Wolves, West Brom, Leeds and Wisla Krakow.
As a punter, these types of games are never easy to predict. Let’s take Carling Cup matches first.
How many times over the years have you seen cup upsets? Big teams in the Premier League going to bottom league team grounds such as Liverpool losing to Northampton. The question is, is the Carling Cup an important competition? It varies from club to club of course. This is a huge factor in picking your selections.
Northampton vs Wolves
Another factor leading from this is the dreaded team rotation. We are only a few games into the new season, but managers see this as an opportunity to select fringe players and give them some much needed match time to improve their fitness. For instance, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has already said he will field his second choice team. When taking this into account, look at the fringe players and decide whether you think they are good enough.
Wolves will be fielding the likes of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Adam Hammil. They are decent players despite not being first choice. Ebanks-Blake scored goals in the Championship League a few years ago suggesting he is a good player at that level. Wolves travel to Northampton town tonight, who play in League Two. For this reason, Wolves seem a decent price at 1.73.
Another reason why I think they are a potential pick is that Wolves have had a good start to the season. Two wins against Fulham and Blackburn, confidence will be high. Granted it isn’t the players who played in those games, but the fringe players will look to give a performance that lets McCarthy know he’s up to the challenge.
Bournemouth vs West Brom
West Brom are another potential pick at 1.73. They have lost both their opening games, but it was against good opposition in Chelsea and Man Utd. Therefore West Brom will look to win this game to gain some much needed confidence. Man Utd didn’t play all that well against an organised West Brom side and did score first against Chelsea.
Rotation comes into the equation again. Like Wolves, their fringe players include the likes of Graham Dorrans. Again, more than enough to see off the likes of League One’s Bournemouth. Also, Bournemouth have only gained three points in their four games of the new season.
Doncaster vs Leeds
Leeds United have had quite a turbulent start to their campaign. With their main strikers Davide Somma and Luciano Becchio sidelined, they’ve stuttered like an old car trying to find the right gear. Ripped apart by an impressive Southampton team on the first day, their previous two games have showed signs of finding that right gear. Back to their mantra of ‘We’ll score more than you’, Leeds are priced at an intriguing 2.40 against a Doncaster Rovers side that are rooted to the bottom of the Championship table with no points.
I expect Leeds to field Ramon Nunez who came on as a substitute against West Ham on their previous outing. Nunez had chance after chance in the 1st round of the Carling Cup against Bradford and managed to get a brace in the end. Leeds will also want to continue on from the previous two games with a win against a hapless Doncaster side.
On to the Champions League qualifier ties and this provides its own headaches for punters.
Aggregate scores are all important. Are a team who have won the 1st leg comfortably going to field a strong team? Are they going to attack or shut up shop? I generally don’t bet on 2nd legs for those reasons – but it still doesn’t stop me from having a look for value!
APOEL vs Wislow Krakow
The game I have singled out is APOEL vs Wisla Krakow. Wisla Krakow sneaked a 1-0 win at home in the 1st leg tie. They have won their previous two away games in the Champions League which suggests they know how to play away in this competition. Another factor that favours the away team tonight is that they are four games into their season while APOEL have yet to begin. Match fitness has to play in the hands of Wislow Krakow who are priced at a huge 5.50. You could play the draw no bet at 3.75 or match handicap at 2.05.