Menu
Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account
Tracker

Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Our betting experts answer the weekend's key questions

Football insight from the game's top judges

Crystal Palace may be celebrating three points
1 of 1

Didi Hamann
Liverpool and Man City legend

What is your best bet of the weekend?
I can see Palace delivering the win that takes the pressure off Alan Pardew. The Eagles are at Swansea and I think this is the ideal game for them. The Swans will have to be positive but lack the cutting edge or goal power to have much of an impact. But they’ll leave space in behind for Palace’s zippy runners who can fill their boots on the break. Palace’s luck has to change soon.

Which favourite looks the most vulnerable?
Leicester at home to Boro. They are great in Europe but average at home, and Boro are going to be tough visitors. Look at the league table and clearly Boro are in a spot of bother, largely because they aren’t scoring many goals. But they have a better defensive record than Liverpool and Man United and should be able to fend off the Foxes.

Where’s the value at Stamford Bridge tonight?
I’m not sure there is any. I fancy Chelsea strongly and they look about the right price. I’ve not been overly impressed with Tottenham – the new signings have not added anything and one or two players who shone last season seem to have gone a bit stale. Chelsea have hit upon a winning formula which gets the best out of Eden Hazard and several others.

Will Newcastle reach 100 points in this season’s Championship?
One thing I know about Rafa is that he won’t ease up, even if they get promoted with, say, seven or eight games to go. Based on what they’ve done so far they’re heading for 108 points and while that might be a tall order, they are winning games very easily at the moment. Put it this way, I wouldn’t be selling their total points.

Rank these players in order of ability – Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard
Scholesy was different from the other two and a joy to watch, but all three were class. What I would say in defence of Stevie, is that I don’t think we’d have won the trophies at Liverpool that we did with either of the other two. Stevie was a match-winner, a game-changer. You could be going nowhere for 88 minutes then he’d pop in with something really special. 

Give us a winner from one of the EFL Cup quarter-finals
I can’t believe Hull are the price they are at home to Newcastle. The EFL Cup, especially at this stage, is a competition that teams go for so you’d expect Hull to send out their strongest side possible. Why on earth wouldn’t they? Newcastle are going well and quite clearly going up, but they still look far too short away at a Premier League side.


Gerry Markey
BoyleSports Football trader

What is your best bet of the weekend?
Leicester to beat Middlesbrough. Now that top spot in the Champions League is secured, I think we will see a renewed focus from the champions who will be looking to get a comfortable position in the league before the knockout stages begin.

Which favourite looks the most vulnerable?
Southampton were poor against Liverpool last weekend and have the nuisance of a Thursday night Europa league fixture in the Czech Republic. Everton boss Ronald Koeman will see it as a good time to get one over on his old side.

Where’s the value at Stamford Bridge tonight?
The draw looks fairly priced. Spurs remain unbeaten in the league and managed a draw at the Emirates last time out despite another lacklustre Champions League performance.

Will Newcastle reach 100 points in this season’s Championship?
I’d be betting against it at this stage. Despite their impressive start, it’s a long time until the end of the season and Benitez’s name will be on a few Premier League club’s shortlists who sack their manager during this season

Rank these players in order of ability – Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard
I’d go for Scholes first, he was a cracking player, followed by Lampard then Gerrard.

Give us a winner from one of the EFL Cup quarter-finals
Leeds with a handicap start at Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp played virtually a second-string side against Spurs in the last round despite no European football and I expect him to treat Leeds with similar distain.


Jim Proudfoot
Football commentator

What is your best bet of the weekend?
League One leaders Scunthorpe have won ten of their last thirteen home games, and are in good form after five consecutive league wins. Scunny are still unbeaten at home in the league in 2016, a series of twenty-one matches. So their price of a shade of odds-on to beat Oxford looks very generous, with the visitors having lost away to two of the bottom five teams recently.

Which favourite looks the most vulnerable?
Ian Holloway’s arrival at QPR brought an immediate bounce with victory over Norwich. This weekend they travel to Ipswich, whose home form has been poor – they’ve won only once at Portman Road in six games, and lost at home to travel-sick Forest last time out. I think QPR are a better side than Forest, so I will be taking on Ipswich.

Where’s the value at Stamford Bridge tonight?
Tottenham made changes for the trip to Monaco, but were very much second best. They had only two shots on target, and and even more worryingly were accurate with only one of their sixteen crosses. They’ve raised their game for matches with Man City and Arsenal, but this looks a tough ask. I’m backing Chelsea for victory, and Chelsea to win to nil.

Will Newcastle reach 100 points in this season’s Championship?
Yes, easily. At the moment they are on course for 108 – and that’s after a slow start to the season when the new-look squad were getting used to each other. To reach the century they only have to be 18-6-3 through the
rest of the season, which should be straightforward. I think they’re more likely to stay unbeaten than fail to reach 100 points.

Rank these players in order of ability – Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard
Paul Scholes is the best English player I’ve ever seen. If Zinedine Zidane and Xavi Hernandez offer unsolicited eulogies about you, then you must be special. I don’t think there’s much between the other two, although my preference was always for Gerrard over Lampard because of his ability to drag Liverpool through games single-handedly.

Give us a winner from one of the EFL Cup quarter-finals
I fancy the four favourites all to get through to the semi-finals, with Arsenal looking the most vulnerable on the basis of Arsene Wenger’s EFL Cup rotation policy. But you’ll have gathered I’m keen on Newcastle this season, and 8-11 to qualify from their tie at Hull on Tuesday is very appetising 


Dan Sait
Racing & Football Outlook editor 

What is your best bet of the weekend?
Reading to beat Bristol City. No-one really seems to be talking about the Royals but they’ve quietly snuck into the top three following four wins to nil. Bristol City are heading in the other direction, with the Robins losing four of their last six games and winning just twice on the road all season. They’ve also lost to nil in each of their four other meetings with top-six sides.

Which favourite looks the most vulnerable?
Ipswich when they host QPR. I really rate Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy, but he has been overachieving with a limited squad for years and has been unable to find an answer to the loss of forward Daryl Murphy. They have scored just 14 goals in 17 games and here face a decent QPR side who look buoyed by the return of manager Ian Holloway.

Where’s the value at Stamford Bridge tonight?
The value is with Tottenham as our Index-derived True Odds rate them over a full point shorter than the best price on offer. However, I still wouldn’t back them as Spurs have been wholly uninspiring in recent games. Chelsea are far too short though, which leaves the draw at decent odds. I can see Spurs switching to a back three and loading up in midfield.

Will Newcastle reach 100 points in this season’s Championship?
It’s hard to see how they won’t. They are on target to smash that number and it’s worth remembering they took a couple of games to find their feet. They have the best manager, enormous strength in depth and have already beaten their three likeliest rivals – Brighton, Norwich and Reading. 

Rank these players in order of ability – Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard
On pure technical ability, it’s Scholes then Gerrard and Lampard. Add athleticism into the equation and arguably Gerrard nicks it. But in terms of best player to have in your team, I’d have both Scholes and Lampard over Gerrard as they were excellent players whose style improved the whole team, while Gerrard’s brilliance often detracted from his teammates.

Give us a winner from one of the EFL Cup quarter-finals
It’s hard to see Leeds or West Ham causing a shock, and while I quite fancy Newcastle at Hull they look far too short. But a lay of Arsenal could be worth a go as Southampton are a good side in decent nick, while the Gunners are out of form and need this competition like a hole in the head. Plus Arsene Wenger fielded a lot of kids in the last round.


Graham Woods
Racing Post Sport deputy editor   

What is your best bet of the weekend?
Crystal Palace are a decent side going forward but make too many mistakes – they score goals but find a way to ship one or two more each time. However, they may get away with it at goalshy Swansea, who haven’t won in front of their fans all season and scored with their only shot on target in their last home outing, a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Which favourite looks the most vulnerable?
They’re not a team you take on lightly but Barcelona don’t look banker acca material at 1-2 for their trip to Real Sociedad. La Real, fifth in the table before this weekend’s games, have won their last four, conceding just once, while Barca, who have slipped up a couple of times this season, may have one eye on next week’s Clasico.

Where’s the value at Stamford Bridge tonight?
When you consider that it’s a team who have won their last six Premier League matches to nil, against a side who have won one of their last eight in all competitions, the odds about Chelsea beating Spurs look pretty good value. If you wanted to bump it up, the Blues to win to nil, or split stakes on 1-0 and 2-0 are good options.

Will Newcastle reach 100 points in this season’s Championship?
They have four points more than they did at this stage in 2009-10, when they won the Championship with 102 points. But they still have to travel to all of the five teams lying immediately below them in the table and a lot of teams know how tough and congested the run-in to the end of the Championship season can be. They might have to settle for 99.

Rank these players in order of ability – Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard
In terms of pure ability I’d probably put Scholes top. Gerrard was the more complete player, had the big-game mentality and the leader persona, but Scholes was peerless when it came to controlling possession and the tempo of the game. So Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard for me.

Give us a winner from one of the EFL Cup quarter-finals
None of the favourites really scream great value, and Newcastle, the only ones at odds-against, are also the only ones I’d probably oppose. Opponents Hull have plenty to worry about in the Premier League but they’ve performed well enough in the EFL Cup to suggest it may be a welcome distraction rather than a hindrance.

 

I fancy Chelsea strongly and they look about the right price. I've not been overly impressed with Tottenham
Bookmaker
Price
E.W. Terms
Sporting
BetVictor
Sky bet
Boylesport
RaceBets