From the Trading Floor - Week 32

From The Trading Floor

Join Jay and DAZN Bet’s trading team as they bring you the pick of this week’s sports bets in “From The Trading Floor”

Wrexham v Wigan Athletic – EFL Cup – 20:00 – August 8

The Football season continues to get in to full swing as the first round of the EFL Cup plays out during midweek.

There’s plenty of interesting ties on Tuesday evening with six fixtures taking place between Championship and League Two clubs, but arguably one of the most anticipated fixtures will be taking place in North Wales, where League Two’s Wrexham host League One’s Wigan Athletic.

It will be the host’s first game in this competition since losing 5-0 at home to Aston Villa fifteen years ago, however, expectations will be high for the former non-league club, especially after their run to the fourth round of the FA Cup last season. However, Wrexham didn’t have the most memorable of returns to Football League action, suffering a 5-3 defeat at home to MK Dons on Saturday in their opening fixture of the 2023/24 League Two campaign.

Following their relegation from the Championship last season, Wigan began their new life in League One with a 2-1 victory away to strongly fancied Derby County. The Latics will be eager to avoid successive first round defeats to lower league opponents, after losing away to Fleetwood Town at the same stage last season.

Despite the fact that they were three divisions below their opponents a few months ago, Wrexham will be entering this one as the favourites to progress. We might have seen over the past couple of years how their home support has been, and I stated last week that I could see them lifting the League Two trophy next May, but I’d still feel fairly cautious about jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to higher league opposition.

Following their defeat to MK Dons, Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson was quick to state that he would be making “a lot of changes” for this fixture, as he looks to give his squad some much needed competitive game time, and I struggle to understand how a virtual second string Wrexham side can be confidently backed to progress. One thing we did see on Saturday is that we can anticipate plenty of goals at the Racecourse this season, but I’m going to have to side with the visitors progressing in another high scoring encounter in North Wales.  

Traders’ Tip: Wigan To Win & Over 2.5 Goals @ 43/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £53.

 

Trent Rockets v Northern Superchargers – The Hundred – 15:00 – August 9

The Hundred got underway last week with the Trent Rockets beating the Southern Brave by 6 runs, mainly thanks to Sam Hain’s 39 ball 63, and Lewis Gregory’s 3 wickets for the concession of just 19 runs for the Nottinghamshire based franchise. Since that opener, and aside from the handful of washouts, there’s been plenty of drama during the first week of competition.

Sunday’s fixture between the Oval Invincibles and Welsh Fire saw the first ever tie in The Hundred, following on from the Northern Superchargers scoring a monumental 201 runs against the Southern Brave earlier in the afternoon.

The Women’s competition is also coming along nicely, but one of the main talking points will be how the aptly named Invincibles, who have won the first two editions of the Women’s version of the tournament, are currently facing a bit of an uphill battle after picking up just one point from their opening two fixtures.

With the Men’s group still relatively tightly bunched together, Wednesday night’s encounter between Trent Rockets and Northern Superchargers definitely feels like it could be a key fixture, especially considering how both teams have already laid down early markers in this year’s competition.

The Superchargers would go on to seal a 60 run victory after posting that mammoth total against the Brave in their only completed match so far, whilst the Rockets also remain unbeaten after their scheduled second game against Birmingham Phoenix fell victim to the weather, leaving both teams level on three points towards the top end of the Hundred table.

Trent Rockets will once again have home advantage, and that continued to prove pivotal for the hosts in their opening fixture, as was mentioned last week. Their run at Trent Bridge has now extended to just one defeat in eight matches over the short history of the Hundred.

They do have a slightly large gap in their bowling attack however, I did say that Rashid Khan was likely to be a pivotal part of their line-up, but his withdrawal on the eve of the competition definitely weakened their potency. However, they were still able to pick up all ten wickets during the Brave’s run-chase last Tuesday night.

The high scoring Superchargers will clearly put the Rockets’ bowlers to the test in this fixture, the top three of Tom Banton, Matthew Short and Harry Brook scored 180 of their 201 runs on Sunday, with Namibia’s David Wiese at number four also capable of hitting the ball a long way, but I still feel that the venue is going to make all the difference on Wednesday night.

Despite their powerful batting line-up, it’s going to be difficult for the Superchargers to break the winning mentality of the Rockets on their home ground. The odds place this match pretty much in the balance, but siding with the Trent Rockets emerging victorious definitely seems to be the sensible option once again.

Traders’ Tip: Trent Rockets To Win @ 4/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.

 

Japan v Sweden – 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Quarter-Finals – 08:30 – August 11 

Friday and Saturday will see eight teams whittled down to four as the Women’s World Cup well and truly enters the business end of the competition.

We’ve seen plenty of surprises up to this point, with Germany’s group stage elimination and USA’s penalty shoot-out loss to Sweden being amongst the highlights when it comes to surprises, whilst England were given a real scare during their Round of 16 tie with Nigeria, requiring penalties to overcome a more than game African team.

Japan and Sweden will face off for a place in the last eight in Friday’s second fixture, and it should prove to be an entertaining encounter between two of the competitions most exciting teams so far.

Sweden will be fresh off that victory over the four time World Cup winners, and have looked more than capable of going all the way based on their results so far. Last week I tipped them up to beat Argentina by at least a two goal margin in their final group game, which they secured courtesy of a 90th minute Elin Rubensson penalty. The rearguard defiance of goalkeeper Zecira Musovic against the United States in their first knockout game, paired with the all-round goalscoring ability of the squad which I mentioned last week, near enough makes them a complete package, and it surprises me to find that they are still not considered amongst the favourites to lift the trophy, despite officially being ranked as the best remaining team in the competition.

Japan have also been a joy to watch during the tournament so far, in fact, they are the only team who enter the Quarter-finals having won all four of their matches inside 90 minutes, and they have rarely looked threatened up to this point. They scored 11 times during the group stages, they were one of just three teams who didn’t concede a goal in their opening three matches, and they pretty much eased to a 3-1 victory over Norway in the Round of 16 last Saturday. Their 4-0 rout over an otherwise impressive looking Spain in the final group fixture was a sign that Japan don’t seem to fear anyone, and they’ll have no reason to sit back when they face Sweden on Friday either.

This encounter definitely has the potential to be one of the games of the tournament, both teams have bags goalscoring ability and I can’t see it being a tentative affair as a result. I’d hate to call a winner, as I can honestly see it going either way, but I do like the look of it being a relatively high scoring encounter.

Traders’ Tip: Over 2.5 Goals @ 13/10. A £10 bet at these odds could return £23.

Hull Kingston Rovers v Leigh Leopards – Challenge Cup Final – 15:00 – August 12

When the first game of this season’s Challenge Cup got underway at the amateur Yorkshire club of West Bowling, few people would have expected either Hull KR or Leigh to be appearing in the final six months later, I doubt that anybody would have been bold enough to predict that both teams would be facing each other at Wembley’s showpiece, yet this weekend’s encounter IS happening and, regardless of the result, Saturday will see us crown a different Challenge Cup champion for the seventh season running.

Hull KR secured their place in the final courtesy of a Brad Schneider drop-goal during extra time against Wigan at Headingley at the end of July. It was a remarkable two weeks for the on-loan Aussie, who repeated the same feat, at the same ground, just a week earlier against Leeds Rhinos.

It may seem that KR have entered this match in the worst possible form, having suffered a huge 64-6 defeat to Wigan just over a week ago, however, winger Louis Senior and Scrum Half Rowan Milnes were the only two players who featured in both games, as the Yorkshire club opted to rest the bulk of their squad as they aim to land a first major domestic honour since winning the old First Division back in 1985.

For Leigh, the wait for a major trophy has been even longer. They last won the First Division back in 1982, whilst their wait for a Challenge Cup goes back even further, with them winning on their last appearance at Wembley over 50 years ago in 1971.

Pre-season expectations for Leigh was for a season of consolidation on their return to the Super League, but with the Leopards currently sitting third in the table, they look well set to secure a spot in the end of season Eliminators at the very least, reaching the final of the Challenge Cup really has been the icing on the cake for the Greater Manchester club. Their second half fight back against nearby St Helens at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium secured their spot in the final, and they gone with an alternative game plan of keeping everybody ‘match ready’ by fielding strong squads against both Wigan and Leeds since booking their place at Wembley.

As far as the Final itself goes, the different pre-match preparations certainly adds an extra layer to the dilemma of picking a winner. On one side, there’s a well drilled Leigh team that’s built around proven winners, players like Zak Hardaker, Tom Briscoe and Josh Charnley all tasted success with other clubs before moving to the Leopards at the start of the year, and their experience has clearly helped build them in to solid contenders at the top of the English domestic game.

Hull KR might be fighting to secure their own spot in the end of season play-offs in the Super League, but they’ve clearly shown the heart of potential Challenge Cup winners after their valiant display against Wigan in the semi-finals, Schneider’s addition from Canberra in July has certainly bolstered their squad.

If we disregard KR’s recent humbling at Wigan, they’ve certainly seen an upturn in form over the past month, allowing their players to rest could prove to be a shrewd move from Coach Willie Peters. It felt like the teams who were absent from the Semi-Finals certainly benefited from the week’s rest when they took to the field at the end of July, so I have to go with a refreshed Hull KR squad having slightly too much for Leigh as a result.

Traders’ Tip: Hull KR To Win @ 7/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £24.

 

Chelsea v Liverpool – Premier League – 16:00 – August 12 

With the UEFA Under 21s and FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place over the summer, it almost feels like Football didn’t go anywhere. However, whereas Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton will have tasted two competitive fixtures already, the other 17 clubs who finished last season’s Premier League, alongside new boys Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town, will officially get their season underway as the English top flight returns this weekend.

The first round of fixtures has some interesting matches, European Champions, and treble winners, Manchester City travel to Vincent Kompany’s Burnley on Friday, Community Shield winners Arsenal host Nottingham Forest early on Saturday, whilst Luton will get their first ever taste of Premier League football away to one of last season’s surprise packages Brighton.

Arguably the tie of the weekend though takes place on Saturday, when two historic Premier League powerhouses square off when Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea were arguably the biggest underachievers last season, finishing 12th in the Premier League and getting rid of two managers in the process. The mid-season appointment of Graham Potter didn’t reap rewards, and they have replaced the former Brighton boss with Mauricio Pochettino during the summer. The Argentine guided PSG to Ligue 1 success during the 2021/22 season, and also previously took Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2019.

The Blues have also aimed to strengthen on-field during the summer, with arguably their biggest acquisition being Christian Nkunku from RB Leipzig. The French striker scored 23 goals for the Bundesliga club last season, and Chelsea fans will be hoping for an instant impact considering they only managed to find the net 38 times over the course of the last Premier League season.

Liverpool finished fifth in the 2022/23 Premier League, but a large part of their failure to secure a Champions League place can be put down to a failure to find consistency during the first half of the season. Their form certainly picked up during the final couple of months as they ended the season unbeaten in 11 league games, including a run of seven straight victories.

Despite losing both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to Saudi clubs, the Reds have attempted to bolster their midfield over the summer, with Argentine World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister joining from Brighton, and the highly rated Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai also signing from the previously mentioned RB Leipzig.

Sunday’s encounter should prove to be an exciting encounter for both teams involved, as they look to gain early momentum in their own pursuits to close the gap on expected favourites Manchester City during the course of the season. Both clubs will no doubt be eager to get off to a strong start, and I can’t see them approaching this game with an overly expansive mindset as a result. They don’t tend to put on much of a spectacle when they play each other and, with only one of their previous eight meetings having more than two goals, it seems logical to side with this one being another fairly anti-climatic start to their respective seasons.

Traders’ Tip: Under 2.5 Goals @ 6/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £22.

A £10 5-Fold on the above selections could return £1158.54.

*Odds correct at the time of publishing. Available to UK residents (excluding Northern Ireland) aged 18+ only. T&Cs apply. www.begambleaware.org

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