From the Trading Floor - Week 40

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”

 

Manchester United v Galatasaray – UEFA Champions League – Group A – 20:00 – October 3

It’s difficult to explain Manchester United’s topsy turvy start to this season. A fortnight ago I gave them little hope in their Champions League opener away to Bayern Munich, yet they managed to give the German giants a bit of a headache during their 4-3 defeat, they followed this up with solid victories against both Burnley and Crystal Palace, in the Premier League and League Cup respectively, seemingly turning a corner in the process, before losing 1-0 at home to Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.

Tuesday’s Champions League encounter against Galatasaray will no doubt be another focal point on the tenure of current Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and, having lost that opener in Germany two weeks ago, the Red Devils will need to produce a strong showing against their Turkish opposition in order to strengthen their position in Group A.

Galatasaray will head to Old Trafford having not lost a competitive game since a 3-1 loss away to Besiktas in April, showing that last season’s Super Lig champions are no pushovers. They have a solid enough basis of a squad, with former Spurs defender Davison Sanchez, Belgian attacker Dries Mertens, and former Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, but their squad still shouldn’t pose too many problems for United’s multi-million pound line-up.

The hosts are expected to emerge victorious as a result, but there’s no real gain to be had in backing them to win. There’s also far too much uncertainty defensively to convince me whether or not they can win convincingly. Therefore I have decided to look for someone who could prove to be a match winner for the Red Devils, and there definitely looks to be a bit of value on offer in taking Casemiro to score anytime.

The Brazilian midfielder is United’s current top scorer this season with four goals from nine appearances, and he seems to find himself in a growing number of scoring opportunities for ten Hag’s side.

He’s currently averaging two shots per game, including four in their defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend, and it certainly feels like he could be someone to consider, at a decent price, when looking for a goalscorer on Tuesday.

Traders’ Tip: Casemiro To Score Anytime @ 16/5. A £10 bet at these odds could return £42.

 

Newcastle United v Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League – Group F – 20:00 – October 4

We go from one United to another on Wednesday night as PSG will be the visitors when Newcastle United’s St James’ Park hosts its’ first Champions League group game in over 20 years.

The last team to visit the North East for a game in UEFA’s premier competition were Spanish giants Barcelona, so it only seems fitting that Tyneside will be blessed with the presence of perennial French champions Paris Saint-Germain for the homecoming reunion.

Newcastle initially endured a poor start to their domestic season, picking up just three points from their opening four league games, but their recent form has been a reminder of how they managed to finish amongst the top four clubs in least seasons’ Premier League. The Magpies are currently on a five game unbeaten run in all competitions, having kept a clean sheet in each of those games, including a goalless draw away to AC Milan in their opening Group F fixture, a 1-0 victory over treble winners Man City in the League Cup last week, and handing out an 8-0 hammering away to Sheffield United in the Premier League just over a week ago.

It feels like that belief has come back to Newcastle, and they are once again proving to be a difficult side to handle as a result.

PSG have started their own league season with just three wins from their opening seven fixtures, which will no doubt come as somewhat of a surprise for Les Parisiens. They currently sit fifth in the table as a result, just two points behind leaders Monaco, however they’re still very strong favourites to pick up their tenth Ligue 1 title in twelve seasons, with French striker Kylian Mbappe already notching 13 goals from just eight appearances for the club.

With a group also containing AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund, it felt like Group F was going to be the most difficult one to predict from the start, and I still have the feeling that this is going to be the more tentative groups in this season’s competition. Newcastle have shown themselves to be a tough team to score against in recent weeks, whilst PSG are always a dangerous prospect for any side in this competition. I don’t see either team approaching this with an overly attacking mindset, and siding with at least one of these teams not finding the net seems to be the most logical choice. 

Traders’ Tip: Both Teams Not To Score @ 6/4. A £10 bet at these odds could return £25.

 

England v New Zealand – 2023 Cricket World Cup – 09:30 – October 5

I can’t believe that it’s been more than four years since that dramatic day at Lord’s when England secured their first ever Cricket World Cup triumph. Memories of the four overthrows courtesy of Ben Stokes’s bat, the match going to a Super Over, and Jofra Archer managing to keep the Kiwis down to six runs from the final four deliveries to eventually determine the fate of the trophy by way of a boundary count.

It was one of the most thrilling games of cricket I’d ever watched, and will long go down as one of the greatest games in the history of the sport, and this Thursday the competition will open with a repeat of the final from 2019 when England and New Zealand face off once again in Ahmedabad, India.

At the start of 2023 the two teams played out yet another incredible game, when New Zealand secured a Test victory in Wellington in yet another topsy-turvy game by just a single run. However, since that day in New Zealand’s capital, games between the two have been far from the tense encounters we have grown accustom to.

The two teams have met 8 times since the end of August, all on English soil, and all in short format games, and every match has ended with a fairly comfortable margin of victory.

They shared a four match T20 series 2-2, with both teams chasing a target and defending a total with relative ease, whilst England prevailed 3-1 in a four match ODI series after batting first on each occasion.

A match in Asian conditions is sure to be yet another leveller for a game between two very evenly matched teams. New Zealand have prepared for the World Cup by playing plenty of Limited Overs cricket during this year, with 36 matches under their belt with varying levels of success, whilst England have played just half that number during 2023, including an ODI series loss to South Africa and a 3-0 T20 series loss to Bangladesh.

I don’t think England should be as strong in terms of favouritism as bookmakers seem to suggest, Bazball is great fun to watch, and the likes of Bairstow, Malan, Stokes, Buttler and Livingstone are incredible when playing to their full potential, but New Zealand also pose plenty of threat with Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, and an evergreen Will Young, with the possible addition of the vastly experienced Kane Williamson as the tournament progresses. Both are more than capable of handing out a thrashing on a good day, and I’ll have to follow my head and take a World Cup revenge victory for New Zealand as a result.

Traders’ Tip: New Zealand To Win @ 6/4. A £10 bet at these odds could return £25.

 

Catalans Dragons v St Helens – Super League – 20:00 – October 6

The Super League season reaches the final stop before the Grand Final this weekend with four semi-finalists facing off in for a spot at Old Trafford’s showcase in just over a week’s time.

Fittingly it is the four teams that finished in the top four places on the regular season ladder who will be vying for their place in the Final, and Friday’s first semi-final between Catalans and St Helens is arguably the more difficult to call considering both teams finished level on 40 points at the end of 27 games.

For the Perpignan based Catalans, it a chance for them to potentially make amends for their 2021 Grand Final defeat. The French club have never tasted Super League glory, with their only previous appearance in English Rugby League’s pinnacle coming when they were defeated at Old Trafford two years ago.

The Dragons spent most of this season at the top of the Super League table, but defeats in Rounds 23 & 24, paired with Wigan’s incredible run of nine straight Super League victories, ensured the Warriors pipped Catalans to first place by virtue of points difference. However, by finishing second the Dragons secured a direct route to the semi-finals, ensured home advantage, and will enter this weekend with an extra week’s rest having avoided the need to play during the eliminator stage.

St Helens weren’t as fortunate as Catalans in that regard, their third place finish meant that they had to face Warrington last Saturday afternoon, but the Saints were able to get through their 16-8 victory relatively unscathed.

It is something that the Merseyside club have done consistently over the last four seasons, and they’ll be confident that they can lift their game once more as they chase a fifth straight Super League triumph.

The extra week off will no doubt benefit Catalans, but stopping a team that has been unbeatable at this stage of the competition for the last four years is going to be easier said than done. The Saints are on a ten match winning streak since their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Leigh, and have won their last eight by at least a two score margin.

Spurred on by the retiring pair of stalwarts James Roby and Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, who share over 900 Saints appearances between them, I feel like this could be set to be an absolute classic by Rugby League standards and, just like they did in the 2021 Grand Final, I can see St Helens picking up another narrow, and potentially dramatic, victory.

Traders’ Tip: St Helens To Win @ 21/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £20.50.

 

England v Samoa – 2023 Rugby World Cup – Pool D – 16:45 – October 7

With the 2023 Cricket World Cup starting this week, the Super League reaching heading towards its’ climax, and Premier League action, sports fans are certainly spoilt for choice over the coming weekend, however, a large part of Saturday’s focus for me will be on the final round of fixtures in Pool D of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Despite heading in to the tournament as one of the underperformers, Steve Borthwick’s England became the first club to secure their spot as pool winners last week when Samoa lost to Japan. This Saturday they play their last Pool D fixture against the Samoans with no pressure whatsoever, and will no doubt be more focused on quarter-final preparations against an expected Fiji team as a result.

Knowing that they will top Pool D regardless of the result will give Borthwick the opportunity to fully rotate his team. The England coach would be wise to take full advantage of this, ensuring that he’s not risking any of his big names and giving his first XV plenty of rest ahead of their quarter-final game in Marseille next Sunday.

Despite being unable to qualify for the last eight, Samoa certainly still have plenty to play for on Saturday. Victory over the Lions could see the Samoans finish third in Pool D, a position that would ensure automatic qualification to the 2027 World Cup in Australia at the expense of either Argentina or Japan.

Things could have gone a lot differently for the Samoans, they rallied late against Japan last week and put on a spirited defensive display against Argentina a week prior, but struggles in terms of keeping hold of the ball have certainly cost them at this tournament. Although they cannot make the knockout stages, they have certainly shown themselves to be tricky opposition. They have conceded the least points out of all the non-tier 1 nations, and they could potentially end up being the first team to finish fourth in a Rugby World Cup Pool without a negative points difference.

In order to achieve that feat, they would need to avoid a defeat by more than 18 points which, ironically enough, is the handicap line currently on offer. The Samoans have certainly shown their battling spirit up to this point in the competition, and I quite fancy them to be more than competitive against what I am anticipating to be a weakened England team. I’ll be taking them to cover the handicap and push the English close this weekend.

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

 

Fiji v Portugal – 2023 Rugby World Cup – Pool C – 20:00 – October 8

Despite the ease in which both England and Wales have made it to the Quarter-finals, arguably the biggest surprise in this year’s competition has been the impressive nature of the Fijians in pushing Australia to the brink of a pool stage elimination for the first time in their history.

Eddie Jones’s Australian side were expected to qualify relatively easily from Pool C. They were no bigger than 1/14 to progress to the Quarter Finals at the start of the tournament, yet they will now only progress if Portugal manage to beat Fiji by at least an eight point margin. Any other result would see Fiji progress, and condemn the Wallabies to their worst ever performance at a World Cup.

It’s a scenario that seems almost impossible, Portugal have not won any of their seven previous World Cup pool stage fixtures, they are officially ranked much lower than Fiji, and they have also lost both of their previous fixtures against the Pacific Island nation. However, the World Cup so far has thrown up shocks so far, and Portugal have definitely been one of the more impressive of the “smaller” nations.

Pool leaders Wales left it very late to secure a bonus point over the Portuguese in their opening round 28-8 victory, Georgia needed a 78th minute try to snatch an 18-18 draw, and Australia were really made to work for a 34-14 victory, with 21 of the Wallabies’ points coming during a ten minute spell when Portugal had a man in the sin bin.

Fiji might have been sublime in picking up their shock 22-15 victory over Australia, and they also ran Wales close in a 32-26 loss, but they took a long time to put the Georgians to bed in their last game, trailing 0-9 at half time, and not managing to lead until the 65th minute of their encounter.

Knowing the enormity of the occasion, and based on their performances so far, I don’t think Fiji are going to come out of this fixture as runaway winners. Portugal have impressed me at times with the fluidity of their attacking play, some of the passing in the build up to Pedro Bettencourt’s opener against Australia on Sunday was World Class, and they certainly possess a level of threat that could make things difficult for the Fijians this weekend.

Fiji should be more than capable of booking their place in the quarter finals, but I feel like the quality of this Portuguese side has been underestimated, and I will be taking them to keep the scoreline more than respectable.

Traders’ Tip: Portugal +24.5 @ 17/20. A £10 bet at these odds could return £18.50.

 

A £10 6-Fold on the above selections could return £1,841.73.

 

*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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