MIDWEEK BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Champions League Guide

The Champions League returns with four games this week. Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at all of them.

Remember, all of the links below are directed to a generic MyClubBetting site. Once you login, you will be redirected to the club betting site that you are registered to.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

If you are not affiliated to a club and wish to take advantage of our great offers or simply have a bet, you can sign up to our Bet4Causes site, where 20% of the bookmaker’s net revenue goes to our chosen charities.

Antoine Griezmann.jpg

BAYER LEVERKUSEN v ATLETICO MADRID

Tuesday, 7.45pm

Leverkusen (12/5) saw off Tottenham and SCKA Sofia to reach the last 16, finishing second in the group to Monaco. Two wins and four draws means they are unbeaten in this competition. One of the more organised teams, Roger Schmidt’s side have shown plenty of resilience, without setting the world alight. The issue for us is a lack of goals and modest league form. They are currently mid-table in the German Bundesliga and striker Javier Hernandez is in fair goalscoring form, stop him and you effectively stop Leverkusen.

Atletico (11/8) come into this having topped Group D with five wins from six and having the likes of Bayern Munich behind them. Having lost two Champions League finals in three years, there is a deep determination to prove they can go the distance and while Diego Simeone has not been able to bring in reinforcements because of a transfer ban, the Spaniards are a side who are always capable of scoring.

Antoine Griezmann (above), reportedly on his way to Manchester United in the summer, Fernando Torres, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro will give any side fits in and around the penalty area. There are no obvious defensive weaknesses, so we expect them to go through, winning both legs.

VERDICT: BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0 ATLETICO MADRID 1 @ 11/2

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 8/15

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MANCHESTER CITY v MONACO

Tuesday 7:45pm

Manchester City’s (8/13) defence continues to look shaky, although John Stones is beginning to blossom after a shaky start to his City career. That is great news for Pep Guardiola and England. City’s home form was a strength in qualifying for the last 16, seeing off Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic, which saw a second-place finish behind Barcelona in Group C.

We do have concerns that Sergio Aguero (above) is unhappy at being replaced by the now-injured Gabriel Jesus, and while you can look at it as a blessing that he will be a hungry player anxious to prove a point, the flip side is his ego has been damaged and he feels disrespected. City look better with Yaya Toure in the starting line-up and in Kevin de Bruyne, they have a world-class midfielder who, for our money, has been consistently the best player in the Premier League since his arrival.

Monaco (17/4) arrive in form and are pushing for a first French title since 2000. Leonardo Jardim’s side were impressive in not only winning Group E (ahead of Beyer Leverkusen and Tottenham), they were also a delight to watch.

The resurgence of Radamel Falcao has been key to their success. He has scored more goals this season than in the last three seasons combined, so the Colombian is a man to be feared. It should be a really interesting battle between Stones and him, and it would not be a surprise should he get on the scoresheet in the first leg.

We see this as being a tight affair, but City’s home form should give them a cushion for the second leg on March 15.

VERDICT: MANCHESTER CITY 2 MONACO 1 @ 7/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 4/6

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PORTO v JUVENTUS

Wednesday 7:45pm

Porto (5/2) are a shadow of the side that won this competition under Jose Mourinho in 2004. They finished runners-up in the group behind Leicester and lack experience, which has shown in qualifying. The youngest squad in the Champions League have done well domestically, however, losing just twice all season, so they are no pushovers.

Keep an eye out for striker Andre Silva (above) – the Portuguese international has been in flying form recently and must go on the shortlist of players to score at any time.

It has been relatively plain sailing for Juventus (5/4) in Serie A. The Italians are well placed to follow up last season’s title – their fifth consecutive – and they have been excellent away from home in this competition, winning all three qualifying games on the road. The Bianconeri have the ability to soak up pressure and play on the break, thanks to experienced defenders who have a fabulous last-line of defence in keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

What they have lost in Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, they have made up for in work-rate and guile in the midfield. Up front, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have formed a formidable partnership. We don’t expect Juventus to slip up.

VERDICT: PORTO 0 JUVENTUS 2 @ 8/1

BEST BET: JUVENTUS TO WIN @ 5/4

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SEVILLA FC v LEICESTER CITY

Wednesday 7:45pm

Out of the FA Cup and in danger of being relegated, Leicester City (15/2) are in turmoil. The Foxes have been a different animal in the Champions League, though, convincingly progressing to the knockout stage after winning four and drawing one of their opening five matches. Yes, they were thumped 5-0 at Porto, but that was with a second-string team.

Claudio Ranieri (above) is unlikely to employ the same tactics here, but quite what the tactics have been defensively this season is open to argument. They simply do not close down quickly enough and the void left by the departure of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea has been as wide as the Grand Canyon. It is clear he made the team tick, produced his teammates to give that little bit extra which lifted them to the title. Confidence is low and it will be a surprise should they come away with anything in this first-leg tie.

Sevilla (2/5) remain the hunt for the Spanish title and have plenty of experience of Europe, having won the Europa League for the past three seasons. Jorge Sampaoli’s side progressed to the last 16 behind Juventus and they will fancy their chances of building a healthy first-leg lead. Some would say a 2/5 shot does not represent value – in this case we would argue it does.

VERDICT: SEVILLA FC 4 LEICESTER CITY 1 @ 20/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 3/4


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FA CUP: OUR TOP TIPS FOR THE FIFTH ROUND

The FA Cup returns this weekend and things are hotting up as the final 16 teams fight it out for a place in the quarter-finals!

Can Sutton do the unthinkable and beat Arsenal? Will any manager risk uproar and field a weakened side? Can Manchester United continue their defence of the trophy?

Whatever happens, it’s going to be an exciting few days of action that’s for sure…

Saturday

Burnley v Lincoln (12:30pm)

This will be the end of the dream for Lincoln. Games are now coming fast and furious for them and they have lost their Cup Talisman Theo Robinson to Southend. Burnley are a well drilled team, especially at home, where they have an excellent record and Dyche will not tinker too much.

BEST BET: BURNLEY TO WIN 2-0 @ 5/1

sean-dyche

Huddersfield v Manchester City (3pm)

Both teams are producing the results in their respective leagues, with both hoping for league honours at the end of the season. This will be an open game with both teams eager to show their flamboyancy.

BEST BET: DRAW & BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 17/4

AGUERO

Middlesbrough v Oxford (3pm)

This will be a dour affair, but with Boro struggling to find consistency and Oxford in a rich vein of form be prepared for an upset!

BEST BET: OXFORD TO WIN @ 13/2

KARANKA

Millwall v Leicester (3pm)

How do you read Leicester at present? With difficulty I suggest and with Millwall enjoying a long unbeaten run, having already dispatch of two other premiership sides, be prepared for another upset.

BEST BET: MILLWALL TO WIN & UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 9/2

steve-morison-millwall

Wolves v Chelsea (5.30pm)

Having caused one of the upsets in the last round Wolves will be brought down to earth with a bump at an energetic Chelsea will ensure there will be no slip ups!

BEST BET: PEDRO TO SCORE ANYTIME @ 11/8

PEDRO

Sunday

Fulham v Tottenham (2pm)

A South London v North London derby always gets the juices flowing. Fulham will be relishing the challenge at their quaint Craven Cottage ground, but Tottenham’s experience should see them through.

BEST BET: SPURS TO WIN & OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 8/5

mauricio-pochettino-spurs

Blackburn v Manchester United (4:15pm)

Blackburn are having a torrid season and with the well-oiled Mourinho machine gathering momentum this is a no brainer.

BEST BET: MARCUS RASHFORD TO BE FIRST GOALSCORER @ 15/4

RASHFORD

Monday

Sutton v Arsenal (7:55pm)

Congratulations Sutton, but sorry this is where it ends. With Arsenal’s rich FA Cup history and Wenger’s desperation for a trophy expect Arsenal to run out easy winners.

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS TO BE SCORED BY HALF-TIME @ 3/1

arsene-wenger

Enjoy the action!

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*Odds correct at time of publishing.

WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Premier League Guide

We managed to get five out of 10 best bests over the line last week with our Premier League predictions – but we did nail a juicy 10/1 correct score winner.

Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at all the games in England’s top flight for this weekend.

Remember, all of the links below are directed to a generic MyClubBetting site. Once you login, you will be redirected to the club betting site that you are registered to.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

If you are not affiliated to a club and wish to take advantage of our great offers or simply have a bet, you can sign up to our Bet4Causes site, where 20% of the bookmaker’s net revenue goes to our chosen charities.

Wenger 1.jpg

ARSENAL v HULL CITY

Saturday, 12.30pm

Back-to-back Premier League defeats to Watford and leaders Chelsea have put Arsenal (2/7) 12 points behind the Blues, and despite Liverpool’s awful run of form, they are only a point behind the Gunners in the race for fourth place.

There used to be a time when teams actually wanted to win the title, rather than seeing fourth or fifth place as a triumph and we are reminded that fourth place is simply third of the losers. With Arsene Wenger out of contract in the summer, there could be a change at the top, but the probability (in our estimation at least) is that he has already told the board that he will walk away as their most successful manager in the club’s history.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has been touted as the next man in, but with all the speculation, you can see things starting to unravel. This season is beginning to look like another opportunity missed.
Hull (10/1) have beaten Bournemouth, Manchester United and Liverpool in recent weeks, but remain in the bottom three, having won just once on the road this term. They have only ever beaten Arsenal once and have failed to score at the Emirates in four of their last six visits. This should be a routine win for the Gunners, but with plenty going on behind the scenes, this may spill over onto the pitch, because we know how fragile the psyche of a pampered modern-day pro can be, don’t we?

VERDICT: ARSENAL 3 HULL CITY 0 @ 13/2

BEST BET: HT/FT = ARSENAL/ARSENAL @ 4/5

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MANCHESTER UNITED v WATFORD

Saturday, 3pm

Whilst they have only lost once at Old Trafford in the League, Manchester United (1/4) are off the pace because they have drawn half of their 12 games on their own patch. Even the likes of Burnley and West Brom have picked up more than United’s 21 home points. Watford (11/1) have been toddling along quite nicely and are in the top half of the table, with probably three wins from their last 14 games assuring them of their place in the top flight for next season. They have won three games on the road but have lost their last five at Old Trafford, and four of those defeats were by margins of two goals or more. They are, however, seeking to do the double on Jose Mourinho’s men, having turned them over 3-1 at Vicarage Road in September. Three wins in the last 20 meetings says the odds are against them historically, but their price is ridiculous given that they won at Arsenal two weeks ago and followed up with a home win against Burnley. We see this being a bit of a struggle for United but Mourinho’s side should come through, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic perhaps again providing hope to old men everywhere.

VERDICT: MANCHESTER UNITED 2 WATFORD 0 @ 9/2

BEST BET: WATFORD +3 GOALS @ 4/9

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MIDDLESBROUGH v EVERTON

Saturday, 3pm

Middlesbrough (11/4) are just a point above the relegation zone in a compact bottom half where six teams are separated by just two points. They have the better goal difference than the teams below them but have managed to win the fewest games in the Premier League (4). However, nine draws from 24 games keeps them above the waterline for now.

It is obvious what their biggest issue is – scoring goals. They have netted just 19 times. On the flip side, only Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have conceded fewer than Boro’s 27 this season, so keeping it tight and nicking the odd goal may be enough to see them remain in the top tier next term.

Everton (11/10) are only six points behind Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who sit fifth, so the prospect of European football is not fanciful and their away form is solid enough, with four wins and three draws from 12. The Toffeemen have won the last four encounters and seek an unprecedented fifth successive win over Boro, who have won just two of the last 15 meetings. We have a sneaky feeling about this one. While they have not posted a victory in the top flight since the middle of December, they are difficult to break down and Everton struggled to win at Crystal Palace a couple of weeks ago. We’ll take Aitor Karanka’s crew to get a little respite.

VERDICT: MIDDLESBROUGH 2 EVERTON 1 @ 12/1

BEST BET: MIDDLESBROUGH OR DRAW @ 7/10

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STOKE CITY v CRYSTAL PALACE

Saturday, 3pm

Stoke (11/10) are severely tempting at these odds, but it looks like a dog, smells like a dog and would not look out of place if cooked in white sauce at an Asian restaurant. So much as it looks a tempting treat, we tend to ignore such howlers when they bark ‘back me’.

Stoke really should be odds on, not odds against, for their clash with a woeful Crystal Palace (11/4) side who have regressed under Sam Allardyce. The results speak for themselves. Defeats to Arsenal (A), Swansea (H), West Ham (A), Everton (H) and Sunderland (H) has only been brightened by a 2-0 win at Bournemouth since the turn of the year. They have failed to score in four of their last five League outings and were dumped out of the FA Cup, 3-0 at home by Manchester City.

The odds are skewed, perhaps for this reason only: history. Palace have won six of the last seven meetings and drew the other. Stoke have won just one of the last 11 meetings with the Eagles and were thrashed 4-1 at Selhurst Park in September, which seems like a lifetime ago. Palace capitulated at home to Barcelona last week… Wait. We got that wrong. It was Sunderland who led 4-0 at half-time at Selhurst Park, the Black Cats not the Catalan giants, to keep Palace in the bottom three. Stoke had put a nice little run together until beaten by James Morrison’s goal at The Hawthorns last week, securing points against Everton and Manchester United, winning at Sunderland and beating Watford. Their home form has not been bad of late, although Mark Hughes would expect a better return than four wins from 12. They have lost just three times on their own patch, however. Stoke look tremendous value to us. Too good, in fact. Allardyce will expect a reaction and may get it.

VERDICT: STOKE CITY 1 CRYSTAL PALACE 2 @ 12/1

BEST BET: CRYSTAL PALACE OR DRAW @ 8/11

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SUNDERLAND v SOUTHAMPTON

Saturday, 3pm

Sunderland (14/5) could not believe their luck to go in 4-0 up at the break at Selhurst Park last weekend, with on-loan Manchester United striker Adnan Januzaj and Jermain Defoe looking like they had played together forever. Saturday’s win was their first in seven, however, and they remain at the bottom of the table, two points adrift of safety. Sunderland did well to keep Defoe at the club in the transfer window (a nonsense regulation) and his 14 goals (Sunderland have only scored 24) means he alone may be able to keep them up. We still maintain they will fall, but it won’t be the fault of manager David Moyes, either.

Southampton (Evens) stunned us last week losing at home to West Ham, who have a terrible record on the South Coast, despite going a goal up after just 12 minutes. The Saints have reached the League Cup final and that is a distraction. Since beating Liverpool over two legs, they have lost to Arsenal (0-5), Swansea (2-1) and West Ham (1-3). They are seven points off the drop zone but could be just five points in front of Sunderland should they lose this. We don’t expect them to. Six draws in the last 14 meetings says the value play is taking the 12/5 for a stalemate, as Saints do not win here very often (victorious twice in the last 11 trips).

VERDICT: SUNDERLAND 0 SOUTHAMPTON 0 @ 8/1

BEST BET: DRAW AT HT @ 21/10

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WEST HAM UNITED v WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Saturday, 3pm

With a form guide of: WDDWDDD in their last seven meetings at Upton Park, the sensible option would be to take on the Baggies in one shape or form. Except this isn’t Upton Park any longer. This is the London Stadium, which is not a football stadium in our opinion.

No surprise that West Ham (6/5) have struggled to adapt to the cavernous arena, a stark contrast to the tight confines of their former home, which always produced a great atmosphere. Just as Sam Allardy… wait. Perhaps not. They have netted just 1 times at home at a ratio of a goal a game and have leaked 20 – not counting the five than Manchester City put past them in the FA Cup. Had it not been for City’s home drubbings, they would be one of the form teams right now, having won by at least two clear goals against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Southampton. Andy Carroll has been a regular on the scoresheet and the Hammers have climbed to relative safety in ninth, 11 points clear of the drop zone.

Albion (12/5) are five points and a place above the Hammers following their 1-0 win over Stoke and they could be boosted by the return of defender Jonny Evans, who has been slow to recover from a calf injury. James Morrison’s winner against Stoke was his 28th in the Premier League for the Baggies and he will cause an oft-shaky West Ham defence a few problems.

West Brom have won three of their 12 road games but have drawn five others, so we would side with them to take at least a point at (23/10). It would be no surprise should they steal all three, however. The 56,980-odd fans will still turn out in force each week; one thing about West Ham – they enjoy fantastic and loyal support.

VERDICT: WEST HAM 2 WEST BROM 3 @ 40/1

BEST BET: WEST BROM OR DRAW @ 8/13

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LIVERPOOL v TOTTENHAM

Saturday, 5.30pm

Neither team are our favourites. We’d like both to lose each week if we could. A draw would be our happiest outcome, but we will still be miserable that these two teams would each pick up a point. Liverpool (5/4) stopped the rot with a home draw against champions-elect Chelsea and then promptly fell 2-0 at Hull last week. Yet they are still only a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, so the Champions League is still a possibility, even if the title is slipping out of sight fast.
Tottenham (12/5) are still very much in with a shout of winning the Premier League. That is a horrible sentence to write and I will have to now take a few days off sick to get over it.

There was a time when you could trust Spurs not to win at Anfield. In fact they have won three of their last 30 competitive games there since 1986, the last coming in November 2011.

There is every chance that they could take the points, given Liverpool’s recent form which has seen them win once in the last 10 competitive fixtures – a 1-0 FA Cup replay at Plymouth. Of Division Four (as we know it). They have not won at home in their last five, since beating Manchester City 1-0 on New Year’s Eve. And while we are enjoying ourselves, they should jolly well let Daniel Sturridge join West Ham, where he will be appreciated.

Tottenham have been below-par in recent weeks, too, failing to win Manchester City and Sunderland, whilst scraping past Wycombe in the FA Cup and with a penalty against Middlesbrough last weekend.

Not a fixture we care too much about. It will have top-four implications, but unless you win the title, who wants to be first, second or third losers? Yawn.

VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 1 TOTTENHAM 1 @ 5/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 7/10

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BURNLEY v CHELSEA

Sunday, 1.30pm

This was always a good fixture until real football stopped. That was around the mid-Eighties in our opinion, when games in the middle of February were either frozen off or played on either bogs or sand-lots. Yes, we remember the Baseball Ground, we hanker for Stamford Bridge’s quagmires. We liked shirts without advertising, proper football, real tackles, and mesmeric wingers who could ghost past full-backs on any surface, skimpy shorts [think you had better stop there – ED].

Then the TV billions brought in the sharks who could afford to buy clubs and take advantage of the endless supply of revenue. ‘Star’ foreign players were bought. The hype was swallowed by a gullible generation who would never have been allowed out of their parents’ sight, never mind experience the pleasure of kicking a ball against a wall hour after hour. We know the truth. The Premier League is bang average, full of ordinary players ready to fall over at every opportunity in the hope of conning a match official. Over-paid, lacking moral fibre, each possessing an agent. Our distain for the exemplifiers of the ‘me-first’ generation runs deep.

Burnley are refreshingly holding their own in the Premier League – an honest club, great fans and a salt-of-the-earth manager in Sean Dyche. He tells it like it is. And we love him for that.

Burnley have not beaten Chelsea since 1973. We don’t see that trend ending, despite their exceptional home form. The lumps come via gold-plated baseball bats these days. Pity.
And don’t get us started on selfie-sticks. Just don’t.

VERDICT: BURNLEY 1 CHELSEA 3 @ 11/1

BEST BET: CHELSEA WIN AND BOTH TEAMS SCORE @ 12/5

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SWANSEA CITY v LEICESTER CITY

Sunday, 4pm

We never quite understood why Swansea (7/5) ditched three good managers in the space of two years. Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and Garry Monk all had an expansive style and utilising what flair players they had with great effect. Things have become distinctly forgettable in South Wales since their departure. The Swans have had four different managers in one capacity or another since Monk departed in December 2015 and Paul Clement has a job on is hands keeping them in the top tier.

Leicester (21/10) are suffering a torrid time. They scraped past Derby in the FA Cup fourth round in midweek, needing extra time to do so, but Claudio Ranieri’s humiliation was almost complete when the chairman of the Premier League champions, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (remember this name when playing Scrabble), flew in from Thailand to offer his public backing. Hopefully they won’t be the first champions to be relegated the following season – we hope that accomplishment will befall Tottenham or Liverpool – but it is a distinct possibility, as the Foxes sit just a point above the relegation zone, with Swansea a place below and on the same number of points.

Leicester have failed to win away from home this season and have picked up just three points from their 12 road games. This with a player like Jamie Vardy in their team. How does this happen?

Swansea have looked more organised and cohesive in the last couple of weeks and wins over Southampton and Crystal Palace have boosted morale.

As awful as it seems, we can see Leicester’s troubles increasing here in a clash that has yet to see a draw in the last 10 meetings.

VERDICT: SWANSEA 2 LEICESTER 0 @ 10/1

BEST BET: ONE OR OTHER FAILS TO SCORE @ EVENS

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AFC BOURNEMOUTH v MANCHESTER CITY

Monday, 8pm

Manchester City (4/9) can turn it on whenever it suits them. Usually when they are playing West Ham. Does it have something to do with the fact that their precious millionaires don’t like to get too close to the fans? Intimate grounds can make even Jesus look human. Before those good souls from the… ahem… Christian right who elected Donald Trump get on my case, the Jesus referred to is Gabriel Jesus. Yes, an angel and a saviour! City fans who may have thought Sergio Aguero was the king had better start thinking again. He could be on the way out, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid the front-runners for his signature.

Jesus, 19, arrived from Palmeiras in Brazil after being signed in the summer. He has scored three goals in four appearances, including a double against Swansea last Sunday and is keeping Aguero out of the side. Though he wears gloves and has ruined his arms with tattoos (a definite no-no for us on both counts), he isn’t a bad player. Time will tell, of course.

Let’s see how he handles the cosy confines of Bournemouth (6/1), whose defence will not doubt be generous again. They shipped six goals at Everton last weekend and have leaked 28 goals in their last nine competitive matches since beating Leicester 1-0 in mid-December. This should be a case of whether or not City’s superstars fancy a trip to the cold South Coast on a Monday night. Their mood will determine how many they will win by.

VERDICT: BOURNEMOUTH 1 MANCHESTER CITY 4 @ 16/1

BEST BET: HT/FT = MAN CITY/MAN CITY @ 4/5


 Stay tuned to our WordPress site for Previews and Betting Guides on a variety of Sports….

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

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Premier League Guide

There were plenty of FA Cup shocks last week – and a few in the Premier League in midweek. Will results be easier to predict this weekend?

Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at all the games in England’s top flight.

Remember, all of the links below are directed to a generic MyClubBetting site. Once you login, you will be redirected to the club betting site that you are registered to.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

If you are not affiliated to a club and wish to take advantage of our great offers or simply have a bet, you can sign up to our Bet4Causes site, where 20% of the bookmaker’s net revenue goes to our chosen charities.

Chelsea v FC Porto - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group G

CHELSEA v ARSENAL

Saturday, 12.30pm

Draws are few and far between when these two meet – just three stalemates in the last 22 in fact – but that’s what we fancy in this one. We are on a run of nine meetings where either one or the other team failed to score, so we can probably go against the grain on that one as well. That should be a bettor’s philosophy – go against the grain, as in the long run, you may find yourself better off. Trusting our own eyes, Chelsea (10/11) looked as though they would settle for a point at Liverpool in midweek and that is what they got. They would have been un-backable to win the title had they not missed a penalty, and as it is, Arsenal (3/1) are still within sight. Yet unless they win, they can kiss any thoughts of a title goodbye. They will just be happy to remain in the top four after losing at home to Watford, who lost at Millwall in the FA Cup last week. This makes Millwall better than Arsenal in our eyes. Cue complaints from the selfie-stick brigade.

VERDICT: CHELSEA 1 ARSENAL 1 @ 11/2

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS SCORE @ 8/11 

Allardyce twat 2.jpg

CRYSTAL PALACE v SUNDERLAND

Saturday 3pm

A Championship fixture masquerading as a Premier League game. In truth, Sunderland (17/4) have been circling the relegation plug-hole for a while and you have to feel just a bit sorry for David Moyes, who started his tenure with very little to work with on the pitch, and found the cupboard was bare off it. It is a gamble selling Patrick van Aanholt to Crystal Palace (4/6) to fund a mini-recruitment drive. Getting full-back Bryan Oviedo and the oft-injured Darron Gibson from Everton was not a bad piece of business, though. They are only five points adrift of safety but while securing a valuable point against Tottenham, Sunderland could have done without fellow strugglers Hull and Palace picking up points in midweek. Palace secured three points for the first time since Sam Allardyce (above) took over when winning 2-0 at slumping Bournemouth. The Black Cats have won on their last two trips to Selhurst Park and the side playing at home has won just one of the last eight meetings. Palace are leaky, Sunderland are capable of snatching a point, but the odds suggest they won’t.

VERDICT: CRYSTAL PALACE 2 SUNDERLAND 1 @ 15/2

BEST BET: HT/FT = DRAW/CRYSTAL PALACE @ 10/3

Eddie HOWE

EVERTON v BOURNEMOUTH

Saturday 3pm

Things have gone from bad to worse for Bournemouth (4/1), with striker Callum Wilson suffering a serious knee injury. The Cherries have shipped three goals in nine of their last 14 games and conceded twice against Watford and Crystal Palace in the two outings, so it is easy to see where the problem lies. This is a critical stage of the season for the likeable Eddie Howe (above) and they have taken a big step back since beating Liverpool 4-3 at the Vitality Stadium. Everton (8/11) were a little fortunate to win 1-0 at Crystal Palace and a 1-1 draw at Stoke in midweek was commendable. Seventh in the table and one home defeat says all we need to know. It won’t be long before the players go on their holidays, as they have little to play for except mid-table jostling, but for now, the form team are a short price for a reason. We’ll take an odd result here, though. Just because.

VERDICT: EVERTON 2 BOURNEMOUTH 2 @ 14/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS SCORE @ 8/11

Jurgen Klopp 1.jpg

HULL v LIVERPOOL

Saturday 3pm

It must come as a relief to Jurgen Klopp’s (above) men to play away from Anfield, where Liverpool (4/9) have lost three of their last four in all competitions, a run only halted by a gritty 1-1 draw with Chelsea in midweek. Then again, Hull (13/2) have won two of the last three meetings at home with Liverpool, drawing the other. The last time the Reds won on Humberside was in April 2009 – and that was when Hull had a player sent off with the score at 1-1 (they went on to lose 3-1). Liverpool are out to 16/1 for the title and we don’t think they will get close to Chelsea (who are as big as 3/10 in that market with MCB, when 1/5 elsewhere). Three of Hull’s four wins have come at home and Liverpool have only lost twice on the road. We can see Klopp’s inconsistent side putting on a rare show of strength to grind out a win.

VERDICT: HULL 0 LIVERPOOL 2 @ 11/2

BEST BET: LIVERPOOL TO WIN @ 4/9

Andy Carroll plane.jpg

SOUTHAMPTON v WEST HAM

Saturday 3pm

Somewhere it is written in tablets of stone that West Ham (15/4) shall not win on the South coast. They win at Southampton (3/4) as often as Andy Carroll is fit – or once in a blue moon. In fact, they have not won at St Mary’s since 2000 and those looking for an historical banker bet may wish to consider this. Four wins in 32 trips. That’s the size of it. Southampton have won the last two meetings, but you have to go back to 1998 to see a run of three successive wins against the Hammers. There have been five draws in the last 11 meetings and given their in-and-out form, a point is probably all Slaven Bilic’s men will be able to muster. However, given their 4-0 home drubbing by Manchester City in midweek, we see the Saints edging this.

VERDICT: SOUTHAMPTON 3 WEST HAM 1 @ 14/1

BEST BET: SOUTHAMPTON TO WIN @ 3/4

Everton v Watford - Premier League

WATFORD v BURNLEY

Saturday 3pm

Let’s just say it probably won’t be the first game we see on Match of the Day. Unless it finishes 5-5, but even then we’d bet against it. This game is as fashionable as your local charity shop sale rail. Yet these two sides have one thing in common – they do try and play attractive football. Five of the last seven meetings have been drawn. It is all about survival for these minnows, possibly more so in Watford’s case since they sold Ighalo (above) to some unpronounceable Chinese team you have never heard of. No less than 13 of the last 16 meetings has seen both sides score and that’s almost as good a stat as this one that we’ll give you for nothing: The New England Patriots are the visitors in Sunday’s Super Bowl, so they get to call the coin toss. They have called ‘heads’ every time in the last two seasons. Can you tell we are not too bothered about this game? Good. We aren’t.

VERDICT: WATFORD 3 BURNLEY 2 @ 33/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 13/10

MARK HUGHES

WEST BROM v STOKE

Saturday 3pm

Eighth-placed West Brom (5/4) take on nine-placed Stoke (9/4) in a game only a mother could love. West Brom are enjoying a great season under Tony Pulis, while Mark Hughes’ (above) side have been quietly climbing the table without getting too much attention. The Baggies have scored as many goals as Manchester City at home this season, while Stoke’s three wins and three draws from 11 on the road is not too shabby, either. With respective managers who demand discipline, it is no huge surprise that they have shared just one red card between them all season. Neither side is going anywhere, but it is a ‘Derby’, so the intensity should be ramped up a little. Stoke have not won a game in the last four meetings and the last time they went five in a row without getting one over on West Brom was in 1969. A rare home defeat is the call.

VERDICT: WEST BROM 0 STOKE 1 @ 7/1

BEST BET: STOKE TO WIN @ 9/4

Harry Kane

TOTTENHAM v MIDDLESBROUGH

Saturday 5.30pm

The title door was open a jar when Chelsea were held at Liverpool, but as is invariably the case, Tottenham (1/4) fluffed their lines in failing to beat Sunderland, having previously fluked their way past Wycombe in a 4-3 FA Cup thriller – with a goal in the seventh minute of added time. Even our in-house ref, who played 40 minutes in the first half of his Sunday game (because he forgot it was 45 mins) and added it on in the second half, still didn’t play 97-plus minutes. Some of the refereeing in the EPL is bordering on shambolic. We digress. Tottenham still have the most realistic shot of catching Chelsea, even if they have played below-par in the last couple of weeks. At Sunderland they had one shot in the first half but were better after the break, yet they failed to close the nine-point gap. One of Boro’s (11/1) more creative players Gaston Ramirez has a knee injury and with the want-away midfielder seemingly unhappy, you have to wonder what the mood in the camp is, particularly since they are embroiled in a relegation dogfight. They have collected just three points form their last six games and a trip to a Spurs side keen to put matters right won’t be pretty. No doubt Harry Kane (above) will get on the scoresheet if he plays, but we go for the HT/FT Spurs win instead as our best bet.

VERDICT: TOTTENHAM 4 MIDDLESBROUGH 0

BEST BET: HT/FT = TOTTENHAM/TOTTENHAM @ 4/5

aguero

MAN CITY v SWANSEA

Sunday 1.30pm

A touch of normalcy returned to the sky blue half of Manchester in midweek. A trip to West Ham is as great a tonic as seeing near neighbours United held to a goalless draw with Hull. City’s (1/5) goal difference summarily boosted, they welcome a Swansea (12/1) side that have never managed to take a point on any of the last seven trips to City. And the hosts have a bloke called Jesus playing for them now. Life can be a bit cruel sometimes.

VERDICT: MAN CITY 3 SWANSEA 0 @ 6/1

BEST BET: HT/FT = MAN CITY/MAN CITY @ 4/6

Wayne Rooney1

LEICESTER v MAN UTD

Sunday 4pm

They said Leicester (9/2) could never win the title – until they did. They said a title winner could never be relegated the following season… The sad fact is, one player can, indeed make a team. The loss of Ngolo Kante to Chelsea has produced some horrifying results. Leicester simply don’t do the basis well any more. Kante closed space, harried opponents and gave his teammates time. They defended from the front. They can’t even defend at the back, now. It isn’t difficult. It is basic hard work. But when you are paid that much, why work for it? And that’s the problem with Premier League football. Too much money. Too much lethargy. Or that is the simplistic view, in any case. We could go on about how to defend between the lines etc, but sometimes it really is teaching you lot to suck eggs. You’ve got the talking TV heads for that. United (4/6) have been mid-table ordinary but rarely lose here and have failed to score just once in their last 12 visits. Wayne Rooney (above) is always a viable bet to score at any time but we go for Over 2.5 Goals as our best bet.

VERDICT: LEICESTER 0 MAN UTD 3 @ 10/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 21/20

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WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s FA Cup 4th round guide

There were few shocks in the last round of the F.A. Cup, although there were a few shocks with our Best Bets last week: we nailed a few Premier League winning selections!

The FA Cup returns this weekend, with all 16 fourth-round ties taking place between Friday and Sunday.

Our team has taken the time to analyse the six televised games taking place, providing you with a few tips along the way.

Remember, all of the links below are directed to a generic MyClubBetting site. Once you login, you will be redirected to the club betting site that you are registered to.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

If you are not affiliated to a club and wish to take advantage of our great offers or simply have a bet, you can sign up to our Bet4Causes site, where 20% of the bookmaker’s net revenue goes to our chosen charities.

Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at the televise F.A. Cup Fourth round matches this weekend…

FA Cup Man Utd.jpg

DERBY v LEICESTER

Friday, 7.55pm

Championship Derby (8/5) have been rock-solid at home. The Championship side conceded twice to Reading last weekend, but it was the first time since September 24 that they had conceded a goal at Pride Park.

They went on to win 3-2 and are nicely settled in seventh place, well within shouting distance of their playoff rivals. Steve McClaren’s side has only conceded seven goals in 14 home games and the Rams won half of those encounters.

Derby won 2-1 at Premier League West Brom in the previous round, so the stuttering champions of England should hold few fears.

However, Leicester (17/10) have held sway over the Rams in the past few seasons. Winning eight of the last nine games, Derby’s sole success was a 2-1 win in the Championship back in March 2013. Positive results have been common in their meetings, too, with just five of the last 31 clashes ending in stalemate.

Leicester may well be struggling at the moment. Their away form is dreadful, taking just three points from a possible 33 on their EPL travels. Furthermore, they have yet to register a road win and have notched just eight times in those 11 games.

Derby will have their tails up, but something tells us that the relief of playing in the FA Cup, away from the constant pressure at both ends of the table in the last 18 months, will be just what the Foxes and Claudio Ranieri need. We take City to edge it with Jamie Vardy possibly enjoying the spotlight again.

VERDICT: DERBY 0 LEICESTER 2 @ 12/1

BEST BET: J VARDY ANYTIME SCORER @ 13/8

vardy-celebrates

LIVERPOOL v WOLVES

Saturday, 12.30pm

Liverpool (1/4) may have suffered a hammer blow to their Premier League title chances last weekend, in going down to a shock 3-2 loss at home to struggling Swansea. Jurgen Klopp’s side now trail Chelsea by 10 points and with the two Manchester clubs chasing hard, there is no guarantee of European football next season.

They have plenty of issues at the back, which is a bit of a recurring theme over the past few seasons and have shipped 12 more goals than Chelsea. Their away form has also been better than it has been at home, even though the Reds’ loss to the Swans was their first at Anfield for over 12 months. They have won one of their last seven in all competitions at home and had to go to Plymouth to sneak through 1-0 in a replay after their FA Cup third round tie ended goalless at Anfield.

They have missed Sadio Mane, who has been ruled out since January 2, while influential midfielder Philippe Coutinho has only recently returned from a six-week lay-off with an ankle ligament injury and Joel Matip has only just rejoined the defence. The problems are not all about individuals, however. They look vulnerable when the ball is pumped into the box.

Having had a gruelling League Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton on Wednesday – and suffering another bitter home defeat – many will fancy Wolves’ (9/1) chances of causing an upset.

Wanderers sit 18th in the Championship, but dumped out Stoke in the last round and turned over Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago. While they went down 3-1 at Norwich, Paul Lambert had to use all three subs by the time keeper Carl Ikeme had been sent off for a push on Wes Hoolihan. In Wanda Helder Costa, they have a striker who can cause plenty of problems for Liverpool. Indeed, we see Wolves notching at least once at Anfield.

However, it is unlikely that Klopp (below) will make wholesale changes and take the visitors lightly, so we plump for a home win with Wolves suffering a backlash for the Reds’ League Cup exit.

VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 3 WOLVES 1 @ 10/1

BEST BET: LIVERPOOL WIN & BOTH TEAMS SCORE @ 15/8

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League

SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL

Saturday, 5.30pm

Arsenal (11/10) do not have particularly fond memories of recent trips to St Mary’s. In fact they have won just one of their last six trips to the south coast and have won just three of the last 10 meetings with the Southampton (12/5) in all competitions. They have failed to register a goal in four of the last five clashes, too.

So, do we sniff an upset?

This has come at the wrong time for the Saints, who are victims of their own success, having had to face Liverpool at Anfield in midweek. Though they won 1-0 to reach their first domestic final since 2003, that game will have taken plenty out of Cluade Puel’s side. They will no doubt be aching from that clash (celebratory hangovers aside) and possibly from laughing so hard at West Ham paying £8m for 33-year-old defender Jose Fonte last week.

Saints are going nowhere in mid-table, so the Cup competitions are a nice distraction, but we feel this could be one game too many.

Arsenal are still in the hunt for the title after an unconvincing 2-1 win at home to Burnley, but the fact that Danny Welback (below) is up and running again means Wenger will have plenty of firepower at his disposal, particularly with Olivier Giroud in fine form.

We take the Gunners to get a least a draw out of this and while they are short enough at 21/20 to win, Saints could be running on empty by the second half.

VERDICT: SOUTHAMPTON 1 ARSENAL 4 @ 33/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS SCORE @ 4/6

welbeck

MILLWALL v WATFORD

Sunday, 12.00

Millwall (2/1) caused a big shock in the third round, knocking out Premier League Bournemouth in convincing style. However, Eddie Howe made so many changes that Millwall should really have been heavy favourites, rather than the outsiders they were.

Watford (11/8) will not be such easy prey for the Lions. Indeed, they have a horrible record against the Hornets, who have lost twice in the last 16 meetings, winning 10. In fact, Watford have lost just once in their last eight trips to The New Den, which would have become the old New Den if Lewisham Council had not backtracked on their Compulsory Purchase Order plans this week.

The League One side may be just three points off the play-off places and that is where their priorities lay, but while their home form has seen them win seven of 13 and aside from their win over Bournemouth, they have yet to win in January, notching draws at AFC Wimbledon, Charlton and Bradford City. To be fair, they have not lost, either.

Watford’s campaign has been beset by injuries and they have not won in seven league games. Yet there were signs at Bournemouth last weekend that Walter Mazzarri’s (below) side were ready to bounce back. Despite their rather generous odds of 11/8 – which often sets alarm bells ringing – we see the Hornets as one of the better bets this weekend.

VERDICT: MILLWALL 0 WATFORD 2 @ 10/1

BEST BET: WATFORD TO WIN @ 11/8

Walter Mazzarri.jpg

SUTTON v LEEDS

Sunday, 2.00pm

National League Sutton (4/1) set up a tasty TV tie after knocking out 10-man AFC Wimbledon with a 3-1 win at The Cherry Road Stadium in a replay.

Leeds (4/6), who last won this competition on 1972 under Don Revie, should be a couple of classes apart and having been given a scare by Cambridge United, they won’t take this game lightly.

Garry Monk, who was harshly dispensed with by Swansea, has got ‘dirty’ Leeds playing some attractive football and they are in the thick of the play-off battle in the Championship. While they could have done without a midweek clash with Nottingham Forest (which they won 2-0 to put them third in the table), they should get through this tie without too much fuss, nice story though it is.

VERDICT: SUTTON 0 LEEDS 4 @ 22/1

BEST BET: LEEDS TO WIN @ 4/6

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Premier League

MAN UTD v WIGAN

Sunday, 4.00pm

If there was a ‘form’ game that we could consider to be a banker, then this is it. Wigan (14/1) have won a grand total of one meeting in the last 18 against Manchester United (1/6) – who have won the other 17 clashes. Just the recipe for a shock result, then?

Not quite. If history is anything to go by, they will not only fail to score – as has happened in eight of the last nine encounters – they will lose by at least two clear goals, as has been the case in 14 of their last 18 meetings. In fact, Wigan have managed just one goal in their last 10 visits to Old Trafford. Oddly, there has not been a draw and the law of betting averages says we are overdue. But given the history, we’d want double the 6/1 currently offered for that to happen.

Much depends on the strength of the United side that Jose Mourinho (above) will put out. He has already made noises this week about fixture congestion, and it has not helped that United had to travel to Hull for League Cup semi-final second leg on Thursday. They are, of course, in the Europa League, so how much emphasis they place on this competition is arguable.

Still, we are happy to roll with the hosts, whatever side the Special One puts out.

VERDICT: MAN UTD 4 WIGAN 0 @ 15/2

BEST BET: ONE OR OTHER FAILS TO SCORE @ 4/7

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WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Premier League Guide

Your improved club betting service has arrived. Check it out! And if your club or team has not yet taken advantage, it is time you did. Get one – it’s completely FREE! Take a look at mcb.myclubbetting.com and sign up your club at signup.myclubbetting.com – see the great benefits your club can receive, such as 20% cash back and other rewards!

We take a glance at this weekend’s Premier League action in a bid to find some winners, complete with the odds from your club’s betting service…

Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Second Leg

LIVERPOOL v SWANSEA

Liverpool (2/9) were held by Manchester United last week and they were spared embarrassment in the FA Cup third round replay at Plymouth in midweek. However, Jurgen Klopp (above) gave his squad a few days off after the trip to the south coast and they should be ready to face a Swansea (12/1) side fighting for their lives at the foot of the table. We use the word ‘fighting’ loosely, of course, as the Swans were thumped 4-0 (at home to Arsenal) in Paul Clement’s first game in charge, lost 2-0 at Hull in the FA Cup third round, and suffered defeats by three-goal margins against Bournemouth and West Ham. Their only saving grace was a shock 2-1 at Crystal Palace to open the calendar year. Despite Liverpool’s obvious frailties at the back, we take them to win this cosily in the end.

VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 3 SWANSEA 0 @ 6/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 4/9

Eddie Howe 1.jpg

BOURNEMOUTH v WATFORD

This mid-table battle sees just two points separating 11th-placed Bournemouth (5/6) and 14th-placed Watford (7/2), who have not won any of their last six EPL games. Worryingly for the Hornets, they have failed to score in four of those matches and have netted just twice. They have lost their last five road games, but there was a lot to like about the way they grafted against Middlesbrough last weekend. Bournemouth have it a sticky patch themselves and Watford are a bit of a bogey side – the Cherries have won just one of the last nine league meetings, with the last three top flight clashes ending in draws. Eddie Howe’s (above) side have shipped three goals or more in nine of their last 11 games and have dropped more points from leading positions than any other side in the EPL this season. Both sides will be keen to stop the rot, but despite the stats being against them, we take the hosts to eke out a narrow victory.

VERDICT: BOURNEMOUTH 2 WATFORD 0 @ 7/1

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 4/5

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League

CRYSTAL PALACE v EVERTON

Despite an ongoing slump, Crystal Palace (21/10) fans may welcome a visit from the in-form Toffeemen, as they always seem to do well against Everton (11/8) – the Eagles have lost just one of their last seven EPL games to the Merseysiders. Everton go to Selhurst Park in ripe form, having battered Manchester City 4-0 last weekend and it is a venue at which they have not lost since 1994. Palace have taken one point in four games under Sam Allardyce (above), although a midweek FA Cup win in front of two men and a dog, may be just the spark they need. Just above the relegation places on goal difference, there could be a few jitters from the hosts and while we reckon Everton may just be a little too over-confident, they should be good enough to secure at least a point with the draw available at 12/5.

VERDICT: CRYSTAL PALACE 1 EVERTON 1 @ 5/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ Evens

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MIDDLESBROUGH v WEST HAM

Don’t be fooled. West Ham (11/5) may be packing in upwards of 55,000 fans to the London Stadium each week and they may have thumped Crystal Palace 3-0 last weekend, but something is not right with the club. Whether the distraction of the Dimitri Payet saga has had an effect or whether it is simply – and more likely – a case that they bought extremely poorly in the summer, is open to argument. Yet Slaven Bilic’s side will continue to splutter. This weekend could prove a prime example. While they seemed unified in their win over Palace, a trip to Middlesbrough (6/4) could present a few more problems. While they have not lost to Boro in their last eight league meetings, the Hammers have won just one of their last 11 trips to the Riverside Stadium. Riding the soft part of their schedule, the Hammers have won four of their last six EPL games to get them away from danger, but Aitor Karanka’s side are capable on their day and the arrival of Rudy Gestede and the return of Patrick Bamford (above) may produce the goals they will need to survive. We take the hosts to edge it.

VERDICT: MIDDLESBROUGH 3 WEST HAM 1 @ 20/1

BEST BET: MIDDLESBROUGH WIN AND OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 10/3

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STOKE v MAN UTD

Stoke (5/1) were convincing winners at Sunderland last weekend and given that Manchester United (8/13) have not always enjoyed life when travelling to the Potteries, odds of 5/1 for a home win may well look attractive to some. Yet the stark facts are these: Manchester United are the form team, while Stoke have yet to beat a side in the top eight. United managed to secure a draw against Liverpool last weekend and missed some good opportunities before drawing level. Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan (above) has been in sparkling form and is forming a good understanding with the likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata – he is a prime reason why United have been unbeaten in their last 12 EPL games, their best run since March 2013 when they went 18 without losing. Stoke have not lost to United in their last three home meetings, but that run should come to a halt here.

VERDICT: STOKE 0 MAN UTD 2 @ 6/1

BEST BET: HT/FT = DRAW/MAN UTD @ @ 10/3

David Moyes 1.jpg

WEST BROM v SUNDERLAND

With Sunderland (9/2) bottom of the table, injuries piling up and players on Africa Cup of Nations duty, David Moyes (above) could probably have done without a trip to The Hawthorns. The Black Cats may get a backlash from West Brom (7/10), following their tonking at Tottenham last week. That was a disappointing display, given that they had held Arsenal and Chelsea, but the loss of an early goal meant they had to force the issue against a Spurs side who can break at pace and some poor defending didn’t help. Yet Sunderland provide an opportunity, as they are woefully lacking in depth and talent. Moyes inherited a weak squad with no money to spend and not even the odd goal from Jermain Defoe will be able to save them this time round. The odds for a home win should be a lot shorter, however, which leaves us cautious. We will go for a draw, even though the form screams ‘home win’.

VERDICT: WEST BROM 1 SUNDERLAND 1 @ 6/1

BEST BET: HT/FT = WEST BROM/DRAW @ 16/1

Dele Alli.jpg

MAN CITY v TOTTENHAM

Pre-season title favourites Manchester City (11/10) have serious question marks at the back. Their 4-0 drubbing at Everton last week was the third time this season that they have leaked four goals, but it was the manner in which they threw in the towel which was alarming. They did miss some good chances early on against Everton, but they looked a totally different outfit to the one that had won 5-0 at West Ham in the FA Cup a week earlier. City have managed just four clean sheets in their last 21 outings and while Everton had four shots on target and scored all four times, Tottenham (13/5) represent a quite different challenge. They signalled their intent as title contenders when beating Chelsea and tore apart West Brom before half-time last weekend. This is the Chinese year of the Rooster and the way Spurs are creating chance after chance right now, you can see their cockerel crowing at the end of the season. Dele Alli (above) has a nasty streak, but undeniable talent and Harry Kane is back in the swing of things after injury, so we see Spurs making life very uncomfortable for Pep Guardiola’s side. Spurs have won their last three EPL games against City, so the tide may have turned (City won five of the previous six at home against Spurs prior to last season’s defeat). Goals are usually a feature in clashes between these two, and we don’t see that stat changing.

VERDICT: MAN CITY 2 TOTTENHAM 3 @ 33/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 5/6

Ranieri 1.jpg

SOUTHAMPTON v LEICESTER

Southampton (5/6) have won just one of their last seven league meetings with Leicester (4/1) but the Foxes have never won a Premier League game at St Mary’s. Something has to give. Leicester have 21 points and have only led in five league games this season, although it is perhaps too simplistic to say the champions lost their engine when N’Golo Kante joined Chelsea. They still have Jamie Vardy and the bulk of that title-winning squad, so one is left flummoxed by their form, which has seen them fail to win away from home since April. The Saints have lost their last four EPL games and have not lost five in the same top tier season since 1998/99. We don’t see their run of two games without a goal continuing, and while their form against Claudio Ranieri’s (above) team is poor, City have lost their edge in a big way and the hosts may bounce back.

VERDICT: SOUTHAMPTON 2 LEICESTER 1 @ 8/1

BEST BET: SOUTHAMPTON TO WIN @ 5/6

Alexis Sanchez 1.jpg

ARSENAL v BURNLEY

Arsenal have a few injury concerns, with Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debucy and Pet Mertesacker all sidelined, while Mohamed Elmeny is on African Nations Cup duty with Egypt. Yet they welcome back Hector Bellerin, Fancis Coquelin and Kieran Gibbs, so it is hardly surprising the Gunners are 1/5 chances. They have won six of the last seven meetings with the Clarets, who have lost on their last five visits in all competitions. Burnley (14/1) will try to keep tabs on Olivier Giroud, who has scored in all of his last nine starts for Arsenal, and they will try to end a run of poor road form that has seen them take just one point on their travels. This could be one-way traffic and we fancy Alexis Sanchez (above) to get on the scoresheet at least once.

VERDICT: ARSENAL 3 BURNLEY 0 @ 11/2

BEST BET: A SANCHEZ ANYTIME SCORER @ 8/15

Antonio Conte 1.jpg

CHELSEA v HULL

Chelsea are just 8/13 to win the Premier League (Liverpool 6/1, Tottenham 7/1) although sit just seven points clear of those rivals after 21 games. The Blues (2/11) have conceded just six goals at home and have lost just once in 10 at Stamford Bridge. In contrast, Hull (16/1) have taken just four points from a possible 30 on their travels and have netted just six in 10 away from home – only Crystal Palace (25) have conceded more goals on their travels than Hull (24). So with Antonio Conte’s (above) Chelsea topping the scoring charts at home (28) from 10 games, Hull have a mountain to climb and more so now that Jake Livermore has left to join West Brom. With the Tigers keeping just one clean sheet, and the Blues unbeaten in their last nine meetings (W7 D2), we see a cosy win after some early struggles.

VERDICT: CHELSEA 2 HULL 0 @ 9/2

BEST BET: FIRST HALF DRAW @ 15/8

Stay tuned to our WordPress site for Previews and Betting Guides on a variety of Sports….

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

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

FA CUP: OUR TOP TIPS FOR THE THIRD ROUND

The FA Cup returns this weekend, with all 32 third round ties taking place between Friday and Monday.

Our team have taken the time to analyse the six televised games taking place, providing you with a few tips along the way!

Remember, all of the links below are directed to a generic MyClubBetting site. Once you login, you will be redirected to the club betting site that you are registered to.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

WEST HAM v MAN CITY

Friday – 19:55

West Ham fans will be delighted coming into this one – as Mike Dean won’t be refereeing the game!

Dean made a horrendous error at the London Stadium, effectively ending the Hammers chances against Manchester United after unfairly sending Sofiane Feghouli off within the first 20 minutes.

Despite evidently showing signs that he is feeling the pressure, Pep Guardiola has had a pretty decent couple of weeks. Man City’s defeat at Liverpool on New Year’s Eve has been the only time that they have dropped points in their last five games, with the Sky Blues scoring on nine occasions during that time.

That said, City keeper Claudio Bravo is looking very short of confidence, and a game rarely goes by where he doesn’t make a glaring error. If the Chilean starts ahead of Willy Caballero at the London Stadium then expect West Ham to cause him all sorts of problems, particularly if big Andy Carroll is on the field!

Claudio Bravo File Photo

It is worth noting that both teams have managed to score in four of the last five meetings, including Manchester City’s 3-1 win at the Etihad earlier this season. In fact, you have to go back ten clashes to find the last time Manchester City failed to score against West Ham.

Between them, West Ham and Manchester City have failed to score in just six of their combined 42 league games so far this season.

With all that in mind, we see neither side keeping a clean sheet at the London Stadium.

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 8/13

MAN UNITED v READING

Saturday – 12:30

Jaap Stam returns to his former stomping ground on Saturday lunchtime.

The now Reading manager was part of Manchester United’s famous treble winning side of the late nineties, eventually leaving for Lazio in 2001 after conflict with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Stam is doing a fine job as Reading boss. The Royals are just one place outside the automatic promotion spots and trail leaders Brighton by only eight points.

stam

Their opponents, Manchester United are also in great form – winning their last seven games in all competitions.

Jose Mourinho’s side have been dominant at home this season. The Red Devils side have taken 19 points from a possible 30 at Old Trafford – losing just once.

The last three games involving Reading have resulted in a staggering 14 goals. In fact, the Royals are among the highest scorers in the Championship this season, so we expect them to find the net at some point on Saturday.

However, United are unbeaten in their last seven FA Cup clashes, and we expect that run to continue at Old Trafford.

BEST BET: MAN UTD CLEAN SHEET – NO @ 23/20

PRESTON v ARSENAL

Saturday – 17:30

Preston hosted Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup back in 1999. On that day, the Gunners were victorious after an Emmanuel Petit brace helped them to a 4-2 win.

Both sides are coming into this game in fairly decent form. Preston have lost just one of their last five games, with Arsenal winning two of their last three.

After a busy festive period, expect Arsene Wenger to stick to his usual early round routine and rest a host of key attacking players for the game at Deepdale.

While they scored three away at Bournemouth on Tuesday night, Arsenal seem to lack creativity without Mesut Ozil, who has missed each of their last two games through illness. The German playmaker looks unlikely to feature at Preston and with top scorer Alexis Sanchez in desperate need of a rest, we really see Arsenal struggling to break the hosts down.

With that in mind, we see Saturday’s game being a fairly low scoring affair, with the hosts being more than happy to settle for a replay.

BEST BET: UNDER 3.5 GOALS @ 8/15

LIVERPOOL v PLYMOUTH

Sunday – 13:30

This will be the first meeting between Liverpool and Plymouth since 1962 – a game in which the Merseysiders won by three goals to two.

After needing a replay to scrape past Newport County in the last round, Plymouth have been rewarded with a lucrative trip to Anfield. 

In truth, both sides have enjoyed the first half of their respective seasons.

Liverpool currently sit in second place in the Premier League, while Plymouth are occupying exactly the same position in League Two.

Incidentally, Plymouth defender Billy Palfrey is the cousin of our weekly rugby columnist, Luke Chapman. The young defender recently returned from a loan spell at Torquay and is expected to make the bench for Argyle on Sunday.

palfrey

Liverpool have been solid at the back in recent weeks, keeping three clean sheets in their last five home games.

Much of this solidarity has come from the fine form of Dejan Lovren, who is starting to look like the defensive leader Liverpool have craved since the departure of Jamie Carragher.

Jürgen Klopp’s men are yet to lose at Anfield this season, winning nine times and drawing twice in all competitions, whilst conceding only eight goals along the way.

This won’t be music to the ears of Plymouth fans who have seen their side score just five times in as many league games.

We expect the hosts to win this one, keeping a clean sheet in the process.

BEST BET: LIVERPOOL WIN TO NIL @ 8/11

TOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA

Sunday – 16:00

Tottenham have dominated games against Aston Villa in recent years – winning eight of the last nine clashes between the sides.

During that time, the North Londoners have managed 22 goals, conceding just twice and keeping an impressive seven clean sheets.

Aston Villa have struggled on the road this season, and have only managed to win twice away from Villa Park since being relegated to the Championship in May.

Spurs are yet to lose at White Hart Lane during this campaign, with their only two home defeats coming at Wembley whilst on Champions League duty.

Since taking over at the club in October, Steve Bruce has managed to steady the ship, particularly in home games. However, his new side are still struggling away from Villa Park and have only managed one win in their last six away games.

This will be pleasing news for Tottenham, who have won their last four home games – netting on thirteen occasions.

alli

Dele Alli will be coming into this game full of confidence, scoring seven times in his last four appearances. It is also worth noting that the England midfielder managed to find the net in this fixture last season.

We are going for a comfortable home win and if selected, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Alli to find the net again.

BEST BET: TOTTENHAM -1 (HANDICAP) @ 3/4

CAMBRIDGE v LEEDS

Monday – 19:45

Garry Monk has done a brilliant job since taking over as Leeds manager in the summer.

Despite their off-field distractions, Leeds look like a together unit, and are currently occupying fifth place in the Championship after four wins from their last five league games.

Cambridge United may be flying high in League Two, but they have struggled in front of their home fans so far this season. The U’s have dropped points in seven of their 12 home league games so far this season – losing on five occasions.

This will be music to the ears of Leeds fans, who have already seen their side win an impressive six league games away from home during this campaign.

Everything points to an away win here.

BEST BET: LEEDS TO WIN @ 11/10

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