NFL PICK SIX – Your Thanksgiving Week betting guide

Lions Thanksgiving

Tradition: Giving thanks for Football on Turkey Day

Six weeks remain of the regular season. Two teams remain unbeaten: Carolina (10-0) and New England (10-0) – and this marks the fourth season in league history with multiple 10-0 teams (1934, 1990, 2009).

Entering 2015, 15 teams in the Super Bowl era started 10-0. Of those 15 clubs, all 15 made the playoffs, nine advanced to the Super Bowl and six won the Super Bowl.

MyClubBetting handicapper and Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham takes a look at the betting trends and some of the best bets ahead of Week 12 of the 2015/16 NFL season, starting with the three Thanksgiving Day games. The odds are correct at the time of writing and are industry average.

(Handicap is denoted by +/- for the home team)


Thursday, 17:30

(+1, Total Points 46)

Philadelphia (4-6) have lost three of their last four games, but are still only a game out of first place in the weak NFC East division. Since being beaten 45-10 by Kansas City in the third of the International Series of games at Wembley, Detroit (3-7) have won two consecutive games but may well struggle to gain a post-season berth.

Mark Sanchez

Another opportunity: Mark Sanchez

The Eagles have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Lions but they have been hit hard with significant injuries at key positions, particularly at the QB position, with Mark Sanchez now deputising for Sam Bradford.

Philadelphia enters the game following a 45-17 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That followed a 20-19 home defeat by the Miami Dolphins.

“You have to be a pro and move on,” said quarterback Sanchez, who passed for 261 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers. “We are going to get another chance to play on Thanksgiving, which is going to be great. You get to have your family back at home watching, and then get a mini-bye the week after that. This could be the start of something good. We’ll figure it out and try to get a win on Thursday.”

Philadelphia, who is undefeated in Thanksgiving Day games, plays on the holiday for the second consecutive season. Last season, the Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys 33-10 at AT&T Stadium. Philadelphia has the highest winning percentage among active NFL franchises on Thanksgiving, winning all six contests on this special day.

The Lions, who will play their 76th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934 (with a record of 35-38-2), have won four of the last 18 clashes with the Eagles.

Quarterback Matt Stafford has passed for 1,650 yards in five career games on Thanksgiving Day, the third-most in NFL history. In his past three games on Thanksgiving, Stafford has seven touchdown passes and only two interceptions for a 98.4 passer rating. He aims for his fourth consecutive Thanksgiving game with at least 330 passing yards.

Matt Stafford

Stafford: Interceptions

Yet Stafford has not been helped by a ropey offensive line this season and has tossed 12 interceptions. The Lions have managed just 19, 10, 18 and 18 points in the last four games. In fact, they have only scored more than 19 points twice in the last 10 games. They have averaged just 71.1 yards per game on the ground, so the Lions’ chances will again be on Stafford’s shoulders.

The Eagles are in a slump and the Lions are on a high, but we tentatively put faith in Philadelphia’s balanced attack to eke out victory in the first of the Turkey Day games.





Thursday, 21:30

(+1, Total Points 45.5)

We do not quite understand how the 10-0 Carolina Panthers opened as underdogs (the line has subsequently moved a point and a half) to beat the Dallas Cowboys (3-7), given that the hosts barely scraped past an ordinary Dolphins outfit in quarterback Tony Romo’s return to action on Sunday.

Tony Romo

Happy return: Romo and Dallas overcame the Dolphins

That was the elite passer’s first game back after a seven-week absence – in which time Dallas lost all seven games. Yet Romo was pressured all game and still looked tentative when faced with a defense that is ranked in the bottom third of the NFL.

The Cowboys enter their matchup against the Panthers having won six of their past nine on Thanksgiving.

Romo has led the Cowboys to six wins in eight Thanksgiving starts. For his career, Romo has passed for 2,232 yards and 18 touchdowns on Thanksgiving, both the most all-time on the holiday.

Carolina’s third-ranked defense is a different beast entirely. They concede an average of 19.1 points per game (ranked 5th), 322.8 yards per game (4th), 228.3 passing yards per contest (7th) and 94.5 rushing yards per tilt (8th).

They are coming off a 44-16 mauling of the Washington Redskins and are vastly underrated by the betting public and Las Vegas oddsmakers.

Mike Shula

Outstanding job: Mike Shula

And it is not just the defense that is firing. While the Panthers do not boast an elite receiver, offensive coordinator Mike Shula has done an excellent job of game-planning and utilising quarterback Cam Newton’s skills.

Newton, who now has 102 passing touchdowns and 39 rushing touchdowns, is the only player in NFL history with at least 100 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons.

The Panthers do not get the recognition they deserve and are the best team in the NFL right now. Nationally, they have the opportunity to prove that point – and they should do so in style.
The line worries us – the Panthers should be between 3-7-point favourites. Part of the reason is history. The Panthers have only defeated the Cowboys once in the last 10 meetings and have lost on their last four trips to Dallas.

Ordinarily, we would suggest keeping stakes low or avoid the game altogether. Yet these Panthers are for real and only the pressure to remain unbeaten will see their chances scuppered. They can cover and win with plenty to spare, history be damned.




Friday, 01:30

(-8.5, Total Points 47)

Green Bay took control of the NFC North with a 30-13 win over Minnesota last Sunday.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings. Wide receiver James Jones had six receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown in the game. Jones now has seven touchdown receptions this season, which is tied for second in the NFC.

Eddie Lacy

Carrying the load: Eddie Lacy

Running back Eddie Lacy added 100 rushing yards in the victory, his first 100-yard rushing performance this season.

The Packers will host their first Thanksgiving Day game since 1923 when they defeated the Hammond Pros 19-0 at Bellevue Park in Green Bay. These teams play each other for a NFL-record 192nd time on Thursday.

Adding to the occasion, the Packers will honour former quarterback Brett Favre during a halftime ceremony. Favre’s name and retired No. 4 jersey will be unveiled on Lambeau Field’s north facade during halftime. Favre, who played in four Thanksgiving Day games in his career, is one of six Packers legends to have their number retired.

Rodgers will not want to be upstaged, however. We expect him to have a big night.

Brett Favre

Honoured: Brett Favre

The Bears gave the Denver Broncos a fright before succumbing 17-15 at Soldier Field on Sunday, dropping their record to 4-6. While they are not entirely out of the NFC North race, a wildcard spot is perhaps the best they can hope for.

The Bears have a 16-15-2 record on Thanksgiving, but this is the 12th consecutive week that the Bears have been made underdogs

This game mark the fifth time this season the Packers have been favoured by more than a touchdown. Green Bay covered the spread in double-digit wins over San Francisco and St. Louis, but didn’t cover as 10.5-point favourites over San Diego and Detroit. Sunday’s win was the first time in five games that Packers covered the spread.

Meanwhile, the Bears have covered the handicap or have fallen on the line (handicap push) in six of the last seven games.

Jay Cutler heads into the game against the Packers with a 95.2 passer rating in his last seven games (11 touchdowns, four interceptions). Rodgers has an 89.8 rating (13 touchdowns, three interceptions) in the same span.

However, Cutler is 1-11 against the Packers, who beat the Bears 31-23 at Soldier Field in the season opener.

This time it could be a little different, as nine of the Bears’ starters from Sunday’s loss to the Broncos did not start when the Bears hosted the Packers in the season-opener.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Matt Forte, who didn’t play Sunday because of groin and knee injuries, respectively, could return for the Bears, who could be a little beaten up after a bruising encounter with the Broncos, who boast one of the best defences in football.

As a result, we take the Packers to cover the handicap, with Rodgers having one of his better nights.


BEST BET: GREEN BAY -8.5 @ 1.92


Sunday, 18:00

(-3.5, Total Points 42.5)

The Miami Dolphins have won on their last three trips to AFC East rival New York Jets. The only time they have won on four consecutive visits was between 1970 and 1973.

Both teams are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the AFC, but neither will catch unbeaten division leaders New England.

Chris Ivory

Key man: Chris Ivory

The Jets, who started the season 4-1, are now on the playoff bubble at 5-5 and are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Houston Texans. They could be without center Nick Mangold and cornerback Darrelle Revis through injury.

However, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions in the last two games, will continue to pull the strings.

The Jets have already beaten the Dolphins this season, winning 27-14 at Wembley Stadium. Neither team has played particularly well of late, with the Dolphins proving more inconsistent.

The Dolphins’ offensive play-calling has been interesting, to say the least. Ryan Tannehill, for all his many faults – holding the ball too long, inability to throw an accurate deep ball, persistently throwing behind his receivers in short to intermediate routes – does have good mobility and throws well on the run.

Given the dolphins’ inability to block, shifting the pocket would make plenty of sense. Instead, it appears as though the third-year passer is a tackling dummy, just waiting to be hit behind a line that cannot protect him.

The Jets have struggled offensively but the sieve-like Miami run defense is going to be tested and is just the antidote the Jets have been waiting for. Chris Ivory should go in plenty of fantasy teams this week after a lean spell.

The skinny: We don’t believe in Tannehill, who is clearly not the franchise QB the Dolphins had high hopes for. This is a bad team, lacking depth along both lines and their offense is struggling, even when their defense does manage to keep them in games.


BEST BET: NY JETS -3.5 @ 1.92


Sunday, 18:00

(+2, Total Points 44)

Despite their 18-13 defeat in Detroit, the Oakland Raiders (4-6) lost little ground in the AFC Wildcard race. They are still just a game behind four 5-5 teams and one 6-4 team vying for the two available post-season spots.

Derek Carr

Derek Carr: Oakland’s QB is on the rise

Tennessee (2-8) are three games behind the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, a division in which no team boasts a winning record with six games of the regular season remaining. The Raiders have lost on five of their last six visits to Tennessee, including the last three clashes.

However, they have not dropped four consecutive meetings since 1961-62.

The Titans have played three of their last four on the road and their home tilt was against unbeaten Carolina (which they lost 27-10).

Indeed, they have lost all five home games thus far. Oakland’s three road defeats have come by a combined 10 points and they are value to bounce back.




Sunday, 18:00

(+2, Total Points 46.6)

Washington’s record against the Giants is poor, with just four wins in the last 19 meetings. Yet there is every reason to think the Redskins (4-6) can bounce back from a 16-44 loss to Carolina by splitting the season series with their NFC East rivals.

The Giants, coming off a bye week, are 5-5 and top the division. They drubbed the Redskins, 32-21, during their first encounter at the MetLife Stadium in a Week 3 Thursday night affair.

kirk cousins

Game manager: Kirk Cousins

Too much has been made about Washington starting Kirk Cousins at quarterback in preference to Robert Griffin III, as the Redskins have relied largely on their running game.

Although Cousins has thrown 10 interceptions and has had a tendency to turn the ball over in crucial situations, the running game could be key in this one.

For while the Giants have a respectable run defense, their reasonable stats are largely masked by the fact that teams know they can be passed upon. The Giants boast the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL and the last-ranked pass defense (averaging over 309.9 yards per game).

The Redskins have been poor on the road, going 0-5, but are 4-1 at home and the Giants have yet to bring much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Consequently, the passers have had more time to find open receivers. Until the Giants find a consistent pass rush – the return of Jason Pierre-Paul has helped in the last couple of weeks – their secondary will remain susceptible.

Where we think the Redskins will have success is with bubble screen passes. Giants’ coordinator Steve Spangnuolo has been more aggressive with blitz package in the last couple of games, and the Redskins have pass-catching backs that can exploit any over-aggressiveness.

The Giants have also not finished drives. They are 25th in the league in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on just 16 of 34 opportunities inside the 20 yard line.

We are taking a chance on the Redskins, given their poor record against the Giants. But we feel they will run the ball successfully enough to open up the passing lanes.




MINNESOTA +2 at Atlanta: Minnesota were put in their place by Green Bay last week, dropping their record against winning teams to 0-2. They can finally win one against a quality opponent this week at a venue where they have never tasted defeat on three successive occasions (two currently). Not a game to have a strong view about, however. Vikings 28-21

NEW ORLEANS +3 at Houston: Houston has shown signs of life with three successive wins and are still in with a chance of snatching the AFC South division. New Orleans, at 4-6, are simply looking to keep their season alive. Saints are 1-4 on the road but we like the points and the Saints could well win this outright. Saints 31-28

SAN DIEGO +4 at Jacksonville: Chargers are 2-8 but won four successive meetings. The Jaguars are a game behind Indianapolis and Houston in the race for the AFC South title, having won their last two. We are not sure what the Chargers’ mind-set will be, having dropped their last six. A long, cross-country trip might bring them together. Then again… Jaguars 24-21

ST LOUIS +9.5 at Cincinnati: The Rams have lost their last three, while the Bengals have dropped their last two, but still hold a two-game lead on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. Rams have the running game to keep this competitive for a while, but their passing attack is ranked 32nd and if the Bengals get in front early, this could get away from St Louis. Bengals 24-16

INDIANAPOLIS -3 over Tampa Bay: Colts came back from a big deficit to win in Atlanta and 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck will continue to deputise for injured QB Andrew Luck. The Buccaneers thumped Philadelphia on the road, but rookie QB Jameis Winston will still suffer a few growing pains. This could be one of those days as the Colts’ running game sparks them to another win. Colts 19-16

SAN FRANCISCO +11.5 over Arizona: The Cardinals are being asked to give up a two-score handicap to a team that has beaten them on six successive occasions in San Francisco. The 49ers were whacked 47-7 in Arizona in September and while we see no reason why the gulf in class will have been bridged sufficiently, the Cards have yet to show they can dominate on the road. Cardinals 33-24

PITTSBURGH +4.5 at Seattle: Pittsburgh has lost six of its last seven trips to Seattle, but has won the last three meetings (including the 2006 Super Bowl). We’ve changed our minds over this one about 10 times in the last five minutes. Something isn’t quite right with the NFC champions and the Steelers’ defense has better than advertised. Seahawks 24-20

NEW ENGLAND -3 at Denver: The Patriots remain unbeaten with a 10-0 record but looked far from perfect in defeating Buffalo 20-13 on Monday night. The Broncos’ defense has been excellent this season, yet their vaunted attack has been more cup-cake than anvil. Can we trust Brock Osweiler to keep pace with Tom Brady and a depleted surrounding cast? Patriots have a yucky 3-15 record at Mile High since 1972. Maybe we can. Maybe Osweiler will yell “Belichick, Belichick,” at the line of scrimmage. Then again… Patriots 28-17

BALTIMORE +2.5 at Cleveland: With elite QB Joe Flacco done for the season and running back Justin Forsett also missing with a broken arm, against anyone else we’d say the Ravens were there for the taking. This game matters not a jot, save for securing a higher draft pick. The Browns need that more and will probably do what the Browns do best and find a new and creative way to lose. Baltimore 23-20

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Your improved club betting service will be arriving within days. In the meantime, we look to continue our good run and, complete with industry average odds, take a glance at the big matches at both ends of the Premier League…


Remi Garde will probably deserve manager of the year honours should he manage to prevent Aston Villa (2.63) from relegation.

Olympique Lyonnais football team?s Head

Remi Garde: Plenty to work on

They are five points adrift of safety after a 4-0 thrashing by Everton, which extended Villa’s winless sequence to 12 games. They have lost 10 times in that span.

Watford’s (2.75) solid start to life in the Premier League has come off the rails a little with three defeats in the last five, albeit to three of the top four in Arsenal, Leicester and Manchester United.

They caused Manchester United plenty of problems last Saturday, before losing to a last-minute goal, but their record against Villa is not a good one – having won just three of the last 14 meetings. They have never won at Villa Park, either.

Despite Villa’s defeat at Everton, it must be remembered that they held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw in Garde’s first game in charge and the Villa faithful invariably make it an intimidating place to go.

Villa simply have to win this to avoid being cut further adrift, particularly with games upcoming against Southampton (A), Arsenal (H), Newcastle (A), West Ham (H) and Norwich (A) before the year is out.

We are not sure how they are going to do it and, given their form, quite how we can justify the selection is bordering on the questionable. Call it whimsy or perhaps it is something dodgy we have eaten, but gut feeling says a home win in on the cards. [SM]




Eddie Howe will still be reeling after Bournemouth (2.75) threw away a two-goal lead at Swansea last weekend. Goals from Josh King and Dan Gosling put the Cherries 2-0 up at the Liberty Stadium.

Matt Ritchie.jpg

Matt Ritchie: Setting up goals

However, they surrendered that lead shortly after, eventually drawing the game 2-2.

It was a completely different story for Roberto Martinez and his Everton (2.55) side, who were totally dominant in their 4-0 win over struggling Aston Villa at Goodison Park.

Matt Ritchie is the key man for Bournemouth. The Scottish international has assisted 19 goals since the start of last season – only Cesc Fabregas has provided more assists in England’s top leagues, with 20 in the same period.

It has been a wonderful start to the season for Ross Barkley. The Everton playmaker endured a tough time last season, but has bounced back with some fine performances during this campaign, netting five times in the league already.

Everton have only lost once away from home all season, while Bournemouth have just one home Premier League win thus far. Everything points to an away win here. [CC]




It is fair to say that Alan Pardew was less than popular with the Geordie faithful during his time as Newcastle (5.00) manager.


Careful what you wish for: Newcastle fans vented

After months of scrutiny and negativity, Pardew eventually chose to leave the Northeast club in January, in order to take the vacant manager’s job at Selhurst Park, with a club close to both his heart and his home.

Crystal Palace (1.70) have come on heaps and bounds since the appointment of Pardew, finishing 10th in the Premier League last season, despite being in the relegation zone when he took over.

It has been a completely different story for the Newcastle. John Carver took the managerial reigns from Pardew and immediately found himself being dragged into a relegation battle.

Carver then left the club in the summer after narrowly avoiding relegation last season, before being replaced by Steve McClaren who, in all honestly, hasn’t fared any better. The Magpies have only won two league games all season and find themselves in a lowly 17th position.

The two sides clashed three times in all competitions last season, sharing a staggering 13 goals during those meetings.

That fact, combined with the poor defensive record possessed by Newcastle this season leads us to believe that Palace will win here, in a game containing more than two goals. [CC]




Such was their abject display in a 4-1 home defeat, Manchester City (1.53) made an ordinary Liverpool side suddenly look like world-beaters. The fact is, they are far from it.

Nicolas Otamendi3

In-form: Nicolas Otamendi

City were playing without injured captain Vincent Kompany, but leaving in-form Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho on the bench was either a laughable error of judgement by manager Manuel Pellegrini or simply a gamble – resting them after their exertions for South American countries – that back-fired.

Either way, it is unrealistic to expect the defensive partnership of Elaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis to produce anything other than the result it did.

City have won just one of their last four Premier League games, which is hardly the stuff champions are made of.

Southampton (6.00) suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat by Southampton – their third loss of the season at home. The Saints have yet to be beaten away from home, however, winning twice and drawing four times.

The Saints have not won at The Etihad since 2004, suffering defeat on all five subsequent visits, and all five saw three or more goals scored.

We take City to get back on track with a routine win and hand Southampton their first road defeat of the season. [SM]




Sam Allardyce will be delighted after picking up his second win as Black Cats manager on Monday night. Jermain Defoe grabbed a vital late winner at Selhurst Park to give Sunderland (3.25) all three points, lifting them above Bournemouth in the table.

Patrick Van Aanholt1

Struggling: Patrick Van Aanholt

Stoke (2.35) are beginning to find form after a shaky start to the season. The Potters are coming off two momentum-building league victories which saw them beat Chelsea at home before getting an impressive three points away at Southampton.

There is no doubt that Sunderland look a far more organised outfit under Allardyce.

However, they do still lack quality. Patrick Van Aanholt is starting to look low on confidence and has had no end of problems so far this season. The former Chelsea full-back was given at torrid time by Wilfried Zaha at Selhurst Park and the Mackem faithful are beginning to lose patience after a string of poor individual performances from the Dutchman.

Bojan is most definitely a man in form. The technically-gifted Spanish striker returned from a long-term injury earlier in the season and has scored vital away winners against Swansea and Southampton in recent weeks.

Stoke haven’t been involved in a game containing more than two goals since their 2-1 win over Bournemouth in September – and we expect that run to continue at the weekend. We are going for a low-scoring draw here. [CC]




Let’s start with the obvious. Leicester (3.40) are in a false position at the summit of the Premier League table.

Jamie Vardy

Top striker: Jamie Vardy

Take a look at just who they have played. With the exception of Arsenal (to whom they lost), they have not played any of last season’s top four and in their 13 games, nine of them have come against sides in the bottom half of the table. Let us see how much of the current lauding of manager Claudio Ranieri and striker Jamie Vardy there is at the end of the season.

Man Utd (2.10) are a point behind the Foxes in second place and while we are not saying they will win the league, their current price of 5.00 to do just that seems generous.

They look a back-to-lay proposition.

While United have injury problems, particularly up front, they have lost just three of the last 26 meetings with Leicester.

The Foxes are catching United at the right time and the Leicester love-in may well continue a little while yet.

United are the obvious bet, but we would be happy to lay them, with Leicester and Draw on the Double Chance market at 1.57 suggested. [SM]




At the start of the season, many would have been staggered to hear that Tottenham (2.25) would be going into a game with the champions as clear favourites. Spurs are the in-form side in the Premier League, currently occupying fifth place after going unbeaten since their opening day loss at Manchester United.

Harry Kane

In form at last: Harry Kane

On the other hand, Chelsea (3.00) are in real trouble at the moment. The Blues were less than convincing in their narrow home win against Norwich last time out and find themselves at the bottom end of the league table after a wretched start to the season.

Harry Kane has turned the corner after a slow start to the season and now finds himself in fine form. The England striker has scored seven times in his last four league appearances and will be looking continue that against a Chelsea defence that has already conceded 23 times this season.

That said, the champions have a wonderful record against Spurs, only losing once in the last 12 meetings between the two London sides.

With that in mind, we fancy Chelsea to get at least a point at White Hart Lane. [CC]




West Ham (1.91) are worthy of their top six place, given they have beaten the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City on the road.

But without talisman Dimiri Payet, West Ham produced a gutless performance at Tottenham last Sunday. In contrast, West Brom (4.00) saw off title aspirants Arsenal.

Diafra Sakho

Welcome return: Diafra Sakho

The Hammers will be out to avenge a spineless 4-0 FA Cup fifth round defeat at The Hawthorns last February, while the visitors will be keen to snap a six-game winless streak at Upton Park, which equals their worst run in trips to East London (from 1961-67).

West Ham’s home form has not been so productive. Despite the return of Pedro Obiang, Diafra Sakho and Alex Song from injury, the loss of Payet and Enner Valencia is immense.

However, we still reckon the Hammers will be in the top 10 at season’s end and odds of 1.83 to do that are fair.

The Throstles are not so much ‘Boing Boing’ as ‘Boring Boring’, but they have won three of their six road games this season.

They have drawn six of the last nine meetings with the Hammers, and while the hosts are a much better side, the visitors are catching them at the right time. Consequently, the Hammers can be laid at 1.83. [SM]




We can’t be the only ones thinking about how ironic it would be should Liverpool (1.50), formerly managed by Brendan Rodgers, defeat a Swansea (7.00) side who could (if speculation is correct) sack Garry Monk and hasten the return of Rodgers as manager.

daniel sturridge

Outstanding talent: Daniel Sturridge

Swansea have won one of their last nine Premier League games and confidence appears to be draining form the side, if their 2-2 home draw with Bournemouth is taken at face value. Their sole win in that span came at struggling Aston Villa and they have tough games upcoming against Leicester (H), Manchester City (A) and West Ham (H).

Readers of this column will have noted that Liverpool’s win at Manchester City was not wholly unexpected. The return of striker Daniel Sturridge should see a further upturn in form, especially given their run of pre-Christmas opponents, all of whom occupy the lower reaches of the division: Newcastle (A), West Brom (H), Watford (A). We can see them encamped in the top four by the end of the year.

While we still feel Liverpool’s defensive frailties will ultimately cost them a trophy, Swansea have not managed a win in the last seven meetings and this looks a routine win for the hosts. [SM]




In truth, neither of these sides are coming into this game with any real momentum.

Mesut OZil

Record setter: Mezut Ozil

Norwich (6.00) find themselves dangerously close to the foot of the table after losing five of their last six league games.

Arsenal (1.55) suffered a shock defeat at West Brom last weekend and have only managed one win of their last five games in all competitions. The last meeting between these sides was back in May 2014 and ended in a 2-0 Arsenal win at Carrow Road.

Mesut Ozil set a new Premier League assist record last weekend. The German’s cross to Olivier Giroud for Arsenal’s goal at The Hawthorns allowed him to become the first player in Premier League history to record at least one assist in seven consecutive games.

Of the last nine meetings between these sides, only two have ended with less than three goals being shared. It is also worth noting that five of Arsenal’s seven away league games this season have resulted in more than two goals being scored.

Considering those stats, we fancy Arsenal to win in a relatively high scoring encounter. [CC]


BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.65 

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NFL PICK SIX – Your betting guide to Week 11

Seven weeks remain of the regular season. Two teams remain unbeaten: Carolina (9-0) and New England (9-0) – and this marks the fourth season in league history with multiple 9-0 teams (1934, 1990, 2009).

Entering 2015, 19 teams in the Super Bowl era started 9-0. Of those 19 clubs, all 19 made the playoffs, 11 advanced to the Super Bowl and seven won the Super Bowl.

Since 1990, 21 teams have qualified for the playoffs with a losing record through nine games. At least one has done so in each of the last four seasons. Last year, Carolina (3-5-1) accomplished the feat and advanced to the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Entering Week 11, there are currently 23 teams with a 4-5 record or better.

MyClubBetting handicapper and Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham takes a look at the betting trends and some of the best bets ahead of Week 11 of the 2015/16 NFL season. The odds are correct at the time of writing and are industry average.

(Handicap is denoted by +/- for the home team)

Allen Hurns 1

Allen Hurns: Sure-handed


Friday, 01:25

(-2.5, Total Points 42.5)

This isn’t a game that too many will be staying up to watch. Incredibly, Tennessee (2-7) and Jacksonville (3-6) are still in the mix for the AFC South title, with Houston (4-5) and Indianapolis (4-5 and minus injured QB Andrew Luck) tied at the top of the division.

Yet there is plenty to look forward to for fans of both teams, starting at the quarterback positions.

Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota had 13 touchdown passes in the first half of the season, which is the most of any rookie through his team’s first eight games in NFL history. He also has a 98.3 passer rating, which would rank third all-time among rookie quarterbacks.

Marcus Mariota 1

Great start: Marcus Mariota

He is the only rookie in NFL history to have two games with at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions. And 10 of his TDs have come on the road.

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles has also looked the part this year after a difficult rookie season and has 19 TDs in nine starts, with 11 interceptions. He is the franchise QB the Jaguars have been looking for and they have started to build a frighteningly productive offense, with WRs Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson each snaring seven TDs.

They also have a decent ground game. Jaguars’ running back T.J. Yeldon has started all eight games in which he’s played for Jacksonville and leads AFC rookies with 531 rushing yards. He’s been a steady contributor this season, posting at least 60 scrimmage yards in seven of his eight games, including three 100-yard performances.

Seven of the last eight meetings in Tennessee saw 43 points or less scored and while Jacksonville have issues closing out games and protecting Bortles (he’s been sacked 83 times in a season and a half), the Titans do not have a dominant receiving corps or a consistent running game to help Mariota’s development. We take the Jaguars to win and cover.




Sunday, 18:00

(-0.5, Total Points 47.5)

The Dallas Cowboys (2-7) will travel to take on the Miami Dolphins (4-5) in a rematch of Super Bowl VI, won by the Cowboys (24-3). Do not rule out the Cowboys from winning the NFC East, even with their lowly record.

Tannehill 2

Ryan Tannehill: Struggling for consistency

Why? Tony Romo. The QB is set to return on Sunday, having missed the last seven games (all losses) through injury.

The Cowboys have one of the best offensive line in the NFC East and have a lot of experience at the skill positions. While they have had one of the toughest schedules, it is about to get a lot easier.

The NFC East is headed by the New York Giants (5-5), with Washington (4-5) and Philadelphia (4-5, who have lost QB Sam Bradford) next in line. The odds about the Cowboys winning the division are 33-1 and while that looks big, the limitations of the other trio are there for all to see.

Victory over Miami would see those odds come tumbling and Miami has plenty of injury problems, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, with DE Cameron Wake on IR, linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and cornerback Brice McCain (knee) all likely to miss the game.

The Dolphins managed to win in Philadelphia last Sunday but were far from convincing and they cannot stop the run, giving up an average of 142.1 yards per game.

The Cowboys will need to establish the running game to keep the pressure off of a QB coming off a broken collarbone.

But while Miami’s defense might be in trouble, don’t expect Ryan Tannehill to bail them out – the QB is in his third season and is still plagued by inconsistency, despite having an effective receiving unit.

Miami may be still in the hunt for a wildcard, but they have lost four of the last five meetings and we simply do not think that Tannehill can take the game on his shoulders. Until he steps up and becomes a leader, we simply don’t trust these Dolphins.


BEST BET: DALLAS +0.5 @ 2.00


Sunday, 18:00

(-1.5, Total Points 41)

Denver (7-2) has lost two in a row, QB Peyton Manning is sidelined with a foot injury and with New England to come after this clash, suddenly the sky is falling in.

The Broncos do have a three-game lead on Kansas City in the AFC West and on one of the best defences in the AFC.

The Broncos, who have lost four of their last five meetings in Chicago, come up against former head coach John Fox and former offensive coordinator Adam Gase for the first time since their departure in February.

Adam Gase

Adam Gase: Rising star in the coaching ranks

It will also be a first for Chicago QB Jay Cutler – he gets to face the Broncos for the first time since he was controversially traded in April 2009. The Bears (4-5) are one of seven teams in the NFC who have four wins, but both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons are two games ahead of them in the race for the wildcard spots.

The Bears are 1-3 at home, having managed to score 23, 23, 22 and 20 points at Soldier Field. But since Week 4, they have been competitive in every game, with five of their six subsequent games settled by three points or less (they are 3-2 in those games) and they enter this on a back of a 37-13 win at San Diego.

We see a low-scoring game. The Broncos have not managed to win the ball with any degree of authority and the Bears will stack the box, daring Brock Osweiler to beat them through the air.

Matt Forte is likely to return after a knee injury and may be just the boost Chicago needs, despite rave reviews for Michigan State rookie Jeremy Langford, who has done an excellent job in relief over the last couple of weeks.

Bears have their tails up and while this is a tricky game to call, we still think that planning for the Broncos’ defense will cause Gase and Cutler a few sleepless nights. Denver can win this in a close, low-scoring contest.


BEST BET: DENVER +1.5 @ 1.92


Sunday, 18:00

(+1, Total Points 48.5)

Expect a shoot-out as the Oakland Raiders (4-5) take on the Detroit Lions (2-7) and it may not be all one-way traffic.

Last week, the Lions won at Green Bay for the first time since 1991 in a bounce-back performance following their 45-10 defeat by Kansas City at Wembley. Yet they still possess one of the worst rushing attacks in the league.

Rodney Hudson

Rodney Hudson: Overlooked key for Raiders

Oakland are in the thick of the AFC wildcard hunt but have been weakened by the loss of linebacker and top pass rusher Aldon Smith, who was suspended for a year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy after being arrested on August 6 on drunk-driving charges – his third such arrest (and fifth overall) since 2012.

The Raiders’ pass-blocking and run game has also struggled without center Rodney Hudson, who sat out practice again on Wednesday with an ankle sprain. He is listed as questionable to start.

Their questionable cornerbacks should also mean that Lions’ passer Matt Stafford should have a big day and, equally, Detroit’s paper-thin run defense should see Raiders’ running back Latavius Murray may hay. The Lions have allowed a league-high 12 rushing touchdowns this season and Murray is averaging a decent 4.7 yards per carry.

Yet their propensity to pass – they threw the ball 43 times against the Vikings last week (and had 19 rushes), despite Minnesota playing a two-deep zone for much of the contest. Even though they have an excellent young quarterback in Derek Carr, they must commit to the run if they are to beat the Lions, but that is easier said than done if Hudson is sidelined

Still, we think the Raiders will be too strong for a Detroit team that will be playing its first of three home games in a 12-day stretch. The Lions’ depleted secondary will find it tough to handle receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.




Sunday, 21:25

(-1.5, Total Points 44.5)

Many people are wondering what has happened to the Green Bay Packers over the last two weeks. Two defeats – including last Sunday’s home shocker to the Detroit Lions, who had not won at Lambeau Field since 1991 – poses plenty of questions.

Aaron Rodgers 2

Simply the best: Aaron Rodgers can bounce back

The truth is, Green Bay have played a relatively soft schedule. They are 6-1 against teams with a losing record and 0-2 against teams with a winning record. In racing parlance, they are flat track bullies.

If Green Bay are paper tigers, similar sentiments apply to the Minnesota Vikings, who now lead the Packers by a game in the NFC North with a 7-2 record. The Vikings are 0-1 against teams with a winning record and 7-1 against teams with a losing record.

The Packers have lost one of the last 11 meetings and four of the last 19 clashes. They are 1.5-point underdogs on the road but it is rare to see the Pack lose three on the bounce and Aaron Rodgers and company can take care of business.


BEST BET: GREEN BAY +1.5 @ 1.92


Sunday, 18:00

(-5.5, Total Points 45.5)

While back-up passer Mark Sanchez will start for the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5), they could still be a great bet to see off the Buccaneers. The running game should be able to roll and the Eagles’ defense is legitimate, their front seven – especially their young line – is very good.

Look for the impactful interior lineman Bennie Logan as a key component in slowing down Buccaneers’ top rushing threat Doug Martin.

Bennie Logan

Difference-maker: Bennie Logan can be a major force

The Eagles threw away an easily winnable game against the Miami Dolphins last week with a desperate performance. There has been a marked drop-off in production from the offense, which lacks talent. The offensive line has struggled to block in the absence of starting left tackle Jason Peters and the receivers have dropped passes all year.

However, no-one really knows what to expect from Philly. If DeMarco Murray gets into a rhythm early, it will help Chip Kelly’s fast-paced attack.

If he doesn’t, then we could see the Eagles passing close to 45-50 times and we’d wager that they will come out passing in a bid to help the running game.

The Bucs do not have a ton of experience in their front seven and they will be kept off balance by an up-tempo attack, especially since they don’t have a good track record of rushing the passer.

We think we will see plenty of scat-back Darren Sproles and an easier-than-anticipated win for the Eagles.




ATLANTA -5.5 over Indianapolis: Colts (4-5) have only lost once in eight trips to Atlanta (6-3) but they start 40-year-old QB Matt Hasselbeck, who guided them to back-to-back wins over Jacksonville and Houston. Julio Jones against a 26th-ranked pass defence which could be without Safety Mike Adams is a big miss-match. Falcons 31-20

BALTIMORE -2.5 over St Louis: The home team has won four of the last five in the series and the Ravens are not as bad as their (2-7) record would suggest. Every Ravens game this season has been decided by eight points or fewer and they are finding new and creative ways to lose late. Still, their 0-4 ATS home record has to change soon. May as well be on Sunday. Ravens 23-17

WASHINGTON +7.5 at Carolina: The Panthers have won four of the last five meetings but traditionally there has been little between them, with eight of the last 11 meetings settled by four points or less. Can Panthers remain unbeaten? Probably. May not be without a scare, though. Panthers 24-20

SEATTLE -12.5 over San Francisco: There is a lot of pent-up frustration from the Legion Of Boom. The Seahawks had their tails handed to them by Arizona last week. The 49ers are meeting the NFC champs at the wrong moment. Seahawks 28-10

CINCINNATI +5 at Arizona: Two Super Bowl contenders? The Cardinals (7-2) are for real and the Bengals (8-1) are not as bad as Monday’s stunning home defeat by Houston would suggest. Can QB Carson Palmer put one over on his old Bengals’ team-mates? That will be the storyline. The Bengals have the weapons to exploit the Cards’ only real weakness – run defense. Bengals 26-23 OT

NEW ENGLAND -7 over Buffalo: And then there was one. The Patriots are hurting – replacing WR Julian Edelman is not going to be easy – and one of only two remaining unbeaten records could go. Then again, Tom Brady is 24-3 all-time against the Bills and 12-1 in seasonal rematches with them. Who are we kidding? New England 37-24

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By Calum Chinchen

Spain’s biggest two clubs face-off at The Bernabeu on Saturday evening, in the first El Clasico of the season. Meetings between Real Madrid and Barcelona rarely seem to disappoint and we expect Saturday’s game to be no different. Last season’s two La Liga clashes saw the sides share seven goals and an astonishing 17 yellow cards.

Hosts Real Madrid (2.50) are coming off a 3-2 away defeat to Sevilla last time out, and many of the Los Blanco’s faithful still seem unsure about manager Rafael Benitez. The former Valencia, Liverpool and Napoli boss was surprisingly handed the reigns at Real Madrid when his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti was relieved of his duties after failing to win a single major trophy last season.


Benitez: Not convincing everyone


In truth, Real had a fairly low-key summer in comparison to their usual activity. Former employees Kiko Casilla and Lucas Vasquez returned to the Bernabeu on permanent deals, while Casemiro and Denis Cheryshev were both re-included in the first team squad after season-long loan spells away from the club. Young talents Danilo and Mateo Kovacic were also bought in from Porto and Inter Milan respectively, signalising a potential change in philosophy for the Spanish giants. While many neutral fans seem to be applauding Benitez in his removal of the club’s Galactico policy, the Real Madrid natives aren’t too happy – and it’s beginning to show.

The iconic Real Madrid front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema don’t appear to be gelling as well as they have done in previous years, with Madrid attacks often looking hurried and forced so far this season.

Casemiro has been one of the bright sparks for Real since arriving back at the club after his loan spell at Porto. In previous year’s the club have lacked a defensive minded midfielder, but the Brazilian seems to be an ideal fit due to his positional awareness. The former Sao Paulo man appears to have learned from his loan spell in Portugal and now finds himself in an almost indispensable role for Los Blancos, as he seems to liberate the five players in front of him with some well needed defensive discipline.


Casemiro: Now vital for Real


Barcelona (2.75) have kicked on from where they finished last season and find themselves in a familiar position at the top of the La Liga table. The Catalan giants have been forced to promote from within after a transfer embargo was recently placed upon the club, with academy graduates Munir and Sandro Ramirez both playing a key role so far this season.

That said, the transfer embargo didn’t prevent Barca from adding to their squad over the summer, with two of last season’s most impressive performers in La Liga moving to the Camp Nou. Arda Turan joined from Atletico in a big money deal, while Aleix Vidal arrived from Sevilla after a fine season. However, neither will be able to feature in the game, as they cannot make their debuts until January due to the embargo placed on Barca.

Lionel Messi hasn’t played for Barcelona since injuring his left knee against Las Palmas back in September. Some reports are suggesting that Messi will be back in the squad for Saturday’s game, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see him absent once again. Luis Suarez and Neymar have taken on the goal scoring responsibility in his absence, sharing 20 of the club’s last 23 goals between themselves.


Suarez & Neymar: Both in the goals


Discipline has always been an issue for both sides during previous Clasico games, however Luis Enrique and Rafa Benitez are both placid men, so we don’t expect to see any eye gouging (think Mourinho) or any pig head’s being thrown onto the field (think Figo) in this meeting. That said, we really wouldn’t be surprised to see a red card to be shown during the 90 minutes, especially with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves, Pepe and Sergio Ramos being present.

In truth we fancy Barcelona here, and would be tipping the straight win if Messi was definitely fit, however we are erring on the side of caution in case of his absence.





Your improved club betting service will be arriving within days. In the meantime, we look to continue our good run and, complete with industry average odds, take a glance at the big matches at both ends of the Premier League…


Watford (5.00) have undoubtedly looked the most comfortable of the three newly-promoted sides this season. Quique Sanchez Flores took the managerial reins over the summer and has done a fantastic job at Vicarage Road, replacing their previous style with a far more organised one.


Van Gaal: Losing support

That said, they have an atrocious record against Saturday’s opponents. The Hornets have lost all of their last nine meetings with Manchester United (1.85), with their last win coming back in 1986.

Manchester United fans appear to be losing faith in manager Louis Van Gaal and his seemingly negative tactics, with cries of ‘attack, attack, attack’ coming from the United faithful on a regular basis. Although their style isn’t pleasing everyone, United aren’t conceding goals – which was their main problem last season.

The Red Devils have kept an impressive eight clean sheets already this season and haven’t conceded in any of their last four league games. We see that continuing at the weekend and fancy United to keep a clean sheet at Vicarage Road. [CC]




Approaching the end of November, champions Chelsea (1.44) are three points off the relegation zone. They have lost seven times in their last 11 league games (including their last three) and have only managed to keep a clean sheet twice in 12 games. It is frightening how poor they have become.

Alex Neil

Under pressure: Alex Neil

Still, Jose Mourinho is in a good spot, for he will receive a substantial pay-off should owner Roman Abramovich cut ties with the beleaguered Portuguese.

Despite things looking bleak, the Blues have a few games upcoming that fall into the winnable category: Norwich (h), Tottenham (a), Bournemouth (h), Leicester (a), Sunderland (h), Watford (h). Things could look completely different before the year is through.

Norwich (7.50) have won one of the last 10 meetings with Chelsea and have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1993.

Alex Neil’s side snapped a winless run of six games including four successive defeats, when beating Swansea 1-0 two weeks ago and they have difficult games upcoming: Chelsea (a), Arsenal (h), Watford (a), Everton (h), Man Utd (a), Tottenham (a).

Norwich can often look good going forward, but their defence has been atrocious at times. They look ideal cannon fodder for Mourinho’s crew to get back to winning ways. [SM]




Roberto Martinez seems to be enjoying life at Everton (1.55) again. The Toffees have only lost three times all season and are unbeaten in their last three league games.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa - Pre Season Friendly

Commanding: Micah Richards

Aston Villa (6.75) have made a solid start to life under new manager Remi Garde. After only picking up four points before his arrival, Villa got an impressive point against Manchester City in the Frenchman’s first game in the hot seat.

Romelu Lukaku has been in fine form of late. The powerful Belgium striker has already scored seven times this season and looked particularly menacing in Everton’s draw with West Ham.

Micah Richards was the stand-out performer for Villa against his former club Manchester City. In truth, the club captain has looked solid and comfortable in the Villa defence since his arrival over the summer.

Everton have only lost once at home all season, while Villa have only won one game on the road. With that in mind, we see nothing other than a home win here. [CC]




If you think Chelsea’s dip in form has been surprising, then Leicester’s (2.50) prominence in the Premier League table will have knocked you off your feet.

Claudio Ranieri

Easy start: Claudio Ranieri

The Foxes have lost just once this season – to Arsenal – the only side they have faced from the top four – and they have conceded 20 goals (only the bottom six have conceded as many or more). Indeed, West Ham and Swansea are the next-worst defensively, having conceded 16.

It will be interesting to see how long Leicester stay in the rarefied air of the top six. Our guess is they will come down with the Christmas decorations.

The Foxes have won the last two meetings with Newcastle, but you have to go back to 1965 to find them winning three consecutive meetings.

Newcastle (2.75) have picked up seven points from a possible 12 and earned their first away win of the season, despite being battered by Bournemouth, in their last fixture. While they remain in a relegation scrap, four of their next six games are at home and they have looked a different proposition in their last two at St James’ Park.

The odds are such that it may be worth taking a chance on the hosts, who created plenty of scoring opportunities against Stoke in their last home game. The stats say this could well be a shootout, so it would not be a surprise to see it end in a low-scoring draw, especially if Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is sidelined. Still… [SM]




Southampton (1.57) has never been the happiest of hunting grounds for Stoke City (6.50). The Potters have won once on the South Coast since 1968 – and that was 35 years ago. They also have not managed back-to-back victories over the Saints since 1969.

After a slow start, Southampton are unbeaten in the last six (winning four and drawing two) and sit seventh in the table, four points outside of the Champions League places.

They do have a somewhat tricky period before Christmas, with games against Man City (a), Aston Villa (h), Crystal Palace (a), Tottenham (h), Arsenal (h) and West Ham (a), so picking up three points against Stoke would be handy.

Stoke have won four of their last seven, only losing once (to Watford), and have only lost once on the road this season (at Arsenal).

Four of the last seven meetings between the two have ended in a draw and eight of the last nine meetings saw both sides score. We think that trend might end and that the hosts can keep a clean sheet. [SM]




The pressure is starting to build on Garry Monk. Swansea (1.85) have won just once in their last nine games and were extremely disappointing in their loss to Norwich last time out. Reports suggest that Monk is safe in his job, but we feel he needs a win on Saturday to remain in his position.


Gomis: Needs a goal

Bournemouth (4.50) are also in trouble. Eddie Howe’s side have struggled to cope after the loss of key players to injury and have seen a dip in form after a positive start to the season. The Cherries have lost all of their last four league games, conceding a disappointing 13 goals in the process.

The goals have dried up for Swansea which, in our eyes, is the main reason for their lack of form. Bafetimbi Gomis started the season in fine form. However, the energetic France international is now without a goal since netting the winner against Manchester United back in August.

Bournemouth’s problem lies at the other end of the field. Club captain and dominating centre back Tommy Elphick suffered a serious ankle injury in early October and, in truth, the Cherries’ defence has been in tatters ever since.

We fancy the Swansea attackers to return to form against the below-par Bournemouth defence, securing a high-scoring win for the home side – keeping their manager’s job safe for another week. [CC]




Many people expected Tony Pulis to make a greater impact than he has done since taking over as West Brom (7.25) manager. The Baggies have failed to impress so far this season and find themselves in 13th position after winning just four league games.


Koscielny: Vital Presence

Arsene Wenger seems to be prioritising league football for the first time in many years. Arsenal (1.45) have recently suffered embarrassing defeats to Bayern Munich and Sheffield Wednesday in cup competitions. However, their league form has been superb and the Gunners find themselves level on points with leaders Manchester City.

Laurent Koscielny was out injured for the games against Bayern and Sheffield Wednesday, and was clearly missed. The reliable French defender is vital for his club as the Gunners rarely seem to lose when he is present.

Excluding Arsenal’s 4-1 win on the final day of last season, games between these two clubs are often tight affairs. Prior to that result, the previous five meetings had either ended in a draw or a one-goal win for either side. We see that continuing this weekend and fancy a narrow away win. [CC]




Liverpool (5.00) have a frighteningly good record against Manchester City (1.67) – they have lost just seven of the last 39 meetings. City have won the last two meetings at The Etihad but astonishingly, they have not won three consecutive meetings at home – or two consecutive meetings – since 1937.


Facing his old club: Raheem Sterling

City could be without top striker Sergio Aguero but Raheem Sterling is expected to face his old club for the first time since his £49 million move.

Liverpool’s defence is their weak link. They lack pace. Yet Jurgen Klopp has them playing much better as a unit since his arrival.

There is no question they will be a greater force once Daniel Sturridge returns to full fitness and they may well break into the top four, given Chelsea’s poor start to the season.

There have been seven draws in the last 15 meetings between City and Liverpool, and given the Citizens’ inconsistent form against the Merseysiders, we reckon a draw could be the best the hosts can hope for. [SM]




A bitter London derby is the only game in town on Sunday and Tottenham (1.57) are catching West Ham at just the right time.


Dubious penalty: Harry Kane went down easily to earn a spot kick

The Hammers, who have lost just once on their travels in the league this term, will be without their midfield puppet-master Dimitri Payet, who was injured by a horror ‘tackle’ from Everton’s James McCarthy – one of the dirtiest players in the league – in their 1-1 draw at Upton Park. Spurs have lost just once this season and remain unbeaten at home.

West Ham (5.50) have won three of the last five meetings and were it not for a highly dubious penalty decision going against them in the sixth minute of added time at White Hart Lane in February, Spurs would have lost four of the last five meetings.

However, they have never failed to beat West Ham at home on four consecutive occasions in their history and given the Hammers’ injury problems, we take Spurs to land the odds with ease. [SM]




There is no doubt that Sunderland (6.75) are now in real danger. Sam Allardyce has struggled to steady the ship since taking over at the Stadium of Light last month, with a 3-0 win over bitter rivals Newcastle being the solitary high point.


Pardew: Attack-minded

Crystal Palace (1.55) are coming off two brilliant league results. The Eagles followed their home draw against Manchester United with a very impressive 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield last time out.

Alan Pardew has adopted an ultra-attacking style since taking over at Selhurst Park, with particular emphasis placed on attacking full-backs and wingers. While this has proved successful, it has also caused problems at the back, with Palace often looking susceptible to goals on the counter attack.

Both sides have scored in three of the last four meetings and while we expect Palace to win here, we do also see Sunderland getting on the scoresheet. [CC]



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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK SIX – Your betting guide to Week 13

The race for College Football’s four-team playoff is hotting up. MyClubBetting handicapper and Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham takes a look at the betting trends and some of the best bets ahead of Week 13 of the 2015/16 NCAAF season…

(Handicap is denoted by +/- for the home team)


(+10.5, Total Points 52.5)

Thursday, 01:00

The Central Michigan Chippewas head to Kent State in search of their first win against the Golden Flashes since 2007, knowing they can clinch bowl eligibility for a fourth consecutive year with victory.

Cooper Rush

Cooper Rush: Leads CMU

The Golden Flashes are 3-7 this season and are coming off a 27-0 loss to Ohio. This will be CMU’s first game against their hosts since 2011.

The Chippewas are 2-0 against MAC East teams this season (the have won 11 consecutive games against the other side of the conference) and Kent State are struggling – they are the second-most penalised team in the MAC. They also rank last in the conference in third-down conversions and first downs.

Yet, had two small breaks gone their way against Marshall and Buffalo, Kent State would be 4-1 at home this season.

The 28-23 loss to rival Toledo last week means the Chippewas cannot win the MAC West title, however.

Still, they can go 7-5 and if they take away the Kent State rushing game and force redshirt freshman quarterback George Ballas to put the game on his shoulders, they can get to a post-season bowl game.

Yet Kent State’s defense leads the MAC in sacks and 19th in the FBS with 12 interceptions among seven different players. Furthermore, the offensive line is solid and ranks fifth in the nation in sacks allowed. We think they can keep within the handicap.

BEST BET: KENT STATE +10.5 @ 1.91


(+6.5, Total Points 51.5)

Saturday, 17:00

Virginia Tech will want to end a disappointing season in style for out-going veteran coach Frank Beamer. He is the winningest active coach in college football and has led Tech to 22 straight bowl appearances.

Frank Beamer 1

Out on a high: Frank Beamer

Having announced his retirement on November 1, this will be his last home game and the Hokies need to win one of their final two games to become bowl eligible.

The Tar Heels (9-1) defeated Miami 59-21 on Saturday, while (5-5) Virginia Tech is coming off a 23-21 victory over Georgia Tech.

The Hokies started slowly against Georgia Tech, allowing 130 yards in the first quarter, but conceded 128 in the last three. It was their best defensive showing of the season.

Pittsburgh beat Duke on Saturday, so the Tar Heels didn’t clinch the Coastal Division and have plenty to play for. They, along with Duke and Pittsburgh, are the three unbeaten teams in ACC Coastal play.

The attention will be on Beamer, who will be vying for his 137th win in 180 career games at Lane Stadium, and it will be interesting to see how well the Hokies play with so much going on in the background. Sometimes, if a team wants something so much and is so wound up, that it presses to the point that mistakes start happening.

On the flip side, an opponent can walk into buzz-saw situations like that and comes out on the wrong end. Yet the Tar Heels’ six-game winning streak is no fluke.

They have gained momentum behind the improved consistency of quarterback Marquise Williams, better play-calling to get the ball in the hands of exciting running back Elijah Wood in the red zone and a defense that has competed stoutly, particularly in the second half.

We don’t expect the Tar Heels to lose with so much on the line.



(-4, Total Points 48.5)

Saturday, 20:30

It seems pretty clear that LSU is stuck in an offensive rut and that something has to change philosophically if the Tigers are to compete for national championships.

Leonard Fournette

Top talent: Leonard Fournette

LSU fell 31-14 at home to Arkansas last Saturday and the passing game was all but non-existent. Brandon Harris did throw for 271 yards, but aside from a couple of jump balls, he was not a deep threat.

The Razorbacks had a game-plan: stack the box to prevent being run over by Leonard Fournette – and it seemed to work. He finished with 91 yards.

They dared Harris to beat them through the air – and he couldn’t.

Mississippi (7-3) are not out of the SEC title race. Alabama (9-1) may well look as though they will roll against Auburn, but that is a rivalry game on the road against a team with nothing to lose. Should the Crimson Tide lose, and Ole Miss beats a struggling LSU, then gets past Mississippi State, them the Rebels will be in the SEC Championship game.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility in an unpredictable season.

Ole Miss have beaten Alabama this season, but they have also lost to Memphis. Coming off a loss to Arkansas on November 7 and an open date, Ole Miss should be keen to get in the faces of a wounded LSU team.

Led by quarterback Chad Kelly, the Rebels average a healthy 526.6 yards per game and have scored 50 or more points four times this season. Conversely, they allow 125-7 rushing yards per game and have given up just five rushing touchdowns in 10 games.

The onus will be on Fournette to stoke up the Tigers. He may well do so, but we take the Rebels to sneak it.



(-31.5, Total Points 58.5)

Saturday, 21:00

Auburn are 3-7 against the handicap this season and open as a five-touchdown favourite to beat the Idaho Vandals. That is the biggest spread they have faced since opening as a 40-point jolly against Jacksonville State in Week 2 – and they needed double overtime to pull out a 27-20 win.

Sean White

Fitness battle: Sean White

The Tigers (5-5) is coming off a 20-13 loss to Georgia, its eighth loss on the last 10 SEC games.

Idaho (3-7) are coming off a 47-20 loss to Appalachian State at home.

This looks an ideal warm-up before facing No.2-ranked Alabama in the Iron Bowl, but the health of QB Sean White continues to give bettors a little cause for concern. He played with a knee brace against Georgia, having sat out the preceding game against Texas A&M.

The Tigers should have no trouble handling the Vandals, who lost 59-9 at Southern California earlier this season in their only other game against a Power 5 opponent.

They have lost start receiver Dezmon Epps, who was kicked off the team two weeks ago for a series of off-field issues and will have trouble moving the ball against the Tigers’ front seven.

Auburn need a win to become bowl eligible and this should be a routine win.

BEST BET: AUBURN -31.5 @ 1.92


(-2.5, Total Points 58.5)

Saturday, 20:30

UCLA won three games in a row, averaging 39 points in the process, before giving up a late touchdown to lose 31-27 in an upset at home to Washington State last week.

Devontae Booker

Key man: Devontae Booker

Utah started the season 6-0 before losing to USC. They won two more before losing to Arizona in a double-overtime thriller last week, 37-30. They still have a shot at playing in the conference championship game, despite trailing USC by a tie-breaker in the Pac-12 South.

They need a win over UCLA and hope that, if USC beats Oregon, the Bruins then go on to beat the Trojans next week. The good news is that USC has two tough games, while the Utes should easily account for Colorado in their home finale.

The bad news is that even though the Bruins have three conference losses, they play their final two games against the two teams they trail by one game to close out the season. Next week’s cross-town rivalry showdown could still determine who wins the Pac-12 South title.

UCLA freshman quarterback Josh Rosen leads an offense that ranks in the upper half of the Pac-12 in passing (298.3 ypg), rushing (199.6 ypg), total yardage (497.9 ypg) and scoring (35.2 ppg).

Their defense also ranks among the Pac-12 elite, ranking first in pass defense (218.3 ypg), fifth in total defense (400.5 ypg) and scoring defense (25.2 ppg).

Yet the Utes are 5-0 at home this season, with victories over Michigan, Utah State, California, Arizona State and Oregon State. They have a tough defense and their running game – providing Devontae Booker is fit – is decent. The team that has run the ball better has won the last four games in the series and UCLA has managed to cover the handicap once in the last five meetings with Utah.

Although the Bruins have covered the handicap in its last five games on the road in November, we think the hosts can edge this and keep the title dream alive.

BEST BET: UTAH -2.5 @ 1.92 


(-1, Total Points 78)

Sunday, 00:30

Freshman Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham will start against Oklahoma State despite suffering deep bruising in his back in the Bears’ 44-34 loss to Oklahoma last weekend.

Jarrett Stidham

Bruised: Jarrett Stidham

He suffered the injury in the first quarter of his second career start but played through the pain, going 16-of-27 for 257 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The 19-year-old has proved very capable in relief of injured Seth Russell, completing 39-of-60 passes for 676 yards and five TDs. He also ran in another TD.

Baylor has won 21 of its last 24 Big-12 games away from Waco, including seven of the last eight and has not suffered back-to-back losses since 2012, but they have not won a road game in the series since 1939.

Ranked sixth in the nation, the Bears will also be trying to win back-to-back games over Oklahoma State for the first time since 1942 (when they won nine in a row from 1915).

The Bears lead the nation in total offense (637 ypg) and scoring (54.8 ppg) through nine games, after having done the same for the last two seasons. They have a veteran offensive line which has only allowed 11 sacks and they boast the nation’s fifth-ranked rushing attack (292.2 ypg).

As the Big-12’s lone unbeaten team, Oklahoma State is ranked No.8 in the nation and are still in the hunt for a college football national championship playoff berth.

Art Briles is 0-4 at Stillwater (all four losses have been by 27 points or more), the Bears have lost the last 11 meetings there and need to win if they are to win or share a third consecutive Big-12 title.

But the Cowboys, who are 10-0 have never reached the 11-0 plateau in any season. Can the Bears overcome the Curse of Stillwater? It should be a cracking game and history dictates we should take the hosts to win, even though we consider Baylor the better team.


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NFL PICK SIX – Your betting guide to Week 10

Eight weeks remain of the regular season and three teams are still unbeaten: Carolina, New England and Cincinnati. Yet it is not how you start, it is how you finish.

In every season since 1987, at least one team with a .500 or worse record through eight games has qualified for the post-season. Last year, the Carolina Panthers accomplished the feat and advanced to the Divisional Playoffs after a 3-4-1 start.

Over the past seven seasons, 15 teams started 4-4 or worse and rebounded to qualify for the postseason. Eight of those teams, including the 2014 Panthers, won at least one playoff game.

Six teams – Atlanta (6-3; 6-10 in 2014), Carolina (8-0; 7-8-1 in 2014), the New York Jets (5-3; 4-12 in 2014), Oakland (4-4; 3-13 in 2014), Tampa Bay (3-5; 2-14 in 2014) and Tennessee (2-6; 2-14 in 2014) – have already matched or surpassed their win totals from last season.

In Week 10, four more teams – Jacksonville (2-6; 3-13 in 2014), Minnesota (6-2; 7-9 in 2014), the New York Giants (5-4; 6-10 in 2014) and Washington (3-5; 4-12 in 2014) – can also match their 2014 win totals.

MyClubBetting handicapper and Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham takes a look at the betting trends and some of the best bets ahead of Week 10 of the 2015/16 NFL season. The odds are correct at the time of writing and are industry average.

(Handicap is denoted by +/- for the home team)


Friday, 01:25

(-2.5, Total Points 42.5)

The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets may not catch the unbeaten New England Patriots in the AFC East, but both are firmly in the hunt for a playoff wild-card spot.


Happy return: Rex Ryan

Both had easy home wins last week – Buffalo (4-4) took care of Miami, while the Jets (5-3) saw off Jacksonville.

Since 1997, the Bills have only once won on back-to-back trips to New York (in 2006 and 2007) and they won last year’s road trip 43-23.

It is never easy for a team to turnaround on such a short week, but with little travelling involved, this is not such a factor as normal for the road team.

Of course, the hype will be about Bills head coach Rex Ryan, who coached the Jets and 34 players he coached remain on the roster. While they had a few losing season, the Jets’ players, particularly those on the defensive side of the ball, enjoyed being coached by the flamboyant Ryan.

Buffalo may have issues at the tackle position, with Seantrel Henderson (illness) and Cyrus Kouandjio (knee) listed as questionable to start, but playmakers DE Mario Williams (calf), WR Sammy Watkins (ankle) and RB LeSean McCoy (shoulder) – who has 9,620 yards and is on pace to reach 10,000 career scrimmage yards – all likely to play.

The cornerback position for the New York Jets is going to be an area of concern, as Antonio Cromartie (thigh) is doubtful to start and Dee Milliner (wrist) is questionable. Safety Calvin Pryor is also missing.

Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor currently ranks third in the AFC in passer rating (108.9) and is on pace to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly (101.2 in 1990) as the only players in club history with a rating of 100+ in a  season.

With a solid running game – Karlos Williams leads the team with five rushing touchdowns – and a now-healthy receiving corps, we think the Bills can match the Jets blow for blow. TE Charles Clay could cause a few problems for the Jets and he may be value to score a TD at any time at around 3.25.

There should not be too much in it and we take the Bills with the points on offer.


BEST BET: BUFFALO +2.5 @ 1.91


Sunday, 18:00

(-11.5, Total Points 47.5)

Another week, another set of changes for the Detroit Lions. Hours after a 28-19 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Lions fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan.

Matt Stafford

Interceptions: Matt Stafford

They promptly tanked 45-10 to the Kansas City Chiefs at Wembley. The deathly silence in the locker-room after the sorry defeat was palpable. Never say these players do not care.

Still, four days later, owner Martha Ford, citing her family’s disappointment in the franchise’s 1-7 start this season, fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew.

Yet coaching and leadership is not the issue. Those on the field have no excuses.

QB Matt Stafford is on pace for his worst statistical season in passing yards (2,083 through eight games), and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is on pace (13 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) to be his worst since 2012 (20 touchdown, 17 interceptions).

In addition, the Lions still have the worst rushing attack in the league by almost 15 yards, gaining 69.62 yards per game on the ground (the Browns are second worst at 84 yards per game).

Green Bay have lost their last two games and will be fired up to beat a division rival they have not lost to at Lambeau Field since 1991.

All the statistics point to an easy win and with the handicap less than two touchdowns, this looks an all-too-obvious bet, which means we should be wary. Most of the money will pile on the Packers and though caution is advised, we should still follow that route.


BEST BET: GREEN BAY -11.5 @ 1.91


Sunday, 18:00

(-6.5, Total Points 47.5)

With a 3-5 record after being spanked by Buffalo last week, the Miami Dolphins face a must-win game to keep their fading playoff hopes alive.

Ryan Matthews

Running hard: Ryan Matthews

The same old problems appear to plague them: lack of depth on the offensive line (particularly weak at the tackle position), inconsistency at quarterback and so-so play from their defensive line, which will have to step up now that DE Cameron Wake is done for the season with a knee injury.

While QB Ryan Tannehill is on pace to pass for a career-best 4,474 yards and may join Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (six) as the only Dolphins with multiple 4,000-yard seasons, he is still a dink-dunk passer, who gets rattled. His bets games have come when he is given the opportunity to air the ball out, but these have been few and far between.

They are still having trouble stopping the run. The Bills gained 420 yards on only 51 plays (8.2 yards per play). They were 8-of-13 on third down, including Sammy Watkins’ 44-yard touchdown and running back Karlos Williams’ 38-yard score.

This team has talent and does not lack for effort since Dan Campbell took over as interim head coach four games ago (his Dolphins have since gone 2-2).

Philadelphia (4-4) running-backs Ryan Matthews (409 yards) and DeMarco Murray (390 yards), despite carrying knocks, are expected to start. They can become the first Eagles teammates to each rush for at least 800 yards in the same season. QB Sam Bradford has 2,061 passing yards and is on pace to be the first quarterback in franchise history to pass for at least 4,000 yards in a season.

The Eagles are just a game behind the 5-4 Giants in the putrid NFC East and are coming into this on the back of an overtime win in Dallas.

Philadelphia believe they have turned a corner offensively, yet Bradford has thrown as many touchdowns as interceptions this year (10) and this is a winnable game for Miami, who receive a 6.5-point start. Miami has never lost three consecutive games in Philadelphia and this could be one of the shocks of the weekend.


BEST BET: MIAMI +6.5 @ 1.91


Sunday, 21:05

(-2.5, Total Points 44.5)

For all those old enough to remember, this is a repeat of Super Bowl XI (1977), which the Oakland Raiders won 32-14. Minnesota has won one of the last six at the home of the Raiders and four of the last 14 meetings overall.

Black Hole

Intimidating: The Black Hole

Oakland lost a 35-38 last-second heart-breaker at Pittsburgh, while Minnesota scraped by the St Louis Rams 21-18, but they lost QB Teddy Bridgewater to a concussion, which could keep him out of this week’s clash.

Minnesota (6-2) are tied with Green Bay at the top of the NFC North about their record is padded with some very narrow wins and aside from Denver, they have not faced a team with a winning record. Indeed, their opponents have gone a combined 15-33.

At 4-4, Oakland are in the thick of the AFC Wildcard hunt and while their pass defense ranks 32nd, their 8th-ranked stout run defense may be able to keep tabs on Adrian Peterson. We see Oakland winning this outright with a bit to spare.


BEST BET: OAKLAND -2.5 @ 1.91


Sunday, 18:00

(-1.5, Total Points 43)

The Cowboys hold a 13-3 record over the Buccaneers including a 3-2 record at Tampa. While they have not managed to win a game since BQ Tony Romo broke his collarbone, and while they were unfortunate to go down in overtime to Philadelphia last week, they really need to win here as they stand at 2-6, three games behind the 5-4 New York Giants in the NFC East. A win on Sunday is imperative and they can get it against the 3-5 Bucs.

Darren McFadden

Beast: Darren McFadden

To do so, they must control the trenches and allow RB Darren McFadden to inch closer to his second career 1,000-yard rushing season. McFadden has 333 yards in his past three games. Their six-game losing run has to end soon, so why not in Tampa? Since McFadden took over as the primary running back, the team has averaged over 4.9 yards per carry. That also owes much to the promotion of new starting left guard La’el Collins who has opened up huge holes.

Dallas face one of the best run defences in the league yet the Cowboys appear to have found their mojo over the last couple of weeks and they will need to control the clock with the ground game.

Tampa has been getting great production from rookie QB Jameis Winston, who has passed for 1,897 yards and is in pace to join Andrew Luck (4,374 in 2012) and Cam Newton (4,051 in 2011) as the only rookie quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 4,000 yards passing.

Yet the Tampa defense is far from the finished article. They are a young group who make plenty of mistakes. Tampa is the second most penalized team in the NFL this season, and they have turned the ball over 14 times in eight games.

We see the Cowboys winning in a dogfight and keeping their season alive.


BEST BET: DALLAS +1.5 @ 1.91


Sunday, 21:25

(+7, Total Points 54.5)

The Giants will host the Patriots in a rematch of Super Bowls XLII & XLVI, which the Giants won 17-14 and 21-17, respectively. And how we laughed.

David Tyree

The Helmet Catch: David Tyree in the 2008 Super Bowl

We could be laughing on the other side of our face on Sunday, though, as the Giants attempt to hand the Super Bowl champions’ their first loss of the season.

That is not something we contemplate happening in a clash that is invariably close. Nine of the last 10 meetings have been decided by eight points or less and while their three consecutive losses have come by four points or less, the Patriots have not lost four consecutive games to the Giants.

Bill Belichik’s team has failed to cover the handicap in the last four games against the Giants, but this is the seventh straight game they have been favoured by a touchdown or more and they are 5-21 against the handicap this term.

While New England romped to a 27-10 win over washing ton last week as a 14-point jolly, the Giants bounced back from their wild 52-49 loss in New Orleans, taking care of Tampa 32-18 as a 1.5-point road favourite.

The killer stat for us is the Giants’ record against the pass this season – they are 31st, allowing over 307 yards per game. That should be interesting going against Tom Brady, who will no doubt relish putting up some gaudy numbers and banishing a few ghosts. History can go out of the window.




CAROLINA -5.5 over Tennessee: Panthers lost three straight meetings with Tennessee, but are unbeaten and this looks like a miss-match. They should get it done and may just about cover. Panthers 27-17

CHICAGO +7 at St Louis: Bears QB Jay Cutler is justifiably maligned and the Rams’ running game will cause too many problems in a relatively low-scoring clash. The Bears may just keep within the spread. Rams 22-17

PITTSBURGH -4.5 over Cleveland: An odd line – we have the Steelers as a TD favourite, so caution is advised. Still, we take the hosts to cover. The Browns may not get totally manhandled in the second half… for once. Steelers 27-17

JACKSONVILLE +5.5 at Baltimore: The 2-6 Ravens are rested after their upset win over San Diego, but the problems remain. Jags are improving, despite what their abysmal record suggests. Ravens 28-24

NEW ORLEANS -1 at Washington: The Saints don’t play defense. The Redskins can’t do anything offensively. We like the Saints defense less than we do the Redskins’ attack. Which does not say much. Saints are outdoors but they could win ugly. Avoid. Saints 23-19

KANSAS CITY +5.5 at Denver: Chiefs could expect a backlash after the Broncos lost to Indianapolis, but Andy Reid’s tinkering on the offensive line seems to have helped. Chiefs can make a fist of this. Broncos 27-23

SEATTLE -3 over Arizona: A semblance of normality returns to the NFC West as the Seahawks roll to an easier-than-expected victory over the upstart Cardinals. Seahawks 31-13

HOUSTON +10.5 at Cincinnati: Texans have won five of the last six against the unbeaten Bengals, but the pressure of remaining unbeaten and taking an over-matched opponent too lightly may see the Bengals struggle a bit. A garbage-time TD and could see the Texans keeping within the spread. Bengals 31-24

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