There’s another Rollover Pick 8 kicking off on Friday evening, containing a mixture of Premier League, FA Cup and Scottish Premiership games. The prize fund has topped £40,000 in the last two weeks so hopefully we can go close and land a few decent Cash Out offers, if not going the whole way. Check out my football betting tips for this weekend and join my Syndicate.
Football betting tips
Fulham vs. Leeds
I think Fulham’s return to form has been slightly overhyped in recent weeks. Two wins, two draws and two defeats from their last six games is a fair return for a side in the relegation battle, especially when the most recent three matches were against ‘big six’ sides.
However, they also stuttered to draws against Crystal Palace and Burnley in that run, while it took them an hour to break down lowly Sheffield United in a 1-0 win, demonstrating that they aren’t a given against bottom half sides.
Their form is still superior to Leeds, however, who have just a single win in six games, although will have taken heart from holding Chelsea last week. Leeds have only drawn three games all season, against Manchester City, Arsenal and now Chelsea, suggesting that they only time Marcelo Bielsa might exercise caution is against the giants of the division.
There is no reason for either Fulham or Leeds to show restraint here. Leeds are virtually safe so can play with the shackles off, while Fulham need wins if they are to overhaul Newcastle and Brighton above them. I’m not entirely sure who I favour but I’m confident one of them will nick it.
Selections: Fulham, Leeds
Bournemouth vs. Southampton
The FA Cup has proved a welcome distraction for Southampton this season, who have seen their fantastic start to the Premier League descend into chaos, with ten losses from their last 12 games.
They meet south coast rivals Bournemouth who, with their automatic promotion hopes gone, face a nine game fight to overhaul a two point gap to Barnsley or Reading and secure a playoff spot, both of whom have a game in hand.
As tempting as it is to take on the struggling Saints, I think you need to consider whether an extended cup run would help or hinder these two sides at the moment.
Though Southampton are now just seven points clear of the relegation zone, a couple of wins should keep them up and the FA Cup represents their best chance of turning a disappointing season into a success, with just two games standing between them and a trip to Wembley.
Though the same can be said for Bournemouth, even a potential shock cup win must take second fiddle to an all important bid to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Although Bournemouth are in decent form at the moment, with three wins from five, you’d expect Southampton to field a strong line up and I’m going to put my faith in the Saints progressing, whilst crossing all my fingers Bournemouth don’t take it to extra time.
Everton vs. Man City
I need waste no time or words describing the ridiculous form of Manchester City, who have turned a season promising disappointment into one in which they have a genuine chance at an unprecedented quadruple. The only question we have to ask here is can Everton stop them?
The problem with opposing Manchester City in cup competitions is their ridiculous squad depth compared to most other clubs. In almost any position you can scrub the first choice player and replace them with someone who would get into almost any other side in the league.
Everton are improving all the time under Carlo Ancelotti but they aren’t blessed with that same ability running through their squad and have stuttered in recent weeks, with their patchy form reading LLWWWLL, the initial pair of losses including a 3-1 reverse to Manchester City.
There are tough legs to come in this betting tips preview and I don’t want to waste selections on this one when backing Man City is about as safe bet as you can have in this tough pool.
Selections: Man City
Brighton vs. Newcastle
This is a seismic game in the relegation battle. Newcastle need to match Fulham’s result to stay ahead of them and, if Brighton lose, Fulham can draw level with them on points. A win for either of these two would go a long way to securing safety for the season and I would expect the game to be edgy as a result.
With both sides struggling in front of goal recently, Brighton down to their wastefulness and Newcastle due to injuries to key attacking players, the draw is a serious runner here with a real chance that both sides consider not losing to be the single most important outcome. Additionally, Newcastle are already on a run of three consecutive draws which tells you everything you need to know about them at the moment.
However, I want to back Brighton as well as it seems they might have finally turned a corner in their victory over Southampton at the weekend. It was their first win in eight and the first time they have scored more than once in a game in ten matches and could well give them the confidence to take on a depleted Newcastle side shorn of confidence, attacking verve and their best players.
Selections: Brighton, Draw
Celtic vs. Rangers
The Old Firm Derby makes up the fifth leg in our football betting tips preview as new champions Rangers try to inflict a third league defeat of the season on their great rivals Celtic.
It’s hard to deny that Rangers have been the better side this season and the Gers are now only a few games away from an unbeaten league season. However, while they’re never going to take an Old Firm match lightly, I would imagine that with the league season in the bag, they’ll want to focus on the Europa League, assuming they get past Slavia Prague on Thursday evening.
I see this as an opportunity to get some units out of the pool so will back all three selections.
Selections: Celtic, Draw, Rangers
West Ham vs. Arsenal
Arsenal are favourites to win this one and I have to question why. The Hammers are five places and seven points above their London rivals with ten games remaining and, should they win this, surely won’t get caught by The Gunners.
Furthermore, David Moyes has navigated West Ham into their lofty position of fifth, from which they are a genuine challenger for Champions League football next season, thanks to owning the second best home record in the division. West Ham have been one of the sides who have seemingly benefited from a lack of fans by taking 27 points from their 14 home games so far.
By contrast, Arsenal have the tenth best away record with just 20 points taken from 14 fixtures. They’ve earnt 4 points from their last four away trips, beating a depleted Leicester, drawing with Burnley and losing to Wolves and Villa.
Though I rate Mikel Arteta and feel he is progressing Arsenal, I do fancy West Ham for the upset here. They’ve already beaten Wolves, Villa, Spurs and Leeds at the London Stadium this season, while Man City only managed a point.
Arsenal have lost five of their seven away matches against top half clubs this season and I think that record could worsen here.
Selections: West Ham
Leicester vs. Man Utd
I’ve deliberately saved two selections for each of the final two legs, which both seem tough games to call.
Brendan Rodgers has done extremely well to keep Leicester’s season going despite their heavy injury list and the fact that Jamie Vardy is in something of a goal slump, with Kelechi Iheanacho picking up the slack in recent weeks.
The Foxes are unbeaten in three, drawing with Burnley before defeating Brighton and Sheffield United. However, the Brighton win came courtesy of an 87th minute winner and the Sheffield United victory, although comprehensive, came on the back of the sacking of the popular Chris Wilder.
I’m not trying to undermine Leicester’s achievements but I think their form needs some context as, with a harder set of fixtures, it could have been a different story.
They face a huge fight in this FA Cup quarter-final against a Manchester United outfit who are unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions. It’s a bizarre run of form which includes seven draws, four of which were goalless, as well as 4-0 and 9-0 wins. I suppose the common thread is that United are difficult to breakdown but whether this is a close game or they blow Leicester away really depends on the mood of Bruno Fernandes and their forwards.
As such I think I’m going to take the draw and United as my picks, hoping that Vardy’s struggles continue and that Iheanacho fails to continue his good form against a tough defence.
Selections: Draw, United
Aston Villa vs. Tottenham
It’s one step forward, two steps back for Spurs who looked as though they had a foot in the Champions League places when they took the lead against Arsenal, following a run of three straight wins. However, they managed to blow it, eventually going down 2-1 and now have a mountain to climb again.
A victory against Villa, just four points behind them with a game in hand, would be a great start and with Dean Smith’s side winning just one of their last six games they certainly have a chance of doing just that.
Villa have had a great season but draws against Wolves, Newcastle and Brighton, in addition to defeats to Leicester and Sheffield United, in their last six indicate a side fast running out of steam. Five of those are in the bottom half so they have their work cut out against Tottenham.
My one concern about Spurs is that their opening day defeat to Everton is the only time this season that they’ve lost just a single game in a row. Losing runs of two games, three games and two games since then suggest that Spurs often take a while to mentally recover from defeat.
With that in mind, I think I’ll back both sides to win, just in case Spurs do meltdown again.
Selections: Aston Villa, Tottenham
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