Weekend football betting teamsby Ben, last updated 2007-04-25 21:50:23
Premiership preview from PinnacleSports.com
The 2007 Premiership title race might now be remembered for a penalty incident. Referee Peter Walton waved away strong claims for a Boro spot kick at Old Trafford last Saturday, after United's John O'Shea felled Dong Gook Lee late in the game. The Red Devils hung on for a point leading Jose Mourinho to claim a conspiracy. His anger intensified as he watched his team fail to beat Newcastle the following day, leaving them three points and 14 goals adrift. Luck is certainly an important part of winning titles but not successful gambling. The first rule of successful punting is to always get best price, and it is hard to beat the Premiership odds offered by www.pinnaclesports.com , up to 60% better than traditional bookmakers.
GBP30million Game at the JJB Stadium
In the starkest terms Saturday's Premiership game between Wigan and West Ham could end up costing the loser around GPB30million. That is the value placed on avoiding relegation in the season before Premiership TV revenues increase dramatically. The Hammers looked dead and buried after defeats away to Sheffield United then at home to Chelsea, but kept their slim hopes of survival alive with a win against Everton at Upton Park last weekend. The problem facing Alan Curbishley is that the Irons have been unable to transfer the intensity of performances in front of their own fans to crucial games at fellow relegation strugglers. West Ham lost 4-0 at the Valley, and 3-0 at Bramall Lane; a similar defeat against Wigan will surely send them down with only games against Bolton and Manchester United remaining.
Wigan have endured a terrible second half of the season, but have doggedly avoided being dragged into the relegation places, despite failing to win any of their last six games. Though Paul Jewell will want the security of a win, he knows that the onus is on the visitors. The Londoners are three points below them with the worst goal difference of the five sides battling to avoid the two remaining relegation spots. It will however, worry Jewell that Wigan have conceded more goals at home than any Premiership side. Both sides are at almost full strength, so the time for excuses has gone, and it comes down to who performs better over 90 minutes. www.pinnaclesports.com have Wigan slight favourites 1.935 (0/scratch & -0.5) with West Ham 1.990 (0/scratch & +0.5).
Grudge Match at Goodison Park
Everton's home game against Premiership leaders, Manchester United, is a true grudge match for reasons on and off the pitch. The Toffees currently occupy fifth place in the table, bringing with it a UEFA Cup spot, but they have a number of clubs snapping at their heels. United's motivation is obvious - if they win their remaining four fixtures they win the title. The added spice comes from Wayne Rooney's relationship with his former club. Many Evertonians see Rooney as a traitor and his popularity has plummeted to new depths after Everton coach, David Moyes, took out a libel action against the player as a result of claims in his biography.
Goodison Park is a hard place to get a result at the best of times, but with all these added under-currents, it is likely to be a Cup final atmosphere. The Red Devils are struggling with injury problems for a game that will present a huge physical test. Everton have lost just three times at home this season, but have won just one of their last ten league games against Manchester United at Goodison Park. They also have their own injury problems, missing two of their most important players, Tim Cahill and Andy Johnson. www.pinnaclesports.com price Man Utd as favourites on their Asian Handicap 2.520 (-1) with Everton 1.617 (+1).
Bolton Will Test Chelsea's Resolve at the Bridge
Following United's home draw with Boro, Chelsea had a golden opportunity to put the destiny of the Premiership title in their own hands. The chance slipped through their fingers as they were held at St James' Park to a goalless draw, so they must now hope the Red Devils slip up again, while winning all their own remaining games. Chelsea play Bolton at the same time as the game at Goodison, looking to maintain their exceptional 60 game unbeaten home league record. That sequence includes a 5-1 thrashing of the Trotters last term at the Bridge, though this game is likely to be a little closer.
With this game sandwiched between two Champions League semi-finals Jose Mourinho will be juggling resources, while his opposite number, Sam Allardyce, can focus solely on this fixture. Bolton are in line for UEFA Cup qualification, but that spot isn't booked yet, so Wanderers cannot afford to drop any points, while it would be a major coup to end Chelsea's unbeaten record. Having recently been beaten at both the Emirates and Old Trafford stadiums, www.pinnaclesports.com envisage a further defeat for Bolton at Stamford Bridge pricing Chelsea 2.130 (-1.5) with Bolton 1.813 (+1.5).
La Liga preview from PinnacleSports.com
With just seven weeks remaining, Spain's Primera Division is set for one of the tightest finishes for some time. After last weekend's results just two points covers the top three sides, so each of that trio have a live chance of landing the La Liga title. Those sides in fourth and fifth, just six points off top spot, are not out of it either, so fans of Spanish soccer should be treated to some fiercely contested games as the season approaches its climax. www.pinnaclesports.com provide the perfect compliment to the action with up to 60% better La Liga odds than traditional bookmakers.
Can Barcelona Take the Pressure?
Barca continued their abysmal away form by losing 2-0 to Villarreal, their fourth defeat in five road trips. If their pursuit of a hat-trick of La Liga titles isn't to flounder the Catalan's poor away form mustn't transfer to the Nou Camp, where they remain unbeaten. Frank Rijkaard was disappointed with the number of wasted chances against the Yellow Submarine, particularly as his side had banged five past Getafe in a midweek Copa Del Rey semi-final on home turf. It looks like the pressure might be beginning to tell, but with both Sevilla and Real Madrid breathing down their necks, there can be no room for error on Sunday as they host struggling Levante.
The Granotes haven't won in nine league fixtures, but Abel Resino's side are capable of an upset. Levante may have only won twice away from home, but one of those victories was at the Bernabeu in February. Another reason to give Levante some respect is their determination to avoid relegation. Three points could take them out of the drop zone, and they will be encouraged by the performance Mallorca put up in Barca's most recent home league game, when the reigning champions succeeded only by virtue of a 89th minute own goal. Nevertheless, www.pinnaclesports.com have handicapped Barcelona by two goals pricing them 2.080 (-2) with Levante 1.855 (+2).
Real Madrid Making Late Charge for Title
Having been followed by a cloud of uncertainty for much of the season, Real Madrid coach, Fabio Capello, should be feeling much more relaxed. His position has been endorsed by chairman, Ramon Calderon, after Madrid's win in the table-top clash with Valencia. David Beckham provided the cross for the crucial goal, one of Capello's late tactical substitutions, proving the Englishman still has an important part to play for Real. The win against Valencia was the third straight victory at the Bernabeu, but things are not so rosy on the road, where the Galacticos have won just one of their last four.
They next travel to Athletico Bilbao who are in the midst of a relegation battle. The Lions have been boosted by two recent home wins against Espanyol and Valencia, but their defensive vulnerability - evident from 13 goals conceded in five games - should be a concern against the attacking potential that Real Madrid possess. The sides have met five times since last season (including the Copa del Rey) and Madrid have succeeded on every occasion. www.pinnaclesports.com make Real Madrid favourites 2.220 (-0.5 & -1) with Athletico Bilbao 1.758 (+0.5 & +1).
UEFA Cup Semi-Finalists Meet
UEFA Cup hopefuls, Sevilla and Espanyol have a La Liga encounter sandwiched between their respective European semi-finals. Sitting on opposite sides of the draw, the sides could also meet in the final of that competition, but this fixture is unlikely to give an accurate form guide for that prospective encounter. Floating smack-bang in the middle of the Primera Division, Espanyol have no incentive to play a full strength side in this fixture. Manager, Ernesto Valverde, is likely to rest his key players, such as top-goal-scorers Raul Tamudo and Luis Garcia.
In contrast, Sevilla are now just one point behind leaders Barcelona, so have every reason to go for the jugular, as they battle on three fronts - La Liga, UEFA and Copa del Rey. The Sevillistas bounced back from a league defeat against Valencia, by winning 3-0 at Deportivo in the Copa del Rey first leg semi-final, then following up with a 4-1 home league victory over Athletico Bilbao. Those seven goals will have cheered coach, Juande Ramos, as his side had endured something of a barren spell, particularly on the road. www.pinnaclesports.com expect the scoring to continue, pricing Sevilla 2.08 (-1 & -1.5) and Espanyol 1.855 (+1 & +1.5).
Bundesliga preview from PinnacleSports.com
This season could be bringing about a changing of the guard in the Bundesliga, as it looks likely that for the first time in ten years Bayern Munich will not be representing Germany in the Champions League. Though this is a disaster for the club, it maintains diversity in one of the most egalitarian European leagues. Nothing of course will be decided until the Fat Frau sings, so there is plenty of exciting action over the four remaining weekends, with www.pinnaclesports.com providing excellent Bundesliga odds, up to 60% better than the opposition.
Schalke Edging Closer to Glory
VFL Bochum are a classic elevator side, bouncing between the top two German divisions in recent seasons. Currently positioned in 11th, the packed nature of the Bundesliga means that Marcel Koeller's side could still drop into the basement, and the prospect of playing the league leaders on Friday evening adds extra tension. Whether Bochum stay up or not Theofanis Gekas - who currently heads the Bundesliga scoring charts - is moving to Leverkusen. The Greek striker has however, pledged to do everything in his power to help the cause of his current employers. Bochum's biggest issue is consistency, winning 3-0 away last weekend, but losing 3-1 at home the previous week. Their last seven games have featured four wins and three defeats, producing 23 goals.
By contrast Schalke have been much steadier, reeling off a hat-trick of wins without conceding, and thereby maintaining their lead at the top of the table. Unfortunately for the Royal Blues, their nearest rival, Werder Bremen, is matching them win-for-win, so their lead is still only two points, making the game at the Rewirpwer Stadion another crucial encounter. Schalke won with home advantage last November, the fourth straight victory against Bochum, in games that produced an average of 3.25 goals. On that evidence www.pinnaclesports.com price Schalke favourites 1.820 (-0.5) with Bochum 2.120 (+0.5).
Munich Facing Champions League Absence
Last Saturday's defeat to Stuttgart could prove financially crippling for Bayern Munich, as they are now five points adrift of third spot and Champions League qualification. To stand any chance of closing the gap, Munich must win all their remaining games and hope Stuttgart badly slip-up. That process begins on Saturday with a game at the Allianz Arena against Hamburg. Having lost just once at home, this is a game that the title-holders are favourite to win with www.pinnaclesports.com 1.952 (-1).
HSV will however, be fighting to avoid being dragged into a relegation fight, as they have just a three point cushion from the drop-zone. Despite their proximity to the bottom clubs, Huub Stevens' side actually have the best away defence, conceding just 17 goals, the same number as leaders, Schalke. Their recent record is even more impressive; Hamburg have taken ten points from their last four road-trips, without conceding a single goal. Nevertheless, www.pinnaclesports.com has them as under-dogs priced 1.971 (+1).
Time Running Out for Doomed Gladbach
If Borussia Monchengladbach are to avoid relegation the club must win all its four remaining fixtures, and hope that clubs above them suffer a collapse. The Foals' next challenge is at home to third placed Stuttgart, fresh from a confidence boosting win over Bayern Munich. Recent results do not suggest that Gladbach are capable of turning things around and confidence must be at rock-bottom, having scored just one goal in their last five games which produced only a single point. www.pinnaclesports.com have certainly priced them as under-dogs, despite home advantage and their fight for survival, 2.08 (+0.5 & +1).
As already stated, Stuttgart will be buzzing after beating Bayern Munich last weekend, in a game that could well have earned VFB Champions League football for next term. Stuttgart are enjoying one of their best season's for some time, having recently earned a place in the DFB Cup final, but their season could yet end in disappointment should they lose focus, or the goals dry up. Stuttgart have scored 12 goals over a five game winning streak, and that is enough to lead www.pinnaclesports.com to price them 1.855 (-0.5 & -1).
Serie A preview from PinnacleSports.com
Inter Milan confirmed the inevitable on the weekend when they landed the Serie A title, but there is still plenty of life left in the Italian top flight. Battles for European positions and survival from relegation maintain the intrigue in what has been one of the most remarkable seasons in Italian football history. With plenty of action remaining www.pinnaclesports.com will continue to offer unbeatable Serie A odds, up to 60% better than the opposition.
Inter Land Title But Still Have Plenty to Prove
Inter Milan celebrated on the weekend by landing the Italian Scudetto. Two goals by Marco Materazzi secured a win at Siena, while Roma were beaten at Atalanta. The Nerazzurri could be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas after a season featuring a record 17 game winning run. However, Roberto Mancini's side are still chasing a record points tally, and are motivated to stay sharp for the Coppa Italia in May against second place Roma. Nonetheless, after a week of champagne, Inter might not be at their best for the home game against fifth placed Empoli who will be eager to maintain qualification for European competition.
Luigi Cagni has worked wonders at Empoli since his appointment last January. The Blues are set for a second consecutive UEFA Cup adventure, no mean feat for perennial relegation strugglers. They come into this game in good form having strung together three clean sheets, but the side from Brescia have played Inter Milan twice already this season (league & cup) losing both games by an aggregate of 5-0. Empoli will of course look to expose any hangover that Inter may have after a week of partying but www.pinnaclesports.com still have the new champions as favourite for this game 2.260 (-1) with Empoli 1.735 (+1).
Bitter Rivals Battle in Rome Derby
Rome will be divided on Sunday afternoon as one of the most ferocious football rivalries is renewed. The Derby della Capitale is almost unrivalled for the bitterness, rivalry and sheer passion. The game was abandoned after a riot in 2004, but hopefully with the title already settled, and both teams assured of Champions League football, 90 minutes of football will be played. Roma have a comfortable eleven point lead over Lazio, but will want to maintain performance levels as they prepare for the Coppa Italia final against Inter.
The Giallorossi haven't lost the Rome Derby as the home side since 1997, and captain, Francesco Totti, will want to maintain his position as the league's top-scorer. Having strung together an eight game winning run that lifted them into third place, Lazio have now gone a further three games without victory, failing to score in the last two. In contrast Roma are scoring freely, reacting to the humiliating 7-1 defeat by Manchester United by scoring eight in three games, though the most recent ended in defeat to Atalanta. www.pinnaclesports.com have Roma as slight favourites on their Asian Handicap 1.877 (0/scratch & -0.5) with Lazio 2.050 (0/scratch & +0.5).
Reggina Close to Performing the Great Escape
Having suffered a 15-point deduction resulting from their involvement in the Italian match-fixing scandal Reggina were one of the obvious favourites for relegation. Though the Amaranto are in the basement of the table, three points covers the six teams above them in the table, so a win away to Ascoli on Sunday could change things dramatically. The Calabrians are unbeaten in their last four games, but that sequence included three draws, and another stalemate would leave them third from bottom and facing demotion to Serie B.
Their opponents, Ascoli, are in a much worse position, rooted to rock-bottom of the table and needing a miracle to survive. They have won just three times all season, their solitary home victory coming in December. Having conceded 15 times over the last four games, it is no surprise that despite being the away side. Reggina are favourites with www.pinnaclesports.com , 1.752 (-0.5) with Ascoli 2.230 (+0.5).
by Gerry McDonnellA Little Wayne Never Hurt Anyone
As much as I enjoy my position as the country's leading football betting scribe, I occasionally yearn for the more glamorous world of investigative journalism.
When news broke that David Moyes had initiated legal proceedings against Wayne Rooney for alleging that his ex-boss leaked tales of his ‘cash for a rash' habit; I sensed my opportunity.
To get to the bottom of the story, I knew I had to do everything that young Rooney did, with the exception of the old trout.
After conducting my initial enquiries, I can confirm that there are establishments that offer this kind of tawdry service, and they open on a Friday night, a Saturday morning and a Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure if these places are open in midweek, but my investigation is ongoing.
At this early stage, I wouldn't like to put money on Moyes being successful in his action, as my overheads have left me virtually potless. I'll try to recoup a little by backing Rooney's United to see off the Moyes boys at 8/11.
It may sound ridiculous to claim that Watford have enjoyed their spell in the top flight, but some people welcome a spanking on a weekly basis. The Hornets will be getting tonked at Bramall Lane this week, 4/7 is lying on the table.
Manchester City haven't scored a Premiership goal in front of their own supporters since New Years Day. Luckily for the Psycho, Aston Villa are the next visitors to Eastlands so Vassell is guaranteed a goal. The Villa are unbeaten in their last six matches; a draw looks the call at 9/4.
Jose Mourinho believes that Manchester United's opponents are denied penalties as a result of a ‘new rule'. The Special One is completely wrong on this one; that directive was introduced several years ago. I only have one rule this weekend, get on Chelsea at 1/3 to see off Bolton.
If i had to pick Wigan's most consistent performer, I'd probably plump for the chairman; he's been consistently wrong in every interview this season. West Ham can drag Wigan into the relegation battle at 12/5.
Charlton have one major advantage over their backdoor threatened rivals, they have the Bent lad up front. The classy hitman can help Charlton leave Ewood Park with a point at 5/2.
I was surprised that the tabloids found it newsworthy to reveal that the royal family are Arsenal fans. I'm pretty sure that Prince Philip supported the Gunners in last season's Champions League final; I heard he wrote a note saying ‘Get it done in Paris.' The Queen's favourite team will put one over her favourite shopkeeper at 4/9.
Stevie Gerrard swapped shirts with Frank Lampard after Liverpool's first leg defeat in their Champions League semi; he's always had a soft spot for camping. The Reds will have one eye on the second leg; Portsmouth can land the upset at 11/4.
Reading were absolutely devastated when Newcastle won from behind at St James' earlier in the season; nobody has regretted losing a lead in such a fashion since Helen Chamberlain's ex-boyfriend. The Royals can gain revenge at 21/20.
Middlesbrough are having to plan for next season without Mark Viduka. Gareth Southgate is said to be quite disappointed; but it's Christmas come early for the catering department. Backing the draw between Boro and Spurs at 12/5 will make us all feel that little bit happier.
Portsmouth, Sheffield United, Arsenal and Reading form a 14/1 weekend accer that is so liberating, I've finally realised that the female of the species is not a commodity that can be bought and sold. Renting remains a viable alternative.
Chelsea v Bolton Saturday 28th April 12:45 Live on Sky
Get on: Chelsea
Lampard to score from outside the penalty area 7/2
Everton v Man Utd Saturday 28th April 12:45 Live on Sky
Man Utd 8/11
Get on: Man Utd
Rooney to score the first goal 5/1
Blackburn v Charlton Saturday 28th April 15:00
Get on: Draw
Darren Bent to score in a 1-1 draw 17/1
Man City v Aston Villa Saturday 28th April 15:00
Man City 13/10
Aston Villa 23/10
Get on: Draw
Vassell and Carew both to score 9/1
Middlesbrough v Tottenham Saturday 28th April 15:00
Get on: Draw
Match to finish either 1-1 or 2-2 4/1
Portsmouth v Liverpool Saturday 28th April 15:00
Get on: Portsmouth
Taylor to score the only goal of the game 105/1
Sheff Utd v Watford Saturday 28th April 15:00
Sheff Utd 4/7
Get on: Sheff Utd
Sheffield United to keep a clean sheet 10/11
Wigan v West Ham Saturday 28th April 15:00
West Ham 12/5
Get on: West Ham
Tevez to score at any time 12/5
Arsenal v Fulham Sunday 29th April 16:00 Live on Sky
Get on: Arsenal
Arsenal to win by two or more goals 6/5
Reading v Newcastle Monday 30th April 20:00 Live on Sky
Get on: Reading
Doyle to score two or more goals 11/2
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