COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK SIX – Your guide to Week 5

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 5 of the 2015/16 NCAAF season…

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

SAN JOSE STATE at AUBURN

(-19.5, Total Points 55)

Saturday, 21:00

Auburn failed to bounce back from their loss at LSU two weeks ago, falling to an alarming 17-9 defeat by Mississippi State last weekend as a 1.5-point favourite.

The demotion of quarterback Jeremy Johnson in favour of Sean White was not altogether a surprise, as Johnson had been struggling. Yet he handled that benching with class and if he sorts out his accuracy issues, he still has a future with the Tigers.

Sean White, Auburn QB
Taking over: Sean White

Auburn moved the ball well but had issues in the red zone, failing to score a touchdown, and while White was having his first experience in college, much less starting, he handled the occasion well. The moment was not too big for him and we expect him to blossom as he becomes more comfortable.

Running back Peyton Barber has been the focus of Auburn’s attack and he is a workhorse whom they will rely upon against San Jose State.

The Spartans are 20-point dogs and will travel across country for the £1.6million cheque they receive for taking their beating.

However, they will fancy their chances. Auburn was a 40-point favourite over Jacksonville State and needed overtime to get past them.

Make no mistake, there are plenty of growing pains for Auburn’s coaches to overcome and the Spartans won’t be overawed, even after last year’s 59-13 pummelling by the Tigers.

Still, we see this is the ideal sub-division foe fillip for Auburn, who are a confident pick to cover the spread.

BEST BET: AUBURN -19.5 @ 1.92

PITTSBURGH at VIRGINIA TECH

(-4.5, Total Points 51)

Saturday, 17:00

Penalties. Yellow flags. Baby yellow ghosts. They have haunted Virginia Tech in their opening three games as they head into their first ACC game of the season.

The Hokies were flagged 11 times for 89 yards in their 35-28 loss to East Carolina last weekend, their third consecutive game of 10 or more penalties, a first in Frank Beamer’s 29 seasons as coach.

They are the most penalised team at 85 yards per game, which ranks 119th among 127 Bowl Subdivision teams.

James Connor, Pittsburgh
Huge loss: James Connor

Clean games guarantee little. Central Florida are 0-4 and are the Bowl Subdivision’s second-lease penalised team. In 2000, Florida State reached the national championship game and were the most penalised team in ACC football history. Oregon advanced to the title game last year, despite ranking 115th in penalty yards.

Yet it does show a sign of pressing too hard, indiscipline or a combination of both. Either way, it makes life harder to win.

Virginia Tech will have to face Pitt without cornerback Kendal Fuller (knee) and running back Shai McKenzie. They will also miss middle linebacker Sean Huelskamp for the first half, as he was ejected in the fourth quarter of the ECU defeat. Fellow linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka is expected to return just two weeks after spraining an MCL in his left knee.

Pittsburgh have been unsettled at quarterback but Tennessee transfer Nate Peterman appears to have secured the role for the time being.

They are also missing a great running back in James Connor, the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 45-37 win over Youngstown State. He will be replaced by a committee of Darrin Hall, Chris James and Qadree Ollison.

Pitt defeated the Akron Zips 24-7 last week but the running game has been struggling and they are playing a third away game in succession. That will take its toll.

We will side with the Hokies to cover the handicap in a game where the score may be lower than the current line.

BEST BET: VIRGINIA TECH -4.5 @ 1.90

WEST VIRGINIA at OKLAHOMA

(-6.5, Total Points 58.5)

Saturday, 17:00

In a battle of unbeaten teams, West Virginia travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on the Sooners in the Big 12 conference opener for both schools.

Both teams are 3-0 and both have outstanding quarterbacks. West Virginia is anchored by Skyler Howard, a junior college transfer who is 58-of-84 passing for 916 yards. He has tossed nine touchdowns and only one interception. He is also a threat on the ground.

Skyler Howard, West Virginia
Sky high: Skyler Howard

Oklahoma passer Baker Mayfield ranks second among FBS players in points responsible for per game (28.0) and third in total offense (400.3 yards). The Sooners also have a bruising rusher in Samaje Perine, who ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns in last season’s 45-33 victory over the Mountaineers.

No.15 ranked Oklahoma allowed 31 first downs and over 600 yards of total offense against Tulsa just over a week ago – and 427 of those yards were through the air.

That is worry news against an attack that has relied heavily on passing, but the Mountaineers running game needs to be productive. They finally got things going on the ground last week against Maryland, with junior back Wendell Smallwood sharing he load with Rushel Shell and a handful of other backs, as they compiled a season-high 304 rushing yards.

The arrival of the N0.23-ranked Mountaineers is a stiff test for Bob Stoops’ team, despite the lowly level of competition they have faced thus far. They are executing Dana Holgorsen’s offense well and have run the ball nearly 50 times more than they have passed.

Where Oklahoma can cause some damage is on the ground. West Virginia’s defence has allowed only one rushing touchdown this season, but opponents have been forced to play catch-up through the air. If there is a chink, it is that opposing running backs are allowing an average of four yards per carry.

This may well be the best West Virginia side that Oklahoma has faced since the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and the Sooners are in for a dogfight.

It should be a great game to watch and we side with the Mountaineers with the points, even though their run defence has big questions to answer.

BEST BET: WEST VRGINIA +6.5 @ 2.00

LOUISVILLE at NC STATE

(-4.5, Total Points 50.5)

Saturday, 17:30

Louisville has lost five of the last six games when it has been a dog, including a 31-24 loss at Auburn and a 20-17 defeat against Clemson earlier this season. They did, however, cover the spread in three of those five games, including both defeats this term.

While the Cardinals have taken their lumps this season against Auburn, Huston and Clemson, the North Carolina State Wolfpack have built their 4-0 record against the likes of Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama. Hardly a murderers’ row.

After routing Samford 45-3 to go 1-3 on the season, they go into this clash in confident mood.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals
Dual threat: Lamar Jackson

NC State have padded their numbers against lesser opposition. They are ranked No.3 in total defence (205.8 yards per game) and run defence (45.9ypg). Opponents are averaging just 2.1 yards per carry.

This are pretty much the same defensive unit that went down 30-18 to Louisville in 2014, but they appear to have improved significantly, allowing only 26 plays of 10 yards or more in their four games.

The Wolfpack’s running attack is averaging 259 yards per game behind the combination of Matt Dayes and Shadrach Thornton.

Louisville have something of a quarterback controversy, with freshman Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon vying for the role. Both are excellent runners and neither are easy to defend.

Jackson has speed and incredible football instincts. He will start against NC State. He broke a 41-year-old school record last week, rushing for 14 yards. He also threw for 212 yards.

We feel Louisville are a better team than their record suggests and that NC State will face their first real test of the season and may well struggle to cover the number.

BEST BET: LOUISVILLE +4.5 @ 1.91

HAWAII at BOISE STATE

(-24.5, Total Points 50.5)

Sunday, 03:15

Hawaii were thumped 28-0 by 19th-ranked Wisconsin last week and they look sure to take a few more lumps against a surprising Boise State Broncos team that went to Virginia and came away with a 56-14 victory.

BSU are on the upswing. Head coach Bryan Harsin has done a remarkable job since replacing Chris Petersen, energising the program and attracting some big-name recruits.

Brett Rypien, Boise State
Big test: Brett Rypien

The Broncos have a very deep defensive line and they also have seven seniors, which means opposing attacks are going to wear down, just as Virginia did last week.

While they dropped a close game to BYU in the last second, quarterback Brett Rypien looked good in making quick decisions against Virginia, but he will be pressured by a marauding Hawaii defence, whose strength is at the linebacker position. Rypien was sacked four times last week and BSU still have a few protection issues to overcome.

They also have to get better in third-down situations.

Hawaii (2-2) lost at Oklahoma and Wisconsin, but they should not be underestimated. After all, they did beat Colorado in their home opener and the Buffaloes have since shown they are not a bad outfit.

The Broncos and Warriors know each other well and while the Broncos should win comfortably, we expect Hawai’i to give a good account of themselves. They can keep within the number.

BEST BET: HAWAII +24.5 @ 1.91

NOTRE DAME at CLEMSON

(+1, Total Points 54)

Sunday, 01:00

Unbeaten Notre Dame (4-0) take their highly-ranked team to Clemson, who are on an 11-game home-winning streak, in arguably the top college game this weekend.

Clemson (3-0) has not played since a Thursday night game at Louisville on September 17, which has caused the Tigers to slip to No.12 in the Associated Press rankings. The 16-day lay-off, which is the longest in the program history since 1918, means there has been plenty of time to formulate a gameplan to face the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish.

Will Fuller, Notre Dame
On the rise: Will Fuller

This should be a classic match-up between Clemson’s secondary and Notre Dame’s talented receivers, who are big and fast. Will Fuller has 22 catches for 454 yards (a 20.64 yards per catch average) and six touchdowns, so the key for the Tigers’ defence will be to shorten the field and prevent the Irish from getting big chunks of yardage that will quieten the fans in Death Valley.

The Irish have started the season 4-0 for the third time in four years and with games against Navy and USC upcoming, this stretch could define them.

Notre Dame picked up a big win over Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets subsequently lost to Duke – so how good are they really?

Clemson will rely on their defence to keep it close and for their sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has completed 74 percent of his passes this season, to win it for them. He is used to the big stage, having almost guided Clemson to a shock win over Florida State in Tallahassee last season and has competed against Georgia, NC State, Georgia Tech and South Carolina.

This is a massive test for the Fighting Irish and we see them sneaking a home win by a narrow margin.

BEST BET: CLEMSON +1 @ 1.91

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WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Premier League Guide

We know you are missing your betting fix. We are, too! But don’t worry, your new, improved club betting service will be arriving very soon. In the meantime, we look to continue our great run and, complete with industry average odds, take a glance at the big matches at both ends of the table…

CYRSTAL PALACE v WEST BROM

ZAHA
Zaha: Full of flair

Saturday lunchtime will see Tony Pulis returning to face his former employers. The Welshman may not have left Selhurst Park on great terms after numerous disputes with owner Steve Parish, but he is still held in high regard by Palace fans after his short but successful tenure at the club.

Pulis has since taken over at West Brom (5.40) who make their first trip to Selhurst Park since April, where they were 2-0 winners.

Crystal Palace (1.80) grabbed a vital away victory at Watford last weekend, with substitute Wilfried Zaha changing the game at Vicarage Road. The England International came off the bench to win his side a penalty, which Yohan Cabaye successfully converted. We expect Zaha to start at the weekend, with Tony Pulis employing a defensive approach to combat the pacey threat posed by the speedy winger and his colleagues.

We see a tight affair ensuing and fancy the home side to grab a narrow win. [CC]

VERDICT: PALACE 1 WEST BROM 0 @ 6.50

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.70

ASTON VILLA v STOKE

GESTEDE
Gestede: Biggest threat

Aston Villa (2.40) are without a league win since the opening game of the season and the pressure is really starting to mount on to-the-point manager Tim Sherwood. In truth, Villa were lucky to only lose by a single goal at Anfield last week and their lack of a natural holding midfield player is still hurting them defensively.

Stoke (3.20) recorded their first league win of the season last time out, grabbing a 2-1 win at home to newly-promoted Bournemouth.

Rudy Gestede netted against Liverpool last weekend and many Villa fans seemed puzzled as to why the powerful striker isn’t starting games on a regular basis. Sherwood has favoured using Gabriel Agbonlahor in a central role, which really hasn’t been successful.

Mark Hughes will be hoping his side can kick on after their first league win. The Potters’ current league position really doesn’t reflect how well they have played at times.

We fancy the visitors to get a point here – at the very least. [CC]

VERDICT: VILLA 1 STOKE 1 @ 7.00

BEST BET: STOKE/DRAW (DOUBLE CHANCE) @ 1.55

BOUNEMOUTH v WATFORD

Callum Wilson
Wilson: Facing six months out

The honeymoon period is almost over for both newly-promoted clubs, who have each won two games apiece in their opening seven.

Bournemouth (2.10) have not compromised their attacking style under Eddie Howe and although refreshingly easy on the eye, their 2-1 defeat at Stoke last week leaves them just two places above the bottom three.

Watford (3.50) have lost just two of their opening seven contests but goals have been hard to come by – they’ve managed just five. Contrastingly, they have conceded just six.

Bournemouth have beaten Watford just twice in the last nine meetings, although they have been unbeaten in their last three clashes.  The Cherries won this corresponding fixture 2-0 in the Championship last season.

Bournemouth have suffered a major blow with the loss of top striker Callum Wilson, who suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury at Stoke. Bournemouth are already without their two most expensive signings – full-back Tyrone Mings for the season and winger Max Gradel for six months – after they both suffered knee injuries against Leicester last month.

Neither side is particularly potent and both will be keen to keep things tight at the back.

We reckon the Cherries could be a bit of value at a shade of odds against to steal the points, however. [SM]

VERDICT: BOURNEMOUTH 1 WATFORD 0 @ 8.00

BEST BET: BOURNEMOUTH TO BE WINNING AT HT OR FT @ 1.67

MAN CITY v NEWCASTLE

DE BRUYNE
De Bruyne: Settled well

Manchester City (1.25) have been bought down to earth with a bang after losing their last two league games. Manuel Pellegrini will have been infuriated with the lack of ball retention in their unconvincing 4-1 defeat away at Tottenham last week.

Newcastle (13.50) are still without a league win under Steve McClaren, however they will take encouragement after their battling draw with Chelsea last weekend.

As bad as Man City were defensively against Tottenham, they will still take encouragement from the amount of chances they created. New man Kevin de Bruyne has settled into English football with ease and looks as though he will be a key man for the Sky Blues this season.

The Newcastle faithful will be under no false illusions following their draw with Chelsea, with the Champions producing a wasteful, below-par performance.

Man City romped to victory in this fixture last season, winning 5-0. We fancy them to return to winning ways on Saturday, with another comfortable home victory over The Magpies. [CC]

VERDICT: MAN CITY 3 NEWCASTLE 0 @ 8.50

BEST BET: MAN CITY -1 (HANDICAP) @ 1.67

NORWICH v LEICESTER

VARDY
Vardy: In great form

Last weekend, Claudio Ranieri saw his Leicester (3.25) side lose in the league for the first time since he took over in the summer. That said, The Foxes won’t be too annoyed as their opponents, Arsenal, were simply fantastic and would have beaten most sides in the league with such a performance.

Norwich (2.30) are benefitting from limited activity in the summer transfer window, already looking like an established Premier League side. The Canaries got a decent draw away at West Ham last week, but will be a little disappointed after conceding a late injury time equaliser at Upton Park.

Jamie Vardy is in fantastic form and Leicester fans will be hoping that continues. The energetic front man is the Premier League’s top goal-scorer after netting twice against Arsenal last weekend to take his league tally to six.

Alex Neil has favoured an attacking style since taking over at Norwich, with players like Nathan Redmond and Robbie Brady flourishing under the Scotsman.

These two sides are yet to record a clean sheet between them in the league this season and with that in mind, we fancy a scoring draw at Carrow Road. [CC]

VERDICT: NORWICH 2 LEICESTER 2 @ 14.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.75

SUNDERLAND v WEST HAM

Pop Robson
Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson: Loved

Sunderland (3.00) are rock bottom of the Premier League and have scored just six goals as they seek a first win of the season. 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!

West Ham (2.30) have no such problems in finding the net. Along with Leicester, they top the scoring charts with 15 goals in their opening seven matches, which have included wins at Arsenal (2-0), Liverpool (3-0) and Manchester City (2-1). Their two defeats – to Bournemouth and Leicester – both came at home, they have conceded just once on their travels and three of their next four games are on the road.

Sunderland have won three of their last 18 home league games dating back a calendar year and great support they may have, should they struggle to break down an effective counter-attacking unit, the home crowd will become restless.

West Ham have beaten better teams on the road this season and while they will be expected to take the points, we think the Black Cats can stymie their startlingly good run and the Londoners will do well to take a point. [SM]

VERDICT: SUNDERLAND 1 WEST HAM 1 @ 6.50

BEST BET: DOUBLE CHANCE – SUNDERLAND/DRAW @ 1.57

CHELSEA v SOUTHAMPTON

Jose
Jose Mourinho: Under scrutiny

Something is not quite right at Stamford Bridge. The Champions are suffering a hangover and they have failed to win five of their seven Premier League matches after coming from behind to draw 2-2 at lowly Newcastle.

Southampton (5.00) have won four of the last 27 meetings with Chelsea (1.70) and have won just three times at Stamford Bridge since 1989. They have drawn their three away games this season.

Saints have scored just twice on the road this season – both goals coming at Newcastle on opening day. The failed to register at both Watford and West Brom.

Chelsea have netted in all three home games, but have managed just one win on their own turf and are coming into this off a tough Champions League trip to Porto.

We still think the Blues are a fair price to register a victory and it is only a matter of time before their frustrations are taken out on someone. [SM]

VERDICT: CHELSEA 3 SOUTHAMPTON 0 @ 13.00

BEST BET: HT / FT – CHELSEA / CHELSEA @ 2.50

EVERTON v LIVERPOOL

Daniel Sturridge2
Back with a bang: Sturridge

Everton (2.70) have come off worst in the Merseyside derby in recent years. In fact, they have won just one of the last 20 meetings and just three of the last 34.

Brendan Rodgers remains under fire and while Liverpool (2.68) have found their scoring touch since Daniel Sturridge returned from injury, their dodgy defence, which shipped 50 and 48 goals respectively in the last two league campaigns, remains a work in progress.

Everton’s sole defeat came at the hands of Manchester City but they have kept three/four clean sheets in their opening seven games. Liverpool’s three clean sheets at the start of the season seems a distant memory and they have conceded nine goals in their last four games.

There have been five draws in the last six meetings, but we think the Blue half of Stanley Park will be in full voice at the end of this game, in what may well be Rodgers’ last in charge. Both teams to score at 1.70 seems a fair bet. [SM]

VERDICT: EVERTON 2 LIVERPOOL 1 @ 10.00

BEST BET: EVERTON WIN AND BOTH SIDES SCORE @ 5.00

ARSENAL v MAN UTD

SANCHEZ
Sanchez: Back to his best

It may not be as eagerly anticipated as it was when Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Sir Alex Ferguson were present, but Arsenal v Manchester United is still a fixture that gets fans purring.

Both sides are coming off convincing league victories last time out. Arsenal (2.05) ended Leicester’s unbeaten record with their 5-2 win at The King Power Stadium, while Manchester United (4.10) continued Sunderland’s miserable run with a convincing 3-0 home win.

Louis van Gaal got his tactics spot on in this fixture last season, adopting a successful counter attacking style in their 2-1 victory. The Dutchman may need to do the same this year, especially considering the goal-scoring form of speedy Arsenal pair Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott.

Wayne Rooney finally opened his account in the league last weekend, and the powerful frontman has a wonderful record against The Gunners.

We can see the two sides cancelling each other out and like the look of the draw here. [CC]

VERDICT: ARSENAL 1 MAN UNITED 1 @ 7.50

BEST BET: THE DRAW @ 3.70

SWANSEA v TOTTENHAM

Heung-Min Son
Instant impact: Heung-Min Son

This is one of the more attractive weekend fixtures and if the form of recent meetings is anything to go by, Swansea (2.63) may well suffer their first home defeat of the season.

For Tottenham have won the last seven meetings and eight of the last nine (with one draw). Indeed, the Swans have won just two of the last 12 meetings.

Tottenham (2.63) have won their last three, having opened the season with a loss and three consecutive draws. They found their form with a bang last weekend, coming from behind to beat Manchester City 4-1.

Swansea have won two of their opening seven games – both at home, but have managed just one goal in their last three league games since dispatching Manchester United 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

Spurs look tidy going forward. The signing’s South Korea’s Heung-Min Son from Bayer Leverkusen of and young English midfielder Dele Alli from MK Dons will look significant pieces of business by the end of the season and it can only be a matter of time before the latter gets his first full England cap.

Tottenham have a happy knack of scoring late goals and the last goal to be scored after the 73rd minute may well pay off at around 1.91.

We will take the Londoners to maintain their excellent form in a tough game to call. [SM]

VERDICT: SWANSEA 1 TOTTENHAM 2 @ 10.00

BEST BET: TOTTENHAM WIN, DRAW NO BET @ 1.80

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NFL PICK SIX – Your betting guide to Week 3

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 3 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)

WASHINGTON at NEW YORK GIANTS

Eli Manning
Mistakes: Eli Manning

Friday, 01:25

(-3.5, Total Points 44.5)

Week 3 of the NFL season gets off to a cracking start with a huge NFC East division rivalry.

Neither team has looked particularly impressive in their opening two games. Washington lost at home to Miami before handling St Louis 24-10, the Rams suffering a let-down after knocking off NFC champion Seattle in their opener.

The Giants have lost their opening two games, holding double-digit leads against Dallas and Atlanta before succumbing. Yet they are not out of the NFC race. The Cowboys may be 2-0, but they are without first-string quarterback Tony Romo, who is ruled out with a broken collar-bone for at least six weeks, while the Philadelphia Eagles have looked offensively poor in their two openers.

The Giants have a great record when hosting the Redskins, having won nine of the last 12 meetings, including the last three, and 14 of the last 18 meetings overall.

Eli Manning should be able to take the game on his shoulders following two games where miss-management of the game clock cost them both times. In both defeats, much of the blame can be laid at his door.

Washington’s running game has been effective in their first two outings, but we still take the Giants to cover the handicap.

VERDICT: NY GIANTS 27 WASHINGTON 13

BEST BET: NY GIANTS -4 @ 1.90

INDIANAPOLIS at TENNESSEE

Andrew Luck 3
Bounce back: Andrew Luck

Sunday, 18:00

(+3.5, Total Points 45.5)

Something is amiss in Indianapolis. The Colts, who were expected to win the AFC South at a canter, are now staring at an 0-3 start after losing their opener to Buffalo before being upset at home by the New York Jets.

The Colts have had an on-going problems with their offensive line and have done little to rectify it in the offseason. Quarterback Andrew Luck has been blitzed on 47.9 per cent of his dropbacks and has consequently turned the ball over six times – five interceptions and a lost fumble.

The Colts rebounded from an 0-2 start last season to take the AFC South and reach the AFC Championship game. Since they drafted Andrew Luck, the Colts are 6-7 in September. Slow starts are the norm. They are still a best-priced 1.33 to take the division and they face a Tennessee Titans team who looked good in winning their opener at home, but were decisively beaten in Cleveland last Sunday. This is not yet tie to hit the panic button, especially since they face the leagues’ second-weakest schedule, based on last year’s records.

Every team in the AFC South has suffered at least one loss in their first two games, so the Colts are hardly off the pace.

And if history is anything to go by, they should get it, since they have beaten the Titans 12 times in the last 13 meetings.

The Titans are a young team. Young teams can look good one week and bad the next week, but there is universal support for rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, who needs better protection if he is to play up to his vast potential. He was sacked seven times in Cleveland and took a battering. But each time he got up and is, what they call in the trade, a ‘gamer’.

With Chance Warmack a short-term absentee, those line problems will only get worse.

The Titans secondary is also suspect and that is not great news entering a game against a frustrated Luck, whose Colts were beset by penalties and turnovers in the first two weeks.

This is the ideal opportunity for Indy to get back on track. They should be heavier favourites and the fact that they are not signals alarm bells. However, we still take them to come out on top.

VERDICT: INDIANAPOLIS 31 TENNESSEE 13

BEST BET: INDIANAPOLIS -4 @ 1.91

PHILADELPHIA at NY JETS

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Veteran leadership: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Sunday, 18:00

(-1.5, Total Points 46)

This is one of the more surprising handicap lines of the week. The New York Jets are 2-0 after beating Cleveland at home and Indianapolis on the road on Monday night.

The Eagles have never lost to the New York Jets in nine previous meetings, although their four previous meetings in New York have been relatively close affairs.

The Eagles have struggled offensively. The managed 10 points against Dallas at home, managed 21 yards of offense in the first half, and are averaging 35 rushing yards per game. They have converted just five of 23 first downs. Their seven rushing yards against the Cowboys were the fewest since a minus-12 tally against Washington in 1961. Worse still, the eagles lost yardage on 21.2 percent of their carries and running back Demarco Murray left practice on Wednesday with a hamstring injury.

The loss of Jeremy Maclin from the receiving corps has also hampered Chip Kelly’s offense, who go up against one of the best front sevens in the NFL.

The Jets have moved the ball well enough under the veteran leadership of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they could be without a key receiver in Eric Decker, who has a sprained ankle.

The Jets fly to London to take on the Miami Dolphins at Wembley next week and they fancy their chances of arriving unbeaten.

We see the Eagles just having enough to get by the surprising Jets, who appear to have finally found an identity.

VERDICT: PHILADELPHIA 20 NY JETS 17

BEST BET: PHILADELPHIA WIN @ 2.25

BUFFALO at MIAMI

Ryan Tannehill
Lacks composure: Ryan Tannehill

Sunday, 21:25

(-2.5, Total Points 43.5)

Miami have not lived up to pre-season expectations while Buffalo have been every bit as good as advertised, yet both teams come into this pivotal AFC East clash with 1-1 records.

The Dolphins have had their struggles defensively, despite paying defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh $114m with $60m guaranteed over six years. The Dolphins defence allowed 396 total yards against a Jacksonville team that, on paper, looked overmatched. They also allowed 123 yards in the ground and failed to sack quarterback Blake Bortles.

The Dolphins knew that if their young players and those coming off injury did not play well, they would have concerns at the cornerback position and a major problem along the offensive line.

Those concerns have come to fruition, yet the lack of leadership by quarterback Ryan Tannehill is also a massive issue, one that is seldom highlighted.

His third-down efficiency is poor, he has yet to prove he can close out games, his deep ball is virtually non-existent and the receiving corps have been recast to his strengths – yet he still can’t get it done. Miami’s dink-and-dunk offense simply hasn’t been effective and they have almost abandoned the running game, because their tackles cannot block well enough.

Tannehill also has a nasty habit of holding onto the ball too long and that has made the offensive line look worse than it is.

Buffalo’s defence was gashed for 40 points by Super Bowl champion New England last week and although they rallied, the 40-32 scoreline was not a fair reflection of the Patriots’ dominance.

Rex Ryan’s defence tests the secondary and Miami may not be able to exploit the fact that Stephon Gilmore is injured, while veteran corner Leodis McKelvin won’t play until Week 7 at the earliest.

While the Bills could be decent this year, the fear is that they will suffer next season, as they have salary cap issues after overpaying for ‘Shady’ McCoy and Charles Clay, and they have aging players like Kyle Wlliams, Mario Williams and McKelvin. Can they sign all of Marcel Dareus, Gilmore and Cody Glenn? The feeling is they won’t be able to.

We fancy the Bills to come out of this with a victory, as Tannehill and the Dolphins’ offense continues to struggle.

VERDICT: BUFFALO 27 MIAMI 23

BEST BET: BUFFALO WIN @ 2.37

SAN DIEGO at MINNESOTA

Philip Rivers
Road warrior: Philip Rivers

Sunday, 18:00

(-2.5, Total Points 44.5)

The San Diego Chargers are our best bet for an away win this weekend.

They travel to Minnesota hoping to avoid dropping to 2-1 on the season following their defeat in Cincinnati on Sunday. The Vikings dispatched Detroit at home last week and are considered 2.5-point favourites to get off to a 2-1 start. San Diego lost on their last two trips to Minnesota but have never lost on three consecutive visits.

This game is not one on everybody’s NFL radar but San Diego present a decent betting opportunity, particularly with a 2.5-point start on the handicap. The series between the two has alternated W/L for each team in the last 11 meetings. The Chargers won the last meeting and may do so again, bucking this particular trend. We think Philip Rivers will have a big night against a suspect Vikings’ secondary.

VERDICT: SAN DIEGO 23 MINNESOTA 17

BEST BET: SAN DIEGO WIN @ 2.10

ATLANTA at DALLAS

Julio Jones
Big threat: Julio Jones

Sunday, 18:00

(+1.5, Total Points 45)

Tony Romo’s broken collar bone means that Brandon Weeden is entrusted with the Dallas Cowboys’ offense against an Atlanta Falcons team who have also started 2-0.

Both teams earned their respective victories against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

Falcons have won just one of the last six trips to Dallas and they are somewhat surprising favourites, given that their ground game could be ineffective after rookie Tevin Coleman injured his rib against the Giants and may not play.

Julio Jones will still be a major threat. The Falcons leading receiver has 22 receptions for 276 yards and two touchdowns and if the Cowboys fail to get a consistent pass rush on quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons have a big chance.

The Cowboys ae also without star receiver Dez Bryant, but they do have the best offensive line in the NFL and will look to control the tempo on the ground with Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden.

The Cowboys’ defence has allowed just one touchdown in two games and while they are addled by key injuries, they may well overcome the odds.

VERDICT: DALLAS 23 ATLANTA 13

BEST BET: DALLAS +2.5 @ 1.80

Odds and handicap lines are subject to change. You must be 18+ to bet.
Please bet responsibly
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK SIX – Your betting guide to Week 4

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 4 of the 2015/16 NCAAF season…

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

MISSISSIPPI ST at AUBURN

Dak Prescott
Big threat: Dak Prescott

(-1.5, Total Points 57)

Sunday, 00:30

Auburn received a wake-up call at Tiger Stadium last week when run all over by LSU in 24-point loss.

That is two dismal back-to-back performances in a row but it hasn’t overly affected odds-makers, who have made Auburn favourites for their SEC opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn have failed to cover the handicap in all three games this season but we reckon they are the bet of the week to beat a field-goal spread.

As we stated last week, we are not sold on Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson, and it is possible that there could be a change at the key position this week.

Johnson has had issues with accuracy all season, completing 59.7 percent of his passes for 473 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions.

Auburn’s offense was expected to be one of the best in the nation but has yet to live up to its billing and if Johnson fails to improve in a hurry, expect to see redshirt freshman Sean White taking the snaps.

Mississippi State rolled past Northwestern State 63-13 last weekend on the back of dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott, who completed 10 of 11 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He also became MSU’s all-time leading passer.

MSU’s offensive line is a good unit but there were signs against Northwestern State that their defence can be exploited. There were too many arm tackles and missed tackles and that has to be addressed if they are to make a run on the SEC.

MSU will use the run to set up the pass and spread Auburn’s defence. But we think the Tigers will be a lot stouter against the run than they were last week and Johnson cannot possibly be worse than he was against LSU. We take the Tiers to cover the three-point spread but the sensible bet is to back them in the outright market.

BEST BET: AUBURN TO WIN @ 1.72

OKLAHOMA ST at TEXAS

Jerrod Heard
Jerrod Heard: Spark

(+3.5, Total Points 61.5)

Saturday, 20:30

Donald Trump is set to make an appearance on Friday at the Oklahoma State Fair. We feel their pain.

In other news, the OSU Cowboys crushed UTSA 69-14 last Saturday, forcing seven turnovers to give them a 17-2 record against non-conference opponents since 2010. They take a perfect 3-0 record into the start of conference play this weekend.

Yet that record has not come without a few rocky moments. They certainly did not look like Big 12 contenders in their 24-13 win over Central Michigan, as their offense was sub-par and its kicking game was awful (two missed field goals).

They also have a sophomore quarterback in Mason Rudolph, who has only played five games. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket at times and missed some big plays with inaccurate throws.

Texas struggled mightily against the run in a heart-breaking 45-44 defeat to California last weekend, showing great character to come back from a large deficit.

The change to redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard appears to have provided the Longhorns with a much-needed spark. He set a school record of 527 yards of total offense (364 yards passing and 163 yards on the ground), with his scrambling skills giving the Cal Bears’ defence fits.

The lack of depth at the safety position and an inexperienced secondary means that Texas start as underdogs for the Big 12 opener.

However, they are worth chancing, as the Longhorns appear to have found a quarterback for the future who can lead the team.

BEST BET: TEXAS +3 @ 1.91

TENNESSEE at FLORIDA

Jalen Hurd
High and tight: Jalen Hurd

(-2, Total Points 48.5)

Saturday, 20:30

Tennessee (2-1) and Florida (3-0) will face each other for the 45th time and the Gators hold a 25-19 edge in the series. They have also won the last 10 meetings since losing 30-28 thanks to a late field goal on Sept, 18, 2004.

The Vols are coming off a 55-10 home win over Western Carolina, while Florida won their SEC opener 14-9 over Kentucky.

Tennessee has scored 138 points over its first three games and 50-plus in two of their three games, with the ground game leading the charge. Jalen Hurd is averaging over 100 yards per game and Alvin Kamara 65ypg.

Jim McElwain’s Gators had home wins over New Mexico State and East Carolina before winning at Kentucky last weekend – a game in which they struggled offensively. They sit at No.40 in the Associated Press Top 25 and while Tennessee began the year in the top 25, they have dropped to No 28 after blowing out a 14-point lead on its home field to Oklahoma.

Tennessee, touted as SEC contenders, need to get over the Florida hump after a decade of losing. The Gators are playing with the house money as a team a new head coach and no real expectations, but their defence is ranked in the top three of the SEC in eight defensive categories, including scoring (15.3 points per game), rushing (55.3 yards per game) and total defence (258ypg).

The Vols are no sure thing, having given up almost 600 yards in the opener to Bowling Green and their defensive line has registered just two sacks through three games.

However, we look for the Vols to gain a massive psychological fillip by laying the bogey. The fact that they receive 2.5 points is an added bonus and they can be backed at 1.90 to keep within that handicap.

BEST BET: TENNESSEE WIN @ 2.10

MARYLAND at WEST VIRGINIA

Caleb Rowe
Interceptions: Caleb Rowe

(-15.5, Total Points 59.5)

Saturday, 20:00

We were burned by a couple of underdogs who were not expected to keep within lofty handicaps last week and given the history between West Virginia and Maryland, the percentages would suggest that taking the Terrapins with a 15.5-point start in Morgantown could pay off.

The Mountaineers have won eight of the last nine meetings but recent meetings on their own patch have been relatively close encounters. WVU have won by 10, 14, 21, 3, 3 22 17 and 13 points in their last eight meetings in Morgantown, mostly when favoured by more than two touchdowns against their unranked opponents.

This will be West Virginia’s first real test of the season after beating Georgia Southern and Liberty by a combined 68 points in its first two games.

Maryland rebounded from a 48-27 loss to Bowling Green two weeks ago with a 35-17 win over South Florida, with Caleb Rowe passing for 297 yards and four touchdowns. However, he was also picked off three times.

That could be a major factor in the game. He has now been picked off five times this season and the Mountaineers’ decent defence will provide a stiff test for Rowe.

We are not putting our faith in the trends on this occasion. West Virginia should roll to a comprehensive victory and we look for a scoreline of around 38-17, with the hosts covering the spread.

BEST BET: WEST VIRGINIA -15.5 @ 1.72

BYU at MICHIGAN

Tanner Magnum
Impressive: Tanner Magnum

(-5.5, Total Points 45.5)

Saturday, 17:00

This is potentially one of the games of the week for the neutral. BYU are the Leicester City of College Football, having made a habit of coming back from deficits to win.

They came up with last-minute victories against Nebraska and Boise State but last week, again as underdogs, fell short, going down 24-23 to then-No.10 UCLA. Tanner Magnum, a true freshman quarterback, has been impressive. He led them on a 43-yard dive in the fourth quarter only to be intercepted with 58 seconds remaining.

BYU will have to do a better job of defending the run against a Michigan team who have been surprisingly good on the ground. While they limited their first two opponents to 2.8 yards per carry, they received a wake-up call last time, surrendering 296 yards on 38 carries.

Michigan have struggled to move the ball through the air but have averaged 239.5 yards on the ground in victories against Oregon State and UNLV.

Iowa transfer quarterback Jake Ruddock has been up and down for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, throwing five interceptions. The BYU defence is tied for the FBS lead with seven interceptions and that opportunistic group could have an impact.

The x-factors are the vast crowd, which is expected to top 100,000, and the exertions of BYU going on the road for the third time on four weeks.

Still, we take a chance on the Cougars, who have kept things close on each outing. Michigan are still in a rebuilding mode and until Harbaugh gets the shaky QB position under control, the Wolverines will remain vulnerable.

BEST BET: BYU +5.5 @ 1.90

GEORGIA TECH at DUKE

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson: Not pleased

(+7.5, Total Points 56.5)

Saturday, 17:00

A measure of revenge and a wake-up call are the two factors that sway us to backing Georgia Tech when they play their ACC opener at Duke.

Duke upset Georgia Tech in Atlanta last season and suffered a set-back last week when losing 30-22 to Notre Dame in South Bend last week.

There were plenty of blown assignments from Paul Johnson’s team who looked a little wide-eyed early on in front of a big crowd. In particular, the offensive line were vulnerable to the Notre Dame pass rush and the blocking was awful at times.

A couple of inexperienced backs missed some gaping holes and the secondary missed a few tackles, yet they were still within a score of Notre Dame at the death.

Duke pulled off a stunning 31-25 upset at Bobby Dodd Stadium last season and are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, a 1910 defeat at home to No.17-ranked Northwestern.

The Blue Devils are allowing just 93.3 yards on the ground per game and their defence will provide a stiff test for the Yellow Jackets, who annually rank among the best rushing teams in the country. Georgia have rolled up over 300 yards in all but one of their victories over Duke since 2008, but were held to 282 rushing yards in last season’s defeat.

We see Georgia Tech making some strides and correcting mistakes this week, as they roll to an easy victory.

BEST BET: GEORGIA TECH -7.5 @ 1.77

Odds and handicap lines are subject to change. You must be 18+ to bet.
Please bet responsibly
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WEEKEND PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: THE MCB BETTING GUIDE

At present, our club betting sites are still unavailable as we carry out vital maintenance to install our new, bigger and better sportsbook, which will be launched very shortly.

Our successful tipping team has taken an in-depth look at the weekend’s Premier League games and suggested where to put your money.

Planning a weekend accumulator? Well why not follow our tipsters for some winning selections?

All the odds we have provided are average industry prices and were correct at the time of publish.

We wish you the best of luck…

TOTTENHAM v MAN CITY

Aguero: Searching for form

Mauricio Pochettino will be rather relieved after Tottenham (4.15) picked up their first Premier League win of the season at home to Crystal Palace last week. Son Heung-Min was the difference in the 1-0 win, scoring his first league goal for his new club.

On the other hand, Manuel Pellegrini will be scratching his head after Manchester City (1.90) suffered a shock defeat at home to West Ham.

Manchester City have a terrific record in this fixture and have lost just once in their last five trips to White Hart Lane. Goals always seem to be on the agenda when these two meet. In their last eight encounters, four or more total goals have been scored on six occasions.

Sergio Aguero will be the key man here. The prolific Argentine has yet to find any sort of goal-scoring form so far this season, but we fancy him to turn a corner in a comfortable win for the visitors.

VERDICT: TOTTENHAM 1 MAN CITY 3 @ 15.00

BEST BET: MAN CITY TO WIN @ 1.90

LEICESTER v ARSENAL

Mahrez: Leading scorer

Arsenal (1.85) will feel rather hard done by after their loss against Chelsea last week. Arsene Wenger’s men finished the game with nine men after both Gabriel and Santi Cazorla were dismissed.

Leicester (4.25) continued their dream start to the campaign against Stoke last time out. The Foxes battled back from 2-0 down to get a vital away draw, with Riyad Mahrez once again getting on the scoresheet.

The two sides shared the points in last season’s meeting at the King Power Stadium, with both teams getting on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw.

Neither side have looked particularly assured in defence this season, with Leicester yet to keep a single clean sheet in the league this season.

Arsenal have recorded three clean sheets, however they have not looked particularly convincing, particularly at home to Liverpool where they had keeper Petr Cech to thank.

Taking that into account, we fancy both teams to score here, in a narrow away win.

VERDICT: LEICESTER 1 ARSENAL 2 @ 9.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.60

LIVERPOOL v ASTON VILLA

Sherwood: Under pressure

Brendan Rodgers is starting to feel the pressure from his own supporters. Liverpool (1.45) seem to have gone backwards after a solid start to the season, and their disappointing draw at home to Norwich won’t have helped matters.

Another man who may be fearing for his job is Tim Sherwood. Aston Villa (7.75) have not managed to win since the opening game of the season, and are winless in their last five league games.

Christian Benteke will be facing his former side for the first time since leaving Villa Park in the summer. Daniel Sturridge is fit again, and his partnership with Benteke will be vital for Liverpool this season, if both men can stay fit.

Villa possess a solid defensive unit. Experienced pair Micah Richards and Jolean Lescott like to organise at the heart of their back four and both men have a wonderful reading of the game. However, Villa’s problem lies in the middle of their midfield. The reason they are conceding goals and losing games is because they rarely employ a natural holding midfield player, which allows the defence to become over exposed. If this continues on Saturday then Liverpool could have a field day.

VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 2 VILLA 0 @ 7.50

BEST BET: LIVERPOOL -1 (HANDICAP) @ 2.25

MAN UTD v SUNDERLAND

Martial: Big money arrival

Whether it was a panic buy or not, the impact that 19-year-old Anthony Martial has made since arriving from Monaco has been immense. Three goals in two games – both victories – has propelled United (1.25) to within two points of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

United have lost just once this term (to Swansea) but have scored three times in their last two fixtures. All looks rosy, but they have been far from convincing and things could change in the next month or so, with tricky fixtures upcoming against Arsenal (A), Everton (A), Man City (H) and Crystal Palace (A). They also have the Champions League and Capital One Cup to contend with in that time.

United have lost just two of their last 28 meetings with Sunderland (11.00) who have won once at Old Trafford since May 1968. The Black Cats are still searching for their first win the season and unless they can win here or against West Ham next week, it is highly possible that Dick Advocaat will walk away from is managerial post.

We see this as a routine home win. Anything else would be a major shock.

VERDICT: MAN UTD 2 SUNDERLAND 0 @ 6.00

BEST BET: EXACTLY 2 OR 3 GOALS @ 2.00

SOUTHAMPTON v SWANSEA

Gomis: Natural finisher

For long spells, Southampton (2.10) out-played Manchester United in their 3-2 home defeat last Sunday. Defensive lapses cost them dearly and where they were winning away games last year, they are drawing them in this campaign. They have managed just one win at home and have lost two of their three at St Mary’s.

Swansea (3.50) have yet to win on the road, having drawn at Chelsea on opening day, earned another point at Sunderland and suffered a single-goal defeat at Watford. They won this fixture 1-0 last season, their first win at Southampton in six previous attempts.

The last six meetings between the two have seen less than three goals in total but we reckon it is a fair bet that trend will end, as both sides look potent up front, with Graziano Pelle notching four goals in six starts for the Saints and Bafetimbi Gomis netting as many for Swansea.

Tough call, but we will take a chance on a score draw.

VERDICT: SOUTHAMPTON 2 SWANSEA 2 @ 15.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.83

STOKE v BOURNEMOUTH

Wilson: Made a fine start

Stoke (2.63) were expected to challenge for the European places this season, yet they have still to record their first win, having drawn three and lost three. They allowed a two-goal lead to slip against Leicester at home on Saturday and were lucky not to lose.

We still can’t see the Potters being in a relegation battle and they will start picking up points very soon, although upcoming games against Aston Villa (A), Swansea (A), Watford (H) and Newcastle (A) will provide a better barometer.

Bournemouth (2.70) have visited Stoke four times and lost on each occasion. They have managed two win and a draw in their six games thus far, including taking the scalp of West Ham at the Boleyn Ground.

In Callum Wilson the Cherries have a burgeoning star, who learned his trade at Coventry City before loan spells at Kettering and Tamworth. He netted 20 times in Bournemouth’s promotion-winning campaign and has already scored five times in six games in the top flight.

We see Wilson causing plenty of problems for a Stoke defence that has made several individual errors and while City should get their first win, we expect the visitors to grab at least one goal.

VERDICT: STOKE 3 BOURNEMOUTH 1 @ 21.00

BEST BET: STOKE -1 (HANDICAP) @ 5.50

WEST HAM v NORWICH

Bilic: Focussed

Oddest quote of the week came from Slaven Bilic, who said West Ham’s (2.18) win at Manchester City was like walking into a pub full of women. Not bad for someone who is teetotal.

Bilic’s side have won at Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City. They have won three on the spin and sit in third place in the table, three points behind Man City. It is enough to Hammers’ fans a nose bleed.

Furthermore, they have scored at least once in every game and have conceded just once on their travels.

Their home form has been spotty, having suffered defeats by Leicester and Bournemouth – teams they should ordinarily beat – before getting off the mark with a convincing 2-0 win over Newcastle last week.

Norwich (3.30) are still adjusting to life in the top flight, but gained notable road success winning at Sunderland and taking a point from Liverpool last Sunday.

Their record at the Boleyn Ground in recent years has been sketchy – they have not won in their last seven visits and have managed just four wins in their last 18 dating back to 1972. Indeed, they have managed just two wins against the Hammers in the last 13 meetings overall.

This could be a tight affair and while the hosts should win, the odds for a West Ham win are much bigger than they should be. That is a red flag to us. Call us conspiracy theorists, but we take the Canaries to cause a shock.

VERDICT: WEST HAM 1 NORWICH 3 @ 26.00

BEST BET: NORWICH/DRAW (DOUBLE CHANCE) @ 1.67

NEWCASTLE v CHELSEA

Diego Costa: Causing controversy

Newcastle (5.50) appear to be in freefall, picking up two points from their opening six games and enter this clash with the champions on the back of three straight defeats. They have managed just one goal since opening day.

Chelsea have won two of their opening six games but have a poor recent record at St James’ Park, having been beaten on their last three trips.

Saturday’s defeat of Arsenal, controversial though it was, could be the spark that ignites Chelsea’s season. They have a run of games against out-of-form sides upcoming and could easily be top of the table by Boxing Day.

Newcastle have lost just four of the last 11 meetings with Chelsea (1.62) and have lost one of the last five meetings at St James’ Park.

Still, Chelsea are a cut above and can lay that bogey.

VERDICT: NEWCASTLE 1 CHELSEA 3 @ 13.00

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.72

WATFORD v CRYSTAL PALACE

Ighalo: In form

Watford (2.50) are flying under Quique Sanchez Flores. The Hornets were many people’s first choice for relegation, but they look like proving the doubters wrong after successive victories against Swansea and Newcastle.

Many Crystal Palace (2.95) fans considered their loss at Tottenham to be their worst away performance under Alan Pardew and the Eagles will be looking to bounce back immediately at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Watford fans will be hoping that Odion Ighalo can continue his recent form. The Nigerian front-man currently has the best strike-rate in all of England’s top four divisions.

Despite last week’s defeat at White Hart Lane, Palace have one of the best away records in the league dating back to Alan Pardew’s arrival at the club. We fancy the Eagles to bounce back and get at least a point at Vicarage Road.

VERDICT: WATFORD 1 PALACE 1 @ 7.00

BEST BET: PALACE/DRAW (DOUBLE CHANCE) @ 1.55

WEST BROM v EVERTON

Barkley: Talented

West Brom (3.20) grabbed a vital away win in their Midlands derby against Aston Villa last weekend, with Saido Berahino getting the winner in his first start since his deadline-day antics.

Everton (2.40) created an abundance of chances against Swansea last weekend. However, the Merseyside outfit could not find the net and had to settle for a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium. Everton took the points in this fixture last season, winning 2-0.

Ross Barkley looks to have re-found his form after a disappointing campaign. The talented young playmaker has been Everton’s key man this season, with many of their attacks starting with the ball at his feet.

Tony Pulis is a master of nullifying a threat posed by the opposition and we feel the West Brom boss will adopt a defensive approach to combat Everton’s possession-based style. We can see the points being shared at The Hawthorns on Monday evening.

VERDICT: WEST BROM 0 EVERTON 0 @ 8.50

BEST BET: THE DRAW @ 3.30

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2015 TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: THE MCB PREVIEW

By Calum Chinchen

The PGA Tour season concludes this week, with the Tour Championship taking place at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

It won’t just be the Tour Championship trophy that is handed out on Sunday evening. The FedEx Cup winner will also be announced, with the lucky victor pocketing a cool 20 million dollars in the process.

As you know, our club betting services are currently unavailable due to vital maintenance on our sportsbook, which will be launched shortly.

However, we don’t want you to miss out, so we have produced this betting guide to provide you with an in-depth insight into the leading players teeing it up at East Lake this week.

All the prices quoted are an average across the industry and were correct at the time of publish.

Billy Horschel: Won both titles in 2014

Jason Day (4.50) is having a terrific time of late and comes into this event as the pre-tournament favourite. The consistent Aussie has reached number one in the world for the first time in his career, winning in four of his last nine starts, including his maiden major back in August. There is no doubt that Day has turned a corner since his PGA Championship win, after having a reputation for not being able to finish the job when in a leading position.

Day: In great form

We just think the mental and physical impact of Day’s year may finally catch up with him this week, and don’t see him winning at East Lake. That being said, we do fancy him to keep top spot in the FedEx cup and earn that lucrative cheque come Sunday.

He may not admit it, but Jordan Speith (10.00) won’t be overjoyed with what his Australian counterpart has been achieving lately. The young American star looked a certainty to claim the PGA Tour Player of the Year title after impressively capturing the first two majors of the year. That may have changed after Day’s remarkable end to the season, and both men will feel they need a win at East Lake to cement themselves as the Player of the Year.

Speith had an average weekend at the BMW Championship last week and failed to break 70 on either of his final two rounds. In truth, we can’t see the two time major winner adding to his impressive haul this week.

Rory McIlroy (8.00) has endured a strange season. The former world number one had a solid start to the year after claiming the World Matchplay and Wells Fargo titles in quick succession back in May. However, McIlroy damaged ankle ligaments while playing football in July, causing him to miss a handful of important tournaments, including The Open Championship where he was the defending champion.

McIlroy: Back in contention lately

That being said, the impressive Northern Irishman has quickly regained his form since returning, and although he hasn’t won since May, he has been in contention again lately. McIlroy managed a top five finish at the BMW Championship last week and was runner up in this event last year. All the signs are there and we fancy Rory to end the season with victory this week.

East Lake is a course that suits the game of Henrik Stenson (11.50). The powerful Swede has the ability to move the ball both ways, which will be vital on the testing Atlanta track. Stenson knows that a win this week will hand him the FedEx Cup, and he does have a positive association with this event. Stenson won the Tour Championship back in 2013 and also took the FedEx Cup in the process, something he will be hoping to repeat at East Lake this week.

Rickie Fowler (12.50) was replaced as the FedEx Cup leader by Jason Day after The BMW Championship. The popular American claimed the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier this month, and still has a very good chance for FedEx Cup glory. Realistically, Fowler needs to finish in the top two at East Lake, which is something he is yet to achieve in any of his previous Tour Championship appearances.

Berger: Talented rookie

The FedEx Cup playoffs have thrusted young Daniel Berger (75.00) into the limelight. The 22 year-old American has managed to advance all the way to the Tour Championship in his debut season on the PGA Tour, which is no mean feat whatsoever.

Berger has finished as runner-up in the last two events, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he shocked the golfing world at East Lake. The rookie certainly looks over-priced this week and should be tempting the each-way punters out there.

OUR WINNER: RORY MCILROY @ 8.00

EACH WAY VALUE: DANIEL BERGER @ 75.00

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NFL PICK SIX – Your guide to Week 2

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 2 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)

DENVER at KANSAS CITY

Manning Peyton
Peyton Manning: Diminishing arm-strength

Friday, 01:25

(-3.5, Total Points 41.5)

Much has been said and written about Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s diminishing arm strength and the issues he will face in new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system.

And those voices may become louder after the AFC West clash with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are expected to take control of the division with a victory in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Broncos have won four straight at Arrowhead, but have never won five consecutive meetings in Kansas City, so that is one trend they will have to buck.

Manning did not look like the player of old in their 19-13 win over Baltimore in the season opener on Sunday and they have been done no favours travelling off a short week for such a pivotal game.

We can’t remember the last time a Manning-led team saw a points total line set so low (41.5), but the Under has prevailed in seven of the last nine meetings between the two, with another falling on the line.

Kansas City dealt with one of the most talked-about defences in the league last weekend, dismantling the Houston Texans with ease and the feeling is they will cause at least a couple of turnovers.

While we like how Denver’s defence stacks up against the Chiefs, it is a tough game to call. We will tentatively side with the Chiefs to win and cover the handicap, but perhaps the better bet is for Manning to throw two touchdown passes or more.

VERDICT: DENVER 21 KANSAS CITY 27

BEST BET: MANNING OVER 1.5 TDs @ 1.91

MIAMI at JACKSONVILLE

Lamar Miller
Bigger load: Lamar Miller

Sunday, 21:05

(+6.5, Total Points 41.5)

The most famous, or infamous, game in their history was the Jaguars’ wild card playoff victory over Miami in 2000. It will be remembered, among other things, as Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino’s final game and also the last of Jimmy Johnson’s coaching career.

The Dolphins lead the series history 4-2 and this is a banana-skin game for the improving Dolphins, who defeated Washington 17-10 in the capital last weekend on the strength of a punt returned for a touchdown.

There have been plenty of plaudits for Miami QB Ryan Tannehill, but to many Dolphins’ fans, he still takes far too long to make his reads, holds the ball too long and misses open targets on an all-too-regular basis.

Tannehill was sacked three times last week and while some bemoan his offensive line, much of the blame must go down to the passer, who is not instinctive or incisive enough as he starts his third season.

Miami’s defensive line struggled against the run against the Redskins and they must do a better job if they are to challenge New England for the AFC East crown. The play-calling was also pass-heavy against Washington and Lamar Miller needs to be utilised more in the running game.

Jacksonville’s offensive problems continued in a 20-9 loss to Carolina. Having finished 31st in yardage and last in points in 2014, much better was anticipated from Greg Olsen’s offense.

Second-year passer Blake Bortles has all the tools to be an above-average QB in the league and targeting top tight end Marcedes Lewis more will certainly help, especially against a Dolphins team who have perennially struggled against pass-catching tight ends and who did nothing address a lack of depth at the linebacker position in the draft of free agency.

We can see Miami winning this but it may be in the balance until the fourth quarter. This is a game with handicap upset potential, however.

VERDICT: MIAMI 24 JACKSONVILLE 20

BEST BET: JACKSONVILLE +6.5 @ 2.00

NEW ENGLAND at BUFFALO

Richie Incognito
Tough guy: Richie Incognito

Sunday, 18:00

(+1, Total Points 45.5)

There could be a sea-change in the AFC East should Buffalo topple New England – at least for a week or so. But we don’t feel that is going to happen.

Buffalo easily knocked off one of the front-runners for the AFC with a 27-14 victory that was more one-sided than the scoreline suggested last Sunday.

New England also stamped their authority on the conference as the Super Bowl champion clocked Pittsburgh 28-21 on opening night and only a late Steelers TD making the score respectable (and busting the handicap line).

New England have had a few more days to prepare for the trip to Orchard Park and have won 21 of the last 23 meetings with the Bills.

Indeed, New England have lost just one of their last 11 trips to Ralph Wilson Stadium but their defence will be tested by an improved Bills’ running game, which has been boosted by the arrival of a couple of scrap-iron run-blocking maulers in Richie Incognito and John Miller.

The Bills are a legitimate threat in the AFC but the Super Bowl champion Patriots always seem to find ways to win games they shouldn’t. We take Tom Brady to lead them to another victory and cover the 1-point handicap.

VERDICT: NEW ENGLAND 31 BUFFALO 13

BEST BET: NEW ENGLAND -1 @ 2.00

HOUSTON at CAROLINA

Luke Kuechly
Key loss: Luke Kuechly

Sunday, 18:00

(-3.5, Total Points 39.5)

Houston fell behind early against Kansas City in their home season-opener and, as a result, were unable to play to their strengths, getting away from a running game that has served them well.

Carolina rode a tough defensive effort to smother Jacksonville last Sunday and the bookmakers appear to have over-reacted to both results.

Make no mistake, The Texans are a much better outfit than their 20-27 defeat would have us believe.

We all know how dominating JJ Watt is. That’s a given. Yet the NFL MVP has a supporting cast that allows him to make big plays and steal the highlight reel.

Carolina are sweating on the availability of star linebacker Luke Kuechly, who suffered a concussion late in the first half against Jacksonville. He is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol and it is impossible to predict whether he will be cleared to play.

During his three years at Boston College and three-plus years in the NFL, Kuechly has never missed a game. His loss would be a crippling blow for a team still struggling for its identity.

Running back Jonathan Stewart did not practice on Wednesday due to soreness, although he is likely to be fit to face the Texans.

Ryan Mallett replaces Brian Hoyer at QB for Houston and while he has played a total of eight games in his NFL career, we feel he offers Houston the best chance of victory.

VERDICT: HOUSTON 20 CAROLINA 17

BEST BET: HOUSTON +3.5 @ 1.80

TENNESSEE at CLEVELAND

Marcus Mariota
Big upside: Marcus Mariota

Sunday, 18:00

(+1.5, Total Points 41.5)

Anyone who came to our NFL Season Preview at Riley’s Sports Bar in London will have noted that the Tennessee Titans would do much better than many experts were predicting. If Week 1’s dazzling debut by rookie QB Marcus Mariota against Tampa is anything to go by, we are not too far off the mark.

Mariota had four touchdown throws and posted a perfect passer rating to beat the hapless Buccaneers. It may be just one game, but it looks as though he will develop into one of the NFL’s top QBs if he makes the transition to a Pro-style offense, something that Washington’s Robert Griffin III has struggled with following his rookie season.

What sets Mariota aside is his quick wrist and fast release. That is hard to defend, but much of that is based on timing and it is something that defensive coordinators will study as the season goes on.

Johnny Manziel took the first-team reps for Cleveland on Wednesday and is likely to replace Josh McCown as starter. He was elusive but ultimately ineffective as the Browns lost to the New York Jets last Sunday.

Manziel was handed the reins after McCown was injured after a helicopter-like hit in the end-zone and looked good in the first half, throwing a 54-yard bomb for his first career passing TD.

However, he turned the ball over three times in the second half as he attempted to force the issue, with two fumbles and an interception.

Tennessee have won six of the last seven meetings in Cleveland, but have lost four of the last six clashes with the Browns.

However, Cleveland’s run defence looks far from solid and Jets RB Chris Ivory gashed them for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Titan’s RB Bishop Sankey should be able to hit open holes for large chunks of yardage and may well score at least one rushing touchdown.

VERDICT: TENNESSEE 21 CLEVELAND 16

BEST BET: TENNESSEE -1.5 @ 1.91

SAN FRANCISCO at PITTSBURGH

Carlos Hyde
Carlos Hyde: Running threat

Sunday, 18:00

(-5.5, Total Points 44.5)

The 49ers may not be as bad as many are predicting. Their opening weekend 20-3 defeat of Minnesota – as 2.5-point underdog – was no fluke.

QB Colin Kaepernick may have missed open targets twice in the red zone but of his five incompletions, one was due to pressure, one was dropped by Vernon Davis and two were over-throws on passes travelling over 10 yards. Yet his scrambles from the pocket were all good decisions and did not come at the cost of not seeing an open receiver downfield.

San Francisco are travelling across country off of just six days rest but they face a Steelers team that may be without Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and Maurkice Pouncey.

The Niners’ running game should have plenty of success against a Steelers defence that has lost a great deal of experience. Troy Polumalu, Brett Kiesel and Ike Taylor are gone. Can 37-year-old James Harrison continue to defy Father Time? They are hoping some youngsters can step up and will need to get a lot out of Jarvis Jones, as their pass rush is lacking.

San Francisco are 11-5-2 against the spread as a road dog since 2011 and have not lost on successive trips to Pittsburgh. They can win this outright in one of the upsets of the week.

VERDICT: SAN FRANCISCO 24 PITTSBURGH 21

BEST BET: SAN FRANCISCO +5.5 @ 2.00

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