Local betting expert Joe Whitaker casts his eye over the weekend’s sporting action in the Premier League, Championship and horseracing.
The arrival of Scott Sinclair before the derby at Ewood this weekend looks a big statement by the Preston hierarchy.
The fans demanded some real quality to replace players sold and they have been given just that.
How will his arrival impact this weekend? It’s hard to say but players in and out of the side will have the added incentive to perform.
From a betting perspective Preston have come in slightly in price to around 9/5 whilst the home side are slight favourites at 17/10.
Tony Mowbray will be telling his team they owe North End one, with Preston having the edge recently, whilst Alex Neil will be hoping the derby day atmosphere can snap his side out of a lull.
How it goes is anyone’s guess but I do think it will be lively with goals on the menu once again.
If I had to part with cash for this one I would have a small investment on a 2-2 draw at 12/1, whilst if he gets the nod I fancy Billy Bodin at 8/1 to open proceedings.
A tasty weekend of football has come around with the confusion of the festive season’s fixture programme well behind us.
We all like routine and there is clear water ahead – perfect conditions to pick a winner.
The top flight looks tricky as usual and it’s nice to start with a home banker.
Chelsea welcome Burnley to Stamford Bridge and whilst they are short at 3/10, I fancy Frank Lampard’s side to get a convincing win.
The Clarets have lost six in their last eight and had it not been for two wins earlier in December they would be very worried.
Another home side that I fancy to get three points is Everton at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.
It’s nowhere near being a banker though you would expect Carlo Ancelotti and Duncan Ferguson to get a reaction from them after their poor showing against Liverpool’s kids in last weekend’s FA Cup third-round defeat at Anfield.
Players are playing for their Goodison Park future here and at the 5/6 I feel its good value to put in your bets.
To finish the treble I can’t not get Premier League leaders Liverpool involved. They win all the time don’t they?
It is never easy to go away to Tottenham Hotspur, though the Reds raise their game accordingly, and Spurs without their talismanic striker Harry Kane is a very different animal.
I was surprised to see them as big as 4/5 for the win this weekend.
The Chelsea/Everton/Liverpool treble returns just over 3/1 and looks very do-able.
The Silviniaco Conti Chase (2:05) at Kempton is the race of the day and with the absence of Altior it looks a competitive one.
Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch is the favourite at around 4/6 though I fancy taking him on this weekend with Paul Nicholls FRODON ridden by usual pilot Bryony Frost.
A course and distance winner, he won the Ryanair over this far at Cheltenham and a big season could be on the cards. He’s a 5/2 chance and looks solid to me.