Roberto Bautista-Agut vs Hubert Hurkacz
Total Games Over 22.5
Two top twenty players come together at the ATP Cup to produce what is on paper, one of the matches of the tournament.
Both Poland and Spain qualified for the playoffs based on the back of these two players, who are both undefeated and have dropped just one set between them.
A grinder from Spain and a big server from Poland, the only two matches between these two players have seen one go well over this games line and one short by 0.5 games.
High stakes and a trophy on the line, we expect this one to go the distance.
Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards – Handicap (incl. Overtime) Chicago Bulls -5.5 @ 1.82
The Bulls have surprised pretty much everyone outside of their own fanbase to be the leading team in the Eastern Conference as we approach the halfway mark of the season – we’re liking them to add another victory on home soil in Chicago vs. the Wizards.
Sitting pretty with a .714 record (and a fantastic .764 at home), the Bulls will take on ninth-placed Washington (.428 on the road).
The Bulls are stacked from top to bottom; with MVP calibre play from offseason acquisition DeMar DeRozan, elite defence at the PG position from Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, alongside the scoring prowess of both Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic – Chicago have been scary on both ends all year.
The Wizards, despite numerous additions to the line-up, are still reliant on superstar Bradley Beal for scoring every night.
With Caruso and Ball both the right size to lock up Washington’s star man, we wonder whether or not the Wizards will be able to keep up.
They’re not a bad team, but their record on the road is poor and the Bulls are white hot and in the midst of an NBA leading 8-game win streak. Bulls to cover at home.
FA Cup – Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sheffield United – 1×2 & Total – Wolves & Under 3.5 @ 2.22
Bruno Lage’s Wolves have exceeded expectations so far in the Premier League, finding themselves in 8th and well clear of the chasing pack, some of which are in more of a relegation fight than a top half battle.
That being said, it’s not beautiful football that has gotten them this far.
Only one team has conceded less goals than Wolves this season (Manchester City), but only one side has actually scored less than them too (Norwich City). In the last two months, only one Wolverhampton fixture has seen multiple goals and that was on November 7 in a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace.
Sheffield United on the other hand, following their unceremonious relegation from the Premier League last season, find themselves mid-table in the Championship.
Don’t let that deceive you though, as the Blades have won four of their last five league outings and appear set to fight for a promotion playoff battle in the second half of the season, despite their current status.
Although Wolves will be missing Romain Saiss through AFCON, manager Paul Heckingbottom (cracking name) will also be missing star midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White (funnily enough a loanee from Wolves) through injury.
All things considered, we’ll back the Premier League side to continue their current form and make their way into the fourth round.
Melbourne Victory vs Adelaide United
1×2 & Total Melbourne Victory & Over 1.5 @ $2.36
Despite this chaotic period for football, these odds for the competition’s top team playing at home are too good to ignore.
Fresh from playing each other mid-week in their FFA Cup tie (Melbourne winning 2-1 away), Melbourne will eye-off their third win against their ‘original rivals’ within a month.
Adelaide are yet to set the league on fire this season – only managing their first league win last week – and it’s about to get even tougher for them.
They’ve just lost their two experienced attackers in captain Stefan Mauk and Ben Halloran (J-League & K-League transfers respectively), as well as a few seniors players (and coach) testing positive for covid. They will now be even more reliant on Craig Goodwin.
Melbourne Victory conversely seem to have their team largely in tact, and will seek to further solidify first place.
FA Cup – Swindon Vs Man City – 1×2 & Total Man City & U3.5 @ 2.33
Pep Guardiola’s hopes of securing a second FA Cup Trophy will be examined this weekend after what looked like a routine 3rd Round tie against League 2 Swindon has been made more difficult after an outbreak of Covid-19 hit the first team squad.
Pep himself has it, along with seven unnamed first team players and fourteen backroom staff.
While City will have no doubt rotated their starting eleven, they’ll surely have to dip further into their reserve team than what they would have liked as a result.
Swindon on the other hand must be thinking they can have a real go here in what is a massive tie for them against one of the biggest clubs in the country.
Despite having a poor end to last year form wise with two draws and two defeats, they spanked Northampton Town 5-2 in their last outing, with striker Harry McKirdy bagging four of them.
They’ve got nothing to lose in this one, and will no doubt relish taking on a weakened Man City side.
Despite the above, I think City will still be too strong for the ‘Robins’ (reflected by how short a price they are to win the match).
However, I don’t see them putting loads of goals past a Swindon team which will surely be up for this in what could be a fairly competitive match.
Therefore I think backing City to win and under 3.5 goals is a decent shout at the price offered.
Big Bash League –
Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder – Jason Sangha Total Runs
Over 21.5 @ 1.85
Jason Sangha has arguably been the most consistent batter in the BBL this year and impressed again on Thursday night with a game high knock of 34 against league leaders Perth Scorchers.
Apart from a score of 6 against Adelaide Strikers the previous game Sangha has scores of 91, 56, 47 and 39 in his other BBL appearances and looks to have taken his game to a new level this year.
He will need to step up again with the influential Sam Billings heading back to England but Sangha has openly expressed his enjoyment for the game at the moment. Marvel Stadium has favoured the batters so far this campaign and Sangha can punish the Renegades attack with another big score on Saturday afternoon.
English Premier League – Everton FC – Leicester City FC – Double Chance & Both Teams to Score Draw/Leicester City FC & Yes @ 2.33
BTTS – Everton have scored 8 and conceded 12 in their last 5, Leicester have scored 13 and conceded 13 in their last 5.
Everton are currently missing arguably their best DEF, Yarry Mina and Leicester have Jonny Evans, Pereira and Soyuncu likely to be missing. I’ll be impressed if either keep a clean sheet.
Even with their woes at the back you have to fancy Leicester to get something on Merseyside.
Their makeshift defence kept Liverpool at bay for a 1-0 win last weekend, although a Schmeichel penalty save helped.
With Everton continuing to go get dragged into the relegation scrap, they’re highly unlikely to go more than 1 goal up in the currently intense atmosphere in Goodison Park, who are not happy with Benitez, his tactics and how the club is being run…
Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals
Handicap: Browns -6 @ 1.90
With the Bengals securing a spot in the playoffs and the Browns having already been eliminated, it will be interesting to see what each team will bring to this match.
Both teams will face off using backup quarterbacks. The Bengals will be benching Joe Burrow this week, with backup Brandon Allen taking over.
Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield is out for the Browns, replaced by Case Keenum.
Since Cincinnati will be resting the majority of their players in preparation for the playoffs with the added loss of Joe Mixon from Covid, a competitive Browns team led by Keenum could take the win in a meaningless match for both sides.
OG vs Team Tickles
Total Maps Over 2.5 @ 1.91
OG and Team Tickles. One is a household name of Dota2 while the other was newly formed just in time for the DPC season. One thing they do share is the 2nd place standing in the Round Robin stage.
Quite impressive for OG who are mostly comprised of young, relatively unknown players and for Team Tickles who are a mish-mash of Tier 2/lower Tier 1 players.
With both teams having the same W-L record against almost the same teams this tournament, I expect this one to be a closely contested match.
You could also factor in the consistency (or lack thereof) of both teams, something you gain by playing with your teammates for a long time which both sides doesn’t have much of.
I’d say instead of betting on who will win the match at almost 50/50 odds, better go with the selection backing a 3rd map to occur.
FA Cup – Newcastle vs Cambridge Utd – Asian handicap: Newcastle -1.75 @ 2.10
Backing Newcastle to comfortably win this FA Cup encounter. Newcastle has been terrible so far this season in Premier League, but I believe they are still a class above Cambridge United, who are languishing in 16th place in League One.
Backing Newcastle to still field a decent starting lineup, and given their struggles so far this season I think they will relish a chance to score a bag and win this by a decent margin.
La Liga – Deportivo Alaves v Athletic Bilbao – Halftime/Fulltime
Athletic Bilbao/Atheltic Bilbao @ 3.20
It is back-to-back Basque derbies to kick off 2022.
Alaves shared a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad last weekend as their low-scoring and stubborn form continued.
They sit in the bottom three and in the relegation zone ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures.
They now come up against an Athletic side that started the year off with a brilliant 3-1 win against Osasuna, showcasing their tenacity and attacking power, especially in these derbies.
Athletic Bilbao will be fired up after their recent win and even more so now as they look to push into the top-half and challenge for European football.