Assists betting: the boys to back

27 Sep

Assists betting is back with a bang this season and it’s encouraging to see Coral join Boylesports at the party, albeit with a limited offering on televised Premier League games only.

The competition can only be good for punters however and the early signs indicate that Coral are willing to offer a hint more value – but also less depth – than their counterparts.

So where should our money be going? Here’s a look at some of the players likely to provide the value over the coming weeks.

Pablo Zabaleta

Zaba blanks girlfriend for mobile betting...

Zaba blanks girlfriend for mobile betting…

With two assists in five starts this season, I’m amazed to see Zabaleta quoted at a massive 8/1 this weekend against an average Villa side. A quick look at the field-position heat map v Man Utd indicates just how attacking he’s become under Pellegrini, spending over 45% of the game in the opposition’s half.

ZabaletaSquawka

Per match, he averages 14 attacking passes in the final third, which is more akin to a midfielder, and he boasts the second-most crosses in the City team (17 in 5 games). So why is he almost double the price of his fellow full-back Aleksandar Kolarov? I’ll be getting on the 8/1 anytime and the 25/1 first assist.

ZabaStatsZone

Morgan Amalfitano

Morgan Amalfitano

Captain Morgan, the rum choice…

The West Brom midfielder has only played twice this season but has already shown his attacking potential. He’s yet to bag an assist but averages the third-best key passes stat in the league (3.5 per game) and is statistically the most accurate crosser in the EPL (3.5 per game) . In last week’s 3-0 victory over Sunderland – the final trigger for Paolo Di Canio’s sacking – Amalfitano was the star of the show: scoring one goal, creating three good chances and making 17 passes in the final third. And as a designated corner taker, he offers an on-going threat from set pieces.

Amalfitano

This weekend sees the Baggies travel to Old Trafford, so it may be worth keeping the powder dry. That said, Amalfitano is pretty much guaranteed a start and like Zabaleta is available at a whopping 8/1 anytime. That’s enough to secure a bit of my money; it’s a price that we are unlikely to see in the future.

James Ward-Prowse

JWP

This kid could be the next Nicky Shorey. Seriously. You might think that’s a piss-take, but if you’ve ever read any of the garble I’ve written in the past you’ll know just how highly I regard Sir Nicky (… and the coin he earned me last season). Similar to Shorey last season, young JWP takes just about every set piece imaginable, and his delivery – flat, powerful and varied – is similar in style to a young David Beckham. The big issue is that JWP remains just that. A youngster. As such, Pochettino has used him sparingly so far, but when he does get on the pitch, he’s dynamite.

JWPIn two starts in his favoured attacking right-midfield slot he’s already picked up an assist so far and in his three full appearances averages 1.8 key passes per game, 3.2 accurate crosses (the second-best in the league) and 14 passes in the final third.

In recent matches, the 18-year-old seems to have fallen out of favour, with an average of only 16 minutes game time in the last two games, so I’d suggest you wait until the team sheets are announced before deciding to wade in (… this bet could be a slow burner).

Of course, he did start in the 2-0 midweek defeat of Bristol City… and claimed two assists. He’s available at 4/1.

Dusty eyes the big prize

8 Aug
Dustin can get hands on the big prize

Dustin can get hands on the big prize

Tournament, Track and Weather

Hot on the heels of the Open Championship the next, and final, major of the golf season heads to the unlikely surroundings of New Jersey, perhaps more famous as the home of the Sopranos than the US PGA Championship. To the golfing dons however this course should be well known. It hosted this event back in 2003 and has also held the US Open (1989) and the Ryder Cup (1995) in recent memory.

The track, much like Tony Soprano in his pomp, is hard but plays reasonable, and has been described by Ernie Els as ‘the best, fairest and toughest championship golf course’ he has ever played. At 7150 yards, par 70, it’s not huge but it’s certainly no pushover. Only the biggest hitters will get up in two shots on the two long par fives, the greens are tight and sloped, and the narrow fairways will punish the wayward. This course is unlikely to yield low scores and the spread quotes on a winning score of around -6 look about right to me. One early talking point has been the greens, with Woods and McDowell in particular raising concerns over their sluggish pace and condition. Course ‘superintendant’ Jeff Corcoran shares no such concerns and has been bullish that the speed will pick up and the roll will be true. Elsewhere the players have been effusive about the course, tempered, of course, by a rabid fear of the rough.

Weather-wise there have been some concerns over rain showers and thunderstorms but at the time of writing, the Tour’s official weather report suggests the rain will hold off, with temperatures around the mid-70s to low-80s. Thursday has a 30% chance of morning showers; Friday and Saturday both have a 20% chance of rain throughout the day; Sunday is clear. For now.

Please visit bettingexpert for the full preview.

Mickelson made for Muirfield

10 Jul
Mickelson the man for Muirfield

Mickelson the man for Muirfield

Muirfield is a course I know pretty well and I have to say, I think it’s a belter. Some will argue it isn’t a brutal test of links golf like, say, Carnoustie. But if you’ve ever set foot within a ten-mile radius of that particular course, you’ll know that’s no bad thing (… the standard scratch for members must be, oh, at least 92).

No, Carnasty it ain’t, but Muirfield deserves its place among the finest Open Championship courses. The best have won here – among them Player, Nicklaus, Faldo and Els – and that’s a decent barometer in anyone’s book. Described in various quarters as a ‘fair test of golf’, the par-71 course is less likely to throw up the perpendicular bounces you often get on traditional links, and there are few tricks or gimmicks. It’s been lengthened slightly to 7192 yards and the design is both clever and balanced. Both sets of nine holes return to the clubhouse, one clockwise, one anti-clockwise, so the wind is generally spread more ‘fairly’ than on other links tracks. The rough is penal, but not to US Open standards, the bunker placements delicious and the traps deeper than a North Sea oil excavation. And if the wind blows, the course could show some teeth.

At the time of writing, that seems a little unlikely however. Beaming sunshine is forecast for the first two days and the wind is unlikely to get above 10 mph. But then, this is Scotland. Given the propensity for changeable weather here, I’m pretty sure Crowded House penned the song ‘Four seasons in one day’ in homage to this place. A repeat of the unexpected gales in 2002 could make things very interesting indeed but my hunch is we won’t get them.

Please visit bettingexpert for the full preview.

Kuch the man for US Open

11 Jun
The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man

It seems only yesterday that Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera were knocking ten bells out of each other at the Masters, yet here we are again, back in America for another major. So who’s going to win? Fuck knows, but let’s see if we can narrow the field and find a few pointers…

Tournament, Track And Weather

The US Open is regarded as the toughest major on American soil, perhaps the toughest of all majors. Length is often a huge factor and you can expect the rough to be given the proverbial Brazilian wax by the octogenarians in the USGA Organising Committee. And the scores bear this out. In the last ten years only four winning totals have been under par, including Webb Simpson’s triumph last year at the Olympic Club, when he finished +1.

This year, Merion offers a slightly different challenge. It’s a parkland course with a links feel, which at just under 7000 yards is short by modern standards, but don’t be fooled, this par 70 should serve up a stern test. The fairways are narrower than the minds of the UKIP party, the rough as penal as the state of Texas and the greens slicker than Michael Douglas’ hair in Wall Street.

Only the weather can prompt Merion to retract her teeth a little, and as the tail end of Tropical Storm Andrea batters the Pennsylvania area the big concern is that the rain will swing the Championship in favour of the putters rather than strategic ball strikers. There has even been talk of changing the course layout to avoid rain-affected areas (particularly the susceptible 11th and 12th holes).

Please visit bettingexpert for the full preview.

US Masters Preview

10 Apr
The Messiah or just a very naughty boy?

The Messiah or just a very naughty boy?

Celebrations to mark this year’s Easter festival have passed around the globe but an even greater resurrection story is unfolding in a small corner of the American deep-south.

Our protagonist – a man of miracles, surety of purpose and no stranger to the odd dalliance with a modern-day Mary Magdalene or ten – is stirring again, and this time it’s not just from the loins.

Tiger Woods’ time has come again. The king of kings is ready to be re-crowned. Augusta be warned.

Why Woods can win The Masters

The world’s finest golfers (along with Ian Woosnam) will be more wary than ever when teeing up at Augusta because they know that this year their chances of donning the Green Jacket do not lie in their own hands. Unless, of course, they happen to be Tiger Woods.

For if Woods brings his A-game to Augusta – and let’s be frank, he may not even need it – the rest of the field does not stand a chance.

Please visit bettingexpert for the full preview.