Your WEEKEND BETTING GUIDE – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Title in sight: Mourinho

Chelsea can be crowned champions against Crystal Palace this weekend, but it is the scrap at the foot of the table that has captured the interest.

Leicester gained their fourth consecutive top-flight victory last week before going down 3-1 at home to Chelsea in midweek and they face a Newcastle team who are in a tailspin. With Hull beating Liverpool in midweek, Burnley and QPR are almost at the entrance to the Last Chance Saloon and both have tough away games.

We take a look at the big matches at both ends of the table, and suggest where to put your money…

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service

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John Carver
Under pressure: Carver

Leicester’s (Odds: 1.93) victory at Burnley edged them a point above the relegation zone and sent Sunderland into the bottom three.

It meant the Foxes had won four successive games in a single season in the top flight for the first time since 1966.

Newcastle (4.10), five points clear of the drop zone, also created a little history when losing 2-3 at home to Swansea. It was their seventh consecutive league defeat – a woeful run that had happened just once before in their history. No Premier League team has conceded more home goals than Newcastle this season.

And since John Carver took charge of the Magpies, only QPR (eight) have won fewer points than Newcastle (nine, level with Sunderland).

Leicester have won just one of the last 10 meetings with Newcastle and it is a percentage call that one or other fails to register – 11 of the last 15 meetings saw one or other fail to net.

The Foxes have their tails up, Newcastle may feel less pressure playing on the road, so it is an awkward call. We think there’s a bit of value in a shock result, but the draw seems a logical outcome.

VERDICT: Leicester 1 Newcastle 1 @ 6.60

BEST BET: Newcastle to score @ 1.47


Tim Sherwood
Safety goal: Villa boos Tim Sherwood

Hull’s stunning victory over Liverpool in midweek will not have been welcomed by Aston Villa (Odds: 2.74), who are just two points off of safety.

Villa dropped to 16th place and while they have an FA Cup final to look forward to, they are not out of the mire just yet.

The good news is that they have scored the same number of league goals under Tim Sherwood this season as they managed under Paul Lambert. They are averaging a goal every six shots compared to one in 16 under Lambert.

Everton (2.66), who have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the league this season, moved into the top half of the table with a 3-0 thumping of Manchester United.

In reality, the Toffees have little to play for, but they are unbeaten in their last six league games and should be good for a goal at least. So should Villa: Christian Benteke is the most likely scorer – he has nine goals in his last seven games.

No less than 13 of the last 15 meetings saw both sides score but Villa have won just one of the last 13 meetings. Seven on the last 12 meetings were drawn and while we gravitate towards that outcome, the Toffeemen are on something of a roll and they may well be able to keep Villa in the mire.

VERDICT: Aston Villa 0 Everton 1 @ 8.00

BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.83


Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers: Fit strikers required

While Brendan Rodgers had little say in the matter, the deal to sell Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75 million last July is beginning to look short-sighted.

Liverpool (Odds: 1.36) have scored 47 goals this season – 46 fewer than they had managed after 34 games last season. And they look set to miss out on Champions League football next term, following their 1-0 defeat at Hull on Tuesday.

They are seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United with four games remaining and they have a vastly inferior goal differential.

QPR (9.20), who have won just two of the last 15 meetings, will hope they can get their noses in front before the interval, as Liverpool have lost all seven Premier League games when they’ve been losing at half-time this season.

Seven of the last 11 meetings saw three goals or more scored but draws are rare – just two of the last 28 clashes ended in a stalemate.

A routine home win is anticipated, although little has come easy for the Anfield club this term.

VERDICT: Liverpool 2 QPR 0 @ 6.60

BEST BET: HT/FT Liverpool/Liverpool @ 1.92


Southampton (Odds: 1.99) have allowed fewer shots on target against them than any other team in the Barclays Premier League.

So it comes as little surprise that their 2-1 defeat at Stoke two weeks ago was the first time on the road since the opening weekend of the season that they had conceded more than once.

The Saints are still in with a good chance of playing in Europe next season, although they will likely have to settle for the Europa League, should they secure fifth spot at the expense of Tottenham and Liverpool.

Sunderland (4.20) have looked very edgy at home, winning just one of their last five – and that against club-in-crisis Newcastle. They suffered embarrassing losses to QPR, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace – each by two goals or more – and now find themselves in the bottom three.

The Saints have not fared well here in recent trips, winning just one of their last eight visits to the Stadium of Light, but they do have a huge psychological advantage, having thumped the Black Cats 8-0 in October.

We have little confidence in the hosts, but history is against the bettor. The draw (3.20) is perhaps the answer.

VERDICT: Sunderland 1 Southampton 1 @ 6.00

BEST BET: Sunderland to score @ 1.63


Bafétimbi Gomis
Ruled out: Gomis

This has the potential to be the last game shown on Match of the Day, with both sides in mid-table and little to play for. While nine of the last 13 meetings saw both sides register, Swansea (Odds: 2.25) have a few injury worries and it is hard to see where the goals will come from.

On the flip side, Stoke (3.35), the only team in the Premier League not to have picked up a red card this season, have never won at Swansea in six previous attempts.

Indeed, they have lost six of the last 13 meetings (winning just four and drawing three).

Swansea have been one of the most unpredictable sides this term. One week they are losing at Leicester, the next winning at Newcastle.

There is no question they will miss Bafetimbi Gomis (hamstring) and Wayne Routledge (ankle). They could also be without winger Jefferson Montero (thigh) and are lacking attacking options.

Still, their record against Stoke is a fair one and we don’t see them coming unstuck at home, so we’ll take a draw (3.20).

VERDICT: Swansea 1 Stoke 1 @ 6.00

BEST BET: HT draw @ 2.00 


Sam Allardyce
Top manager: Sam Allardyce

West Ham (Odds: 2.18) fans have been frustrated of late, but their ire should be directed towards the players rather than manager Sam Allardyce.

The Upton Park faithful have never really taken to Big Sam, largely in part due to his Bolton sides regularly toying with the Hammers.

Allardyce is often maligned – incorrectly – for his long-ball style of play, but the stats will tell you that if you have the right players to move the ball downfield swiftly, success is often the reward. Just look at Manchester United, the biggest purveyors of the direct approach this season.

The only thing West Ham have to play for is the best finishing position possible. Hopefully the Hammers fans will appreciate what Allardyce has achieved since his arrival in June 2011: an immediate return to the Premier League, and finishes of 10th, 13th and at worst 12th place this season.

As we have said week in and week out: West Ham fans should be careful what they wish for. Allardyce has proven time and again that he is one of the best managers and tacticians in the game.

If the Hammers do not renew his contract at the end of the season, they are playing with fire, because they simply cannot afford a relegation battle next season with a move to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium on the horizon.

Burnley (3.40) are now desperate for points to stay in the Premier League. They are now five points from safety but Leicester, Wednesday’s defeat aside, are on a good run of form.

West Ham have won eight of 17 matches played at home in the league this season while Burnley have only won once on the road.

While we have paid a nod to Allardyce, we should also state that Burnley counterpart Shaun Dyche has done a wondrous job in the past couple of years. Burnley have played some of the most expansive football in the top flight and most neutrals will be sorry to see them drop down a tier.

Motivation and incentive might not be enough to negate the class edge enjoyed by the home team.

West Ham have lost three of the last 15 meetings and six of the last seven fixtures produced over 2.5 goals.

Burnley have only won one of their last seven matches at Upton Park and have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 14 away games. This should be a welcome win for Allardyce’s side.

VERDICT:  West Ham 3 Burnley 1 @ 17.00

BEST BET: Both teams to score @ 1.78 


Louis Van Gaal
Hairdrier treatment: Van Gaal

The Manchester United (Odds: 1.37) players rightly got the hairdryer treatment after the disappointing defeat at Everton last Sunday. It was no great shock, however: their record at Goodison is remarkably poor, as we outlined.

The players were second-best in every department as Everton produced a typical type of performance that their fans demanded.

United will want to avoid fourth place as that would mean a qualifying tie in the Champions League before the regular season has started.

West Brom (9.60) are now safe from relegation, but will find it hard to dent the best home record in the league – United have lost just two of 17 games at Old Trafford.

The visitors have won just three of 16 away league matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding 20.

Albion have won one of the last 22 meetings, there have been three draws in the last 24 fixtures – it is 4.90 for an overdue stalemate – and in two of last 14 matches there were less than three goals.

United’s defence was unconvincing at Everton, but Louis van Gaal won’t accept a second such dreadful display.

VERDICT:  Manchester United 3 West Brom 0 @ 9.20

BEST BET: Man Utd win and Over 2.5 goals @ 2.04


Title secured: Mourinho

No would not be the time for Chelsea (Odds: 1.36) to lose their first home game of the season. Following their 3-1 win at Leicester on Wednesday, the Blues can lift their first title since 2010 with victory over a Palace (10.00) side who have little to play for.

Chelsea have the joint-best defensive record in the league and have drawn just three of their 16 games at home.

Palace have really put their foot on the gas since Alan Pardew came ‘home’ and are now looking at a top-half finish.

They have proven hard to beat on the road, losing just five of their 17 away from Selhurst Park and have scored 23 goals in the process, conceding just one less.

Despite improving markedly under Pardew, they should have no right to beat Cheslea at Stamford Bridge, where there is sure to be a party atmosphere.

The Blues have won six of last seven meetings while Palace have won just eight of the last 41.

VERDICT:  Chelsea 2 Crystal Palace 0 @ 6.00

BEST BET: 2 or 3 goals scored in total @ 2.04


European dream: Pochettino

Tottenham (3.60) are now level on points with Liverpool and have played the same number of matches, but have an inferior goal difference.

They need to win this to improve their chances of finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League next season.

City (2.00) are now in good shape to finish second behind Chelsea, but must keep winning as Arsenal and United are right there. They will want to avoid finishing as low as fourth and playing a Champions League qualifier.

Despite the emergence of Harry Kane, it has been another average season for Tottenham who are showing no signs of breaking into the top four and playing in the Champions League.

They have also had a few fortunate goals at critical stages and the law of averages says they may not be so lucky next season. The Europa League is the best Mauricio Pochettino’s side can hope for this term.

City have the third-best away record in the league, while Tottenham have won nine of 17 home fixtures this season.

City have scored 26 total goals in the last eight meetings and have won six of the last seven fixtures in which both sides scored all but once.

VERDICT: Tottenham 1 Manchester City 3 @ 14.00

BEST BET: Both teams to score @ 1.53


steve bruce
Tough run-in: Steve Bruce and Hull

Hull (Odds: 5.50) are not quite safe from relegation but the 1-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday was a massive result in the quest to finish 17th or higher.

They have a difficult run-in with Burnley, Tottenham and Manchester United still to play after this. So picking up three points against one of the better sides was crucial as they try to stay in the division. They are still by no means safe, as they are just four points off the drop zone, but they do have a superior goal difference. One more win should be enough.

Arsenal (1.67) are currently third, on the same points as Manchester City, but have a game in hand.

Finishing third or better and avoiding a qualifying tie for the Champions League is the objective. One win for their last five games will be enough to secure a fourth-place finish and the sooner they do it, the sooner they can look forward to the FA Cup final on May 30, where they face Aston Villa.

Steve Bruce’s Hull have won just five of 16 home matches this season, scoring 18 goals and conceding 20.

Only Chelsea have a better away record than Arsenal this season and that can be enhanced by beating Hull.

The Tigers have won three of last 22 meetings while Arsenal have won 12 of the last 14 meetings.

VERDICT: Hull 0 Arsenal 3 @ 13.00

BEST BET: Arsenal win to nil @ 2.82

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WEEKEND BETTING GUIDE – MCB’s Premier League preview

Now we are now in the final furlong. Who has the bottle to stay the pace in the race for European places? Who has the cojones to get out of relegation trouble?

On Saturday, Liverpool and Tottenham both have awkward away games, while at the bottom, there is a real six-pointer as Burnley face Leicester.

Our punting prognosticator takes a look at this weekend’s big matches and suggest where to put your money…

All odds quoted from Whyteleafe’s betting service

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Ronald Koeman
European dream: Ronald Koeman

The race for the Champions League places is almost over. Manchester City have enough in the tank to ensure they will remain in the top four.

So while Southampton (Odds: 2.08) v Tottenham (3.65) would have impacted upon the race a month or so ago, it is now just a must-win in order for either to have a realistic chance of ‘winning’ fifth place, and the unattractive raffle prize of Thursday nights’ playing in the Europa League.

Tottenham edged another away win at Newcastle last weekend to keep themselves in contention and they have won the last five meetings with the Saints.

Draws (3.35) are rare – just one in the last 16 meetings – but the key factor is Southampton’s home form. They have won five of the last seven meetings at St Mary’s and they should improve their tally to 11 home wins for the campaign.

VERDICT: Southampton 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1 @ 8.20

BEST BET: Southampton win, draw no bet @ 1.51


Alan Pardew
Top job: Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew’s return to his spiritual home in South London sparked a surge in form that has seen Palace (Odds: 2.02) rise from the depths of a relegation battle to the brink of a top-half finish.

Hull (4.00) have had a tough run of fixtures that has seen them fall into the relegation equation. They are only out of the drop zone on goal difference from resurgent Leicester and their run-in is awkward. Steve Bruce’s side still have to face Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United, as well as relegation rivals Burnley. Our money says they fall, regardless of our admiration for Bruce, who did wonders to get them in the top flight in the first place.

Palace have a financial incentive to finish in the top half, but it is arguable that will give over-paid players much incentive. Loyalty to the club seems to be a dirty word these days, so many will be playing for bigger contracts elsewhere. Palace has always been a great shop window and they always will be a selling club.

Last weekend, Palace lost to West Brom, who are in a similar situation to Hull. While we would love to see the Tigers triumph in a must-win game, Pardew’s team will probably issue the death knell, although we offer no strong conclusions and take a chance that they will come through in the second half.

VERDICT: Crystal Palace 2 Hull 0 @ 8.60

TAKE A CHANCE: HT/FT = Draw/Palace @ 4.60


John Carver
Passion play: John Carver

Newcastle (Odds: 2.34) were abysmal in their 3-1 home defeat to Tottenham last weekend and while they are all but safe from relegation, just seven points separates them from those in the bottom three.

Sunderland, Hull and Leicester all have a game in hand on the Magpies, for whom the season’s end cannot come quickly enough.

It seems improbable that John Carver, a Geordie who bleeds black and white, will keep his current role as coach by the end of the campaign and a new broom will quickly be inserted by Mike Ashley. (Rangers – and many Newcastle fans – fans might wish to literally insert a broom somewhere, but that’s for another column).

Swansea (3.15) are another side safe from relegation and unable to qualify for Europe, so motivation – or the lack of it – will decide the outcome of this meeting.

Newcastle can’t play so badly at home again and should have the necessary desire to take all three points from this fairly meaningless fixture. But they probably won’t.

VERDICT: Newcastle 1 Swansea City 1 @ 6.00

BEST BET: Both teams to score @ 1.88


Tony Fernandes
Hammers fan: Tony Fernandes

QPR (Odds: 2.32) are desperate for points due to their perilous position at the bottom of the table, which has not been helped by Leicester’s current three-game winning streak.

Rangers, two points from safety, and with both an inferior goal-difference and having played a game more, have managed to stay in touch thanks to their home form.

And they will need to rely on that, as their next two games are away at Liverpool and Manchester City. They also have to travel to Leicester on the final day.

So their final two home games – against West Ham and Newcastle – teams whom already appear to be on their holidays, are must-win affairs.

Realistically, they have to win three from five to have any chance of survival.

Now for a small conspiracy theorem. QPR owner, Tony Fernandes, is a West Ham (3.15) fan and has made no secret of the fact.

Many West Ham fans are quite happy with their team’s slide, as they believe the board will not renew Sam Allardyce’s contract. They have never taken to his effective style of play. And the current board are well aware of this, as they plan for their move to the Queen Elizabeth Stadium at the end of next season.

In his defence, Allardyce has utilised the funds available to him extremely well, got the Hammers back into the top flight at the first time of asking and has seen them become a force on their day. It may not have been pretty at times, but it is nonetheless effective. Perhaps they should be careful what they wish for.

The Hammers are unbeaten in the last four meetings and seven of the last 14 clashes ended in a draw. One or other failed to net in nine of the last 13 meetings.

West Ham should win. They probably won’t. Bobby Zamora, a West Ham legend, may well score against them – most Hammers fans won’t mind. Some will even celebrate.

For our money, it is a game to swerve for betting purposes, but if you must…

VERDICT: QPR 1 West Ham 1 @ 6.00

TAKE A CHANCE: HT/FT = West Ham/Draw @ 13.50


Stoke (Odds: 1.89) have won eight of their 16 home matches in the Premier League, scoring 22 goals and conceding 20. They generally beat the likes of teams like Sunderland (4.40).

Sunderland have won just two of their 15 matches on the road and have scored just 11 goals in the process. And given that they have won successive meetings with Stoke just once since 2004, history says they will do well to earn three points on this trip to the Potteries.

A home win could see Sunderland drop into the bottom three if Hull and Leicester both win, and Stoke are hard to beat at their own stadium.

This has the makings of being a scrappy, bad-tempered affair but Stoke overturned Southampton in their last home fixture and a repeat of that form can see them take three points.

VERDICT: Stoke City 1 Sunderland 0 @ 5.70

BEST BET: Both teams not to score @ 1.82


Brendan Rodgers
FA Cup exit: Brendan Rodgers

West Brom (Odds: 3.90) are eight points off the relegation places and a point may well be good enough to secure their top-flight status.

Liverpool (2.00) still have an outside chance of making the top four. They currently sit seven points behind Manchester City, although have a game in hand. With Tottenham below them on goals difference and Southampton within a point, securing a Europa League spot is not cut and dried, either.

This clash usually sees a positive outcome, as there have been just two draws in the last 27 meetings and each team has won four of the last nine meetings.

Liverpool have a decent record, winning 21 of the last 27 clashes with West Brom and while they failed to reach the F.A. Cup final, with the Champions League carrot still being dangled in front of them, Brendan Rodgers’ side should be motivated enough to expect a bounce-back.

VERDICT: West Brom 1 Liverpool 3 @ 16.50

BEST BET: Liverpool to win @ 2.00


Sean Dyche2
Fine job: Shaun Dyche

Let’s make this simple: Whomever loses this will be relegated. Or might be. Actually, nothing in this season’s relegation battle is predictable.

They were putting perfume on Leicester’s corpse at the end of March, but successive wins against West Ham, West Brom and Swansea have seen the Foxes rise from the foot of the table to get within a goal of the safety zone.

Burnley (Odds: 2.52) are two points behind and are propping up the rest, but a win could see them rise to 16th place, depending on other results.

Leicester (2.86) have been unbeaten in the last eight meetings with Burnley, who have lost the last three clashes at Turf Moor.

One or other has failed to score in 14 of the last 20 meetings and we see another tight game ensuing. It’s hard to split them. So we won’t.

VERDICT: Burnley 2 Leicester 1 @ 8.80

BEST BET: Burnley win, away no bet @ 1.67


On his way: Manuel Pellegrini

Sunderland, Hull and Leicester are all within four points of Aston Villa (Odds: 11.50), each with a game in hand, so the F.A. Cup finalists cannot afford to take their foot off the gas as they bid to survive the drop.

Villa have been circling the drop zone for the last three seasons and perhaps it is their turn to fall. They have a tough run-in, facing the likes of Everton, West Ham and Southampton, but we suspect they will be safe by the time they host Burnley on the final day of the league season.

Manchester City (1.27) have been lacklustre in their title defence but a welcome win against West Ham last Sunday keeps them encamped in the top four. They are seven points ahead of the chasing pack and have a superior goal difference on those with a game in hand.

We feel they will stay there and it should not have to come down to last game of the season, when they entertain Southampton, who also have designs on Europe.

City have won four of the last five meetings and 49 of the 79 at home against Villa (15 draws and 17 defeats).

There are usually a few goals when these two get together and this game should revert to type.

VERDICT: Man City 4 Aston Villa 0 @ 11.00

BEST BET: Man City -1.5 @ 1.72


Lukaku v West Ham
Everton dangerman: Romelu Lukaku

Incredible as though it may sound given the turbulent start to Louis Van Gall’s Old Trafford reign, in terms of points gained, Manchester United (Odds: 2.14) currently boast the best home record in the top flight (43 points from 17 games).

It is their away form that has been their Achilles heel this this season.

For United have won just five of their 16 road games, drawing seven and losing four. For context, even Crystal Palace have eked out more points on the road than the Red Devils’ 22 from a possible 48.

And Goodison Park is not the happiest hunting ground for United, who have managed just one win in their last six trips to Everton (3.50).

After a tough first half of the season, when their domestic form dipped at the expense of a run to the last 16 of the Europa League, Everton are among the in-form teams, having won four of their last six and three consecutive home wins.

Everton have won three of the last five meetings with United but there hasn’t been much between them – six of the last eight meetings produced fewer than three total goals.

While Everton may well achieve a top-10 finish, with winnable games remaining against Aston Villa, Sunderland, West Ham and Tottenham, United have a much bigger incentive: securing Champions League football next season.

Despite their record at Goodison, we feel United will bounce back from their 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, whom they statistically overwhelmed.

Nine of the last 13 meetings has seen one or other fail to score and while Everton are hardly the most prolific, it is worth chancing that both sides find the net on this occasion. The Toffeemen have fond the net in their last seven games in all competitions, while United scored in their last five road games before doing everything but score at Chelsea last week.

Verdict: Everton 1 Man Utd 2 @ 8.40

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.06


Classy striker: Olivier Giroud

Chelsea (Odds: 3.15) are on the cusp of lifting the title after beating Manchester United last weekend and Arsenal (2.36) are the biggest remaining obstacle on the schedule.

The Gunners are on their best run – winning eight straight league games – since the invincible season of 2003-04. There is competition for places, the squad is better equipped and the FA Cup holders have again reached Wembley.

Arsene Wenger’s side have started to look a formidable challenger and while they won’t win it this year, finishing as runner-up would be considered as progress on last year’s fourth-place finish.

With Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez, they are a side full of flair and full of goals.

Their record against the top four sides last season was not good enough and their recent record against Chelsea is poor.

Indeed, Jose Mourinho will see the Gunners as a mere hurdle rather than Becher’s Brook. He has not lost to Wenger, beating him seven out of 12 times, and last season the Blues beat Arsenal 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Chelsea manager’s 1,000th game.

The Gunners have failed to score in the last four meetings and they have managed to beat the Blues just twice in the last 14 clashes.

Yet while Mourinho will know his side hold the Indian Sign over the Gunners, their lead is substantial and their exertions against United were evident.

One or other has failed to score in eight of the last 12 meetings, but we see both sides netting and a few goals in total, as both teams could be mentally drained from last weekend’s matches.

While it would be uncharacteristic of a Mourinho-managed side to suffer from complacency, equally, Arsenal may not suffer the burden of tension.

Arsenal have not managed to win any of their last four meetings at home with Chelsea, who have won five of the last seven meetings.

The last time they failed to win five in a row at home to Chelsea was 1960-65, when they lost six consecutive clashes at Highbury. So history is on the bettor’s side.

Verdict: Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0 @ 10.50

Best Bet: Both teams to score – No @ 1.85

All odds quoted from Whyteleafe’s betting service

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WEEKEND BETTING GUIDE – MCB’s Premier League preview

While the attention turns to the FA Cup semi-finals, there are sure to be a few fireworks in games affecting the top and bottom of the Premier League.

Leicester seek a third successive win when they entertain Swansea, Manchester City will try to cling on to a Champions League spot as they entertain West Ham, and Chelsea will have one hand on the title should they beat Manchester United.

Our punting prognosticator takes a look at this weekend’s big matches and suggest where to put your money…

All odds quoted from Whyteleafe’s betting service

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


Tony Pulis
Poor run: Pulis returns to Selhurst Park

Tony Pulis has never been relegated in his managerial career, but West Brom (Odds: 4.30) may yet get embroiled in a relegation scrap, as they are on a poor run of form at a crucial stage of the season.

Pulis, who saved Palace from relegation last season, will probably maintain his record but only because there are weaker sides fighting relegation.

Palace (1.92) are now in a position of mid-table safety, although they have no chance of qualifying for Europe.

Five of the last 11 meetings were drawn and the Baggies have won just 2 of the last 12 clashes with Palace. Both sides found the net in six of the last nine meetings and that 66% trend is one to follow.

VERDICT: Crystal Palace 2 West Brom 1 @ 7.80

BEST BET: West Brom to score @ 1.58


Danny Ings
On the move: Ings

Based on the same theory that players who are hungrier will get a result, Burnley (Odds: 5.40) should pick up three valuable points at Everton (1.69).

The home side have found some better form recently and are now out of the relegation scrap, but a mid-table final league position is underachieving.

Burnley have taken points at home from some of the superpowers but they have won just one of 15 league matches on the road, scoring 12 goals and conceding 30.

A win could see them move to as high as 16th in the league, their highest position to date this season.

Everton have lost five league matches at home this season and while confidence has returned, Burnley are fighting for their lives and striker Danny Ings – who could be joining Liverpool in the summer – might just fancy putting a few Blue noses out of joint.

Five of the last 11 meetings were draw and six of the last nine clashes saw less than three goals scored.

VERDICT: Everton 1 Burnley 2 @ 15.50

BEST BET: Burnley to score @ 1.59


Leicester (Odds: 2.12) have found some good form when it matters most and from being well off the pace to avoid relegation, they now have a good chance of staying in the top flight.

They are three points behind Hull in 17th position with a game in hand, but that match is at home to Chelsea. However, the league could be decided at the time of that fixture.

Swansea (3.50), in eighth place, are another side with little to play for and are no doubt wearing flip-flops.

This is a must-win game for Leicester, who have won the last three meetings at home by a 2-1 scoreline (it is 7.60 for that to happen again) and they will feel they can build on the dramatic win last week at West Brom.

A win could be the difference at the end of the season between staying up or an immediate return to the Championship and the latter is more likely.

VERDICT: Leicester 1 Swansea City 1 @ 6.20

BEST BET: Double Chance – Draw or Swansea @ 1.73


Qualifying for the Champions League is now almost beyond Southampton (odds: 2.24) but they are still vying for the consolation of the Europa League.

That looks a three-way fight, though Manchester City could enter the equation if their poor run of form continues.

Another defeat for City would bring them into the mix and open up the race for fourth place, so Southampton must keep winning.

Stoke (3.40) are the epitome of a mid-table outfit, currently tenth, but have managed to win just two of the last 21 previous meetings with Southampton, who are something of a bogey side.

VERDICT: Stoke 0 Southampton 2 @ 10.50

BEST BET: HT draw @ 1.96


Home comfort: Mourinho

Chelsea (2.04) are the only team in the top four divisions to remain unbeaten at home in the league and they retain a seven-point lead at the top following a last-gasp 1-0 win at QPR last Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s side have been joint top or top of the table since the opening day of the season and are on course to break Manchester United’s 1993/94 record of 262 consecutive days at the summit.

Chelsea seek another piece of history, too, hoping remain unbeaten for an unprecedented eighth straight clash against United.

The Blues need just 11 points from their last seven games to secure the title and victory over United would be a huge step towards landing title odds of 1/33, which seems remarkably short given they still have to face Arsenal and Liverpool. That said, they also have a game in hand on all their immediate rivals.

United (3.90), eight points behind and winners of their last six, are 2.98 in the Premier League Without Chelsea market, odds that will shorten should they beat Chelsea for only the second time in 10 tries.

Chelsea have scored at least once in 11 of the last 12 meetings with United at Stamford Bridge and nine of the last 12 meetings saw both sides net.

VERDICT: Chelsea 1 Man Utd 3 @ 32.00

BEST BET: Both teams to score @ 1.83


Dead man walking: Pellegrini

Manchester City (odds: 1.26) have lost four of their last six games and are only four points ahead of Liverpool in the race for the final Champions League place.

West Ham (12.50) have traditionally reverted to type. It was old hairy Frank Lampard who prophetically said the Hammers came down with the Christmas decorations and since Boxing Day, they have won just two of their 15 league games.

City have won 13 of the last 19 meetings with West Ham, losing juts twice, and have won three of the last four meetings to nil.

Both Manuel Pellegrini and Sam Allardyce are dead men walking. Neither coach is expected to survive at the helm of his respective club beyond this season, yet both sides remain in the top nine and both may well be playing in Europe next season, with West Ham getting in through the back door marked ‘Fair Play’.

Seven of the last nine meetings yielded three or more goals, and we can see the Hammers getting caught in the backdraft of an ugly Manchester derby defeat. No side has put four past West Ham this season. That may well change here.

VERDICT: Man City 4 West Ham 0 @ 11.00

BEST BET: Man City 3 or more goals @ 1.93


John Carver
Conspiracy theorist: Carver

You have to sympathise with Newcastle (odds: 3.20) coach John Carver, who insists Newcastle never get big calls going for them. It happened again against Liverpool on Monday. But then cynics might say: when did a big decision last go against Liverpool?

Carver might not relish playing Tottenham (odds: 2.24), ether – another side who have often been the beneficiaries of some dubious penalty decisions and added-time goals this season.

Newcastle are mired in mid-table and one more win should ensure their Premier League status for another year at least. Tottenham, who were out-played by Aston Villa in what looked an old pal’s act last weekend, are still in the hunt for fifth place and a Europa League spot.

There have been just two draws in the last 32 meetings and a stalemate (available at 3.40) is overdue. Seven of the last eight meetings saw three goals or more scored and Spurs have won seven of the last 14 clashes with Newcastle.

Going against the grain, a low-scoring draw is fair value.

Newcastle have not been awarded a penalty at home all season – the only club in the top flight that hasn’t. Tottenham’s five penalty awards is second only to Manchester City and Arsenal (seven each) and no-one has had more penalties awarded against them this season than Spurs (seven).

As with a predicted draw, a penalty awarded in the game is another percentage call.

VERDICT: Newcastle 1 Tottenham 1 @ 6.20

BEST BET: 2 or 3 goals scored @ 2.00  

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Odds are subject to change.

MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Friday Fix – your top trio of bets for Friday

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 Friday, April 2…

Rugby League: Huddersfield v Salford

Two of the teams who offer their fans the MyClubBetting service go head to head in a cracking tea-time clash (6pm).

And it is the Huddersfield Giants who can come out on top, thanks in large part to their kicking game, which is getting ever stronger.

They have great momentum with the pairing of Danny Brough and Jamie Ellis, and their forwards show great finesse and power. The half-backs are also a strong unit, and while they are expected to win, it may be surprising that they can win comfortably.

In what will likely be a high-scoring affair, we don’t feel Salford have the defensive capability to withstand the constant pressure from the Giants’ forwards.

SELECTION: Huddersfield @ 1.38

Tennis: Andy Murray v Tomas Berdych

Value pick: Berdych

It could be worth opposing Andy Murray as he attempts to and a third Miami Open title.

Murray reached the semi-final by seeing off Dominic Thiem in three sets, but he is carrying a nagging shoulder injury.

He will need to feel in top shape to beat Tomas Berdych tonight and set up a likely final against Novak Djokovic, the man who beat him in the Australian Open final and again in the semi-final at Indian Wells.

But Berdych is simply over-priced to reach the final at 2.62. He has six wins over Murray in 11 meetings, although Murray leads 4-3 in hard court battles. The favourite has prevailed in six of the 11 meetings.

SELECTION: Berdych to win @ 2.62

Football: Rely on Rams

Take Derby County to see off Watford in the Championship’s only evening fixture.

This clash invariably sees a positive outcome one way or the other, as none of the last 13 meetings has ended in a draw.

Eight of the last nine meetings saw more three goals or more scored, and that could well be the case again (it is 1.88 for more than 2.5 goals to be scored).

Watford are in the automatic promotion places on goal difference from Middlesbrough and are five points ahead of the fifth-placed Rams.

Derby have had a slew of recent injuries which has not helped their promotion push, but they have lost just three of their 19 home games and have won 11 of them. Only Norwich and Watford, who have played a game more at home, have scored more than their 41 goals at home.

Derby have not won any of their last six games, however, so a bounce-back must be taken on trust.

Watford lost at home to Ipswich in their last match before the international break but seek a fifth victory in six away trips. It won’t be easy for the Rams, but we reckon they are a value bet. That word again. Value.

SELECTION: Derby to win @ 2.04

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service

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MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Thursday Trio – your top sporting 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.

Here’s our offering for Thursday, April 2…

Rugby League: Widnes v Warrington

Danny Galea
Key man: Galea

Widnes have made an indifferent start to the Super League season. Their thumping at St Helens last week saw them drop to two wins, a draw and four defeats for the season.

Warrington have won four and lost three of their seven games as they head into the busy Easter period.

Warrington have won five of the last eight meetings, but the home side has won two of the three clashes on their home turf.

Widnes get a welcome boost with the return of captain Kevin Brown, who was missing for the last three games with a hamstring injury and it also seems likely that back rowers Danny Galea and Danny Tickle, and hooker Lloyd White will be fit.

Warrington have been much the better team this season and something is clearly not clicking with the Vikings, but the return of some key players means they are over-priced at 3.50 in what is effectively a two-horse race (draw is 22.00).

We are not saying Widnes will win, we are saying there is a better chance of winning than their current odds suggest. That represents value in our book.

SELECTION: Widnes @ 3.50

Tennis: Kei Nishikori v John Isner

The Miami Open has provided some excellent tennis and some great results for our betting team.

This quarter-final, between the respective national No.1s, has us in a bit of a quandary, however

Nishikori cruised past David Goffin in straight sets, beating the Belgian 6-1, 6-2. He notched five aces and won 74% of his first serve points in a match that lasted barely 68 minutes.

Isner struggled to edge the higher-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic in a serve-dominated encounter, with the American smashing 25 aces to Raonic’s 12, to close out the match 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a gruelling two hours and 43 minutes.

This will be the first meeting and if the fifth-ranked Japanese star can hit his peak form and handle Isner’s serve, he can progress to the semi-final.

We reckon that Nishikori’s return will win the day and he can win in two sets (at 2.02), but we will play safe.

SELECTION: Nishikori to win @ 1.37

Racing: Broxbourne the best

We’ll make this simple: We are taking a bit of a chance on our sporting tips today, but our racing tip looks a solid selection.

Broxbourne (Ludlow 3:30) won’t be much of a price in the mares’ novices’ hurdle after acquitting herself well in Listed company on her last two runs, following a winning start at Fakenham.

With Double Silver, her main rival on the form book, ruled out, Nicky Henderson’s charge can pay for the Easter eggs.

SELECTION: Broxbourne (3:30 Ludlow)

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service

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MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Wednesday Wager – a duo of top tips!

Both our selections were winners yesterday! Which is nice.

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 a couple of bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

Here’s our offering for Wednesday, April 1…

Football: Coventry v Leyton Orient

Tony Mowbray
Tough battle: Mowbray

Coventry are three points out of the League One relegation zone and Orient are a point from safety. Both have a superior goal difference from those around them in the dogfight.

It appears as though 50 points will ensure safety from dropping into the fourth tier of English football and it seems that three from eight will fall, along with rock-bottom Yeovil.

Orient are without Jobi McAnuff and Ryan Hedges, who are both on international duty, while Coventry midfielder James Maddison is unlikely to feature and Marcus Tudgay (hamstring) is a doubt.

Tony Mowbray’s Coventry have won one game at home in the last five months and that is a stat that should set alarm bells ringing. But they have won three of their last four (all on the road)

Orient (Odds: 2.56) are a well-organised outfit, but while many believe they are too good to go down, they have failed to score in both their last two road games (both losses).

Coventry have enough easy games, including their last two against Crewe and Crawley, to think they will survive.

We tentatively take the hosts to end their home hoodoo at odds of 2.64 but we look for Orient to grab a goal at least.

SELECTION: Both sides to score @ 1.78

Tennis: Serena still the best?

Take Sabine Lisicki to beat Serena Williams in the WTA Miami Open.

Williams holds a 2-1 advantage in all-time meetings – winning on clay and hard court surfaces (thanks to a Lisicki retirement) – with the German winning their sole meeting on grass at Wimbledon two years ago.

Williams has warmed to the task in her last three matches, struggling past Julia Goerges in three sets before getting a tough test from Ana Ivanovic in the last 32. Sara Errani was then swept aside in the last 16.

Lisicki is playing some of the best tennis of her career and has breezed past her first three opponents, including Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last round (6-2, 6-3).

Lisicki has lost one of her last 17 matches – to Simona Halep – in the semi-final of the Indian Wells masters. And that was a walkover.

There is no doubt Serena is odds-on for a reason, but the value lies with the rising German star.

SELECTION: Sabine Lisicki @ 6.00

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service

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