Last Week: 0/3 Winning Bets = -£30
Overall Success Rate: 5 out of 18 Bets
Overall Profit: £70.10
Last weekend started so well… Friday’s match between Mordovia v Amkar was the equivalent of an old-school clash between a Sam Allardyce Bolton and a Tony Pulis Stoke on paper, with all the promise of a drying wall of paint in terms of excitement, but for me it was a tense battle of nerves as the draw I had predicted emerged from the quagmire. Then Saturday saw all three further Russian Premier League matches go the way I had predicted on the Hong Kong Jockey Club website (yes, before you start sniggering at the back Russian football IS big among Hong Kong bettors – along with A League, Tippeligaen and the Championship…).
Sunday morning was even better, as the bright sunshine bathed Siberia, or my little part of it at least, in glorious warmth as my daughters dribbled a football around the square showing as much control as their father, if not more. It was the sort of moment that would make you feel rather smug if it was at someone else’s expense. And then came Gazovik Orenburg and Rubin Kazan. Both messed up my trebles that would have netted me a whopping £172 profit from two tips, but as it is I ended going home with nothing.
This still leaves me £80 up overall, although this week I will have to work twice as hard to get back in profit, so here goes…
Bet 1 TREBLE on Rubin to beat Terek, Krasnodar to beat Ufa and CSKA to beat Dinamo, £10 @ 7/2
Potential Return: £45
Rubin have been steadily building a head of steam to nowhere this spring with indifferent results on paper but quietly impressive form going forward. Emil Bergstrom scored a winner late on away to Ural while helping his defence to keep a clean sheet against one for the league’s highest scorers, and with an almost fully fit squad to choose from they will be well set to take on Terek. At the risk of coming over all Roberto Martínez, the individual odds of 13/10 offer phenomenal value, as Terek perform their traditional slide away from from a promising position with one win in their last four.
Krasnodar and CSKA are much more obvious elements to this bet, as they are the two most potent attacking sides after Zenit, and face two of the lowest scoring outfits around. True, Ufa have staged a comeback of sorts by winning their last two, but they still have the pressure of remaining in the relegation playoff places and face a much sterner task away to Krasnodar. The Moscow derby ought be a tight and tense affair as both the Khimki Arena’s tenants go head to head, but Dinamo are crumbling at a worrying rate, just one point above Ufa and the potential drop zone. CSKA can even point to their powerful Nigerian recruit Aaron Olanare having broken his duck, and will have far too much for their derby rivals.
Bet 2 Spartak v Mordovia: Over 2.5 first half goals, £10 @ 11/2
Potential Return: £65
Of all matches you could choose, this one has goals written all over it. Quincy Promes is the league’s top goalcscorer with 13 and spearheads the Spartak attack against a managerless Mordovia (well, at least without a permanent manager) at home. A win will give them the faintest of hopes of rejoining the race for European places and perhaps more pertinently will throw Dmitry Alenichev a line to rebuild his standing at the club. Talk has spread of his position in charge being scrutinised by notoriously ruthless owner Leonid Fedun, and a thing but an eyecatching result here could condemn the former Champions League winner to the sack.
Going for over 2.5 first half goals is a bold call, but after three games without a win, and the hurt of the huge 5-2 defeat to great rivals Zenit last weekend still fresh on their minds, Spartak will be full of determination to get back on track. At the Petrovsky they went 2-1 up within half an hour showing ample ambition and enterprise, and were only undone by a Zenit masterclass/”outside assistance” – depending on who you believe – so don’t be put off by their results on paper. At 11/2 this tip offers a great chance to make a quick buck.
Bet 3 Rostov v Zenit: DRAW HT/DRAW FT £10 @ 7/2
Potential Return: £45
This match is almost certainly going to be a title decider; the only challenge is going to be to see for whose benefit. Rostov and Zenit could hardly be two more contrasting clubs in almost every aspect from their financial clout, history of success and star names to their tactical approach and managerial styles. Let’s start with the stats: Zenit have scored 49 league goals, Rostov just 29. Rostov have conceded just six at home – where they are unbeaten – while Zenit have only kept nine clean sheets. Zenit’s top four goalscorers have scored 31 combined, Rostov’s have managed just 16.
Kurban Berdeyev has been linked with a move back to a revitalised Rubin, where he enjoyed unprecedented success winning two league titles, but for now he has assured everyone that his future lies in Rostov. His opposite number, Andre Villas-Boas, has already announced his departure this summer, but is masterminding a powerful charge towards top spot. The one statistic that tells more stories than any other, however, is found in Rostov’s home defeats column: a big fat zero. The intensity of this match will tell on both sets of players, and I do not expect Zenit to find much joy against Rostov’s mean defence.