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It's a Mug's Game! #2
by Shane LeRoy (Other)
Posted on May 17, 2007, 4:29 AM

Against all odds, the three of us are actually back this
week so that all you punters can make a fortune based on
our tips. Although, in order to do that, you would probably
have to take all our tips on board, and then bet on the
complete opposite happening.

Leading us off this week is our Team Captain, and the
only one who did his job properly last week, Mr. Paul Stone.

*********************************************
Ok ok, Iíll admit it. I was DAMN lucky to end
last week with more money than I started with. With the
Tottenham Vs Blackburn score poised at 1-1 going into
injury time on Thursday night, my heart skipped at least
5 beats as Robbie Keane spun superbly, only for him to
drag his effort onto the base of the post. 5 minutes later
and I had 120 pounds and was up for the week with my very
first bet.

From here however it all went downhill, Tiger Woods never
got going at The Players Championship, Fernando Alonso again
got upstaged by Lewis Hamilton in Spain, and the less said
about my ďtrebleĒ of Liverpool, Manchester United and
Sheffield United the better.

But alas, the week still ended with me pulling off one
of my major bets, making sure Iím not consigned to a
random doorway just yet.

Association Football

We move onwards and upwards with this weekís
predictions, starting with a very cheeky bet on whom
Manchester Cityís next manager will be. Now the bookies
seem to have made Ranieri/Houllier/Koeman the main
contenders for the position, but I have other ideas.
You see, all 3 are managing successfully in a foreign
league right now, so why they would want to join a
de-motivated dressing room and a club with very
little ambition outside of their expectant fans
I donít know.

The job is surely going to go to someone who is
proven in the Premiership, has done a reasonable
job before and someone who actually WANTS the job.
(Shocking I know) I canít personally see any of
the aforementioned three wanting the job, so my
head turns to a man who was sacked recently, is
desperate to get back into football, and has run
things on a shoestring before.

Chris Coleman is 25/1 with Ladbrokes to land the
job. The same odds as OíLeary, Bryan Robson, and
LONGER odds than Graham Souness! There must be
value on the Coleman to take the position, and
so Iím going to throw 10 pounds his way just for
the generosity of the odds alone.

1st bet: 10 pounds on Chris Coleman to become
new Man City manager at 25/1 (Ladbrokes)
Potential Return: 260 pounds

One more football bet that canít be ignored for
this week is the F.A Cup final. Manchester United
against a Chelsea side that only has 15 fit players
according to the man himself Mr Mourinho. Itís extremely
difficult in any circumstances to bet against either
side, but it has happened a couple of times this season
for myself, particularly when picking Southend to beat
Manchester United in the Carling Cup earlier this season
(at odds of 7/1 for my troubles), but it will be Chelsea
I bet against this time.

Itís difficult to find value anywhere, but if you fancy
United to win then there are 2 viable options. Ladbrokes
again offer 4/1 odds on both Manchester United to be
winning at half time and full time, or for the game to
be level at half time, and Manchester United to win it
by full time. That bet looks incredibly safe to me, and
so Iíll be placing 20 pounds on each scenario, breaking
even if either of them come to fruition. This is my
ďbuffer betĒ, very much my favoured bet of the week
such as Tottenham/Blackburn was last week.

2nd bet: 20 pounds on Manchester United to
lead HT/FT 20 pounds on Manchester United to draw
HT and lead F/T (Both Ladbrokes, both 4/1)
Potential Return: 100 pounds

Cricket

I clicked onto Ladbrokes page on the first cricket test
looking for Englandís top run scorer, expecting it to be
Kevin Pietersen at odds of something like 5/6 the way heís
playing right now. Amazingly enough Pietersen is available
at odds of 3/1 to be Englandís top run scorer in the first
test. I canít see Pietersen throwing his wicket away twice,
and with him being Englandís top batsman by a country mile,
bet the farm on him doing the business here.

England should defeat a very modest West Indies side, and
what must be remembered is England have a very good record
at test level recently against sides not named Australia,
and should start as heavy favourites here.

3rd bet: 30 pounds on Pietersen to be top run
scorer in the 1st test for England (3/1 Ladbrokes)
Potential return: 120 pounds

Ice Hockey

Finally Iím going to go to a sport I know absolutely
diddly squat about, and thatís Ice Hockey. I was for
some reason watching some NHL on Monday night and I
saw the Anaheim Ducks against the Detroit Red Wings.
From what I saw Anaheim really controlled the game and
thoroughly deserved their win over the Red Wings. With
them playing again on Wednesday night I think I need to
make a point of appeasing our friends from across the
atlantic by betting on something different, so Iím
going to be bold and go for the Ducks! Besides, I
was a big fan of the movies.

4th bet: 20 pounds on the MIGHTY DUCKS!!!
To beat the Detroit Red Wings at 11/10 (Ladbrokes surprisingly)
Potential Return: 42 pounds

So with that done, Iím MUCH more comfortable with
my betting than I was last week, except maybe that
last one...

Next up this week is the 6th most famous man in Belgium, ďThe KingĒ Shane LeRoy.
*****************************************
Shane Leroy:Thank you Gordon Bombay. Last week was not a good one for yours truly. My decision to put £40 on Tiger Woods in probably his least favourite event backfired immediately, with the great man lucky to make it to the Weekend, let alone compete for the win. My each way bet on Adam Scott to place in the top 5 was a real sickener too as the Australian finished 6th overall after a late Jose Coceres birdie knocked him out of the top 5. At least my final bet, a £10 wager on Luke Donald to be the top UK or Irish player came in, despite Donaldís best efforts to choke that away on Sunday.

Fernando Alonsoís Formula One race was practically over at the first bend as he lunged down the outside of Felipe Massaís Ferrari to try and take 1st place. In doing so he was nudged into the gravel, knocked down to 4th place, and never threatened the lead again. At least my wager on the Super 14 Rugby Ėa double on the Sharks and Bulls- came in, with both sides winning with something to spare.

Overall then, for my £100 staked, I only made £78.06 back.


Onto this week and I am betting my £100 on the following:


Golf:

Iím going back to Golf for my first bets this week, and I will start with the PGA Tour Event, The AT&T Classic and Iím going with two proven performers on this course. Formerly known as the Bellsouth Classic, Stewart Cink is a stand-out here with 6 top 10 finishes in his time on Tour at this event. Cink, who plays this course over a dozen times a year on his own time, is great value at 14/1 coming off a top 5 finish in last weeks Playerís Championship.

The second player Iím going with is Masterís Winner Zach Johnson. A winner here in 2004 and a runner-up last year, Johnson loves the Sugarloaf course and is in excellent form coming off his first Major win at Augusta. Iím taking the 14/1 on him with Boyles too.

The Bet: Stewart Cink to win outright
The Odds: 14/1 (Boylesports , who are paying ľ odds on top 6 this week)
The Stake: £12.50 E/W

The Bet: Zach Johnson
The Odds: 14/1 (Boylesports , who are paying ľ odds on top 6 this week)
The Stake: £12.50 E/W

Finally, my last Bet on golf this week will be on the Irish Open. Last years champion Thomas Bjorn is back again to defend his crown, but will face stiff opposition from local man Padraig Harrington and on form Lee Westwood. Iím tempted to take the 20/1 on offer for Bjorn, but Iím thinking he may only compete for a top 10 finish this week rather than be in contention to win the event again. I like the 27/10 on offer for a top 10 place with Betfair.

The Bet: Thomas Bjorn to finish top 10 at the Irish open
The Odds: 27/10 (Betfair)
The stake: £10

Cricket

Next this week I will turn my attention to Cricket with England squaring off against The West Indies. Frankly The Windies are a poor side and have been for nigh on ten years now. England on the other hand are a solid Test side but have a lot of injury concerns at the moment. Throw in the weather forecast and I think this game has draw written all over it. Iím taking the draw at 11/5 with Paddy Power.

The Bet: England V West Indies First Test to end in a draw.
The Odds: 11/5
The Stake: £10

Association Football

Next Im going to bet on the F.A. Cup final this Saturday between the best two teams in England at the moment, Man Utd and Chelsea. This game is a real toss-up and most bookies canít separate the sides. I lean towards Chelsea however because I still think Man Utd have more to prove in the biggest games against the top sides. Until Messrs Rooney and Ronaldo turn in a huge performance against first class opposition, questions will remain unanswered, and I think Chelseaís doggedness will eek them out a win with Drogba the likely match-winner.

The Bet: Chelsea to win the F.A. Cup
The Odds: Even Money (Boylesports)
The Stake: £20

Staying with football, Iím going to take a flyer on a football treble this week. Real Madrid are available at 4/6 to down Recreativo Huelva away from home this weekend, and after last weeks amazing 4-3 last gasp win against Espanyol, Madrid will be in no mood to be de-railed by little Recre. Similarly, Valencia desperately need a win against Mallorca to stop their title hopes entirely falling apart, and represent good value at 15/13 to win on the road. Lastly, Im going to go with twice European Champions Nottingham Forest to beat Yeovil Town in their 2nd leg playoff encounter.

The Bet: Real Madrid, Valencia and Notts Forest all to win:
The Odds: (Roughly 11/2 the treble)
The Stake: £10.00

And thatís it for me this week. Hopefully this week I can actually, you know, turn a profit. To use some American phrases that I know he loves, the next competitor got shutout last week. Swept 6 to nothing, if you prefer. I now hand over to this anchor man. Some might call it the Carl Lewis position, but I think in this case, weíll call it the Dwayne Chambers leg of this particular relay. Expect some yank punter to come flying past at any second. Take it away, Jamie.

********************************************
Jamie Higgins: Iím not quite sure what to say about last weekís performance. I managed to tip up a grand total of zero pounds return. I would love to claim that I was unlucky and I had been robbed when in truth I just simply got it wrong. Liverpool could only manage a draw, Sheffield United bottled under the pressure and got themselves relegated and Tottenham coasted to a gentle victory instead of punishing Manchester City.

Tiger Woods let all three of us down and shows the folly of sometimes backing reputation over actual facts. His record at Sawgrass has been relatively poor previously and in the face of a very decent showing from Mickelson he never looked like getting close. Then when Kimi Raikonnen limped out of the Spanish GP I kind of got the feeling this wasnít going to be my week. My only real response can be to put things right this week.


Association Football:

First up I am going to stick with some football bets as a starter. The highest profile match in England this weekend is the FA Cup Final. Chelsea and Manchester United ran away from the rest of the Premier League by a distance even taking into account Liverpool easing up once they turned their attention to the Champions League Final. However Chelsea are probably quite flattered by how close they finished as runners-up as it was more persistence and determination they kept up their challenge rather than the type of football that Manchester United blew the majority of their opponents away with.

The bookies have them evenly matched at 5/6 for both to win the trophy outright. I am struggling to split them as this is the last chance for Chelsea to salvage something from their season and Manchester United will be full of confidence from their title win. So instead I have decided to take a novelty bet as my first effort this week. At odds of 4/1 with BlueSq you can back the nationality of the first scorer to be from any other nation apart from England, Ivory Coast or Portugal. This leaves enough options (Giggs, Vidic, OíShea, Robben, Essien and more) to make this ok value and give me an interest in the final.

First Bet: £10 @ 4/1 for First Goalscorer in FA Cup Final to be from ďAny Other NationĒ

If a little bit more low key there are other matches happening over the next few days in England. The other divisions in the Football League are in their playoff stages. Friday night sees Blackpool take a narrow advantage into the 2nd leg of their tie against Oldham back home to their seaside home patch. Blackpool finished the season in very decent form and I fancy them to finish the job in style by beating their opponents by more than one goal.

Second Bet: £20 @ 23/10 for Blackpool to beat Oldham by more than 1 goal.

In the bottom divisionís playoffs (League 2) MK Dons also play on Friday night and entertain Shrewsbury at home having drew the final ever match 0-0 at Gay Meadow (best stadium name ever by the way). The Dons played ok that night but having only narrowly missed out on automatic promotion they should have more than enough to see off the Shrews if they get the ball onto the deck and utilise the goal-scoring prowess of Izale McLeod more. Again I am looking at the handicap betting and I fancy the Dons to win by more than a goal.

Third Bet: £30 @ 23/10 for MK Dons to beat Shrewsbury by more than 1 goal.

My final football bet this week again sees me trying to put together an accumulator from our friends on the Continent. In the German Bundesliga their season is approaching the conclusion of a very open title race. Perennial winners Bayern Munich have faded from sight as have Werder Bremen and it would appear to be a straight up fight between Stuttgart and Schalke. Stuttgart start the weekend in pole position so Schalke should be under less pressure and I fancy them to go out this weekend and at least make Stuttgart sweat by beating Arminia Bielfeld at very skinny odds of 1/4. Also from Germany I fancy Bayern Munich to put a disappointing season behind them and finish off in a little bit of style by beating Mainz at odds of 3/10.

My last two legs of the accumulator come from the slightly warmer climate of Spain and its Primera Liga. Last week I tipped against Real Mallorca and got caught out so I am out for revenge this week and am going to add in a bet for Valencia to travel to the island and beat them at odds of 11/10. In addition to that I am going to take Atletico Madrid to upset the odds and beat Barcelona and really dent the Catalan giants bid for another title victory. You can get 2/1 for this victory.

Fourth Bet: £10 accumulator on Schalke @ 1/4, Bayern Munich @ 3/10, Valencia @ 11/10 and Atletico Madrid @ 2/1.

Golf:

I must admit I was tempted to stick with football for all my tips this week but I thought I would at least dabble in some other sports. This weekís golf tournament on the European Tour is hailing from Ireland and is suffering some big name absentees. The highest ranked player there will be a native in Padraig Harrington and he tempts me to exude a bit of class over the field and triumph at odds of 13/2. On the downside they are fairly skinny odds for a big field golf event and a number of others have appeal as well. These include recent winner Lee Westwood, Raphael Jacquelin and Johan Edfors. However I am going to stick to being unoriginal and take the favourite in Harrington.

Fifth Bet: £10 win on Padraig Harrington to win Irish Open.

Cricket:

My final bet for this week is going to come from the world of cricket. Thursday sees the start of the 1st Test Match of the English summer, although the word summer may be a bit premature with the weather over here at the minute. If there is a break in the rain for long enough I think England will dominate against a weak West Indies line-up who particularly seem to be struggling from a bowling point of view.

Odds are fairly tight on a win and given the rain situation it seems a bit risky that this match could easily end up not being completed and being declared a draw. Therefore I am going to look at the top run-scorer market instead. Kevin Pieterson is the big name in the England team and is unsurprisingly the favourite to top-score for England. He is probably the one man to escape the winterís debacle in Australia and the World Cup with his reputation unscathed. He has been struggling with injury though and therefore hasnít had a lot of time in the middle.

So I am going to take a chance and look past him to a man who didnít go to the World Cup and has already hit more than one first-class century this season. That man is Alistair Cook. Cook is a very classy batsman who has looked generally at home in the test arena. I donít think the West Indies have enough in their bowling attack to trouble him as Australia did at times. Odds of 7/2 are too good for me to miss.

Final Bet: £20 @ 7/2 for Alistair Cook to top-score for England in the First Test vs. West Indies.

I really hope I can come away with something this week or I am going to start to feel very stupid very quickly particularly if my fellow columnists pull out a few shrewd ones. So with fingers crossed, lucky rabbitís foot in my pocket and head starting to droop in shame I will leave you until next week.


Current Standings after week 1

Paul: £120
Shane: £78.06
Jamie: Zero





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