It was a rollercoaster FA Cup third-round weekend last week, including giant-killings, handball controversies and even a goal from hospital season ticket holder Kieron Dyer. He was released by QPR just three days later.
Unfortunately, Wigan Athletic just about avoided an upset against Bournemouth and Hull lost all form to only draw with Leyton Orient, so it was not a profitable weekend from this punter’s point of view, though I made money on a first goalscorer coupled with both teams to score in the Monday night game, so on Tuesday I bought a new betting hat (a vital tool of the betting connoisseur, and yes, it does have a feather in it).
We’re back into league action now and of course, we are a week back into the resumption of (most of) those cheeky winter-break-having foreign leagues, so we have enough options to make a real go of it here. I want an early win in 2013, who is with me?
If you are, why not place the free £20 bet you receive for opening a bwin account on this accy to give yourself a chance to win £240, which is enough for a year’s supply of betting hats (feathers sold separately).
Tottenham to beat QPR @ 4/5
Last week Spurs came up trumps after I backed them in the FA Cup accy, now where’s my medal?
Okay, it wasn’t exactly of Nostradamus proportions, but nonetheless Andre Villas-Boas was able to guide his team past the potential banana skin of Coventry and this week they travel to face QPR.
Harry Redknapp gets his first shot at his former employers since he was sacked for the heinous crime of finishing fourth and will be hoping that the feel-good mood around Loftus Road will still be in the air a week-and-a-half after their famous win at neighbours Chelsea.
However, their last home league game was a disaster – a 3-0 trouncing by Liverpool – and Spurs are absolutely flying at the moment, winning five of their last six, and they have in-form Gareth Bale returning from suspension.
Harry will be up for this game, but the sheer quality of the away side should see them over the line in the early kick-off.
Borussia Monchengladbach to beat Hoffenheim @ 17/10
This is another game in which I am backing the away side due to the relegation form of the hosts and though Monchengladbach are no Tottenham, Hoffenheim would probably get a hammering even from QPR at the moment.
Marco Kurz’s side have continued to slide even after the club moved to sack former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel from the hot seat and have lost all of their last six games in Die Bundesliga.
That poor run has included four straight losses at home, so the visitors will certainly fancy their chances, as would anyone right now who comes to the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Monchengladbach’s form has been a lot more up and down than the hosts’ and they have drawn their last three away games, but they are difficult to beat, having not lost in five trips.
Hoffenheim are there for the taking and with odds of 17/10, I believe in Lucien Favre’s ability to mastermind an away win.
Leicester to beat Bristol City @ 7/10
A few weeks ago, I advised you to bet on Bristol City to lose at home and they very rudely went and won.
However, that was against fellow relegation zone regulars Peterborough United; this week, they face promotion hopefuls Leicester, who will be seeking three more points to crank the pressure up on the teams above them.
The Foxes have fallen away from the title race in recent weeks, with Cardiff pulling clear at the top, but they are still very much in the mix for the second promotion spot and will be looking to pick up their 14th win of the campaign.
The Robins lifted themselves off the bottom of the pile with that Peterborough win, but have lost at Millwall and been knocked out of the FA Cup by Blackburn Rovers since.
Nigel Pearson’s men have the best defensive record in the division, conceding only 23 in 26 games, and will be confident of being able to do the job at Ashton Gate.
Real Madrid to beat Osasuna @ 9/20
As ever, I like to finish strong. Los Blancos have hardly been reliable this season and that could be why they are at the generous price of 9/20 to win in Osasuna.
Real have as good as given up on the Primera Division title, already sitting 16 points behind Barcelona – and we’re not even halfway through the Spanish season.
Jose Mourinho’s men overturned Celta Vigo’s slender advantage in the Copa Del Rey in midweek by slamming four past them at the Bernabeu, with Cristiano Ronaldo bagging a hat-trick, and they could even afford the luxury of having Sergio Ramos sent off.
Pamplona is never an easy place to return from with three points but Osasuna are bottom of the table, having won just three of their 18 games, and conceded a whopping 12 goals to Real in their two clashes last season.
That should do it for this week. If Real are the only side who don’t come up with the goods, then I will fly to Spain just so I can tell Jose he’s not all that special after all.
I’m sure he’ll thank me for it, and then compliment me on my hat.
Follow David on Twitter @whichdave