Last Week: 0/3 Winning Bets = -£30
Overall Success Rate: 2 out of 9 bets won
OVERALL PROFIT: +£42.10
It’s a game of the narrowest margins: an inch or two can be the difference between losing all three bets or being hailed a visionary, and last week’s results sheet doesn’t look pretty, but it was oh so close… Now I’ve made my bed by promising a treble every week, I will have to lie in it, but last round saw Terek fail to beat Ural at home and Dinamo somehow squeeze only their second away win out of a trip to Bashkiria. In hindsight – that horribly inevitable consequence of losing bets – Terek against Ural could have been treated with more suspicion after the hullabaloo surrounding the last two fixtures with match-fixing allegations, but the form book lied to me.
In case you missed it last week, I also started an international betting tips series, which began well by calling Russia to win and over 2.5 goals against Lithuania, and threatened to explode with my best ever call with England v Germany. I went for what I thought was a wildly optimistic draw at half time, England to win at full time, but as it turns out I wasn’t ambitious enough! By the letter of the law it goes down as a lost bet, but calling England to win away to the world champions in a friendly?? Anyway, no time to wallow in self pity, time to roll up my sleeves and deliver some solid tips for this coming week. This time, I really can guarantee some solid returns, as the value in the markets this week is excellent. I would try and spin you some April Fool’s tale about having received inside information relating to some results, but I have a terrible poker face. Even from the other side of a keyboard. Here we go, let’s get back into winning ways.
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Bet 1 Saturday 2 April, Ural v Ufa
Handicap -1 on Ural to win, £10 @ 3/10
Potential Return: £40
I will be driving along the delightful motorway to attend this one, so they’d better bloody well do me proud. The last time I attended Ural before the international break they put on a spectacular show to thrash Anzhi 4-2 with Spartak Gogniev bagging a hattrick, and Ufa are the only side to have conceded as many as Anzhi away from home. Goals are surely in this one for the hosts – only Zenit have scored more at home all season – especially as they have an almost fully fit attack, with only Zambian winger Chisamba Lungu and attacking midfielder Alexander Stavpets doubts.
Ufa have lost five of their last eight away games by at least two goals, and haven’t scored more than once since their opening weekend against Spartak. In that run, they have only scored five goals in total, and their top goalscorer all season, Sylvester Igboun, only has three. The bottom five in the league table are separated by four points, and with Ufa sandwiched right in the middle of that mêlée they can hardly relax and produce free-flowing attacking football, even if they were capable of it. The cherry on the cake would be if former Arsenal and Wolves midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong came through the mixed zone – then I could chat about Russian testicles…
Bet 2 Saturday 2 April & Sunday 3 April
Treble on Ural to beat Ufa, Terek to beat Anzhi, Zenit to beat CSKA, £10 @ 21/5
Potential Return: £52
Ok, ok, I know it might be putting two of my three eggs in one basket by including an Ural victory in two bets, but the value is ridiculous 23/20 for that result alone. Ufa are not as much of a lost cause as Anzhi, but since early October they have been without their influential captain in midfield, Azamat Zaseev, and Emmanuel Frimpong has been a disappointing since arriving last summer. Terek to beat Anzhi is the nap of the weekend without a shadow of a doubt, and the fierce rivalry between the Dagestanis and the Chechens will only intensify the atmosphere further.
The biggest match of the weekend, however, is easily Zenit against CSKA in St Petersburg. The two most expensively-assembled teams clash with three of the league’s top four scorers on show, but the momentum is with Zenit. Yes, CSKA won their last RPL fixture against Kuban, but that was hardly an accurate barometer, as before that win they had only managed three goals in their previous six league games. Zenit, meanwhile, have scored six in their last two games and have the unquantifiable brilliance of Hulk.
Bet 3 Monday 4 April, Dinamo v Krasnodar
Draw, £10 @ 21/10
Potential Return: £31
Dinamo have been quietly impressive since the winter break without really pulling up many trees, thanks in no small part to their sensible recruitment and continued faith in their youth players who have won he Russian youth championship the last two years running. Fatos Beciraj looks an aggressive handful with more energy than Pavel Pogrebnyak, but Stanislav Dragun is the finest signing of them all; he is a class above most other holding midfielders in the league, and is able to control play calmly but effectively, and his nous will make Krasnodar’s life that bit more difficult.
The Bulls are a quality outfit, but due to the compact nature of the business end of the league table, they find hems elves right down in 7th place and will be concerned about slipping any further if they wish tot keep their ambitions of European qualification alive. They have scored 12 in their last five away matches, but only scraped a narrow 1-0 win over Mordovia last time on the road, and with the added pressure of the team‘s above will be happy to avoid defeat.