MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Monday multi-bet – a trio of top tips!

You already know that your club betting service gives you more than any other high street bookie: We give your club free kit and equipment – plus we give back 20% of revenues!

And now we are attempting to find three bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

Here’s our offering for Monday, March 23…

Cricket: New Zealand v South Africa

South Africa cricket
Semi-final hex: South Africa

The Cricket World Cup is drawing to a close after what seems like months of one-sided games.

The final three games are expected to be far more exciting than the quarter-finals which pitched over-matched sides against the big guns.

The first semi-final, which takes place in the early hours of Tuesday morning, ensures that there will be at least one new finalist in Sunday’s showpiece.

South Africa and New Zealand have played in nine World Cup semi-finals between them and lost the lot.

The sentiment will be for New Zealand, who are marginally odds against. The neutrals will hope that they get through as it could well set up a final against rivals and hosts Australia.

South Africa have had their troubles at the top of the order and do not be surprised if the new-ball partnership of Trent Boult and Tim Southee make an early breakthrough.

However, South Africa have a better pedigree and have won 36 of the 61 previous One-Day International meetings. They have plenty of match-winners and at least one of them should step up when it matters.

Bet: South Africa to win @ 1.72

Basketball: Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics

We have to take a trip across the pond for our next sport selection. The Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of a classic battle for the final NBA playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics (30-39) are half a game behind eighth-placed Charlotte after losing to Detroit 105-97 on Sunday, while Brooklyn (29-39) is a game out of eighth place.

Boston has lost three straight and the Nets won their last five and it is worth taking a chance that both runs to come to an end this evening.

The Nets won 123-111 at Indiana on Saturday but the Celtics have won two of three meetings this season, including an 89-91 win at Brooklyn on January 7.

Boston will miss guard Isiaih Thomas (back), who has sat out the last seven games and this is significant. Hwever, the Nets are odds-on to win, despite having lost seven of the last 10 meetings with the Celtics, and are no certainties. We’ll take the four-point dogs, more in hope than confidence

Bet: Boston Celtics +4 @ 1.95

John takes spotlight

As the Jumps season draws to a close, it is understandable that the fare is very much bread-and-butter.

However, there are a couple of good betting heats each day and we start the week with Shy John (Taunton 4:50), who appears to have a fair chance in the C&S Electrical Wholesale Handicap Chase.

Unseated a week ago at the same track, the multiple point/hunter chase winner had hardly put a foot wrong at Ludlow previously, when chasing home a subsequent winner.

The danger is Barton Heather, who found one too good at Exeter last time, having made a winning start over fences at Uttoxeter previously. However, there is no guarantee she will handle the quicker ground.

Bet: Shy John (Taunton 4:50)

All odds quoted from Cefn Fforest AFC’s betting service cefnfforestafc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsiblywww.gambleaware.co.uk

MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Saturday Selections – a trio of top tips!

You already know that your club betting service gives you more than any other high street bookie: We give your club free kit and equipment – plus we give back 20% of revenues!

And now we’ll attempt to find three bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

We went two out of three on Friday, but you would have more than doubled your money. We’re hitting 66% winners this week.

Here’s our offering for Saturday, March 19…

Poet and you know it!

Venetia Williams
Quick wit: Venetia Williams

We will let you into a little secret: Venetia Williams has a habit of flirting with our racing correspondent and putting him down at the same time.

Our man complimented her fur hat at Sandown recently. Asking where she got it, Venetia replied: “I can’t remember. I think it was road-kill… and the rest was a nice casserole!”

And after winning a race, leading the questions afterwards, our man asked about the improvement in the eight-year-old she had saddled to victory.

With a twinkle in her eye, she quipped: “The thing with racehorses there is no limit to how much they can improve… until they get as old as you and me!”

And that’s probably the reason he keeps a closer-than-average eye on her runners these days.

Ms. Williams runs Eminent Poet (3:45, Newbury) in a competitive renewal of the Doom Bar Novices’ Hurdle and should run well at a big price.

The four-year-old was held by Bishop Wulstan here last month in soft ground over two miles, but the extended 3m 2f trip and faster ground should suit Eminent Poet. He is taken to reverse the tables and make the frame.

BET: Eminent Poet e/w (3:45, Newbury)

Rugby Union: England v France

The destiny of the Six Nations Championship will go down to the last game of the tournament.

Wales will need a landslide win in Rome to have any chance of pipping Ireland and England to the title, and England top the table on points difference from Ireland, who have an easier task against Scotland.

France, who have yet to really turn up in this tournament, have lost six of the last nine meetings with England including their last three visits to Twickenham.

The French always seem to raise their game against England, but the hosts have won 30 and drawn five of the past 46 meetings at home.

England’s finishing against Scotland last weekend was poor, but they are creating plenty of chances and can beat the handicap. We look for a more optimistic bet of England to lead at half-time.

BET: England to lead at half-time @ 1.53

Tennis: Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray

‘Britain’s most prolific male player of the Open era’ is a bit of a mouthful.

Yet that’s the title bestowed upon Andy Murray, who moved into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after beating Feliciano Lopez. It gave Murray win 497 career wins, moving him past Tim Henman.

But it is just Murray’s luck that he meets a rested Novak Djokovic. The world No.1 had a walkover against Bernard Tomic, who suffered a back injury.

Djokovic has won the last five meetings with Murray and has beaten the Scot in straight sets in each of their last three best-of-three-set clashes.

Murray was also defeated by Djokovic in four sets in this season’s Australian Open Final.

We think Murray might give the Serb a few early problems and this may well go the distance.

However, the outcome should be the same.

BET: Djokovic to win in three sets @ 3.45

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service Shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsiblywww.gambleaware.co.uk

MCB EXCLUSIVE – Your Friday Fix – a trio of top tips for today!

You already know that your club betting service gives you more than any other high street bookie: We give your club free kit and equipment – plus we give back 20% of revenues!

And now we’ll attempt to find three bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

All three tips won on Wednesday! At least our Rugby League selection won on Thursday.

Here’s our offering for Friday, March 20…

Rugby League: Leeds v Wigan

Sean O’Loughlin
Missing: Sean O’Loughlin

Wigan have lost a few experienced players over the past 12 months, but the blend of youth and experience is a good one, with some exciting youngsters coming through.

Wigan are without Sean O’Loughlin for tonight’s trip to Leeds and that could be the tipping point to see a home win for the Rhinos.

Warrington thumped Leeds 18-6 last week, which was a nasty shock. Yet the Rhinos have proven time and again that they bounce back from losses, especially when they return home.

Their outside backs are perhaps the best unit in the Super League and given that Wigan were handsomely outpointed by Castleford last time out, we think the hosts will take all the beating, especially with the return of Zak Hardaker.

BET: Leeds to win @ 1.63

Championship: Wolves v Derby

Wolves are just three points off the playoff places and can go two points behind fifth-placed Derby County with a win tonight.

Derby have a poor record against Wolves, winning just three of the last 22 meetings.

Derby have fitness concerns over Darren Bent and Geroge Thorne, as they look to get their automatic promotion bid back on track.

Bent has missed the last four games with a hamstring problem and central defender Thorne has been ruled out for five games, in which time Derby have drawn two and lost three.

With top scorer Chris Martin (hamstring), midfielder John Eustace (knee) and centre-half Jake Buxton (back) all missing, the Rams look up against it.

With nine of the last 20 meetings drawn, it is by no means a secure bet to take the hosts, but that’s what we go with.

BET: Wolves to win @ 2.62

Going to the Chapel

Medieval Chapel (Newbury 3:45) has taken a while to get the hang of jumping fences but he should run well at a fair price in the Oakley Coachbuilders Novices’ Limited Handicap this afternoon.

A 23-length winner at Fakenham last time, Nicky Henderson’s charge faces stiffer opposition this time in the three-mile event, but the win will not have hurt his confidence.

He is a progressive sort and while he has the likes of the The Skyfarmer and Horatio Hornblower to beat, with eight runners scheduled to line up, his current odds of around 11-2 makes him a solid each-way bet.

BET: Medieval Chapel e/w  @ 11/2

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service Shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsibly www.gambleaware.co.uk

WEEKEND BETTING GUIDE – MCB’s Premier League Preview

The race for fourth place is getting really interesting and while Manchester United saw off the upstarts Tottenham last weekend, how will they fare against Liverpool in the big match of the weekend?

With the bottom three – Leicester, QPR and Burnley – all having tough games against in-form sides, will Sunderland gain impetus and avoid the drop with Dick Advocaat in charge? They face West Ham, who hope their luck turns after weeks of frustration.

We look at the big matches and where you may wish to put your money.

All odds quoted from Creigiau FC’s betting service creigiaufc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now!

We support responsible gambling. See myclubbetting.com for details.

MAN CITY v WEST BROM

Pellegrini
Exit this way: Pellegini

Manchester City (Odds: 1.32) can literally not afford to drop more points before the end of the season after losing to Burnley in the league last weekend.

The damage to their title aspirations could have been more significant but Chelsea could only draw with Southampton at home.

The gap at the top of the table is now six points but Chelsea have a game in hand and that is against Leicester so in reality the gap is nine points and an advantage of four goals.

City have lost two league games at the Etihad this season but West Brom (10.50) have only won two of 14 on the road.

Only Burnley and QPR have accumulated fewer points on their travels so this match looks home banker material.

The big question is how City will react to their Champions League exit at Barcelona in midweek, where the 1-0 scoreline failed to reflect the Catalans’ superiority.

It has been a few weeks since City put together a complete performance and a bounce-back is a hope rather than an expectation.

VERDICT: Manchester City 2 West Brom 0 @ 6.00

BEST BET: Manchester City lead at half-time @ 1.86

ASTON VILLA v SWANSEA

Tim Sherwood
Revival: Sherwood

Aston Villa (2.44) are rejuvenated under Tim Sherwood, borne out by their incredible 4-0 win at Sunderland last weekend, a result that saw manager Gus Poyet parting company with the Black Cats.

Villa are now starting to ease their relegation worries (three points above Burnley and, remarkably given their scoring issues, with a superior goal difference), while Swansea (3.05) are in a mid-table comfort zone.

Villa probably need three more wins to confirm their Premier League status for next season, while the Swans are unlikely to qualify for Europe or get embroiled in the relegation malaise.

The home side have a greater incentive to pick up three points but the recovery under Sherwood may stall this weekend, should things not go their way early on and the crowd become agitated.
Swansea have won four of 14 matches in the league on the road this season but at least should play with freedom and their expansive football under Garry Monk is pleasing on the eye.

Villa have won just three at home and have scored just 19 goals in 29 Premier League games. They are not built to chase a game and if they fall behind, may well get caught on the counter-attack.

VERDICT: Aston Villa 1 Swansea 2 @ 10.50

BEST BET: Double Chance – Draw or Swansea @ 1.56

STOKE v CRYSTAL PALACE

Mark hughes
Underrated: Hughes

With nine games remaining, both Stoke City (Odds: 2.14) and Crystal Palace (3.65) appear to have extended their Premier League tenure for another season.

Stoke are unlikely to claim a European place after losing at West Brom last weekend. Their current eighth place is the best they can realistically hope for, which is another qualified success for manager Mark Hughes.

Palace need two more wins to be safe but there are at least five sides below them who have more to do. So this clash, which has seen both sides find the net in six of the last eight meetings, smacks of a contender for last place on the Match of the Day running order.

Three of the last five meetings were drawn (the draw is available at 3.15) and Palace, who have lost just once in the last six on the road, also have a fair record at the Britannia Stadium. They have come away empty-handed twice in their last 10 visits.

VERDICT: Stoke 1 Crystal Palace 1 @ 6.00

BEST BET: Both teams to score @ 1.82

TOTTENHAM v LEICESTER

Kane Dive
Quality: Kane (below)

Tottenham (Odds 1.57) have lost back-to-back Premier League games just once this season (in October). While were firmly put in their place by Manchester United last weekend, Spurs are still only six points off of fourth place and four off of the Europa League spot.

A bounce-back seems likely at White Hart Lane, where they are unbeaten in their last nine league games.

Leicester (6.00), who have won two of the last three meetings with Tottenham, are fighting for survival, having won just two of their last 23 matches.

Rooted to the foot of the table, seven points adrift of safety, they need to get something at a ground where they have done well recently. The Foxes have lost just twice in their last eight trips to the Lane.

Tottenham won the reverse fixture 2-1 on Boxing Day, the ninth consecutive meeting yielding three goals or more. It is 1.66 for there to be three goals or more scored this time.

Spurs have won five of the last 10 clashes and while they looked jaded and bereft of ideas at Old Trafford, they have enough quality, particularly with Harry Kane up front, to up that percentage.

VERDICT: Tottenham 2 Leicester 0 @ 7.80

BEST BET: Tottenham win the second half @ 1.82

NEWCASTLE v ARSENAL

wenger
Title tilt: Wenger

Despite being eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday, Arsenal (1.62) are a team in form and came agonisingly close to overturning a two-goal deficit in the second leg at Monaco.

How they react to that reverse will be key to them pushing on and maintaining an outside chance of winning the league, but Chelsea and are unlikely to drop enough points to allow the Gunners to get into the mix, although the prospect of finishing second is growing. Arsene Wenger’s side are only a point behind second-placed Manchester City.

Newcastle (5.60) are becalmed in the relative comfort zone of mid-table with European qualification beyond them and relegation now unlikely. The Magpies have managed to beat the Gunners just twice in the last 27 meetings.

Ten of the last 14 meetings yielded three goals or more and that’s a top trend. Arsenal have won seven of 15 away league matches this season and the Geordies are not infallible at home, so an away win is the most likely outcome.

VERDICT: Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2 @ 7.40

BEST BET: Arsenal Win and Over 2.5 goals @ 2.40

SOUTHAMPTON v BURNLEY

Ronald Koeman
Top job: Koeman

Burnley (8.00) are in the midst of a brutal run of fixtures, playing the top seven in the table in a span of eight games.

Having dispatched champions Manchester City to move within one point of safety, they seek to do the double over an over-achieving Southampton (1.46) side that have won just one of their last five league games.

The Saints have fallen four points behind fifth-placed Liverpool and for all their incredible early-season exploits, will be in serious danger of missing out on European football if they fail to win this.

However, playing just three teams in the top half of the table in their remaining nine games, the Saints may still be a value bet to clamber into the top four at season’s end.

Burnley have won just one of their last 12 trips to Southampton but six of the last 14 meetings (and nine of 24) ended in a draw. It is 4.30 for a draw to occur again.

A stalemate is perhaps the best the Clarets can hope for, but we expect Ronald Koeman’s side to edge it.

VERDICT: Southampton 2 Burnley 0 @ 6.20

BEST BET: 2 or 3 goals total @ 2.00

WEST HAM v SUNDERLAND

Bryan Pop Robson
Top striker: Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson

With Sunderland (4.70) cutting ties with Gus Poyet after a terrible 4-0 home loss to Aston Villa, West Ham (1.81) manager Sam Allardyce even failed to win the race for the first manager to be sacked.

Winning is habit Big Sam’s side appear to have forgotten. One league win in the last 12 is bordering on relegation form and while the quality of football has improved this season, the Hammers are in danger of finishing in the bottom half of the table.

Fortunately, the hard work has been done and their cupcake run-in should see them pick up at least 13 points, starting with three against Sunderland.

Pop Robson
‘Pop’ Robson in his Hammers heyday

The Black Cats have won two of their last 19 league games and have managed just one goal in their last five. Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, one of the most prolific marksmen of his generation and a firm favourite with both sets of fans, would probably still do a better striking job – and he’s now aged 69!

Sunderland have won three of the last 12 meetings. Three of the last five were drawn and Diego Poyet, who plays for West Ham, would like nothing better than to put one over on the side that sacked his Dad. A little schadenfreude is what we are hoping for, too.

West Ham have plenty of pent-up frustration and despite their indifferent results, have been threatening to give someone a tonking. If goal-shy Aston Villa can beat this lot 4-0…

VERDICT: West Ham 3 Sunderland 1 @ 14/1

BEST BET: Sunderland to score @ 1.57

LIVERPOOL v MAN UTD

This north-west derby is arguably the game of the week and has major Champions League connotations for both.

Fourth-placed United (3.55) have a two-point advantage over fifth-placed Liverpool (2.10), and a five-point cushion would go a long way to realising their dreams of returning to the premier European competition next season.

Liverpool have lost just two of 15 home league matches this season but five games have been drawn at Anfield.

United have won five of the last seven meetings and seven of the last 10 meetings saw three or more goals scored.

Draws are rare – just one occurring in the last 22 meetings – and we are happy to oppose inconsistent United. With Liverpool’s tails up after a 13-game unbeaten run in the league, we look for the hosts to edge a tense affair.

VERDICT: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1 @ 7.80

BEST BET: Both teams to score@ 1.72

HULL v CHELSEA

Mourino
Class act: Mourinho

Hull (Odds: 8.40) are not totally certain of playing in the Premier League next season and this match with Chelsea (1.46) is unlikely to improve their position.

Only three teams have won fewer league matches than Hull in 2014-15 and two of those are in the bottom three.

Four wins from 14 home fixtures is relegation form and Hull have conceded more goals than they have scored at their own stadium this season. They have never beaten Chelsea in eight attempts, losing each of the last three meetings 2-0.

Chelsea are heading for their first title in the second Jose Mourinho era and their hosts are unlikely to spoil that outcome.

No side has won more matches on the road this season and Chelsea can add one more away victory to their total, but sticking with the trend that has seen five of the last six meetings yield less than three goals might not be the best option. Chelsea should totally outclass Hull.

VERDICT: Hull 0 Chelsea 3 @ 8.40

BEST BET: Chelsea lead at half-time @ 1.98

QPR v EVERTON

Everton’s 3-0 defeat of Newcastle last weekend was their second victory in their last 13 league games and one that leaves them six points clear of the relegation pack.

Their run-in is hardly a murders’ row, so Roberto Martinez’s side can contemplate European glory, should they manage to progress against Dynamo Kiev.

The Europa League has been a happy distraction from a disappointing domestic campaign, which has seen the Toffeemen record back-to-back victories just once (in October).

Everton (Odds: 2.18) won the last three meetings with QPR (all at home) and are unbeaten in the last five against Rangers (3.40), who have won two of the last 10 clashes.

Rangers have lost the last four league games and eight of their last nine. Encamped in the bottom three, they are four points from safety and have lost more games than any other team in the top flight (19).

There are invariably a few goals when these two meet. Nine of last 14 meetings yielded three goals or more and Rangers have managed at least one goal in their last five games.

With Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester United still to play, Rangers simply must start picking up points against those around them.

Everton have lost their last three road games and, coming off a tough road trip on Thursday, Rangers may well pick up all three points.

VERDICT: QPR 2 Everton 1 @ 11.00

BEST BET: QPR win the second half @ 3.10

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsiblywww.gambleaware.co.uk

MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Thursday Trio

You already know that your club betting service gives you more than any other high street bookie: We give your club free kit and equipment – plus we give back 20% of revenues!

And now we’ll attempt to find three bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

All three tips won on Wednesday!

Here’s our offering for Thursday, March 19…

Rugby League: St Helens v Warrington

James Roby
Happy return: Roby

The European Super League is in its early stages and upsets are possible.

Yet this is unlikely to be the case when St Helens host the Warrington. Wolves have lost just once in Super League so far this season, while top-of-the-table Saints are unbeaten, so it should be an epic scrap.

St Helens have hooker James Roby and prop Kyle Amor back from injury and suspension respectively, but they are still without Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival (out for six weeks with a knee injury), Luke Walsh and Mark Flanagan.

Warrington have no real injury concerns and head coach Tony Smith has named an unchanged 19-man squad from the one that beat Leeds last week.

Warrington won their last two at Langtree Park but although the Saints have a few key men missing, their depth is such that they should be able to overcome their losses. We take them to win.

BET: St Helens to win @ 1.77

Darts Premier League: Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor

Of all the five clashes in the Darts Premier League in Glasgow, this one is arguably the one everyone wants to see.

Phil Taylor is like kryptonite to Raymond van Barneveld. The Power leads the all-time series meetings 51-12-4, an extraordinary run of success against one of the top players in the world.

Reigning Premier League champion van Barneveld has made a poor start to the defence of his title and sits level with Kim Huybrechts in the bottom two in the table, having lost 7-3 to 2009 champion James Wade last week.

Taylor is also coming into this off a loss, having gone down 7-3 to Michael van Gerwen in Nottingham last week.

Van Barneveld was way off his game last week and while Taylor was not 100 per cent with his doubles, he holds an Indian sign over Barney and should get back to winning ways.

BET: Taylor to win

Price is right for Mountain

Mountain King (4:05, Ludlow) looks ready to put what little experience he has over fences to good use in the Wye Valley Brewery Handicap Chase.

Mrs Diana Whateley’s dark and light blue colours have been a familiar sight in the winners’ enclosure this season and the Philip Hobbs-trained six-year-old looks ready to add to the tally.

Mountain King was beaten favourite in a four-runner soft-ground affair at Huntingdon last time, where he was a little too keen and didn’t help himself by making the odd jumping error.

However, he should be better suited to the faster ground at Ludlow and the drop back to two miles looks just what the doctor ordered.

BET: Mountain King (Ludlow 4:05)

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service Shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsiblywww.gambleaware.co.uk

MCB – The Wednesday Wager – your top trio of bets

You already know that your club betting service gives you more than any other high street bookie: We give your club free kit and equipment – plus we give back 20% of revenues!

And now we’ll attempt to find three bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

Here’s our offering for Wednesday, March 18…

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service Shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

Tennis: Andy Murray v Adrian Mannarino

Murray
Top form: Murray

Andy Murray eased through to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian wells with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber and now faces Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who is ranked No.38 in the world.

Mannarino is at the top of his game. The talented left-hander, who is facing Murray for the first time, saw off Ernst Gulbis 6-4 6-4 in the third round.

Murray is a very short price at 1.12 to progress and he will likely do so.

Though not at his best on Monday in hot conditions, he was always in control and, with a better service game, he should have breezed through in straight sets.

We see Murray progressing in straight sets, but the odds of 1.28 do not appeal. We think the Frenchman will make Murray work for the first set but it is still worth taking a chance on there being less than 9.5 games in the opening set.

BET: Under 9.5 games in first set @ 1.83

Football: Barcelona v Manchester City

Pellegrini
Pressure play: Pellegrini

Some see this Champions League quarter-final second leg as one of Manuel Pellegrini’s final games before Manchester City’s wealthy owners look elsewhere.

Defeat at Burnley on Saturday left City six points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, who also have a game in hand. It seems safe to say that the Sky Blues are ready to hoist the white flag.

The Champions League is all or nothing and, having been completely outplayed in the first half of the first leg, it appears as they will end the season empty-handed.

Barcelona have won the last three meetings, scoring twice on each occasion and City have to over-turn a 2-1 deficit at the Camp Nou.

Whether Pellegrini has the tactical nous to change tactics at the right time is arguable. Whether his players have the mental fortitude to take the game to Barcelona is perhaps a more pertinent question.

We look for Barcelona to progress with another victory and can live with a short price.

BET: Barcelona to win @ 1.40

Racing: Promise of victory

Mares’ races at this time of year are often a very tricky puzzle to solve, but we are dipping our toe in at Warwick this afternoon.

Street Of Promise (4.10) has to give weight away all round to four rivals in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle, but the Michael Scudamore-trained six-year-old won very easily on heavy ground at Wincanton three weeks ago and should have the measure of her major rival Millicent Silver, whose jumping was sketchy on her last run at Ffos Las a month ago.

BET: Streets of Promise (Warwick 4:10)

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service Shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsibly www.gambleaware.co.uk

WEEKEND BETTING GUIDE – MCB’s Premier League preview

The relegation picture may become clearer with some huge games at the foot of the Premier League this weekend.

Nothing more than three points will be good enough for Leicester who entertain Hull City, and Sunderland face fellow strugglers Aston Villa in another dogfight.

Sam Allardyce is under pressure as West Ham continue to tumble down the table, and a trip to Arsenal is not likely to do his blood pressure much good.

And at the top, Manchester United host Tottenham in the race for the lucrative Champions League places.

We take a look at where your money might go…

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

CRYSTAL PALACE v QPR

Palace revival: Pardew

A cracking 3-1 win at West Ham has seen Palace (Odds: 1.78) jump to relative safety, eight points off the relegation zone.

QPR (4.80) failed to win their game in hand on their rivals, slipping to defeat at home to Tottenham last weekend and remain in the bottom three. They are three points behind fourth-from-bottom Aston Villa.

Rangers created several chances against Spurs and were unfortunate to lose.

They are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Palace, although there have been five draws in the last nine clashes and the draw is on offer at 3.60.

Six of the last nine meetings saw no more than two goals scored (3 goals or more is on offer at 2.00) and while Charlie Austin is a fair bet to get on the scoresheet, a low-scoring draw looks a logical bet.

VERDICT: Crystal Palace 1 QPR 1 @ 6.60

BEST BET: Half-time draw @ 2.14

ARSENAL v WEST HAM

Arsenal (Odds 1.40) have reached Wembley and will have been pleased with their FA Cup semi-final draw.

Yet the ultimate aim remains qualification for the Champions League and they would appear to have a fight on their hands.

They are just three points in front of fifth-placed Liverpool and four ahead of Tottenham.

West Ham (8.40) are struggling to remain in the top 10, having come down with the Christmas decorations, as tradition dictates. They have won one of their last 11 Premier League games and have lost their last nine meetings with Arsenal.

In fact, the Gunners have remained unbeaten in their last 14 meetings (winning 12) against the Hammers.

There are invariably a few goals when these two meet. The last six meetings have yielded more than two goals. That is a trend that we feel will continue and it is 1.61 for 3 goals or more to be scored.

VERDICT: Arsenal 3 West Ham 1 @ 9.80

BEST BET: Arsenal -1 @ 2.00

LEICESTER v HULL CITY

Leicester (Odds: 2.14) are seven points adrift of safety and look certain to return to the Championship if they fail to beat a Hull (3.65) side who have won just twice on the road this season.

The Foxes have won four of the last six meetings, however, and are unbeaten in six of their 12 league games at home.

Steve Bruce’s Hull side are five points clear of the drop zone and have a far superior goals difference to the strugglers below.

The Tigers do not have a particularly good record against Leicester, having won one of the last seven clashes and given Leicester are now in must-win territory, we will side with the desperate hosts.

VERDICT: Leicester 2 Hull 1 @ 8.40

BEST BET: Hull to score @ 1.52

SUNDERLAND v ASTON VILLA

Sunderland (Odds: 2.30) have managed one win in their last 11 Premier league games and have had very little luck. The lack of firepower has been a constant problem. They have failed to net in three of their last four games.

Four points above the drop zone, they are just a point and a pace above Aston Villa, who are fourth-bottom.

Villa (3.35) are on the up, having reached the FA Cup semi-final and gained a morale-boosting win over West Brom in the league.

The Black Cats have a poor record against Villa, having won just two of the last 14 meetings, although the draw has cashed-in on 12 of the last 25 meeting. Arguably a draw would suit both sides and it is 3.15 that a draw occurs.

One or other failed to net in seven of the last nine meetings. Vila have managed just 15 goals in 28 league games and they may well take a backward step here.

VERDICT: Sunderland 2 Aston Villa 0 @ 9.60

BEST BET: Sunderland lead at half-time @ 2.90

WEST BROM v STOKE

Cut this any way you want choose. This clash is nothing more than two mid-table teams playing out the season.

West Brom (Odds: 2.32) are eight points clear of relegation while Stoke (3.35) are eight points away from the Europa League spot.

Mark Hughes has done an outstanding job since taking over at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke are playing some attractive football and they continue to punch above their weight.

Stoke also have a great record against the Baggies, having won 11 of the last 16 meetings, including the last five clashes at The Hawthorns. They have lost just once to Albion in that span.

Ten of the last 12 meetings yielded less than three goals and one or other failed to score in eight of last 11 meetings. It is 1.76 that one or other fails to net.

These could be trends that end, but neither has much to play for and a point apiece seems a logical outcome.

VERDICT: West Brom 2 Stoke 2 @ 17.00

BEST BET: Stoke to score @ 1.53

BURNLEY v MAN CITY

These two clubs are at different ends of the wealth spectrum and the richest club should prevail.

All is not well at City (Odds: 1.44) and an ageing squad are in danger of winning no trophies this season.

They are five points behind Chelsea at the top of the table and the Londoners have a game in hand. Established players like Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure appear to be past their best with no talented young blood coming through.

City are all but out of the Champions League after losing 2-1 to Barcelona at home in the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Despite the obvious shortcomings, the visitors should have too much for a Burnley (7.40) side for whom survival at this level is the main objective.

Eight of the last 17 meetings were drawn, the last seven meetings yielded over 2.5 goals, and City are unbeaten in the last 10 fixtures between these sides.

VERDICT: Burnley 0 Manchester City 3 @ 9.60

BEST BET: Man City -1 @ 2.18

CHELSEA v SOUTHAMPTON

The march to a first Premier League title in the second Jose Mourinho era can continue with a regulation home win for Chelsea (Odds: 1.60), against a Southampton (6.20) side that are dropping out of contention for a top four finish and qualification for next season’s Champions League.

In the first ‘Special One’ spell, winning the League Cup was a springboard to a title-winning season and history looks like repeating itself.

Chelsea are the only side not to lose at home in the Premier League this season, scoring 25 goals and conceding just five at Stamford Bridge.

They have won seven of the last 10 meetings, eight of the last nine meetings saw more than two goals scored and the Saints have won one of last 13 trips to the West London stadium.

VERDICT: Chelsea 2 Southampton 1 @ 8.00

BEST BET: HT/FT = Draw/Chelsea @ 4.20

EVERTON v NEWCASTLE

Matters are getting critical for Roberto Martinez, but Everton (Odds: 1.81) are not a sacking club and he will be given more time to get things right.

However, the Blues are lacking confidence at home in the league and there could be another frustrating afternoon at Goodison Park.

Everton look a different outfit in the Europa League and quite feasibly could win a European trophy and get relegated in the same season.

Romelu Lukaku looks a different player on the continent and he needs to start justifying his £28 million price tag in domestic football.

Newcastle (4.60) are becalmed in mid-table, unlikely to qualify for Europe and relatively free of relegation concerns.

They have won just three of 14 league matches on their travels this season but Everton have only won three of 13 at home, so a low scoring stalemate looks the most likely outcome.

However, the last eight meetings yielded over 2.5 goals, Everton have scored at least two goals in the last six clashes and Newcastle have won one of the last 11 trips to Everton.

VERDICT: Everton 0 Newcastle United 0 @ 9.60

BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals @ 2.02

MAN UTD v TOTTENHAM

It is getting to the stage at which Louis Van Gaal’s United (Odds: 1.89) cannot afford to lose another home match if they are to finish in the top four, the minimum requirement for the new manager.

Despite the Dutchman believing he is a tactical genius, the players are not performing and Ryan Giggs clearly does not like him.

United were second best in the Cup against Arsenal and were not up for a match in a competition that was their only realistic chance of winning a trophy this season.

The last time United went two seasons without winning anything was at the start of the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

Tottenham (4.10) were knocked out of the Europa League and lost to Chelsea in the final of the Capital One Cup, so will be looking to get their season back on track with a win in Manchester.

Three of the last four meetings were drawn, Spurs have won two of the last 31 meetings but United not won any of the last five fixtures.

VERDICT: Manchester United 2 Tottenham 1 @ 7.60

BEST BET: HT/FT = Man Utd/Man Utd @ 2.90

SWANSEA v LIVERPOOL

In the last three seasons, Liverpool (Odds: 2.00) have found their best form at this time of the year and they now have the momentum to finish in the top four in the Premier League and win the FA Cup.

In Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho they have found two young gems, and Daniel Sturridge is back to full fitness.

Defence was an issue last season, but that area has been more solid in recent matches with the side conceding just three goals in their last six league fixtures.

Swansea (3.90) are a mid-table outfit coasting to safety, but with little prospect of European football next season.

Liverpool have won the last three meetings, there have been more than 2.5 goals in the last five meetings and six of last seven.

The Swans have won three of the last 13 fixtures but have Liverpool won one of their last five trips to Swansea

VERDICT: Swansea 1 Liverpool 1 @ 6.20

BEST BET: Both teams to score @ 1.80

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsibly www.gambleaware.co.uk