So after a couple of successful weeks on The OptaJoke betting blog this weekend’s selections are doomed to promptly fall flat on their faces! With the FA Cup taking top billing over the next few days there is a distinct lack of Premier League action to make up the multiples so once again I’m looking at the other leagues around England. There is also a European option for your consideration as we go all continental for the weekend!
Leyton Orient v Oldham (Home win)
Orient sprang into the spotlight a few weeks back when they held Arsenal in the FA Cup for a replay. Since then their form has been fantastic in the league and they sit in 7th with a slim chance of making up the 8 point gap to MK Dons in the last play-off spot. They haven’t lost a game since New Year’s Day (a run of 12 league games) and look full of confidence. Each of their five home wins in 2011 have come by more than one goal so I think they could have enough to see off Oldham. The away side are having a bit of a torrid time after a promising start this season, they have lost 5 of their last 6 games and have only scored 2 goals in that time. Their last win in the league was 1st February and I think they face an uphill challenge to avoid slipping to another loss on Saturday.
Derby County v Swansea (Away win)
A tale of two teams going in opposite directions in this one, Derby have suffered another defeat against Middlesbrough midweek and they sit in a traitorous position of 19th just 6 points off the relegation zone. Nigel Clough’s side have only picked up 10 points from their league games in 2011 and after selling Kris Commons to Celtic the lack of options in their squad has been exposed against better equipped sides. The Swans have been consistently good over the last 2 years in this league and are looking good to clinch the second automatic promotion spot. They have won 3 out of their last 4 away games and I think their solid defensive record won’t be troubled at Pride Park. They will be targeting this as an opportunity to gain ground on leaders QPR and pull away from Norwich.
Burnley v Millwall (Home win)
Burnley’s form has picked up considerably over the last couple of months and they are unbeaten in 6 games beating potential play-off rivals Watford and Norwich in the process. They host Millwall who are sitting comfortably in midtable and the home side are perfectly capable of finishing in the top 6 if their run continues. Until their victory over London rivals and leaders QPR, the Lions form had been a little disappointing in recent weeks. They have lost 3 out of their last 5 games and although the 2-0 win on Tuesday night was a good result I think the Clarets could edge this one as they look to consolidate their position in the league.
This treble pays around 7/1 with most firms.
This weeks longshot comes from across Europe…
Hoffenheim v Borrusia Dortmund (away win)
Regular readers of the blog will know my admiration of Dortmund this season. They are storming away with the league title and have an exceptional away record. They have now won 11 of their 13 away games and Saturdays opponents Hoffenheim face a sturn challenge. The hosts have lost 3 of the last 4 games and are sliding down the table. This one could well be chalked up as yet another win for Dortmund.
Almeria v Athletico Madrid (away win)
Almeria sit 19th in La Liga and are looking in serious trouble of slipping into the second tier of Spanish football come May. A major part of their problems this season has been their poor home form; they have only won 2 games on their own turf and concede 1.92 goals per home game. Athletico Madrid come into this game after seeing off Villareal in the last round and they are chasing down a Europa League place after a fairly mediocre campaign. They are unbeaten in the last 4 games and need to close the 2 point gap on 6th place Espanyol, I think the visitors could take the points on Saturday night.
Mainz v Bayer Leverkusen (away win)
Mainz made a superb start to the Bundesliga season winning their 1st 7 games on the spin. Since then their form has dipped slightly but they still harbour ambitious of a Champions League place at the end of the season. Their major weakness has become their home games; they have only picked up 4 points from their last 8 games at Stadion am Brunchweg and on Sunday they host second placed Leverkusen. Despite a midweek Europa League game at home to Villareal their squad does have strength in depth when compared to others in the league and should be able to cope with 2 games in 4 days. The visitors have won an impressive 8 of their 12 games away from home and will be confident of picking up another victory in this one.
This treble’s odds are a little longer and it returns around 9/1.
As some of you may have heard on the latest pod there is going to be an MLS slant on the next set of tips to celebrate the start of the season stateside.
As always, good luck and gamble responsibly!