The Sports Bookie Blog

Premiership Betting

September 27th, 2007

Click to visit Pinnacle Sports to check out their latest oddsHere’s EPL Matchday 7 Previews from top handicap bookie, PinnacleSports.com. Check out the PinnacleSports Bookmaker Review on site at BookieLabRat.com if you want to know more about where to place Handicap bets!  

 

It’s been a fantastic week on all fronts for Arsenal football club. The Gunners are top of the Premiership, with a game in hand on nearest rivals Manchester United, while newly released turnover figures have led the Londoners to claim they are now the richest club in Britain. At the same time their city rivals, Chelsea, are struggling to adapt to life after Mourinho. Both clubs face local Derbies on the weekend, where Pinnacle Sports will be offering up to 60% better Premier League odds.

Gunners Continue Excellent Start to the Season

Arsenal have made their best ever start to a Premier League season, even better than their three title winning campaigns, and 2003/04 when they remained unbeaten for the entire season. Arsene Wenger’s young squad are showing a flair and ambition that have caused their outright odds for the Premier League to shorten dramatically, while they also made a confident start to the Champions League. On Sunday they make the short journey to East London, looking to sustain their position as Premier League leaders at Upton Park.

Arsene Wenger has something of a selection headache for the game against the Hammers, having dropped Robin Van Persie for the 5-0 win over Derby and with William Gallas, Jens Lehmann and Emmanuel Eboue back in training. Wenger will certainly want his to turn out his best eleven as West Ham have become a bogey side for Arsenal, completing an unlikely double last season, and remaining unbeaten in the last four meetings. The Irons gave a midweek run-out to Scott Parker and Freddie Ljungberg for their Carling Cup win, so they should be pushing for a start along with Craig Bellamy. Despite their poor record in this game PinnacleSports.com making Arsenal marginal favourites 1.885 (-0.5) with West Ham 2.05 (+0.5).
Rotating Rafa Rears His Ugly Head Again

Liverpool have failed to build on the 6-0 thrashing of Derby, drawing their next three league games, and pundits have laid the blame at the feet of rotating Rafa. He has kept star-striker Fernando Torres on the bench, but his second half hat-trick in the Carling Cup on Tuesday will surely means the Pool’s record signing starts here. Benitez hasn’t been helped by the mute form of Steven Gerrard, but he should have a full strength squad for the trip to the JJB Stadium on Saturday. They visit a Wigan side unbeaten at home, where they have conceded just once, but missing Emile Heskey, one of their shining stars so far this term. PinnacleSports.com make Liverpool favourites, 1.800 (-0.5 & -1) with Wigan 2.150 (+0.5 & +1).

Chelsea Need Big Performance at Home to Fulham

Given the ongoing turmoil at Stamford Bridge resulting from the exit of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea badly need to close ranks and get a confidence boosting win on Saturday at home to Fulham. The 4-0 Carling Cup win at Hull will certainly have helped, and Avram Grant should have Lampard, Ballack and Drogba available but the Blues have taken just one point from their last three league home games. The Cottagers have also proved tricky customers, drawing 2-2 at the Bridge last season, and have found the net on each of their six Premiership visits, which have averaged a massive 3.83 goals. In that case PinnacleSports.com’s price for OVER 2.5 & 3.0 goals looks appealing at 2.06.

Betting on the Carling Cup? Not as Such…

September 25th, 2007

Just when you thought you were going to have to resort to betting on the Carling Cup – along comes some top La Liga and Serie A action.

Check out this week’s previews from top handicap bookie, Pinnacle Sports.

LA LIGA BETTING – Matchday 5 Preview
Barcelona celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Nou Camp stadium on Saturday with a special ceremony and 2-1 win over Sevilla. Argentine striker, Lionel Messi, scored both goals with Ronaldinho looking on from the stands. The 300 million euro redevelopment of the iconic venue will start in 2009 and be part funded by the sale of the Mini Estadi, Barca’s mini-stadium.

Barca Adapting Without Eto’o & Ronaldinho
Another potential source of funds could be the sale of Ronny. The Brazilian is at the centre of controversy surrounding his partying lifestyle and lack of form. It seems unlikely he will start on Wednesday as Barca host Real Zaragoza, in the first midweek schedule of fixtures. Messi and Henry showed signs against Sevilla of developing an understanding, all the more important with Samuel Eto’o also side-lined for several weeks.

The victory would have given Rijkaard some relief, given the spectre of Jose Mourinho, who has ruled out another job in Premier League. The Dutchman will be encourage by the fact that Zaragoza have taken five points from four Primera Liga games this term, without keeping a clean sheet. They have faced Barcelona eight times in the last two seasons, including meetings in the Copa Del Rey. Zaragoza shocked the Catalans with a 1-0 win at the Nou Camp in that competition last term, before losing 2-1 at home, but have never won a league game there. PinnacleSports make Barca favourites 2.15 (-1.5), with Zaragoza 1.80 (+1.5).

Madrid on Top But Not at Ease
Real Madrid dropped their 100% record on the weekend, salvaging a draw at Vallladolid having fallen behind to a 71st minute Pedro Lopez strike. Though the Galacticos top the Primera Division there appears to be an unusual air of instability in the camp, with much being made of comments made by new manager, Bernd Schuster. Apparently all is not as the German had expected, and his suggestions that he would review his position at the end of the season has been ceased by the Spanish media as a sign he is unsettled. With Jose Mourinho on the market, that appraisal could happen much sooner.

Madrid host Betis at the Bernabeu in a rare Thursday night fixture. The visitors are yet to record a victory this term, drawing two and losing two. This follows on from last term when the Beticos finished just one point above the drop zone, but they seem to save their best for this fixture drawing on the last three visits, including consecutive 0-0 league draws. The sides have played eight times in the last two seasons (including Copa del Rey) with four draws and four draws for Madrid, but an average of less than one goal per game. PinnacleSports make Real Madrid favourites 2.04 (-1.5), with Zaragoza 1.893 (+1.5).

SERIE A BETTING – Matchday 5 Preview
After four games the early suggestions in Serie A are that there will no repeat of Inter Milan’s cake-walk last season. All the main contenders drew on the weekend, showing that every team will have to scrap for three points, though that might also suggest a hang-over from European competition. There is no respite however, as bettors are treated to a full midweek schedule of Italian fixtures, with PinnacleSports offering 60% better Serie A betting odds.

Roma & Fiorentina Defend Unbeaten Records
Luciano Spalletti’s Roma side are widely acknowledged as playing the best football in Italy in the early stages of the season. The Giallorossi are unbeaten and made a successful start to the Champions League but face their fourth game in ten days on Wednesday as they visit Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi. La Viola have faced identical fixture congestion, playing in the UEFA Cup, but also boast an unbeaten record which includes a draw away to Inter Milan.

Francesco Totti scored his third and fourth goals of the season in the 2-2 draw with Juve, continuing the excellent form he showed last term. For their part, Fiorentina are adjusting well to life without Luca Toni, and focused on their ambition of qualification for the Champions League. Danish winger, Martin Jorgensen, should return to training this week, but is unlikely to feature. This game has ended drawn on three of the last four occasions, and early evidence strongly suggests another close game. PinnacleSports make Roma favourites 2.19 (0/scratch & -0.5) with Fiorentina 1.775 (0/scratch & +0.5).

Juventus Suffering Defensive Jinx
Claudio Ranieri took plenty of positives from the weekend clash with Roma. David Trezeguet scored his 100th goal in Serie A, as the Old Lady held the league leaders to a 2-2 draw with a gutsy display that might have been even better had Del Piero converted his second-half spot kick. The big negative for Ranieri was losing another defender with Jorge Andrade likely to be out for the whole season after knee damage. He joins Jean Alain Boumsong in the medical room, while Jonathan Zebina is still suspended, and midfielder, Mauro Camoranesi is a long-term absentee.

Reggina make the long trip from Calabria in the tip of the Italy’s boot, to Turin. The Amaranto (Dark Reds) pulled off a near miracle last term, staying up despite the 11 point penalty from Calciopoli, with a creditable away record, losing just one more away game than Lazio who finished third. They are however, still searching for their first win and have already conceded seven goals. PinnacleSports make Reggina underdogs 1.943 (+1.5) with Juventus 1.980 (-1.5). 

>>READ the latest sportsbook review on PinnacleSports.com. (Sorry, no US bettors) 

Manchester United versus Chelsea

September 22nd, 2007

Best value bets should also consider any Cash back offers!Bye bye Mourinho! The special one has left Stamford Bridge and Sunday’s Premiership match between these 2 teams should be a good one, especially given the rocky start both mega-clubs have had to the season.

Manchester United versus Chelsea – where will you place your bets? If you’ve not decided where to get your money down on this fixture, check out the following 4 money back specials at top rating bookies…

HEADS, YOU WIN – If the last goal in the Manchester United versus Chelsea match is a header, Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets on that game. Max Refund €300/£200 per customer.

BOX CLEVER – Bet Fred will refund all losing single correct score bets on the Man Utd v Chelsea game  – if a goal is scored from outside the box. Maximum refund is £100

SEVENTH HEAVEN – If Andriy Shevchenko or Cristiano Ronaldo scores the LAST GOAL of the match Victor Chandler will refund all losing First Goalscorer, Correct Score, Scorecast & Double Result (HT/FT) bets on the match as a free bet! Max refund £200 (€300)/person. Applies to singles only.

BORE DRAW – Place a pre-match correct score, double result or scorecast bet on ANY FOOTBALL MATCH and Bet365 will refund losing stakes if the match finishes 0-0.

Premier League Picks 22/23 September 2007

September 22nd, 2007

Here’s Fred Done’s personal picks for the weekend EPL matches (Fred Done of BetFred.com Sports Bookmaker fame).

Arsenal v Derby – I don’t think it is in any doubt who will win this one and at a price of 1/6, Arsenal aren’t exactly value. I would have to go with a correct score of 3-0 at 6/1 to find some value, the rejuvenated Cesc Fabregas is a massive 12/1 to net first.

Liverpool v Birmingham – Liverpool have the squad to cope with their injury cloud (Daniel Agger and Xabi Alonso) and should find this pretty comfortable against Birmingham. A 2-0 home win is 11/2 with Dirk Kuyt who scored against Porto on Tuesday at 4/1 to score first.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland – Although it is hard to know which Middlesbrough will show up for this game I am going for them to nick this one at 5/6. Definitely one for your accumulators.

Reading v Wigan – I will side with a Reading win at evens. A good bet may be a draw on the handicap (Reading -1) at 5/2.

Fulham v Man City – Tough game to call so I will go for the draw at 11/5. If you are looking to do a first goalscorer, American Clint Dempsey can be found at 12/1.

Newcastle v West Ham – This is a real tricky game and I’m tempted to go with West Ham as they will be full of confidence, but this is St James’ Park and any team going there will have to fight to get a win. A draw may be safest at 9/4. Bellamy who is scoring some fantastic goals for club and country is 7/1.

Aston Villa v Everton – I think this is nailed on to finish level at 11/5.

Blackburn v Portsmouth – Nailed on Blackburn at 5/6.

Bolton v Tottenham – This is a meeting between two sides who are very low on confidence and are conceding goals left, right and centre. Amid plenty of speculation about Martin Jol’s future, I think the away side will take this one at 6/4.

Man Utd v Chelsea – Most people will see this as a Man Utd win but with both side spluttering so far and not being the same teams of last season, I still see this as a draw at 2/1. Draw half time – draw full time is 7/2, I decent bet in my opinion.

Click to visit BetFred.com nowCheck out the latest odds – and special cash back offers onsite at BetFred.com. (Sorry, no US bettors).

Read the latest sportsbook review on BetFred.com – what’s hot and not so about this much hyped UK institution.

Money back Specials: Recent Payouts

September 20th, 2007

There’s been a great run of payouts on online sportsbook Cash Back offers over the last few weeks. Sort of like betting insurance, these Money Back Specials are far better than losing your stake if your bet does not come off!

If you like to have a flutter on the higher value 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets in particular, we especially recommend you check out PaddyPower.com, Bet365.com or BetFred.com before you decide where to bet!

RECENT BOOKIE PAYOUTS

Click to visit PaddyPower.comHeading Back to You!
Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets on Porto v Liverpool, Chelsea v Rosenborg AND Sporting Lisbon v Man Utd because the last goal of the game was a header.

Click to visit BetFred.comA Sporting Gesture!
UK Bookie BetFred.com credited over £15,000 in free bets back to punters thanks to Ronaldo’s goal on Wednesday night. All first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast single bets on Sporting Lisbon v Manchester United on 19/09/07 were paid out.

Click to go to Paddy Power bookiePenalty Points!
Celtic v Spartak Moscow Champions League Qualifier. If you backed a team to win in 90 minutes and they fail to win in normal time but go on to lose on a penalty shootout, then Paddy Power refunded all win-draw-win bets on that team.

Click to visit Bet365 sportsbookBore Draw!
Last week’s Chelsea vs Blackburn and Portsmouth vs Liverpool games had the favourites  upset with a nil all result. Bet365 paid out handsomely through their BORE-DRAW promotion. [Have a pre-match Correct Score, Half-Time/Full-Time or Scorecast bet on ANY football match, and if the game finishes 0-0 Bet365 will refund all losing bets on those markets! In multiple bets the selection will be treated as a non-runner.] 

Click for PaddyPower.comOff To A Flyer!
Premier League – All Opening Weekend Matches. If a goal was scored in the first 10 minutes of any opening weekend Premier League match, Paddy Power refunded all 90 minute win-draw-win bets on that game. Punters on both the Derby v Portsmouth and Arsenal v Fulham matches got paid out.
>>READ comprehensive reviews on these top online sports bookmakers
>>CHECK OUT the bulletin board of sportsbook cash backs and money back specials for this week at the top online bookmakers.

Fancy A “No Lose” Champions League Bet?

September 16th, 2007

Click to check out Gamebookers sportsbook promotion nowGamebookers has a new promotion running – a “no lose” Champions League feature bet. They’re pushing it as “like taking a penalty with no goalkeeper”…

There are six qualifying matches in the group stages and Gamebookers are offering a ‘no lose’ bet for every round.

So how do I enter?
You need to be a member of Gamebookers.com (ie have registered an account) and to have deposited a minimum of fifteen US Dollars (US $15)… or currency equivalent.
 
Bet €5 on the exact score of their featured game and:
– If your bet wins, you’re paid out as usual
– If your bet loses, Gamebookers will return your wager.
It really is as easy as that!

[FINE PRINT: as there always is some…you have to wager your refunded €5 stake 3 times at odds of 1.6 or above prior to the end of the Promotion Period, ie sometime in December]

GAMEBOOKERS’ CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FEATURE GAMES
Matchday 1   Barcelona vs Lyon
Matchday 2   Valencia vs Chelsea
Matchday 3   Besiktas vs Liverpool
Matchday 4   Olympiacos vs Real Madrid
Matchday 5   Benfica vs Milan
Matchday 6   Roma vs Manchester United

Click to visit Gamebookers online sportsbook nowTo find it on the Gamebookers web site you need to click through from the animated footballer graphic. (click twice as it’s a flash image)

Here’s a link to our latest online sports bookmaker review and rating of Gamebookers, now part of the PartyGaming Group of online gambling companies.

(Sorry, no US bettors!)

Analysing Home Field Advantage in the English Premier League

September 14th, 2007

One look at last season’s English Premier League table will tell you that home teams scored more goals than visiting teams (552 v 349). In fact, ever since the English Football Association formed the first ever football league in 1888, it has always been that way. QED – home teams enjoy a natural advantage over away teams.

This might be stating the obvious, but many bettors fail to understand the importance of Home Field Advantage (HFA). At PinnacleSports.com we use HFA as the basis for much of our odds setting on football. The key to remember is that when a bookmaker sets a line, they are not necessarily trying to predict who will win the game, but rather find the point where they can generate balanced action. The challenge that bettors face is to be more accurate than the bookmaker in estimating the strength of HFA and play to win.

In American Football, there is a 3 point standard value for HFA, based on historical data on home points scored versus away points scored. This figure naturally masks deviations based on team and seasonality, so in pricing future games, odds makers will use the standard 3-point HFA as a guide, but adjust it for game specific factors.

The NFL lends itself easily to HFA measurements because given the ‘closed’ status of the league (absence of relegation) and draft system, there is a fairly level playing field. Such notions do not apply to English football, so despite over a century of raw data, you can be forgiven for not knowing the standard HFA for the English top flight, as no accepted figure exists. This presents opportunities for astute players.

The main reason for this is the level of polarisation that the open league system (based on promotion & relegation) has created. This is particularly important since the start of the Premier League in 1992, when the financial rewards of success have dramatically increased the gap between the haves and have nots.

The Premier League is currently contested by twenty clubs but there have been a total of forty clubs that have played in the top flight since its inception in 1992. However, only seven teams have contested all 15 seasons. Looking at the HFA figures for those sides should provide meaningfully consistent data.

The stats are freely available, and by copying the required data into an Excel spreadsheet, it’s a fairly simple task to arrive at a basic figure for HFA using the following calculation: 

 

For example, in the 2006/07 season, Manchester United’s HFA would calculate as follows; 46 (goals for) minus 12 (goals against) for a goal difference of 34 divided by 19 games played at Old Trafford = 34/19 = 1.79

The table below gives the HFA advantage for the seven ever-present Premier League teams:


 

 

 

 

The theory behind HFA is to find value for example by either backing the home team when the Asian handicap is less than their HFA, or betting the visiting team when the Asian handicap exceeds the HFA.

Dedicated players may seek to find an even greater edge by refining their calculations to see what influence any number of factors might have on HFA for a particular team, division or domestic league. They might apply a filter so that only home games during a specific period are considered such as over the festive season, or against teams with a higher/lower league position, or teams newly promoted to the Premiership etc. etc. The possibilities are endless.

It is with these various refinements in subjective areas that astute players stay one step ahead of the bookmaker to reap maximum returns. Additional known influences to consider include:

Referees & Home Crowds
Harvard research assistant, Ryan Boyko studied 5,000 Premiership games from 1992 to 2006, to discern any officiating bias and the influence of home crowds. The data suggested that for every additional 10,000 people attending, home team advantage increased by 0.1 goals. Additionally, his study proved what many football fans already suspect, that home teams are likely to receive more penalties, but crucially, this is more likely with inexperienced referees. So building referee profiles can clearly be a very telling refinement for HFA figures.

Seasonality & Games of Special Significance
HFA is anecdotally shown to increase for important games, including local Derbies, which logically attract high attendances and increased fervour. Look for anything that might raise the level of intensity such as emotive local stories, important club anniversaries or memorials for players/managers/significant events.

Breaking News & Injuries
Paying attention to team news is critically important. This process should continue right up until kick-off, with a surprising number of players injured during warm-up.

Recent Form
Confidence breeds success, so it is advisable to build in a value for recent form, though it is open for debate as to what constitutes a significant winning or losing run.

New Stadiums
A degree of home field advantage is derived from familiarity. That element is greatly devalued when home teams are playing in a new stadium as Arsenal did last season at the Emirates Stadium. Judging the ‘bedding in’ period is an important judgement to make.

Further areas to consider would include:
Weather
Managerial Uncertainty

Analysing HFA in conjunction with lateral thinking can give bettors an edge, but only in conjunction with low commission betting, at sportsbooks such as PinnacleSports.com.

Why is a Bookmaker telling me this?
PinnacleSports.com’s philosophy is that if we can improve the sophistication of players everywhere, more bettors will recognize the benefit of our unique pricing model, which offers up to 60% better odds. PinnacleSports.com benefits from educating its players, as it is sharp bettors who firm up our early prices on all markets offered, that allows us to provide the highest limits and most competitive odds around.

Click to visit this top rated online sportsbookArticle submitted by Hobbes from PinnacleSports.com. (Sorry, no US bettors)
Check out our latest sportsbook review of Pinnacle Sports Bookmaker onsite at BookieLabRat.com.

Stats, Lies and Statistics – Pro Football Talk

September 13th, 2007

PRO FOOTBALL STATS: READ BETWEEN THE LINES

BY JIM FEIST

We just completed the first week of the pro football season. Already there are mountains of stats and angles available for sports bettors to digest from this season and years past. Information certainly is a huge key when analyzing games and point spreads. Sometimes it can seem that there is too much info, but it’s essential to understand that stats are only a starting point. They don’t always tell the whole story. In fact, stats can sometimes lie.

Sure, it’s important to ask such questions as, “How many yards passing per game does this team get? How big is this offensive line compared to the opponent? Is a great quarterback going up against a team with slow defensive backs? What’s their home record the last five years, straight up and against the spread?” However, it’s important to learn when to look beyond stats. For example, here are some stats from the 2006 NFL season:

*The Rams were 10th in pass defense.
*The Falcons were No. 9 in total offense.
*The Bengals were 18th in rush defense.
*The Vikings were No. 10 in total defense.
*The Saints ranked 28th in rushing offense.
*The Bills were No. 16 in pass defense.
*The Browns had the No. 13 pass defense.
*The Chiefs were No. 15 in total offense.

Now, all of those 2006 stats are true. However, they don’t tell the real story about a football team’s strengths, either.

For instance, the Rams had a statistically strong pass defense. However, their total defense was a poor 25th, because they couldn’t stop the run, which ranked last. Opponents rarely had to pass. St. Louis lacked run stuffers and allowed a whopping 5.2 yards per carry, easily the worst mark in the league. So while the pass defense gave the appearance of being strong, this was really a poor all-around defense.

The Falcons may have been No. 9 in total offense, but few looked at them as a strong offensive team. Atlanta was as one-dimensional as a team could be, ranking first in rushing and last in passing. This is important for handicappers because it was easy to find mismatches. Any team that was strong against the run could contain them. That makes it much easier for defensive coordinators to map out a game plan against them. A potent NFL offense isn’t one-dimensional.

The Saints may have ranked 28th overall in rushing offense, but that is deceptive. They had plenty of offensive talent and balance with RBs Deuce McAllister and rookie Reggie Bush. No one wanted to face them as the Saints ranked No. 1 in total offense because of a devastating passing game and spread attack.

The 2006 Chiefs may have ranked 15th in total offense, but this was not a very strong offensive team. Like Atlanta, they were one-dimensional, running all the time behind workhorse RB Larry Johnson. Even worse was their lack of QB play and imagination, something that was maddeningly clear in the playoffs, when they went out quickly to the Colts.

Back in 2004 and 2005 the Steelers ranked 28th and 24th in passing offense, yet those “poor” stats are deceptive. The Steelers are primarily a power-running team, and highly successful at it, getting out in front early and then chewing up the clock. It worked often, too, during a 15-1 regular season in 2004 and winning the Super Bowl in 2005. They didn’t need to pass a lot, although when were forced to pass, they were able to move the ball through the air with QB Ben Roethlisberger and terrific wide receivers, which was the case during their playoff run. The stats may suggest a poor passing team, but the reality was quite different.

Last season Cleveland was No. 13 against the pass, but anyone watching the Browns saw a very poor defense. They were 25th against the run, so teams could wear them down on the ground, making the passing game just as effective. The Browns allowed 238 points, one of the poorest marks in the league.

The Vikings had the opposite problem defensively. They were No. 10 in total defense, but that was deceptive. Their run defense was sensational, No. 1 overall, so halfway through the season teams gave up on the run, spread the field and attacked their weak secondary. After a 4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS start, the Vikings faced the Patriots on Monday night. The Pats didn’t even bother to run, for the most part, spreading the field and passed their way to a 31-7 rout. Minnesota went 2-8 SU/ATS from that game on as teams exploited that weak pass ‘D’.

So remember – successful handicappers dig deep and weigh all the strengths and weaknesses before heading to the betting window.

You can read more from Jim Feist and read his football thoughts here :

 

Best Bets: Euro 2008 Qualifiers

September 10th, 2007

Here’s a compilation of the best money back special bets available on the midweek Euro 2008 Qualifiers. (Sorry, none of these sports bookmakers can accept American punters)

Click to visit PaddyPower.comFirst up top Irish bookie PaddyPower.com has “WE’RE NOT CHOCKING!”. This offer is on the England v Russia game (Wed 8pm BBC1) AND the Czech Rep v Ireland game (Wed 7.30pm SS2/RTE2)

What’s the deal? If either team in the above games lead at half time but fail to win, Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets on that game. Max Refund €300/£200 per customer.  

Click to visit Bet365.comCheck out Bet365.com if you’re thinking draws… For Bet365’s “BORE DRAW OFFER” place a pre-match correct score, double result or scorecast bet on ANY FOOTBALL MATCH and Bet365 will refund losing stakes if the match finishes 0-0.

Also at Bet365 you can have an each-way First Goalscorer bet on any Euro2008 qualifier, and if your player scores at any time during the game Bet365 will pay you out. Each-way bets are now settled on all goalscorers, at 1/3 odds for unlimited places in 90 minutes play.  

Click to go to BetFred.com sportsbookFred Done’s team at BetFred.com has 2 offers that may be of interest: 

1. If you back a player to score first in an England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Euro 2008 Qualifier and he fails to score the first goal in the game but scores last, BetFred will refund your stake to £100 max.

2. If you place a scorecast bet on an England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland Euro 2008 Qualifier and you only get one half of your selection correct, BetFred will refund your total stake  to £100 max.

Click for Victor Chandler BookmakerVictor Chandler also has 2 offer on the table for specific Euro 2008 Qualifiers: “SECOND CHANCE” & “MONEY FOR NOTHING!” The games included in these offers are: England v Russia, France v Scotland, Czech Republic v Republic Of Ireland, Slovakia v Wales & Iceland v Northern Ireland

“SECOND CHANCE” : Place a First Goalscorer bet and if your player fails to score the first goal but scores at any other time in the match VCBet.com will refund your stake as a free bet on any future match.

“MONEY FOR NOTHING!”: Place a bet on the Correct Score or Double Result (HT/FT) and if the game finishes 0-0 VCBet will refund your losing stake as a free bet! Maximum refund £100 (€150) per offer per person per match.    

Israel to Crack Under Pressure: Hargreaves

September 6th, 2007

Owen Hargreaves confident England will beat IsraelOwen Hargreaves believes England will be able to take advantage of Israel’s lack of big-match experience in their vital Euro 2008 qualifier on Saturday. The stakes couldn’t be any higher at Wembley as Steve McClaren’s side try to get their bid to reach next year’s finals back on track.

Only a win will do for England, while the visitors must avoid defeat to keep in the hunt for a top-two finish in Group E.These are the kind of occasions that the best players thrive on and England’s squad is packed full of experience of the biggest Premier League and Champions League games.

In contrast, Israel have few top-level stars and Manchester United midfielder Hargreaves doubts whether they will be able to withstand England’s planned assault and the vociferous atmosphere generated by an 80,000 sell-out crowd.

“I think it is difficult for them. I don’t think they are accustomed to playing in this type of atmosphere and this type of game,” Hargreaves said. “They don’t have the players who play at big clubs. Possibly one or two but our whole squad does.”We are used to those expectations. I’ve never been in a game even against the best teams in the world when we want a draw or play to defend.”I think possibly they will not be used to the atmosphere at the beginning.”That’s why we have to keep the tempo high for the first 30 minutes and try to get a goal or two. “That will completely change the flow of the game because if they keep a clean sheet for the first 30 minutes they will become more comfortable and confident.

“We are going to get forward and attack, take chances and hopefully score goals. If we do that it should be a comfortable game for us.” With Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch sidelined through injury and suspension, McClaren has a dearth of attacking options to breakdown Israel’s packed defence.

The visitors are certain to take a cautious approach that could leave Hargreaves under-employed in midfield, presenting the opportunity for a few rare forays forward.The former Bayern Munich star hasn’t scored since his move to Old Trafford and, when asked, he struggled to remember the last time he did hit the back of the net. But that won’t stop him trying his luck against Israel.

“It’s not really one of my biggest strengths,” he said. “I can score goals as well but so far it is not something that has been asked of me. I’m more there for the defensive side of things.”We’ve got great players going forward and hopefully we can get goals. I don’t care if it’s from me or anybody else as long as we win the game.”I think you take what you are given. If there are opportunities to get forward I will try and do that.”

McClaren’s future as England manager is in the balance after a lacklustre qualifying campaign.

If England fail to beat Israel and then Russia next Wednesday, the opprobrium that will pour down on McClaren would make his position virtually untenable, despite his insistence he wants to see the job through to the bitter end. Hargreaves knows England are in a perilous position but expects his side to be in Austria and Switzerland when the tournament kicks-off.

He said: “You’ll see at the end of it if we deserve to qualify. Whoever is there at the end in the top two places will have deserved it.”There are some good teams that have played well so far; Russia, Croatia and Israel. But we are only halfway through and there are still a lot of points to be given.”It doesn’t matter now where we are. You can look at the Premier League table and it’s going to look a lot different at the end of the season,” added the Canadian-born player whose United side sit a lowly eighth after a disappointing start to their campaign.

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