After being let down by England and Armenia in midweek (Vardan Minasyan out! Come on, you were all thinking it!), we return to the safe bosom of domestic football for this weekend’s attempt to land a 10/1 accumulator.
Having gotten into the habit of sticking to English-based games, I have decided, along with my senior advisor and nut collector Geoff, to look a little further afield this Saturday. Don’t worry, there are still two home-grown games, but Scotland and Spain provide some much-needed continental exuberance.
In another mad attempt to keep things interesting, I have also gone for four matches to be played at different times, to keep that nervous tension going for more than ten hours. Just think how much pacing up and down the living room carpet you could do in that time.
If you wish to make a day of it and follow these selections, then why not use the free £20 bet you receive for registering with bwin to be in with a chance of winning £217.20, which you could use to… well… replace the carpet?
Celtic to beat St Johnstone @ 2/5
We begin our day at 12:30pm at McDiarmid Park. Time was that a bet on an Old Firm team winning the early kick-off would near-guarantee you a solid start to your Saturday accumulator, but 2012 is a dark and mysterious place.
With rivals Rangers all the way down in the fourth tier of Scottish football, Celtic have a clear run to the SPL title. However, their early-season form shows that a bit of complacency may be creeping in, with draws against Ross County and Hibernian keeping them off top spot.
The plus for punters as a result is that the odds are starting to reflect this and 2/5 on any Celtic win in the SPL is a tempting price – so tempting in fact that the Hoops simply must kick off our acca, having won the last three meetings between the sides to nil.
Celtic lie second in the table, a point behind Motherwell but with a game in hand, while St Johnstone sit rock bottom with just two points from five matches. There may be one eye on the midweek Champions League assignment against Benfica, but the Hoops should have enough to get us on our way in match one.
Bradford City to beat Barnet @ 14/25
On to the 3pm kick offs and we head to Valley Parade, where Bradford are strong favourites to add to Barnet’s woes.
The Bees are bottom of the Football League after five games and have lost on their first two away trips without scoring.
Bradford, on the other hand, have had a mixed start to 2012/13, though they made this punter smile as they routed AFC Wimbledon 5-1 as part of a previous early-season accumulator.
The Yorkshire outfit have won both home games this season and having prevailed in four of the last five clashes with Barnet, look very good to take us through safely to the early evening kick-off.
Sunderland to beat Liverpool @ 9/4
There was a lot of positivity around Liverpool as the Brendan Rodgers era began, but a few early bumps in the road sees them sit third from bottom in the Premier League, though no-one is panicking just yet.
The last thing a team getting used to a new style and system needs is a trip to face a Martin O’Neill side, but that’s exactly what Rodgers and his charges have to do in the 5:30pm game and recent history suggests it will be a struggle for them to kick-start their 2012/13 campaign at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats have played only two matches and picked up two points, though both were away on the road and one was a particularly impressive stalemate at the Emirates. It is also worth noting that Sunderland beat Rodgers’ Swansea side in a relatively comfortable 2-0 home display last season.
Saturday sees their first home game of the campaign and having beaten Liverpool in two of their last three meetings in the north-east thanks to a beach ball and Juventus superstar Nicklas Bendtner (that’s not a typo), 9/4 looks like a very good price on O’Neill heaping more misery on the new Reds boss.
Real Madrid to beat Sevilla @ 53/100
If we’re still in business by 9pm, then we head to Spain to pray that Cristiano Ronaldo rediscovers his smile.
A trip to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan looks tricky on paper, but Real have won the last seven meetings between these two and astonishingly, they have beaten Los Rojiblancos by a 6-2 score-line in both previous visits to Seville.
A couple of hiccups from Jose Mourinho’s boys gave Barcelona an early advantage in the race for the title, but a Ronaldo-inspired 3-0 win over Granada last week suggested that Madrid simply need the pouting Portuguese to fire, with or without his smile.
Sevilla remain unbeaten after three games, but having only faced Getafe, Granada and Rayo Vallecano, they are yet to have a truly big test like a visit from the champions and recent history points towards Real polishing off this selection nicely. Who knows, it might even be 6-2 again.
So that’s that for this week’s accumulator. Now all there is left to do is buy in the supplies, position the sofa, sit in front of the telly and prepare for ten hours-plus of nail-biting.
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