Spotlight

Do Cry For Me, Argentina

POSTED: 18 July 2014


LIONEL Messi won the Golden Ball award of the 2014 World Cup alright.


It was symbolic of being the tournament’s most valuable player. But it was not the one he wanted. He was yearning for the one which symbolizes supremacy in football in the whole planet. Unfortunately, it was the one that got away.


His search, though, will continue in the sport’s grandest stage. There will be four more long years before he makes another attempt or maybe more until it’s over.


 

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The Veterans

A J-League Treat?


POSTED: 17 July 2014




So the World Cup is over and Germany are the new World Champions. To be fair they deserved it all things considered, however you have to feel a bit sorry for Argentina considering after the extra-time winner was the only time they were behind during the tournament.


Credit has to be given for Germany to be the first European side to win the tournament when held in South America and the way they destroyed hosts Brazil 7-1 is a feat I doubt we’ll see again in our lifetime.


Talking of Brazil, well they let me down in my pick last week – I note Luiz Felipe Scolari resigned as manager straight after, well that’s no shock to me as he’d have no doubt been fired anyway!


So onto this week and I note all manner of friendlies for European teams which to me are non-betting entities unless you see team news before the bookies and can gain an advantage pricewise. So as I’m writing too early to know the starting squads/formation, that’s out of the equation.


Looking at the football this weekend I’d say the most realistic opportunities come from the Chinese Super League or the Japanese J-League – I’m picking the J-League.


I note that Tokushima Vortis who sit bottom of the table have only scored 3 goals in their 14 games, or looking at it another way in 11 games they’ve not scored. They’re away this week to Nagoya Grampus who come into the game after a 12-0 win in the Emperor Cup. Nagoya I’d say are a sure bet to win this game, but at 1.33 you’d have to have a big bet for a reasonable return.


My pick of the weekend is in the Kashiwa Reysol v Vegalta Sendai game, where I believe Kashiya at 2.1 are a good bet. Kashiya sit 6th in the table to Vegalta 12th and I note that until recently Vegalta had been in the relegation zone for the majority of the season. Although to be fair only 5 points separate the relegation zone to the top half of the table as it’s quite tight.


My thought process is that Kashiwa’s home form is impressive in that they’ve only lost the once in the 8 games. While Vegalta are struggling to score on their travels, just 4 goals in 7 games. So when I see these sort of stats and see a home side priced more than 2.0, well it works for me.


Pick Kashiwa Reyson v Vegalta Sendai – Kashiwa to win @ 2.1

Trying To Secure A Spot


POSTED: 17 July 2014




It’s been a thrilling World Cup and congratulations to Germany for reaching the summit and beating Argentina.


Now it’s time for club football and in the 2nd qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, Celtic will look to advance to the next stage as they face KR at Murrayfield Stadium.


In the first leg, played at Reykjavik, Callum McGregor’s goal in the 84th-minute was the difference as Celtic won 1-0 and now head home with an aggregate advantage.


Looking at their form across all competitions, Celtic are indeed looking good. They’ve alternated wins and draws in their last seven matches but are unbeaten in their last 15. That is impressive despite most of them being played in last year’s Premiership.


Meanwhile, KR are third in their league after 11 matches, and their loss to Celtic is their second-consecutive across all competitions. Before those string of losses, they won five straight and only lost once in their last 10.


As they meet at Edinburgh, Celtic have the advantage they need and look for them to continue their winning ways as they aspire to move on.


For bigger returns, I’d go for Asian handicap but still go for Celtic. Don’t forget to look at Dafabet for the best odds in this European affair.


Pick – Celtic win (with AH)

Back to Europe


POSTED: 17 July 2014




Well, it was a sad victory for me last week, as I was somehow rooting for the underdogs to lift the World Cup, but to my woes, a sublime, two-man moment between Schurrle and Goetze fired Argentina to their doom and sent Germany back to the top of the World.


Anyways, congrats to the Germans!


This week, I will bet on an unfamiliar league in Europe, where one of the second tier leagues are just about to start.


Among them will be the Belgian Supercup match between Anderlecht and Lokeren.


The two clubs had a good season last year, as both of them finished in the Top Five of the Belgian Pro-league. Anderlecht won the final stages of the premier division, though Lokeren concentrated on winning the Belgian Cup.


After enjoying their breaks and playing a few friendlies, the sides are ready to start another grueling but satisfying grind in Belgium.


Anderlecht, who even reached the group stages of last season’s Champions League, are once again ready to clash against teams with the same caliber after winning two of their last three friendlies, with the other fixture ending on a scoreless stalemate.


Lokeren, too, are looking well prepared to start the Pro League season, beating all their opponents in their last four friendlies including a 5-0 thumping of Bornem.


Between the sides, Dafabet favors Anderlecht in their Super Cup match, as the Brussels’ side defeated Lokeren when they last met. Even with a -1.0 handicap against them, an Anderlecht win pays 1.93.


After seeing my last bet for underdogs end in a terrible state, I decided to go for the favorites this week.


Pick: Anderlecht vs. Lokeren in Belgian Super Cup, -1.0 against Anderlecht, Anderlecht to win @1.93

Going Up North!


POSTED: 17 July 2014




The World Cup is over and it left me with a bitter taste as the Germans were not able to score during normal time and cost me my free beer which would make me enjoy the final even more. Regardless, congratulations to Germany!


Moving forward, as I look at the upcoming matches I can’t help being disappointed as there are no exciting ones coming our way. With most European leagues not started, I turn my eyes to the North and particularly the Allsvenskan league that is well under way with 14 completed rounds out of 30.


The match that mostly drew my attention was the one between rivals Djurgardens and BK Hacken. The hosts currently stand on the 7th spot of the table, while their opponents are 5th, with only two points separating them.


Looking back at their head to head history, indicates that another tight match is on the way, as the two sides have equally shared points with seven wins each and two draws in 16 matches.


Djurgardens has remained undefeated in their last five matches, with two wins and two draws, coming from a great away victory against 8th seeded IFK Norrkoping with a 3-5 result.


BK Hacken on the other hand also count two wins, two draws and a loss and are coming from a wide victory as well, having trashed 12th seeded Orebro SK with 4-1.


When the two sides meet however, I will splash my money on the hosts to win it. The Stockholm side is strong when playing at home, having only been defeated three times in their last 15 matches at Tele2 Arena. Their Gothenburg opponents on the other hand have only won two of their last 15 matches away.


With the chance to climb up even more on the table and chase the coveted 2nd and 3rd spot that leads to Europe and the Europa League, I expect Djurgardens to make the most of it at home and pocket the three valuable points.


The home win pays 2.34 with Dafabet and that’s exactly what I’m going for!


Pick – Djurgardens to win @ 2.34

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