So, here's the rules.
Five of us clueless buffoons from the Roker Report writing team are starting this little venture with forty pounds, and how we spend it is our own choice. Each week we select our bets, and we'll see how far we can make our money go - or how quickly we can lose the lot. It's pretty simple. We are allowed to go into minus figures in order to build our money back up should things get that bad.
Every Thursday we'll pick our bets ahead of the weekend's games, and we'll keep track of our monies in a lovely little league table, like so:
|Pundit||Last Week's Profit/Loss||Current Balance|
Anyhow, on to our picks for week one...
The game against Arsenal this weekend is quite a hard game to predict, as we have no idea what sort of team both sides will put out. With that said, I don't think it will be a cagey affair, as there will be plenty of players on show who are eager to impress, and I'm expecting a few goals.
So I'll go for exactly six goals to be scored (a 4-2 win either way), which is priced at 11/1 at Bet365.
Elsewhere, the two surprises packages in Ligue 1, Angers (3rd) and Caen (4th) go head to head and as neither score or concede many a nil-nil may be on the cards, which you can get at 6/1 at BetVictor.
Arsenal vs Sunderland to have exactly six goals: 11/1 - £1
Angers vs Caen to finish 0-0 - 6/1 - £2
At the Emirates on Saturday I have no doubts that the pundits will be tipping us to get trashed. Looking at Arsenal’s form they’ve not lost at home since the opening day of the season. And, with the talent they have on offer, it’s easy to see why they’re only 11/10 to win the title this season. The smart money is on a 2-0 Arsenal win – regardless, I'm going to bet with my heart and go for a draw at half time and Sunderland to nick it late on.
My other bet this week is a £10 treble on Hull, Palace and a cup upset at Hartlepool. I fancy Palace to edge it at St Mary’s - I’m not convinced by Southampton this season and I think Pardew will fancy a win on his old stomping ground. There’s always an upset when the FA cup comes around and it’d be great to see our friends down the road upset the apple cart when they face championship opposition in Derby. Brighton have not won in six now and an away trip to the KC will be tough - I think Hull will edge a close encounter.
Half-Time/Full-Time - Draw/Sunderland: 28/1 - £10
Treble - Hull, Palace and Hartlepool all to win: 53/1 - £10
Knowing what we know about our team selection this weekend at Arsenal - coupled with the fact Arsenal haven’t lost at home since the opening day and have won the FA Cup for the last two seasons – I just don’t give Sunderland a chance.
Arsenal are free-flowing at the best of times and, against a weakened Sunderland, I can see them scoring for fun unfortunately. Arsene Wenger is almost certainly going to make changes to his strongest side but even that could be too much – with Alexis Sanchez set to play following an injury which has kept him out for a number of weeks he’ll be eager to hit the ground running, so I’m going for him to score anytime, which is evens with Betway. If he doesn’t play – entirely likely – my bet will be refunded, so no harm done.
Away from Sunderland, there are some interesting matches across Europe this weekend and I’m tempted to go for a treble.
Third-placed Serie A side Napoli are away to third bottom Frosinone, who have lost five of their last seven matches.
Elsewhere, Grimsby – third in the conference – are away to third bottom Welling and have won six and drawn one in their last seven games. Welling haven’t won since October and have lost their last three home games, whilst Grimsby have lost only once on the road this season.
My last pick is for Malaga, who have won their last four in the league and are away to lowly Las Palmas. This treble with Betway is 5.55/1 – lovely.
Alexis Sanchez to score anytime against Sunderland: 1/1 - £5
Napoli, Grimsby Town & Malaga treble: 5.55/1 - £10
With most expecting the Sunderland eleven to feature a number of academy prospects at the weekend, I'm going to have to go for what will be an unpopular punt and back Arsenal to claim the victory with a winning margin of three. Sorry, lads.
My second offering is an accumulator with one game from each English competition on Saturday featuring.
In the third round, I have to punt for the most obvious chance of an upset, as League Two's Wycombe Wanderers host the top flight's bottom side, Aston Villa. The hosts are sitting in the automatic promotion places currently, collecting eleven points from their last six games, so it's highly possible that they will add to Villa's misery by at least forcing a draw.
After Chesterfield trounced Shrewsbury 7-1 last weekend, claiming their first win since late October. They head into a bigger challenge on Saturday, however, traveling to play-off chasing Rochdale who have collected seven points in the last three and I expect them to pick up a further three in this one.
League two's fixtures this weekend will see 5th placed Bristol Rovers travel to lower mid-table Barnet. The Pirates head into the game as the leagues most in form side, winning five of their last six matches.
Finally, top-of-the-table Cheltenham travel to relegation threatened Boreham Wood and will be hoping to make six wins in six.
Arsenal to win by three goals: 4/1 - £5
4 fold - Wycombe to win or draw, & Rochdale, Bristol Rovers & Cheltenham all to win: 10.08/1 - £5
First off I’m going for a straight forward four-fold bet on FA Cup games – why not? Brentford and Bury and Ipswich are all about evens to win their games, whilst Huddersfield are 11/8.
I never bet on Sunderland. But as I have to I'll go for daft bets at small stakes for a laugh. Sunderland to win both halves is 100/1 with Bet365 – think I’ll have some of that. It’ll be canny if it comes off!
Brentford @ 5/6, Bury @ 5/6, Huddersfield @11/8, Ipswich 4/5: 19.37/1 - £2.50
Sunderland to win both halves against Arsenal: 100/1 - £0.50