Saturday Column – The Footy and The Horses
There are still a few Barbados Challenge Cup group games to come. I managed to get matched at odds of 14.00 on the Betfair Exchange for over 8.5 goals in the Villa United versus Ellerton game on Wednesday that ended 8-2 to Ellerton. Unfortunately, over in the Czech Republic, I appeared to tip the wrong Prague! In any case, let’s see what is on this weekend.
1 – U19 European Championships Women
These are often tricky games because bookmakers really like to cover their arse on the handicaps in mismatches. Occasionally, they make a mess of it, and that’s when we swoop in. In women’s international football, there are far more ‘minnows’ than in the men’s game. This gap in quality intensifies in youth matches.
This weekend sees the U19 European Women’s Championship qualifiers. Once again, it all depends on availability, although Bet365 had six games available in-play tomorrow at the time of writing. Northern Ireland should be putting at least six past Moldova at 7:30 pm on Saturday, for example.
In the unlikely event that Belgium versus Armenia is in-play at 10 am tomorrow, bear in mind that the away side lost 14-0 to Sweden on Wednesday! In these games, there is an element of luck involved because you don’t know whether a dominant team will push on and rack up a big score or not. In-play monitoring is always good when possible.
2 – Red Bull Salzburg
All eyes will surely be on Salzburg after their exceptional attacking display at Anfield on Wednesday night. The dominant team in Austria came from 3-0 down to bring the score back to 3-3 against then European Champions! They eventually lost 4-3, but the likes of Minamino and Hee-Chan showed real quality when exposed to a high level. Red Bull’s main man, Eric Haaland, is back from injury and scored within minutes of coming on against Liverpool.
On Saturday at 4 pm, Red Bull host Rheindorf Altach and are a slightly generous 2.00 to score 4+, 3.25 for 5+, and 6.00 for 6+. Over 4.5 match goals are tight at 2.10 and over 5.5 at 3.40, but that’s what I thought on Wednesday as well! If you discount their two facile cup wins before the season started, Salzburg has notched 51 goals in 12 games, and have conceded 16.
At home, they have scored 31 in six games, notching 4+ on each occasion. They have not lost at home since October 2016 in any competition and are unbeaten in 18 European games at their ground. Their opponents have lost 5-2 away this season already, although they escaped with a 1-0 loss last time they traveled to Red Bull in the league. Something tells me this weekend will be different.
3 – Al Sadd
Al Sadd of the Qatari Stars League score a ton of home goals and play Al-Rayyan at 3:40 pm on Saturday. While the away side is decent, their last two visits to Al Sadd have resulted in 5-0 and 4-1 losses. The home side will be reeling from a devastating 4-1 loss in the Champions League and have managed 89 goals in their last 19 home league games since the start of 2018.
As expected, the odds are relatively tight, but 2.62 on 4+ home goals isn’t a bad option since they have managed it in 13 of their last 18 matches. Indeed, Al Sadd has hit 5+ in 11 of their last 18 games on their patch, and in eight of those games, they managed 6+. Clearly, they relish putting inferior teams to the sword. If you think another slaughter is happening, 5+ team goals are 4.33, and 6+ is 8.00 on Bet365.
1 – Crystal Ocean snapped up by Coolmore
Crystal Ocean has been bought by Coolmore and will stand under its National Hunt banner at The Beeches Stud in 2020.
The five-year-old suffered a career-ending injury on the gallops last month, bowing out with an official rating of 127 after a succession of fine performances.
He won the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot for Sir Michael Stoute back in June, before pushing Enable all the way in an epic battle for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and finishing just a short head behind Japan in the Juddmonte International on what proved to be his final start.
2 – Key runners for Sunday's Group 1 bonanza at Longchamp
Aidan O'Brien will not bid for a fifth victory in the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac (1.15) on Sunday after Tango was scratched from the race.
The trainer won the race in 2014 with Found, who landed the Arc two years later but will not have a runner for the first time since 2012.
A field of nine stood their ground, including likely favourite Albigna, making just her fourth start for trainer Jessica Harrington after finishing sixth in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
3 – The Stats
We head to Newmarket today and our trainer is John Gosden (a reliable trainer for the stats!). He's showing a 28% strike rate for the last two weeks and has a 19% strike rate at the course. He's got a 64% RTF and four runners at the course, today. I'll be backing them all –
13:40 – Scentasia
14:50 – Eshaasy
16:00 – Captivated
17:10 – Fabulist
We'll be back next week with more insights into the footy and the horse's world and let us know what you're backing in the comments 🙂
Patrick & Eddie for the Football Advisor
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