2 winners from 3 for the system bets yesterday unfortunately at SP you’d have made the grand total of about 10p to £1 stakes. Luckily I backed the pair at 4/5 and 8/13 so made a little bit more, Mujood went off at 50/1 and ran reasonably okay for a fair way before tiring out of things. Plenty of system bets at the moment and four more today – at the bottom of the post.
Going to kick off my preview of the upcoming football season by looking at the Championship. I will in time try and look at all other leagues which kick off this weekend ahead of Saturday, unlikely to be anywhere near as much depth, I’ll then get onto the Premier League next week ahead of the season opener on the 13th August. During the season I’ll be looking at matches and potential accumulators to see if we can make some profit. Last season I spent a fair chunk of time analysing the draw – which in the Premier League proved profitable so I’ll probably look at that in some detail again. Mainly though expect to see more than just horse racing bets over the next few months especially as the jumps return.
I was going to go through this club by club but it was beginning to take me forever and there’s a good chance no one would take a blind bit of notice. Supporting Ipswich I know this league pretty well, I get to see the league every Saturday every season and have done pretty much for the last ten years. It’s an absolute pig of a league to get out of and most of the teams are evenly matched. Everyone says it’s one of the hardest leagues to get out of and I’d agree with that. The bookies this season make West Ham and Leicester joint favourites to win the league, whilst it’s notable that beyond those two everyone around ten teams are closely matched in price.
To start with the teams relegated last season West Ham have kept the majority of their players, Carlton Cole is likely to move on but the signings of Nolan and Taylor are exceptional for this league. They are well worthy favourites with Leicester but it remains to be seen if they have a team mentality. I’d expect Allardyce to bring that in time but they need to hit the ground running. Birmingham and Blackpool both have very different outlooks, the former look in dire straits having sold some 15 players since the end of last season and lost their manager. Chris Hughton though got Newcastle promoted the season before last so knows what it takes. Blackpool on the other hand much like West Ham have kept their core squad and added sensibly in Ferguson and Phillips they have bought two Premier League quality players. My concern with Blackpool is that they don’t have that quality and will get beat by some average sides. Birmingham are not a betting proposition until the financial side of things is sorted out. All three have question marks of some kind and in Bannantyne style “I’m out!”
The promoted teams are next to look at Brighton, Southampton and Peterborough. Last season the three promoted clubs all came up and performed admirably with Norwich much to my chagrin being promoted automatically and the other two Leeds and Millwall mixing it in higher echelons of the league. This year could see similar with all three clubs continuing on a wave from last season. Brighton are the shortest price and my concern would really be their lack of experience, Poyet though is a class manager and then should go well, Roland Bergkamp nephew of Dennis is a name to watch. Southampton have two excellent strikers and the manager Adkins worked wonders with Scunthorpe so they are a decent punt for going well again though the price doesn’t really excite me. Peterborough could do a Millwall this season, they do though need to replace Mackail-Smith who went to Brighton, last time in the league first season they performed admirably before being relegated a season later. Boyd and the keeper Lewis are fine players.
Moving onto teams fancied by the bookies the first team to look at are Leicester. Under Erikkson they have spent vast sums for a Championship club notably £5m on Mills and rumoured bids for Shane Long from Reading. David Nugent is an excellent signing who will score plenty of goals, most likely against Ipswich, whilst St Ledger and Fernandes could easily play in the Premier League and have done. They are short though at 4/1 and it could go wrong at the Walkers or they could walk it, I think at 4/1 though you can leave them alone. Middlesboro were the bookies favourites to win the league last season have been relegated and they suffered an abysmal season, Mowbray came in midway through and steadied the ship but none of the signings really stand out and I think they will finish mid-table. Nottingham Forest have been in and around the playoffs for a number of seasons and although they’ve lost Billy Davies, the new man at the helm McClaren is a class act. Okay he made a mess of things with England but hasn’t Capello. His CV reads well with spells alongside Sir Alex, then consolidating Middlesboro in the Premier League, before winning the Dutch league with Twente. Forest do look lightweight up front having lost Earnshaw, Tyson and Adebola but the signings of Greening and Andy Reid are notable.
Cardiff seem to have been the pereniennel bridesmaids of recent years having spent a fair amount of cash in the hope of gaining promotion. Dave Jones has gone to be replaced by Mackay who worked wonders at Watford, they have lost last year’s strikeforce but at the same time replaced them well with Miller and Earnshaw. The other club to make the playoffs last season were Reading and despite the ongoing saga surrounding Shane Long they still have the core of their squad, Mills aside. It is a concern that McDermott may not replace Long as having lost Mills and Long you’d expect them to spend some money. Seems perhaps not, Church will score goals though.
Next up we have those middle of the road type sides, they have the potential to do better or are punching above their weight. I include my own team in here as Ipswich have spent the last few years flattering to deceive, having allowed Roy Keane rope to hang himself with some average signings, Marcus Evans seems to have let Jewell a similar loose reign. The club has pretty much been transformed in playing staff and although the loss of Wickham is unlikely to be an issue, I don’t know how they’ll gel. If they do combine though Ipswich have made some classy signings including Chopra, Bowyer and Stockdale. A strong core to the squad, I am really hopeful this season but ruling with the head not the heart here. Leeds performed admirably last season in narrowly missing out on the playoffs, they have a fantastic fanbase and deserve to be in the Premier League on size of club but I’d worry about how the squad is looking this time around, Max Gradel looks set to leave whilst a number of players have chosen to go elsewhere. Hull and Burnley look to be two sides in the same sort of boat, one of struggling to cope with their relegation from season 09-10, Burnley’s recent sales of Eagles and Mears would concern me, whilst I like the manager I feel they will probably find life tougher this season. Hull are something of an enigma but look a little overpriced in the market if anything. Pearson has bought well over pre-season in McKenna, Hobbs and Adebola. Looking at their strike force also it’s laden with goals in Matty Fryatt and Jay Simpson. They are a decent looking young side and performed well in the latter half of last season.
The remaining sides all in my opinion look to set to battle it out near the foot of the table. I could make a case for a few of them to spring a few surprises and the likes of Millwall, Derby and Portsmouth could well punch above their weight in terms of bookmaker prices. Other teams like Barnsley, Doncaster, Palace, Coventry, Bristol City and Watford. I’d pretty much expect to struggle. There’s not much point going into great detail with them because the relegation market doesn’t offer all that attractive odds.
So, I suppose we need a nice succinct summing up and a few bets.
The odds are quickly as follows on winning the league – Hills as best price about most. Leicester (5) West Ham (5) Nottingham Forest (16) Middlesboro (18) Southampton (20) Reading (20) Brighton (22) Cardiff (22) Blackpool (22) Birmingham (22) Ipswich (22) Leeds (22) Hull (30) Burnley (33) Portsmouth (45) Derby (55) Bar.
Way I’m going to play it is to oppose the front two. I wouldn’t for one minute argue against anyone backing either West Ham or Leicester at 5/1 they have the class of player but I do think there are better options elsewhere. Nottingham Forest are my first port of call because I truly believe they have the best manager in the league in McClaren, he’s a cut above most of these including Sven. Strikers look to be a potential issue for Forest but if they can get a couple of scorers in then I can see them really having a good season. The season before last for the majority of the campaign they faced it out with Newcastle and WBA. 16/1 offers a decent punt at the title and with the each way we have second and third as a fall back offering a similar price on either West Ham or Leicester winning the thing. The other bet I’m going to advise is on Hull firstly a small bet to win the league at 30/1 and then another bet to win promotion at 7/1 – I think again the manager is one of the better ones and they have a decent strike force not far of one of the best in the league and they have bought well. I don’t think they’ll win it but I think they can make the top six and thus the 7/1 should enable to us having a decent run for our money.
The last couple of bets I’m going to advise are in the top scorer market, the two I like here are Chopra from Ipswich – our problem last year was scoring goals, we created an absolute hatful of chances, he will get chances to score and I’d expect him to take plenty. The other one is much more speculative and I like Simon Church at Reading at a price who may find himself in the limelight if Long departs. Each way pays 1/4 on both.
- Championship Winner 1pt e/w Nottingham Forest @ 16/1 William Hill
- Championship Winner 0.25pt e/w Hull @ 30/1 William Hill
- To Be Promoted 1pt Hull @ 7/1 Bet 365
- Top Scorer 1pt e/w Michael Chopra @ 16/1 Bet 365
- Top Scorer 0.5pt e/w Simon Church @ 50/1 Bet 365
System Bets today –
- 2.50 Yarmouth – Lucy Limelites – R Charlton (5) (25%)
- 2.50 Yarmouth – Starbound – W Haggas (5) (14%)
- 7.45 Folkestone – Fire Fighter – Sir M Prescott (5) (30%)
- 8.25 Sandown – Catchanova – E Johnson Houghton (5) (11%)