OptaJoke Betting Blog – Week 14
This week sees the resumption of the FA Cup with two Wembley showpieces in prospect. A relocated Manchester derby takes the spotlight on Saturday afternoon while Sunday sees Bolton meet Stoke. There is also a packed fixture list from across the leagues to get stuck into in betting terms. As usual there will be a couple of selections this week, both long shots with varying degrees of risk for you to cast your gambling eye over.
Over 2.5 goals treble:
West Ham v Aston Villa
West Ham are definitely one of the more entertaining teams to have watched this season if you are a neutral. Their attacking options have been bolstered with the arrival of Demba Ba and Victor Obina whilst the return from injury of Thomas Hitzlesberger has given the midfield three a new dimension in recent weeks. Although their recent form has improved a little they still sit 18th after back to back losses in the last two weeks and there are still question marks over the defensive qualities of Avram Grants squad. 5 out of the last 6 West Ham games have contained 3 goals or more, the only exception being a 0-0 draw with Spurs. It’s do or die for the Hammers in the last 6 games and they will be targetting this game as one in which they can add to their points total.
Aston Villa were slipping periously towards the drop zone after three straight defeats to Manchester City, Bolton and Wolves, but Gerard Houllier has steadied the ship somewhat and thier win on Sunday against Newcastle will do wonders for confidence at Villa park. A squad containing flair players such as Stewart Downing, Ashley Young and a genuinely gifted finisher in Darren Bent will always pose an attacking threat and they will fancy their chances at Upton Park. The travelling Villa faithful have seen goals for their money this season, with 69% of their games going over the 2.5 goals mark, with only one game featuring less than 2 goals. With both sides still needing the points to try and avoid a nailbiting end to the season this one could be an entertaining affair and the combination of attacking options and defensive frailties on show should mean there are 3 or more goals.
Leeds v Watford
Simon Grayson’s side have been on the recieveing end of back to back defeats against Derby and Millwall in their last 2 games and this has dented their promotion hopes but they still sit 6th and will be hoping to get back on track against Watford. Leeds have tipified the unpredictable nature of The Championship this season but one thing they have not been short of is goals. With a midfield full of goalscoring potential, players such as Max Gradel and Jonny Howson have proved capable of supporting strikers such as Lucianno Bechio, it’s no surprise that 75% of the games at Elland Road have beaten the 2.5 goals mark this season.
Watford look as if they might miss out on this years play-off race as their form has taken a dip over the last few weeks but they will take heart from a hard fought 2-2 draw against fellow hopefuls Norwich. Malky Mackay’s side have been free scoring at times this season with 71 goals scored in the campaign, this is the second highest total of all 24 clubs, behind, yes, you guessed it, Leeds with 76. 5 out of the Hornets last 6 games have gone over 2.5 goals and against a Leeds side that pose a threat but are also suceptable to the odd defensive lapse this one could easily contain the required 3 goals.
Bury v Barnet
Bury sit in 2nd in League Two and are looking good for a potential promotion to League One despite the loss of former boss Alan Knill to Scunthorpe. They have won their last 3 games on the bounce and have scored 8 goals in the process, league top scorer Ryan Lowe has also attracted many plaudits for his goalscoring this season and is always dangerous. The shakers are the second top scoreres in the league this season and 7 out of their last 11 games have gone over 2.5 goals. They will be keen to secure three points in this one in order to cement one of the two remaining automatic promotion spots.
Barnet by contrast are second bottom of the league and are in serious danger of dropping out of the football league, they have however won their last 2 games against Crewe and relegation rivals Burton. Barnet havent had a huge problem in finding the back of the net in the majority of their games, scoring in 70% of thier matches this campaign. The problem is more their defensive line which has conceded 68 goals, often seeing them lose games by a single goal margin and costing them valuable points. I fancy a home win here but with Barnet in a true “do or die mentality” in recent weeks I think there could be three goals in this encounter.
This treble returns around 5/1 with most firms.
There’s also a couple of additional little bets I’ve found when trawling through the bookmakers offerings this week:
Andy Carroll to score first/anytime v Arsenal
After the £35m man broke his Anfield duck with a brace against Man City on Monday night I think he could be good value to score again this weekend. We all know that he can be a dominat force in the air and with Arsenal’s somewhat worrying back line being particularly succeptable to set pieces Carroll could find himself with a good number of opportunities if he can get the service. Liverpool’s new number nine also showed his ability to score from outside the box with a powerful left foot strike against Roberto Mancini’s side and he will be confident coming into this game that he can extend his scoring run, he is a rather large 14/5 to score anytime with Unibet and is generally available at 5/2 elsewhere, if you fancy a longershot he is also a hefty 10/1 with Unibet to open the scoring against the Gunners.
As always, good luck and gamble responsibly.