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Euro 2012 is underway, and it is always an occasion when the European Championship and the World Cup captures the world’s imagination and solidify the fact that, worldwide, soccer is the king of all sports. That means you should get up on the beautiful game before heading for your online sportsbook, but betting on international soccer is much different than wagering on club football.
The first concept that you have to decipher is whether the game is a friendly, or if there is something on the line. National teams do not play together as often as club teams obviously, so they will often schedule friendly matches with other countries to try out new formations and players ahead of the important matches, which would be the qualification matches for both the European Championship and the World Cup, as well as the different continental tournaments.
For the major tournaments, you will see the best of the best, and that is when you have to look back at how players perform for their national teams as opposed for their clubs. There could be any number of reasons why players will play in a different manner: a change in formation, or maybe they are playing with others that they are unfamiliar with. For example, teams like Spain and Germany are so successful because most of their players are teammates (or rivals) on the club level, so they know what the others like to do.
Wagering on the international game is a completely different story from club football, so you have to be ready to hunker down and do a lot of research before you make your picks, there are many facets to the game that are going to be a factor, so remember that as you are thinking about betting online on the next major international soccer tournament.
The despair swirling around the Reebok Stadium on Sunday was palpable as Bolton let a two-goal lead slip against West Brom. At 2-0 Premier League salvation was in sight, but two goals conceded in the final 15 minutes saw their hopes ruthlessly wrenched away from them.
And in a cruel twist of fate often found on a football pitch at this time of year, Djibril Cisse’s late, late goal for QPR at Loftus Road made things even worse, leaving the spectre of relegation staring the Trotters in the face.
All of a sudden Bolton’s fate has been taken out of their hands. Two 90th minute goals turned the relegation fight on its head, with Bolton now in 18th place, two points behind QPR immediately above them.
Owen Coyle’s men therefore have to beat Stoke at the Britannia Stadium to stand any chance of staying in the top flight for a 12th successive season.
The premier league betting with www.betvictor.com currently has QPR as slender favourites given they have the points in the bag. But the looming presence of title-chasing Manchester City as their final destination means they will be nervously hoping Stoke do them a favour.
City have not lost on home turf in the league this season and given victory will ensure a first title since 1968 – at the expense of their bitter rivals United – you can see why Wanderers’ survival hopes haven’t been totally written off.
Another reason for Bolton fans to be optimistic is their away form – with their six wins only bettered by three teams outside the top six. Sometimes the pressure of playing in front of your own fans can be
debilitating, so the chance to go away from Lancashire may offer some freedom on an afternoon that will be fraught with tension.
Stoke will always provide tough opposition, boss Tony Pulis insists on it, but in a campaign that has included lengthy runs in the Europa League and FA Cup, Sunday will be their 56th game of the season.
That has taken its toll on what is a relatively small squad at the Britannia, with the usual spark and vigour lacking from the Potters in recent weeks.
Therefore if you want to bet on premier league on www.betvictor.com I would still be tempted to back Bolton to stay up, with the season’s final day destined for one more cruel twist in the battle to beat the drop.
A goal from Joleon Lescott which proved enough to beat Aston Villa on Sunday maintained Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier Legaue.
Their bitter rivals, Manchester United, topped the league overnight after beating Liverpool by a 2-1 margin Saturday lunch-time but City pulled two points clear little over 24 hours later.
United appear to be clicking into gear following their victory against Liverpool and coming from three goals down to draw at Chelsea the week before. Wayne Rooney scored four goals in those two matches and United need him firing on all cylinders if they are to finish above City at the end of the season.
Roberto Mancini’s side are odds-on with the bookmakers, currently a best price of 1.67 and will be a favourite with free bets punters having arguably have an easier remaining fixture list than United. They face Chelsea and United at home and travel to Arsenal. Their next three league fixtures are all against struggling teams against Blackburn Rovers (h), Bolton Wanderers (h) and Swansea City (a).
United, on the other hand, won four points from a possible six at Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks, but must still travel to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. They are currently a best-priced 2.5 to win the Premier League.
Third placed Tottenham Hotspur are seven points behind City and can be backed at 21.0 to win the league. Spurs have a tough immediate run-in with fixtures against Arsenal (a), Manchester United (h) and Chelsea (a) to play but April should see them rack-up the points with fixtures against Swansea (h), Bolton (a), QPR (a) and Blackburn (h).
With 10 points now separating Spurs and fourth placed Arsenal, they are short odds at 1.09 to finish the season in the top four. Arsenal, level on points with Chelsea are available at 2.5 with the Blues slightly shorter at 2.1.
Newcastle United, despite being three points better off than Liverpool at this stage of the season are now much longer at 17.0 to finish in the top four. A 5-0 thrashing at “top four” rivals Spurs on the weekend means they cannot be backed with any real confidence – even with new £10 million signing Papiss Cisse up front with 16-goal striker Demba Ba.
At the Bottom
If you thought it was tight at the top, you can barely slip a credit card between the butt cheeks of the bottom five. Wigan’s 2-1 victory at Bolton on Saturday still sees the Latics propping up the rest of the table but they are now just two points adrift of safety.
Blackburn got a much needed victory against Queens Park Rangers, who lost their second “six pointer” in as many weeks following a home defeat to Wolves last weekend.
However, Wolves slipped back into the bottom three on Sunday after a 5-1 home crushing by local rivals West Bromwich Albion. Indeed, Blackburn leapfrogged them in the table without kicking a ball due to the effect on their goal difference.
Wigan (1.36), Wolves (1.73), Bolton (1.8) and Blackburn (1.8) all find themselves odds-on with the bookmakers to get relegated, despite on three teams facing the drop each season. QPR are perhaps better value at 2.5, despite all the money they have spent while Aston Villa (21.0), West Brom (21.0) and Swansea (26.0) are still at least seven points better off than QPR at the moment.
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