ATP Indian Wells – Jan-Lennard Struff vs Daniel Elahi Galan – Correct Score- Jan-Lennard Struff 2-0 @ 2.17
This contest sees two players out of form clash in one of the biggest non grand-slam tournaments of the tennis season.
What it also sees though, is a gulf in class between these two players, something I think will come out during their first round matchup.
Both players have just one win between them to show in their last 5 matches each, both losing to players much worse than them.
Struff, tougher opponents than the Colombian, but still matches the German expects to win.
The German is a former top 30 player who has amassed prize money in the millions, while Galan’s clay court preference and hard court deficiencies see him a player trying to climb into the top 100.
There’s undoubtedly a gulf in class here, and we expect to see it in Indian Wells. 1 unit.
NFL – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos – Winner (incl. Overtime)Denver Broncos @ 2.01
The Steelers have been a bad football team this season, falling to a paltry 1-3 record after three straight losses to the Raiders, the Bengals and the Packers.
If you asked the average NFL fan in the preseason to pick winners in those matchups, they’d most likely have picked the Steelers to beat the Raiders and Bengals at the very least.
It all comes down to one side of the ball – their offense. The Steelers have a great defensive group, no one will deny or argue that.
However, they’re still rolling with the ghost of Big Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback; he’s been truly woeful this year and is clearly over the hill – amongst starting quarterbacks, he’s ranked 27th in the league for passer rating with an awful number of 78.9 to his name.
He’s not been helped much by his weapons, with multiple injuries to wide receivers in recent weeks (and who remain out this week) and a new, struggling offensive line – but the fact remains that the man leading the team just seems too old and broken down for the job these days.
The Steelers rank fourth-bottom in the league in terms of points per game, putting up just 16.8 per contest through four weeks this season.
The Denver Broncos are somewhat of a surprise being 3-1 after a month, but as noted by my colleague CBod last week – they’ve not yet beaten a good quality team, with victories coming over the Giants, Jets and Jaguars.
However, we still think that their defence will cause massive headaches for Pittsburgh’s offense.
Denver is fourth in the league in opposing first downs per game – giving up just 15.5 – and that’s come against QBs that Big Ben has been just as bad as.
Sure, the Broncos are on the road here, which always makes things tougher in the NFL.
However, the concoction of Denver’s menacing defence and Pittsburgh’s faltering offense is just too much to ignore.
Denver and Teddy Bridgewater should be able to do enough to polish off the good work their defence does and seal the win for the Broncos. 1 unit.
English League One – Wycombe Wanderers vs Gillingham FC – 1×2 & Total – Wycombe & Over 1.5 @ 1.85
With all major leagues now on an international break, club football in England is now centred around the third tier.
Recently relegated Wycombe Wanderers will host a Gillingham side who have won three out of the last five meetings between the two sides.
However, this one on paper, looks quite different. Gillingham are coming off two home losses in a row, both to sides who are contending for promotion in the same league as them.
Wycombe are also firmly in the race and have won their last two league outings.
This is an all important game in hand for Wanderers as well, who could go top of the league if results go their way.
Given both sides are coming off mid-week cup matches, we’ll take the over 1.5 here with Wanderers keeping the points safe at home. 1 unit.
UEFA Nations League – Spain v France – 1×2 France @ $2.47
France showed tremendous character this morning to fight back from 2-0 down against Belgium.
They seem to have re-discovered their attacking mojo, and after having a disappointing year to date, will look to make a statement in the final.
Mbappe was able to put to rest his penalty ghosts, and also put in a dominant performance. Benzema worked hard and was a deserved goalscorer. With Griezmann, they can be devastating on their day.
Ferran Torres is under some doubt to start for Spain, after coming off injured following his 2 goals against Italy. If he does miss, or is forced to the bench, he would be a massive out for Spain. 1 unit.
UEFA Nations League – Italy Vs Belgium 1×2 Draw @ 3.30
Italy take on Belgium in the Nations league 3rd place playoff after being edged out by Spain and France respectively at the semi-finals stage.
Italy left themselves with too much to do against Spain, going 2-0 down and having influential captain Leonardo Bonucci sent off before half time before eventually losing the match 2-1.
Belgium will have been aggrieved not to be coming up against Spain in the final, having thrown a two goal lead away against France and losing courtesy of a 90th minute goal.
These two teams faced each other as recently as the European Championships quarter final, with Italy coming through that one 2-1 and indeed going on to lift the trophy.
The stats in that game were extremely even and on paper these are two extremely well matched teams.
Bonucci won’t be available after his sending off and that means Chiellini will be tasked with trying to keep Romelu Lukaku quiet.
Considering these third place playoffs don’t seem to be taken all that seriously in general there seems to be a bit of value in the draw selection at 3.30, with these two sides likely to cancel each other out. 1 unit.
UEFA WCQ – Sweden v Kosovo – Sweden & Under 3.5 goals @ 1.96
- Dom Rae
After a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Greece in their last World Cup Qualifier, Sweden come into this game knowing only three points will do against Kosovo in Solna on Saturday evening.
The Swedes will likely be battling it out with their Greek counterparts for the runners up spot in Group B and are strong favourites in the head-to-head market for this one.
Sweden put in a decent effort at the European Championships in the summer, bowing out to a last gasp Ukraine goal, but were guilty of missing a host of chances and suffered a red card late on which hampered their chances in that last 16 game.
Kosovo are rarely blown away by teams and have players at the back in Amir Rrahmani and Mergim Vojvoda who have top level experience in Serie A.
They have shown vast improvement this season too, beating Georgia and picking up a point against Greece, before suffering a narrow defeat to Spain, who just beat European Champions to Italy, no less.
There have been three goals or less in ten of Sweden’s twelve matches this calendar year and although they should come out on top in this one, Kosovo will provide stiff opposition, so a Sweden win with 3.5 goals or less at around the even money mark looks the bet here. 1 unit
Boxing – Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder – Fury by KO Winning Method @ 1.92
The Gypsy King’s career has been far from straightforward, but what is clear as day is he is undefeated in 31 fights.
Fury outclassed Wilder in 8 out 12 rounds in the first meeting of their trilogy despite being put on the canvas twice – somehow judges declared a draw after some astonishing last round scenes where it is widely said Fury had it.
The second encounter was much more one-sided and Fury ensured the judges wouldn’t be able to influence the result as he stopped Wilder in round seven.
Wilder has not been able to get to grips with Fury’s awkward and elusive style in 15 of the 19 rounds so far. He’s looked most dangerous going into desperation mode and letting his hands fly.
This of course leaves him open and with Fury moving incredibly well for someone of his size and stature, and as the two previous encounters have shown, he shouldn’t have too many issues in trying to land a knockout blow on Wilder. 1 unit
CSGO IEM Fall 2021 Europe – Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Vitality
Winner – Ninjas in Pyjamas @ 2.17
Now into the semifinal, this matchup should be an interesting one to watch.
Both teams have been in great form, with NIP now on a 9 match win streak having beaten top opponents such as Fnatic, FaZe, Fiend, BIG and G2.
Vitality have also looked great, winning against Astralis, Liquid, OG, Dignitas and Copenhagen Flames.
The last time these teams faced off was back in March with a 2-0 win for NIP. Expecting a strong performance from device and LNZ. 1 unit
NFL – LA Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns – Browns to win @ 2.18
I think Cleveland win this. they are 3-1 and looking very good this season. 1 unit
F1 – Turkish Grand Prix Qualifying Winner Max Verstappen @ 2.20
Similar to my last F1 tip, a big factor to consider here are the power units.
Verstappen had a new power unit fitted in the last grand prix and therefore might offer a bit more grunt and reliability while Hamilton’s side is surrounded by speculations that he will replace his current power unit this weekend in order to stay competitive for the remainder of the season.
If Hamilton does decide to change his power unit, that’ll see him starting from the back of the grid.
If he opts not to, I’m banking on Verstappen’s superb skills and Red Bull’s much improved car to take pole position. Verstappen’s pace in this track is undeniable.
Never forget that he topped all practice sessions last year, with all sessions having varying conditions, and only missed out on pole when Lance Stroll took it from him in a very competitive Racing Point car under very rainy conditions.
I can’t see anyone else being a strong contender in the qualifying session leading me to think pole position is for Max to take. 1 unit.