Mike’s Football Bets 3rd December

Long faces all round this week from an English point of view after losing out to the Russians in the World Cup bid. If you were of a cynical mindset you might wonder if the fact that Russia this week was quoted as being a “virtual mafia state with widespread corruption, bribery and protection rackets” made them so appealing to FIFA!? ….. I couldn’t possibly comment!

Still the World Cup for all its hype is a poor event from a value betting perspective (despite the billions traded on it) and in contrast the English Premier League continues to throw up what I feel are good value bets each weekend. None more so than this Monday with Aston Villa, who despite a run of losses lately have not been playing too badly and look to have a better chance than the odds suggest away at a Liverpool team minus Gerrard & Carragher. I can easily see Houllier’s return to Anfield ending in a draw and with a +1 Asian Handicap at 1.84, we can even lose by 1 goal and get our stake back. The pace of Young & Agbonlahor up against Kyrgiakos will certainly make for an interesting contest.

Birmingham may not be the prettiest team to watch (both stylistically and aesthetically – hello Lee Bowyer) but they are blooming hard to beat at home. They have lost just 2 out of 26 at St Andrews and will give visitors Spurs a run for their money, especially if the away team gift them a head start like in a number of recent games. The +0.5 at 1.82 with Pinnacle on Brum looks a cracking bet to my eyes.

It looks like there has been an over-reaction to West Ham’s 4-0 demolition of Man Utd in a game featuring enough defensive howlers to make Alan Hansen weep. It needs some context though as the United back-line was distinctly second-rate and Scotty Parker et al wont find the Sunderland backline quite so generous. On the road the Hammers have been abysmal and they have lost 61% of all games since the 09/10 season started. Sunderland on the contrary are very strong at home and I expect Messrs Welbeck, Gyan and Bent to continue West Ham’s travel sickness. The 1.91 on the Black Cats indicates they have a 52% chance of victory, which I make closer to 60% so real value there.

A few shortlist bets from this weekend including Arsenal to continue their goalscoring form and overcome a 1.75 handicap at home to Fulham. The only concern is which Arsenal show up as they are fast becoming a Jekyll and Hyde team, making them a punters nightmare.

Finally I have a shortlist bet on perennial faves Bolton who I fancy to go up against an unconvincing Man City side with a +1 Asian Handicap head-start.

Main Bets
1.5 pts Aston Villa (+1 AH) V Liverpool. 1.84 SBObet/12bet
1 pt Birmingham (+0.5 AH) V Spurs. 1.82 Pinnacle
1 pt Sunderland to beat West Ham. 1.91 Ladbrokes/Bluesq/Will Hill

Shortlist Bets
1 pt Arsenal (-1.75 AH) V Fulham. 2.10 Paddy Power
1 pt Bolton (+1 AH) V Man City. 1.95 Betinternet

Whatever you bet on, good luck!