If you are a regular reader of this column you may have come across our rant last week about the seemingly impossible nature of completing the £10 to £1000 Challenge. We’ll grant you that, on paper at least, it looks a piece of cake; who couldn’t pick out four winning selections every week?
Well, you’d be mighty surprised. Take last week for example, where we opted for these four picks:
- St Etienne vs Bordeaux: Bordeaux +1.50 Asian Handicap
- Leicester vs Watford: Leicester +0.50 Asian Handicap
- Lille vs Metz: Lille +0.75 Asian Handicap
- Lazio vs Sampdoria: Lazio +0.00 Asian Handicap
So how did the picks go, you might ask. Not too bad is the answer: Bordeaux drew at St Etienne, making a mockery of the handicap line, while Leicester and Lazio hammered their opponents 3-0 and 7-3 respectively.
And then there’s Lille….
Oh, sweet lord Lille. The same Lille who had lost just two of their last eight games prior to this meeting with Metz, including a pair of 3-0 wins in their two prior outings.
And that’s the same Metz who had conceded at least one goal in 12 of their prior 13 matches.
You probably know what’s coming next, and you’ll forgive us for not going into any great detail about the subsequent 2-0 away win.
Hopefully you read these Challenge pieces and enjoy them with a pinch of salt; safe in the knowledge that there is somebody out there who is as unlucky as you when it comes to football betting.
We’ve probably only got one last decent shot at the challenge during this main European football season, so we’d better make haste and fly through this opening week of selections.
Bet 1: Manchester United vs Celta Vigo: Man Utd/Draw Double Chance – £10 at 1/8
Thursday May 11, 20:00
If you watched the first leg of this Europa League semi-final, you will have discovered just how average Celta Vigo are. Their form in La Liga – W1 D0 L6 – hint at their woes, and they were well and truly outplayed by United in Spain even if the Red Devils couldn’t find that killer touch to end the fixture as a viable contest.
You wouldn’t expect any slip-ups from Jose Mourinho’s men in this second leg, and for a side that hasn’t lost at Old Trafford since September it is highly unlikely this very ordinary Celta Vigo side will come close to ending that run.
Bet 2: Everton vs Watford: Everton/Draw Double Chance – £11.25 at 1/9
Friday May 12, 20:00
We picked out Leicester to beat Watford comfortably last week and the same can be said for Everton on Friday too.
Just rinse and repeat our last preview: the Hornets are poor away from home (12 points taken from a possible 51) and have lost four of their last five outings anywhere. The end of the season cannot come soon enough for them.
As for Everton, they are in a mini slump with two defeats on the bounce, but this is a side that has won eight of their last nine home matches; you don’t have to search too hard for an obvious winner in this game.
Bet 3: Schalke vs Hamburg: Schalke +1.25 Asian Handicap – £12.50 at 1/10
Saturday May 13, 14:30
Schalke are unbeaten in six games at home, a run in which they have taken points off Dortmund and Leipzig. Their overall home record reads W8 D4 L4, and that’s a very nice starting point here.
Hamburg are abject away from home: W2 D3 L11 is their form on the road. They’ve also lost four of their last five, scoring once but conceding 17.
If this one doesn’t land, we might as well retire.
Bet 4: Sampdoria vs Chievo: Over 1.5 Goals – £13.75 at 2/11
Sunday May 14, 14:00
How do you get over a 3-7 defeat? That’s a tonking in anybody’s book, but the good news for punters – if not Sampdoria – is that 10 of their last 12 games have witnessed both teams scoring.
That in itself would be good enough to clear this goal line, but for extra leverage let’s also factor in Chievo’s penchant for a goal-heavy outing: they have cleared the Over 1.5 Goal mark in 29 of their 35 Serie A matches.