I’m back! And, far more importantly, so is domestic football. Euro 2012 was good and the Olympics inspiring, but lets face it: Xavi, Jessica Ennis and Usain Bolt have got nothing on QPR v Swansea, West Ham v Aston Villa and Hull v Brighton.
I’ve been down to the lab, awoken the hibernating bwin boffins and kicked the Accumulator-Conjurer 3000 into gear. After several cups of coffee and an ‘off and on’ switch later, we came up with four opening day bets for you to accumulate your way to a very happy start to the season.
Seeing as this is the very first round of league games, picking on form is very tricky indeed, but pick them we did. No covering of the eyes and pointing at the newspaper for us just yet.
If you agree with our choices then you can use the free £20 bet you receive for signing up for a bwin account and give yourself a chance of winning £189.20 to go towards season ticket payments.
QPR to beat Swansea @ Evens
Mark Hughes’ side played the unlikely villains on the final day of last season, the most dramatic in Premier League history. First of all they tormented Manchester City by rudely taking a 2-1 lead at Eastlands, and then were struck off Alex Ferguson’s Christmas card list when they conceded to Sergio Aguero’s last-minute winner.
Embroiled in all of that was one Joey Barton, who elbowed, kicked and butted his way out of the season and straight into a twelve-match ban. However, despite the loss of the feisty (to say the least) Barton, Rangers are widely fancied to fare better than their near relegation efforts of last season.
Facing Swansea, bereft of Brendan Rodgers and now under the tutelage of Michael Laudrup, QPR will be looking to start with a win at Loftus Road, and confidence is sure to be high with new signings Park Ji-Sung, Fabio, Junior Hoilett, Ryan Nelsen and Andy Johnson all raring to go.
The Hoops can be backed at evens which, given the turmoil at Swansea in losing Rodgers and midfield lynchpin Joe Allen to Liverpool, looks good value.
West Ham to beat Aston Villa @ 5/4
One of the newly promoted teams always gets a big win on the opening day. It seems that way anyway. Remember Blackpool winning 4-0 at Wigan two years ago? Well my selection for this year’s honour is West Ham.
Villa had a treacherous season in 2011/12, resulting in the sacking of Alex McLeish and installation of Paul Lambert at the helm. There are high hopes that the former Norwich man can turn things around, but the away form of the Midlands club suggests there is much work to be done.
Having won only three times on the road last season, there is every chance that Villa will take a few weeks to show signs of improvement. This would certainly be to Sam Allardyce’s immediate advantage and 5/4 is too good to pass up on a home win at Upton Park.
Hull City to beat Brighton @ 23/20
To be honest, this was not a clash that jumped off the fixture list at me when studying it intently this week. Both teams had ‘not bad’ campaigns last time out, and if anything a draw seemed a decent bet.
But then I watched Gus Poyet’s men get soundly thumped by newly promoted League One side Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and all of a sudden Saturday’s game at the KC Stadium looked interesting.
The Seagulls did not put out their absolute strongest side, but most of the team from the loss at the County Ground should be on show in Yorkshire, and will likely still smarting from the 3-0 defeat to Paolo Di Canio’s men.
Steve Bruce is in charge at Hull now and, with much experience of winning at this level, he will fancy his chances of guiding the Tigers to a promotion charge, starting with three points on Saturday.
So there you have it, the first of many accumulators for us to sink our teeth into this season (not literally, take that laptop out of your mouth). Hopefully we can pile up enough winnings over the course of 2012/13 to buy an Accumulator-Conjurer 4000. Apparently it predicts results, makes tea and fires lasers at planets.
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