Following an unforeseen signal failure between NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover and bwin’s mission control located on the outskirts of Planet Zonk, the fifth instalment of the £10 to £10k Challenge never made it onto the site on Friday.
But after sending several menacing emails and a gang of eastern European heavies round to the editor’s house, he’s now agreed to put the article up, so if you’re stuck in an airport with an 18-hour delay or in life imprisonment you can whittle away five minutes or so by catching up on proceedings here.
If you can’t be bothered (and frankly I couldn’t blame you), I put my £18.10 balance on Belgium to beat Wales with a 1-0 handicap headstart at odds of 9/50 and thanks to goals from Premier League pair Vincent Kompany and Jan Verthongen, the Red Devils duly stuck to their half of the bargain and swelled my coffers to £21.36.
The Belgians’ win made it five successful picks in a row, which was something of a landmark given I have now more than doubled my initial £10 stake. At this juncture, all appears to be going swimmingly – even though I’m another 60-odd bets and £9,978.64 away from the £10k target.
Ahead of last weekend’s action I was bemoaning the absence of domestic football after perusing through a pile of nondescript internationals. However, the second leg of the World Cup qualifying double headers offers me ample opportunity to further extend my winning streak with – among others – Romania v Andorra, Bosnia v Latvia, San Marino v Montenegro and Italy v Malta all likely to guarantee results for the strong favourites.
Yet the fixture I have eventually opted for pretty much provides the most sure-fire way for me to make it to the weekend with the £10k challenge intact and another couple of quid added to the fund.
There are few certainties in life apart from death, taxes, unfunny £10k challenge articles and routine Spain wins in World Cup qualifiers and on Tuesday night, the reigning world and European champions begin their road to Brazil 2014 with a fixture against Georgia in Tbilisi.
As I mentioned in my full betting preview for the match, La Roja’s record in recent tournament qualifiers is quite unbelievable. They’ve won 26 of their last 27 qualifying games and you need to go back almost ten years to March 1993 for the last time the Spanish fell to defeat in a World Cup qualifier.
Hosts Georgia have won four of their last five games, including a home victory in their opening Group I tussle with Belarus on Friday night, but who the Spanish play matters little given the supreme talent at their disposal and bwin’s 3Way football betting market has Vicente del Bosque’s men at 11/100 – so just inside the 1/10 threshold of the challenge – to kick things off with another three points.
I reckon the Spanish should have little difficulty in disposing of Temuri Ketsbaia’s side and for the next leg of my £10k challenge, I’ll be lumping my precious £21.36 on the world’s greatest ever national team to beat an outfit ranked 86th by FIFA and should this bet come in, I’ll be on £23.71 ahead of a return to sanity in the shape of club football at the weekend.
Bet 6: Spain to beat Georgia @ 11/100
Current Balance: £21.36
Potential Balance: £23.71
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