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It's A Mug's Game #3
by Shane LeRoy (Other)
Posted on May 24, 2007, 7:31 AM


Leading the way this week is a man rather chuffed with himself after last weeks flukey, I mean, astute predictions. The nephew of a great alcoholic Snooker player, Mr. Jamie ďHurricaneĒ Higgins.


Jamie

I am typing this weekís effort in the aftermath of the Champions League final so forgive me if it is a little brief and straight to the point. My beloved Liverpool have just lost to a very beatable Milan side having controlled huge portions of the game. I could go on about that for a long time so instead I will change the subject to a brighter one and talk about my successful picks from last week.

Alistair Cook batted extremely well between the showers at Lords in the First Test and made me £90 as the highest England run-scorer. In the golf I was delighted to see Padraig Harrington to become the first Irishman to win the Irish Open for over twenty years and gain me £75. If I had known that stat before the tournament I may well have opted for somebody else! And finally Blackpool scored with the final kick of their match to give me another £66. By my maths that puts me at £231 for the week and leaves me showing a nice little profit over the two weeks. Not bad considering my less than spectacular start.

Football

Onto this week and as the football season reaches it climax in most of Europe the opportunities for a bet on most of the bigger leagues have all but disappeared. So instead I am going to have a treble containing two teams from some of the leagues that play through the summer months and one from the English League Playoffs. First up its FC Copenhagen from the Danish League. The team from the capital have been absolutely dominant in recent times and even beat Manchester United at home in the Champions League. They are 4/9 this week to beat Esbjerg.

I am going to match them up with Basel from the Swiss League. Again they a team who have been consistently winning in their top flight. They are a little skinnier at odds of 4/11 to beat Young Boys but double them up with Copenhagen and itís just shy of evens for the pair so far.

Blackpool did me proud last week in their semi-final and I am going to stick with them to out battle Yeovil to a place in the Championship. Although Yeovil performed exceptionally well to beat the well fancied Forest in the previous round I think that will have taken a lot out of them and Blackpool should have enough in reserve to triumph at odds of 8/13. The overall returns now stand to be in the region of 2/1.

First Bet: £24 Treble on FC Copenhagen at 4/9, Basel at 4/11 & Blackpool at 8/13

My other football bet this week is going to be on the Scottish FA Cup Final. The Scottish champions Celtic are up against the team who finished bottom of the Premier League in Dunfermline. This is very much a mismatch on paper even given Celticís recent poor form which followed their coasting to the title with several games left. The huge gap in class makes me think 5/6 for Celtic to win -1 goal is decent value and I am going to lump on £36 (gives a nice rounded return of £66!) on that.

Second Bet: £36 on Celtic to win the Scottish Cup Final by more than 1 goal

Cricket

As mentioned above I successfully managed to pick the top England run-scorer in the First Test. This week sees the Second Test start and having discarded Kevin Pieterson last week on the grounds of time at the crease I find it a lot harder to do so following his century in the 2nd Innings at Lords. I will take him at odds of 3/1 to top score in the first innings this time around by dominating a fairly limp looking West Indian attack.

Third Bet: £20 on Kevin Pieterson to top score for England in the 1st innings of the 2nd Test against the West Indies at 3/1

Motor Racing

The Formula One circuit moves onto Monaco this weekend for one of the most eagerly awaited and prestigious grand prix of the season. Despite all the glamour of this street circuit based race it isnít the most exciting in terms of overtaking. The streets around Monte Carlo are very tight and there isnít much room. Normally I am a big supporter of Kimi Raikonnen but his Ferrari probably wonít be suited to the track. Instead I am going to go with Fernando Alonso to navigate his McLaren around the tight turns to victory at odds of 9/4.

Fourth Bet: £20 on Fernando Alonso to win the Monaco Grand Prix at 9/4

Only four picks from me this week but I only need two of them to come in and I will have at least broken even. If anybody was wondering I get all my odds from BlueSq which are the bookmakers I use most frequently as they have an excellent website to navigate via WAP on my mobile.

Next week I am going to look at picking some more value bets at bigger odds and push the boat out a bit and get well into profit. So until next week, happy gambling.


Next up is another Liverpool fan crying in his cornflakes this morning, Shane LeRoy.
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Shane Last week was a very good one for me as several of my bets came off. Firstly, while Stewart Cink failed to reach the form I expected in the AT&T Golf Championships, my other tip Zach Johnson won the event outright for the second time in 3 years. Coming in at 14/1 with £12.50 each way, Zach made me a very nice £243.75. The Cricket Test ended in a predictable draw as wayward bowling and the weather turned the second half of the Test into a bit of a non event. £10 at 11/5 made me £32 back. Finally my bet on Chelsea to lift the FA cup came in at even money , making me £40 back. In total therefore I turned my £100 into £315.75 last week. My tips for this week are as follows:

Golf

After last week, I would be foolish not to return to Golf as my number one Sport this week. The European Tour event comes from Wentworth in England this week as one of the bigger events on Tour Ė The European PGA- takes place. 7 of the top 11 in the World are competing this week, which makes picking a winner very tricky. I have plumped for two Brits with form on this course to prosper this week. Paul Casey, a winner on this course less than 12 months ago in the Matchplay can win here again this week. He hasnít been on top of his game lately, but he has been steadily churning out the top 20 finishes Worldwide and I think 25/1 with Boyles offering 6 places is a good bet.

1st Bet: Paul Casey to win the PGA.
Odds: 25/1
Stake: £10 EW

Sticking with the same event, I will plump for Colin ďMontyĒ Montgomerie to have a good week at a course he loves. Odds of 55/1 with Paddy Power are an insult and a small wager is in order at that price.

2nd Bet: Monty to win the PGA.
Odds: 55/1
Stake: £5 EW

Sticking with Golf, but turning my attention Stateside, The Crown Plaza Invitational is this weekís event on the PGA Tour. Im going with a bit of class and experience in a thin field this week (The European event has 7 of the top 11 and Mickleson and Woods are taking time off), and therefore David Toms at 28/1 stands out. Toms has three top 4 finishes in recent years at this event and loves the Colonial Course. He hasnít been in great form this year, but his game hasnít fallen apart either.

3rd Bet: David Toms to win the Crown Plazza.
Odds: 28/1
Stake: £10 EW

My final Golf bet this week is on the Seniors Tour as the Seniors PGA is being held this week. Outside of this column I had a win on Brad Bryant last week at 14/1, and much to my surprise he is available at the same odds again this week. Winning a major is different than a regular tour event, but nobody is playing better on the Champions Tour at the moment than Brad Bryant.

4th Bet: Brad Bryant to win the Senior PGA.
Odds: 14/1
Stake: £10 EW

Tennis

Switching to Tennis, the Hypo International is in progress at the moment with te tournament at the QF stage. With no Nadal or Federer, Nokolai Davydenko stands out as the favourite. Odds of 2/1 with Victor Chandler are too good to turn down at a clay tournament against guys like Hewitt and Roddick. A two time winner of the event in the last two years, Davydenko is the pick.


5th Bet: Davydenko to win Hypo Tennis
Odds: 2/1
Stake: £20

F1

Despite being foiled by picking Alonso last time, im going back to him to win this weeks Monaco Grand Prix. A test of a driver If ever there was one, Monaco is tailor made for Alonso to put in the quickest time in Qualifying, and hang on throughout the race at a track where passing is almost impossible.

6th Bet: Alonso to win F1 Monaco Grand Prix
Odds: 9/4
Stake: £10


Lets hope this week is as successful as last week was. At this point I wanted to hand the column over to my favourite West Ham fan. Sadly, Danny Dyer wasn't available, so here's Paul Stone>

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Paul Stone

Iíll sum up last week in a few words. What a load of toss. Speaking of a load of toss, Iíll start with the F.A Cup final. Chelsea bored their opposition into defeat, costing me a lot of money in the process, Kevin Pietersen threw away his wicket in the first innings and couldnít make up the ground, and the only thing that came in for me was ice hockey, a sport I know NOTHING about! Hurrah!

Association Soccer

So Iíll be going back to what I hopefully know best this week, and thatís association soccer. The richest game in soccer will be played on bank holiday Monday, with Derby County going up against West Bromwich Albion. Some say the game is worth 30 million, 40 million or maybe even 50 million pounds upwards, either way, the game is one of the biggest in football, with one side being guaranteed trips to Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and Anfield, while the other gets cold wet Tuesday nights at places like Burnley and Scunthorpe.

Derby came 3rd in the Championship but WBA are the form side, SMASHING Barnsley by 7 goals to nil in the final game of the season, winning their last 4 league games as their experienced players came to the fore and led them into the playoffs, with Kevin Phillips leading the charge. Derby stuttered as the final few weeks of the season heated up, and they have a lack of experience in their ranks, and potentially their ace in the hole Giles Barnes injured. The team that comes 3rd never goes up through the playoffs in the Championship, and expect nothing different here. WBA at 8/13 to get promotion is where the safe money lies.

League one and two also throw up interesting combinations. The Seasiders of Blackpool take on minnows Yeovil at Wembley in what could be a true fairytale for the Glovers. Just 6 years ago Yeovil Town were playing in the Conference, or TEN years ago losing to the likes of Kingstonian in the Ryman league Premier division. Now after beating former European Champions Nottingham Forest, they are NINETY minutes away from a season in the 2nd tier of English football. A true underdog story in every sense of the word.

However, the fairytale ends here for Yeovil Town. Blackpool won their last EIGHT games of the season to secure playoff football, almost stole an automatic promotion place, have been scoring goals for fun and have simply blown away anyone theyíve come up against. At 4/6 to get promotion they are again very good value indeed, against a Yeovil side with very little experience of such a big occasion, and perhaps with nothing left in the tank after the performance of their lives in a low pressure situation at Nottingham Forest, where no-one expected them to win.

League two again sees a stuttering Shrewsbury side who sneaked past MK Dons take on the free scoring and sensational Bristol Rovers, who through an 8 match unbeaten run secured their playoff place through gritty football, scoring just 49 goals in their 46 league games, and it was only in the final few games where the goals started to flow. Expect Bristol Rovers at 4/7 to grind out a victory, and take their place in league 2.

With all this in mind, 30 pounds will be staked on all 3 teams to come through, with a potential return of 126.92.

1st bet: Treble of Bristol Rovers, Blackpool and WBA to all get promoted.
Stake: 30 pounds
Potential return: 126.92


Cricket

Next up is the cricket, and Iíll be going back to Kevin Pietersen. The man again is available at 3/1 odds with Ladbrokes to be top scorer for the 2nd test, and Iím going to put the house on it this time. He showed tremendous restraint in the 2nd innings and battled beautifully, and would have been our top scorer had he had more time, and also if it didnít take him an innings to adjust to test cricket. Pietersen will be the main man here if he gets a good opportunity to bat.

2nd bet: Kevin Pietersen to be Englands top scorer for the 2nd test against West Indies at 3/1
Stake: 30 pounds
Potential return: 120 pounds.


Formula One

Formula one is back this weekend with the Monaco Grand Prix, and on a course which is extremely difficult to overtake on, expect Fernando Alonso to wake up and show just why he is a double world champion. If Alonso can take the pole as expected, donít expect him to be beaten here.

3rd bet: Fernando Alonso to win the Monaco Grand Prix at 9/4
Stake: 20 pounds
Potential return: 45 pounds


Rugby League

My final bet of the week will once again come from some random sport I know nothing about, and thatís rugby league. Bradford are 10/11 to beat a struggling Harlequins side by 10 points or more, and I fully expect them to hammer a team that always seems to choke against the big sides.

4th bet: Bradford to beat Harlequins with -10 handicap at 10/11
Stake: 20 pounds
Potential Return: 38 pounds 18 pence.


As Bugs bunny would say Ė Thatís all folks!




Standings after Week 2
Paul: £182
Shane: £393.81
Jamie: £231.00






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