And we are go. Week 1 of the £10 to £1000 Challenge passed by without much incident, as our four selections landed with the minimum of fuss. If only every week was like that!
Here’s a quick reminder of our first four picks:
- Bet 1: Metz vs Bastia: Metz +1.00 Asian Handicap – Metz wrapped up a steady 1-0 win to convert the handicap with ease.
- Bet 2: Norwich vs Barnsley: Over 1.5 Goals – The Canaries flew on Saturday; beating the Tykes 2-0.
- Bet 3: Frankfurt vs Hamburg: Hamburg +2.00 Asian Handicap – Hamburg bagged a 0-0 draw at Frankfurt as we expected them to, so the handicap landed without concern.
- Bet 4: Empoli vs Napoli: Napoli Draw No Bet – Napoli were 3-0 up at half-time, took their foot off the gas and Empoli got it back to 2-3. But the Naples outfit hung on and we collected.
So we move on with £15.84 into week 2, and unfortunately it is an international weekend. These are hard to love for punters, and really it is not something we want to dwell on too much in all honesty.
So a couple of selections which will keep our interest for the weekend, and then we will move on into a full gameweek next time around.
Bet 5: Belgium vs Greece: Belgium Draw No Bet – £15.84 at 1/12
Saturday March 18, 19:45
If you were betting on your own fun coupon, you would have Belgium to win this game all day long, but the nature of the £10 to $1k Challenge is that we get to the target with the minimum of risk; hence the Draw No Bet kicker.
You probably know all about the Belgians already: Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, Dries Mertens, Radja Nainggolan….this is a stunning collection of players. Add in the Tottenham twosome – Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – at the back and you have the spine of a fantastic team.
It’s been a case of so far, so good for Roberto Martinez’s side in World Cup 2018 qualifying too. Four games, four wins, 21 goals scored, one conceded; that gives a flavour of their dominance.
Greece have improved since the ill-fated tenure of Claudio Ranieri, and they sit second in Group H with 10 points from a possible 12. But look at the rest of the teams in the group – Bosnia, Cyprus, Estonia and Gibraltar – and you get a sense of how easy this particular bracket is.
Against a ‘proper’ team like Belgium, we expect the Greeks to crumble like a block of Feta.
Bet 6: England vs Lithuania: England to Win – £17.16 at 1/9
Sunday March 19, 17:00
England, bloody England. For decades they have disappointed in major competitions, and barring a rare glimpse of glory at Euro ’96 here has been little for fans of the Three Lions to cheer about on the big stage.
And that’s surprising given how good they are in qualification, particularly at home. Since 2007, when the new Wembley Stadium was opened, England’s record in competitive matches on home soil reads W21 D3 L1. Even without the injured Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, it is hard to conceive of a way in which England won’t win this match.
Lithuania have lost eight of their last eleven away qualifiers, were thumped 0-4 on their last trip to Wembley and got tanked 0-4 by Slovakia in this campaign.
Surely Gareth Southgate’s men can’t let us down here.