From The Trading Floor

Each week we work with DAZN Bet Traders to bring the best bets. This is an archive of 2023 From the Trading Floor articles by Jay and his team.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 1 2023

Arsenal v Newcastle – Premier League – 19:45 – January 3

Two of the biggest surprise packages in the Premier League this season will look to carry their form into the New Year as Arsenal host Newcastle at the Emirates.

The hosts currently lead the way in the title race and have shown no real signs of weakness at home, picking up seven wins from seven Premier League games in front of the Emirates faithful.

Newcastle United have seemingly grown stronger as the season has progressed and look like they could be set for a return to Champions League football at the very least. The Magpies have won their last three games away from St James’ Park, beating Spurs, Southampton and Leicester in the process.

An encounter between the two strongest defences in the Premier League should prove to be a pretty tense affair. Liverpool are the only team who have come to the Emirates and managed to score more than once this season, and ironically enough, the Reds are also the only side to achieve the same feat when hosting the Magpies.

With this in mind, DAZN Bet Traders fancy this to be a pretty low-scoring, but entertaining encounter, which could really go either way.

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – 20:00 – January 4

Spurs will be hoping to keep the pressure on the teams around them when they travel across London to face Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening.

Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur have struggled defensively on the road recently, conceding twice in each of their last four domestic games away from White Hart Lane.

Crystal Palace have only kept one clean sheet at Selhurst Park in eight attempts this season, their most recent home outing was a 3-0 defeat at Fulham on Boxing Day where the Eagles ended the match with nine men following the dismissals of both Tyrick Mitchell and James Tomkins.

Given the respective form at the back for both teams, we are expecting to see goals in this one. Half of Tottenham’s away games in the Premier League have seen at least four goals, and we can see this being another high-scoring encounter for Spurs.

Chelsea v Man City – Premier League – 20:00 – January 5

Man City heads to West London on Thursday evening to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.

Chelsea have struggled on the road, but they are still a tough nut to crack when playing at home. Two losses to Arsenal are their only defeats at Stamford Bridge in their last 15 home matches across all competitions.

Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in November was the first time they had failed to score at Stamford Bridge in 33 competitive matches, however, the Blues returned home from the World Cup break with an impressive victory over Bournemouth and they will need another solid display in order to maintain pace with the current top four.

Losses at Anfield and Wembley, both to Liverpool, remain Man City’s only defeats on the road this season, and they will be more than hopeful that Centre Forward Erling Haaland can maintain his record away from the Etihad, having scored twice at Elland Road in the Premier League last week.

The visitors are firm favourites to leave with all three points, and we can understand why given how they seem to find a way to grind out results. We expect them to leave the capital with maximum points, but we would also expect to see the hosts maintaining their impressive scoring rate at home in the process.

Man Utd v Everton – FA Cup – 20:00 – January 6

The FA Cup Third Round gets underway this weekend as Old Trafford sees Manchester United hosting Everton on Friday evening in one of five all Premier League encounters.

The hosts have shown real strength in the depth of their squad so far this season, having progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Carabao Cup and the knockout stage of the Europa League so far this season.

The Toffees seem to be struggling all around, they find themselves in a relegation battle at the bottom end of the Premier League table, and they were also hammered 4-1 by Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup back in November.

With the main focus for both teams likely to be on their respective Premier League campaigns this will likely be a battle of the fringe players. The Red Devils were impressive when knocking Burnley out of the League Cup last month, and we can see a similar line-up picking up another fairly comfortable victory when they face Everton on Friday

Liverpool v Wolves – FA Cup – 20:00 – January 7

Saturday’s third round action in the FA Cup culminates when current holders Liverpool host four time winners Wolverampton Wanderers at Anfield.

Wolves are in a fight for their Premier League survival this season. their recent 2-1 victory at Goodison Park ended a run of eleven away games without a win, another trip to Merseyside could be another opportunity for the West Midlands club to build some team confidence, having also reached the Quarter Finals of the Carabao Cup this season.

Liverpool won their first FA Cup trophy in 16 years when they beat Chelsea in May, and the Reds will be hoping for another strong run in the competition, especially after their recent defeat to Man City in the Carabao Cup.

This game could also be where Jurgen Klopp hands new signing Cody Gakpo his first start. The former PSV winger comes to Anfield having impressed for the Netherlands at the World Cup. Liverpool fans will be hoping for an immediate impact from the Dutchman and we think he could help propel his new team to a convincing victory.

Cardiff City v Leeds United – FA Cup – 14:00 – January 8

An intriguing tie looks set to take place in South Wales on Sunday as Championship side Cardiff welcome Leeds United.

Leeds have not won any of their past five matches at this stage of the competition, including two losses to League Two opposition, and there’s every possibility that they may fail to progress once again at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The hosts currently find themselves towards the wrong end of the Championship table, but they have been successful at this stage of the competition three times in the last five years.

With the Premier League side also looking set for their own relegation battle, an FA Cup run might not be a priority for manager Jesse Merch. The American made wholesale changes in both of their Carabao Cup games earlier in the season, and we expect something similar for this fixture too.

Cardiff will fancy their chances against a much-changed team, and we can see them getting the better of the Premier League side as a result.

Oxford United v Arsenal – FA Cup – 20:00 – January 9

The final fixture of the FA Cup Third Round takes place at the Kassam Stadium on Monday evening, where League One Oxford United will be hoping to spring an upset against Arsenal.

Arsenal will be hoping to avoid a similar fate to last season, when they were dumped out of the FA Cup by then Championship side Nottingham Forest at the same stage.

Oxford are currently sitting in mid-table in League One, and have reached this stage for the first time since 2020 after suffering back to back first round exits.

Arsenal are strong favourites to win here, but with a North London derby coming up in the Premier League they are likely to field a largely second string team.

It would be a big surprise if the Gunners didn’t progress from this tie, but we can see The U’s potentially causing them one or two problems. Taking the League One side to avoid a large margin of defeat against a much-changed Arsenal team might be a pretty safe option.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 2 2023

Newcastle United v Leicester City – Carabao Cup – 20:00 – January 10

Newcastle have the opportunity to reach a League Cup semi-final for only the second time in their history when they welcome Leicester City to St James’ Park on Tuesday night.

The hosts were knocked out of the FA Cup by League One club Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, meaning that winning this competition is their only realistic chance of winning their first piece of domestic silverware since 1955.

With Leicester currently sitting 13th in the Premier League, winning one of the two domestic cups will probably be The Foxes best chance of playing European football next season. However, this will be the visitor’s first game in this season’s competition against a fellow Premier League side, as their cup run so far has consisted of defeating lower league opposition in Stockport County, Newport County and MK Dons.

Newcastle have not conceded at home in their last 6 competitive matches, and I have a feeling that the hosts will field a relatively strong team for this encounter. With home advantage, and given that Leicester have lost their last three games in the Premier League, I can see the hosts winning this one while keeping their clean-sheet streak intact.

Fulham v Chelsea – Premier League – 20:00 – January 12

Premier League action begins early this week when Fulham host Chelsea on Thursday evening.

The visitors looked initially looked impressive following the World Cup break when comfortably beating Bournemouth on Boxing Day. However, they have struggled since then, drawing at home to Nottingham Forest, before losing twice to Manchester City in the Premier League and FA Cup.

Fulham, on the other hand, have won all four of their matches since returning to action. The Cottagers have climbed to 7th in the table as a result and will be looking to continue that momentum when they welcome their fellow West London rivals.

Despite their contrasting form heading in to this encounter, I still feel that Chelsea should be too strong for their opponents. They will have a lot to prove following their heavy defeat to Man City at the weekend, and their previous record against Fulham is pretty impressive.

Chelsea have won their last seven matches against Fulham, and are unbeaten in the last 21 encounters between the two sides. This, along with the growing pressure mounting on the team to start delivering results, should be enough to see them leave Craven Cottage with all three points.

Leeds United Manager Jesse Marsch celebrates

Aston Villa v Leeds United – Premier League – 20:00 – January 13

Evening Premier League action continues on Friday when Aston Villa face Leeds United at Villa Park.

The hosts were the victims of the biggest shock in the FA Cup on Sunday when they were defeated 2-1 at home by League Two Stevenage, and Villa boss Unai Emery will be expected to make amends in order to avoid another disappointing performance at home.

Leeds needed two late goals to salvage a draw at Championship side Cardiff City in the FA Cup, but that result means Leeds have now gone six games without a victory in all competitions, since beating Bournemouth 4-3 at the start of November.

Aston Villa have lost just one of their previous five Premier League games, including victories over both Spurs and Man Utd, and it feels like they should be more than capable of avoiding defeat in this encounter

Leeds have won just once on the road all season, and with only Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest conceding more goals on their travels, it feels like it could be another busy night for their goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

Eight of Aston Villa’s last ten matches have seen at least three goals, and so I believe this game could follow suit, with the hosts coming out on top. Especially given the fact they will have a point to prove following the disappointment of Sunday.

Manchester United v Manchester City – Premier League – 12:30 – January 14

It will be Manchester United’s turn to host Manchester City early on Saturday afternoon in this season’s second Manchester derby.

The hosts started this campaign looking completely out of sorts when losing to both Brighton and Brentford, but the Red Devils have quietly gone from strength to strength as the season has progressed. United find themselves currently sitting fourth in the Premier League table, just four points behind their opponents, and they have lost just once in their last ten previous fixtures in the league.

Manchester City continue to stay within touch of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table, and they maintained their pressure courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at the start of 2023. They would then continue to pile more misery on Chelsea by thumping them 4-0 in the FA Cup third round just three days later, showing that they still have a very potent attacking threat, even in the absence of their star striker Erling Haaland.

City will no doubt welcome Haaland back in to their starting line-up on Saturday, and this could spell trouble for Man Utd. The Norwegian has already scored 21 goals in the Premier League this season, and three of those came when the two sides met back in October.

Man City may enter the derby as favourites, but Man Utd have definitely got more than enough talent at their disposal to cause their opponents some problems. Forward Marcus Rashford has scored in each of his last five appearances for his club, whilst Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen has provided the assist for six of their 27 Premier League goals this season.

The reverse of this fixture saw Manchester City comfortably prevail 6-3 but I wouldn’t feel confident in taking City to emerge victorious this time around. However, I do see a lot of value in taking this one to have plenty of goals considering how impressive both team’s strikers have looked recently.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Premier League – 16:30 – January 15

The North London derby rounds off this weekend’s Premier League action when Arsenal make the short journey to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs put their recent defensive woes behind them when beaten Crystal Palace 4-0 in their most recent Premier League fixture. Prior to this Tottenham had conceded at least twice in each of their previous seven league fixtures and they will be hoping their recent clean sheet will be more than enough to keep Arsenal at bay.

The visitors were left frustrated following their goalless home draw with Newcastle two weeks ago. However, they still remain perched at the top of the pile, and they will be hoping to maintain their current five point lead at the expense of their North London rivals.

Despite Arsenal being the favourites I think they might find it difficult to getting much from this one. They haven’t won in any of their last seven trips to Spurs, losing on five occasions, and I firmly believe that they’ll be left frustrated by a Tottenham side who are desperately chasing down a top-four place.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 3 2023

Leeds United v Cardiff City – FA Cup – 19:45 – January 18

Leeds and Cardiff will face each other once again for a place in the fourth round of this season’s FA Cup.

Despite trailing 2-0 at half time, Leeds managed to escape The Bluebirds with a draw just over a week ago, following a dramatic late equaliser from their teenage striker Sonny Perkins.

Cardiff came unstuck during the final moments once again at the weekend when they conceded another injury-time equaliser in their league clash with Wigan. As a result, Cardiff have now gone 9 games without a victory in all competitions.

Leeds lost 2-1 to Aston Villa on Friday night, meaning they have now failed to win their past eight games, but the hosts will be firmly expecting to emerge victorious here against the worst defence in the Championship.

Leeds need some form of morale boost ahead of their Premier League game with Brentford on Saturday and, with a tie against lower league opposition awaiting the winner, I am expecting the hosts to field a strong team for this one. A close-to full-strength Leeds team should prove to be too difficult for a struggling Cardiff side, and a comfortable enough home win should be expected as a result.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – 20:00 – January 19

Manchester City are turning into quite the enigma in recent weeks and on Thursday they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad Stadium.

City looked almost unplayable when brushing aside Chelsea in both the Premier League and FA Cup at the start of the year, but their recent defeats against Manchester United and Southampton have shown that they are, in fact, human.

The Southampton loss may have been in the League Cup, but the fact that they offered little threat against the Premier League’s bottom club suggests to me that they don’t have that same strength in depth that has been so vital to their recent title charges.

Tottenham have also looked out of sorts for most of the season, their recent 4-0 victory at Crystal Palace suggested that they were beginning to look like a team that could at least match their fourth place finish from last season, but 2-0 home defeats to both Arsenal and Aston Villa either side of this show that there’s still a lack of harmony at White Hart Lane.

Both of these teams are more than capable of producing high-quality football, and they both need to start finding consistency if they want to avoid losing further ground in their respective pursuits. City are now eight points behind Arsenal in the race for the title and will be eager to bounce back from the controversial ending to the Manchester derby on Saturday.

City always seem to come out firing following a Premier League defeat, they haven’t lost successive top-flight games since December 2018, and Spurs look like they could be in for a difficult evening in Manchester as a result. I can see them taking full advantage of an out-of-sorts-looking Tottenham side and running out of convincing winners as a result.

Leicester Tigers v Ospreys – European Rugby Champions Cup – 20:00 – January 20

Leicester Tigers host Welsh side Ospreys on Friday night to kick off the fourth round of the European Rugby Champions Cup pool stage.

Leicester have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition having won all three of their matches so far, including a 23-17 victory in the reverse of this fixture back in December.

Ospreys bounced back from that defeat to Leicester by winning twice against Montpellier, despite being heavy underdogs when the two sides met in France. They look like they have already done enough to secure their own spot in the next phase, but victory here would also be enough to secure their own home advantage in the next stage.

Leicester will likely be heading in to this one as relatively strong favourites, however, they haven’t looked like the same team that pretty much strolled to a domestic title last season. The victories over Clermont were far from convincing, and current Premiership form suggests that the Tigers are struggling to find that clinical edge, especially after a wide defeat at Newcastle, and a draw against bottom side Bristol.

Victory at Montpellier seems to have inspired Ospreys as they have gone on to win two of their last three United Rugby Championship fixtures, following just one win from their opening nine. Their only recent loss came after they threatened to defeat an unbeaten Leinster side, eventually falling to a 19-24 loss, despite leading 16-10 heading in to the final 20 minutes.

There were no odds available at the time of writing, but I would expect to see Ospreys given around an 9.5 point start on the handicap. Should this be the case then I would expect the Welsh team to stay within touch of their English opposition on current form, especially given that the winners of this one will get home advantage in the Round of 16.



Liverpool v Chelsea – Premier League – 12:30 – January 21

Liverpool and Chelsea will both be looking to steer their Premier League campaigns back in the right direction when the two sides meet at Anfield on Saturday.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that he “can’t remember a worse game” following their recent 3-0 defeat at Brighton, and the prospect of the Reds missing out on Champions League football seems to be growing. This result, paired with their preceding 3-1 Premier League loss at Brentford, means that Liverpool now find themselves ten points behind fourth placed Manchester United.

Chelsea put a halt to their run of three straight defeats with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at the weekend, however, there’s still plenty of cause for concern as the 10th placed Blues continue to struggle to covert chances. Chelsea have won just two of their last nine games in all competitions and their 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at the end of 2022 is the only time they have managed to score more than once in their last nine matches.

In previous seasons this game would have been a heavyweight clash towards the top of the table but, with both team’s failing to find any sort of consistency, this encounter is very much a mid-table affair with almost half of the season gone.

Recent comments from each of these clubs suggests that there seems to be plenty of dejection in both camps and it’s hard to make a solid claim for either side coming out on top in this one.

With neither team looking entirely comfortable I can see this being a fairly cagey encounter. Liverpool may just about have enough to come through with a victory, but I feel we could be in for a relatively low scoring game when the two teams meet.

Arsenal v Manchester United – Premier League – 16:30 – January 22

The Premier League’s two most in-form teams go head to head on Sunday when Arsenal face Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.

Should United pick up a victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday night then the Red Devils will have won ten straight games in all competitions since defeat to Aston Villa at the start of November, with striker Marcus Rashford scoring 8 goals in 7 games prior to this encounter.

Many people, including myself, expected Arsenal to struggle in the absence of talismanic forward Gabriel Jesus, who was injured whilst playing for Brazil during the recent World Cup. But the Gunners have seemingly shown little sign of losing their grip at the top of the table, having scored 9 goals and picked up 10 points since returning to Premier League action on Boxing Day.

Arsenal’s only defeat in the top flight this season remains their 3-1 loss against Manchester United back in September, and this looks set to be another game that could be filled with plenty of goals and drama.

Despite Arsenal heading in to this one as favourites, I strongly believe that this game could go either way. I feel that the threat that United pose might be slightly overlooked, especially given that the currently in-form Rashford scored twice when the two sides met earlier in the season.

Interestingly enough, seven of the last eight encounters between the two teams at the Emirates have been decided by a two goal margin. With that in mind I’m going for a bold prediction that we could see the same scoreline from their last meeting emerge once again.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 4 2023

Snooker Shoot Out –  January 25 to January 28

The relatively unconventional Snooker Shoot Out begins on Wednesday afternoon in Leicester, when defending champion Hossein Vafaei takes on the 2005 Snooker World Champion Shaun Murphy.

It is the only ranking tournament on the tour where you’ll see a shot clock in operation, and it is also the only time where crowd interaction during play isn’t typically discouraged.

Since the tournament became a ranking event in 2017 only seven players have managed to make the quarter-finals more than once, and Michael Holt is the only player to make multiple appearances in the final, such is the unpredictable nature of the competition.

Despite providing four players with their maiden ranking victory over the last six years, I feel that this time around we could see one of the more established players take home the crown.

Mark Williams has looked comfortable with the shortened format of the Shoot Out. He was the beaten finalist here in 2022, building on his run to the semi-final from the year before, and I feel like he could be someone who could have another solid run in the tournament this time around.

Williams has won 26 matches at the Shoot Out since it returned to the tour in 2011, no player has won more than this, and I will be hoping his experience here can finally guide him to the title.

The 3 times World Champion’s opening round encounter will be against Craig Steadman, in the final match of Wednesday’s afternoon session.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Manchester City v Arsenal – FA Cup – 20:00 – January 27

FA Cup fourth-round action starts on Friday evening as Manchester City host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

The hosts were convincing 4-0 winners over fellow Premier League side Chelsea in the previous round and will head into their encounter with Arsenal on the back of their recent 3-0 victory over Wolves, where striker Erling Haaland picked up his fourth hat-trick of the season so far.

Arsenal overcame League One side Oxford United in the third round, and have picked up big victories over both Tottenham and Manchester United in the last two weeks as they continue to lead the way at the top of the Premier League table.

It doesn’t feel like this is a game that either manager is likely to take lightly, as the top two in the Premier League battle it out for a place in the last 16 of the FA Cup, but I feel that the home team should be capable of winning this one in a relatively comfortable fashion.

Arsenal have not had much success against Man City in recent years, they’ve picked up just one win in the last seventeen encounters between the two teams, and have lost each of their last seven games at the Etihad Stadium. Haaland having scored 22 goals in 14 home appearances just adds to the reasons why I expect City to book their place in the last 16.

The relatively short price on the Sky Blues coming out on top isn’t the most attractive of propositions, but combining this result with three or more goals,

which has happened in six of the last seven games between the two in Manchester, looks like it could offer the best value in terms of a selection.

Wrexham v Sheffield United – FA Cup – 16:30 – January 29

One of the most captivating ties in the FA Cup this weekend emanates from North Wales where National League team Wrexham face Sheffield United.

Two people we can be sure to see on our screens during the course of the afternoon will be Wrexham’s owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The two actors seem to have brought a lot of confidence to the Welsh club, and there’s a strong belief that this season could see them return to the Football League following a 15-year absence.

Alongside chasing automatic promotion from the National League, Wrexham produced arguably the performance of the third round when winning 4-3 at Championship side Coventry, and it feels like we could see something special once again on Sunday.

Sheffield United overcame Millwall to book their place in the fourth round and are currently sitting second in the Championship. They should provide the Welsh club with a stern challenge, but ‘The Magic of the FA Cup’ can strike at any time, and I cannot confidently predict that they’ll make the three-division gap count.

Wrexham have won all sixteen of the matches they have played at the Racecourse Ground this season, and they’re fully committed to playing attacking football. Spectators have seen a total of 71 goals across those games, including an astonishing twelve goals when Wrexham beat Barnet 7-5 in October.

There’s no point in taking a defensive stance for this encounter, and if their performance against Coventry is any indication of how they might approach their showdown with the Blades on Sunday then I fully expect plenty of goals and a fantastic FA Cup tie.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals – AFC Championship – 23:30 – January 29

The Chiefs and Bengals will meet for the right to play at Super Bowl LVII for the second successive year.

This will be Kansas City’s fifth straight appearance in the AFC Championship game, following their 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, and they’ll be hoping to get revenge for the overtime defeat they suffered against Cincinnati at this stage last season.

The Bengals were convincing 27-10 winners against the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday, picking up over 400 offensive yards in the process. This result took their current win streak to 10 games, a run which also contains a 27-24 home victory over the Chiefs back in December.

The Bengals might have been seen as surprise winners against the Bills, but they have beaten the Chiefs in each of the last three encounters between the two sides, and I don’t think many people will be surprised if they manage to make the Super Bowl for a second straight season. I, however, think that Kansas City will have enough to make it past the Bengals in the early hours of Monday morning.

Chiefs’ Quarterback Patrick Mahomes came into the postseason having set the regular season record for total yards gained in a single season. Fans might have feared the worst when he left the field with an ankle injury during the first half of their encounter with the Jaguars, but he returned to the field during the second half, following an x-ray, to help steer his team to victory.

The knock shouldn’t affect him ahead of this encounter, and I firmly believe that the expectant 2023 NFL MVP should have enough to help steer his team to victory.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 5 2023

Newcastle v Southampton – Carabao Cup – 20:00 – February 1

After winning the first leg of their semi-final tie 1-0 at St Mary’s last week, Newcastle find themselves in a very strong position to reach their first domestic cup final for 24 years.

Victories at both Everton and Crystal Palace in their two most recent away trips will give Southampton supporters some hope, especially as this ended a run of six defeats from seven on the road, but the Saints will be coming up against a Newcastle team who seem to be growing stronger as a defensive unit with each passing game.

The Magpies only need to avoid defeat to book their place at Wembley, and there’s a strong reason to believe that they should be able to safely navigate their way to the final, having gone 14 games unbeaten in all competitions at St James’ Park. Not only are they avoiding defeat, Newcastle also haven’t conceded in any of their last 8 games at home.

The defensive foursome of Schar, Botman, Trippier and Burn are already establishing themselves as one of the strongest partnerships in Premier League history, and the divisions’ bottom placed club are going to find it extremely difficult to create many opportunities when they make the long trip to the North East on Tuesday evening.

Despite a place in a cup final being at stake, I still can’t see Newcastle letting their impressive defensive form slip. Midfielder, and set-piece taker, James Ward-Prowse will probably offer the best opportunity for Southampton to cause somewhat of an upset, but it will still take some effort to get the better of Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope from distance. With this in mind, I can’t look past the Magpies making it to Wembley with relative ease, by beating Southampton without conceding a goal.

Traders’ Tip: Newcastle United To Win To Nil @ 23/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £21.50.

Manchester United v Nottingham Forest – Carabao Cup – 20:00 – February 2

Manchester United will enter their fixture with Nottingham Forest in a commanding position following their 3-0 semi-final first leg victory at the City Ground last week.

United had entered that match fresh from their 3-2 defeat at Arsenal in the Premier League, but their win in Nottingham, along with their 3-1 victory at Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday, has shown that they haven’t really lost too much of their recent momentum.

Forest, who haven’t played since that defeat in the first leg, will need to show attacking intent from the start if they want to keep alive any slim hope of reaching the final, but it feels like this is going to be a game where Man Utd will be looking to secure their first cup final in six years without too much hassle.

I would be expecting United to field a similar side to the one that started against Reading at the weekend, and this leads me to believe that winger Anthony might find himself on the scoresheet on Wednesday night. The Brazilian was unable to find himself a goal against Reading on Saturday, despite having a handful of chances to grab a goal, and it was also his diverted shot that allowed Dutch striker Wout Weghorst to open his account for United against Forest last week.

I personally feel that Anthony is one of many players who has really grown as the season has progressed, and he seems to be getting himself in to better positions to score over the past few games. I am hopeful that he will continue to create these openings on Wednesday, and would like to see him get his name on the scoresheet at some point in the evening too.

Traders’ Tip: Anthony Santos To Score Anytime @ 11/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £32.

Everton v Arsenal – Premier League – 12:30 – February 4

New manager Sean Dyche is expected to take charge of Everton for the first time when the Toffees host Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Former manager Frank Lampard was sacked following Everton’s recent 2-0 defeat to West Ham, it was their seventh defeat in eight matches, leaving the club out of both domestic cup competitions and lying 19th in the Premier League table.

A new manager can often bring a change of performance, but Everton have looked void of inspiration for most of the season. Following the recent sale of Anthony Gordon to Newcastle, winger Demarai Gray is now the only Everton player who has scored more than twice this campaign. Their two established strikers, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Neal Maupay, both have just a single goal each to their name and, if they don’t make a couple of decent signings on Tuesday’s transfer deadline day, I can’t see how Dyche can be expected to turn the Toffees’ fortunes around.

Arsenal’s FA Cup loss to Manchester City last weekend ended seen game unbeaten run in all competitions, however, they haven’t tasted a Premier League defeat since a 3-1 loss to Manchester United at the start of September, this remains their only defeat in the top flight this season, with the Gunners entering the weekend five points clear at the top of the table.

I would usually be weary of opposing a team following a recent manager change, but these two clubs currently look worlds apart. Arsenal have shown little sign of weakness up to this point of the season, and I fully expect them to run out comfortable winners at Goodison Park on Saturday as a result.

 Traders’ Tip: Arsenal -1.5 @ 21/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £20.50.

Italy v France – Six Nations Championship – 16:00 – February 5

The Six Nations gets underway this weekend with the first round of fixtures finishing with France’s trip to Rome on Sunday afternoon.

France enter this year’s competition as the reigning Champions following their Grand Slam victory in 2022, and the second best ranked team in the world will be hoping to put in another solid display this year, ahead of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup in September-October.

Les Bleus haven’t lost an International fixture since a narrow defeat to Australia in July 2021, picking up victories against each of the other nations in the top 10 of the World Rankings during this time.

Italy have finished bottom of the six team competition in each of the last seven years, but they do show rare glimpses of quality to outline why they belong amongst Europe’s elite nations.

They were might have been unable to avoid the Wooden Spoon last year, but their final game 22-21 victory over Wales was their first win in 37 Six Nations matches, stretching all the way back to 2015. They backed this result up with a 28-27 victory over Australia in November, their first ever win against the Wallabies, and it was a sign that Italy do have the squad to push teams to their limits.

France won’t be expected to slip up when they travel to the Italian capital on Sunday, but there’s every reason to believe that Italy could cause them a few problems. Fullback Ange Capuozzo made his International debut in 2022, and he was a huge factor in their victory over Australia, scoring two tries. He was also voted Breakthrough Player of the Year by World Rugby at the end of last year, and Italy will be hopeful that Ange can be a genuine star for the Azzurri over the next decade.

I don’t expect a shock victory for the hosts, but I am also not expecting a humbling either, Italy have been given a three score handicap ahead of this encounter, and I feel that they are more than capable of keeping within this margin if they can reproduce the same level of intensity shown against Australia and Wales.

Traders’ Tip: Italy +21.5 @ 4/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 6 2023

Lots of action around the rugby 6-Nations which is on for the next few weeks.

Sheffield United v Wrexham – FA Cup – 19:45 – February 7

Sheffield United and Wrexham will go toe-to-toe once more on Tuesday night for a place in the FA Cup Fifth Round, and I believe we could be in for another classic at Bramall Lane.

Co-owner Ryan Reynolds joked prior the initial match, just over a week ago, that Sheffield United might pull off a miracle by beating his Wrexham side. He wasn’t too far from the truth as it took a 95th minute goal from John Egan to salvage a 3-3 draw for Sheffield United in a fantastic encounter.

Both teams followed that match by winning their league fixtures over the weekend to maintain their respective promotion prospects, but all focus will now be on trying to secure a home tie against Tottenham Hotspur in the next round of the FA Cup.

Last time around I predicted that we would see at least 4 goals in the fixture at a generous price, I am fully expecting both teams to take a similar approach for the replay, but I believe we could finally see the end of this year’s fairy-tale story.

I have no doubt that Wrexham will pose a threat to the Blades. The forward partnership of Paul Mullin and Ollie Palmer have 41 goals between them across the FA Cup and National League this season, and it will be difficult for the hosts the keep them both quiet, but with home advantage, I expect Sheffield United to have enough strength to safely progress to the next round at the second time of asking.

Traders’ Tip: Sheffield United To Win & Both Teams To Score @ 19/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £29.

Manchester United v Leeds United – Premier League – 20:00 – February 8

This past weekend through up some surprises in the Premier League. Arsenal lost at struggling Everton, Wolves ran riot over Liverpool, Newcastle were held at home to West Ham, and both Chelsea and Man City couldn’t find a way past Fulham and Spurs respectively.

Manchester United were one of very few teams who were able to avoid coming unstuck, prevailing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, meaning that the Red Devils have now won their last 13 matches at home.

Leeds United will be the next team to try and break the streak when they travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, however, the West Yorkshire side have won just one away Premier League match this season, and were defeated 1-0 at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Leeds will not be expected to get much from their trip to Manchester, especially given they have kept just one clean sheet from their last 15 away fixtures in all competitions, and the odds reflect that belief, with the hosts clear favourites to win the tie.

If  we are expecting Man United to score at least once, then I would be looking no further than Marcus Rashford finding the back of the net. The England striker has scored in 10 of his last 13 appearances for his club, and was once again on target against Palace on Saturday. There’s been little sign of Rashford’s red-hot form slowing down, and the slight odds against for him getting on the scoresheet is far too tempting to ignore.

Traders’ Tip: Marcus Rashford To Score Anytime @ 6/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £22.

Ireland v France – Six Nations Championship – 14:15 – February 11

The opening weekend of the Six Nations saw some truly breath-taking Rugby, and we get to enjoy it all once more this weekend when the second round of fixtures gets underway when Ireland welcome France to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

France were made to work hard for a victory against Italy. The win means that France have now won their last 14 fixtures, including all five on their way to last year’s Grand Slam, but the manner of their victory in Rome does not fill me with confidence ahead of their trip to Dublin.

I was expecting Italy to keep the scoreline respectable, but I certainly didn’t think they’d be leading entering the last quarter of an hour. The visitors needed a late Matthieu Jalibert try to secure a 24-29 victory, but they still had to endure late Italian pressure during the last couple of minutes.

Ireland, on the other hand, were impressive in this year’s opener. They cruised to a 27-3 half time lead against Wales, a period which firmly asserted their position as the World’s best ranked side. They were less convincing during the opening part of the second half, but still managed to run out 34-10 winners in Cardiff.

This will probably be the toughest test, on paper, that both sides will face in this year’s competition, but Ireland have shown enough to merit favouritism ahead of their encounter. They are currently on their own 12 match home winning streak, including victories over Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and claiming a victory over the reigning Six Nations champions will be a solid marker in their quest for both Six Nations and World Cup glory in 2023.

France will need to lift their game if they want to extend their winning run to 15, but, based on opening round performances, I fear that a trip to the Irish capital could be too much of a hurdle for Les Bleus to overcome.

Traders’ Tip: Ireland -4.5 @ 5/6. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.33.

Scotland v Wales – Six Nations Championship – 16:45 – February 11

Wales started their second era under coach Warren Gatland with a far from convincing defeat to Ireland. The first half display was arguably one of their worst ever opening day performances, they trailed by 24 at the break, seemed void of any kind of inspiration, and looked like a team that was still haunted by the ghost of the recently departed ex-coach Wayne Pivac.

There were glimpses of quality from the Welsh during the second half, but they lacked a decisive cutting edge when attempting to get past a stubborn Irish defensive line.

Scotland made history in their opening Six Nations fixture. Their 29-23 victory over England ensured that they not only retained the Calcutta Cup for a second year running, but it was also the first time they have won back-to-back fixtures at Twickenham.

It’s now also the third straight year that Scotland have won their opening Six Nations fixture, having also started against England in the previous two editions, however, they went on to lose their next fixture in 2021 and 2022, with Wales derailing their progress on both occasions.

If Wales can manage to build on their second half showing against Ireland, then I firmly believe that this fixture is more in the balance that the odds currently suggest. Gatland has shown his ability to turn their fortunes around in the past, and his first major challenge will be finding a way to subdue the threat of Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe if they want to overcome a difficult test in Edinburgh.

The South-African born winger scored two decisive tries in their victory over England, and if the Welsh defence can find a way to keep him quiet, then they have a great chance of getting their Six Nations campaign firmly back on track.

Traders’ Tip: Wales To Win @ 85/40. A £10 bet at these odds could return £31.25.

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs – Super Bowl LVII – 23:30 – February 12

The pinnacle of the NFL season is upon us, and this weekend will see the NFC Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, face the AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs in Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.

Both teams entered the playoffs with a 14-3 regular season record, both were the top-seeded teams in their respective Conferences, yet they have had contrasting performances during the postseason campaign.

The Eagles pretty much breezed their way to the NFC title, claiming 38-7 and 31-7 wins against the Giants and 49ers respectively. Whilst the Chiefs claimed narrow wins over both the Jaguars and the Bengals to book their place in this season’s showpiece.

Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes broke numerous records during the 2022 regular season, mainly the record for total combined passing & rushing yards gained during a season, with 5,608. He has thrived during the postseason too, passing for a total of 521 yards, and making four touchdowns, despite playing the majority of the play offs with an injured ankle.

The Eagles, on the other hand, have been far more dominant with their running game. The 268 rushing yards gained during their victory over the Giants was their second best in their franchise’s postseason history, whilst both Quarterback Jalen Hurts (12) and Runningback Miles Sanders (11) finished the regular season inside the top eight in terms of rushing touchdowns scored.

The convincing blowouts inflicted by the Eagles in recent weeks would suggests they might be worthy of their current tag as the, albeit slight, favourites in the betting, but Kansas City have shown that they cannot be written off. Mahomes is understood to have fully recovered from his recent injury, and the Super Bowl LIV MVP seems determined to pick up that accolade once more. Given his record breaking season, I firmly believe he has the ability to produce on the biggest stage once again.

Traders’ Tip: Super Bowl MVP – Patrick Mahomes @ 6/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £22.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 7 2023

AC Milan v Tottenham Hotspur – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – February 14

The knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League get underway this week, and Tuesday will see Tottenham make the trip to Italy to face AC Milan.

Milan have really struggled domestically since the turn of the year. Their 1-0 victory over Torino on Friday evening was their first win in 8 matches in all competitions, dropping from 2nd to 5th in Serie A, and losing in both the Italian Super Cup and Coppa Italia to Inter and Torino respectively. A 5-2 home defeat to struggling Sassuolo at the end of January was a particular low point for the Rossoneri, but they should take heart from the knowledge that their French striker Olivier Giroud has scored twice in his last three starts.

Tottenham may not have looked as poor as Milan, but their recent form has been extremely inconsistent. Spurs were thrashed 4-1 by Leicester on Saturday, less than a week after a solid 1-0 victory over Manchester City.

It has been a far too familiar pattern for Tottenham season, they have often shown signs of displaying the quality that they have at their disposal, yet they have also had far too many occasions where attacking ideas have seemed absent and they have looked extremely vulnerable defensively.

It’s easy to see why this game is far too close to call from a betting perspective, it feels like it’s a case of which version of these teams will turn up at the San Siro on Tuesday night. Spurs will be looking to bounce back from that disappointing performance against Leicester, whilst Milan will be hoping that their victory over Torino will be a turning point in their season.

Given that a place in the quarter finals is at stake, I can see this first leg of the encounter being a fairly cagy affair. I don’t fancy a lot of goals, and I am expecting at least one of these teams to not find the net as a result.

Traders’ Tip: Both Teams To Score – No @ 21/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £20.50.

Arsenal v Manchester City – Premier League – 19:30 – February 15

The top two in the Premier League will meet on Wednesday night, and the result at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium is certain to go a long way to deciding the fate of the title this season.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I thought the FA Cup encounter between these two teams could have been a way for Man City to derail Arsenal’s momentum, and it certainly looks like Arsenal have started to have doubts since their 1-0 defeat in Manchester.

The Gunners have lost 1-0 to Everton and drawn 1-1 with Brentford in the Premier League since that loss, and if they suffer another defeat here then they would surrender top spot to the reigning Premier League champions.

Man City will travel to London having won four of their last five matches in all competitions. Their last journey to the northern part of the capital saw them lose 1-0 at Arsenal’s local rivals Tottenham Hotspur for a fourth consecutive season, but their recent Premier League trips to Arsenal have been far more successful.

City have won on each of their last seven visits to the Emirates in the Premier League, scoring at least twice on six occasions. Granted, this Arsenal team are performing much better than in previous seasons, but their recent form suggests that they could be starting to feel the pressure. City have been in this position before, and are well versed on finding a way to pick up results in big games like this. I am expecting the visitors to come out on top as a result and blow the race for the title wide open.

Traders’ Tip: Manchester City To Win @ 11/8. A £10 bet at these odds could return £23.75.

Barcelona v Manchester United – UEFA Europa League – 17:45 – February 16

Two of the biggest clubs in world football will collide in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday when Barcelona welcome Manchester United to the Nou Camp.

Barcelona were unable to reach the Champions League knockout stages for a second consecutive year, hence why their only chance of European silverware this season will be in UEFA’s secondary competition. However, their domestic form, despite their early behind the scenes woes, has been almost flawless.

Barcelona sit 11 points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table, having dropped just 7 points in their first 21 games. Only Napoli, in Serie A, can match that form across Europe’s top five leagues. Barca are also currently on a 16 match unbeaten run in all competitions, stretching all the way back to their 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League back in October.

Manchester United are also a team who have seemingly grown stronger as the season has progressed. A 3-2 defeat at Arsenal in January is their only loss in their last 17 competitive fixtures. They currently sit third in the Premier League table, and have also got an opportunity to pick up their first silverware in six years when they face Newcastle in the EFL Cup final at the end of this month.

With both teams being in such solid form this really could be an entertaining encounter. Manchester United have scored in 23 consecutive games and will be more than confident that they can get a result in Spain. The absence of Christian Eriksen will be a huge blow for Man United, the Danish midfielder has played a key part in 11 of their goals this season, but they do have Brazilian midfielder Casemiro available once again.

I would not be surprised to see United get on the scoresheet in this fixture, however, Barcelona have been pretty dominant in their past fixtures against the English team. Barca have lost just one of their last 11 games against Manchester United, including a 2-0 victory in the 2009 Champions League final, and this, coupled with their impressive recent form, suggests to me that they should able to come out on top and take a lead to the return fixture at Old Trafford next week.

Traders’ Tip: Barcelona To Win & Both Teams To Score @ 23/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £33.

Leigh Leopards v Salford Red Devils  – Super League – 20:00 – February 17

The Super League returns this week where, for the next nine months, twelve teams will battle it out for a place in October’s Grand Final and a chance to be crowned champions of Super League XXVIII.

On Friday night, the cameras will be in attendance at Leigh Sports Village when the recently re-branded Leigh Leopards will host Salford on their immediate return to Super League action following promotion from the Championship.

The formerly named Centurions will be hoping the name change will lead to a more successful spell in the top flight of British Rugby League, after picking up just two wins from 22 matches during their last campaign two seasons ago.

Leigh have been relegated in each of their three previous seasons in the Super League, but they have prepared for this season by signing a whole host of players who they believe will make them far more competitive this time around.

Arguably their biggest signing is Centre Zak Hardaker, who started for Leeds Rhinos in last season’s Grand Final defeat to St Helens, and also appeared for Wigan in the Grand Final two years earlier. He will be joined by winger Tom Briscoe, who also started for the Rhinos just under five months ago. Both will no doubt play a vital role in Leigh’s attempt to establish themselves as a competitive Super League team over the course of the season.

Salford were beaten by St Helens in the semi-finals last year, and they will be hoping to build on that having retained the vast majority of the squad that started that match against the Saints back in October.

With such a large turnaround of key players, it remains to be seen whether or not Leigh can hit the ground running. They certainly have the basis for a solid looking Super League team, but it may take a handful of games for them all to gel together. I would be expecting an established Salford unit to be able to take advantage of this on the opening weekend, and they should have more than enough to cover the relatively small handicap as a result.

Traders’ Tip: Salford -2.5 @ 9/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £19.

Leigh Wood v Mauricio Lara – WBO World Featherweight Title – Approx. 22:00 – February 18

Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena will be the focal point of DAZN’s coverage on Saturday night when Mexico’s Mauricio Lara challenges local boy Leigh Wood for the latter’s WBO World Featherweight Title.

This bout was initially supposed to take place back in September of last year, but Wood was forced to pull out 10 days prior due to a torn bicep. Lara would go on to beat Jose Sanmartin in October instead, defeating the Colombian in the third round in front of his home supporters in Mexico City.

Lara has already opined that Wood ‘faked’ his injury, and this looks to have riled the British champion. Wood seems to have taken this comment very personally, and I fear that he may fall victim of letting his emotions get the better of him ahead of this bout.

Wood has proven that he is a phenomenal fighter, in fact, his successful defence against Michael Conlan, courtesy of a 12th round knockout, was a strong contender for fight of the year in 2022, but it felt to me like it’s only due to the nature of the ending.

Conlan was well ahead on all three of the judge’s scorecard’s heading in to the 10th, Woods controversially scored a knockdown during the 11th to set up a grandstand finish, and scored a KO victory midway through the 12th.

There’s no denying that Wood was second best for most of first half of that fight, and when he faces Lara it feels like he is going to be in for a much sterner challenge, Mauricio is seven years Conlan’s junior, and hits much harder. Wood suffered a first round knockdown in that bout and, at the age of 34, it feels like he would need a minor miracle to avoid being completely overwhelmed in the early stages of this encounter.

I personally can not see how an aging Leigh Wood can compete with Lara, even with the Nottingham crowd behind him. The Mexican will no doubt be targeting a quick finish with hard hitting blows, and I can see him finishing this one inside the first three rounds as a result.

Traders’ Tip: Lara to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ 33/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £43.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 8 2023

Liverpool v Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – February 21

Liverpool will host Real Madrid on Tuesday night in a repeat of last season’s UEFA Champions League final.

Liverpool have been far from their best since the two sides faced each other in Paris back in May. They currently lie eighth in the Premier League and the prospect of missing out on Champions League football next season looks like it might be a real possibility for the Reds. They have, however, picked up back to back 2-0 wins over both Newcastle and Everton in the Premier League over the last fortnight, with January signing Cody Gakpo finding the net in both fixtures following his signing from Dutch side PSV.

Real Madrid currently lie second in the La Liga table, eight points behind leaders, and fierce rivals, Barcelona. The visitors also recently secured the FIFA Club World Cup following a 5-3 victory over Saudi side Al-Hilal in Morocco, and they will be hoping that they can maintain a run of form which has seen them lose just one of their previous 10 matches in all competitions.

Despite struggling to maintain their form over more than a handful of matches, Anfield has still remained a relatively secure environment for Liverpool. The Reds have lost just one match at home in competitive fixtures since their 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan at the same stage of last season’s Champions League.

The erratic nature of Liverpool’s results means that I cannot back either side with much confidence. It once again feels like they may have turned a corner, but we have seen them fail to build on strong performances on numerous occasions this season.

I am not expecting either side to approach this one with an overly attacking mentality. Both teams will be well aware of the threat of the opposition, and I would expect this to be a more cautious affair with both Liverpool and Real Madrid focusing on a solid defensive display. None of last week’s Champions League fixtures had more than 2 goals, and I am fully anticipating a similar outcome at Anfield on Tuesday.

Traders’ Tip: Under 2.5 Goals @ 23/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £21.50.

RB Leipzig v Manchester City – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – February 22

The final two Champions League Last 16 ties will get underway on Wednesday, and whilst Inter Milan will be hosting Porto in one fixture, Manchester City will be travelling to Germany to face RB Leipzig in the other.

Last week, City briefly wrested top spot in the Premier League from Arsenal, following a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium. However, they ceded their position over the weekend following a 1-1 draw away to Nottingham Forest. It was a disappointing performance all round for City, who should really have been well out of sight before Chris Wood’s 84th minute equaliser.

Leipzig are currently sitting 5th in the Bundesliga table, but they are only four points behind the leading trio of Bayern, Dortmund and Union Berlin, following an impressive 3-0 away victory over VfL Wolfsburg. The hosts will also be boosted by the return of forward Christopher Nkunku, after featuring against Wolfsburg, following a three-month injury.

Man City enter this encounter as favourites, but I don’t see this being as straightforward as some may be anticipating. Bayern, Dortmund and Real Madrid have all visited Leipzig this season, and none of them walked away with a victory. Their attacking spirit has worked well for them thus far, and with Man City scoring 60 times across 24 Premier League matches, it feels like this could be a game which is filled with goals.

Frenchman Nkunku has scored 16 times in 23 appearances for Leipzig this season and will be a major threat for Man City on Wednesday evening if he can find form once more. He netted a hat trick against City in the group stages of last season’s competition, and the price on offer for him to score anytime looks to be far too big to ignore.

Traders’ Tip: Christopher Nkunku to score anytime @ 3/1. A £10 bet at these odds could return £40.

Manchester United v Barcelona – UEFA Europa League – 16:45 – February 23

After an incredible match last week, Manchester United and Barcelona will lock horns once more, as both teams look to book their place in the next round of this season’s Europa League.

The 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp last Thursday was a real indicator of how well-gelled Manchester United are as a team. I was expecting Barcelona to come out on top in that encounter, however, it was United that seemed to carve out the better chances, and they will feel confident of raising their game once more when they welcome the Spanish giants to Old Trafford.

I am expecting this to be another fantastic encounter, especially with the tie delicately poised. I would love to see the English team progress, but I fear that this could be one step too far for the hosts.

Courtesy of the aforementioned 2-2 draw, Barcelona have now lost just one of their last 12 matches against Manchester United, and I am going to stick with the same selection as last week, Barcelona winning and both teams scoring, as a result.

Traders’ Tip: Barcelona To Win & Both Teams To Score @ 9/2. A £10 bet at these odds could return £55.

Wales v England – Six Nations – 16:45 – February 25

This weekend sees the return of the Six Nations after a week’s respite, with England travelling to Cardiff to face a struggling Welsh team at the Millennium Stadium in this Saturday’s evening fixture.

The hosts looked extremely poor a couple of weeks back when they travelled to Scotland. I truly believed that they might have been able to turn a corner and find a victory at Murrayfield, but the Dragons were soundly beaten 35-7 against a more than game Scotland side.

England were able to bounce back from their opening day defeat to the Scots, beating Italy 31-14 at Twickenham, and they will be well aware of the importance of maintaining that momentum when they face a struggling Wales team during the third round of fixtures.

The drama within Welsh rugby is set to reach fever pitch by Wednesday. Captain Alun Wyn Jones has threatened player strike action due to an ongoing dispute over contracts, and this is not the most ideal way to prepare for a crucial Six Nations encounter. England have not exactly been firing on all cylinders either, but it feels like they will be entering this fixture fully prepared for the task at hand.

Wales are clearly a team in turmoil right now, both on and off the field. I was one of those that believed that the re-appointment of Warren Gatland would have had a positive impact, but based on their performance against Scotland, it seems like it’s a camp that is completely void of any sort of positivity. I can’t see how anything is going to have improved over the last couple of weeks, and I would expect to see a comfortable England victory as a result.

Traders’ Tip: England –5.5 @ 10/11. A £10 bet at these odds could return £19.09.

Manchester United v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup Final – 16:30 – February 26

The first piece of domestic silverware will be up for grabs on Sunday when Manchester United and Newcastle United travel to Wembley for the 2023 Carabao Cup Final.

Manchester United will be aiming to lift the trophy for the first time since beating Southampton in 2017, whilst Newcastle will be looking to win the competition for the first time, and also lift their first domestic trophy since winning the FA Cup way back in 1955.

Man United have strolled their way to this season’s final, beating Aston Villa, Burnley, Charlton and Nottingham Forest, all by more two or more goals, as well as keeping a clean sheet in their last four League Cup victories.

Newcastle looked like they could have suffered a shock early exit when they trailed 0-1 against League Two Tranmere Rovers in the second round, but they recovered to claim a 2-1 victory at Prenton Park, and have since gone on to defeat all Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Leicester and Southampton. They haven’t always looked convincing, but they have managed to find a way to win through difficult challenges to book their place in Sunday’s showpiece.

This looks set to be a great battle between two teams who are looking to secure Champions League football for next season in the Premier League. Newcastle’s 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League at the weekend is likely to have given their confidence a bit of a knock. First-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope be absent for the tie after being sent off in that fixture, and that will also be a huge blow for a team that has relied on their defensive strength for large parts of this season.

Manchester United continue to look strong under manager Erik ten Hag, and they followed up a solid display against Barcelona in the Europa League with a convincing 3-0 victory at home to Leicester on Sunday. The Red Devils have now scored in each of their last 25 matches, with Marcus Rashford scoring in both of their fixtures last week. The England striker has now taken his tally since returning from World Cup duty in December to 16 goals in 17 appearances.

I feel like it’s hard to ignore the strength of this Manchester United team in an attacking sense, and they should prove to be too strong for a valiant Newcastle side. Man United have scored at least twice in thirteen of their last fourteen fixtures, and I fancy them to keep that run going en route to winning at Wembley this Sunday.

Traders’ Tip: Manchester United Total – Over 1.5 Goals @ 11/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £21.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 9 2023

Fulham v Leeds United – FA Cup – 19:45 – February 28

FA Cup Fifth Round action gets underway this week with sixteen teams vying for a place in the Quarter Finals. With all eight fixtures being streamed live on UK terrestrial platforms, I have decided to initially focus on Craven Cottage, where Fulham will take on fellow Premier League outfit Leeds United.

The hosts are currently lie sixth in the Premier League and have looked very comfortable plying their trade in the top flight this season. Their only defeats at home this season have come against Manchester United, Tottenham and Newcastle, all of which currently sit above them in the Premier League.

The visitors have won just twice on the road all season, including a 3-1 victory in the last round of the FA Cup at League One strugglers Accrington, and they are currently in a tough battle at the foot of the Premier League table, however, under the guidance of new coach Javi Gracia, they managed to pick up a 1-0 victory over Southampton at the weekend to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.

I feel that this fixture is one which may not be too high on the list of priorities for Leeds, as they’ll likely be more focused on ensuring their Premier League survival. The hosts are currently on course for their best ever league finish, and they could use a decent run in the cup as a way to put some gloss on a solid return to top flight action, they are currently on a six match unbeaten run in all competitions and I believe that they will be more than capable of getting the better of a struggling Leeds side.

Traders’ Tip: Fulham to Win @ 11/10. A Sports Bet £10 bet at these odds could return £21.

Manchester United v West Ham United – FA Cup – 19:45 – March 1

Following on from their Carabao Cup final victory on Sunday, Manchester United will be hoping to keep their hopes of winning four trophies alive when they welcome West Ham to Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Man United continue to impress me on the field with their almost indomitable team effort. Their 2-0 victory against Newcastle at Wembley was a fitting end to a week that also saw them navigate their way past La Liga leaders Barcelona in the Europa League, a result which I thought was beyond them, but they were deserved winners across the two legged encounter.

West Ham will travel north brimming with confidence following their 4-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest at the weekend, but they are another team that haven’t travelled well in the top flight. The Hammers haven’t won a Premier League tie away from home since beating Aston Villa back in August, however, their away form in cup competitions is unblemished, having won at both Derby and Brentford in the last two rounds of this competition, as well as winning all four of their matches on the road in this season’s Europa Conference League.

I am starting feel like a broken record when talking about Man United’s recent scoring form, but I firmly believe it cannot be ignored. The Red Devils have scored at least twice in seventeen of the nineteen matches they have played since the conclusion of the Qatar World Cup, as well as in the two matches preceding the International break. This includes games against Arsenal, Man City, and both home and away legs against Barcelona.

I don’t want to take anything away from their opponents, but it feels like there’s a strong sense of unity at Old Trafford, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that they are going to slow down any time soon. I fully expect them to enter this match with a real sense of determination and win, whilst also maintaining their impressive scoring form.

Traders’ Tip: Manchester United to win & Over 1.5 Goals @ 9/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £19.

Real Madrid v Barcelona – Copa Del Rey – 20:00 – March 2

El Classico plays out in the Copa Del Rey this week as Real Madrid host Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final showdown.

Barcelona will travel to Madrid having been knocked out of the Europa League last Thursday, and losing 1-0 at struggling Almeria in La Liga on Sunday. Barca still hold a comfortable seven point lead at the top of the table however, and can afford to show some focus to a domestic cup encounter against their fierce Spanish rivals.

Real Madrid could only muster a 1-1 draw against city rivals Atletico on Saturday afternoon, despite their opponents having a man sent off midway through the second half, but this is a potential opportunity for them to take advantage of the slight wobble in form that Barcelona have suffered over the past week.

Neither side will want to take this fixture lightly and it will hopefully live up to it’s famous moniker as a result. Real have constantly shown that they are a formidable force at the Bernabeu, they have lost just twice at home over 90 minutes since the start of 2022, however, both of those defeats came at the hands of Barcelona.

Barcelona were on an eighteen match unbeaten run prior to the start of last week, but now the focus will be on how quickly they can bounce back after suffering two successive defeats and get their season back on track.

The visitors have not suffered three straight losses since April 2016, but I feel that run could come to an end on Thursday. Real were beaten 2-0 at Mallorca at the start of February, but they had managed to find form on the back of this defeat, winning five in a row prior to their draw against Atletico, with Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema seemingly scoring for fun. The two forwards have shared ten of the 21 goals Real have scored in their last six matches, and their attacking threat should be more than enough to see them emerge victorious, however, I can’t see Barca going down without a fight, so taking both teams to find the net as part of a Madrid victory looks like it could represent the best value here.

Traders’ Tip: Real Madrid To Win & Both Teams To Score @ 16/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £42.

Penrith Panthers v Brisbane Broncos – NRL – 09:05 – March 3

A fortnight after the start of the English Super League season, Australia’s main domestic Rugby League competition returns this week as the NRL gets underway.

The curtain raiser is actually between the Parramatta Eels and Melbourne Storm on Thursday, however, I will be focusing on Friday’s encounter between the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos.

The Panthers ended last season in a flourish, topping the regular season table and then winning all three of their Finals series matches comfortably to secure a second straight NRL Premier Title.

The Broncos spent fifteen straight weeks inside the top 8 of the regular season table last year, but missed out on a place in the Finals after losing their final three matches. They’ve also had a steady rise under coach Kevin Walters. He took the helm after they picked up just three wins, and the wooden spoon, during the 2020 campaign, and has turned them in to a team that seems to be getting stronger year-on-year, and they’ll be hoping to build on their heartbreak from last season by going one step further this time around.

Penrith will head in to this fixture as strong favourites, which is understandable considering how dominant they were for most of last season, however, there’s a few key issues that seem to be looming over the Panthers ahead of the 2023 season. They have lost Villiame Kikau and Api Koroisau during the off-season, and both of these forwards played a huge part in their success last season, each making 25 appearances during the campaign.

Their absence was noted in the recent Club World Challenge, where Penrith were defeated by St Helens in front of their own supporters. It might not have been a comprehensive defeat, losing via a golden point in extra time, but they seemed to suffer in the absence of the two departed Fijian Internationals.

The Broncos seemed to simply run out of gas towards the end of last season following a solid start, and I can see them starting off 2023 with similar promise. I am not bold enough to suggest that they can spring a surprise at the BlueBet Stadium but I can see them keeping the game competitive, especially if Penrith take some time to find the killer attacking instinct.

Traders’ Tip: Brisbane Broncos +13.5 @ 9/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £19.

Manchester City v Newcastle United – Premier League – 12:30 – March 4

Newcastle United will be aiming to put the hangover of their Carabao Cup final defeat behind them when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face title challengers Manchester City.

The visitors were unable to claim their first domestic trophy in 68 years when they lost to Manchester United last Sunday, and now they must refocus on trying to secure themselves a spot in the top four of the Premier League once more.

Man City will be aiming to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the table. The reigning champions currently sit two points behind the Gunners after picking up an impressive 4-1 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday evening. However, Arsenal will face Everton on Wednesday evening in the Premier League, so there’s every possibility that they could be as much as 5 points behind the leaders before they kick-off against Newcastle early on Saturday afternoon.

A couple of months ago this would have felt like a blockbuster encounter, but it feels like Newcastle are finally starting to feel the pressure of trying to sustain a realistic challenge towards the top of the Premier League table. The Magpies have won just one of their last seven Premier League games and have found goals hard to come by since winning 3-0 at Leicester on Boxing Day. They have scored just three times in the top flight during this period, and will have to face a trip to a Man City side who have netted 11 Premier League goals in their last four matches.

My main concern for Newcastle is that they are facing a City team that look to be more than determined in their pursuit of a seventh Premier League title. There was little sign of Man City relenting when they tore apart Bournemouth, and this could spell real danger for a seemingly struggling Newcastle side who will no doubt be feeling slightly dejected following their Wembley loss.

I expect Manchester City to take full advantage of Newcastle’s recent misfortunes and win this one fairly comfortably, maintaining their own momentum at the top, and dealing another crucial blow in Newcastle’s rapidly fading Champions League aspirations in the process.

Traders’ Tip: Manchester City -1.5 @ 23/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £21.50.

Bahrain Grand Prix – F1 – 17:00 – March 5

The Formula One season will get underway this weekend when motorsport’s elite drivers and teams line up in Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Red Bull and Max Verstappen will be hoping to lead the way once more after dominating during the 2022 season. The Dutch driver was well clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Standings last year, whilst Red Bull finished over 200 points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.

Both Verstappen and Sergio Perez have expressed how pleased they are with the car’s performance, and the timing shown over the past weekend seems to back up their delight.

Verstappen didn’t take part in the final day of testing, but team mate Sergio Perez managed to set a truly blistering time around the Sakhir circuit, his 1:30:305 was not only three tenths quicker than that of the Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton, but it was also faster than the 1:30:558 set by Leclerc during qualifying during the 2022 season.

This suggests to me that we could be in for another solid season from the Red Bull team and it’s hard to look past them claiming a dominant 1-2 during the opening weekend. Perez is currently a slight odds on shot to claim a podium, and that looks like it could be a solid selection to kick off the season.

Traders’ Tip: Sergio Perez – Top 3 @ 4/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £21.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 10 2023

Chelsea v Borussia Dortmund – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – March 7

Dortmund take a narrow 1-0 lead in to the second leg of their Champions League encounter with Chelsea, and they will be hoping for a repeat of their heroics in Germany when they travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.

The hosts will have a slight boost in confidence, having won at home to Leeds United in the Premier League at the weekend, but that result was only their first win in seven matches, a run that included that defeat to Dortmund three weeks ago.

The visitors, on the other hand, have been flying during 2023. Their 2-1 win at home to Leipzig on Friday night was their tenth straight victory in all competitions, a run that has seen them move level on points with Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table, and also reach the semi-finals of their domestic cup competition.

I must admit that I am surprised to see Chelsea head in to this one as a slight odds on shout for victory. They haven’t scored more than once in any of their last 12 matches, and there’s been little to convince me that they are worthy favourites over a resurgent Dortmund side. The German team have a wave of momentum behind them and I can see them possibly sneaking a victory once again when Chelsea are forced to push forward in their pursuit to level the tie.

Traders’ Tip: Borussia Dortmund to win @ 3/1. A £10 bet at these odds could return £40.

Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – March 8

Much like fellow Premier League side Chelsea, Tottenham will also need to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit when they welcome AC Milan to North London on Wednesday evening.

I mentioned ahead of the initial fixture that was likely to be a case of which version of the respective teams turned up at the San Siro, and it almost feels like I could make all of the same arguments once more in the return fixture.

AC Milan won against both Monza and Atalanta in Serie A following their victory over Spurs, but their most recent outing saw them lose 2-1 at mid-table Fiorentina.

The hosts bounced back from defeat in Milan with 2-0 victories over West Ham and Chelsea, before losing 1-0 to both Wolves and Championship club Sheffield United in their last two matches.

The extremely hit-or-miss nature of both of these clubs makes me believe that which team ultimately progresses lies really does lie in the balance. With that in mind, the value selection, in my opinion, looks to be taking odds against on the hosts to progress to the Quarter Finals

Traders’ Tip: Tottenham Hotspur To Qualify @ 7/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £24.

Sporting Lisbon v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – 17:45 – March 9

The Premier League leaders will travel to Portugal on Thursday evening when Sporting Lisbon host Arsenal in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Both teams will enter this fixture on the back of four straight victories. Sporting have won their last three to nil, including a 4-0 victory in Denmark against Midtjylland to book their place in this stage of the competition, whilst Arsenal have shown a real ‘champions mentality’ when coming from behind to secure stoppage time victories against both Aston Villa and Bournemouth in recent weeks, ensuring that their Premier League destiny remains firmly in their own hands.

If this were a Champions League knockout stage fixture I would firmly be behind the visitors leaving with a victory, but I have a feeling that they might have more than one eye focused on their Premier League trip to Fulham on Sunday.

Maintaining their 5 point margin over second placed Man City is likely to be the priority for the Gunners, and I can see them potentially fielding a slightly ‘weaker’ line-up as a result. Sporting have already shown that they are more than capable of springing somewhat of a surprise in UEFA competitions this season, having won against both Frankfurt and Tottenham when finishing third in their Champions League group, and I could see them taking advantage of a potentially distracted Arsenal team on Thursday if given the opportunity.

Traders’ Tip: Sporting Lisbon To Win @ 23/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £33.

Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys – NRL – 09:05 – March 10

Having tipped up the Brisbane Broncos to stay within 14 points of the reigning champions Penrith Panthers last week, I found myself with a pretty mixed bag of emotions come Friday lunchtime. I was naturally pleased to see them run out 13-12 winners, but I was left cursing myself for not being bold enough to predict the upset, even if they did only get over the line courtesy of a late missed penalty and a disallowed try from the Panthers.

This week the Broncos will welcome the North Queensland Cowboys to the SunCorp Stadium for the ‘Queensland Derby’, one of the hotly contested rivalries in the NRL and, like the hosts, the Cowboys will enter week two on the back of a narrow opening round victory, having won 19-18 against the Canberra Raiders.

It was a tale of two halves for the Cowboys. Having breezed to an 18-0 lead, they allowed Canberra to draw level midway through the second half, before sealing victory following a Chad Townsend drop goal five minutes from time.

If the Cowboys come out firing with a similar standard of play then I believe the hosts will be in for a long evening. The manner in which the North Queensland raced in to that early lead, with slick passing and solid attacking intent, was precisely what the Panthers lacked against the Broncos.

Brisbane relied on a lot of luck during the closing stages against Penrith, and I can’t see a strong looking North Queensland side being as wasteful if they are handed the opportunity to really test the Broncos defensive line.

Traders’ Tip: North Queensland Cowboys to Win @ 21/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £20.50.

England v France – Six Nations – 16:45 – March 11

Saturday afternoon sees a showdown between England and France at Twickenham. Where both teams will be hoping to keep their slim Six Nations title hopes alive.

Both sides enter this one having picked up 10 points from their opening three fixtures, therefore, a victory is a necessity if they want to stand any chance of capitalizing on any possible mistake by the fearsome Irish who have won all three of their fixtures so far.

England will have the home support for this one, but it will be interesting to see if that is going to be enough to carry them over the line against the number two ranked team in the world. Despite winning their two most recent matches in the competition, against Wales and Italy, the Three Lions will still be hurting after their opening round loss here against Scotland.

France didn’t suffer the same fate as England in their most recent outing, picking up a 32-21 victory in Paris over the Scots, but they have their own recent wounds following their Dublin loss to Ireland in round two. Les Bleus had been on a 15 match winning streak prior to that defeat, and will be eager to get their momentum firmly back on track ahead of hosting the World Cup in September.

Despite their two recent victories, I’m still not sure whether England have enough to get the better of their opponents here. They needed a late Ollie Lawrence try to finally put the game beyond a struggling Wales team who have looked completely out of sorts for over a year. They will need to find another gear from somewhere if they want to overcome the world’s second best ranked side, and there’s not been too much over the first three fixtures to convince me that they have the belief to raise their game.

France have consistently been able to find that extra level to haul themselves over the line, and their recent victory over Scotland was an indicator that they have the ability to bounce back from defeat. During their recent winning run they managed to beat every other nation currently sitting in the top 10 of the world rankings, and they have enough quality in their ranks to overcome an England team that still don’t feel quite ready for this Autumn’s World Cup.

Traders’ Tip: France -1.5 @ 4/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.

Scotland v Ireland – Six Nations – 15:00 – March 12

The final fixture in this weekend’s Six Nations will see Ireland travel to Murrayfield to face a constantly improving Scotland.

There’s not too much than can be said when it comes to the Irish, they’re currently the best ranked team in the world, they have won all three of their fixtures up to this point, against Wales, France and Italy, scoring over 30 points in each, and it almost felt like an inevitability heading in to the tournament that they would breeze their way to a Grand Slam victory this year. They need just two more victories to seal that feat, starting against Scotland, and that would be the ideal preparation heading in to this year’s World Cup.

Scotland have been a team on the rise for the last couple of years now, they followed up their opening round victory over England with a comprehensive 35-7 victory over a struggling Welsh team, before coming up short when faced with the French juggernaut two weeks ago. There’s a lot to like about this current crop of players, winger Duhan van der Merwe has shown moments of real quality, whilst fly-half Finn Russell has shown his ability to create try scoring opportunities, as well as his confidence in adding scoreboard pressure with the boot.

A showdown with Ireland, however, looks like an uphill challenge. Scotland have managed to capitalise on gaps afforded to them by their opponents, but opportunities to score may be kept to a premium against a well organised Irish defence. That, paired with Ireland’s ability to score plenty of points, leads me to believe that the visitors should be more than capable of comfortably seeing off a spirited Scotland team and racing towards their third Six Nations Grand Slam victory.

Traders’ Tip: Ireland -6.5 @ 4/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.

From The Trading Floor Archive Week 11 2023

Manchester City v RB Leipzig – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – March 14

Manchester City will be aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the sixth year running when they take on RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in Germany for the first leg, leaving the tie delicately poised ahead of their showdown in Manchester.

City took the lead when the two sides last met, courtesy of a goal from Riyad Mahrez but they were pegged back in the 70th minute following a header from Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol. The Sky Blues should probably have been out of sight by that point though, having owned over 60% of the possession, but they failed to make their dominance count and ultimately had to settle for a draw.

That hindrance came just a matter of days after they suffered a similar fate against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, however, they have seemingly returned to their dominant form that most Premier League fans have become accustomed to over the past decade.

City have won all four of their matches since that game last month, beating Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Newcastle in the Premier League, maintaining their five point deficit to Arsenal, and also picking up a 3-0 victory over Championship side Bristol City to reach the quarter-final of the FA Cup.

Leipzig enters this tie having picked up a 3-0 victory over the syllable-busting Borussia Monchengladbach, leaving them third in the Bundesliga table and set to be playing Champions League football for a fifth consecutive season.

City enter this one as strong favourites, and rightly so. They just know how to find the back of the net at home, with their last failure to score at the Etihad coming in a 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon at the same stage in this competition last year.

Leipzig might have the second best defensive record in the Bundesliga this season, but City are a team that seem to lift their game to another level when it really matters and, with Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Julio Alvarez, Bernado Silva, and Erling Haaland, all finding the net in the last three weeks they look like a team that’s fully prepared to push for the FA Cup, Premier League and their first Champions League title.

These two played out a nine goal thriller when Leipzig last visited the Etihad 18 months ago, with Man City picking up a 6-3 victory, and I am expecting the goals to flow in a home victory once again.

Traders’ Tip: Man City To Win & Over 3.5 Goals @ 9/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £28.

Real Madrid v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – 20:00 – March 15

Despite racing in to a 2-0 lead against Real Madrid at Anfield, Liverpool face an uphill task if they want to overcome their Spanish rivals and book their place in the last eight.

A defensive capitulation saw Liverpool eventually fall to a 5-2 defeat, leaving Real Madrid in a commanding position ahead of the second leg of their tie.

For Liverpool, this drastic change in performance has pretty much summed up their entire season. At one point they can look terrifying, then seemingly switch to being fairly ordinary in an instant.

Their season so far has seen them win 9-0 against Bournemouth, 7-0 against a resurgent looking Manchester United, and 7-1 at Rangers, yet they have also suffered 3-0 losses against Brighton and Wolves, a 4-1 loss to Napoli, and their 5-2 defeat in aforementioned first leg against Real Madrid.

Madrid might have lost against Villareal, Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano and Leipzig this season, but all of those defeats have come on the road. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, their home form at the Bernabeu has been blemished by just one team since the start of 2022, that being domestic rivals Barcelona, who then went on to pick up their third victory there in the Copa Del Rey.

Real don’t even need to win here, their three goal lead heading in to encounter means that they’ll still be fully expected to progress, even in defeat, but there’s far too much inconsistency in this Liverpool team to even give them an outside chance of causing a major shock. Madrid simply seem to know how to deal with their English counterparts, they have won 6 of their last 7 meetings, and have scored at least three times on four of those occasions.

Liverpool will no doubt give this one a go and, but I expect Real to once again come out on top over the course of 90 minutes.

As a result I’m going to give a similar prediction to the one from the previous day, where the hosts come out on top in a game with plenty of goals

Traders’ Tip: Real Madrid To Win & Over 3.5 Goals @ 19/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £48.

Cheltenham Gold Cup – Horse Racing – 15:30 – March 16

The eyes of the racing world, as well as most of the betting community, will be on Gloucestershire this week for one of the biggest events in the British sporting calendar.

The Cheltenham Festival is regarded as the pinnacle of UK jumps racing season, with over £6 million in prize money up for grabs over the four day, twenty-eight race spectacle.

The main event is the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday afternoon, a race which has made the likes of Desert Orchid, Golden Miller, Arkle, L’Escargot, Best Mate, and the epic rivals Denman and Kauto Star, household names over it’s near century long history in its’ current format as a steeplechase.

Last year’s winner will also go down as an historic victor, not so much for being the Henry de Bromhead trained A Plus Tard, who improved on his second place in 2020 to win by 15 lengths in 2022, but for being ridden by Rachel Blackmore, the first female jockey to ride the winner of the prestigious race.

A Plus Tard will look to defend his title this year, but he is set to be joined at the starting line by some formidable opposition.

Favourite Galopin Des Champs enters the race having fallen at the last fence during the Novices’ Chase, despite holding a comfortable lead, at the festival last year. That is the only blemish on his chasing career, having won his five other Grade 1 chase entries by margins of 8 lengths or more.

Current second favourite, Bravemansgame, also boasts strong chasing credentials, but he struggled when finishing last of four at Aintree last year, and has also failed to sparkle here previously, when finishing 12 lengths behind Bob Olinger in the Novices’ Hurdle in 2021.

Stattler is another could challenge for the spoils, having won the Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase by 8 lengths at last year’s festival, but he was well beaten by stable mate Galopin Des Champs in his last outing a month ago at Leopardstown.

2021 winner and last year’s runner-up, Minella Indo, is another who has fairly decent claims, however, he is the oldest entrant in this years’ race, and would be the first 10 year old to win since Cool Dawn’s victory way back in 1998.

Had it not been for him being pulled up at Haydock in November, I would have been inclined to side with last years’ winner. His bizarre failure in that outing though makes me believe that he might be starting to fade. This only strengthens my own belief that Galopin Des Champs really is the one to beat, and it looks likely that only another fall at the last would prevent him from claiming the £625k prize money.

We may see a special appear regarding his performance, in which case I may review my tip, but his general price of 7/4 at the start of the week looks far too tempting to turn down

Traders’ Tip: Galopin Des Champs to Win @ 7/4. A £10 bet at these odds could return £27.50.

France v Wales – Six Nations – 14:45 – March 18

The Six Nations culminates this Saturday with two teams still in the running to claim the 2023 Six Nations Championship.

France currently sit four points behind Ireland in second place, and they will need a convincing victory over Wales, alongside an Ireland loss later on in the afternoon, in order to ensure they retain the title they won last year.

The hosts will enter their final match on the back of thrashing England last weekend. Their 53-10 victory at Twickenham handed England their heaviest ever home defeat, and helped to improve their points difference ahead of their final showdown against Wales.

Wales will feel like they have turned a corner following their 29-17 victory in Rome. That win should ensure they avoid the ‘Wooden Spoon’, and will hopefully spur them on over the coming months before the World Cup.

I would like to see Wales lift their game once more in Paris, however, the ease in which France tore through England on Saturday was frightening. Knowing that a large win would have kept them in the hunt they produced in style, and I can see them approaching this tie with a similar mindset.

Les Bleus are strong favourites to emerge victorious and, knowing that they’ll need at least four tries in order to pick up a bonus point, I can see them producing the goods once more. Wales, much like England, might have got the better of Italy, but I anticipate a stark wake up call, and a comprehensive defeat, when they emerge at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Traders’ Tip: France -18.5 @ 17/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.50.

Ireland v England – Six Nations – 17:00 – March 18

Should France pick up a victory over Wales, Ireland will know that they’ll also need to win to secure a first Six Nations crown since 2018 and also pick up the Grand Slam in the process.

I could easily make a case for Ireland running riot over England and being out of sight early on, especially given England’s dire performance against France, but these last game deciders always seem to throw up a bit of drama.

Entering their final match in a similar situation to Ireland this year, France were keep at arm’s length by England last year, before a 60th minute try from Antoine Dupont helped to secure a 12 point victory, and claim the Championship and Grand Slam in the process.

Wales won the title in 2021, but their final game saw them lose to France. The French then had the opportunity to pick up the trophy in a rescheduled match against Scotland a week later, needing a 21 point margin of victory in Paris, but they would ultimately lose by four points.

Both France and Ireland knew they could claim the title when they faced off against each other for the final fixture of the 2020 tournament, but neither met their respective requirements for glory, meaning England ended up as Champions.

Respective form would suggest that Ireland would win this, and very comfortably too. England also have nothing outside of pride to play for, they will likely finish fourth regardless of the outcome, but the sports fan in me wants to believe that we could see a dramatic end to this year’s tournament.

I still fully expect Ireland to get over the line, but seeing England frustrate them for the majority of the match in Dublin would be a fascinating climax. I’m taking the visitors to stay within a respectable margin, but I still expect the hosts to come away with the spoils.

Traders’ Tip: England +15.5 @ 17/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.50.

A £10 5-Fold on the above selections could return £1254.96


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