My tip for this week is the match between Bedford Blues (9th out of 11) and Ealing Trailfinders (4th) in the RFU Championship.
Bedford are coming into the game off a win vs. Rotherham, who are 10th in the league, a game they would have expected to win. Prior to this, you would have to go back to the 26th December for Bedford's last win. In my eyes, this game can be completely discounted, as their opponents Jersey were struggling with injuries and were forced to fly to Bedford at 7am on the day of the game - not ideal circumstances! Before this, the last game in the league that Bedford picked up points from was in mid-November; a long barren spell that looks to continue! Their record this season vs. top 6 opposition reads: played 8, winning 1 (the Jersey game) and losing 7 - makes tough reading!
Ealing on the other hand are currently playing a great brand of rugby, their only loses in the last 5 games have been to the top two in the league - teams that in my opinion are miles better than the league that they are in. This form bodes well for Ealing as they push to retain their playoff spot (top 4 go into a playoff for promotion) and confidence around the club seems at an all-time high! Ealing are back to full strength this week with flanker Kieran Murphy coming back into the starting XV after recovering from an injury. Ealing have been lucky with injuries and have been able to put out a regular core to their team which has gelled well.
I can only see this game going one way, and although Ealing have never won away at Bedford, I believe (and the facts dictate) that this should be the game that changes that run.
My bet - Ealing Trailfinders to win @ 2.25 with Betfair
Honda Classic Golf
The PGA tour this week moves on to Florida for the Honda Classic played at PGA National. A combination of the course layout and the usual windy conditions make this the toughest non-major of the year in most seasons. Adam Scott is rightly favourite for the event as the returning champion, with Thomas, Garcia and Fowler also in the teens in terms of odds, but we would like to take them on with higher priced players this week.
Daniel Berger E/W @ 33/1 SkyBet 6 places Each Way 1/4 odds
This Florida State graduate will be happy to make a return to where he plays a lot of his best golf. Berger will certainly gain psychological comfort from being at a course where he's been "a million times" since his teenage years. A missed cut here last year was disappointing but he will have fonder memories from his debut at this tournament in 2015 when he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. The forecast for the early rounds suggest it may not be as breezy as previous years will it will still have an effect especially on Sunday when it matters most. Berger is one of the better performers in the wind and we know he likes the course so should perform well down the stretch. With only 2 Par-5s on the course scoring on Par-4s takes on more importance this week. Berger was 14th on the tour in Par-4 scoring last year and 23rd in Strokes Gained:Approach to the green so should create good birdie opportunities.
Lucas Glover E/W @ 100/1 SkyBet 6 places Each Way 1/4 odds
Lucas Glover is always a name to look out for on Bermudagrass greens. He has been playing really good golf for a couple of years without getting that breakthrough performance. He is currently 16th in scoring average but this could be the course for him to do it. Looking at his performance here recently makes for mixed reading, 3 missed cuts and a 4th. Last year he ranked 2nd in Total Driving and 28th in Strokes Gained Tee to Green which shows how well he has been striking the ball. It is just when he gets to the green that he struggles with his chipping and putting. 8 of the last 10 winners here ended the season ranked worse than 118th in Strokes Gained Putting, so this course allows good ball strikers to rise to the top. He's a former US Open winner so we know he can play well at tough courses, he ranked 7th in Bogey Avoidance last year and if he can make a few putts more than normal could make a challenge here.
Alex Cejka E/W @ 300/1 SkyBet 6 places Each Way 1/4 odds, PP 7 places Each Way 1/5 odds
The German is someone whose best years are definitely behind him but it looks like this course sets up quite nicely for him. Last year he ranked 1st in bogey avoidance and 10th in Strokes Gained Approach to the green. He also scored well on Par-4s. These stats combined with the fact he is one of the best players on tour in windy conditions make us believe he can play well here. He is also an excellent chipper and with greens hard to hit this week could come in handy and allow him to avoid bogeys and keep momentum. He hasn't won since 2015 and his odds reflect that it is very unlikely he will win here. He has 2 top 20 finishes in 7 tries here, with a 21st and 26th also so backing him to finish in the top 20 looks good.
Alex Cejka to finish in the top 20 @ 10/1
David Hearn to finish top 20 @ 14/1 Bet365
The Canadian has missed 4 of his last 5 cuts. He has also missed 4 cuts in 5 tries at this tournament although the other time he finished 6th. He has solid bogey avoidance and Par-4 scoring stats and performs much better in the state of Florida. The world number 196 is struggling for form but did have 6 top 20 finishes last year. This is worth a small investment.
Monaco sit top of Ligue 1 and have a chance to extend their lead over PSG to 6 points this evening with a trip to Bastia.
With their 7-3-2 record away from home (averaging 2 points per game, the 2nd best away record in Ligue 1) Monaco have every chance of adding to the 29 goals they have scored on the road. My confidence is in spite of Bastia not being thrashed at home this season, and conceding less than a goal per game (10 in 12). The problem has been I Turcini (The Blues, Bastia) have only scored 11 at home in that same period.
The odds on a straight Monaco win of 1.50 are of no interest to me unless I was sat across the table from a beautiful lady who was promising me an evening of 100% satisfaction based on a correct selection in the W-D-W market.
Monaco have attempted almost 270 shots this season, and they are actually the most clinical team, scoring with 27% of them. The clinical nature is partly due to getting close to 60% of their shots on target this league campaign. One major stats provider had them down as 42% for this stat. However, I watched the games I have recorded and reruns I have access to, and even though the sample size was not complete, I’m pretty sure that the stats are wrong and I am right. Monaco do get a ridiculous amount of their shots on target, and this is NOT sustainable over the course of a season and has to come to an end eventually. Though, we can still expect them to score more of their chances than most teams. Consequently, even if Bastia’s defence don’t give away much tonight, Falcao (16 goals 19 games), Germain (8/23) and company can still find a way through.
Bastia score with less than 10% of their shots, although they have hit the woodwork more than anyone else in the league (13 times). Hitting the woodwork is not misfortune. The goal doesn’t change in size.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Leonardo Jardim’s side have scored more than 1 goal away from home in only 50% of their away matches this season. His opponents, Bastia, have conceded more than 1 goal in only 17% (2/12) home games this season. This would point to a low scoring affair.
Worryingly for my selection, Francois Ciccolini has presided over only 3 home defeats in 16/17. Nevertheless, I cannot see Monaco not winning this game. We’ll be reliant on them keeping a clean sheet for only the 5th time on the road. Bastia have scored in 9/12 home matches, which is just below mid-table for that particular statistic. Let’s give this some relevance. Monaco have only conceded 185 shots all season (only bettered by PSG). That average of 7.4 shots per game isn’t split by opposition time. We can safely assume they will concede less against bottom 6 teams and we know that Bastia have a very low conversion rate.
Pleasingly, there have been -2.5 goals in 8/10 Bastia home matches and Monaco have won 10 of their last 11 away matches against bottom 6 sides.
My original gut instinct bet was Monaco & O1.5 goals. Hence the title of this write-up. However, when comparing the odds of 1.83 (implied probability of 54%) to the statistics, I’ve been overwhelmingly shot down by the numbers. Further Bastia only concede about 7 shots per home game and even if league high Monaco continue to belie belief, converting close to 30% of shots, the result would be 1.9 ‘expected’ goals (not to be confused with ‘expected goals’ ;)) So this should not be a mauling. If you’re thinking Monaco and U3.5 is a much safer bet, you’re right. The odds of 2.4 reflect this. 1-1 at 10.0 is also value.
I’m aware Monaco have a trip to Manchester, but that match is 4 days away and it’s not exactly an arduous journey across the channel. Bastia will be without captain Cahuzac (suspended) and Saint-Maximim (winger).
If you do not have an account with BetStars, you can dutch the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scores with other firms and get the same odds, and maybe even better due to late variances.
Again, we’re going well against the odds at 4.33, which implies a 23% chance of hitting. I have this at closer to a 30% chance of hitting. I’m not asking for luck, I’m just asking for fortune :)
Split your stake between Monaco & Under 2.5 (4.33 betstars) and Monaco & Under 3.5 (2.4 betstars)
Doncaster to win @ 2.1 with Paddy Power
Nottingham (currently 8th in the RFU Championship out of 12) play host to Doncaster Knights (3rd). Nottingham are in a poor run of form and haven't picked up a point at home or away in the league since 27th November when they drew with fellow strugglers Rotherham at home. To find their last win, you would have to go even further back to the 17th November when they beat a weak Ealing Trailfinders side at home. This does not bode well for the struggling Nottingham team, with their only saving grace being that this year, due London Welsh's financial problems, there is no relegation to worry about. I think this has played a part in the lack of wins that Nottingham gained and am expecting the result to go one way.
Doncaster, unlike Nottingham are on a good run form in the league. They possess the 3rd best away record in the league, only behind London Irish and Leeds Carnegie, two teams that are far too good for this league.
Last weekend, Doncaster only just lost to fellow play-off contenders Ealing (4th) last week. Doncaster captain Michael Hills has been quoted saying he 'expects a reaction' following this defeat and I believe this should happen this weekend. Doncaster lost due to silly errors and have made a number of changes, bringing back a number first teamers who were injured for last weeks clash.
In terms of the league, with no relegation this year, Doncaster will want this more as they are at the opposite end of the table pushing for a play-off place. At 2.1 to win away from home, I think this represents value as when I first saw the fixture, I was expecting Doncaster to be around 1.6 considering how poor Nottingham have been.Tuesday 7th February.
Below is a betting preview of the Darts Premier League, Round 2, taking place on Thursday. The preview is written by our new darts contributor Adam @dartsbybabedi.
Premier League Week 2
Lewis v Chisnall
This game will be a close one in my opinion. Chizzy hasn't showed his full potential in the last week and, his finishing was slacking, as always. He had some nice high finishes, but struggled to hit the easy ones. If, he improves on that, he's able to beat Lewis, who bottled a 4-1 lead against Raymond van Barneveld. I'm expecting Lewis to win this game, but wouldn't advise to bet on, as this game could go either way. It solely depends on whose form will be better on Thursday.
Another market has caught my eye here. As we all know, Chizzy is a great 180 hitter. However, Lewis isn't too bad in it either, though his 180 figures have dropped in recent years. Chizzy most 180s @1.66 looks very good!
Wade v Taylor
Wade did what he does best against Huybrechts. He got the job done and nothing more. Whilst that sort of performance can claim victory in matches against the likes of Huybrechts, it will need much improvement to beat Phil 'The Power' Taylor. The Power displayed immense finishing last time out against Chizzy. I think Taylor will nick it and win the game. However, I won't bet on this game, as I hate to bet on or against Wade. My followers will know that he's cost me many accas and singles in the past, he's on my "c*** list".
Klaassen v Anderson
The Cobra (Klassen) showed some quality in his clash against Peter Wright, but failed to take the opportunities he had and it won't be easier against Anderson. In fact, it'll be tougher. He won't get as many chances against The Flying Scotsman, who is in great form and managed to get a draw off of MvG. He's playing great darts at the moment and, you just can't see past him to win this game. There's no value on him to win at 1.40 though/
I think Anderson has the quality to beat him by 3 or more legs. Anderson -2.5 handicap @1.83 is my bet here.
Wright v MvG
If Wright performs like he did over the weekend (won 2 out of 3 UK Open Qualifiers and beat MvG once), then we've got ourselves the best game of the week here. I'm expecting Wright to be able to keep up with MvG, as long as he doesn't change his darts. Again! His darts changing has cost many bettors in the past. BUT, and here comes the big BUT, in my opinion MvG's game has been slacking in the last few weeks, he wasn't able to get past the quarter finals in any of the three recent events. You'd expect more from the World No. 1. He's not as concentrated as he should be. If Wright takes his chances he's able to beat him.
I'm expecting a draw here, and at odds of 6.50 it's certainly a value bet. However, instead I'm going with the safe bet here, Wright +3.5 legs @1.61. If you want better odds, Wright +2.5 at evens is an option, but I personally won't risk it in case MvG goes beast mode.
Huybrechts v Barney
Kim didn't deserve to lose against Wade last week. He played well, but got unlucky. However, I think he'll take another L this week against Barney. The Dutchman is just too good. He won against Lewis last week in his usual way, a comeback, but that probably won't be needed against Kim. For this game I've got two fancies, Barney to win @1.72 and Barney to hit most 180s @1.95.
hizzy vs Barney
The opening game of the night should end in an easy win for Barney. In last years Premier League he beat Chizzy twice and has the better form of the two. Chizzy has been consistently inconsistent in the Premier League so far. This game can only go one way in my opinion and that's Barneys.
Barney to win @ 2.10 with Sporting Bet
Klaasen vs Huybrechts
In my opinion the game for who'll finish last. Klaasen showed potential in his last few games, Huybrechts nearly beat Taylor but missed match darts. I think this will be a closer affair than most people think, but should go Klaasens way in the end. However, I'm looking into another market. Huybrechts has been hitting consistently 2-3 180s per game, Jelle is able to better that.
Klaasen most 180s @ 1.91 with SkyBet
Anderson vs Taylor
I'm sorry to say this, but Taylor's times is over. He's not able to keep up with Anderson and MvG anymore and I think it'll show in this game. There are two bets that I like here, Anderson most 180s and Anderson to win the game. I'll take Ando to win it
Andersen to win @1.83 with Betfair & PaddyPower
MvG vs Wade
Wade has played surprisingly good so far, not average wise, but Wade wise. His timing is perfect as usual and that's why he's winning games. It's hard to find value in MvG games, but I think I found our bet here. MvG to lead after 4 legs looks appealing @ 1.73. I think MvG will get the quicker start and hope that Wade won't be able to stick with MvG.
MVG to lead after 4 legs @1.73 with BlackTypeBet and Bet 365
Lewis vs Wright
I wasn't expecting a performance like that from Lewis last week, hats of for that. Wright will have a tough game ahead, if Lewis keeps this up. Nevertheless, Wright is in form as well, so this should be a good one. There's one bet that I quite like. Wright to hit most 180s
Wright to hit most 180s @2.1 with SkyBet
After wholesale changes last time out in their 1-0 defeat to Sutton United, Garry Monk's Leeds United will only have 3 points in mind against Lancashire based rivals Blackburn Rovers. Allegedly they're taking 7,000 of their motley mob to Ewood Park.
Leeds' away record of 6-1-6 is the 7th best in The Championship. However, they've only scored as many as they have conceded (18). Pleasingly they have scored first in 10 out of their last 16 away matches.
Since Leeds converted to the 4-2-3-1 formation they have been more impressive in terms of performances and results. However, the 3-2 defeat against Barnsley on the 21st January was unexpected and acts as caution to Leeds backers today. Thankfully, the following result was a 2-0 victory, where a returning Pontus Jansson marshalled the defence superbly. Leeds concede fewer goals with him in the side.
Blackburn's only home win their last 5 was the surprise defeat of Newcastle, which is only the 2nd time they've kept a clean sheet at home. Rovers have a 4-5-5 home record, scoring 20 and conceding 22.
Rovers have won 1 of their last 8 league games, and will be relying on Danny Graham (11) and Stephen Gallacher (9) for goals.
For those looking for further value, the 3.75 on offer with Ladbrokes for Leeds -1AH is attractive, if not consistently profitable. This would have won 3, voided 5 and lost 7 times out of their 13 league matches away from Elland Road.
Alternatively, given Blackburn have drawn seven out of their last 9 matches vs top 6 teams, the 5.80 with Betfair Sportsbook for Draw/Leeds HT/FT is an option.
Forum tip emailed to members: 1 point on Leeds to win at 2.40 with Paddy Power