Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

The Road to Riches Weened of 7th-8th December

Posted on 6 Dec 2019 09:02 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League Matches include Manchester City v Manchester United

- Racing, over the jumps at Aintree, Chepstow, Sandown and Wetherby and all-weather racing at Wolverhampton

- NFL Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season

- Rugby Union, the third round of pool matches in the European Rugby Champions Cup

- Golf, On the European Tour the Mauritius Open and on the USPGA The Hero Golf Challenge in the Bahamas


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 13th 2019 - Jan 1st 2020)

By Nigel Seeley, subscription costs £50 via this link


 

Free tip

Heineken Cup Rugby Pool round 3 Northampton v Leinster 1pm Saturday

A match between the two teams at the top of Pool three, and both will be expecting to make the knock-out stages. This is the first of two games between the two sides in consecutive weeks as rounds 3 and 4 of the pool stages see sides play each other home and away.

Both sides are unbeaten in the pool so far. Leinster beat Benetton 33-19 then won on a wet day in Lyon 13-6 in round 2.

Northampton beat Lyon 25-14 at home before winning in Italy 35-32 at Benetton thanks to a last minute penalty from Dan Biggar.

Leinster are four times winners of the competition, the last time two years ago before losing to Saracens in the final last year and went into this year second favourites to win it again. Their players form the core of the Irish National side, under coaching team Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster and their recent strength emerged from a rebuilding period in 2014-15 helped by the emergence of a lot of talent through the IRFU supported academy system. This saw players like Ryan, Larmour, Byrne and Ringrose begin to complement established player such as Sexton, Furlong, Henshaw and Kearney. This season they are top of the Pro 14 A division with six wins from six games.

Northampton were in the doldrums for several seasons but have been flying this year, joint top of the Premiership with three wins from four games scoring 15 tries, 4 more than any other side. Their coach Chris Boyd joined the Premiership after a three-year stint overseeing Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara and co at the Hurricanes, he held assistant coaching roles with Wellington, the Sharks in South Africa and the Tonga national team at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Then there were three years at the helm of New Zealand Under-20 between 2012 and 2015.

The approach Northampton adopt is very expansive, with a high ambition to play from all areas of the field. They don’t kick a lot, as is the norm in modern rugby and the intent to attack leads to high volumes of opportunities but also a lot of turnovers lost.

It may be a year early for Northampton in this competition especially coming up against an experienced hardened team like Leinster. Northampton’s weakness is that opponents target them with breakdown aggression and set-piece squeezing such as in their only loss so far to Bath, who took this approach and Leinster have the forwards and the tactical analysis, plus enormous European and International experience to do this

Leinster are 6 point favourites on the handicap and I expect them to slow this one down, grind it out, force Northampton to play from deep and profit from errors. The winning margin appeals as I expect Leinster to win narrowly

8 points Leinster to beat Northampton by 1-12 points at 15/8 with Betfair Sportsbook 9/5 PaddyPower, expect more firms up through to tomorrow


MVP.

One of the most exciting parts of this NFL season has been the progression of the former college Heisman trophy winning Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson, still only 22 years old, to a position where he is the overwhelming favourite to win the NFL’s MVP award at the end of the season. As a corollary, as I write the Ravens have overtaken the Patriots as Super-bowl favourites.

Drafted last year right at the end of the first round, only the fifth quarterback to be taken, with doubts about his size and durability as well as ability as a passer. Some analysts projected him as a wide receiver in the NFL, one team asked him to work out at that position.

He was introduced into the line-up midway through last season within a game-plan that didn’t ask him to take risks passing and emphasised his brilliant running ability which led to six rushing touchdowns as the Ravens made it to the play-offs.

This season, helped by superb roster construction (notably the recruitment of running back Mark Ingram and the drafting of deep threat wide receiver Marquise Brown) and innovative game-planning (and a coaching team deeply versed in analytics) Jackson has taken huge steps forward. The Ravens have ten wins, including beating four front runners for the post season — Seattle, New England, the 49ers and Houston — by a combined 68 points. The Ravens have now won 8 consecutive games, tied for the longest winning streak in franchise history.  

Jackson leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 25 and has become the first player to register 3000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards across his first two seasons, as well as the first to produce 50 rushing yards and four passing touchdowns in back-to-back games.   He leads quarterbacks in rushing with 977 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging a league-high 7.1 yards per carry. He is expected to break Michael Vick's single-season quarterback rushing record next month. In addition he is a leader on and off the field and the team is set up for a great run for several years to come.


StattoBets Dave Joins Betting Emporium

For December Stattobets write ups and bets will be included in the Brodders section so monthly subscribers will have access to both Stattobets and Brodders write ups and bets.

From January 2019 Stattobets write ups and bets will be available to monthly subscribers.

Monthly subs are £50 pcm and can be cancelled at any time. You can sign up here. Stattobet's free November write ups will be here


Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

The Road To Riches Weekend of 30th November- 1st December

Posted on 29 Nov 2019 08:20 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League Matches include Chelsea v West Ham

- Racing, over the jumps at Bangor, Doncaster, Newbury and Newcastle and all weather racing at Wolverhampton

- NFL Week 13 of the 2019 NFL season

- Formula One, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

- Golf, On the European Tour the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa and the Kong Kong Open

- Cricket, The second test between New Zealand and England in Hamilton next week


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 13th 2019 - Jan 1st 2020)

By Nigel Seeley, subscription costs £50 via this link


 

Free tip

The General Election

Two weeks to go, and we (Neil Channing and I) have been pondering for a week or so writing about the Overall Majority market, and specifically the price at which “no overall majority” became attractive, and at which a big Tory majority was priced in.

As I write a Conservative majority is 1/3 No overall majority is out to 5/2, having been near evens when the campaign began. The latest tick out to 5/2 in the aftermath of the You Gov MRP poll out midweek, which attracted huge amounts of anticipation and attention and predicted a 68 seat Conservative majority and showed a 11 point lead with some very interesting constituency by constituency polling albeit in some constituencies on tiny sample sizes from within the whole 270,000 respondent survey.

A notable element of this report (actually out of date by the time it was published) was the potential results it showed across a range of Labour held Northern and Midlands constituencies which voted leave in 2016, the so called “red wall”. The swing from Labour to Conservative since 2017 appears to be higher in those particular constituencies that voted most strongly for Leave. Such a finding seems plausible since across the polls as a whole there is a ten-point swing from Labour to Conservative among individual voters who backed Leave in 2016, compared with just a one point swing among those who voted Remain. This has reported caused Corbyn (with a nuanced Brexit strategy, latterly speaking of being neutral going forward) to change campaigning tactics towards such areas, featuring Leave supporting Shadow Cabinet members.

However, we would caution against extrapolating too far from the MRP a fortnight out from the vote. Many of its projections of Tory gains from Labour are based on relatively small estimated majorities, I counted over 40 where the gap between the big two parties in the Conservatives favour was less than 5%. Whilst 11 points and 68 seats was their finding  a four-point drop in the Tory lead would have us in hung parliament territory, the composition of the current electoral map requires the Conservatives to lead by 7 points to get to the 323 seats required

In the last week MRP aside there has been a narrowing of the polls by a couple of points. Six companies put the Conservative vote down one point and Labour up three. Today a new poll had Tory +8, with a three point swing to Labour (-1 Con, +2 Lab).

So is a hung parliament still a possibility? Is 5/2, in betting terms, value?

Much like in 2017 many Labour policies are popular and poll well. What is missing this time round is a) that an unimaginative and conservative with a small “c” Tory manifesto isn’t going to scare an older voter base thinking about “Getting Brexit done” (which doesn’t happen if even a new parliamentary majority gets the deal through) and b) Corbyn hasn’t had a great personal campaign dogged for example by ongoing anti-semitism rows

This is a tough election to call by trying to look at the macro picture, with a Brexit overlay and there appear to be two types of swing voter at play here a) the previously Labour voting heartland Brexit voter and b) the centrist remainer whether former Conservatives or Blairites. At a micro level the leave vote is more united in one direction than the remain vote and whilst it is understandable on both sides that there is no tactical voting pact between the Lib Dems and Labour (the Lib Dems were in an austerity focussed coalition four years ago, Corbyn isn’t the ideal partner for a party with a central policy of revoke) we are left wondering if at a local level any of that will come into play.

For now, certain of us are left hoping for some “Portillo moments” in the constituencies of the likes of Raab, IDS and Redwood, without even considering Uxbridge, if only enough voters from the left lent their votes to the party best placed to topple the incumbent rather than expecting them.

One thing the MRP does indicate to potential Lib Dem strategic voters in three way marginals is that things aren't as clear as they appeared at the start so in the London marginals such as Kensington, Wimbledon and Cities of London/Westminster voters may now pick Labour whereas at the start of the campaign they were perhaps looking at impressive Euro results and much higher polling for the Lib Dems and thinking of going that way. We would think that the poor performance of Jo Swinson and the fall in her personal approval ratings means that the Lib Dem projected vote share will drop further leading to a drop in her seats due to tactical voters getting a clearer idea of which way they need to look.

There have been 3.2m new voter registrations (about 10% of the 2017 total vote) since the campaign began. 66% of those are from potential voters under the age of 35 and a majority would be expected to break Labour. When there was a surge in 2017, up to 40% of these new registrations turned out to be duplicates from people already on the register but in 2019 even if only 60% are new voters, that is a significant inroad to the nine million people previously not registered.

As ever, this sort of report is a hostage to the fortunes of the next fortnight, but expecting the polls to narrowly slightly further (Labour squeezing the smaller parties, we think) we are going to take the plunge at 5/2

20 points No overall Majority at 5/2 Bet365, Betfred, William Hill

 


Fair Play

UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations were created to stop football clubs spending more than they earn. FFP was agreed in 2009 and implementation began from the 2011–12 football season.

The outgoings for a club included transfers and income counted included Gate receipts, Sales of players and TV revenue. Money spent towards youth development, training facilities and infrastructure are not included. Penalties include withholding of prize money, transfer bans and disqualification from competitions. The reaction to FFP over the years has had widespread coverage and had very polarising views.

A major criticism of FFP is that the bigger clubs are able to solidify their positions and competition is discouraged. Bigger clubs which generate the largest amounts of revenue and profits are consequently able to spend a lot more money on transfers. The Premier League has seen dominance from three clubs in Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester United, more recently Man City and Liverpool have come to resemble a “Big Two” in results on the pitch.The lack of competition for Champions League places is evident as it has been occupied by mainly the old “Big 4” (Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool) and more recently Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. The gap between the regular top 6 is likely to grow with clubs not able to spend the sums of money required to push on and close the gap. Apart from the freak year of Leicester City winning the league, the financial gap has been widening and it was only the windfall of a £100m+ revenue boost from the title followed by a single Champions League season that has seen good recruitment turn a subsequent Leicester squad into a top six contender this season.

There is a reason why the biggest three clubs in Europe (Manchester United, Real Madrid & Bayern Munich) were the first clubs to fully agree with FFP. The biggest clubs have the most power as they have a huge support base and their dominance will no longer by challenged by potential “newer” clubs following the blueprint of Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

As Jose Mourinho explained, “what happened really with the Financial Fair Play is a big protection to the historical, old, big clubs, which have a financial structure, a commercial structure, everything in place based on historical success for years and years and years.”


StattoBets Dave Joins Betting Emporium

For November the Stattobets service will be free to everyone. Brodders will continue as usual.

For December Stattobets write ups and bets will be included in the Brodders section so monthly subscribers will have access to both Stattobets and Brodders write ups and bets.

From January 2019 Stattobets write ups and bets will be available to monthly subscribers.

Monthly subs are £50 pcm and can be cancelled at any time. You can sign up here. Stattobet's free November write ups will be here


Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 23rd-24th November

Posted on 22 Nov 2019 08:50 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League Matches include Manchester City v Chelsea

- Racing, over the jumps at Ascot, Haydock and Huntingdon and all-weather racing at Lingfield and Wolverhampton

- NFL Week 12 of the 2019 NFL season

- Rugby Union, the second round of Pool matches of the European Champions Rugby Cup

- Golf, On the European Tour the World Golf Championship in Dubai and on the USPGA the RSM Classic at Sea Island.

- Tennis, the Davis Cup World Group Final in Madrid

- Cricket, The first test between New Zealand and England in Tauranga continues


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 13th 2019 - Jan 1st 2020)

By Nigel Seeley, subscription costs £50 via this link


 

Free tip

The 2019-20 European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 3 Round 2

Ulster v Clermont Auvergne Friday 7.45pm

Clermont are three times Heineken runners up in recent years and the reigning Challenge cup holders and began their campaign this year with a convincing 53-21 win over Harlequins at home. This wasn’t a huge surprise in front of a passionate crowd, where their flair from both French (Lopez, Fofana and Penaud when fit notably) and Southern Hemisphere backs from New Zealand and Fiji like Toeva, Moela and the naturalised French winger Raka can have full rein.

Their visit to Ulster on Friday night will be tougher. Ulster won away from home in the first match of the competition, 17-16 at Bath and whilst they won’t have the ball playing skills of Clermont are an experienced side containing the likes of Henderson and Stockdale.

With only the Pool winners and three best runners up going through to the knockout stages getting those 4 or 5 wins out of six games is vital for sides that would view themselves as contenders like Clermont. Here they are 8/11 outright and -2 on the handicap. I think they should win but it could be tight, its unlikely to be a free-flowing match in what looks like could be bad weather. My preferred market is the winning margin

10 points Clermont Auvergne to beat Ulster by 1-12 points 9/4 Betfred 13/8 PaddyPower 6/4 William Hill

 


Salary Cap

Premiership champions Saracens have been given a 35 point deduction, and fined over £5m, after a salary cap investigation. The club were being investigated for practices over the past seven months. It was claimed that a number of Saracens high-profile stars, including England players Owen Farrell, the Vunipola brothers and Maro Itoje, had entered into investment partnerships with the club’s chairman, Nigel Wray. A 35-point deduction is the maximum penalty under the salary cap regulations. Saracens dropped their plans to appeal this week.

The salary cap itself is designed to prevent individual teams from monopolising the league  making it a level playing field for all clubs. Each Premiership side have a salary cap of £7m, plus two marquee players. Allowances can be made for certain home-grown individuals, and English-qualified players, however.

Premiership Rugby executives hope the ruling will prove to be a watershed moment for top English clubs, many of which are loss-making partly because of their spending on players.

This occurs just after CVC has invested more than £200m into the Premiership. The salary cap has a troubled history, much criticised in the past. An internal crisis meant half the Premiership clubs were accused of abusing the salary cap in 2007. The accusations were not made public and no action was taken, other than to raise the cap from £2.25m to £4m the next season.

It is English rugby’s only current concession to a regulated system but its flaw is the players are not signed up to it via a collective bargaining agreement such as the NFL has. Rugby has no independent governing body either so we have an unstable combination of wealthy owners in some cases running clubs as vanity projects competing against each other, players on who there are greater physical demands in the modern game looking to maximise income over short careers, and a domestic game competing against non-salary cap leagues. It is no wonder it is a mess.


StattoBets Dave Joins Betting Emporium

For November the Stattobets service will be free to everyone. Brodders will continue as usual.

For December Stattobets write ups and bets will be included in the Brodders section so monthly subscribers will have access to both Stattobets and Brodders write ups and bets.

From January 2019 Stattobets write ups and bets will be available to monthly subscribers.

Monthly subs are £50 pcm and can be cancelled at any time. You can sign up here. Stattobet's free November write ups will be here


Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

The Road to Riches Weekend of 16th-17th November

Posted on 15 Nov 2019 08:52 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, European Championship Qualifying included Kosovo v England on Sunday

- Racing, over the jumps at Cheltenham, Uttoxeter and Wetherby and all weather racing at Lingfield and Southwell

- NFL Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season

- Formula One, the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo

- Rugby Union, the start of the European Champions Rugby Cup

- Golf, On the European Tour the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa and on the USPGA the Mayakoba Golf Classic event in Mexico.

- Tennis, the ATP Finals at the O2 in London

- Cricket, The first test between New Zealand and England in Tauranga next week


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 13th 2019 - Jan 1st 2020)

By Nigel Seeley, subscription costs £50 via this link


 

Free tip

The 2019-20 European Ruby Champions Cup

The 2019-20 Heineken Cup begins this weekend. Twenty teams drawn into five pools from which the five winners and the three best runners up progress to the seeded knockout stages with an eventual final in Marseille next May

The five pools are as follows:

Benetton, Leinster, Lyon and Northampton

Exeter, Glasgow, La Rochelle and Sale

Bath, Quins, Clermont and Ulster

Munster, Ospreys, Racing and Saracens (There is always a “group of death”!)

Toulouse, Connacht, Gloucester and Montpellier

Ante-post odds are as follows

Leinster 2/1

Saracens 3/1

Clermont 7/1

Toulouse 8/1

Exeter 10/1

20-1 bar headed by Racing92 and Munster

Each-way odds of 1/3 two places are available.

With Saracens salary cap breach in the news recently, let’s start by saying that will have no effect in this competition. Their squad depth is the key reason why they are perennial contenders and winners in this competition and their (probably not permissible under domestic regulations) resources allows them to compete with the best French sides in a way the other English sides cannot consistently. Leinster contain the core of the Irish national side and plenty of young talent coming through.

My aim here is to find an each-way alternative to the two favourites and in this respect looking at the French Top 14 sides is the place to go as their financial resources exceed those of any of the other sides. That said, aside from the “galacticos” of the Toulon side of 2013-2015 only one other Top 14 side has won the European Cup in over two decades. That side is Toulouse, four-time winners the last time in 2010 following which they entered a period in the doldrums

Toulouse were in Leinster’s pool last year and qualified as one of the three best runners up with a 5-1 record and as seventh seeds. They proceeded to win a thrilling quarter-final away at my tip Racing92 before losing to Leinster to Dublin in the semi-finals. Toulouse were Top 14 Champions last year.

In terms of the squad the back line is star studded and can feature a back three of Medard, Cheslin Kolbe and Huget with several of the younger generation of French international players in the squad too notably Ramos ,Dupont and Ntamack.

The better French club sides, infused with Southern Hemisphere talent, tend not to be as dysfunctional (and poorly coached) as the national side. Toulouse’s pool contains a tough trip to Gloucester but isn’t the toughest with Connacht the weakest of the four Irish provinces and Montpellier a mid-table Top 14 side.

Toulouse should give is a good run through the winter and onto next spring.

8 points each way Toulouse to win the European Champions Rugby Cup at 9-1 with Coral and 8-1 with Betfred (1/3 1,2)

 

 


Defense

In the NFL the New England Patriots defense has been performing so well that it is set to break records. In the first 8 weeks of the season, with the team remaining unbeaten, New England had allowed just 61 total points. Drawn out over the entire season, that rate would beat the 2000 Ravens who conceded 165 points. Through only six games that year, the Ravens had allowed 65. In Week 9 the Patriots had their first setback, against the type of offense with a running quarterback that they have often struggled against, losing 37-20 to the Ravens and it has to be said that the Patriots schedule has been very kind.

The Patriots have beaten the likes of Miami, the Jets, Washington and the Giants, who at that point were ravaged by offensive injuries Until they played the Of their teams played in the first eight weeks, only one has a winning record and the teams comprised of 5 of the worst 8 and 6 of the worst 11 offenses in the NFL rankings.

One sign of a good defense is what it does to opponents on third down. Until they met Lamar Jackson and the Ravens The Patriots this season had allowed teams to convert on third downs 10 times out of 73 opportunities. The fewest converted third downs allowed in a 16-game season since the league began tracking is 49 by the 1991 Saints.

Obviously the defense is well coached, by Belichik primarily one of the best defensive coaches in history, but what is rare is that players in the unit who would be (in NFL terms) household names elsewhere eschew the spotlight for the team ethic

The Patriots will need this defense to be exceptional because they're still having issues with the offensive line but the defense is so good that it makes it hard for teams to complete passes (Jackson only threw for 163 yards in their first loss) and create a lot of turnovers.

Brady is now in his nineteenth year and said recently that they are “playing as well as any defense I've ever played with." New England have six Superbowl wins and nine Superbowl appearances under Belichik and Brady, a feat unlikely to be repeated in the salary cap era where the draft and free agency combines to drive competitive balance.

New England are currently 3/1 favourites to win it all again this season. Unlike in other seasons, this time it will be the defense that takes them there.

 


StattoBets Dave Joins Betting Emporium

For November the Stattobets service will be free to everyone. Brodders will continue as usual.

For December Stattobets write ups and bets will be included in the Brodders section so monthly subscribers will have access to both Stattobets and Brodders write ups and bets.

From January 2019 Stattobets write ups and bets will be available to monthly subscribers.

Monthly subs are £50 pcm and can be cancelled at any time. You can sign up here. Stattobet's free November write ups will be here


Bookmaker reviews and advice

Getting the best price available is very important for all those who take their betting seriously.

Please open an account with all those bookmakers on the page on this link that you do not already have an account with using the links provided.

There are literally hundreds of pounds on offer from bookmakers just for signing up through Bettingemporium.com


Betting Emporium results

The detailed results page has been updated as have the spreadsheets with the detailed bets. They can be found by clicking RESULTS

If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £44,319 All bets have an ROI +3.3%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £48,319 a 1107% increase

The Road to Riches Weekend of 9th-10th November

Posted on 7 Nov 2019 11:17 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League fixtures include Liverpool v Manchester City on Sunday afternoon

- Racing, Flat racing at Doncaster and Southwell over the jumps at Aintree, Kelso and Wincanton

- NFL Week 10 of the 2019 NFL season

- Golf, On the European Tour the Turkish Airlines Open and on the USPGA the Tour Championship Charles Schwab event in Japan.

- Cricket, The final match in the England-New T20 series in Auckland on Sunday


PDC World Darts Championship (Dec 13th 2019 - Jan 1st 2020)

By Nigel Seeley, subscription costs £50 via this link

 


 

Free tip

Gallagher Premiership Gloucester v Saracens Saturday 3pm

It’s the fourth weekend of the 2019-20 Gallagher Premiership season in English domestic rugby. Both these teams have won 2 and lost one of their first three games. Saracens lost 27-25 at a much improved Northampton team on the opening weekend before beating Leicester and London Irish. Gloucester won their first two games at Sale and then at home to Wasps before losing narrowly at Leicester last weekend.

Saracens, defending title holders and European Champions, have been missing nine players on world cup duty including Farrell, Daly, Itoje and the Vunipola’s and its probably a week or two early for their return to domestic action. However within the confines of a salary cap their squad depth is hugely strong. Of course that squad depth has been controversial within the game for some time, and this week came news that Saracens will be docked 35 points and fined over £5m following an inquiry into their salary cap management between 2016-19 which revealed “off the salary cap books” investment partnerships between the owner and star players.

I watched Saracens live a fortnight ago and all the systems and processes that make them such a hard team to beat, of a great kicking game and rock solid defence were in place. They are brilliantly coached. Ben Earl, the recent England U20s flanker and captain gives them a real x-factor and will be in national team contention soon enough.

Gloucester have put considerable resource on and off the pitch into transforming their fortunes. For seven seasons on the trot they finishes 5th-9th in the Premiership before climbing to finish 3rd last year.

Gloucester have a considerable home advantage at Kingsholm in front of a passionate crowd in a tight stadium. Under their South African coach Ackerman there is a big South African presence including six forwards and in the new recruit scrum half John Simpson from wasps they have someone who can help unlock the mercurial talents of Danny Cipriani and the winger Ollie Thorley.

It’s understandable enough that Gloucester at home are favourites here but the value play is Saracens, available at 12/5 outright and +7 on the handicap. Missing 9 World Cup absentees or not you won’t find Saracens priced like that for too many if any other matches this season.

10 points Saracens to win at Gloucester 12/5 William Hill, 9/4Betfred and BetVictor

 


Overcoming transition

Transition is becoming a theme within the bigger clubs of the Premier League. Manchester United have been in permanent transition since Sir Alex’s retirement, Arsenal are adjusting under Emery, Tottenham are struggling now under Pochettino and Chelsea are beginning to perform well under Lampard, with the introduction of young domestic players a strategic change.

At a time where this is taking place a beneficiary might be Leicester City. They lost their chairman a year ago in tragic circumstances, sold two footballers of the year in successive seasons, sold Harry Maguire this off-season and (despite a few false dawns along the way since the 2015-2016 title win) and have bounced back to the top four a third of the way through the season.

They hit the jackpot with Brendan Rodgers whose man management skills have a reputedly tough dressing room all rowing in the same direction. When he joined he said “this is a great project, the ambition of the owners despite difficult moments, but a really really good core of players”

Player recruitment has been mostly successful apart from a poor summer immediately after the title win. Vardy’s fee, nearly 100 Premier League goals later, looks a steal and so do those for Maddison, Ndidi and Pereira. Tielemans was persuaded to join Leicester over Manchester United and Maguire was bought for £17m and sold for £80m (the whole fee payable up front, no less) two years later safe in the knowledge that Soyuncu was a ready-made replacement having been bought a year previously. Although the January transfer window is a difficult place to find value, there is a lot of money available in two months time to cement those Champions League prospects.

It is certainly possible to argue that this team is a better team than the title winning one. What has certainly happened is that the style of play has changed substantially.

Counter-attacking and defending deep has become possession based football. The title winning side played 4-4-2 whilst this season’s team plays 4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1 or 4-1-2-3 very flexibly. Within the system both full backs bomb on allowing Maddison and Perez to play inside and the pair together with Tielemans are a ready supply line for Vardy who no longer relies on playing on the last defender and using pace and balls over the top.

The 2015-16 side averaged 42% possession across the season, the second lowest in the league and this team is at 59%, third highest, having played the fourth highest number of short passes in the league.

For now, it’s an exciting ride. Helped all the more by at least three members of the traditional top six being in transition, mirroring the comparatively poor seasons members of the top six had in the title winning year. Lightning is unlikely to strike twice given the superiority of the now “big two” Liverpool and Manchester City, but daring to dream about European trips next season is definitely on the agenda.

 


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