Football history is full of people who have been asked to follow abject failure and returned ground-breaking, folklore-making, era-defining success and here at bwin, we are looking to do just that.
As you probably know, John ‘Bainesy’ Baines last week fell on his sword as master of the £10 to £10k Challenge, his own invention, no less, when his bid to win a life-changing sum of money through a series of bets went down with a whimper.
And with the captain found out to be a charlatan, I have been asked to step into the breach, take over and steer this rudderless ship into clear, calm, money-drenched waters.
In effect, he is the Ron Atkinson to my Sir Alex Ferguson. The Phil Taylor to my Bill Shankly. The Bruce Rioch to my Arsene Wenger. The Mark Hughes, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Stuart Pearce, Kevin Keegan, Joe Royle, Frank Clark, Steve Coppell, Alan Ball, Brian Horton, Peter Reid, Howard Kendall, Mel Machin, Jimmy Frizzell, Billy McNeill, John Benson, John Bond and Malcolm Allison to my Roberto Mancini.
Okay, you get the picture. After Bainesy fell at bet 19 (and I have to admit, I didn’t envisage Celtic not getting booked at least twice against Barcelona), I am now going to have a go at the £10 to £10k, which if you aren’t aware goes as follows.
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but I am going to try to turn a tenner into ten grand by putting on a bet every few days. The idea is that I will be looking for safe, long odds-on choices, so it is going to take a long, long time (in the unlikely event that it happens at all) but you’re not going anywhere, are you? So I am thinking we may as well give it a go.
After all this build up, I really need to get past Bainesy’s tally of £204, never mind make sure that I don’t fall at the first hurdle, but I think the 3/20 that Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu is a safe way to start the new adventure.
Unsurprisingly, Real are one of the two form teams in La Liga (I bet you can never guess who the other one is) having taken 16 points from their last six matches, scoring 20 goals and letting in just four, and they really should be beating an out-of-sorts Athletic in front of their own fans, where they have won four and drawn one of their five league matches.
Bilbao have had a poor season after last year’s exploits and currently lie in the bottom half of the table. Their away form is to blame: their win at Granada last time out was their first this year and they have conceded 13 goals in five league matches.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been poor on their travels in Europe – where they were so good last year – as well, losing three and drawing one of their four away Europa League games, letting in ten goals at the same time.
What’s more, Bilbao’s record against Madrid is bad beyond words. Jose Mourinho’s side have won 15 of the last 16 meetings and have triumphed in the last five by an aggregate of 20-2.
Bilbao have lost both their matches away against teams in the top half and I think that Madrid can get us up and running by turning £10 into £11.50.
Bet 1: Real Madrid to beat Athletic @ 3/20
Potential balance: £11.50