Roker Riches makes a welcome return to the site just in time for the new season. Having undergone a bit of a makeover it is now bigger and better than ever as the Roker Report massive go head to head trying to pick out some winning bets each and every week.
Join us as we squander some virtual cash!
The premise is simple. We each start the tipping tournament with ten whole virtual pounds to place on at least two bets each week. The first bet must involve our beloved Sunderland, this is obligatory, however the second bet can be from wherever in the footballing world the tipster so wishes.
The winner is the man come the end of the season who has produced the most profit. Or, as is more likely, the least in debt.
Week One Predictions
Alright then, first bet of the season. After an up and down Euro 2012 on the betting front, I'm hopeful of hitting top form here and showing the rest of the lads how it's done.
I'm going to split my £10 this week between one bet on the Sunderland match, as we are contractually obliged to do, and another on a bit of an accumulator. A five on each of the following please Mr Bookmaker man...
Starting off with our trip to the Emirates this weekend, I can't say I'm overly confident. At the same time, I'm too much of a homer (home-ER, you tittering children) to bet against the lads too much, so I'm going with Arsenal to get a ruck of corners. £5 of my money goes on Arsenal to get over 13 corners, priced at 4/5.
As for my other, I'm going with a little treble on Fulham to get off to a winning start at home to Norwich City. I don't particularly care one way or another about either team, but I think with home advantage, Fulham should eek out a narrow victory. In The Championship I'm looking for Birmingham City to comfortably dispatch newly promoted Charlton Athletic at home, while down in League Two I think York City will have the upperhand over Wycombe Wanderers. The Minister Men have a decent home record, and looked canny against our kids a few weeks ago.
- Arsenal to get over 13 corners - 4/5 - £5 Stake
- Fulham, Birmingham City & York City to win - 7/1 - £5 Stake
As much as I'd love to think that we'll get something at the Emirates, I just, well, don't. They have strengthened their squad impressively this summer, although I think it will be someone we all know about, Theo Walcott, who does the damage first. I'm being optimistic in that I think we'll score, but that's about the best I can offer, 3-1 to Arsenal.
My second bet is in the form of an accumulator. Swindon - newly promoted, took the league by storm last year, won in their League Cup tie, all about momentum. The other three are pretty obvious choices when you consider they are playing Ross County, Southampton and Wigan respectively.
- Arsenal to win 3-1, first goal scored by Theo Walcott - 50/1 - £1 Stake
- Swindon, Celtic, Manchester City & Chelsea to win - 5.5/1 - £1 Stake
We managed a goalless draw at Arsenal under Ricky Sbragia and, had things been a little different, we may have snatched something from the trip to the Emirates last season. Martin O'Neill organises his team far better than his predecessors, and even without the striker he wants (so long as Stephane Sessegnon is fit), I will go into the game thinking we have a chance. Only a small chance, but a chance nonetheless.
The opening day has been rather kind to us since we returned to the Premier League; Nyron Nosworthy and Paul McShane shut out the formidable attack of Dimitar Berbatov and Jermain Defoe, and whilst it would be foolish to ever bet on that happening again, a third draw in six opening day games (others against Liverpool and Birmingham City) is not totally out of the question.
Jumping on the Swindon bandwagon early in the season shouldn't be too bumpy - several teams have been promoted from League Two to go on and challenge for a second successive promotion, and under Paolo di Canio you sense there's a bit of Roy Keane there in the way that players either want to do well for him, or are genuinely too scared to fail under him.
On the back of a 3-0 win over Brighton in the Capital One Cup, I expect Town to get their league campaign off the mark with a win, and at a respectable price.
- Sunderland to draw with Arsenal - 4/1 - £2 Stake
- Swindon to beat Hartlepool - 6/4 - £4 Stake
Whilst Arsenal have undoubtedly brought in some quality during the summer months, bolstering their attack especially, they have also recently lost some key personnel with Van Persie moving on in a search for silverware with Manchester United and Alex Song on the verge of a move to Barcelona. Could Sunderland possibly capitalise on an Arsenal side that is still gelling as a unit whilst also coping with the loss of such key players? Quite possibly, but I'm not confident enough to place my stake on an away win just yet, especially with so many question marks also over the Sunderland squad.
My stake this week will be going on a draw at half time. Sunderland proved on many occasions last year that they can defend well as a unit when called upon and I fancy O'Neill to set the side up to frustrate Arsenal and as such I believe there is value in backing the half-time draw. Also the fact that Arsenal were level at half-time 12 out of the 19 home games last season adds some weigh to this punt.Score to be a draw at half-time - 7/5 - £5 stake
For my second bet I too will be looking at a little accumulator to help add a bit of value to my week's picks. I fancy QPR's new recruits, keen to impress to prove to be too much for a travelling Swansea side, I also agree with Simon and would expect Fulham to beat Norwich and finally fancy Preston to carry on from their confidence boosting win over Huddersfield in the cup with victory over Colchester.
- Arsenal & Sunderland To Draw At Halftime - 7/5 - £5 Stake
- QPR, Fulham & Preston to win - 7.69/1 - £2 Stake
After Sunderland's worries up front all summer, it would be typical if their new boy went straight into the side and scored a debut goal. Saha has scored goals everywhere he's been, and remains a potent force in the box. With him expected to play at least some part on Saturday, and Sunderland unlikely to employ two out-and-out strikers on the field at any one time, it seems likely that it will be Saha who is expected to fire them to an opening day result.
I'm very much risking the wrath of Barnsley fan and fellow Roker Reporter Dan Williams, but I quite fancy the Teesiders to kick off their league campaign with a win this weekend. A decent League Cup win against Bury last week got Tony Mowbray's men off and running, and the manager has been astute in his signings this summer despite sacrificing minimum funds. Grant Leadbitter knows all about promotion battles, and I fancy him and his new teammates to notch their first three points of the season at Oakwell on Saturday.
- Louis Saha, anytime goalscorer - 7/2 - £2 Stake
- Middlesbrough to beat Barnsley - 11/8 - £4 Stake
And there you have it, our first round of selections have been handed over to the bookies and now we wait for the winnings to come rolling home. Remember, we'll also be monitoring these in a weekly league, so keep an eye out for the result sin next weeks Roker Riches article. Same bat-time, same bat-channel...
Agree with our selections or have some punts of your own? let us know in the comments below!