7.5 on the spread can bring home the bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. Now you’re talking.



New Orleans Saints @ LA Rams

NFC big-hitters meet in Los Angeles. Another I can’t wait to enjoy – and surely with the attacking intent and talent available the total (53.5) is vulnerable. ‘Over’ 53.5 then, @ 20/21.



Chicago Bears @ Denver Broncos

Two week 1 disappointments to recover from here, and I like the Bears’ chances more than Denver’s. Chicago -2.5, @ 20/23.



Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons

Another devilishly tricky one to call. I’m playing Philadelphia’s team points total ‘under’ 26.5, @ 10/11. Could be a tight one, but as stated, such a difficult one to get a handle on.




Cleveland Browns @ NY Jets

Cleveland’s much-vaunted new outfit slithered off the runway last week straight into the nearest ditch, while the Jets went down by a solitary point. Will Cleveland learn from week 1 and begin to fulfil some of the heady claims made about their chances of finally having a competitive season?

Can the Jets engage any kind of turbo and defy their many critics? Answers on a postcard please.

Token selection of ‘under’ 45.5 @ 10/11. 50p max for me – not sure I’d trust either of these two until I’ve far more evidence on the table.


Match prices are of course open to fluctuation ahead of kick-off, as with any sporting events. Kindly check HERE for the very latest NFL lines. 

Have a great Week 2.

Whenever you bet on American Football, Betfred

Alan Firkins

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Teen sensation Andreescu earns 1/3 Williams showdown

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu will go toe-to-toe with Serena Williams in the US Open final on Saturday after beating Belinda Bencic in New York City (Andreescu 9/4, Williams 1/3 – Match Betting).

The 19-year-old Andreescu has been a revelation through the tournament in what has been her first ever US Open appearance this season.

Andreescu can now look forward to taking on the 37-year-old Williams, who managed to win her first US Open title nine months after her next opponent was born.

Having seen off the challenge of Swiss Belinda Bencic 7-6 (7-3) 7-5, winning the final five games of the match, Canada’s new tennis star admitted she could not believe she had reached the showpiece event at Flushing Meadows.

“I think it’s just all the hard work I’ve put in through the years,” Andreescu said. “If someone told me a year ago I would be in the US Open final this year, I’d tell them they were crazy.

“It’s just surreal. I really don’t know what to say. It’s a dream come true playing against Serena in the final of the US Open. It’s crazy.”

Meanwhile, in the men’s competition, Rafael Nadal will face Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals of the US Open on Friday (Berrettini 8/1, Nadal 1/20 – Match Betting).

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov will face Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the first semi-final on Arthur Ashe Stadium (Medvedev 8/15, Dimitrov 6/4 – Match Betting), before Nadal and Berrettini go head-to-head.

Whenever you bet on the US Open, Betfred

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Odds Say Yule Be Voting In The UK This Christmas As December Election Backed | BoyleSports Betting | Kevin Kilbane | Robbie Power

Santa may not be the only visitor calling by this Christmas after the prospect of hopeful MPs knocking on doors ahead of a December general election in the UK was heavily gambled this week.

The likely date of the next election was pushed back when Parliament was suspended, with MPs not expected back until October 14th. Parliament must be dissolved 25 working days before a general election, meaning November and December are now firmly in the frame.

We rate December as the most likely month this year to stage the poll after it was gambled into 11/10 from a high of 10/1 this week, while a General Election in November is an 11/5 chance.

It’s less likely at 2/1 that 2019 passes without a visit to the polling station at all.

There has not been a UK General Election in December since 1923, when the Conservatives won most seats in a hung Parliament that eventually led to a Labour government with Liberal support.

That prospect could be on the cards again, with the Tories 8/15 favourites to win most seats, but no overall majority is also an odds-on shot at 1/2

*Prices correct at time of publication



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