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

The Road to Riches Weekend of 29th-30th September

Posted on 28 Sep 2018 07:43 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League fixtures include Chelsea v Liverpool.

Golf, the Ryder Cup in Paris

- Racing, On the flat at Chelmsford, Chester, Haydock, Newmarket and Ripon and on the jumps at Market Rasen

- NFL, Week Four of the 2018 Season

- Rugby Union, the penultimate round of the Rugby Championship, Argentina v New Zealand and South Africa v Australia

- Formula One, the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi

Tennis, ATP Opens in China at Chengdu and Shenzhen


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


 

Free tip

Rugby Championship Round Five

South Africa v Australia (Port Elizabeth) 4.05pm GMT

These two teams experienced contrasting fortunes in Round 4. South Africa achieved the huge surprise result of beating New Zealand in Wellington while the Australians lost at home to Argentina

South Africa do not lack individual talent but in a new coaching set up and a predominantly young team consistency has been a problem. Key individuals raised their game in Wellington notably Malcolm Marx but also Du Toit, Dyantyi, Mostert and Whiteley were all brilliant particularly defensively.

Few had given the Springboks any chance of winning the game, having lost their last two matches and seemingly dropped below the standard that drove them to a 2-1 series win over England in June. Mindful the All Blacks have scored 38 or more in each of their Rugby Championship games this season, they knew they would need to score more than 30 themselves to have a chance.

Returning home for this match, in second place in the championship with confidence up they should be favourites to consolidate the Wellington win albeit they have five changes enforced through injury.

At home to Argentina, Australia missed lots of opportunities including a late chance with an overlap to score a try to win the game and they slumped to a fifth defeat in seven tests this season, and with it to the bottom of this Championship league table. At least here they have captain Hooper back into his back row partnership with David Pocock.

The upshot of these results is of course some recency bias in prices. South Africa are 7 point handicap favourites here having been five point underdogs when the teams met in Australia three weeks ago, a match Australia won. I was tempted to pick Australia outright but I do think this this match will be close. What is in their favour is that the match is at sea level in Port Elizabeth, travelling to play at altitude in the grounds inland on the high veldt is a tougher task.

10 points South Africa to win by 1-12 points at 11/5 Ladbrokes/Coral, 7/4 Betfair Sportsbook, 13/8 Skybet


Against the head.

A £275m offer tabled by the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners to buy 50% of Premiership Rugby was rejected at a meeting of the leading club owners. A unanimous vote is required for the bid to succeed but it is understood a significant minority of owners are firmly against the plan. a new offer from CVC could come under consideration.  CVC previously bought a 70 per cent stake in Formula One in 2006 for about £1.3 billion and last year sold it to Liberty Media for around £6.2 billion, growing market for sports right and under-marketed potential in a well heeled sport. in 2014 CVC Capital Partners made a play for the 2015 World Cup as part of a global sports strategy,back then it thought scale n club rugby was insufficient

CVC is keen to buy more sports assets. In the past it has looked at Manchester United and Liverpool and was interested in buying into Chelsea last year. After making about £8 billion from its decade-long ownership of Formula One, CVC wants to buy into baseball, Wimbledon and the America’s Cup. It once owned William Hill, the bookmaker, and tried to buy Betfair. In 2012 it came close to acquiring IMG but was outbid by William Morris.

the view is that the offer undervalues the league by a considerable amount. industry valuations of £800 million for the league.PRL will instead look to attract fresh investment from other sources and seek to retain a bigger share of a business. The decision will not delight those owners of smaller clubs keen for an immediate cash injection to offset collective Premiership losses of £28.5m in 2016-17.

still substantial financial growth in the game, not least via increasing television rights.

PRL has already seen revenue rise by 88% in the past five years to £70m. Last season saw an 11% rise in live audiences on BT Sport and a cumulative audience of more than 10 million people watched live Premiership matches on the same channel last season.

The Premiership has also become the first club rugby union tournament to air on national television in China following the signing of a four-year contract with the Chinese free-to-air sports broadcaster CCTV5+.

What seems certain now is that investment, whether by selling a minority share in the league or taking a loan, will happen this season in order to release capital for the clubs to improve infrastructure and clear debts.


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Betting Emporium results

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If you bet £10 per point on every recommended bet since launch you would be winning + £42,635.30 All bets have an ROI +3.53%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £46,635.30 a 1066% increase

All bets have an ROI +3.53% with horse racing +7.86%, as at 8th August.

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 22nd-23rd September

Posted on 21 Sep 2018 09:27 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League fixtures include Arsenal v Everton.

- Racing, On the flat at Ayr, Catterick, Chelmsford City, Newbury, Newmarket and Wolverhampton

- NFL, Week Three of the 2018 Season

Tennis, ATP Opens in Metz and St Petersburg

Golf, on the European Tour the Portugal Masters and on the US Tour the US Tour Championships at East Lake GC


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


Free tip

NFL New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons 6pm Sunday SkySports

These two NFC South teams go into this divisional game with 1-1 records the Saints on the wrong end of Week One’s shock result, losing 48-40 at home to the Bucs before scraping past the Browns in Week 2. Atlanta meanwhile lost at the Eagles before beating Carolina by 7 points at home last season.

With these occasional write ups through the NFL season for this column my aim is not to discuss point spreads and totals, that’s the territory of Neil’s analysis every Thursday and Sunday. Instead the aim is the higher variance markets such as First touchdown scorer looking for the combination of circumstances where that market might be offering some value

In this match I wanted to look at the Saints second year running back, and last year’s NFL Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara. In the first two weeks of this season he has 21 rushes for 75 yards and 15 catches for 165 yards. In touchdown markets the fact that he can score in the rushing and passing game regularly has him on my radar.

In Week One Kamara had 8 carries for 29 yards, 9 catches for 112 yards, three touchdowns and a two point conversion. He played a career high 52 snaps in the game, with the suspension of the “workhorse” back Mark Ingram at the beginning of this season a factor in that.

It is worth noting that all four of Kamara’s scores came inside the ten yard line, so in no way has another back been used to replace Ingram’s “short yardage” production. Kamara is being used in all areas of the field

Kamara’s 17 touches in Week 1 tied for the third highest of his career in a single game. In Week 2 Kamara had 19 touches for 99 yards, equalling his single game high in his rookie season when he averaged 14.5 touches in 13 full games.

What also aids Kamara’s role and potential is that the Saints vertical game, especially via wide receiver Michael Thomas has been working well so far this season, this makes the “underneath” areas less packed than they would be defending a team without that passing threat.

Over a now 18 game career Kamara has 841 rushing yards on 141 attempts and 991 receiving yards on 96 attempts. In those 18 games he has 16 touchdowns

The Kamara angle for the Saints in isolation looks rock solid, a big touchdown threat in rushing and receiving with his main competitor for carries suspended.

What provides the cherry on top is that the Falcons have a couple of key injuries in the defensive back seven. Pro bowl Linebacker Deion Jones was placed on injured reserve last week with a foot injury sustained in the season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Then last Friday, the Falcons also announced that safety Keanu Neal would miss the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Both are recent high draft picks and provided the speed in the intermediate defensive areas, key in head coach Dan Quinn’s “Seattle Seahawks type” system

Without both the Falcons gave up 14 receptions for 102 yards to the Panthers’ receiving back Chrstian McCaffrey last Sunday. Kamara should have a huge game Sunday

12 points Alvin Kamara First touchdown scorer New Orleands Saints at Atlanta Falcons 11/2 Ladbrokes/Coral 5/1 Betfair/PaddyPower

(Full range of prices for al firms will be available over the weekend.)


What might Brexit mean for the Premier League?

Premier League clubs will have to significantly increase the number of British footballers in their official 25-man squads under plans being formulated in talks between the league the FA and the government.

Currently clubs must have at least eight 'home-grown' players, although 'home-grown' currently includes foreign players who spent three years between 16 and 21 in England. That figure looks likely to rise to 10 or more.

The move will reshape a majority of squads in the Premier League not least Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City among the 'Big Six'. That trio have the lowest number of British passport-holding players.

In order to persuade the Premier League to back higher quotas of British players, the FA are willing to support their call for the abolition of 'quality criteria' for any foreign player. In other words, the FA will back clubs signing any foreigner, from inside or outside Europe, with work permits guaranteed.

The number of Britons in the top flight has plunged in the Premier League era. The demise of opportunities for English players has been of most concern to the FA. The context to the 'football Brexit' talks is that all sides (not least FA and PL) actually agree the decline of the English player in the Premier League is a bad thing. That decline is as follows:

2017-18 174 of 535 Premier League players were British (33%)

Twenty years ago in 1997-98 the figure was 270 of 534 (50%)

 Of course there is a strong argument that the top clubs’ access to talented players from a global pool has played a key part in the growth of the Premier League, with match attendance and global interest increasing. Equally its difficult to argue that this trend has led to national managers having a smaller and smaller pool of players to choose from.

Logically this should mean younger British players in the top squads get more timein the top flight 18 man match squads with fewr available for seemingly never-ending loans elsewhere. Conversely, someone like Loftus Cheek wouldn’t have been in the World Cup squad if he hadn’t got a lot of starting game time when onloan last year.

Sometimes these structural changes have unintended consequences too. Be ready for a raft of passport applications from foreigners meeting the five-year residency rule. The third-choice goalkeeper will always be British to help meet the quota. And given the trade-off is to ditch the work permit criteria for other squad members, we will still see plenty of all-foreign first XIs so agents with contacts in the global game outside the EU could be in for boom times.


Brodders Football Analysis

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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.

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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 + £42,635.30 All bets have an ROI +3.53%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £46,635.30 a 1066% increase

All bets have an ROI +3.53% with horse racing +7.86%, as at 8th August.

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 15th-16th September

Posted on 14 Sep 2018 08:40 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, the Premier League returns including Tottenham v Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime

- Racing, On the flat at Bath, Chester, Doncaster, Lingfield and Musselburgh all weather at Chelmsford

- NFL, Week Two of the 2018 Season

- Formula One, the Singapore Grand Prix

- Rugby Union, Rugby Championship New Zealand v South Africa and Australia v Argentina

Cricket, T20 Finals Day on Saturday at Edgbaston

Tennis, Davis Cup World Cup Semi-Finals

Golf, on the European Tour the Evian Championships in France and the KLM Open in the Netherlands


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season continues this week costing £100 see here


Free tip

Vitality T20 Blast Finals Day Betting Preview

Finals day takes place at Edgbaston on Saturday. The semi final draw was as follows

Lancashire v Worcestershire

Sussex v Somerset

We have a pre-tournament position in play on Sussex. Outright odds tell us what a close contest this is expected to be. Bet365 are typical in being 11/4 each of four! Lancashire are marginal favourties in the first semi final, Sussex marginal favourites in the second 

Looking at each team in turn

Lancashire finished 3rd in the North Group with an 8-5 record then won a low scoring quarter-final at Kent.

The talented wicket-keeper batsman Alex Davies has scored 525 runs at the top of the order in the competition so far and Liam Livingstone is now back from injury, one of the best ball strikers in the county game. Jos Buttler, Jimmy Anderson and Keaton Jennings are available to play.

The leg-spin of Matt Parkinson has led the way on the bowling front with 23 wickets

Worcestershire have been one of the coming one-day sides for a couple of seasons, and finished 1st in the North Group with a 9-4 record then beat Gloucestershire comfortably in a home quarter-final

Their young talent mainly comes in the batting line up. In the bowling ranks the unheralded Pat Brown, a 20 year old medium pacer, has emerged with 27 wickets. Moeen Ali is a potential match winner and available to play. Conversely Martin Guptill who smashed opposing bowling attacks apart in the group stages as the overseas pro is missing with a hamstring injury as is the young hitter Callum Ferguson, two big losses.

Sussex finished 3rd in the South Group winning 7 of their 10 completed games but suffering weather variance with 4 rained off no results denying them a home quarter final. They travelled to Durham for their quarter final and were convincing winners

Their main strength is in the bowling ranks where Rashid Khan and Jofra Archer have combined for 35 wickets in 22 appearances. Rashid was recalled by Afghanistan after the group stages and also misses now finals day which is a huge loss.

Somerset finished 1st in the South Group with a 10-4 record and smashed 230 at home to beat Notts in their quarter final.

New Zealander Corey Anderson has hit 466 runs from the middle order (Taunton is a very hittable small ground, which helps) and the bowling line up is full of England fringe talent such as the Overtons and Gregory

Looking at the finals day afresh if I were to make a choice I would suggest Lancashire as the likely winners but not a huge view, any of the four could win and it wouldn’t be a surprise in one of the tighter looking finals days.

My suggested bet is in the Sussex v Somerset semi-final where Sussex number three Laurie Evans is 7/2 with Betfair/Paddy Power (3/1 second favourite generally) to be top Sussex run scorer

Evans has 554 runs in 12 innings in the competition this season, over 200 runs clear of the former England international Luke Wright with 327 (ten innings). He should be clear favourite and isn’t and is one of the best bets for finals day

12 points Laurie Evans Top Sussex batsman Sussex v Somerset Semi-Final 7/2 Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy Power (3/1 generally)


Indefensible

“Things ain’t what they used to be” is an old adage but one that could be said to apply to Premier League defending. Around 2010 the number of goals scored in the top flight jumped from under 2.5 to over 2.75 goals per game and since then the three highest-scoring (twenty team) seasons since the Premier League began have been recorded. 

'There's a lack of top class defenders around' has often been the first place to start in understanding why, and has been mentioned again this season when Manchester United conced three goals at unprolific Brighton. Perhaps the correct way to put it is that there are some top class defenders around but not enough. United may be better off with Alderweireld or Maguire at the back and not Lindelof. In the same way that the signing of Van Dijk transformed Liverpool’s defensive unit into one that has only conceded 14 leagues since October and one this season.

The trend towards pressing has undoubtedly increased of the past few years notably seen in England in Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino’s coaching. High pressing requires a high defensive line. When only partially executed it can leave teams vulnerable to counter-attacks. When teams are in the process of learning to play this way, problems can result. Witness Arsenal’s much analysed recent problems at Chelsea, Emery’s team one in transition to implementing a higher press. In many teams the true holding midfielder in the team merely to protect his centre-backs and nullify the opposition, has been displaced by the deep-lying playmaker. Whilst we can still point to Kante and Matic the corrollary of deep lying midfielders now often asked to create is a lack of protection for defensive lines.  

Recently Arsenal's director of high performance revealed that sprinting within a Premier League game has increased by 64% over the past four seasons.Now defenders have even less time to make decisions on whether to pick runners up or pass them on. Attacks are now extremely well-coached with data showing players the best areas to shoot from. Mourinho's United defend using a similar strategy to the rest of his teams, with men behind the ball and little space between midfield and defence, but teams are now picking holes in their shape. Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham have led the way as well organised attacks. 

The result of the combination of these tactical trends is excitement, a steady trend to higher scoring games, and just the feeling that defending isn’t yet what it used to be and is adapting slower to the modern game than attacking is, where that area of the game is in the vanguard of coaching advances, for now.


Brodders Football Analysis

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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 + £42,635.30 All bets have an ROI +3.53%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £46,635.30 a 1066% increase

All bets have an ROI +3.53% with horse racing +7.86%, as at 8th August.

The Road to Riches Weekend of 8th-9th September

Posted on 7 Sep 2018 10:41 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, England play Spain in their first UEFA Nations League Match at Wembley on Saturday

- Racing, On the flat at Ascot, Haydock, Kempton and Thirsk. Over the jumps at Stratford and all weather at Wolverhampton

- NFL, Week One of the 2018 Season

- Rugby Union, Rugby Championship New Zealand v Argentina and Australia v South Africa

Cricket, the Fifth and final Test between England and India at The Oval

Tennis, the final weekend of the US Open

Golf, on the European Tour the Omega European Masters at Crans-Sur-Sierre and on the USPGA the BMW Championship at Aronimink GC in Philadelphia.   


NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season starting this week costing £100 see here

 


Free tip

Rugby Championship Saturday 11.05am Australia v South Africa in Brisbane

After the big loss to New Zealand for a second week in successions, further questions have been asked of Wallaby boss Michael Cheika in a defeat which resembled the previous match between the two. Chieka now only has a 50% win record as national coach

After the previous week’s disappointment in Sydney, Australia were much improved in the forwards in the second Bledisloe Cup game as they had some dominance at the scrum in the first-half. The return of loosehead Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa’s performance at tighthead deserves praise while the line-out was also more reliable. With parity up front you at least give yourself half a chance against New Zealand and for two weeks running they were well in contention for half an hour until New Zealand upped their game either side of half time.

South Africa, who triumphed 34-21 when they met Argentina the weekend before, dominated the second half in Mendoza in round two but could only outscore Argentina by two tries to one and lost 32-19.

Apart from a brief period during the first half, when they held the upper-hand, the Springboks found the going tough and they seemed shell-shocked by the intensity with which Argentina approached this match.

This round 3 match is an opportunity for Australia at a venue where they traditionally do well. They shouldn’t be as vulnerable defensively against South Africa, and should have parity up front though the absence of the world class Pocock at 7 is a loss.

Under their new coach South Africa showed a lot of ambition in the summer series but consistency is still a problem, typical of developing sides.

Here Australia are 5 point favourites at 10/11 on the handicap and 7/4 to win by 1-12 points in the winning margin market which is my preferred bet.

8 points Australia to win by 1-12 points 7/4 SkyBet, 17/10 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower 6/4 Ladbrokes/Coral


Momentum in Sport

“Momentum”, the favourite of television pundits and newspaper columnists as well as team coaches everywhere reaffirms what we love to believe about sport: that winning is a habit, set to continue if unchecked and ignores that randomness is a more fundamental explanation.

A study in the 1980s by Gilovich and Tversky raised the question of “hot hand” streaks in the NBA, looking at the Philadelphia 76ers and found no evidence of momentum. Immediate past success had no bearing on future attempts, just as a coin might fall heads or tails regardless of what the previous toss might have been. That and later studies — including the probability of the winner of the fourth set winning the fifth too in tennis — confirmed what a coin-tossing logician might have suspected: that momentum, does not exist.

The late Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary biologist and baseball fan explained the attraction of patterns, and how we are hard-wired to see patterns in randomness. In many cases, patterns can be discerned but only in retrospect. “Momentum” is usually recognised after the event, and seems to be borne of convenience rather than logic.

Observers, in an attempt to explain and understand the events that unfold before them, are much happier buying into this romanticised concept as opposed to viewing a game or season as a multitude of random independent events. No doubt on occasions shifts occur which alter probabilities of future outcomes, but the evidence suggests psychological momentum plays a far lesser role in sport than pundits and analysts would have us believe.

A year ago a counter argument was presented in the Official journal of human behaviour and evolution society that I happened to see a link to, a paper’s summary was as follows

“Animals winning an agonistic encounter are more likely to win their next encounter while losers are less likely, even when controlling for motivation and physical size. Do these winner and loser effects exist in human competitions? Drawing on a large database of professional tennis matches, we were able to control for players' ability and thereby test for winner and loser effects. We narrowed the database to matches between players who on average did not differ significantly in rank, and further to matches in which the first set was fought to a long tie-break. These closely fought matches present a natural experiment because players are assigned to treatment conditions – winning or losing a set – despite similar ability and performance. We found that among men, the winner of a closely fought tie-break had an approximate 60% chance of winning the second set, the loser a 40% chance. These effects did not exist among women, a finding consistent with the hypothesis that androgens mediate winner and loser effects. Our results may help in the design of competitions in sport as well as in work environments, where it may prove useful to either encourage winner effects or to attenuate their occasional adverse consequences.”

What this implies is that some statistical studies may fail to take into account the fact is that sport involves humans. If a team or player has pulled off a spectacular play three times, the fourth time they may be confident of repeating the feat, while their opponent will be fearful of a repeat occurrence and possibly demoralised so whilst momentum might be a myth, confidence probably isn’t.

What we do often see in commentary and punditry is that people do not recognise momentum until after it already has happened. Therefore, momentum is most likely simply an "after-the-fact" explanation for the outcome of a game. For example, when a team is said to have momentum it is because they've had several good plays one right after the other. If coaches knew what specifically started momentum, then they would obviously try to make it occur as often as they could. Yet, it is difficult for scientists to predict and for coaches or athletes to cause momentum to happen. This provides support for the theory that momentum may be an "after-the-fact" explanation.


Brodders Football Analysis

Long term profit over more than four years. Following all bets subscribers are winning £19,494 (£10 a point, avg bet £150) +ROI 2.79% (correct at 8/8/18)

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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 + £42,635.30 All bets have an ROI +3.53%

A £4000 bank betting £10 a point on all selections would now be worth £46,635.30 a 1066% increase

All bets have an ROI +3.53% with horse racing +7.86%, as at 8th August.

 

The Road to Riches Weekend of 1st-2nd September

Posted on 31 Aug 2018 11:45 in Weekly Articles "Road to Riches" by Rich 'Tighty' Prew

Coming up this weekend

- Football, Premier League fixtures include Leicester City v Liverpool

- Racing, On the flat at Beverley, Chester and Sandown, combined flat/AW meetings at Chelmsford, Lingfield and Wolverhampton. Over the jumps at Newton Abbot.

- Formula One, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza

Cricket, the fourth Test between England and India at Southampton continues

Tennis, the middle weekend of the US Open.

Golf, on the European Tour the Made in Denmark Open and on the USPGA the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston.


Starting next week! NFL 2018 – Neil’s Picks

Seventeen weeks of Neil’s NFL write ups for the 2018 season, starting on Thursday September 6th, costing £100 see here

Also, live now NFL Season Ante-post Player and Team markets FREE here


Free tip

2018-19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby

English rugby’s Gallagher Premiership starts on Friday. Saracens are the defending champions beating regular season table toppers Exeter in the Play off final in May. Saracens and Exeter, perhaps challenged by Wasps should be at the head of affairs again, the strongest squads in a salary cap system where rising player salaries (competition from the French top 14 notably) is reducing depth of quality across the board. I was tempted to make the case for Wasps at 7-1 in the outright market but still feel that a side that conceded 150 points more than Saracens and Exeter over 22 regular season games last season lacks the defensive solidity of the top two sides.

Instead I turned to look at the top try scorer market and in particular at the Fijian Vereniki Goneva at the Newcastle Falcons the 2017-18 Aviva (previous league sponsor) Premiership player of the season. A star of the sevens game for many seasons he has now scored 53 tries in 100 Premiership appearances, mostly for Leicester Tigers until his move to Newcastle two seasons ago.

Last season he was joint top league try scorer with 13 in 19 appearances for a side that finished 4th in the league and lost in the play-off semi-finals.

Goneva is 34 but his coach Dean Richards said at the time of a recent contract extension

“He defies the ageing process with the physical condition he keeps himself in, he is a phenomenal athlete but also has a thorough understanding of the game and how he can influence it. He is right up there in the world-class bracket when it comes to finishing.”

As a team Newcastle scored 55 league tries last season at least 20 fewer than the top sides, and this perhaps accounts for why Goneva is priced up at 16-1 here opposed to the favourite Christian Wade of Wasps, another of the joint league try scorers last season who is 5-1 favourite in what could be a prolific Wasps side

This of course won’t be the most liquid of markets, but the each way terms of 1/4 1,2,3,4 are sensible and if he stays fit Goneva should be in the frame again

8 points each way Vereniki Goneva Top Gallagher Premiership Try scorer 16-1 Bet365 and Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy Power 14-1 Ladbrokes 1/4 1,2,3,4


Finders Keepers

Goalkeeping has evolved over the years, with an emphasis away from merely shot-stopping towards a more technical and rounded role involving distribution, when keepers have to be a genuine outlet for the team and able to pass and distribute the ball as good as; if not better than some of their defensive team mates.

As the English game has  evolved and goalkeepers in the Premier League are being asked to play out from the back, start attacks and sweep up in defence we know there are certain goalkeepers who are absolutely changing the image of the goalkeeper; players like Ederson and Ter Stegen who demand the ball under pressure and recycle it out to their players with speed and precision to launch counter-attacks against the press.

Just how prevalent is the new approach in the Premier League? Unfortunately the Premier League statistics for passes only go back 12 years but it still gives us some interesting information. Firstly the number of passes the goalkeeper with the most passes made in one season and secondly how many goalkeepers in a season made over 800 passes.

Clearly, there has been a change, even the goalkeepers who used to be known for playing out from the back were never passing the ball around as much as goalkeepers in today’s game. Seven seasons ago the most passes by a single goalkeeper in a season was 1036, last season it was 1170.

How many of the 20 Premier League goalkeepers made more than 800 passes in a season? Out of 20 goalkeepers last year 15 made over 800 passes in the season, 3 years earlier only 1 did and the year before that? None. The biggest change isn’t that the top keepers are making more and more passes but rather that more and more goalkeepers are being asked to play this way.

Guardiola was in the vanguard of changing the role of the Premier League goalkeeper when relatively little-known Ederson became the most expensive goalkeeper in history when he was signed from Benfica for £35m.

Of course the last transfer window took things a stage further. Liverpool paid £66m, nearly doubling the world record, on Alisson from Roma. Chelsea then paid £71m for 23 year old Arrizabalaga. He, Alisson and Ederson - at a combined cost of £175m - constitute nearly a quarter of the money ever spent on Premier League goalkeepers. 40% of the total transfer fees paid for top-flight goalkeepers in England has been paid out in the last 12 months.

In this era of playing out from the back, countering the press and distribution being key the Premier League led by the top six are finally catching up with the trends set by Neuer several years ago.

 


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