Today’s free tip is in the French Ligue 1 encounter between Racing Club Lens and FC Nantes Atlantique. Racing Club Lens have been excellent since finally making their long-awaited return from Ligue 2. Given who they signed pre-season though, it was as plain as day to see that they would. I mean, Kakuta, Ganago, Fofana, Medina – great signings to an already good squad. This is a pretty big club, at least by French standards, so the intent is very much that they re-establish themselves as a Ligue 1 staple. With the squad they’ve got, they really should be able to achieve that. I don’t think anybody needs reminding that underestimating this team is pretty fatal. However, Racing Club Lens were brought back down to earth with a bang in their derby hammering against Lille OSC last weekend. It came at a cost too, both Michelin and Gradit seeing red in the process. That in itself has got to be a record, hasn’t it? Two red cards in a game where Cahuzac was on the pitch, and yet he wasn’t one of the two! Bizarre times indeed, folks, bizarre times. Anyway, Racing Club Lens now find themselves in a bit of a pickle today. Their injury list had been mounting anyway before their suspensions were taken into account. As things currently stand, they’re missing most of the defenders that they have in their squad, some of which are regulars, and some of which are backups. On top of Michelin and Gradit, Sylla, Fortes, and Traore are also out, the latter of which hasn’t played a game this season. Defensive midfielder Fofana is still out, and now Cameroonian forward Ganago is out too. As good as Racing Club Lens are, there’s simply not a chance in hell that they can cope with this many absentees. They’re still newcomers at this level after all, despite their past experience at this level. Everybody that was signed for this club pre-season was done so with a specific intent in mind. For example, boss Haise recognised that they wouldn’t see much of the ball, and thus focused on counterattacking threats like Ganago. With big Banza/Sotoca as the target men, and support from Jean/Kakuta/Boura, Ganago has found it very easy to get opportunities, and to score goals. Therefore, his absence today is particularly poignant because he’s the only one in their attack that can’t really be replaced. The chances of Cahuzac being able to do what Fofana would be able to are slim. How they intend to deal with almost all of their defence being out, I simply don’t know. I really do like what I’ve seen from Racing Club Lens this season but what’s left today is a shadow of what has been there in other games. On top of that, I think Racing Club Lens have had marginally favourable fixtures, or at least picked good times to face teams. I mean, an unsettled, impotent Girondins de Bordeaux? A fellow newly-promoted Lorient? A defensively suspect Nimes Olympique? A Covid-19 ravaged Paris Saint-Germain? An AS Saint-Etienne squad missing most of its star players? Look, you can only beat what is in front of you, and Racing Club Lens have done that well, but speaking objectively, they’ve had a lot of luck too. It could even be argued that, in their biggest/hardest games this season, they’ve lost every time. Food for thought. A combination of the above makes me favour the visitors anyway here. To be honest, even if Racing Club Lens weren’t missing players, I would still find the odds on the home win to be far, far too short. There are easier games at this level, and then there are harder games. For a team like Racing Club Lens, the easier games come against those that play attacking football, leaving space in behind because they don’t control games well enough. That’s not the case with teams like FC Nantes Atlantique though, which is an outfit that specialises in keeping the ball. That’s what they’ve been training to do – under a variety of different managers – for quite a few years now, and they’ve become bloody good at it. As always, Les Canaris still have major issues with actually putting the ball into the net. Don’t be fooled, though – that literally is their only weakness. Under the radar, they may just have found a solution to that problem now that they’ve brought in Augustin from RB Leipzig. It was a no-brainer to sign him on a free transfer anyway; nothing lost, right? He can’t play today, for clarity, just like regular line-leader Coulibaly. New signing Emond has shown no signs of being that ruthless finisher that FC Nantes Atlantique require either. Let’s hope it’s Augustin in due course, huh? When they find that man, you’ll see just how good this team is, and appreciate how well they’re playing football on a regular basis because there’ll be an end product. For now, it’s a bit anti-climactic because of their lack of a goal-scorer. Still, this team is very good at keeping and using the ball. They’ve signed players that are all very comfortable in possession, and are mostly very fast too. Exchanging positions on the pitch, overlapping runs – everything is very fluid in this team. Their opponents have to be very fit and attentive to deal with them. If you get around their high pressing intensity, you can find a defence that, barring Pallois (who is ageing), is quite vulnerable. Their tactics are usually good enough to prevent teams from doing this though. The away team do have some complications of their own today with Fabio and Chirivella joining Augustin and Coulibaly on the sidelines. Still, they’re players that can be replaced, as opposed to the absentees of their hosts, which cannot be replaced. FC Nantes Atlantique are very good at probing defences with their fast wide threats, talented dribblers, and intricate triangle passing. It’s just a case of them taking one of those chances to put them in the driving seat. They’ve won every game this season that they’ve taken the lead in, and that’s not a coincidence. This is not an easy side to play against, especially not for under-strength Racing Club Lens. Therefore, I’ve got to view odds of 3/2 on the away win with draw no bet cover as something of a bargain here, really. Verdict: FC Nantes Atlantique to win with draw no bet at 3/2.
Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk Today’s free tip is in the UEFA Champions League encounter in Spain between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk. A shock home defeat at weekend against Cadiz means that this game is more important for Real Madrid, even though it’s in a different competition. It’s basically unacceptable for the Spanish juggernauts to not win every game, as you all know, let alone to lose at home against a newly-promoted Primera Liga side. They’ll find tonight’s game tougher than that one too. I mean, Cadiz caused them problems by defending well and countering, and in the last part of that game, they looked more likely to score than Real Madrid did, their hosts going down without so much as a whimper. Shakhtar Donetsk aren’t going to park the bus under Castro; it’s just not their style. They’ll focus on using the ball intelligently in midfield, and they’re very good at that. The display of Real Madrid at weekend won’t concern them, and the absentees/potential absentees of the home team can only encourage the Ukrainians here, I feel. Don’t get carried away, though. Real Madrid are still a top team, and Shakhtar Donetsk are without players too here. There are a lot of question marks over good players like Moraes, Taison etc. so it’s fair to say that neither team is at full-strength. Instead, the way to analyse this game is based exclusively upon the styles utilised. Now, Real Madrid may have problems breaking teams down that sit deep, but I’m sure they’ll overcome it in due course, as they always do. That won’t be something that faces them tonight, given Shakhtar Donetsk’s attacking nature. Admittedly, the visitors are likely to spend more time making short passes in the Real Madrid half, waiting for gaps to appear, and some could perceive that as a defensive approach. Ultimately, though, both teams are going to fancy their chances tonight, and why not? Club Brugge scared the hell out of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu last season. Manchester City won here. AFC Ajax Amsterdam hammered them here, and even CSKA Moscow beat them 3-0! This has become a very easy place to play football. That obviously doesn’t make Real Madrid an easy side to face, but it’s something to keep in mind. The squad Real Madrid have right now is partially about players that are in the twilight of their respective careers, and partially about players that are potentially stars of the future. What’s lacking in the midst of that is match-winners. Benzema, Ramos, Kroos, and Modric are the only match-winners they have left, and Benzema is not getting much service whilst Kroos and Ramos have struggled for fitness. Vinicius Junior has shown good form this season, and Courtois has obvious quality too, but neither look like a match-winner at UEFA Champions League level yet. Real Madrid don’t have a bad team; they’re just not as good as usual, and I would be surprised if a silky, precise Shakhtar Donetsk didn’t cause them issues for that reason, even with potential rotation in mind. Shakhtar Donetsk have a lot of depth, a lot of quality in the final third, good finishers, composed players on the ball, and the best defensive midfielders they’ve had since the Tymoschuk days. I do think that their defence is quite poor, but actually getting at it is problematic because you need to get the ball back first, which they seldom give away. This is a really slick Shakhtar Donetsk side, and one that has a very genuine chance of upsetting the odds tonight. I’m not prepared to get involved on the 1×2 front until I see the line-ups as there are too many questions marks. However, backing both teams to score at 9/10 suits me just fine here, and I really am tempted by the long odds on the away team too. It’s a good time to face Real Madrid. Verdict: Both teams to score at 9/10.
Schalke 04 vs Union Berlin Today’s free tip is in the German Bundesliga encounter between Schalke 04 and Union Berlin. Truth be told, I really wish Schalke 04 hadn’t sacked Wagner yet. Well, I’m not so sure that sacking him was the right course of action anyway. I know the fans disliked him but they must surely realise by now that the ailments of the club are the fault of those at the top of the ladder rather than the manager? This is not a good team, and it’s not Wagner’s fault that he’s had nothing to work with. I think relegation is imminent for Schalke 04, to be frank. It may not be this season, and it may not be the season after, but it’s going to come, just like it did for Hamburger SV. But yeah – I wish the sacking had come at a different time because suddenly Union Berlin are the public bet today, and I dislike public bets immensely because they never seem to come off. Everybody is on Union Berlin here, and although I agree with the logic (hence the tip), the more people on it mean that the odds are not as favourable as they could be. Other than that though, I’m not seeing a reason to doubt the visitors. I suspect there’ll be some kind of bounce with Baum as interim manager, but that doesn’t stop this being a poor, poor side. I appreciate that Schalke 04 took some beatings this season but the writing was on the wall for them way before the ex-Huddersfield Town man took. This season is a prime example; what have they done to make this season not quite as disastrous as the last, which would have almost certainly seen them relegated had it gone on for another four rounds? They’ve signed a semi-decent target man in Paciencia, a new goalkeeper in Ronnow, and classy striker Ibisevic, who is literally their only good signing there. I concur that they needed a new goalkeeper, and said it since they pathetically banished Bayern Munich-bound Nubel from the first-team (his replacement made far too many errors because he was too young and not ready), but an Eintracht Frankfurt understudy is the best they could do? Really? Also, Paciencia – at a time when they need match-winners – is supposed to be their designated striker? Honestly? He’s alright at best, and where his service is going to come from this season, I just don’t know. One of their few remaining good players – McKennie – was allowed to leave for Juventus in a joke of a deal because the Schalke 04 board have said they need all they money they can get right now. I think they’re bloody lucky that Atalanta Bergamo ultimately signed Miranchuk instead of Harit. I think the Moroccan would have been next on the list had Gomez indeed moved to the Middle East after all, as was mooted for quite a long time. Can you imagine this team without both of them? It would probably be the worst Schalke 04 side I’ve ever seen. I mean, for goalkeepers, they’ve got Eintracht Frankfurt’s number two or veteran Fahrmann, who spent part of last season on loan with Brann Bergen in Norway. Both options were preferred to young Schubert, who has instead joined Eintracht Frankfurt on loan. Now, if they thought Schubert was ready for the Bundesliga last season, why loan him out now? I think he made way too many errors, but then again, young goalkeepers do. If he was good enough then though, why not now? Surely he deserves more faith from them than what they’ve shown? I could go on all day about Schalke 04’s oddities all day but I don’t want to bore you all. I’ll simply surmise it by saying this; I’ve no idea how Sane still gets in this team, Turkish wonderkid Kabak is out, Nastasic has not played regularly in ages, their main goal threat Serdar is out, they’ve no flair/creativity other than Harit, and they’re short of goal-scorers. The only positive thing is that Schalke 04 have the best academy in German football so they’re never far away from the next wonderkid. These days though, they’re only too happy to accept any bid that comes in, or so it seems, and that means that this club is going nowhere fast – other than down. The above represents a team that Union Berlin should not struggle with. Schalke 04 are energetic, to be fair to them, and I am sure they’ll be out to impress their new boss. However, Union Berlin were made in the Bundesliga 2, and you don’t get out of that division to begin with unless you have drive, commitment, and belief. The capital club have stayed true to their roots since being promoted too – a lot of these lads played for them in the division below, and that’s where some of their new recruits (e.g. Griesbeck) came from. They’ll never back down from a battle, Union Berlin, and I love that about them. True enough, they do lack quality in some areas. Take their home game versus Augsburg earlier this season, for example. Augsburg weren’t better than them, but still ran out 3-1 winners because Union Berlin’s defending from wide positions was atrocious, and because Union Berlin didn’t take their chances well enough, largely because they were still adjusting to life without Andersson as a target man. For what it’s worth, I think that selling the Swede for the amount they got was a great decision on their part; he had a marvellous campaign last season but cannot repeat it because he’s just not that good. Besides, I think Ingvartsen is a more than able deputy. Still, Union Berlin identify their weaknesses and address them – which they’ve done this season too. They recognised their need for a natural creator after Malli’s loan spell ended, and signed Kruse on a free – an absolute bargain. He’s already proven how good he is at this level on countless occasions, especially with Werder Bremen. They also loaned Pohjanpalo from Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and I like that signing a lot. He’s a very underrated forward, the Finn, but injuries have not been kind to him. I’m sure he’ll be a great success at Union Berlin this season; he’s better than Andersson, for my money. They also brought in Awoniyi to cope with times like these when Ujah is out. Like I said – Union Berlin are a clever, calculating bunch that should never be underestimated. Union Berlin also brought in goalkeeper Karius from Liverpool, which was a fun signing. He’s made a lot of mistakes over the past few years but knows this level well, and they needed a replacement for the departed Gikiewicz, now of Augsburg. I think it’s a risk-free move for them, especially as veteran Luthe is there too. Who knows – Karius may go back to being the reasonable goalkeeper he always was before Liverpool signed him. This is certainly the harmonious, encouraging environment that he needs in order to recapture his best form. I like where the capital club are at right now, to be frank. They’re not excellent at anything, but they are good at the majority of things. They’re flexible, hard-working, and confident with more than a sprinkling of talent now. The way in which they dismantled a Niakhate-less Mainz 05 last time out was very encouraging, and there aren’t many teams they’d have relished playing more than spineless Schalke 04 today, with or without the expected bounce. Therefore, backing Union Berlin to outfight, and ultimately outscore, Schalke 04 makes a lot of sense to me with draw no bet at 4/5. Verdict: Union Berlin to win with draw no bet at 4/5.
RoPS vs FC Lahti, football Today’s free tip is in the Finnish Veikkausliiga encounter between RoPS and FC Lahti. Bear in mind that this match is a slightly earlier kick-off than usual in Finland as it’s at 16:00 instead of 16:30. Although I like that RoPS are sort of bouncing back at the moment, I do feel it’s going to be too little, too late. Their financial problems have crippled them this season. They’ve not been able to recruit as well as usual, which led to a lot of last-minute loan signings (mostly from HJK) as well as risky signings like Kuate, who has amazing talent for this level but not the attitude, which is why he was ultimately cut loose before kicking a competitive ball for RoPS during his second stint in northern Finland. The financial problems were even more damaging because both of their main forwards, Rahimi and Kokko, had long-term injury problems. They’re both back now, but are RoPS really going to make up a ten point deficit on Haka Valkeakoski? That’s assuming TPS don’t pick up points too, and that Haka Valkeakoski – who have another level or two to go to yet – don’t pick up any points. It seems unlikely. Still, I hope that they do it, as RoPS are ‘my team’ in Finland, if you like. The relatively new Veikkausliiga format does play into their hands somewhat as the league divides into two groups in a few rounds from now, meaning that all of RoPS’ remaining games after that will come against bottom six teams. There’s nobody in that bottom six that they can’t beat, given the right application and luck, so it’d be daft to give up. This is a mountain for RoPS to climb though, and there’s no getting around that. So – what do RoPS have to offer? Well, not a lot, to be frank. I respect Kokko for the excellent poacher he is, especially with legs like Rahimi alongside him. I know Malolo is capable of being a very good player once every few months but other than that, this team is a bit limited. Georgian defender Tsiskaridze is the best they’ve got, and he’s barely been at his best this season because of injuries. They’ve set their stall out to not play veteran midfielder Muinonen too, which seems rash to me – he still has something to offer this team. I mean, the HJK loanees that RoPS have brought in are good but they are just kids. Banza has done a job in the Veikkausliiga before, and his pace will always make him a threat. HJK’s lads are still learning their craft though, and who they’re supposed to learn from in this squad is largely beyond me, given the changes that have been made, and are still being made. As is always the case, I never have any reason to doubt that RoPS will give 100% in this match. However, I find it hard to envision them being good enough to outscore FC Lahti today; that’s the crux of the matter here. Admittedly, FC Lahti have irked me more than most Finnish teams over the past month or two, largely because they’ve gone back to being horribly inconsistent. This is easily the best squad they’ve had in years and yet they can still barely string two or three consecutive good displays together. I’ve seen this team do enough to stifle HJK in their own backyard, but this team has also shipped far too many goals away from home against poorer teams. During that period, there have been times where key players have been out (e.g. Coubronne through injury, Imbongo through suspension) but there’s still no excuse for the randomness of FC Lahti, really, a team that should be comfortable in a top six slot by now. The Veikkausliiga divides soon, as I mention earlier, and that means that FC Lahti have just three games after this one in which to prove that they’re not crap. One of those games is in Espoo so it’s imperative that they win their other three, really. They’re very winnable fixtures, too – it just involves FC Lahti doing what is expected of them for a change. On paper, this squad is twice that of their hosts; that’s the reality here. Whether they make that into a positive result or not depends entirely upon them. Prior to the international break, they did alright, for the most part. They were utterly depressing against Inter Turku, and should have lost more convincingly, although presumably they – like I – thought that Riveiro would stick with his new approach of fielding Valencic, Furuholm, and Kallman at the same time, which he didn’t, reverting back to the more familiar setup. That suits Inter Turku more, and it showed on the day as they humbled FC Lahti, and to be honest, it should have been a more convincing scoreline as FC Lahti were never really in that game. I thought they showed a lot of balls and a good level of organisation during their impressive win in Seinajoki against SJK, and they showed great mental strength to come from behind to beat islanders IFK Mariehamn 3-1. If they play like that in Rovaniemi today, they’ll win – it’s that simple. Essentially, this game will entirely as FC Lahti want it to. If they put the leg work in, then Assehnoun, Hambo etc. will guarantee the win. However, if they adopt their lazier approach – seen far too often this season – then they’ll never beat battling RoPS. It may be prudent to wait and see the first ten minutes of this fixture to see which FC Lahti has shown up before placing your bet. Sat here twenty-four hours before kick-off though, writing this preview, I have to view the away win as being worth taking at 4/5. Verdict: FC Lahti to win at 4/5.
Santos vs Atletico Goianiense Today’s free tip is in the Brazilian Serie A encounter between Santos and Atletico Goianiense. Teams like Santos generally make my life a nightmare. To be fair to them, it’s only been this season where they’ve been very frustrating to predict from a 1×2 perspective; they’re usually pretty straightforward to anticipate. This season, however, they’ve adopted a new approach. Instead of playing with the ball, they’ve decided to…well, play without it. For clarity, Santos are nowhere near good enough to do that but they’ve had one man bailing them out this season, which is the sole reason their form guide is not more condemning than it is. That man is striker Marinho, of course. Even in games Santos barely create any chances in, he still finds ways to score goals. He’s been marvellous. At a time when Brazil have been capping the likes of Menino and Weverton, I struggle to understand why Marinho hasn’t been given a chance with the Brazilian national team. It’s not like he’s just been scoring penalties, you know? The goal he scored against Sport Recife, for example, was a thing of beauty! Whilst he’s on the pitch, Santos have a chance of scoring goals, and they really need that because their overall play is generally a long way from being convincing. It’s hard to imagine that tonight’s game will be any different either, not with Venezuelan creator Soteldo on international duty whilst Uruguayan midfield general Sanchez is injured. Santos are not likely to be able to execute any manner of control on tonight’s game – no change there! – but will still create chances. They’ve also made a very interesting signing in the past few days too, bringing former academy graduate Robinho back to the club. He’s a lot heavier than he was the last time he donned the famous white-and-black jersey, but his return comes at a time when Santos need that bit of creativity and composure. Whether he’ll play tonight or not remains to be seen, but I doubt it for a variety of reasons. At their very core though, Santos are an attack-minded too. It’s not a coincidence that almost all of their talented youngsters from their prestigious academy are attackers of some kind. The latest one to roll off the conveyor belt is Kaio Jorge, and Marcos Leonardo is not far behind him. They’re a bit like Brazil’s version of The Netherlands’ AFC Ajax Amsterdam – very old-fashioned with their approach; very set in their ways. Subsequently, Santos are always expected to attack, and that’s what they try to do. Without the ball, though, and without any capacity to control games/defend adequately, that’s been…well, problematic. Still, they’re scoring goals, and that’s all I really want from them tonight. Impressive Atletico Goianiense enter this game as underdogs, but somewhat fancied underdogs, if that makes sense. They’ve been very good at annoying teams away from home this season, playing a somewhat unorthodox defensive style under Vagner Mancini. It’s worked, though – teams have found them seriously annoying to beat. Good teams still tend to manage it, of course, but it’s not been at all pleasant. This style is considered to be most un-Brazilian so Atletico Goianiense haven’t exactly been media darlings. Of course, there is one team that loves that style of play – Corinthians. Boldly, they attempted to break free of the shackle of their utterly depressing football this season by playing a more adventurous style, which ended up getting their manager sacked. Interim boss Coelho didn’t impress either, so he’s been pushed aside for their new manager, appointed in the past couple of days – yes, it’s Vagner Mancini! That appointment leaves Atletico Goianiense without a manager for this game, and to me, that will significantly impact their preparations for tonight’s game. Ordinarily, I’d expect them to cause Santos problems when it comes to goal-scoring but now? I’m not so sure. Instead, I believe we’ll see a more attack-minded Atletico Goianiense tonight. In general, it’s a given that teams will concede away from home against Santos so I don’t believe they can even attempt to be as defensive here. Scoring goals against Santos is not all that challenging, and the visitors do have some handfuls to deal with. Ferrareis in midfield, Chico running the channels, and Hyuri in the air, for example. They’re not as clinical as I’d like to them be, but then again, Santos do enjoy conceding so I’m not sure it’ll matter too much here. The above makes me believe we’ll see an over 2.5 goals game though. At evens, I believe it’s worth the risk. Verdict: Over 2.5 goals at evens.
What is the Cash Out Option? The cash out option is for punters who have put bets on certain events, which allows players to cash out their money depending on how their bet is going. For example, some punters will choose to stake £10 on Chelsea to beat Liverpool at odds of 1/1, and if Chelsea are 1-0 up on the 70th minute, they will be able to cash out their bet for a total return of around £16. If Chelsea end up winning the game 1-0, then punters will of course lose out on an extra £4, but they would have still gained £6 on their £10 bet, meaning it would have benefitted them more if they chose to see out the game. But of course, there is a chance that Liverpool could have scored a goal to finish the game in a 1-1 draw, which would have meant the punter losing their stake altogether, so there are benefits to the cash out option for sure. The Positives The positives of the cash out option will of course depend on your bet and the end result. If you profit from a cash out where you would have lost your whole bet if you didn’t cash out, then you will have benefited from the cash out feature, but if you cashed out early and your bet would have won, then you wouldn’t have benefitted as much. The Negatives There are a couple of other negatives to using the cash out option other than the opposites of the positives, and you will find there are a lot of punters that avoid the cash out option altogether. One of the negatives of using the cash out feature is that you don’t really get the profit you should be getting, whether you are taking advantage of free bets or not, as bookmakers will still take their cut from the cash out to earn a profit. Not only that, but using the cash out feature can sometimes take 5-10 seconds during live events, which can cause players to lose out if trying to cash out during pivotal points of the event. While the only positives of the cash out option depend on what the outcome is of certain events, it is a great feature for those looking to cash out and recoup some of their initial stake as well, so it is a great feature in that respect. However, a lot of punters do not use the cash out option and instead, when they stake an amount on a particular event, they stick to it until it is finished, which was the old fashioned way of betting when there was no such thing as the cash out feature. Whether the cash out option is truly beneficial to a punter’s game remains to be seen, but the fact is, if all bookmakers are implementing the cash out feature into their sites, then there are obviously benefits for them too.
Nigeria vs Tunisia 13/10/2020 Today’s free tip is in the international friendly between Nigeria and Tunisia, which is being played in Austria. Tunisia enter this match on the back of a wholly unsurprising win over a poor Sudanese team. Nigeria lost their last match 1-0 against Algeria, although to be honest, the outcome wasn’t a fair reliction of what was essentially a very even game. Algeria took the lead early on with a scrappy goal from a set piece, and managed to hold it for the rest of the game. I never felt they looked comfortable in dealing with Nigeria, though. They did have some good counters whilst 1-0 up but ultimately Nigeria were too fit for them to properly deal with. Luck was on the North Africans’ side, though, as Nigeria’s final third decision-making was too poor for a goal to be scored. Where Algeria had the individuals to hurt Nigeria when their opportunities came, I don’t see the same threat in the Tunisian squad. Badri is still not in the equation, for starters, and their main creator, Khazri, has had a nightmare of a time at AS Saint-Etienne this season. He’s been injured a lot of the time, and when he finally got back, he got sent off! Generally speaking, all good things in the Tunisian squad come through him or Msakni, and with Khazri far from himself, and Msakni not at his best for a few years now, it’s hard to take them seriously against a good Nigerian team. I know they’ve got some players coming through that they feel can make a difference. I do like what Khaoui brings to the table, for example, although he’s more of a dictator. Sliti has matured a lot since his move to Saudi Arabia. They’ve also found their next biggest talent in Brondby’s Ben Slimane, who bagged on his debut versus Sudan. It’s certainly not a bad team, and will unquestionably bring typically North African characteristics into this affair i.e. slick passing, good speed, tenacity, and over-zealous challenges. However, a good Tunisian team, it is not. Let’s not forget that Tunisia are still without key defender Abdennour too, leaving it all to Maaloul, which is far from ideal. I appreciate that Abdennour either hasn’t been there physically or mentally in Tunisian red for quite some time now, but he remains the best that they’ve got, and being without him will make them vulnerable against the right teams. Sudan isn’t that kind of team; they can’t use the ball well enough to get around Tunisia’s tenacious midfield. However, Nigeria can, and that’s where I think things will be different for Tunisia today. There’s only one area of the Nigerian squad that bothers me, and that’s their central midfield. I didn’t think they did enough against Algeria, especially not in an attacking sense. Obi Mikel’s retirement, Onazi’s absence, and Ndidi’s injury has left them without a core, and it does show. Their biggest issue against Algeria was in making the right calls in the final third. I expect their fast wide threats to try adventurous stuff sometimes; that’s the nature of the beast. It’s their attacking midfielders through the middle that are more responsible for making the right calls more often – and they didn’t. Simply put, they’re not very good right now, and that’s an obstacle that Nigeria have to overcome here. Still, with Tunisia’s attacking threat much more limited than Algeria’s, and assuming that Nigeria don’t mess up defensively again, Nigeria should not lose this match. Their defence looks in better shape than it has for ages now that Aina and Awaziem are on the scene in addition to the usual suspects. It’s not a brilliant defence but it’s deeper and more physical than usual, and that’s all an attacking team like this really needs in order to succeed. I do want to know what the conclusion of their goalkeeping experiment is, though. Will Ezenwa/Akpeyi/Uzoho be restored? Time will tell. The search for Enyeama’s replacement continues! It’s the Nigerian attack that is generally rather dangerous though. True enough, I don’t understand how Iheanacho has found himself in this squad because he’s done nothing to warrant it in recent times, and I’d personally much rather see Olayinka or Dennis in there for a bit of variety. They could do with blooding Osimhen a bit more too, even if he is a bit overrated. Still, aside from Iheanacho, this attack looks good because of the variety and depth in it. I couldn’t honestly say that any of the Nigerian attackers are brilliant, but the different options they bring is what makes the team dangerous. For example, handling both Musa’s pace and Onuachu’s aerial prowess is hard enough without factoring in Iwobi’s intelligent movement and dribbling, not to mention Simon and Ejuke, arguably the two most in-form of the lot. They’ve got Chukwueze and Kalu as more orthodox creators too. It’s a lethal attack on its day, basically. Even without the central midfield issue resolved, I can’t see Nigeria struggling to create as much as they did against Algeria last time out. They’re too good for it. I also don’t see Tunisia having enough individual talent in their squad to hurt Nigerian’s superior athleticism and structure. Therefore, I’ve got to consider 4/5 on Nigeria to win with draw no bet at as a good value pick today. Verdict: Nigeria to win with draw no bet at 4/5
What is betting bankroll? Your betting bankroll is the amount you’re willing to both risk/invest in your betting. The smart approach with your betting is to have a budget set aside, which is often referred to as a bankroll. This is an amount of money you have earmarked for betting. How you spend that budget is of course up to you but something to pay close attention to is where that money is going, and not just on a week by week “I made/lost £x” but working out which bets have been more profitable for you and which haven’t. It’s recommended that you log your picks and results on a spreadsheet so you can see where you’re winning and what kind of profits/losses you’re making as to know which areas need improvement. As a general rule, you should stake “x” amount of your bankroll per bet and you should maintain such throughout. Deviating from it will hurt in the long-term, even if short-term results are overwhelmingly good. It depends how much you have put aside for betting as to which percentile you opt to stake but based on the bankrolls the majority of people I’ve come across have had to play with, I’d suggest anything between 2% and 5% per bet. There’s no absolute method I can give that will automatically make you into a millionaire though. You either need to log your results and learn from any mistakes you make or pay somebody that has already made those mistakes (and learnt from them!) to shepherd you through the labyrinth of football betting. The first thing to know is this is a bet that is offered when one team is the clear favourite – Think Barcelona CF vs your local old boys team! The handicap generally gives a head start to the underdog. For example, there may be a one goal head start given to the underdog, which means the team you’ve backed would need to win by two or more in order to win your bet. Asian Handicaps The best way to try and describe this is with an example, but first it is important to know that draws get refunded when you are doing Asian Handicaps; Imagine United vs. City and the handicap is City + 2 Asian Handicap This means that in order for a bet with City to lose, United would need to score 3 goals against them. So if the match ended United 2-0 City and you bet on a +2 AH City win, you would only get your stake back because City were going into the bet with a +2 goal advantage, which means that the game would end 2-2. The idea of the Asian Handicap is to increase insurance on your pick because had you gone for a +1.5 European Handicap at better odds, you’d have lost your stake in the above scenario. For a slightly more complicated example I am going to introduce two way handicaps. Imagine United vs. City and you get the handicap: City +1.0, +1.5 This means that half of your bet goes on City to win, draw, or lose by less than 1 goal; and half on City to win, draw, or lose by less than 1.5 goals. If the final score is United 1-0 City, half your bet would be refunded due to draw (United 1 – +1 City) and the second half would win (United 1 – +1.5 City). European Handicaps If you have grasped Asian Handicapping then European Handicaps are easier! European Handicaps are the same as Asian Handicapping but a draw works out as a loss. So if you bet on United and they are at -2 and they win 2-0, that would be a draw (2-2) and you would lose your money. (In Asian Handicaps you would get your money back) Summing up the difference between Asian and European handicaps If you draw with Asian handicapping, you get your money back. If you draw with European handicapping, you lose. European handicaps will be at better odds but Asian Handicaps mean you lose less often, which can help you make more profit in the long-term. Always take the time to know your bookmakers as to which they generally offer because they do not make such easy to find, and I don’t believe that’s a coincidence, considering how much effort they put into other areas of their respective sites! Why team information is important Team information is important because whilst knowing how good historically a team has performed against another team is useful, a team is only as good as the players in it and how well they play together. Key players being injured or called away on international duties can really change the structure of a team and impact how they play. This is especially evident in the “lesser” leagues of the world where players have missed games in the past for a whole host of random reasons ranging from attending a family member’s wedding to players leaving a club to continue their university education or even to games being relocated to half-way up a Portuguese mountain in what can only be described as a quagmire. It doesn’t have to be as immediately obvious as “player x can’t play” – it could be that a local source has seen the player limping after training. They are maybe technically match fit but could have something going on which means they won’t see out the entire match or won’t be playing at peak performance. Team information doesn’t always have to be bad news – new players coming up from the youth team and hitting the subs bench and players who were perhaps only getting short runs out are maybe back to full fitness and will be playing the full 90 minutes. Things like this can positively affect the team, or at the very least change the dynamic of the match. If something changes within a team last minute this could affect what you would historically assume was going to happen. Furthermore, don’t lose sight of the fact that things can drastically change in lesser leagues, depending on what goes on behind the scenes so historical data, although useful to support a bet, is not a good idea to found a bet upon.
Botafogo vs Palmeiras Today’s free tip is in the Brazilian Serie A encounter between Botafogo and Palmeiras in Rio de Janeiro. The Serie A table portrays Palmeiras to be the far better of these two teams, and I couldn’t really argue with the notion that the Sao Paulo juggernauts are indeed the better side. However, quality gaps in Brazil – barring Flamengo – don’t really exist. What I mean is that most teams in this division can beat one another, and it only tends to take one or two signings to dramatically change the course of a campaign for teams. Botafogo have been unfortunate enough to lose some players to injury lately, one of which is star Japanese playmaker Honda. They’ll be back though, and I certainly would not treat them as bottom three material. It’s easy to get carried away with big games in leagues but again, this is not a division where teams are far too good for the others. I mean, I’d personally say that some of the best football in Serie A this season has been played by RB Bragantino, Fortaleza, Atletico Mineiro, and Bahia – and you would not think of most of them, looking at the table. As always, watch the games, folks. Anyone making a bet, or providing a tip, based purely off of statistics is not going to do well in general because they’ve no idea why things happen. Watching games will give you that edge. Anyway, I digress; I think Botafogo are going to trouble Palmeiras tonight. The +0.5 Asian Handicap did get a long look from me because Palmeiras are priced too short to win this one. I still don’t think Botafogo will lose the game, but it’s a riskier thing to trust in than the simple equation of both teams scoring, which both teams essentially need to try and do, given that this is indeed a game of football, and Botafogo bizarrely find themselves in the relegation zone whereas Palmeiras are in the title race. So – why do I doubt Palmeiras now? Simple, really – availability. The Brazilian FA take great pleasure in still playing matches when there are international games being played at the same time. As the years go by, this affects Brazilian football clubs more and more. For tonight’s game, Palmeiras aren’t just without Luan and Esteves, the latter of which is a traditional physio room merchant at the moment, but they’re also without Gomez, Weverton, Vina, and Gabriel Menino. In plain English, that’s three of their back four, plus their goalkeeper all out, plus their wonderkid holding midfielder – one through injury, and the others through international call-ups for Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay respectively. Considering that Palmeiras rely heavily upon their defensive structure to get themselves through matches, they’re pretty heavy losses, all things considered. The reason I doubt opposing Palmeiras is that their attack is still untouched, and there’s nobody that can convince me that Luiz Adriano, Willian, Veiga, Veron, de Paula, Ze Rafael, Ramires, last season’s hero Henrique, or even bit-part Scarpa can’t win this match for the visitors – because they can. I think they’ll need to cobble together two or three goals in order to manage it, but they’re good enough. Half the battle at this level is finding someone with composure in front of goal, and they’ve got that person in Luiz Adriano. That’s what deterred me from backing the home team here, even though I still don’t think they’ll lose tonight. Botafogo are not without complications of their own tonight either, as I alluded to earlier in the preview. Honda is out, as I said, and he’s joined on the sidelines by Fernandez, Marcinho, Santos, and Barros. Fernandez has been their number one goalkeeper for a good month or so now but has been called up by Paraguay. Most of the others are familiar faces in the physio’s room anyway, but this depth situation is not aiding Botafogo’s campaign. They’ve still got some quality players to work with, but this is not a team that is winning enough games. Botafogo have been deceptively good at avoiding defeat this season though. They’ve perfected the art of scoring goals against teams that come at them, which is the style of most Serie A clubs, really. Palmeiras, though – not so much. They will attack tonight because they’ve no alternative with almost all of their defensive regulars out, but it’s not their preferred style at all. Ordinarily, I’d expect Palmeiras to edge this one by virtue of tactics – but not tonight. As long as the hosts can get the best out of Kalou, and that their fast forwards actually stop and thinking about their placement when they get in front of goal, they’ll give Palmeiras a few things to think about tonight in terms of scoring goals. I honestly don’t see either team being able to contain the other here, so it literally should be all about composure. Palmeiras have more of it, but Botafogo are mentally strong, and tenacious on the park, so I would not write them off. If pushed, I would say that Botafogo will get something from this match but I much prefer to roll with both teams to score at 93/100. Verdict: Both teams to score at 93/100.
ALL-STARS Premier League 2019/20 The Premier League ended a week ago, on the contrary, we have not yet seen the announcement of the best player and the ideal line-up of the season. And this is the right time for the editors of Eurofootball to meet, put together their ALL-STARS for the year 2019/20 and talk about them in front of an improvised microphone ... Marek Ustohal (Usty), Tomáš Daníček (phantom) and Víťa Srp (vitasrp) shared their opinions. The result is a talk about the best footballers of the past Premier League season, which lasts almost 90 minutes. Unlike Tomáš Souček, our discussants ran out of breath before the final whistle. The podcast is not just a dry statement of who was the best at which post. Most of the names are supplemented by a short discussion on an interesting topic. For example, the future of the number one goalkeeper of Manchester United or the remarkable longevity and even more remarkable lifestyle of Jamie Vardy are being addressed ... And how did the ideal set come about? Even before the podcast, all three discussants, supplemented by Martin Kantor (Counter) and Martin Vejdělek (master 129), chose their personal eleven. The compilation of all five sets then created the official ALL-STARS Premier League 2019/20 according to Eurofootball. All five "experts" also boasted a bench of substitutes and the choice of the MVP of the season and the best coach. The article will be a combination of the EF Podcast and the Premier League in a nutshell, from which, in addition to the graphic design of the best set, we also take over the statistics of the WhoScored.com server. And it is with these that we dig. 1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) - 7.97 | 35 matches (3 from the bench), 13 goals, 20 assists, 4.4 key passes / 90 minutes, 10x match man 2. Ricardo Pereira (Leicester) - 7.50 | 28 matches (0 from bench), 3 goals, 2 assists, 4.3 defensive interventions / 90 minutes (69% success rate), 2x male match 3. Adama Traoré (Wolves) - 7.49 | 37 matches (10 from bench), 4 goals, 9 assists, 6.3 successful breaks / 90 minutes (74% success rate), 6x match man 4. Riyad Mahrez (Man City) - 7.48 | 33 matches (12 from bench), 11 goals, 9 assists, 2.8 key passes / 90 minutes, 3x match man 5. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) - 7.45 | 35 matches (4 from bench), 18 goals, 7 assists, 2.3 successful breaks / 90 minutes (63% success rate), 7x match man Goalkeeper - Dean Henderson (Sheffield): He fished in semi-professional Stockport four years ago and has been going to league every year ever since. This year, he caught in the Premier League for the first time and immediately ranked among the best goalkeepers in England. He was a huge support for Sheffield - can he do the same in Manchester United? Right defender - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool): Probably the best extreme defender in the world, who would have played the wing for another 15 years. As a true backbone, he is de facto the creator of the Liverpool game and one of the most productive fighters in the red jersey. He had an amazing season with 13 assists. According to Tomáš Daníček, the most useful player of this year's Premier League season. Right stopper - James Tarkowski (Burnley): The first of the elections, which was not completely rock solid. Stopper Burnley convinced only two of the five editors, but he was still the best behind Van Dijk. A symbol of dedication and great organization of the Burnley defense. King of blocked bullets and unmistakable ears. Left stopper - Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool): If he hadn't had such an amazing season last year, we might have been dancing over his performances this year just like a year ago. Definitely the best stopper of the Premier League and probably of the world. Absolutely complex defender and this year again a key man in Liverpool's impenetrable defense. Left-back - Andrew Robertson (Liverpool): He picked up a few weaker games in the fall, but still had no competition in the Premier League. He lost the fight with Alexander-Arnold in terms of assists, but he still scored 12 of them and, apart from a colleague from the other side of the defense, he was defeated only by the genius De Bruyne. Right midfielder - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City): Best Premier League player - at least according to Eurofootball editors, who gave him 4 of their 5 votes. He scored 13 goals, passed to 20 and was responsible for another pile either with a statistically refused assistance or with a pre-final pass. The perfect football player who lacks nothing at all. Defensive midfielder - Jordan Henderson (Liverpool): And now for a change the best Premier League player according to English journalists. The heart not only of the advance, but of the whole of Liverpool. The captain, who did an incredible amount of hard work and even though he is not behind many of his team's goals, played a key role in the first Reds title after thirty years. Left midfielder - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa): If he hadn't been awarded the prize for the best player in the league, but for the "American" most useful, he would probably have won. Without Jack Grealish, Aston Villa would not have the slightest chance of rescue. The leader in most conceivable statistics eventually saved the club in the league symbolically with a goal in the last round. Right wing - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool): Like Van Dijk, he has not experienced the brightest season of his career. But he scored 19 goals and passed on another 10, which is simply the amount that even a team like Liverpool necessarily needs for the title. He scored almost a third of his goals after the New Year, when the Reds began to stall slightly. Thanks to Salah, however, they definitely did not stop. Midfielder - Jamie Vardy (Leicester): He will celebrate his 34th birthday in January, but on the pitch he looks like a calf teenager, which you let into adult football players and he still surpassed them all. In the form of an unstoppable attacker, who this year received a well-deserved crown for the king of archers. His 23 goals were not enough for Leicester to qualify for the Champions League. Left wing - Sadio Mané (Liverpool): This year probably better than Salah and for many the best player of the championship Liverpool. He scored 18 goals and, unlike the Egyptian, did not have penalties. He shone the most at the beginning of the season, scoring half of the goals in St. Nicholas and had kicked Liverpool to one of the most amazing seasons in Premier League history. And what did the individual choices of our editors look like? Marek Ustohal (4-3-3): Dean Henderson (Sheffield) - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), John Egan (Sheffield), Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson (both Liverpool) - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Sadio Mané (Liverpool) Sub-bench: Nick Pope (Burnley) - Chris Basham (Sheffield) - Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd) - Danny Ings (Southampton) Player of the season: Kevin De BruyneSeason coach: Jürgen Klopp Tomáš Daníček (4-4-2): Dean Henderson (Sheffield) - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd), Sadio Mané (Liverpool) - Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) Substitute bench: Rui Patrício (Wolves) - John Egan (Sheffield) - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - Raúl Jiménez (Wolves) Player of the season: Trent Alexander-ArnoldSeason coach: Jürgen Klopp Víťa Srp (4-3-3): Dean Henderson (Sheffield) - Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk (both Liverpool), Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Rúben Neves (Wolves) - Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Raheem Sterling (Man City) Sub-bench: Nick Pope (Burnley) - Conor Coady (Wolves) - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - Danny Ings (Southampton) Player of the season: Kevin De BruyneSeason coach: Jürgen Klopp Martin Vejdělek (3-diamond-3): Bernd Leno (Arsenal) - Ricardo Pereira (Leicester), Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson (both Liverpool) - Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester) - David Silva (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston) Villa) - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) - Adama Traoré (Wolves), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd) Sub-bench: Dean Henderson (Sheffield) - Trent Alexander-Arnold - Jordan Henderson (both Liverpool) - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) Player of the season: Kevin De BruyneSeason coach: Jürgen Klopp Martin Kantor :: Dean Henderson (Sheffield) - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson - Mohamed Salah (all Liverpool), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mané (both Liverpool) - Jamie Vardy (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd) Substitute bench: Bernd Leno (Arsenal) - Ricardo Pereira (Leicester) - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) - Danny Ings (Southampton) Player of the season: Kevin De BruyneSeason coach: Jürgen Klopp
Copyright © 2020 9ja.bet