English Premier League –
Tottenham vs Southampton – 1×2 & Total Tottenham & Under 2.5 goals – 4.20
Taking a little bit of value here, with the Conte era getting back on track in a game against a Southampton side who have lost just once in their last seven games.
The logic here is that Conte loves to play his best football with a defensive mindset, and that the Saints of late have been tough to beat.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – Winner & Total (incl. Overtime) – Portland Trail Blazers & Over 213.5 @ 2.37
Oklahoma City are one of the weakest teams in the league on paper, and that’s when they’re at full strength.
Right now, they’re missing their offensive catalyst in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and as a result have to turn to mediocre at best options to stay competitive.
With the Blazers at home here and boasting talent such as CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons, we don’t envision them having much trouble getting the victory.
As great as Portland’s backcourt is at putting up points in bunches, neither of Simons nor McCollum are notable on the defensive end.
We can see this one clearing the modest line of 213.5 with a pair of scoring guards like this against poor opposition, so we’re taking the winner/total double here.
Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen – Asian Total – Over 3.5 @ 1.89
Two of the top teams in Germany will battle it out on Sunday, with Champions League spots and a potential run for the title on the line.
Hosts Dortmund are coming off a 3-2 win against fellow European placing contenders Hoffenheim, although Erling Haaland and Mats Hummels are expected to miss this match through a muscle injury.
That being said, they have plenty of options up front with Marco Reus and Donyell Malen, who has begun to find his feet in the Bundesliga after his summer transfer from PSV Eindhoven.
Leverkusen are also in a rich vein of form, following wins over Borussia Mochengladbach and Augsburg.
They also cannot be underestimated when going forward, with the likes of Euro 2020 star Patrik Schick, up-and-coming Frenchman Moussa Diaby, veteran winger Karim Bellarabi and wunderkind Florian Wirtz.
Should Hummels miss as predicted, one would expect Leverkusen to find a couple of goals at least.
After all, they put two past Mochengladbach on the road and then five at home to Augsburg.
Three of the last four meetings between these sides would have seen this line get up as well, so even though this match is quite difficult to call, back both sides to continue their goal-scoring form in what should be a good contest.
La Liga –
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
1×2 & Total
Barcelona & Over 1.5 goals @ $2.80
This weeks pick of La Liga matches sees Barcelona playing their first league home game since 19th December.
Having made some key attacking signings in the transfer window, and no more crowd restrictions which will ensure a cracking atmosphere at Camp Nou, there’s a new sense of optimism at the club.
Xavi is set to unleash Aubameyang, Torres and Traore altogether, as they come off a welcome weekend break.
Atletico on the other hand won’t have as much fresh legs, with several of their South American contingent spending the break playing crucial World Cup qualifiers.
Griezmann, Kondogbia and Llorente are also out injured.
We’ll back Barcelona to begin their push back into Champions League spot contention.
With both teams showing uncharacteristic defensive frailties this season, we’ll back in the goals too
English Premier League –
Burnley Vs Watford
1×2 & Total Goals – Burnley & U2.5 @ 4.40
Roy Hodgson’s Watford travel up to bottom side Burnley in one of the few EPL fixtures to take place this weekend due to the FA Cup 4th round also taking place.
The relegation picture is currently somewhat of a mess, with Burnley having four games in hand on 17th place Norwich and only four points behind them.
Watford are two points clear of Burnley in 19th, but have played two games more and they’re also currently rock bottom of the form league, having lost eight of the last nine games.
Surely Roy’s first priority would be to tighten up the Hornets defence, with only Newcastle and Norwich having conceded more goals, and you’d think Burnley would be a good place to start, with them being only one of two teams (Norwich again being the other) who have scored less than 20 goals this season.
However the Clarets have just signed Wout Weghorst from Wolfsburg to replace Chris Wood, and this could look to be an astute signing with the striker averaging a goal every other game in Germany.
They can also welcome back Maxwell Cornet to the team after his return from the African Cup of Nations.
Conversely Watford will have to do without their top scorer Dennis, who’s suspended after being sent off at Norwich, and winger Ismaila Sarr, who’s still at the AFCON after making the final with Senegal.
I don’t expect there to be loads of goals in this, but with Watford’s poor form and their best two players missing I think Burnley will nick this.
League One – Milton Keynes Dons v Lincoln City – 1×2 Milton Keynes Dons @ 2.01
MK Dons come into this winning four from the last six to sit in fourth place in the table.
Unfortunately this has meant their star player, Matt O’Riley, has been snapped up by Celtic in the January transfer window.
However, the owner Pete Winkelman has used the transfer funds to reinvest and bring the squad standard up significantly: Connor Wickham a chance to revive his career; Matt Smith from Manchester City; Dan Kemp, an ex-West Ham academy via Leyton Orient; and a quartet of youngsters from Chelsea, Villa, West Ham and Wolves.
Lincoln visit over twenty points behind MK Dons and just three about the relegation zone.
I think the price could be generous because both teams have won more points away.
But to get a price above 2.0 with this clear chasm in the table and quality is too good to turn down.
FA Cup – Crystal Palace vs Hartlepool – Double Chance: Hartlepool or Draw @ 6.0
Currently 16th place in English League 2, the fourth tier of English football, Hartlepool doesn’t seem like the best team to pick against a premier league side.
However, with Hartlepool’s recent form looking half decent, securing draws against higher ranked teams in their last four matches, there is always a chance they can continue this run.
Not much has taken place between these two teams, with the last two FA Cup matches occurring in 1993 and 1978 with Hartlepool winning both.
Although Hartlepool technically has never lost to Crystal Palace, Palace has never lost to a fourth tier side. Praying for an upset.
Dota 2 Champions League
CIS Rejects vs Gambit-2 – Correct Score (in Maps) – 2:1 @ 3.10
Only two teams remain undefeated in Group A which is Entity and CIS Rejects. Entity holds the 1st place just because they’ve had one more match than CIS Rejects.
That last match of Entity was against Gambit and Gambit was able to hold their own even while playing with a stand-in.
Gambit was able to take one map but then eventually lost 2-1, with Entity handing them their first loss.
CIS Rejects is one of the more interesting stories in CIS Dota, a band of prominent unsigned players forming their own team and now promoted to Division 1 in the CIS region.
They definitely have something going on in there which is why I believe they will win the series but Gambit-2 is more than capable to take one map away from them.
African Cup of Nations –
Senegal vs. Egypt
1×2 Draw @ 3.00
It’s a battle of the the two Liverpool front men, as Mane vs. Salah come face to face with the AFCON title on the line.
Senegal come in to this as favourites on the back of 3 dominant displays, but I think the draw is the value tip here.
Senegal drew 2 of their 3 group stage games, and while they have convincingly won all 3 of their knockout games, the teams they have versed aren’t of the quality of a team like Egypt.
On the other hand all 3 of Egypts knockout round matches so far have been draws, and with this being a final and so much at stake, I can see them playing cautiously late on if scores are still level. I think the draw at these odds is great value here.
Elche CF vs Deportivo Alaves
1×2 Elche CF @ 2.55
We are back in La Liga with an interesting clash between two sides that have different styles of play.
Elche CF have shown to be a pretty aggressive side this season with speedy wingers and technical midfielders looking to get the ball forward quick.
Alaves however, have shown a patient style of football waiting for counter attack opportunities or creating chances with set pieces as they lack that tenacity and creativity up front.
6 points separate both teams, Elche being higher up the table but have struggled to solidify themselves a safe spot. Alaves sit second last, with the second worst goal difference in the league.
With their positive recent form and a much needed rest this past week, Elche CF have to be the favourites to secure the win this time, exploiting a down and bad Alaves.
FA Cup –
Everton v Brentford
1×2 Everton @ 2.16
This FA Cup tie is a story of two Franks as Frank Lampard takes charge of Everton for the first time, while Brentford boss Thomas Frank misses out following a positive Covid test.
Rafa Benitez was doomed to fail in the eyes of many Toffees supporters before he even began but they have their man now with Lampard and should get right behind their troops this weekend.
New signings Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek are cup tied but Everton will want to get some momentum ahead of a crucial midweek clash with Newcastle and their new boss knows he has to hit the ground running.
They will boast talented forwards Andros Townsend, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, too, so goals shouldn’t be hard to come by.
Brentford’s Winter break was marred by some disappointing social media antics from leading forward Ivan Toney and while the Bees have outperformed early season predictions, they’re still looking over their shoulders at the drop zone somewhat.
The FA Cup may be seen as a distraction and they have only been further than this round once in the last ten years.
Lampard had an astonishing FA Cup record as a player and with Everton buoyed by their new managerial appointment they look a cracking bet here to dispose of the Bees and move into the Fifth Round.