Weekly betting column
A look at the weekend's sports betting action once again provided by Joe Whitaker of ValueBet Bookmakers.
As predicted in last weekend’s column, Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes a huge difference to Manchester United and as feared, a costly first goalscorer for ourselves.
That is the business however and punters will be coming back confident this weekend.
With no SixNations action, football and boxing are the highlights on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at the boxing first with the clash between Londoner David Haye and Liverpool’s Tony Bellew rarely off Sky Sports News this week.
As is increasingly the case these days with fights on pay-per-view, the two have shared platforms and had a few dust-ups in public to capture the public interest. Just how real this animosity is we will never know.
Much has been made of the contrasting styles of the training camps, with Haye sipping on kale smoothies in Miami as Bellew does the traditional hard slog on the road, again perhaps to divide the public and make them take sides.
This is no Eubank-Benn or Holyfield-Tyson, however, and until recently neither have really been considered domestic rivals.
Not too long ago Haye was sharing a ring with stylish heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko as Bellew went into wars with domestic level fighters such as Ovill McKenzie who knocked him down.
This shows how far the two have come to meet in the middle and the 3/1 for Haye to win in rounds 5-8 looks about the best bet out there for me.
We have built up large liabilites on a Haye stoppage in rounds 1 and 2 at 9/1 for each round, though I would like to think Tony has built up enough ringcraft by now to keep out of harm’s way so early.
Haye will attempt to swarm all over him in the manner of his stoppage of Enzo Maccarinelli back in 2008 whilst Tony will be looking to land that one big bomb.
It’s going to be a tough night for the Evertonian though he has been the distance before with the technically decent Nathan Cleverly so you just never know.
On the football front its a decent looking set of fixtures around the country.
March is always a big month in the football league and a big relegation derby at Ewood Park sees Blackburn and Wigan scrap out a real six pointer.
I saw Wigan against my beloved North End a couple of weeks ago and they were tough if nothing special.
The draw and under 2.5 goals in the match at 5/2 looks a good bet. On the BOGOF (2 for 1) first goalscorers we do at ValueBet, strikers Omar Bogle and Danny Graham for each side look decent value both being 5/1.
In the top flight, Leicester have already been a popular choice on punters coupons, though I am happy to take them on myself at 5/6.
I think Hull go there with a fighting chance and will set-up to have a good go. Jamie Vardy was another costly first goalscorer for ourselves on Monday night and at 9/2 he looks a decent bet again. For your insurance I’d side with Daniel Drinkwater at 14/1 after his decent finish against Liverpool.
The racing highlight comes from Doncaster with the Grimethorpe Chase at 3:35.
I like the look of YALA ENKI at 7/1 with ourselves, whose trainer Venetia Williams has had winners this week and the horse appears to have been primed for this.
It hacked up over 2m6f at Haydock in December on soft ground and with more rain forecast it looks sure to be nice and soft going.
The buzz is starting to build up nicely in the run up to this years Cheltenham Festival.
We will be doing cash back on fallers for the first race of every day at ValueBet and with forecast conditions it looks like this will be a much needed offer.
For my first horse to follow have a look at Paul Nicholls trained French import POLITOLOGUE in the JLT Novices Chase on the Thursday.
All the best, Joe.