The Best of the Bets for 2011

The Best of the Bets for 2011.

To continue the “12 Days of OptaJoke” I am going to be taking a look at the shiny new year that is 2011 to try and find some decent betting opportunities for the next 12 months. Many people, myself included, will regularly partake in the odd flutter at the weekend in anticipation of lining their pockets at the expense of the bookmakers. Dan Bunkers accumulator series has proven a great read in the last few weeks and if it’s your aim to retire on the winnings of one Saturday afternoons work then you can follow Dan’s progress here on the OptaJoke blog.

First up, let’s have a quick look at the Premier League, where Manchester United sit atop of the table with games in hand and are unsurprisingly made favourites for the title at around Evens (2.0). My first bet though will come from further down the league and with newly promoted, surprise package Blackpool. Ian Holloway has worked wonders on a budget with The Tangerines since every man and his dog concluded they would finish rock bottom of the league and spend the second half of 2011 in the Championship. The ability of Holloway to motivate his squad to unlikely victories over Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland to name but a few has drawn plaudits from across the media.

With their current total of 25 points they sit 10th in the league and that in itself is a fantastic achievement. Victor Chandler are taking bets on Blackpools total points in the 2010/11 season and they make them 7/4 (2.75) to get 45 points or more in this Premier League campaign which I think is a decent price. Blackpool have only played 18 games which means they have 20 more games to reach this total, due to the development of Bloomfield Road more of these games will also be at home which is an advantage for the seasiders. But the most important factor for me is that Holloway does not set his teams up to defend for a draw unlike other clubs when playing away, their free flowing attacking style means this points total, which is reality is normally enough to just escape the relegation battle, is more than achievable.

There are plenty of transfer rumours flying around at this time of year, they range from the distinctly possible, Beckham to Spurs at 1/4 to the downright ridiculous, Beckham to Leicester at 40/1 both with William Hill. But a bet that I do like the look of is Betfair’s “Man United’s first league defeat” market, with United being the only unbeaten team in the land there is a lot of interest from a money making point of view as to where the first defeat of this season is coming from. The fixture list post new year isn’t exactly the easiest of runs with games against Spurs, Liverpool and Blackpool all on the horizon in the next calendar month. But the game I like the look of is when United come up against their rivals from the blue half of Manchester on February 12th. Mancini’s side are bound to sign players in January with Edin Dzeko looking Eastlands bound as I type. Question marks might still remain over whether City can produce regularly enough to be considered legitimate title contenders but whilst their rivals are stuttering on the results front and they are acquiring more quality players such as Dzeko, anything is possible. Betfair make this bet around a 7/1 shot and I think it’s worth a look.

Ok after a couple of half sensible, reasoned bets let’s look at a couple of longer shots for the upcoming year. William Hill have some longer priced specials such as an individual player to score 6 goals in a Premier League match at 9/1 or The English FA to withdraw from FIFA at 50/1 which might appeal if you’d rather put a bet on something than set fire to your money. One longer shot which might be worth a small stakes punt is the 15/1 on the FA Cup winners to come from outside the Premier League. With January signalling the beginning of the 3rd round of fixtures and the possibility of some Cupsets on the cards it would be fantastic to see a team from outside the top flight lift the prestigious trophy at Wembley. There are some decent sides in the Championship this year and in a one off game it’s not impossible that this could become a reality.

I’ll be writing a weekly column in 2011 suggesting a long shot bet or accumulator for the upcoming week, it should be live every Friday so keep your eyes peeled for more betting advice to accompany your footballing weekend. Happy New Year and as always, the best of luck.

Selections:

Blackpool to finish the season with 45 points or more. 7/4 with Victor Chandler.
Manchester United’s first league defeat to be against Manchester City. Just under 7/1 with Betfair.
The FA Cup winners to come from outside The Premier League. 15/1 with William Hill.

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