Well that went well…
In my first betting tips post last week, all three of my suggestions went south, leaving me with the princely sum of -£30. In my defence, it was the lowest scoring gameweek of the season, with only 11 goals across the eight fixtures, despite many of the most potent attacks strengthened and some of the most pourous defences weakened. Take Spartak, for example: losing Serdar Tasci to Bayern Munich on loan meant Vladimir Granat had to step in, and although he is still a decent centre back, he has barely played his season after joining from Dinamo. Add Lorenzo Melgarejo to the league’s top scorer in Quincy Promes and the potential for goals at both ends was there, but a tight 1-0 defeat to CSKA was the result.
As for my specific tips themselves, Roman Shirokov failed to score in that game despite playing as the attacking central midfielder. Picking goalscorers is always a tough prediction, so failing to hit that one is hardly a disgrace. Zenit to win away at Krasnodar was influenced by the champions’ strong transfer market dealings, but in hindsight could have been adjusted to a draw as Krasnodar, despite their poor show in in the Europa League knockout stages against Sparta Prague, could at least point to not having had competitive practice all winter as a reason for their inglorious exit from continental competition. Ural v Dinamo was one of only three matches to produce two goals, but my tip was for over 1.5 goals in the first half only; both were after the break.
Without further ado, here are this week’s sure fire winners. Ahem…
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Bet 1 Friday 11 March & Saturday 12 March
Treble on Kuban to beat Krylia, Ural to beat Anzhi, Spartak to beat Amkar, £10 @ 6.46/1
Potential Return: £64.60
A good old fashioned treble is a good way for me to make some ground back on last week’s losses, and I think there is some amazing value in the odds that bet365.com are offering. This is the best part of Russian football betting – there is value if you look hard enough, because the statistics alone seem to dictate the odds, much in the same way that the fellow who made millions from betting on Scottish football lower league’s used a touch of nous and bookies’ overly analytical approach to pricing teams years ago.
Kuban are low down he league table, in the automatic relegation places to be precise, but they no longer have the Gary Lineker (bear with me on this one…) of Russian football hanging over them for one thing. Andrey Arshavin has decided to develop his dwindling career in Kazakhstan after only 6 months in the green and yellow of Kuban, and instead a raft of interesting buys like former Dortmund defender Felipe Santana and Apodi (lightning quick Brazilian fullback) have boosted them somewhat. Ural have likewise reinforced, perhaps not quite as strongly as they would have liked, but still in Alexander Ryzyantsev they have experience and In Dmitry Korobov they have potentially unearthed a lower league diamond. Anzhi are inconsistent away from home with only two sides conceding more on their travels, so it should be a steal at 23/20 for that individual result. Spartak now have the top two goalscorers in the league in Lorenzo Melgarejo and Quincy Promes, facing a team that have scored the second lowest tally in the league, and only Rubin have lost more on the road. Win this one, and I’m back in the black…
Bet 2 Sunday 13 March, Zenit v Rubin
Over 3.5 total goals £10 @ 11/4
Potential Return: £37.50
Simply put, Zenit = goals. They are the top scorers at home with 19, and in total with 34, not to mention the fact that they’ll be hurting from their cruel Champions league exit to Benfica. Alexander Kokorin has a good chance of starting his first match for his new club, and with Hulk fit anything could happen. Rubin have a terrible away record on paper, and while this is mostly down to their early season catastrophe, they played two new signings in defence last week in Andriy Pylyavsky and Emil Bergstrom so could be susceptible again. Granted, they kept a clean sheet against Kuban, but that was at home; Zenit away is a whole different ball game.
Bet 3 Monday 14 March, Dinamo v Terek
Score draw £10 @ 9/2
Potential Return: £55
When I watched Dinamo against Ural on Monday in Ekaterinburg, they played an extremely attacking formation with two out and out strikers in Pavel Pogrebnyak and impressive new boy Fatos Beqiraj, with Alexander Tashaev and Alexey Ionov pushing right up to make a virtual 4-2-4. If they show similar intent at home against a notoriously defensive travelling outfit in Terek – who have drawn 6 of ten away matches, and have a dead level goals ratio of 11 for and 11 against – they stand a good chance of breaching their backline. While the visitors are serious European contenders, Dinamo have the very real incentive of an impending relegation battle to spur them on, but they have failed to score more than two at home in over a year.