Football Betting Tip

1pt Hull to beat Sheffield United in the FA cup, 15/8 William Hill or 9/5 Ladbrokes, PaddyPower and CentreBet (Saturday 14th February 3pm ko)
I don’t usually like to get too involved with betting on cup competitions but after looking at this fixture, I had a long list of reasons to back Hull. Firstly, Hull should go into this match with confidence and morale high, whereas the opposite will be true for their Yorkshire rivals. After a great start to the season, Hull hit a poor run of form and began to slide down the table. However, this slide seems to have been stopped and they have now lost just one of their last four. Last weekend’s draw at Stamford Bridge will have been a big boost to confidence and the players were rewarded with a week’s training in the warmth of Dubai. This trip should have further boosted morale and boss Phil Brown will hope for a positive response. Brown did the same thing this time last year and was rewarded with a six game unbeaten run that helped them kick on and achieve promotion. Training in the sunshine has also had other benefits as it has accelerated the recovery of Jimmy Bullard, Anthony Gardner and Nick Barmby from injury, all three are expected to be involved on Saturday.
Hull lost at Bramall lane last April which robbed them of a chance of automatic promotion and forced them to endure the torture of the play offs.  Brown spoke of revenge in a pre match interview:
“We are now away from home against a Championship team that stuck a little spanner in the works last year”.

“We are still smarting from that one because they weren’t too nice to us in defeat, shall we say”.

“There was no love lost after the game. They may have been gloating a wee bit because they knocked one of the wheels off our trolley”,

“We have got a score to settle and hopefully we will do that”.

I was surprised to see Premiership Hull available at such a big price and part of the reason is possibly Brown’s tendency to rotate his squad in cup competitions. However, I do not think this will be too big a factor in this case at all. There are not many superstars at Hull and many of the players in the squad are of a similar standard. Therefore, making changes to the line up does not affect them too much, especially as those coming into the side will be eager to impress. Brown rotated the squad against Newcastle in the last round and managed to knock the Geordies out on their own turf. I am only expecting one or two changes anyway, especially considering this is a Yorkshire derby and that Brown has been talking of settling scores.
Sheffield United are a side with just one win from four in the Championship and that was an injury time winner against whipping boys Southampton. Last weekend’s derby defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday was the first time in ninety five years that Wednesday had completed the double over them. It has not gone down well and boss Kevin Blackwell is a man under pressure:
“I would say without question it’s been the hardest week since I’ve come back. It’s the lowest point of my career since I’ve been here”.
“So much good has been undone by one game. People have been dwelling on the Sheffield Wednesday game, like I have done. I had nothing to eat for three or four days”.
“I just apologise to the fans. It was something we didn’t set out to do and it hurts greatly. I couldn’t speak to anybody for four or five days. This is the first time I’ve spoken to the press because it’s taken me that long to get over it. It hurts badly.”
It was the second home game United had lost in a row and to make it worse, they were both local derbies. Upon closer inspection of Sheffield United’s results this season, a clear pattern emerges. The Blades do not seem to be able to compete against stronger opposition and have performed terribly in nearly every big game this season. As well as losing two big local derbies at home to Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster, United have also managed just one win in seven games against top six sides. They are fifth in the league only as a result of beating bottom half opposition on a regular basis.
Most clubs would be quite happy to be sitting fifth in the league but United fans are not keen on Blackwell or his long ball style of football. He expressed disappointment this week that the fans have not been more supportive. I think it is starting to affect the players too and especially at home where they are under pressure to perform. United have picked up more points away from home this season and they have now won just two of their last eight home games. Both of these victories were against bottom half opposition. Yet another example of Sheffield United performing poorly in big games was their Carling cup exit to Arsenal. Arsene Wenger virtually fielded a youth team but that did not stop the Blades being ripped to pieces in a 6-0 humiliation.
Along with the several negatives I have mentioned above, Sheffield United are further hindered by selection problems ahead of this cup tie. Star striker James Beattie was sold in the January transfer window and his replacements, Jamie Ward and Arturo Lupoli, are both cup tied. Fellow forward Darius Henderson is suspended leaving Blackwell with limited options in attack. Defender Leigh Bromby is also cup tied whilst Captain Chris Morgan, Gary Speed, Ugo Ehiogu and Derek Geary are all injured.
With several positives for Hull and even more negatives for Sheffield United, I think Phil Brown’s men rate a very good bet to progress to the next round.
Minimum price to take – 13/8
By The Oracle
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Leeds V Mk Dons

1pt Leeds to beat Mk Dons in League one, 5/2 Skybet or  (Saturday 20th December 3pm ko)

[ Blog comment 5/2 now gone .. you can get a shade under that price on Betfair betting Exchange ]

Leeds have endured a bad run of results lately with four defeats on the bounce in all competitions. Losing top goalscorer Jermaine Beckford to injury hasn’t helped, but I think Leeds still have a good enough squad to cope without him and should be back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Luciano Becchio has eleven goals in all competitions and is a real threat, whilst Fabien Delph in midfield is one of the brightest young prospects in the lower leagues. They have quality players throughout the squad and are more than capable of turning it around. Boss Gary McAllister is under pressure and so are his under performing players, that’s why playing away from a restless Elland road crowd tomorrow, will probably count as a positive. Mk Dons on the other hand, are in good form at the moment with four wins out of five. However, these wins have all come against  sides struggling in the wrong half of the table. Brighton, Hartlepool, Walsall and Hereford are all teams promotion hopefuls would hope to beat. The one decent side they played in this run was Scunthorpe, who beat them 2-0 at stadium MK. That was their fourth home defeat of the season and Leeds have every chance of making it five. The Dons are missing an important player of their own, as captain and November league one player of the month Dean Lewington, is out injured. Their squad is pretty much the same one that got promoted from league two last season and I think they are overachieving in third place. This one is a price call more than anything. A month ago you would not have got anywhere near 5/2 about a Leeds win. It is an overreaction to the two sides short term form trends and it makes it well worth backing Leeds to end their poor run tomorrow.

Minimum price to take – 2/1

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The Oracle

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The Four Tops – this week’s free bet offer from Betfair

They’re top of their respective leagues because they are the most successful teams so far this season – and now we’re offering you the chance to back The Four Tops, safe in the knowledge we’ll give you a free bet if they let you down. Simply place a single fourfold, staking £10 or more, on our Four Tops fourfold, which is backing Chelsea, Wolves, Scunthorpe and Darlington to win their games on Saturday. And if one (or more) of that quartet loses, we’ll give you a free £5 bet.

Specific Terms:

To be eligible for a free bet, you must have placed a single fourfold, staking at least £10, on The Four Tops fourfold, which backs the following teams to win their matches on Saturday November 22nd,

2008: Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Scunthorpe United and Darlington. The fourfold must be placed before 3pm on Saturday November 22nd, 2008.

A free £5 bet will be paid if one (or more) of the four teams specified above loses their fixture on Saturday November 22nd, 2008.

Free bets are limited to one per person.

Free bets will be paid into accounts by 6pm on Thursday November 27th, 2008.

Standard Betfair Terms and Conditions apply.

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This football tip comes courtesy of the Oracle

1pt Fulham to beat Tottenham in the Premiership, 12/5 PaddyPower or 23/10 Bet365 (Saturday 15th November 3pm ko)

It is very important not to get too carried away with short term trends when betting on football, and to keep focused on the bigger picture. Juande Ramos was sacked as Tottenham manager after a terrible start to the season left Spurs bottom of the Premiership. He brought in a number of expensive signings over the summer and Spurs were expected to mount a challenge to the big four. However, the loss of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov late in the summer was a big blow and was a major factor in Spurs poor start in my opinion. Since Harry Redknapp has taken over, Spurs have suddenly come to life and are unbeaten in six games under their new manager. However, just as Tottenham were not as poor as their form suggested under Ramos, they are also not as good as the form they are currently experiencing under Redknapp. The media has gone overboard as a result of this good run and a number of bookmakers appear to have swallowed it.

The fact of the matter is that Redknapp has had a huge amount of luck so far in his short career as Tottenham boss. He started off with a home game against a very poor Bolton side and unsurprisingly picked up three points. This was followed by a trip to the Emirates stadium for the North London derby with Arsenal. Spurs nicked two late goals and gained a point they did not deserve. This was down to Arsenal carelessly throwing away the lead with sloppy play, rather than Harry masterminding some great comeback. Next up was Liverpool, who in Redknapp’s own words “murdered us”! The Scousers should have been 4-0 up before an own goal levelled things up and again Tottenham nicked a late goal to win it. Spurs didn’t deserve a point that day, let alone three. Last weekend saw more of the same, as Spurs trailed Man City before two sendings off allowed them to steal the points. Another win followed in mid week and from the praise being lavished on Redknapp once again by the media, you’d have sworn it wasn’t a Liverpool reserve team containing ten changes they’d just beaten?

So now we have a situation where Tottenham have been priced up as short as 11/10 (48% win chance) to win away from home against a Fulham side with a home record on a par with the big four. The cottagers have lost just one of their six home games, have won four times in front of their own fans already and only Chelsea have conceded fewer goals at home. Like previous seasons, it is their away form which is letting Fulham down with just a single point gained on their travels. Tottenham’s price looks even more ridiculous when you look at their own away form, not just this season but over the last several seasons. Their fortuitous victory over Man City was just their first away win of the season and last year they won just three times away from home. The season before that, they managed five away wins and the season before that they managed six. In fact, over the last three season Tottenham have won just 23% of their away fixtures, which equates to an average price of 10/3! Another factor here is that Tottenham have not won at Craven Cottage since 2002! Their record in that time reads W0-D2-L4.

Whilst their form at the moment is impressive, it is also very misleading and Redknapp joked during this week that he should resign now as things could only go down hill from now on. I think he was spot on, things can only go down hill, and Redknapp is still talking about avoiding relegation, rather than challenging for European places. Tottenham have been leaking goals by the hatful all season, the only thing Redknapp has done, is to get them scoring themselves. The defence changes every week as Ledley King’s injury only allows him to play every other week. This has caused a lot of uncertainty in a back four that already has suspect full backs defensively and which sits in front of one of the most unreliable goalkeepers in the Premiership. It is no secret that come January, Spurs will be signing a new keeper to replace Gomes and Shay Given was being linked with a move this afternoon. Gomes is a complete liability at set pieces and with crosses in general. He is just as likely to clatter one of his own defenders as he is to clear any danger.

If this game was played a month ago, Fulham would probably have been favourites. The prices on offer are being dictated by a short term trend and anything over 15/8 is fantastic value in my opinion. Fulham have already beaten Arsenal at home this season and in Danny Murphy, Simon Davies and Bobby Zamora, they have three Spurs old boys who will be fired up to put one over their previous employers. Andy Johnson is returning to full fitness and has three goals in as many games too. Fulham have to be backed to make it three home wins on the bounce.

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