As a betting man, this stage of the season means I am always looking towards the significant matches – those that mean something to either side. Motivation is key and a perfect example of matches to avoid can be found by looking at last week’s tie between Reading and QPR which finished 0-0. Okay, you might say now that going for under 2.5 goals was the way to go since neither team would be bothered. But if you had of asked me before the match, I would have thought that maybe the two sides would want to put on an entertaining show for the fans by scoring a few goals.
It proved to be the opposite though and such matches are highly unpredictable for betting purposes in my eyes. Yet I was very confident that Wigan and Spurs would produce over 2.5 goals because they both needed to win – they both had to go for it. So although we can never be sure of the outcome of sporting events, as long as we can identify the significance of a match and how it might pan out tactically, we at least give ourselves a better chance.
Let’s move on to this weekend where I have indeed picked out a couple of significant matches.
West Brom v Wigan
Nothing but a win is good enough for the Latics in this one. They will have to attack the Baggies who will be all too happy to exploit the empty spaces that are left for them. All of the pressure is on the away side in this one and I feel that its an opportunity for the home team to enjoy their football and put on a real show for their supporters. Steve Clarke’s men deserved their 3-0 victory over Southampton last week. And things could get bad for Wigan in this one if Romelu Lukaku is in more clinical form. I believe this will be an open game of football. And while Roberto Martinez’s men will give everything, I think they will be undone by the quality of West Brom.
Bet Selection: West Brom to win and over 2.5 goals to be scored in match @ 23/10 with Ladbrokes
Liverpool v Everton
This one is hugely significant to both teams who don’t want either to finish above the other. It’s as simple as that! Add to that the fact that it is Jamie Carragher’s last Merseyside derby before he retires and you have some extra flavour.
Liverpool go into the match without their top scorer Luis Suarez. But that didn’t seem to matter last week as they beat Newcastle 6-0 away from home. Indeed, Daniel Sturridge stepped up to the plate and led the Liverpool line accordingly. He was helped greatly by the superb Philippe Coutinho who is making a big impact at Anfield. While Everton have had a season to be proud of, all of the momentum appears to be with the Reds. I thought last week that they would wilt under the pressure and distractions with off the field matters. But I was wrong and their response was very impressive. I like how their game is coming together and I think they should prove too strong eventually for a resilient David Moyes side.
Bet Selection: Liverpool to win @ Evens with Boylesports