Betting column: Back Barkhuizen to get on target

Fancy a bet this weekend?

Fancy a bet this weekend?

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The weekend’s sports betting action previewed by Joe Whitaker of ValueBet Bookmakers.

As the Cheltenham Festival draws to its climax with the Gold Cup, punters have already started to hit back at the layers after a Ruby Walsh led four timer for popular Irish trainer Willie Mullins.

Tom Barkhuizen is at 7/1 for first goalscorer

Tom Barkhuizen is at 7/1 for first goalscorer

Three of the four went off favourites and the talk of the course was Nichols Canyon was the subject of some hurtful wagers from punters taking on the short priced favourite Unowhatimeanharry.

The big boys will still be happy with the set of results so far though, as a battered punting public found itself short of an arsenal going into the Thursday.

A host of popular favourites on the opening two days certainly gave the bookies some form of revenge after last years wipeout.

The bookmakers have to be willing to put their neck on the line and lay fancied things to make decent margins and this week the likes of Neon Wolf, Melon and Limini were all very profitable losers for their books with money flowing in for them since January.

Away from the racing scene, it is the rugby which takes priority this weekend with England travelling over to Dublin hoping to secure the grand slam.

England recall powerhouse number eight Billy Vunipola to the back of the scrum and this should see them over the line.

A strong ball carrier, he is a monster in the loose and constantly breaks the gain line. England to win both halves at 2/1 looks a good bet to me providing they keep the penalty count down.

Both Elliot Daly and Anthony Watson at 10/1 to score the first try looks good to use with the back one get one free first tryscorers offer we have at ValueBet.

Elsewhere in the Six Nations, a resurgent French outfit welcome Wales fresh off the back of their win against Ireland last week.

Wales played the crucial moments very well in Cardiff and powerful winger George North looked almost back to his best.

I do fancy France to put on a good show in front of their home crowd however and the 5/2 for France to win by between 1-10 points looks a decent bet.

Louis Picamoles has been a colossus for Les Bleus this year and at 10/1 for him to be announced Man of the Match...it could be a lively punt to follow.

The local football scene sees a real Lancashire derby over at Ewood Park.

As is always the case, an army of Northenders will be making the short trip to Blackburn with much at stake.

Whilst they have been unplayable at times at home this season, they haven’t looked quite so comfortable away from home recently.

The home side will be desperate for a win though and this could play into Simon Grayson’s hands.

New signing Tom Barkhuizen looks dangerous on the counter attack and I’m tipping him to notch again this Saturday at 7/1 first goalscorer.

Customers can make use of the 2 for 1 first goalscorers offer at ValueBet by pairing him up with class act Aiden McGeady at 10/1.

In the top flight, Burnley look good value to win at Sunderland at 2/1. They gave a good account of themselves at Anfield and you have to think the pressure must be getting to David Moyes men now.

If they were to look at the fixture list of remaining games they would target this as a must win and that isn’t always healthy.

Sean Dyche’s Clarets will fancy themselves and Irish midfielder Robbie Brady looks like value at 12/1 to find the net first.