Weekly betting column: PNE at Elland Road and the Grand National

A preview of the 2017 Grand National and a look at the weekend's sports betting action provided by Joe Whitaker of ValueBet Bookmakers.

Friday, 7th April 2017, 2:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:16 pm
Fancy a flutter this weekend?

Grand National day is almost upon us and the world famous steeplechase looks set to be as competitive as ever, with no clear indication as to which horse will go off favourite.

Any one of seven or eight could easily be backed into favourite given the current prices. If I had to pick the favourite now I would probably say the Jonjo O’Neill trained More Of That will go off the shortest.

This race isn’t just about the market leaders however and finding a horse which looks likely to stay the gruelling four and a quarter miles is key to getting success as a punter.

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I have backed winners myself in the race over the years, from the favourite Hedgehunter in 2005 to Silver Birch in 2007. Both had previous in the race, with Hedgehunter falling at the last whilst out in front the year before, whilst Silver Birch was hampered and fell in 2006 after looking threatening.

With this in mind, I like the look of the Tom George trained SAINT ARE. Currently a 25/1 shot he ran a great race to finish second to the legendary Many Clouds in 2015 and was pulled up last year after finding the going too soft. Top Irish jockey Davy Russell was quick to grab the ride and an encouraging second at Doncaster, beaten by a short head in February, points to him being in good order.

It is to some extent a lottery however and one of the few races I would suggest backing more than one selection. I think last year’s winning trainer Mouse Morris could have a huge chance with THUNDER AND ROSES at decent odds of 33/1.

As I said earlier, there is usually some previous in the form and the selection here is an Irish Grand National winner in 2015, beating last years winner Rule The World by 4 lengths. This horse clearly gets the trip and comes from a decent chasing stable.

The race is due to go off at 5:15 leaving plenty of time to get yourselves down to West Park Avenue in Savick for your much studied punts. We are paying FIVE places for your each-way terms unlike some of the big boys dotted around the town, and we are of course a local Preston company.

Away from the action in Liverpool, North End take the trip over to Leeds for what really is a massive game. Given the league table, every game is huge at this stage of the season.

Leeds themselves have only won one in their last five and they aren’t assured of a play off spot just yet. I get the impression this team that Simon Grayson has built is enjoying being the chaser rather than the chased. They were like a cat playing with a mouse in that second half on Tuesday night.

I think they look a big price at 3/1 to get some revenge on a Leeds side clearly having a wobble of late. Once again McGeady and Barkhuizen at 14/1 and 7/1 both look decent to use with the ValueBet 2 for 1 first goalscorers.

In the top flight I can’t get away from Burnley being a decent price at 5/2 away at Middlesbrough.

The Boro are starting to look like a side on their way down, with an awful showing at Hull midweek. Now could be the time Burnley start to enjoy themselves a little with safety looking more and more likely.

Enjoy the weekend folks and the very best of luck. Joe