Oh by the beard of Zeus. Normally, we’re very good at taking our medicine and learning our lesson. But last week we made a gruesome error…
We should know by now that goals-based bets, specifically over 0.5 first or second half goals, are an own goal, if anything. And once again we came a cropper, this time with bet 7 of our last attempt at the challenge.
Most annoyingly, one of the teams involved, Lillestrom, bagged their second goal in a 2-0 win in the 44th minute. Our selection? Yep, you guessed it, Over 0.5 Second Half Goals.
Bottoms have been spanked and lessons learned, we can tell you that. No more will we be seduced by the over/under markets in what have to be a series of lower risk selections if we are to land this challenge.
Instead results and handicaps will be our sole focus – no deviation!
Bet 1: Atlantas vs Kairat Almaty: Kairat/Draw Double Chance – £10 at 1/8
Thursday July 6, 17:00
Let’s get straight back in the saddle with this Europa League qualifier between two titans of the beautiful game: Atlantas, who finished fourth in the Lithuanian Premier League in 2016/17, against Kairat Almaty; runners-up in the Kazakhstan top flight.
Kairat won the first leg 6-0, and while clearly they enjoyed home advantage they have nothing to fear from a trip to the not-footballing-fortress of Lithuania. They fired 21 shots at goal in that first rubber and won 11 corners, which highlights their dominance.
Another fun fact about Kairat is that their captain is former Arsenal man Andrey Arshavin, and he bagged a brace in Kazakhstan a week ago.
Bet 2: Sporting KC vs Philadelphia: Sporting KC/Draw Double Chance – £20.22 at 1/7
Friday July 7, 01:30
Once our winnings from Bet 1 have been banked (hopefully) don’t forget to lump them straight back onto Bet 2, which takes place in the early hours of the morning from a UK punter’s perspective.
The MLS is a funny old league where home teams really do tend to thrive; so far, 21 of the 22 teams have gained at least double-figures in points on home soil – away from home, that number reduces to 6/22 (and two of those only have ten!).
In the wee hours of Friday Philadelphia must make the long journey west to Sporting Kansas City, who so far are unbeaten in front of their own fans (W6 D3 L0). They have conceded just four goals in nine starts.
Philadelphia’s record on the road is nothing to shout about (W1 D2 L4), and while they make life difficult for opponents (seven conceded in as many games) clearly their strategy is to try and avoid defeat, rather than win on the road.
Bet 3: Tianjin Quanjian vs Guangzhou R&F: Tianjin +1.25 Asian Handicap – £18.20 at 1/9
Friday July 7, 12:30
We’ve got a good feeling about the hosts here, who have won five of their last six outings and toppled the leaders Guangzhou Evergrande last time out. They are one of the Chinese sides to splash the cash, with Axel Witsel and Alexander Pato coming in, and the fruits of their labour have been obvious.
Guangzhou haven’t made any marquee signings, and their form – one win in nine – is reflective of a side being left behind by their rivals in a league where increasingly money is beginning to talk.
Bet 4: Valur vs Stjarnan: Valur/Draw Double Chance – £24.26 at 4/11
Sunday July 9, 21:00
We’ve a lovely price here for a selection that would be backable even at 1/5 or above. Valur top the Icelandic Premier League and remain unbeaten at home at this early stage (W4 D1 L0), winning each of their last three in front of their own fans.
Stjarnan got off to a lovely start to the campaign but the wheels have come off somewhat: no win in four, and three defeats in that time, highlighting the drop-off.
The visitors have shipped at least two goals in each of their last four starts, and such alarming defensive inability is enough to convince us of Valur’s valour on Sunday.