|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-18-23||Burnley v. Nottingham Forest -0.25||Top||1-1||Loss||-55.5||14 h 20 m||Show|
Burnley’s start to the season has been unkind. They have surrendered the most goals in the EPL so far this season and have only played 3 games (almost everyone else has played 5). They are also last in 1st half and 2nd half goals surrendered. They have had some scheduling bad luck, but still, they are averaging more than 3 goals against per game.
Notts Forest are unbeaten in their last 4 at home (Brighton, Southampton, Arsenal, Sheffield U.). They are 8th in goals for in the 1st half and the 2nd half. 2022 signing Awonyi has scored or assisted in each of his last 8 games (9 goals). They are so direct in their attacking that only West Ham moves the ball upfield at a faster rate.
All four of the major prediction services predict a Forest win. Their return to the EPL has been difficult and this one is not going to be any easier as Forest is still flying after their win over Chelsea before the break. Lay the fraction of a point and play Forest on this one.
|09-17-23||Arsenal -1 v. Everton||Top||1-0||Push||0||9 h 23 m||Show|
Arsenal has had a successful, although uninspiring start to this EPL campaign. They were fortunate to win late vs. Man U, struggled to fend off Palace by one goal, tied Fulham at home and beat Notts Forest by only one. Along the way they have fought their way to the 2nd best goals against record in the EPL. When you put that stat next to Everton’s league worst goals for record, it is hard to look past that.
Everton is looking like a threat to be a relegation club after losing to unimpressive Fulham and Wolves, drawing Sheffield and getting clobbered by Villa. In their last 6 at home, they have lost 5, scoring 2 and giving up 13. Even though Arsenal has struggled at Everton historically, this looks like the season they overcome that trend. Although Everton has created many chances in their games so far (their actual goals is less than their expected goals by more than any other club), they are coming up against a defensive powerhouse that has just started to see Rice and Zinchenko round into form. And at the other end of the park Saka and Oedegaard have been dominant, and Jesus has 8 goals in 9 games vs. Everton. Arsenal’s goal creating actions/90 is behind only Brighton and Man City (while Everton’s is tied for last). Things are going to get worse for Everton before they get better. Lay the goals and play Arsenal on this one.
|09-16-23||Brighton & Hove Albion +0.5 v. Manchester United||Top||3-1||Win||100||56 h 14 m||Show|
Brighton is part of the new wave and have only lost one game so far (to another up-and-coming club, West Ham). They have done it with attacking football. ManU is always expected to do well, especially at home. So far they have lost two and only beat minnows, Fulham and Wolves by one goal each.
Usually ManU has a stout defense at home but will be missing Shaw on the back line and Varane is questionable. But ManU is 6th in the EPL in saves so lots of shots are getting through. ManU is still without Mount and now will also be missing Antony as well for their attack which was already middle of the pack in shots on target, shot creation and attacking penalty area touches. Sancho has been out of favor as well but may have worked his way back for this game.
Brighton is in sharp contrast to this as they lead the EPL in goals for, shots on target, shot creation and attacking penalty area touches. Brighton is one of the most creative attacking sides in the EPL and they will have a chance to exploit a hurting and vulnerable ManU defence.
Add to this that Brighton has won 3 and tied one of their last 4 head-to-head matches and you have a clincher for choosing Brighton to take the points offered and win the game.
|09-16-23||Liverpool -1.25 v. Wolverhampton Wanderers||Top||3-1||Win||100||55 h 58 m||Show|
This is a very different Wolves team than the one that took down Liverpool in Feb/23. Gone are Nunes, Jimenez, Traore, Coady, Neves, Moutinho and Costa. Cunha is the lone goal scorer among the newcomers. This season Liverpool is 3-0-1 with 9 goals for and 3 against while Wolves are 1-3-0 with 4 goals for and 8 against. Wolves are leaky at the back and Liverpool is one of the best attacking clubs in the world.
Liverpool may be missing 2 or 3 of their first team backline so they could give up a goal but will be too much for Wolves to handle when they attack. Liverpool dominated the strong attacking Villa with a limited back line before the break so they shouldn’t be troubled with the Wolves’ attack this week. Lay the goals and take Liverpool.
|09-03-23||Aston Villa +1 v. Liverpool||Top||0-3||Loss||-120||7 h 52 m||Show|
Villa lost to Newcastle 5-1 to start their season. Liverpool just beat Newcastle with 10 men. That alone is pretty convincing stuff. Add to it that the Reds are 8-1-1 in their last 10 vs. Villa, are unbeaten in their last 13 at home and unbeaten in their last 14 in the EPL and you have the makings of a tough outing at Anfield for Villa. Two of four of the top predictors pick Liverpool in this one while the other two call for a high scoring draw.
The problem is, Villa have played Liverpool tough at Anfield. Only ManU and Chelsea have more wins at Anfield. Watkins has 5 goals vs. Liverpool which is tied for his highest tally against an EPL club. Villa has averaged 3 goals/game in their last 6. Liverpool has endured extended periods of serious pressure in all of their EPL matches this season. Villa has the firepower to take advantage of that especially with van Dijk and Konate out and Alexander-Arnold’s vulnerabilities revealed by being moved to midfield for England due to defensive deficiencies. Liverpool is vulnerable. Take the goals on offer for Villa and you win if the draw happens and are covered if Liverpool sneaks out a one goal miracle again.
|09-02-23||AFC Bournemouth v. Brentford -0.5||Top||2-2||Loss||-133||13 h 60 m||Show|
Brentford and Bournemouth are heading in different directions these days. It’s surprising that the sportsbooks still offer such good value for you to make use of. In their last 5 head-to-head Brentford holds a 4-1-1 advantage. In their last 19 at home Brentford is 10-2-7. Bournemouth has no wins in their first three to start this season, is an abysmal 0-6-1 in their last 7 and their only 2 wins in their last 10 EPL games were against now relegated clubs.
Unsurprisingly 4 of the top predictors pick Brentford to win handily. Bournemouth’s shortcomings mostly stem from backline problems that make them too easy to break down. This has led to an average of almost 2 goals against in their last 10 EPL games. When you add that to there being only 4 EPL clubs with worse stats comparing actual goals to the X-goals model you have a recipe for failure. It’s not surprising that they have the 2nd worst goals against record in the EPL this season. They also have the 3rd worst goals created actions/90 min in the EPL so there isn’t a lot out there for possible improved goal production. This should be a very good play to take Brentford on the money line for this one.
|09-01-23||West Ham United -0.5 v. Luton Town||Top||2-1||Win||100||38 h 52 m||Show|
Luton Town finally gets a home game in the EPL after a long wait and a chance to earn their first points in their return to the Premiership. They finally won (against a League 2 club in a nailbiter) but are coming off only 2 days of rest and so some might be suffering the effects. Unfortunately, they are against the red-hot Hammers who soundly beat the two teams Luton lost to (Brighton and Chelsea). Luton is a little light on the backline as they have 3 out to injury so they may be hard-pressed to deal with West Ham’s strong counter-attacking form.
West Ham has attackers Bowen and Ward-Prowse in form and has added Kudus who is fresh off a hat-trick in his last game with Ajax. West Ham has scored the 3rd most goals in the EPL, while Luton town have conceded the most goals (in only two matches). The Hammers Xgoal- diff/90 is +0.21 while Luton’s is -2.16. This all adds up to a bleak outlook for the hometown Luton and all the reasons lined up to lay the goals and take West Ham.
|08-21-23||Arsenal -1 v. Crystal Palace||Top||1-0||Push||0||37 h 20 m||Show|
Arsenal and Palace both came out of game week 1 with all 3 points. Palace only managed 1 goal against a very weak Sheffield side. They will be hard pressed to produce anything against a superior defence like Arsenal has. Arsenal had 10 clean sheets away last season and 39 points away which was the best in the EPL. Arsenal got up by 2 in the first half against Nottingham Forest and then coasted which made things a bit nervy at the end. Forest is superior to Sheffield and Arsenal is superior to Palace by extension.
With the addition of Rice in midfield and the maturation of a world class talent like Saka, Palace will have their hands full.
Arsenal also feasted on all the London Derbys last season as they won 10 of 12 including both wins against Palace. They have won 3 of their last 5 against Palace including 2 wins at Palace.
Palace has trouble scoring which is shown by the fact they only scored 40 times last season which is less than two of the relegation sisters scored(Leeds and Leicester). And they did that with Zaha (by far their leading scorer) who has since moved on. Lay the goal and go with Arsenal on this one.
|08-20-23||Everton v. Aston Villa -0.5||Top||0-4||Win||100||9 h 8 m||Show|
Analysis These two teams lost in the first game week. Villa was dismantled by Newcastle and Fulham won with a clean sheet against Everton. The similarities end there as Villa has dominated Everton over the last while and ended last season strongly. In their last 7 at home Villa is 7-0 and has only conceded 2 goals. Everton has trouble scoring as last season they only managed 34 goals in 38 games.
Villa is 6-0-2 in their last 8 vs. Everton and 4-0 in their last 4 home matches vs. Everton. In their last 6 head to head Villa has outscored Everton 12-2.
Both managers have problems with availability of starters but this should not reduce Villa’s superiority. Pick Villa on this one.
|08-14-23||Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Manchester United -1.5||Top||0-1||Loss||-115||47 h 25 m||Show|
It’s a new world in the EPL this season with Chelsea and Liverpool not making the Champions League and Manchester United moving back into the EPL top 4. Last season United had the lowest goals against record in the EPL at home and only lost one game at Old Trafford. Rashford was second in goals to the incomparable Haaland and will look to continue against a Wolves team that is in disarray.
The Wolves only made two additions but lost Jimenez, Costa, Neves, Traore and Moutinho. Those holes have not been filled. Their manager from last year cleaned out his office 4 days ago and new skipper O’Neil has had to sort out his new squad in short order. In their last 6 matches the Wolves surrendered 14 goals and only scored 4. Against a stingy United defence this will not improve. The Wolves also failed to win any of their final 8 road games. All in all, you should lay the goals and go with United on this one.
|08-13-23||Liverpool v. Chelsea||Top||1-1||Push||0||21 h 12 m||Show|
Chelsea and Liverpool both disappointed last season. But they ended their seasons in much different fashions. Chelsea was humiliated in the last stretch with one win in their L 11 while Liverpool found their footing and were undefeated in their final 11. The Reds paid for not rejuvenating their midfield in the first half of last season but have made amends this year with the departures of Henderson and Fabinho and the addition of World Cup champion Mac Allister and Szoboszlai. There were goals galore at both ends of the pitch for the Reds in preseason so expect a dynamic side that will power past the goalless draws the last 4 times these squads met.
Newcomers Fofana and Nkunku are out for Chelsea but new manager Pochettino had the Blues winning in preseason.
But Liverpool has too much firepower and too much recent success for Chelsea to turn things around for this one. The Reds also have Klopp who will sort out how to make use of his new additions quickly. The Blues should be better but won’t be able to pull off the challenge before them in their opener. Take the Reds in this one.
|08-12-23||Luton Town v. Brighton & Hove Albion -1.5||Top||1-4||Win||100||5 h 27 m||Show|
Luton Town is away to Brighton in their first ever game in the Premiership. They are in tough as Brighton has proven to be an offensive force at home with a 6-0 result over Wolves, a 3-0 result over Liverpool and a 4-0 domination of Chelsea at Amex Stadium in Brighton. Brighton just has too much attacking power. Even with the loss of Mac Alllilster and pending loss of Caicedo, their pickups of Milner, Dahoud and Pedro is going to keep coach De Zerbi awash in attacking possibilities. Returnees Estupinan on the back line, Gross in the middle of the park and Welbeck up front should help stabilize recent arrivals.
Luton will not have centre backs Burke and Osho available as well as midfielders Clark and Potts. This should open space for Brighton’s attacking style. It should be noted that Brighton only lost 5 at home all last year and only 1 vs teams in the bottom of the table. Luton finished more than 10 points behind Championship leader Burnley and then only advanced after PKs in the qualifying game. Chances are they will be in the bottom half of the table.
Luton is likely to work to be difficult to break down but Brighton is just too strong attacking. Lay the points and take Brighton.
|08-11-23||Manchester City -1.5 v. Burnley||Top||3-0||Win||100||12 h 27 m||Show|
Treble winner Man City visits newly promoted Championship winner Burnley for the EPL opener. Their last meeting in the FA Cup quarterfinals in March was a humbling return for Burnley manager and longtime Man City star Kompany as they were dominated 6-0. Burnley still has no answer on the back end for Haaland and Alvarez, who scored 3 and 2 times each in that game and are likely starters for this rematch. City used a rotation squad for that game and might for this fixture as well, as the Super Cup match against Sevilla is on the 16th. That should not prevent Guardiola’s side from continuing their dominant run of form against the Clarets. Many City is 15-1-0 in their last 16 against Burnley. In their last 11 against Burnley Man City has scored five or more goals five times, outscoring them 40-1 over that span. Burnley’s last goal against City was in Dec. 2019.
Even with some solid additions that should prevent relegation, Burnley doesn’t match up well against City. Last season’s leading scorer Tella is back at Southhampton and his replacement Amdouni may take a while to gel with his new squad.
Kovacic should ably replace Gundogan in the City midfield and Ake and De Bruyne should be available for selection.
Laying the goals and going with City is a solid choice to get you into the new season on the right foot (pun intended).
|07-20-23||Canada W -1.5 v. Nigeria W||Top||0-0||Loss||-105||20 h 59 m||Show|
Olympic champion Canada has a target on its back and is struggling with conflict within their soccer federation at home. But this team with some legendary veterans and outstanding rising stars has fared well in the lead up to this. Coach Priestman commitment to defense, has world class defenders and a goalkeeper that can earn clean sheets but also has ageless striker and all-time international goal scoring leader Sinclair. They are capable of shutting down anyone. They also have a rising star in midfielder Awujo who is capable of controlling the flow of play. They beat Nigeria 2-0 in a friendly and then tied them using most of their bench. They also beat Australia in two friendlies in Australia. In the lead up they won their group in CONCACAF and then lost to world number one ranked USA in the final. If they can overcome the turmoil, they should be the team to beat in this group.
Nigeria has had their own turmoil, as they lost two games in the Africa Cup (which used to be something they dominated) and have had battles with their own federation over unpaid salaries and political selection pressures on the coach. They have a star striker in Oshoala who is fresh off a Champions League win with Barcelona. Being ranked 40th in the FIFA is no match for 7th ranked Canada and they are widely predicted to exit the group stage.
|07-20-23||Norway W -1.5 v. New Zealand W||Top||0-1||Loss||-118||2 h 56 m||Show|
Host New Zealand has qualified for the last 4 World Cups. They haven’t advanced out of the group stage or even scored a goal. But this World Cup will be different right? Nope. After Klinkova was appointed coach they won only one of their first 14 and were outscored 35-5. As host , not having to qualify has led them to a most recent record of friendlies of 1-7-1. They have had five significant injuries in the past year but all have recently returned. It’s doubtful that they have returned to top form. They have had the worst sustained stretch of any team in the field.
Norway on the other hand has been a traditional powerhouse in women’s football. Recently they were humbled though by England 8-0 in the Euros. Norway legend Riise took over the reigns as coach and has transformed their approach with a defensively stable 4-3-3 or 5-4-1. This led to beating the finalist from the last World Cup, Netherlands 2-0 in November and drawing Sweden and France earlier this year. They are the Group A favorite and with superstar Hegerberg and rising star Hansen should dominate the struggling New Zealand side even though they are the hosts. Lay the points and take the Norwegian side.
|12-10-22||Portugal v. Morocco +1||Top||0-1||Win||100||35 h 51 m||Show|
Portugal, without Ronaldo, played with remarkable skill and flair, and absolutely crushed the Swiss in the round of 16. They now face Morocco, the upstart of the tournament, who despatched Belgium 2-nil, then held off Spain to win on penalty kicks. Looking at the possession times, it would be easy to think that Morocco's victory was pure luck, but that wasn't the case. Spain did control the ball but could not penetrate a very tough Moroccan defense, and the Atlas Lions had solid opportunities to score on the counterattack. This is a very well-coached and disciplined North African squad who have now captured the hearts of Africa and the Arab world. They have allowed just one goal to date in the tournament; they put the ball in their own net vs Canada. They have an excellent goaltender in Bounou, and have shown that they can attack and finish in their own right.
It is hard to imagine Portugal struggling against the 22nd ranked club after their superlative showing against Switzerland, but do not underestimate the Moroccan side. Look for the Lions to play a controlled defensive game, and watch for their counterstrikes. I'm wagering on Morocco at +1.
|12-09-22||Brazil -1.25 v. Croatia||Top||0-0||Loss||-118||47 h 28 m||Show|
Brazil's offense dominated vs South Korea, running up a 4-0 lead, before coasting to the win. Not so Croatia, whoa along with two scoreless draws, have almost been forced into the attack with two come-from-behind situations vs Japan and Croatia. Japan showed defensive lapses at times in the tournament; Croatia will not get the same opportunities against a tough Brazilian defense. Brazil will not want to allow this game to go to penalty kicks as Croatian net minder Livakovic was very sharp in that siuation.
Neymar appears healthy, and the entire team was loose and superbly effective against a badly out-matched Korean squad. Brazil has had good success vs Croatia in the past, and is rightly a very large favorite. Croatia is an aging squad; Modric, now 37 was subbed against Japan, before extra time. Take Brazil on the point spread at -1 1/4.
|10-16-22||West Ham United v. Southampton||Top||1-1||Push||0||20 h 35 m||Show|
A top seven finisher last season, West Ham United’s 2022/23 campaign got off to a rather sluggish start. But both a strong showing in the Europa Conference League and back to back Premier League wins seemingly have the Hammers back on track. They come into Sunday level with three other sides at 10 points in the middle of the table.
Meanwhile, Southampton is in trouble. The Saints now find themselves in the relegation zone after four straight losses, three of which were to bottom half sides. They failed to score in three of those matches, including the most recent one, which was an ugly 4-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
It’s four straight wins in all competitions for West Ham, so these are very much two sides trending in opposite directions. Struggles are not new for Southampton as they’ve dropped 11 of 15 league games going back to the end of last year. Even with all three newly promoted sides struggling, it is going to be a challenge for the Saints to remain in the top flight next season.
Additionally, West Ham will be eager to end a winless run against Southampton, which is now at three straight including last year’s FA Cup. The better side at this price is a steal.
Just to be safe though, let’s play West Ham on the goal line (just so a draw would be a push). 10*
|06-19-21||Germany v. Portugal +0.5||Top||4-2||Loss||-155||21 h 38 m||Show|
The set-up: Germany looked less than impressive in its loss to France, while Portugal rolled to a 3-0 win over Hungary. The Portugese won't be taking the foot off the gas here in this difficult group, and the pressure really is on the Germans here (especially with an own goal from Mats Hummels deciding the contest in Munich.)
The pick: Joachim Low's team struggled to create opportunities, and I think that'll again be the case here vs. Portugal. Germany will be desperate to avoid defeat, as a draw today wouldn't be the end of its chances. I'm laying the price and grabbing the spread on Portugal here.
This is a 10* BLOOD-BATH on Portugal +0.5.
|07-16-20||Sheffield United +0.5 v. Leicester||Top||0-2||Loss||-114||27 h 10 m||Show|
The set-up: Leicester had a 1-0 lead over Bournemouth going into half last week, but when the smoke cleared at the end of the game, the Foxes would end up losing 4-1. Leicester is in trouble of falling out of the top four and it will surely be giving a better effort, but the Blades have looked a lot better themselves of late, most recently coming off a commanding 3-0 win over Chelsea.
The pick: With a Europa League spot still on the line for Sheffield United, combined with the "home field" advantage, I'll gladly lay the small price for the extra 0.5 goal of insurance in this one.
10* PLAY-BOOK on Sheffield United +0.5 -114 Pinnacle.
|07-09-20||Tottenham Hotspur v. AFC Bournemouth +1||0-0||Win||100||19 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: Bournemouth is out to atone for a lacklustre 5-2 setback to Man United last time out, but now it's back at home and it's one behind the relegation zone. It's now or never and I look for the Cherries to take advantage of this Tottenham side which was clobbered 3-1 by Sheffield United, before recovering for a weak 1-0 win over Everton its last outing.
The pick: Further good news for the host team sees the return of attacker Callum Wilson from suspension. I'm laying the short price for the extra goal of insurance here (but definitely wouldn't also be completely shocked by an outright upset in this one either.)
8* PLAY-BOOK on Bournemouth +1 -140 Pinnacle.
|06-17-20||Arsenal +1.5 v. Manchester City||Top||0-3||Loss||-111||291 h 32 m||Show|
The set-up: Man City laid the smack down on Arsenal 3-0 in mid December, but I believe that we'll witness a much tighter affair after the extended break. Arsenal is currently in ninth, but it hasn't lost a league game since the start of the new year and it won its final three matches before the pandemic. Of course Man City is still trying to lock down a Champions League spot, but the Gunners could still move into the Top 4 if they can pull off the outright here.
The pick: Man City has already dropped four of 13 matches at home this year, which does give the Gunners a glimmer of hope here as well. And finally note that Arsenal has found the back of the net at Etihad Stadium at least once on each of its last seven visits. I'm laying the short price for the extra 1.5 goals of insurance.
10* PLAY OF THE WEEK on ARSENAL +1.5 -115 Pinnacle.
|07-15-18||Croatia +0.5 v. France||Top||2-4||Loss||-101||24 h 30 m||Show|
The set-up: France comes in off a 1-0 regulation win over Belgium, while Croatia knocked off host Russia in a shootout to advance. France has gotten better as this tournament has worn on, but Croatia has proven itself to be a “hard out.” Suffice it to say, I’m expecting nothing less here either. The French may be the more talented team on paper, but the Croatian’s have the bigger “heart.” I predict this one will see extra time or the shootout.
The teams: Croatia’s defense will be focused on slowing down French teenage phenom Kylian Mbappe, who has scored three goals so far. Antoine Greizmann continues to be a focal point for France as well, as he has 12 goals and eight assists over his last 20 games for his country.
Luka Modric is one of three Croatian’s with two goals in this tournament. Ivan Rakitic has helped his team in the knockout round, as he has two crucial goals in both shoot-out victories.
The pick: France may have never lost to Croatia in its history, but I think its over-confidence will prove its undoing here. The English found out the hard way that this Croatian team is no joke and while the French may in fact go on to win the title, I’m banking on it being anything but “easy.” Play on Croatia +0.5 goal.
|07-11-18||England v. Croatia +0.25||Top||1-1||Win||50||22 h 17 m||Show|
The set-up: I’m predicting that this will be decided in extra time or penalties. England is the favorite to win this match straight-up, but I expect Croatia to give it everything it can handle. England advanced by beating Colombia in a shootout and then by beating Sweden 2-0, while Croatia needed a shootout to advance past the host country.
The teams: Croatia got a big contribution from Domagoj Vida, who scored his team’s second goal in the quarter-final and who also netted one in the shootout in the win over Russia. Luka Modric had a big game overall in the win as well, as he’d go on to set up the second goal. The Croatian’s have won two straight in shootout, proving that they’re anything but an “easy out.”
Harry Kane failed to score for the first time in seven matches for England last time out, but he still leads the Golden Boot with six scores. The English are deep and talented, as evidenced by their 2-0 win over Sweden, dominating on both ends of the pitch throughout. England has lost just once out of its last 15 matches, but I think it’s going to have its hands full here.
The pick: Note that Croatia is unbeaten in is last six matches, with four outright wins and two penalty shoot-out victories. This one has the feel of a “chess match,” rather than a wide-open offensive “shootout.” Play on Croatia +1/4 goal.
|07-07-16||France v. Germany||Top||2-0||Win||100||89 h 22 m||Show|
We saw Portugal book its ticket to the Euro 2016 final by defeating Wales yesterday. Its opponent will be decided here the next day when the tournament host France takes on World Champions Germany at Stade Velodrome in Marseille. The bookmakers have the game at pretty much a pick'em, but I think France will prove to be the stronger of the two heavyweights. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Home Cookin' - The French crowd is a demanding one, but it will be completely behind its team following a 5-2 demolition of Iceland in the quarterfinals. No team has scored more goals than France in the tournament and when its fans are entertained and pleased they'll act as the famous 12th man on the pitch to give the team a huge boost. 2. The Banged Up Germans - France is entering the contest with a completely fit squad while Germany has several concerns regarding its starters. Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez will both definitely miss the game and Bastian Schweinsteiger hurt his knee against Italy but might play. Important defender Mats Hummels will serve a suspension after picking up his second yellow card in the tournament in the quarterfinals. 3. X-Factor - France striker Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his previous two starts against Germany. He has four goals and three assists in six starts at major tournaments. Selection: This is a play on France (6*)
|07-06-16||Wales +0.5 v. PORTUGAL||Top||0-2||Loss||-135||65 h 24 m||Show|
Wales and Portugal will do battle in one of the semi-finals of Euro 2016 where the winner will be rewarded with a match-up against Germany of France for the big trophy. Portugal enter the game as a favorite, but my money is on the underdog to pull an upset. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Wales' Offense - With a four time European Golden Shoe winner in Cristiano Ronaldo you would expect Portugal to be the team with the best offensive record, but that's not the case. Only the host nation France has scored more goals than Wales' 10 through five games at the tournament so far. Portugal defender Pepe is doubtful to start as he's battling a thigh injury, and holding midfielder William Carvalho is suspended. A makeshift defense is far from ideal against the high-scoring Welshmen. 2. Gareth Bale vs. Cristiano Ronaldo - There is little doubt that Ronaldo outranks his teammate at Real Madrid, but today could be a completely different story. Set Pieces should be a big advantage for Wales as Bale has scored on two of five direct free kick attempts already while Ronaldo is without a goal on 10 attempts in the tournament. He has zero goals from 41 free-kick attempts at major tournaments. 3. X-Factor - Cristiano Ronaldo has been extremely wasteful, firing 36 shots with only eight hitting the target and two finding the net. Selection: This is a play on Wales (8*)
|07-02-16||Italy +0.5 v. Germany||Top||1-1||Win||100||101 h 1 m||Show|
Italy entered the European Championship as a team that nobody expected to be a contender. It defeated a strong Belgium side 2-0 in its tournament opener though and it just knocked out the reigning European Champions Spain in the round of 16. The Germans have also looked good, but I think the Italians will give them a fair fight here in the quarterfinals. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Previous Meetings - Italy has defeated the Germans in all eight of their head-to-head meetings in major tournaments. It knocked out Germany in the semifinals of the last European Championship only to come up short against Spain in the final. 2. An Unstoppable Force Vs. An Immovable Object - The German machine is used to having its way with its opponents, no matter who it's up against. Italy has however perfected its style over the years to suit tournament football, and with a sturdy defense built around Juventus defenders Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci in front of veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon, goals will come at a premium for Germany. 3. X-Factor - Germany has yet to concede a goal in the tournament, but so has Italy when fielding its first choice starting eleven as well. The team's only conceded goal so far was in the last game of the group stage with several key players rested. Selection: This is a play on Italy (8*)
|06-30-16||PORTUGAL v. POLAND +0.5||Top||1-1||Win||100||53 h 55 m||Show|
Portugal advanced from the group stage with three consecutive draws and needed extra-time to get past Croatia in the round of 16. It'll run into Poland in the quarter-finals, and the Poles might very well upset the Portuguese in this contest. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Poland's Defense - The Poles went through the group stage without conceding a single goal and it took a spectacular bicycle kick from Xherdan Shaqiri to earn Switzerland a goal in the round of 16 clash. Portugal's offense has been a sorry sight in the tournament (bar a 3-3 draw against Hungary who lost 4-0 to Belgium in its round of 16 game), and goals will not come easy for the Portuguese today. 2. Cristiano Ronaldo - It's not very hard to figure out Portugal's gameplan as everything revolves around the Real Madrid forward. He's struggled to deliver the goods when it really matters though with only a pair of goals in 12 elimination games at major tournaments. 3. X-Factor - Keep an eye on Jakub Blaszczykowski who has been involved in all of Poland's goals so far in the tournament. Selection: This is a play on Poland (10*)
|06-27-16||SPAIN v. Italy +0.5||Top||0-2||Win||100||77 h 47 m||Show|
Italy entered the European Championship 2016 with very little expectations from the media. It defeated Belgium 2-0 in its tournament opener though and managed to win the group ahead of the Belgians. I think Italy will give the reigning European Champions Spain a run for its money here in the round of 16. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Motivational - It was the general consensus among punters that this was the weakest squad the Italians had sent to the European Championship final in ages. Never dismiss Italy when it comes to tournament football though. Its football fundamentals is perfect for the major tournaments where not losing is more important than winning. The Italians are also playing with a chip on their shoulders after being written down in media ahead of the season. 2. Recent Form - Both sides lost their last game of the group stage but the motivation was low with their spots in the knockout stage already locked in. Spain has now lost three of its last six games at the World Cup and European Championship and is not the same powerhouse that won the European title four years ago. Italy has yet to lose consecutive games at the European Championship finals and I don't think it'll happen today. 3. X-Factor - Spain has named the same starting eleven in all three games so far while Italy used more players (22) than any other side in the group stage. With a tight schedule the fitness advantage should be on the Italians side. Selection: This is a play on Italy +1 (10*)
|06-25-16||PORTUGAL v. Croatia||Top||0-0||Push||0||35 h 32 m||Show|
Portugal managed to make it to the knockout stage despite not winning a single one of their group games. Three consecutive draws were enough to earn it a spot in the round of 16 as one of the the best group threes, but I think the Portuguese struggle with Croatia on Saturday. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Croatia At The European Championship Finals - The Croats have performed very well in the last couple of tournaments with six wins and just one defeat through their lats 10 games. They have plenty of stars in the big European leagues and looking at the draw, they must really fancy their chances of reaching the final this year once make it past Portugal. 2. Cristiano Ronaldo - The Portuguese superstar led the way with two goals in a 3-3 draw against Hungary in its last game of the group stage. He was visibly upset with his teammates though and was caught throwing a temper tantrum at the middle of the pitch after one of Hungary's goals. Acts like that can be absolutely devastating for the morale and stop players from running the extra mile for each other, even for one of the best players in the world. 3. X-Factor - Luka Modric is expected to back at the heart of Croatia's midfield after missing Tuesday's 2-1 win against the defending European Champions Spain with a groin problem. Selection: This is a play on Croatia (10*)
|06-20-16||Slovakia +0.5 v. England||Top||0-0||Win||100||8 h 46 m||Show|
England need a point to be certain of a place in the knockout phase while a win would secure the group win and a presumably easier path to a potential final. A win won't come easy for the Englishmen though as Slovakia will come in filled with confidence after a 2-1 victory against Russia, and I think the Slovaks will find a way to stay in this game till the end. Here are my keys to the game: 1. England's Rotation - Roy Hodgson is not pleased with what he's seen from his Three Lions so far and is expected to make six changes compared to the starting eleven that defeated Wales 2-1. England captain Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are all likely to start the game on the bench. A risky move that easily could disturb the balance in the team and backfire massively. 2. Marek Hamsik - The Slovakia playmaker has three goals and one assist in his past three competitive games with the national team. "He showed how important he is for our team and he showed his quality, not only that he scored, but in all the 90 minutes he was working for the team." defender Martin Skrtel hailed the Napoli midfielder after the win against Russia. 3. X-Factor - England has a history of failing to deliver the goods when it really matters. Why would today be any different, especially when a win is not necessary to progress to the next round. Selection: This is a play on Slovakia +1 (6*)
|06-15-16||France -1.5 v. Albania||Top||2-0||Win||100||15 h 23 m||Show|
An 89th minute wonder strike from Dmitri Payet earned France a 2-1 victory against Romania in the tournament opener. I think the French will win more comfortably when facing Albania in their second game of the group stage. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Tactical - Albania would have had a better shot at getting something out of this game if it had played France in the first game of the group stage. A 1-0 defeat to Switzerland the first round of games has Albania desperate for points, and it can not sit back and defend a draw. France has plenty of pace and skill to make the most of each and every chance it will get to catch Albania on the break. 2. Albania Suspension - Albania got its captain Lorik Cana sent off after just 35 minutes in its defeat to Switzerland. The centre-back will be a big miss against France's world class attackers. 3. X-Factor - Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has often been criticized for his inconsistency, but Giroud scored a goal in the opener to make it eight goals in his last six starts for France. Selection: This is a play on France (10*)
|06-15-16||Romania v. Switzerland -0.5||Top||1-1||Loss||-100||12 h 23 m||Show|
Romania is in dire need of points after losing to the host nation France in its first game of the 2016 Euro Championship. It'll come up a very accomplished opponent in Switzerland here on Wednesday though, and I think the Swiss will come out ahead. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Switzerland's Previous Game - The Swiss are tied with France at the top of Group A after defeating Albania 1-0 in they first game. Switzerland dominated both possession and goal-scoring opportunities and it was a well deserved victory. 2. Situational - Romania must have known that getting something out of the France game would be tough, but losing the first game of the tournament is always a downer. On top of that, Romania really put its all in that contest, both physically and mentally. "It will be very difficult to re-establish the players' physical form and their fitness because they're absolutely exhausted," coach Anghel Iordanescu said after the defeat. 3. X-Factor - Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri has four goals and five assits in his last eight competitive games for his country. Selection: This is a play on Switzerland (10*)
|05-28-16||Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid||Top||1-1||Push||0||307 h 51 m||Show|
The two Madrid clubs Atletico and Real will do battle in the Uefa Champions League Final for the second time in three years. Real Madrid won the final 4–1 after extra time back in 2014, but I think Atletico will take revenge and lift the cup this season. Here are my keys to the game: 1. Atletico's Defense - Real finished two points ahead Atletico in the Primera Division with 110 goals scored compared to Atletico's 63. Atletico did however sport the best defense in the league with an amazing 18 goals conceded in 38 games, and a strong defense is more important than a free flowing offense in a winner-takes-it all game like the Champions League final. 2. Injury Woes - Real's superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been plagued by a thigh injury this season and limped out of training on Tuesday. While it's unlikely he'll miss the game, with a playing style like Ronaldo where explosiveness is key anything that could slow him down the slightest is a major blow. 3. X-Factor - Atletico Madrid have won five of 10 head-to-head meetings since the Champions League final defeat in 2014. Real Madrid only one with the remaining four ending in a draw. Selection: This is a play on Atletico Madrid (10*)
|02-06-16||Leicester +1 v. Manchester City||Top||3-1||Win||100||48 h 45 m||Show|
*10* SUPER WINNER on Leicester City +1.5 -155.
Premier League-leading Leicester will visit second-placed Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium Saturday afternoon. Leicester defeated Liverpool 2-0 Tuesday, but they're still not getting any respect from neither the public or the odds-makers and this looks like a great price on the visitors.
Here are my keys to the game:
1. Road Warriors - Leicester have lost only one Premier League game on the road all season with seven wins and four draws. They've allowed only 13 goals in their 12 games away from home.
2. Jamie Vardy - The 29 year old late bloomer scored only five goals in 34 games in the last campaign but is entering this round as the Premier League's top scorer with 18 goals in 24 contests. He tallied both in Tuesday's 2-0 win against Liverpool with one of the goals a front-runner for goal of the year.
3. X-Factor - Manchester City have some defensive woes with both captain Vincent Kompany and central defense partner Eliaquim Mangala set to miss the game.
Selection: This is a play on Leicester City (10*)