England’s Depth Issues Create Worrisome Long-Term Picture

Harry-KaneHarry Kane” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by enviro warrior

England have a striking crisis heading into their friendly clash against Germany and their World Cup qualifier with Lithuania following Harry Kane’s injury setback.

The Tottenham Hotspur striker was expected to lead the line for the Three Lions for the two matches after being previously unavailable at the end of the last year due to an ankle injury.

However, the 23-year-old suffered ligament damage to the same ankle just minutes into Spurs’ FA Cup quarter-final clash against Millwall after falling awkwardly at White Hart Lane.

Kane was in outstanding form, dramatically rising to lead the Premier League goalscoring charts with 19 strikes, including two hat-tricks and two braces since the turn of the year.

As a result, Gareth Southgate has a tough time to replace the forward, with injuries to Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge further limiting his options.

England are still comfortably backed in the latest international football betting to beat Lithuania, but the issues surrounding the squad are worrisome looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup.

Encouragingly Jamie Vardy has shown signs of life since Leicester parted company with Claudio Ranieri, although he still only has seven goals to his name this term.

The 30-year-old has not done a great deal to disprove that his 24-goal campaign was not a flash in the pan, failing to display the same clinical edge in front of goal.

Marcus Rashford has an abundance of ability, but he has seen his first-team opportunities limited at Manchester United by the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He played well in his side’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea, but has not scored a Premier League goal since September, and only seven in 36 appearances in all competitions this term.

Danny-WelbeckDanny Welbeck” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

Danny Welbeck has returned from his injury layoff, but his injury history is a major concern as there is always worry that his next fitness issue is only one game away.

The 26-year-old is an incredible talent and has proved it in the Premier League and for the Three Lions. His presence would be a major lift for Southgate, but whether he could be trusted for the long-tem future is another matter.

Those three players have been included in recent squads and are not entirely solid options, but alternatives are thin on the ground, highlighting England’s lack of depth in the striking department.

Gone are the days when the Three Lions were blessed with so much talent – high-calibre players could not break into the starting line-up ala Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Matt Le Tissier and Robbie Fowler.

Jermain Defoe could provide short-term relief for Southgate, especially for the double-header against Germany and Lithuania.

The 34-year-old has been nothing short of sensational this term for Sunderland – scoring 14 goals in a side that would have a truly embarrassing points total without his presence. He has lost none of his old spark in front of goal and arguably is playing the best football of his career.

Sadly for England there are no better alternatives in the Premier League – which is no slight on Defoe.

Andy Carroll’s fitness record is also poor, and although he scored an impressive goal in his side’s win against Crystal Palace – he has only six strikes in the Premier League this season.  

Andre Gray has eight goals to his name, although his off-the-field digression earlier in the term could ward off interest from the Three Lions, while the same could be said for Troy Deeney – along with the fact that neither of those players are truly quality options.

Given England’s desperation Carroll and Defoe may have to be the men selected, proving that English football’s long-term prospects are not great – should injuries to key players persist.

Top Tips for the EPL

The English Premier League is in its final third. Chelsea are sure to win the title and betting on the winner of the EPL will give you the lowest possible odds. Bookmakers have even got a market called ‘Without Chelsea’ where the second placed team in the EPL is actually the winning bet.

However, just like the horse racing tips at SBAT.com Cheltenham Festival infographic there are some absolute cracker of betting tips for the EPL as well. Here we look at three value bets which could fill your coffers if properly backed.

Liverpool to Finish in Top 4

If you can put your house on this bet you should do it without thinking twice. Liverpool started the season magnificently and many tipped them for the title because of the spectacular fashion in which they dominated matches.

However, a barren run at the start of the new year, which many pundits said was down to the players being exhausted, resulted in Jurgen Klopp’s men being in danger of missing out on Top 4 and Champions League football next year.

That period seems to be over now, and victories over Top 4 contenders Arsenal and Tottenham signaled a change in the club’s fortunes. The fixture list is also much more relaxed and there is more time between matches. This is essential for Klopp’s high tempo, high intensity pressing game.

The Reds also have only one remaining fixture against a Top 6 side, Manchester City away. This means that all they have to do to finish in Top 4 is to keep their focus and not to drop points against lesser opposition.

Sunderland to Finish Bottom

There is only one team bound to finish in the last position of the EPL and that’s Sunderland. David Moyes is not as bad a manager as people make him out to be, but the squad that he has at his disposal is by far the worst one in the top tier.

With the exception of the veteran striker Jermain Defoe, all of Sunderland’s players would be happy if they made the starting eleven of a Championship side.

And seeing how Defoe is 34 years old and is very likely to suffer from fatigue as the season draws to a close, it seems that Sunderland’s chances of avoiding the drop and finishing bottom are not looking good.

Top Goal Scorer – Diego Costa

This is a riskier bet than the previous two, but with odds of around 4/1 it’s worth a try. Of course Harry Kane is the current favourite for the Golden Boot in the EPL; however, Diego Costa seems to have again found his scoring boots after a short dry spell at the beginning of the year.

The Brazilian with a Spanish passport obviously lost his focus during the winter transfer window when astronomical sums of Chinese money were offered for his services.

However, he decided to stay and has rekindled his partnership with the likes of Hazard, Pedro and Fabregas. This means that the goals should start pouring down once again for Diego.

Britain’s Andy Murray beat five-time champion Novak Djokovic

tenis-10Andy Murray is having his best season ever and finally, reach his lifelong    dream of becoming the world’s number one player after the French Open. The Scotsman cemented his place at the top of the ranking and was able to increase his lead by beating Novak Djokovic in the ATP World Tour Finals. At the start of the season, tennis betting tips sites did not predict that the British player would be in such fine form this campaign. He was a big outsider with most sports betting odds bookmakers to make it but he has managed to do it playing the best tennis of his life. The player now 29 years old is going through his best winning streak of 24 games unbeaten.

It was not as easy for Murray in the semi-finals against Milos Ranic. The match took over three and a half hours and set a record for the longest match ever played in the tournament. Most tennis betting tips sites had Djokovic as the favorite due to him spending a lot less energy in getting to the final along with his far superior record over the Scot. Murray though was able to beat the betting odds by beating the former number one 6-3 6-4 at the O2 Arena in London.

It was a close battle between the two best players in the world and Djokovic gave it his all as he was chasing to equal the record of Roger Federer’s total of six trophies. The result has enabled Murray to increase his lead over the Serb and has been head and shoulders above the competition this season.

Djokovic has been out of form this season but will be back stronger than ever before  determined to claim back his title as best player in the world. Over recent years he has managed to dominate Murray and out of 34 encounters Djokovic had won 24 of them. The Scot has managed to prove this campaign that he can beat the previously unbeatable Djokovic and it is going to be interesting to see if he can claim back this throne.

The O2 Arena was packed to the brim with 17,000 tennis fans watching the battle for not only the trophy by also the number one ranking. Murray had the home advantage and it helps him raise his game needed to beat the great Djokovic. After the match, he was extremely courteous and said:  “Andy is definitely number one in the world, he deserved to win. He is the best player.”

Murray managed to beat Djokovic by making far less unforced errors. The Serb was slightly out of form and made a total of 30 unforced errors. You could tell that the Scotsman was in form and he has been unbeatable for the season’s second half.

It was not a great start by the British and world number one as he started with serving a double-fault. Murray was at his resilient best and managed to break Djokovic at 3 – 3. He then went on to win the set along with the match to make sure he would be the first ranked player going into 2017.

How to do Your Own Horse Race Handicapping

racetipsWith most of Europe’s major races in the books for 2016, the attention now focuses on the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia and the Breeders Cup in America. While there are currently plenty of race tips for Melbourne Cup day being offered by tipsters and online bookmakers, it’s always preferable for race-goers to learn how to do their own handicapping. That way, all a handicapper needs is access to Melbourne Cup odds and a place to wager.

Handicapping a Race Like the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is scheduled to be run on November 1 at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. This is a great race to handicap because of the size of the field, usually 20 horses, and the staying distance of 3200 meters.  This year’s race might include horses from Australia, England, France, Germany and perhaps Japan. After looking through the list of past winners and the associated winning Melbourne Cup odds, this is not a race on which someone would want to take short odds.

Tools of the Trade

Racing fans and gamblers are not expected to pick winners in a vacuum. Throughout the world, there are publications available that provide statistical information about the horses, trainers, jockeys and even racetracks. It’s foolish to attempt to handicap without the necessary data, keeping in mind that things like race tips for Melbourne Cup day can be unreliable and arbitrary.

In Europe, the most popular publication for handicappers is the form guide. On a race-by-race basis, data is provided for each horse entered, along with selected data provided about trainers and jockeys. By employing one of several handicapping methods, this information is very useful for the purpose of at least identifying contenders and pretenders.

Handicapping Methods

Most experienced handicappers fall into one of three categories: class handicappers, speed handicappers or trip handicappers. Here’s a brief description of each betting strategy.

Class Handicapping: Based on a horse’s proven level of ability, horses can be rated by class. From best to worst, the classifications are stakes horses (levels 1, 2 and 3), overnight handicap horses, allowance horses, high-level claimers and low-level claimers. As horses move up and down in class, the can create wagering opportunities as improving horses, or signal they are out of form as they move down the ladder. In some cases, horses moving down in class might improve given the chance to run against lesser competition. Class handicappers use these class moves to help isolate horses that could provide wagering value. The Time Form ratings provided in the form guide can provide insight about a horse’s true level of ability.

Speed Handicapping: Speed handicappers are interested in how fast horses have shown the ability to run at certain distances. In some cases, experienced handicappers will develop their own speed figures to be used as a basis of comparison between horses that have been running in different races, at different racetracks, racing at different distances. If a horse runs consistently faster speed figures than a majority of the other horses in a field, they would certainly have to be considered contenders.

Trip Handicapping: Trip handicappers like to focus on horses that appear to have run poorly in a recent race, but might have been compromised by circumstances. If a horse was making a move and got blocked while trying to accelerate, the effort might have been compromised, indicating they might be better than the data suggests. If a late closer appears to have been unable to use their closing kick, it might have been because of a slow pace upfront. The running style was compromised. Trip handicappers love wagering on horses next-out that might have been compromised the race before.

Learning to handicap races on your own takes time and experience. However, the rewards you gain by successfully picking winners on your own makes it worth the effort. By employing one or more of the methods listed above, you can take a big step towards being a good handicapper.

EPL Week 8 – Liverpool F.C Vs Manchester United

Online betting offers have Liverpool as the favorites to beat Manchester United. They have the home advantage and their current form is exceptional as they have won their last four games in a row. Manchester United have not been in great form recently and fans are starting to worry that they may suffer another season like last year. In their last four games, they have lost two, drawn one and won once. This is not the type of form you would expect from title contenders but the Red Devils always tend to start slowly and finish strong. They will hope that at the end of January they will still be in the running to win their first title since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Liverpool F.C

Liverpool has attracted punters to place a large amount of online betting offers on them winning the league this season. They look a completely different outfit from last campaign and Klopp has managed to mold the team in his reputation. The six months he was in charge for last season has helped the manager assess the players and got rid of the deadwood to replace them with players that meet his criteria.

Klopp has finally managed to get his team pressing as a unit and not in single players. They have become experts at the German manager’s tactics to high pressure and out running their opposition. I think it may still be one season too early for them to be genuine contenders but with a couple of extra players to improve their defense, they have a great chance to winning it.

Manchester United

Manchester United invested heavily during the summer transfer market with a new manager, Jose Mourinho and expensive world-class stars such as Paul Pogba along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.The two stars have certainly improved the team but it remains unbalanced and fans are debating if Wayne Rooney no longer has a part to play. It could well be England’s top goalscorers last season playing for Man U as he is no longer the best striker at the club and the move into midfield is not working.

If is going to take Mourinho this season to get to know the players and to build a team around the ones that have the right mentality and ability. It would be very surprising if they were able to win the Premier League this season and betting tips sites agree. Their main priority will be to qualify for the Champions League so that they can attract the type of players they need to extend their record as the team to win the most titles.

Liverpool F.C Vs Manchester United Prediction

My betting tips are for both teams to score and Liverpool to come out on top. With the Liverpool players playing a high-pressure game, I do not think that the Man U defense will be able to hold out for the full ninety minutes.The same can be said though about Liverpool as they have an even worse record of letting goals in, however, they score more which will give them an advantage. It is a big game for both teams so expect it to be a fierce encounter with a number of cards been shown.

EPL Week 8 – Manchester City Vs Everton F.C

The Premier League is the toughest for football predictions for today as any team can beat anyone on their day. Most soccer predict experts will have Manchester City down as a win in this game but they face a tough Everton team who have started well. Both teams form are almost identical with them starting off the season on a winning streak the last two match they have both dropped points. Man City drew in the Champions League and then followed that up with their first loss of the season against Tottenham Hotspur. Everton has also lost away to Bournemouth and then drew their last game against Crystal Palace.

Manchester City

Things could not have started off any better for new manager Pep Guardiola. His team won the first 10 games he was in charge of in all competitions and were looking like they might run away with the league until last week. The draw against Celtic in the Champions League followed up by a 2 – 0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur has boosted the hopes of the other teams in the competition. The two matches showed that if you pressurize the Man City players high up the pitch cutting off their passing angles, they are vulnerable. If Everton can use this tactic against them, they will improve their chances of getting something from the game. Even after the two slip ups soccer predict sites still have them the favorites to win the Premier League.

Manchester City is missing their star player Kevin De Bruyne who is out injured. It is no surprise that since he has been out the team have struggled to beat teams. All of the play goes through the midfield player and he is capable of scoring lots of goals and assists. Once he is back playing he will help greatly improve the team and get them back on track.

Everton F.C

Everton seems to be following a pattern of having one great season and then they follow it up with a dreadful one. Last year’s performances were not good enough which is why they sacked their manager to replace him with Ronald Koeman. Things have started well for the new manager but they need to find their early season form quickly so they do not drop down the league. The best way to do that would be to be Manchester City away from home but they will need luck on their side if they are going to be able to do this. With Romelu Lukaku they have a world-class striker and they will be hoping that he plays well to get the goals needed to beat city.

The break for the international qualifiers has come at a perfect time for injured Everton players to recover hopefully in time to play against City. They have Gibson, McCarthy, and Baines out who are key players for the team. If these can recover in time, it will improve their chances of getting a result.

Manchester City Vs Everton Prediction

Manchester City is unbeaten at home winning each game which is my football predictions for today are for them to continue this run and beat Everton. After suffering from their first loss in the league they will be extremely fired up to bounce straight back. Everton has a dreadful record against city and has not beaten them away from home since December 2010.

EPL Week 8 – West Brom Vs Tottenham Hotspur

West Brom will not be looking forward to an inform Spur team visiting the Hawthorns. Tottenham is unbeaten and the betting tips favorite. They have the best defense in the league and are one point from top place after beating the leader 2 – 0 last week. The Baggies are turning into the league specialist drawers of games having drawn three out of their six matches so far and winning just one. They are not a team build of superstars though so a return of nine points from 7 games is the type of return that will help them finish around mid table. It is hard to soccer predict but if the team keep up the same levels of energy per match they should be comfortably safe.

West Brom

What is surprising is that West Brom is the team in the league that covers the most distance. If you had asked the average fan who they thought covered the large distance, most would have said, Leicester, Spurs or Liverpool. There is zero chance of the Baggie winning the league or reaching the top four but on their day they have the capacity to beat the top teams. Tony Pulis has done an excellent job at getting his players to their highest possible fitness levels and with him, in charge, they are safe from the threat of relegation. Not many fans would offer betting tips on the Baggies beating Spurs but you never know in football.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham remains the only unbeaten side in the league after beating Manchester City 2 – 0 at White Hart lane over the weekend. Spurs are genuine title contenders this year, they had the best defense last season and have continued that this campaign. They also have the most shots of goals and if they can increase their conversion rate they should win their first league title in over 50 years.

Mauricio Pochettino has turned Spurs from a team with no leaders and little aggression into a force to be reckoned with. They out run most teams in the league but do so as a team forcing errors from their opponents. Tottenham will not have it all their own way though as the top of the ground covered by players in match play are West Brom. It will make for a fast-paced game and should be an exciting spectacle.

West Brom Vs Tottenham Hotspur Prediction

Tottenham has one if not the strongest squad in the Premier League after the summer acquisitions they made. Soccer predict experts are all backing Spurs to come out on top in this encounter and if they win and Man City lose, they will become the leaders of the league. With the consistency they have gained since Mauricio Pochettino took over as manager, they will be a very hard team for the other to catch if they can gain a points advantage. West Brom will be set up to counter attack and keep compact to try to stop Spurs from scoring. I think that Tottenham will be too strong for the Baggies to handle and expect Spurs to score at least a couple of goals.