I’ve never much liked people named Ferguson. Like the purple-nosed one who manages Manchester United. Or the thug who used to occasionally play up front for Everton. Or that ginger Royal who constantly made a show of herself. Or Rebecca, who my ex-girlfriend used to make me listen to on a daily basis. In fact, the X-Factor singer was part of the reason why me and my ex-girlfriend split up. That and the fact she got sick of me going on rants about how I’ve never much liked people named Ferguson.
But I now have a favourite Ferguson, as Darren did the Long Shot a huge favour last week by finally getting his Peterborough team to win a match and the 3-1 victory at Hull was tipped up here by yours truly at a whopping 7/1. I should probably thank hat-trick hero Emile Sinclair, as well. Especially as I’ve never liked people named Emile much. Like the guy who used to fall about not scoring any goals for Liverpool. And, er, that’s about it.
The Spawn of Satan getting a win for us means that the Long Shot is back in profit by a whopping £50 in its four-week career (we put £10 on each bet) and the three selections for this week – including a massive, speculative 200/1 punt – look good to continue the winning run.
Demba Ba to score first in Newcastle v Man Utd @ 7/1
Manchester United’s defence have been as loose as John Terry’s morals so far this season and Newcastle’s in-form striker Demba Ba looks a good bet to bag the first goal when the two sides meet at the Sir Mike Ashley Enormodome.
After falling out of favour with manager Alan Pardew, Ba has responded with goals galore, notching six times in as many games to win the majority of the Magpies’ points almost single-handedly.
Ba struck the opening goal when the Toon won the corresponding fixture 3-0 last season and with United unable to break a habit of conceding first – the Red Devils have fallen behind in six of their fixtures this year already – that 7/1 looks a cracking price for lightning to strike twice.
Manchester City/Sunderland in half-time/full-time market @ 125/1
Now before you start giving me grief, I do appreciate that the notion of Sunderland even winning at the Etihad is unlikely. Odds of over 11/1 suggest as much and when you consider that the Black Cats haven’t won on the road in the Premier League since February 2nd – a run of six draws, four defeats and just eight goals – it seems implausible that they are going to inflict a first home defeat on the champions since December 2010.
But look at that price on Sunderland to win after being behind at half-time. Look at it! It is ridiculous! When you compare it to the prices on offer from the other bookies, it’s like Eric Pickles: it’s much larger than everybody else. And actually, when I first spotted it on Friday morning, it was at an even more impressive 200/1 and remained at that price for most of Friday afternoon, only to be slashed to 125/1 just as we were about to excitedly publish this article.
William Hill go 45/1, and the nearest price to bwin’s is 100/1, which underlines what a daft price it (still) is. It may be unlikely, I wouldn’t put my mortgage on it (especially as I don’t have one), but the City half-time/Sunderland full-time turnaround is far, far more likely than odds of 125/1 imply and even if it is the longest of long shots – well, not as long as it would have been if we’d got this article out earlier! – it would be remiss of me not to put it up.
Tranmere Rovers – 1 to beat Notts County @ 25/4
Forget about Liverpool, forget about Everton, forget about Marine (oh, you didn’t even know about Marine?) – Tranmere Rovers are the form team on Merseyside after a blistering start to the season and there is value in them getting a convincing win at Notts County.
Rovers are top of League One having won seven and drawn three of their ten matches and it has to be said given the paltry budget he is working with, Ronnie Moore is the manager of the year in England so far. In fact, if I was Moore I would probably do one at the earliest opportunity as revenge for sacking me in favour of John Barnes three years ago, but maybe he isn’t a spiteful so and so.
He takes his team to Meadow Lane, which is a tough fixture, but Tranmere are flying and look overpriced at 11/5 as it is: when you see that all of their seven wins have been by two goals or more, at more than 6/1 it is worth a punt they do that for an eighth time. County have already lost at home to Walsall and Stevenage this year and free-scoring Rovers can do a number on them.
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