Tyne-Wear derby kicks off the Premier League weekend

Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring the opener in Sunderland's 2-1 win over Newcastle earlier this season

Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring the opener in Sunderland’s 2-1 win over Newcastle earlier this season

The opening fixture of the 24th round of Premier League football tomorrow is one of the biggest and fiercest derby matches in the top flight of English football as Newcastle welcome Sunderland to St. James’ Park in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Newcastle are favoured to claim all three points against their local rivals tomorrow lunchtime, but they are without a win in four Tyne-Wear derby matches and have suffered losses in both of the last two. The last time these sides met at St. James’ Park saw the Black Cats claim a thumping 3-0 victory at the end of last season. Can they repeat that victory this weekend?

The GR88.com Tyne-Wear outright odds suggest a narrow home win, but what do you think?

Tyne-Wear Derby Odds:

Newcastle – 1.93

Draw – 3.25

Sunderland – 3.85

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Despite the fact that the Magpies are favoured to end their awful form in Tyne-Wear derby matches things may not be as straight forward as they hope as they have suffered losses in each of their last three home games. Their last victory at St. James’ Park came on Boxing Day more than a month ago as they put five past Stoke in a 5-1 win and Arsenal, Cardiff and Man City have since travelled to the North East, leaving with a win to their name. To top off their great run, they have lost Yohan Cabaye to PSG this transfer window so how will they manage in this derby match?

While their hosts are down in the dumps, Sunderland’s confidence is through the roof right now with them making the Capital One Cup final at the expense of Manchester United and their 1-0 win over Stoke last weekend seeing them out of the relegation zone for the first time in months. They’re now unbeaten in seven and have suffered a single loss in 13 matches since the start of December.

I feel that with the form that the Black Cats are showing lately, and the confidence boost that this provides, along with their fine record in Tyne-Wear derbies of late I don’t feel that the visiting side to St. James’ Park this weekend should be so long in the betting odds. As such, Sunderland present great value and I’m putting my cash on the away side not to be beaten today.

Back Sunderland to win or draw this Tyne-Wear derby @ 1.86 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

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Welcome to gambling Christmas: the Super Bowl

You can bet on almost anything at the Super Bowl, even the toss of a coin

You can bet on almost anything at the Super Bowl, even the toss of a coin

Merry Christmas! Kind of, because you see, while the Super Bowl is many things to many people, to gamblers, specifically NFL gamblers – it’s our Christmas. This season will be no different, with a heap of different stuff to bet on, as well as one of the tastiest looking matchups in years – Denver Broncos taking on the Seattle Seahawks. Here’s the plan – we’ll take a quick look at the game, and then get on to the fun bits – the bets.

 

Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos Betting Odds

Seattle win – 1.98

Denver win – 1.78

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

It’s hardly possible to express too much excitement about this matchup. What Peyton Manning has done this season is something else. The Broncos’ offensive unit which he has led has set a record for points, while he has set single-season yardage and touchdown records. His set of receivers offers countless weapons. Well, not countless, that would be ridiculous, but the receiving quartet of the Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker would be pretty terrifying with an average QB at the helm, with Peyton Manning in control, it’s downright obscene, and their running game, spearheaded by Knowshon Moreno is a more than useful accompaniment.

However, Peyton and co will face one of the best defences in the history of the league. A pass rush that can get to the QB in any number of ways, and a secondary led by ‘that guy’ Richard Sherman and backed up by the best safety in football, Earl Thomas. It couldn’t be a tougher test for Peyton, nor could this secondary face a tougher one.

 

It feels like those two will cancel each other out, so the game may come down to how well Seattle can score. Russell Wilson has yet to catch fire in the playoffs, but with x-factor Percy Harvin back and BEAST MODE Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, they’ve got weapons. The Denver D is missing a big piece in Von Miller, but have performed brilliantly against the Patriots and Chargers in the playoffs thus far – two of the best offensive units in the league.

To be honest, we could talk for hours about the game. Here’s the deal – Seattle opened up as favourites, the line quickly moved to make Denver favourites, it’s going to be tight between easily the two best teams in the league, I say grab the points.

 

Betting Instinct Tip  – Seattle +2.5 is 1.91 at allyoubet.ag, get all over that.

 

Now for the fun bit, the Super Bowl has all kind of rubbish you can bet on. Here are a few of my favourites. (All of these are found at Intertops.eu)

 

Heads or tails: 1.98

You can bet on stuff that happens before kickoff! C’mon, who doesn’t want some of that! I’m not going to tell you which way to go, but this is always a fun way to get the gambling night going.

Total penalty yards 126 or over: 2.50

This is an odd little bet, but Denver and Seatle are two of the most penalised teams in the league, averaging over 130 yards a game combined, add in a some Super Bowl nerves (offside and false start penalties) and chippiness (RICHARD SHERMAN) and this one should go over.

More goals in West Brom-Liverpool than Peyton Manning TD passes: 1.87

Cross-sport bets are brilliant and I love this one. Peyton will score points, but Liverpool scored four midweek, and West Brom lost by the odd goal in seven.

There will be a defensive/special team TD: 2.35

There has never been an NFL post-season with a defensive or special teams touchdown. There hasn’t been one so far during the playoffs, bet on the streak to keep going, especially with Percy Harvin involved.

The MVP to thank his coach(es) first: 9.00

I’m all over this one – a lovely bet to finish the night. The MVP will (probably) be a quarterback, Russell Wilson has had Pete Carroll onside from the start, while John Fox’s belief in Peyton brought him to Denver. (Though you may want to cover a Russell Wilson win by taking God at 4.50.)

 

And if you’re still looking for somewhere to watch the game, head down to Bloomsbury Lanes for the mother of all Super Bowl parties. Fun and games, beer pong, pool, bowling, food, we’ve got it covered. Details and tickets at www.bloomsburylive.com/superbowl

 

Jamie avatarJAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated twitter feed @UKNFL

Barcelona v Valencia: They played for both

David Villa enjoyed successful spells with Barcelona and Valencia before moving to current club Atlético Madrid

David Villa enjoyed successful spells with Barcelona and Valencia before moving to current club Atlético Madrid

On Saturday evening Barcelona will look to maintain their grip on La Liga’s top spot when Valencia visit the Camp Nou.

It was not so long ago that Los Ches were among Spain’s elite, dining at the same table as both Barça and Real Madrid.

Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side may currently sit 10th in the standings, but they still possess players that could potentially trouble what has not always been a water-tight Barca rearguard.

Ahead of the meeting, Betting Instinct has picked out five of the great talents who have played for both clubs.

 

Barcelona v Valencia Betting Odds

Barcelona to win – 1.13

Draw – 9.00

Valencia to win – 23.00

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Jordi Alba

Having honed his potential at Barça’s famous La Masia academy, full-back Alba was released as a youngster in 2005. He eventually found his way south to Valencia, for whom he made his debut in 2009. It was there where his rampaging runs down the left flank attracted the attention of Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, who included him in his squad for the 2012 European Championships.

With Barca looking for a long-term replacement for veteran defensive mainstay Eric Abidal, they turned to Alba, seven years after they had dispensed with his services. Still only 24, he went on to score five goals in all competitions as Barca regained the La Liga title during his first campaign as a senior player with the club.

David Villa

‘The Kid’ found goals relatively easily to come by with Sporting Gijon and Real Zaragoza, but it was the 2005 switch to Valencia that really saw his stock start to rise. He would go on to form a near telepathic understanding with David Silva and Juan Mata and it was that trio that helped Valencia topple Barça en route to success in the 2008 Copa del Rey.

By 2010, Pep Guardiola needed a new attacker. Thierry Henry was heading for New York, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic wanted to share the spotlight with Lionel Messi. Guardiola wanted a player that would sacrifice himself for the team and Messi – an offer which Villa duly accepted. He won eight trophies during his three-year spell with Barça, but he found it difficult to rediscover his touch after suffering a broken leg in a Club World Cup clash in December 2011. Last summer he was sold to Atlético Madrid, and his 10 league goals this season have helped Diego Simeone’s side mount a serious title challenge.

Gaizka Mendieta

Having risen through the ranks at the Mestalla, Mendieta was regarded as Valencia’s blue-eyed boy. Indeed, having forged himself a reputation as a free-scoring midfielder, the Spanish international was a key cog as Valencia won the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and reached two Champions League finals in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

Such form earned him a big-money switch to Lazio, who were seeking a replacement for Manchester United-bound Juan Sebastian Veron, in 2001. One year was enough in Italy, though, and he returned to Spain 12 months later on a loan basis with Barça. Despite being a regular with the Catalans, their sixth-placed finish meant that Blaugrana could not afford to fund a permanent return and he eventually ended up joining Middlesbrough on loan.

Patrick Kluivert

Following goal-laden spells with Ajax and AC Milan, Kluivert was reunited with his former mentor Louis van Gaal at Barcelona in 1998. Forming an instantly profitable partnership with Rivaldo, the pair fired their side to the La Liga title. However, despite 120 goals for the club in 255 outings, that would be only the trophy that he lifted before he was released and headed for Newcastle United in 2004.

The spell on Tyneside lasted just one year, with a return to Spain and Valencia sealed in 2005. Fitness, weight and attitude problems were all said to have contributed to an unsuccessful time with the club, scoring just the one goal prior to his departure in 2006.

Oriol Romeu

To feature regularly in Barça’s midfield, you have to possess an extraordinary talent. Romeu, who arrived at La Masia in 2004, would, in time, discover that. Initially it appeared that he could force his way into Guardiola’s thinking when he was included in the squad for the 2009 Club World Cup, but he would ultimately make just two senior appearances in a red and blue shirt.

Chelsea came calling in 2011, but after a positive start to life at Stamford Bridge, a knee injury limited his playing time. Last summer he was loaned out to Valencia and despite suffering further injuries, he has impressed during his 13 outings.

Betting Instinct Tip Barcelona to repeat last year’s 1-0 home win is 8.50 with AllYouBet.ag

 

liam_avatar   LIAM APICELLA (liamapicella88) has worked for a number of publications on a freelance basis, including Footy Matters, Football Italiano and the Ibiza Paper. He is currently the features editor and reporter for Sports Mole.

Potential classic on the cards at Super Bowl XLVIII

The eyes of the world will be focused on the MetLife Stadium this weekend

The eyes of the world will be focused on the MetLife Stadium this weekend

As we count down the days until Super Bowl XLVIII, Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium is getting harder and harder to call.

Both the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are making a strong case for punters to back them, and the number one seeds from the NFC and AFC could make for an all-time classic.

Super Bowl XLVIII Betting Odds

Denver Broncos to win – 1.78

Seattle Seahawks to win – 1.98

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

The Broncos go into the game with a formidable offense, outscoring their nearest competitors by more than 100 points over the course of the regular season and seeing off San Diego and New England in the playoffs.

However if one team can deal with the Denver threat it’s the Seahawks, whose young side will hope to be a match for a Broncos line-up headlined by seasoned veteran and former Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.

So get the beers in, place your bets, put your feet up and prepare for what looks like being an encounter for the ages.

Betting Instinct Tip – Seattle to lead at half-time but Denver to win the game is 3.98 with GR88.com

tvTOM VICTOR (editor)  is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot.

Super Bowl Winner Too Tough to Call — MVP Bets Getting a Lot of Action

Too hard to predict who'll win the Super Bowl? No worries -- there are loads of other Super Bowl odds and props to choose from!

Too hard to predict who’ll win the Super Bowl? No worries — there are loads of other Super Bowl odds and props to choose from!

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks both entered the playoffs as number one seeds and had exactly the same wins/losses record, so predicting a Super Bowl winner might require a crystal ball. However, since, Seattle is better at home and Peyton Manning’s already won a Super Bowl, Intertops Sportsbook oddsmakers are giving the Broncs a  slight advantage.

If you’re like me and don’t have psychic powers have a look at some of the other Super Bowl odds and props listed at the world’s first online sportsbook.

Intertops says they’re getting a lot of action on their MVP bets. They’re even taking bets on who the MVP will thank first! Peyton Manning (+100) leads the MVP odds list, followed by Russell Wilson (+350) and Marshawn Lynch (+500). Oddsmakers expect him to thank one or all of his teammates first (+275), if not then either God (+350) or nobody at all (+350).

Intertops Sportsbook has rolled out some generous special offers for Super Bowl XLVIII: a $100 Free Bet and a $100 Bonus. A 20% up to $100 Super Bowl Deposit Bonus will be added to all deposits made between now and kick-off February 2nd. And everyone wagering $1,000 on Super Bowl bet offers before January 29th can claim a $100 Postseason Free Bet on January 30th.

“It should be a fascinating contest between the best offense and the best defense in the league” said Intertops’ sportsbetting blogger ‘tipsterchris’ “This game is between superstar quarterback Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, a young man who has the potential to emulate him in the future.”

______________________________________________

The Gamblogger gambling blogGAMBLOGGER (gamblogger) is one of the editors of BettingInstinct. He talks mainly about poker and casino games in his gambling blog and on his YouTube channel but can’t help but get caught up in sports betting during Super Bowl and March Madness.

Juan Mata to make the difference at Old Trafford tonight?

Manchester United record signing Juan Mata likely to debut at Old Trafford tonight

Manchester United record signing Juan Mata likely to debut at Old Trafford tonight

The roar from the Old Trafford faithful at the start of tonight’s Manchester United v Cardiff Premier League clash is going to be a deafening one as they welcome one new and one old face to the Theatre of Dreams this evening. Juan Mata has signed on for a club record fee of £37.1m and David Moyes along with the Man Utd fans will be hoping that the diminutive Spaniard can create chances and goals for the strikers to lead them back towards the top of the table.

One man that will be hoping that Mata does not succeed for tonight at least will be the man in charge of the opposition, and one half of the pairing that brought the European Cup to Old Trafford in 1999 with that late, late comeback against Bayern Munich at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He’s guaranteed a massive cheer from the crowd, but will he manage to direct his side in such a way that that sees Cardiff City take points away Manchester United this evening?

GR88.com don’t see it happening and their Man Utd v Cardiff match odds see Juan Mata and co. running away with things tonight.

Man Utd v Cardiff Odds:

Home Victory – 1.22

Draw – 6.20

Away Victory – 14.00

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Cardiff are the massive outsiders for victory this evening with good reason and this is that they have managed to secure just a single point in their last six Premier League games, at home to Sunderland in a 2-2 draw. They have won just once in their last 12 matches, again at home as they defeated West Brom 1-0, and their away form in the league has seen six defeats in their last eight matches. The other two saw them draw 0-0 at Stoke and Norwich, while this eight game winless streak has seen just four goals scored.

United are in equally poor form as they have lost four of their last six games, beating only Swansea and Sunderland in this time. The second of these two wins came in the Capital One Cup Semi Finals, but they still were eliminated from the competition in a penalty shootout. This run of form will have United short on confidence, but David Moyes will hope that the big name signing of Mata this week will have the desired effect of boosting morale, while Marouane Fellani, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie all returned to training this week so are likely to at least make the bench tonight. This is sure boost confidence even further, but will it see them take all three points tonight?

Cardiff last won at Old Trafford in 1954, but they did manage to take a point at the Cardiff City Stadium earlier this season as they scored a late, late equaliser. However, with the return of the trio of Rooney, van Persie and Fellani adding to the arrival of Mata tonight I really see United cruising to victory in front of their own fans this evening.

Back Manchester United to win and there to be at least three goals in the match @ 1.69 in the GR88 Sportsbook!

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Twenty20 Preview: England’s last chance to salvage some pride

Eoin Morgan is one of a handful of England players to emerge from the ODIs with any credit

Eoin Morgan is one of a handful of England players to emerge from the ODIs with any credit

Finally the torment is almost over. A tour that has yielded just one victory so far over Australia is almost at an end. After a Test series that for the most part resembled Drederick Tatum v Homer Simpson, and a One Day Series where England looked like they’d forgotten how to win; England embark on the final part of this mammoth tour, a three match Twenty20 series which has plenty riding on it.

Not only is it a chance to finally beat Australia in a series and add a touch of dignity to a tour which will surely go down as one of the worst in living memory, this series also provides both teams with a chance to build for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh which is just two months away.

Twenty20 World Cup Betting Odds

India – 4.50

Australia – 6.00

South Africa – 6.50

Pakistan – 7.00

Sri Lanka – 7.00

West Indies – 7.00

England – 8.00

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Due to the ridiculous nature of international cricket scheduling (Australia tour South Africa next month); the hosts have made several changes to their squad. Several senior players have been rested including Shane Watson and David Warner, but the team still looks fairly strong.

George Bailey has proven himself to be both an accomplished leader and batsman in the shorter formats of the game. Glenn Maxwell may well be a filthy slogger but he is very good at what he does and England will be fearful of the ‘The Big Show’ teeing off. There’s also Aaron Finch who decimated the England attack with a brutal 156 off just 63 balls in the first T20 against England back in August.

 

England’s squad generally looks quite youthful and shows continuity as they build to the World Cup. They will be led by Stuart Broad who can enjoy his customary raucous welcome from the Australian fans. Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan will be looking to carry on their form from the ODIs as England’s two most destructive batsmen. After excelling throughout the tour, Ben Stokes is also part of the squad and is remarkably still showing no signs of struggling with the demands of international cricket. There’s also aggressive opener Alex Hales who is one of three members of the England squad who have been involved in Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League this winter.

England’s bowling will be a bit of a worry with Australia’s super aggressive approach under coach Darren Lehmann. There’s plenty of experience in the seam attack with Broad and Tim Bresnan, however England are weak in the spin department. Bowling spin for England has not been a fun experience on this tour. Every English spinner has been targeted and duly despatched and this is almost certain to continue in this series.

 

If the earlier series in England is anything to go by, these games should be high-scoring. Australia will be confident of continuing their success and start the series as heavy favourites. However their squad isn’t as strong as the one that drew 1-1 with England in August and I would expect this series to be quite tight.

If England can break the shackles, they have every chance of winning. They have the experience and the quality to turn over this Australia side. What remains to be seen is whether they can overcome the mental scarring that this nightmarish tour has indelibly left on English cricket.

 

England need to learn to win again, with the Twenty20 World Cup just around the corner; now would be a good time to start.

 

liam avatarLIAM McCONVILLE is an avid cricket fan, a hapless village cricketer and a Yorkshireman with an irrational hatred of Jade Dernbach. He rants about the game he loves at http://www.fortyballduck.blogspot.co.uk/ and @FortyBallDuck on Twitter.

Close battle anticipated at Super Bowl XLVIII

Peyton_Manning_(cropped)

Peyton Manning is favourite to be named MVP

Last year’s Super Bowl was one of the closest this century, with the Baltimore Ravens edging out the San Francisco 49ers by 34 points to 31, and AllYouBet.ag expects the 2014 version between Seattle and Denver to be another tight battle.

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are the number one seeds from the NFC and AFC respectively, and will go head-to-head in what AllYouBet anticipates to be a low-scoring game.

Super Bowl XLVIII Betting Odds

Seattle Seahawks win – 2.10

Denver Broncos win – 1.77

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Seattle has one of the hottest players in the NFL in Marshawn Lynch, who followed his 14 regular season touchdowns with three more in postseason. Lynch leads the way in the anytime touchdown scorer at 1.44, with Denver’s Demaryius Thomas (1.90) and Knowshon Moreno (2.00) both fancied to end impressive years on a high.

There are plenty of other markets available at AllYouBet, with Peyton Manning favourite to be named MVP at 2.00. You can even play the Super Bowl against this weekend’s English Premier League soccer action, by betting on whether you think the number of successful field goals on Sunday will be higher or lower than the number of goals scored in the London Derby between Arsenal and CrystalPalace.

AllYouBet.ag has a number of generous offers ahead of one of the biggest games on the world sporting calendar. Deposit up to $100 using bonus code SBBONUS14 to receive a 50% bonus absolutely free or earn a $50 monthly free bet by wagering a total of $500 on NFL, NHL or NBA outrights before the end of January.

Betting Instinct Tip – If you fancy the slight underdog, Seattle to win by 1-6 points is 5.00 with AllYouBet.ag

tvTOM VICTOR (editor)  is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot.

The closest ‘Friendly Derby’ for years

Luis Suarez (right) takes on Everton’s Sylvain Distin

On Tuesday the 28th of January, Liverpool and Everton will partake in what – on paper at least – is set to be one of the most tightly contested Merseyside Derbies in years. Liverpool currently sit uncomfortably in 4th, whilst Everton lay in 6th only one point behind their local rivals. With Spurs playing Man City on the following day, both of these sides will see this as a game of magnanimous proportions and that fire will only be fuelled by their ongoing claims to be the best team from Liverpool.

Liverpool v Everton Betting Odds

Liverpool to win – 1.75

Draw – 3.70

Everton to win – 4.20

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

The reverse fixture made for wonderful viewing to the neutral (though not to any Liverpool/Everton fans of a nervous disposition). Ending 3-3, it marked the goal-scoring return of Daniel Sturridge and the emergence of Roberto Martinez’s Everton as a free-flowing football side worthy of Liverpool’s respect.

Liverpool go into this off the back of a couple of very lacklustre performances. The goals have been flowing freely at times for The Reds this season, but so have the goals against them. Their defence has looked incredibly vulnerable and they were lucky to keep a clean sheet against Championship side Bournemouth in the FA Cup fourth round.

What I consider their strongest back 4 (Johnson, Agger, Sakho and Enrique)  is currently depleted by injury, and holding midfielders (Lucas and Allen) who offer that extra bit of protection from oncoming attacks, are also on the sidelines.

Fortunately, they have a very potent attack. Suarez and Sturridge are as good as any front two in European football and Kop fans will hope their blossoming chemistry continues to flourish. Everton are 2nd in the clean sheet league, with 9 to their name so Liverpool will have to take their chances in front of goal. Winger Raheem Sterling is in a productive run of form at present; 4 goals this season and a couple of assists in the Premiership may seem relatively modest, but it’s all too easy to forget he is the tender age of 19 . Meanwhile Steven Gerrard playing in the holding role has made him look half the player we know he is, and Everton will look to exploit this with their pace in midfield so it will be vital for Liverpool’s number 8 to have his positional sense finely tuned.

Everton have a few injury problems of their own. The loss of buccaneering fullback Seamus Coleman will be a blow to their wing-play and the energetic Barkley – who has made a huge contribution to their season – also misses this one. Barcelona youth product Gerard Deulofeu can offer something a bit different, but will also be forced to sit this one out.

Fortunately for the Toffees, top scorer Romelu Lukaku remains in the fold. Lukaku is a fantastic player already and still has 5-6 years to hit his peak as a footballer. Far too often, his immense physical strength makes people overlook the fact that he is very capable of playing precise passes, as well as decent balls into the box and exquisite finishes. They looked a little complacent in their draw with West Brom last week, but certainly won’t need any extra motivation for this one.

The formidable Anfield crowd ought to give Liverpool that slight edge, but as we saw in the reverse fixture, any lead taken will be an extremely precarious one. If Everton are able to break wide and get balls into the box, then I strongly expect them to bag a couple of goals.

Liverpool’s Cissokho is seen by some as a weak link and it’s a shame for Everton that Coleman won’t have the chance to run at him to whip the ball into the box. Still, I expect them to exploit Liverpool’s left hand side and try to feed Lukaku aerially.

The home side’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has shown a weakness with crosses in recent week and both Skrtel and Toure (the likely starting partnership) aren’t the most convincing in the air either. Jagielka and Distin are having possibly their best seasons for the Blues, but I think that deadly combination of Suarez’s trickery and Sturridge’s pace will undo them too many times. My prediction? Liverpool to win by a solitary goal. Genuinely, I think this game depends more on how Liverpool defend than anything else. They’ve only failed to score once in the league this year (a surprise defeat to Southampton) and I expect them to really put Everton’s back-line to the sword.

Betting Instinct Tip – Liverpool to win 2-1 is 8.00 with GR88.com

JAKE COLLINS is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in London and lives in Essex. Read more of his work in Jake’s blog.

Real Madrid to be deposed in La Liga this evening?

Barcelona can return to the top of the league with victory over Malaga this evening.

Barcelona can return to the top of the league with victory over Malaga this evening.

Recent weeks have seen the La Primera Liga title race heat up to massive proportions as Real Madrid joined the two way battle between Atlético Madrid and reigning champions Barcelona. Last night, as predicted, Real Madrid recorded a 2-0 win over Granada to move two points clear at the top of the table but both Atlético and Barca have the chance to move back in front of them tonight as they play their games in hand. Will they both win and see Real’s position as top of the pile last for just 24 hours?

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change.)

Rayo v Atletico Betting Odds:

Home Victory – 8.20

Draw – 4.70

Away Victory – 1.36

Although Atlético are the massive favourites to win this match at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano they have not had much recent success here. They have taken just one win in four visits to face Rayo Vallecano and were beaten 2-1 last season after conceding two first half goals and only salvaging a consolation at injury time, but they will certainly be more confident about this visit following the 5-0 drubbing handed out to Rayo in August.

The odds makers agree with this as they make the visitors, who are unbeaten in 20 matches in league, cup and Champions League since being shocked 1-0 at Espanyol in October, the big favourites to win and I can’t see any reason to disagree with them. Rayo have lost seven of 11 at home this season and two of their three wins have come against fellow relegation battlers Elche and Real Valladolid. The other was a 1-0 win against sixth place Real Sociedad courtesy of an 89th minute penalty, but I fear that Atlético have too much firepower for the struggling Rayo side this evening and I foresee an easy win, and return to the top of the table, for the visitors.

Back Atlético Madrid to beat Rayo Vallecano by at least two goals (Atlético -1.5 goals) @ 2.04 with GR88.com.

 

Barca v Malaga Betting Odds:

Home Victory – 1.08

Draw – 11.50

Away Victory – 36.00

Although Atlético are favoured to be the first side to retake the lead in the La Primera Liga title race, they are not favourites to still be at the top of the table come the end of the night. Barcelona, who have not been beaten by Malaga in more than a decade, are even bigger favourites to beat Malaga tonight than Atlético are against Rayo and should Barca take all three points their better goal difference will once again see them top of the pile.

Not only have Malaga failed to beat Barcelona in a decade their last win at the Camp Nou came in the previous century when they claimed a 2-1 victory in November 1999 and with Barcelona having impressed on home soil this season I cannot see that changing this evening. Barca have won 14 of 15 games so far, with the 0-0 draw in the Super Cup with Atlético being the only time they have failed to lead at the full time whistle.

Malaga are poor on the road this season as they have won just one of 11 matches and while they have drawn six of the other ten away trips I cannot see a trip to the Camp Nou being a place where they finally find another gear and convert draws into wins. They have also failed to score in any of their last three matches and with Barcelona having clean sheets in each of their last three home games I can see this game having a comfortable ending for the hosts this evening.

Back Barcelona to beat Malaga while keeping a clean sheet tonight @ 1.76 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.