OptaJoke Betting Blog – The Final Countdown (Part 1)

As the end of the season is now within site the games become more and more sparse across the country. With the regular Football League season drawn to a close all that’s left is to decide which of the 4 teams within the play-offs will gain promotion. There are however a couple more Premier League weekends and not forgetting the FA cup final show-piece to consider when trying to find some long shots for the betting blog this weekend. Last week our safer option of a double on Southampton and Middlesbrough to end their seasons with a win produce the goods at a tidy 2/1 so congratulations if you were on board with that one, fingers crossed for a repeat performance this weekend.

FA Cup final: Manchester City v Stoke (Wembley)

Manchester City are generally available at around 10/11 (1.9) to beat Stoke in 90 minutes on Saturday, that’s a tempting price given the fact that The Potters are likely to be without Robert Huth and Matthew Etherington who have played such a big part in their good form this season. That said, Tony Pulis’ side will be fired up for this one and cheered on by their vocal supporters they should not be counted out. If City fans think they are going to get an easy ride in this one they need only look at Stoke’s dominating performance over Arsenal last weekend. Yes, the gunners were defensively frail at times but Stoke looked comfortable and were certainly not overawed by playing against a big side.

Roberto Mancini may start with Carlos Tevez up front after he got a run out against Spurs midweek but I’m not sure he’ll take the risk when he has Balotelli and Dzeko ready to step up if needed. One player who has got on the scoresheet a few times this season is David Silva. I’ve been really impressed with the Spaniards work rate in recent weeks and he looks a constant threat when he has the ball at his feet, he is rather overpriced at 10/1 with William Hill to open to scoring and Unibet have him at 3/1 to score anytime which could be worth a look if you fancy something to maintain interest throughout the game.

David Silva to score first 10/1 – William Hill

David Silva to score anytime 3/1 – Unibet

Liverpool v Tottenham

The home side are made favourites here and quite rightly in my opinion. They have been on an unstoppable run of form which has seen them leapfrog Tottenham into 5th place after they blew Fulham away on Monday night. Luis Suarez has looked every inch the Premier League striker since his arrival on Merseyside and with Maxi Rodriguez in such red hot form it’s difficult to see Liverpool not carving out chances in this one. That victory over Fulham made 3 on the bounce and with the recent draw with Arsenal and impressive 3-0 victory over Manchester City making up their last 5 games, Kenny Dalglish’s side will be confident of getting three points at Anfield on Sunday.

Spurs have looked a team short of confidence in recent weeks, they were somewhat fortunate to escape the Blackpool game with a point and after a somewhat lacklustre display against Manchester City in the week Harry Redknapp must be a little concerned about their recent results. The fact that Champions League qualification may be fresh in the minds of some players and with the season winding down I simply don’t see that they are going to be as motivated and hungry as a Liverpool side who are looking to finish the season in style and celebrate King Kenny’s new permanent contract at the club. Spurs’ record in recent week speaks volumes, they’ve won just one of their last 10 league games and have struggled against sides they would expect to beat and ultimately, that is what has cost them a place in next season’s Champions League.

This really is a case of two clubs going in opposite directions in terms of the form table. The reds are being tipped for the top next season and while I remain unconvinced that they can challenge Manchester United and Chelsea I think they will have enough to see this one out and claim the three points with a few goals to boot.

Liverpool win with 3 or 4 goals in the game is my bet for this one which is priced at 5/2 with Paddy Power.

As always, good luck and gamble responsibly.

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