Jun 24

Eden Hazard could force Chelsea exit for Barcelona move

Chelsea will be forced to sell Eden Hazard this summer should Barcelona solidify their interest in him by way of making a formal offer, according to reports in Spain.

Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo writes today that despite Jose Mourinho’s insistence that his star man will not be heading for a Stamford Bridge exit this summer, Hazard will force a move to the Nou Camp should Barca come calling.

This is merely the latest in an ongoing conveyor belt of speculation which sees the 23-year-old continually linked with a big money move abroad after yet another scintillating campaign last term. However it will naturally alarm Blues fans, and the idea of joining forces with the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi is obviously one that would appeal to a player of Hazard’s capabilities.


Of course the bulk of rumours so far have been drawn from the notion of Hazard making a lucrative move to France, where Laurent Blanc’s Paris Saint-Germain continue to dominate domestically thanks to their unparalleled financial backing.

The French manager has revealed in recent days that he believes Hazard will have to submit a transfer request to his club for them to allow him to leave, and Mourinho has categorically denied that the winger will be playing at the Parc des Princes next season.


As Mundo reports, Barcelona’s obvious interest in Hazard stems from the desire held by new boss Luis Enrique to conduct a squad reshuffle of his star players. With Francesc Fabregas already having coincidentally made a switch to Chelsea, and the futures of Alexis Sanchez, Pedro Rodriguez, Alex Song and Xavi Hernandez up in the air, it would appear that the wheels have already been set in motion with regards to Barca operating with a revolving door policy in this summer’s transfer window.

Though Hazard isn’t their priority target – they’ve already made it clear they’re desperate for Luis Suarez – his reputation as a world-class asset will no doubt strengthen his appeal in Enrique’s mind.

– Chelsea to open contract talks with Eden Hazard
– Laurent Blanc admits Eden Hazard defeat
– Robin van Persie and Eden Hazard wanted by Barcelona


Broadly speaking, no. Mourinho’s dream for Chelsea moving forward depends heavily on his team becoming better each year, not weakening themselves with the sale of their best player. If The Special One has any say in the matter whatsoever then Hazard will remain the focal point of his attack, and Roman Abramovich is unlikely to go over his head and consent to a sale due to the player’s popularity with fans.


As has already been discussed, any potential Hazard to Barca deal relies solely on him kicking up a fuss and demanding a move. Though Mundo appears confident he will do such a thing if the interest from his La Liga suitors continues to grow, surely Blues fans would be anticipating that the Belgian international will remain loyal?

Jun 23

Betting tips for Cameroon v Brazil: Predicted line-ups & essential facts and stats

Predicted line-ups:

Cameroon: Itandje; Djeugoue, Nkoulou, Chedjou, Nounkeu; Matip, Aboubakar, Choupo Moting, Mbia, Enoh; Eto’o.

Tottenham’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto may be dropped from the roster following a physical altercation with teammate Benjamin Moukandjo. Alex Song is sidelined due to suspension suspension.

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Alves, Thiago, Luiz, Marcelo; Gustavo, Paulinho; Ramires, Oscar, Neymar; Fred.

Hulk is available again, but may start off on the bench.

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Betting Tip:

Cameroon and Brazil will face each other in the final round of Group A with only the latter able to reach the knockout stages.

While Brazil would need to draw with Cameroon to reach the next round, Volker Finke’s men have no mathematical chance left and will attempt to deliver a solid performance over the host nation in order to conclude the tournament and go home on a good note.

Volker Finke’s men will arrive in Brasilia hoping to restore their lost pride after suffering a 0:4 thrashing at the hand of Croatia last week. The defeat saw Barcelona’s Alex Song booked with a red card after an elbow attack on Mario Madzukic, as well Tottenham’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto head-butting fellow teammate Benjamin Moukandjo. While Song will be sidelined for Monday’s match, Assoi-Ekotto is expected to be dropped from the roster as a consequence for his momentary lapse of reason.

The Selecao did not perform up to their expectations thus far in the tournament, and last week were held to a goalless draw by Mexico. Neymar and his colleagues failed to break the ironclad El Tri defence, featuring Guiilermo Ochoa who delivered the performance of a lifetime and frustrated the Brazilian attack time after time.

Fred, who had been criticised for his poor performance is expected to continue to receive the credit in the starting XI, while Hulk who was absent due to injury is again an option but is likely to start on the bench.

Before the start of the tournament, we would have rendered this fixture a given for the Selecao but with their poor performances as of lately, and considering Cameroon have nothing to lose, Scolari’s men must retain their concentration if they would like to bag the three points and top Group A. Nevertheless, as soon as Brazil manages to score the first goal, it should be fairly easy to add on several others to the scoreline, as Cameroon seem to have a very low breaking point after conceding.

Prediction: Brazil 3 – Cameroon 1

Some essential facts and stats to help with online betting:

Cameroon won the last meeting involving these sides, 1-0, when Samuel Eto’o scored a late winner during the 2003 Confederations Cup.

Brazil’s third group game against Cameroon will be their 100th at World Cup; they are the second team to reach that tally in the competition (Germany leads with 101 games).

Cameroon have hit 30 shots in this World Cup but only three of them have been on target.

Cameroon have kept only one clean sheet in their last 18 World Cup games.

No team has lost seven World Cup games in a row since Mexico in the 1950s (nine games).

Brazil haven’t failed to top their World Cup group since the last tournament in South America (Argentina 1978).

Brazil have hit 14 shots without scoring (since Oscar’s goal v Croatia) at the World Cup.

Jun 04

Why Spain will win 2014 World Cup

After Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund beat Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, many were calling it the end of Spanish dominance of world football.

Fans around the globe started to talk about a new superpower in football, a new era in which German football would dominate.

Of course the two German clubs Dortmund and Bayern Munich had an excellent season and they could be breaking up the dominance that Barcelona have had in the last few years.

However, the talk that the Spanish way of football has been figured out and teams will now be able to play against the tika-tika style of play is complete nonsense.

Yes Dortmund beat Madrid, but the man who scored their four goals, Robert Lewandowski, is Polish. And Bayern did completely embarrass Barcelona, but three of their best players Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben and Javi Martinez are not German.

Spain have strengthened the fact that they are still the very best national side in the world by their performances in the Confederations Cup.

Against Uruguay in the first half Spain were outstanding, they rarely gave Uruguay the ball and when they did they pressured the opponent so much that they got it back very quickly.

It is almost impossible to play well against Spain when they are performing.

One of the reasons Spain will win the World Cup is the astonishing strength in depth, the amount of good midfielders that Spain possess is ridiculous. A midfield trio of Javi Martinez, Juan Mata and David Silva would be one of the very best in the world and a trio most managers would dream of, three of the best midfielders in the world.

Yet these three do not get into the Spain first team, because they are kept out by Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. Spain’s ‘B team’ would most likely beat many of the national teams on the planet.

Some may argue that if the German national team and Spain national team do come head-to-head in the World Cup, the German discipline and excellent organisation would be able to conquer the Spanish.

However, Spain would be able to break down even the most solid of defences, it may take time, but as has happened before, the Spaniards patience would pay off.

By keeping the ball for such long periods of time they tire out the opposition, and when the opposition do get the ball, they are too tired to actually do anything with it.

Spain’s dominance is far from over – and with the Spain under 21s recently winning the World Cup, they could keep on dominating for many years to come.

Apr 29

Everton vs. Manchester City – English Premier League – May 3, 2014 Betting Preview and Prediction

When: Saturday, May 3, 2014, 11:30 AM EST

Where: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England

Line: Manchester City at Everton – view Premier League lines

Betting on Everton

Everton’s 2015 Champion’s League dreams have all but evaporated after dropping two of their last three games. They fell 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace before losing 2-0 away to Southampton on two own goals.

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But sandwiched in between those two losses was a fine 2-0 home win that signaled the end of former manager David Moyes’ reign at Manchester United. They also impressively defeated Arsenal 3-0 at home in early April, which shows that Roberto Martinez’s side can get up for the big games against the big teams, especially at home.

Everton are 8-0-1 in their last nine home games, and are unbeaten (2-1-0) against the three of the top four teams at Goodison Park.

But with essentially nothing left to play for, Martinez will have an interesting dilemma as to whether he will play to win against City, which would aid rivals Liverpool in their title challenge.

Everton will be without key midfielder Gareth Barry, who is on-loan from City, but physical striker Romelu Lukaku (13 goals) has the muscle to trouble City’s occasionally suspect defense.

Betting on Manchester City

Manchester City’s championship hopes seemingly went out the window after they lost to Liverpool and drew with bottom club Sunderland at home. But a big Liverpool slip-up has placed City’s destiny back in its own hands and the time is favored at -130 to win the league over Chelsea and Liverpool.

The Citizens themselves recovered from those back-to-back hiccups by easily disposing of West Brom 3-1 at home and Crystal Palace 2-0 away. Palace had won five straight games before falling to City.

City could be without key playmaker David Silva, who was injured in the West Brom game, but will have inspirational midfielder Yaya Toure back and in fine form. Toure scored his 19th league goal of the season in his return against Palace.

Strikers Sergio Aguero (16 goals) and Edin Dzeko (12 goals) also got on the score sheet in the last two games for City, who have scored two or more goals in eight of their last nine games.

However, City have not been the most consistent away from home; they’re just 3-2-1 in their last six away games.
Writer’s Prediction

With the title within their reach, a motivated City and their array of attacking talent powers past Everton at Goodison.

Apr 06

Should we and how to use the betting exchanges

Betting exchanges sites like Betfair allow players to back a possible outcome of a match just like a real bookmaker does. Thus, using betting exchanges sites each of us can become a bookmaker and offer odds to other players who themselves decide would they buy it or not.

This opens up really big opportunities for all sports betting fans for one very important reason. With betting exchange sites you can choose from thousands of bookmakers, not just a bunch of them. This gives additional opportunities to bet at better odds, which allows even with a lower success rate to be profitable.

One important clarification is needed here. In betting exchanges the site takes commissions for the service they provide for the transaction between the players. This is an amount which is taken from the winner and must be calculated in the coefficient.

Why to use betting exchanges rather than the traditional bookmakers such as bet365, bet-at-home and William Hill? The reason is simple and it is that the bookies are much stronger players than the ordinary punters against who you can stand if you use the betting exchanges.

Perhaps the best way to explain this is by an analogy between sports betting and poker. Gambling with bookmakers like bet365, bet-at-home and William Hill is like playing poker with some of the world’s best players. It is clear that no matter how good you are after a certain amount of bets you are going to lose because they are just better than you.

But gambling in a betting exchange is just like playing poker on any of the thousands of tables on the web where you can surely find someone who just decided to play a few bucks while sipping a beer and watching something on TV. It is clear that your chances in this case are several times higher.

That’s why to bet with betting exchanges is part of the mandatory arsenal of every true bettor and should be carefully studied and used whenever possible.

Apr 06

Use Poisson distribution for betting

One of the most common betting problems with regards to the use of statistical models to help soccer betting is how to calculate the odds depending on the statistics we have collected. If, for example, we have calculated that the hosts in the match would most probably score 2.12 goals while the away team would score 0.89 goals, we face the problem that this doesn’t mean that the match will end 2-1. Based on this information we have to create a statistical model for the most correct betting probabilities from which to calculate our odds which to compare to those proposed by the bookmakers such as bet365, William Hill and bet-at-home.

Here is how to do it for the betting markets on Under / Over 2.5 total scored goals by both teams.

One of the most popular betting methods is the use of the so called Poisson distribution. With it you can calculate the probability based on a statistical model. The good news is that the Poisson distribution is calculated very easily with Excel.

You can use the function =POISSON(0;2.12;FALSE)*100 and =POISSON(0;0.89;FALSE)*100 which will give you the individual probabilities for both teams not to score in the match.

Poisson distribution is an essential betting tool, which is used by many players around the world.

Now, here’s the answer how to use it to calculate the exact odds of betting on under or over 2.5 total scored goals in football matches. You need to check the chances of each team not to score in the match (you can do it with the formulas above), so you would get the probabilities for 0-0. You need to repeat the same exercise for results like 1:0, 0:1 and 1:1. So, with all four probabilities you get the total percentage of the chances the match to end with less than 2.5 goals scored by both teams.

The remaining percentage up to 100% is the percentage probability for both teams to score more than 2.5 goals in the match, which ultimately gives you a complete picture of what you have as betting options for goal markets for this match.

Apr 06

Liverpool and Arsenal to score over 2.5 goals

Liverpool hosts Arsenal in the first match of the 25th round of the English Premier League. The match starts at 12:45 and the place is the legendary Anfield. This is a match which is most probably the last chance for Liverpool to stay in the fight for the first place. A possible loss here will open a gap of 11 points from the first place for Liverpool. For Arsenal, this is the beginning of a very difficult series of matches, which will decide will this season be successful for Arsene Wenger and his boys or again the showcase for the achievements of the team will remain empty.

This match will also be interesting with the fact that against Luis Suarez, who is the most effective striker in England and Liverpool which is the second most scoring team in the league will stand the team with perhaps the best defence at the moment. So far, Arsenal have conceded only 21 goals in 24 games. The two central defenders of the team Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are already living legends of the team as Arsenal hasn’t lost a single match with them in the squad for nearly two years.

The match will attract great interest among the sports betting fans and the bookmakers already anticipate many bets. They put the hosts from Liverpool in the role of the favorites in the match, giving them odds for a win of 2.05 (bet-at-home), 2.1 (bet365) and 2.15 (William Hill). The odds for a draw in the match are about 3.6, only bet-at-home gives 3.5. Arsenal’s chances of winning in the match are rated at 3.25. William Hill offers lower odds for an away win with 3.2.

More interesting are the suggestions on the goal markets for this match. Of all the previous matches played against the top teams in England, Liverpool has not been over 2.5 total goals scored in only two matches – against Arsenal 0-2 and Manchester United 1-0. Arsenal has only one away match against the top teams with under 2.5 total goals – again against Manchester United 0:1. This makes a possible bet for an Over of 2.5 goals scored by both teams especially attractive.

Bet365’s proposal for such a bet is 1.67, which in any case is not a bad bet and will be mine for this match.

Mar 24

Betting Bank and Bankroll Management – Part Two

Kelly Staking, which I talk about in my article about staking plans, would suggest staking 2.38% of my bank, which would be equivalent to staking to return 4.879% (2.38*2.05) of my bank. I ran this simulation 10 times, and the worst end result was a bank of €160,000. Clearly this is a much better way to go, but as noted in my staking plans article, it’s not so simple in real life. Kelly Staking is optimal if you know the true odds of each bet. This of course is normally impossible, as in most cases you can only make an estimate, and I believe its human nature to overestimate our edge in most things. Unless you have access to valuable information the market hasn’t accounted for, I would suggest you will at best be only as good as the market.

For instance if a horse is 2.0 on Betfair just before the off and you rate it a 1.8 shot. This means you think it has a 55.55% chance of winning and the market thinks it has a 50% chance. If you’re pretty good the true price is probably more like 1.9 or a 52.63% chance. In my daily betting I find that the best I can hope for is that the true probability is the midpoint of my estimate and the estimate of the market. It is vital to keep this in mind when coming up with your staking plan.

Rather than just using the midpoint of your price and the markets, an analysis of your past results should show you what your real edge is on certain bet types, and providing the sample size is sufficient this would be a good figure to use. Bear in mind past success doesn’t guarantee the future will be the same, so be cautious with this method too.

In the above example, using Kelly staking and working on the presumption that your probability is correct, you would be staking to return 22.2% of your bank. If your right and the bet wins 55.55% of the time your profits will go off the scale, if however you only get the 52.63% strike rate I suggested, your in big trouble and will go bust every time. This is despite the fact you clearly have an edge on the market, the problem is, you overestimated it.

These are all examples of cases where having an edge is not enough to guarantee a profit. If your stakes are too high your bank will fluctuate wildly and the inevitable bad run, when it comes, will undo all your hard work and your profits. That is not to say you should be ultra conservative, gambling at all is probably not for you if you’re unwilling to take some risks. Your risks should be calculated though, and it’s vital to understand that a long term successful strategy will have many periods of short to medium term loses. It is important that your betting bank can withstand these bad periods.

To show you what types of losing runs you can expect I again set up a Monte Carlo simulation in excel. A probability of 50% will result in a strike rate of 40% or less over a 100 bets about 3% of the time. This means before every bet you place where your long term strike rate is 50% there is a 3% chance that over the next 100 bets you will have 40 winners or less.

A 10% strike rate which is 9/1 true odds will result in getting only 1 winner out of a 100 bets about 0.05% of the time. This might seem very rare, and it is, but over the course of 5000 bets on horses who have a true chance of 9/1, you will get a period of 100 bets with only 1 winner about 12% of the time. Again when it happens, and eventually it will, you need to ensure your bank can withstand it. You also need to ensure your Betting Discipline is such that you keep a cool head and don’t do anything stupid.

When deciding how much of your bank to stake on a bet, the probability of success, and thus the size of your edge are vital components. Overestimate your edge, and it could turn an otherwise profitable system into a loss making one. I suggest using Kelly Staking as a starting point, but leave your ego out of it when estimating your edge. If the market price is 9.0 and you think it should be 7.0, maybe use 8.0 as its true price when working out your edge. Your estimate of a probability, no matter how good you are, is still just your opinion; the market price is the combined opinion of thousands! Of course the most obvious way to improve your bottom line is to always get the best price which means having multiple betting accounts.

Mar 24

Betting Bank and Bankroll Management

Most people know that to make money gambling you need to be placing bets that have a higher probability of success than the odds at which you back them at. Over time good luck and bad luck will even itself out and it will be the sum of these probabilities that decide your fate. If you do indeed have an edge in the bets you place, you should win money. I use the word should instead of will for a simple reason. It is possible to have an edge on every bet you place but still lose money. The size of your Betting Bank and Bankroll Management skills are also critical factors in your success or otherwise.

Let’s say your Betting Bank is €1,000. Your kind bookmaker offers you 2.05 on heads in a coin toss. This offer is available for 50,000 coin flips, but you can only use your original bank, and if you lose it, you’re done. How much should you bet? You edge is not huge, but is very real, and with proper Bankroll Management should result in huge profits after the 50,000 flips.

I set up a Monte Carlo spreadsheet to investigate. Excel has a random number generator which I use to simulate the toss of a coin. I enter the probability of success of 50% and the odds I’m getting of 2.05 and it will generate a 1 for heads and 0 for tails. I also enter my betting bank as €1000 and the percentage of my bank that I wish to stake on each bet.

First off I enter to return 10% of my betting bank on each bet. With my bank at €1000 and my odds 2.05 this would mean a stake of €48.78 on the first bet (I’m staking to return €100 which is 10% of my bank). My stake is thus only 4.87% of my bank which might seem reasonably small considering I have a 50% chance of success. I graph the results after each 1000 bets. In this run my bank increased to €209,995 after 37,000 flips. You would therefore presume that betting to return 10% of your bank is the way to go. Alas a big down swing happens soon after and my bank hit a low of just €46 after 48,000 bets. It recovered slightly to €290 after the 50,000 coin tosses.

I hit refresh to produce another set of random numbers and this time my betting bank peaked at €5,200 after 2,000 bets but went downhill and was just €1.18 after 50,000 bets. Both times the overall strike rate ended within 0.1% of the expected 50% which should ensure a profit as getting odds of 2.05 I only need a 48.78% strike rate with level stakes to break even. I ran it a few more times and each time I ended up with less than my starting bank after 50,000 bets. The reason for the massive fluctuations in the bank is that I was staking to high a percentage on each bet so the inevitable bad run will decimate my bank, regardless of the fact I had an overall edge on the bets. In the first run everything went smoothly for 37,000 bets which would lead most to believe their method was a safe one. When things are going so well it’s hard to believe a down swing could be so bad to bust you, especially with such a big sample size. This example shows that having a profitable angle isn’t enough if your bankroll management is bad.

Feb 10

Betting prediction for Monaco vs Paris Saint Germain

Paris Saint-Germain go into their clash with AS Monaco on Sunday knowing that an away win could put both a physical and psychological dent into Claudio Ranieri’s and his side’s title ambitions.

The clash of Ligue 1’s two big-spending clubs could prove pivotal in the outcome of the championship this season, with PSG currently leading second-placed Monaco by five points.

The table-topping visitors have found it a little tougher going in recent months, but have ridden out a number of surprising results to amass an impressive lead over Monaco.

PSG’s Coupe de la Ligue victory in the week could prove the spark that sees them return to impressive form, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic turning in a standout performance against Nantes to guide the Parisians into the final.

Monaco won’t be too disheartened though, as they know that Laurent Blanc’s men haven’t been infallible this campaign, following poor results against Guingamp and HSC Montpellier last month.

The hosts on Sunday will also be buoyed by the news that influential striker Edinson Cavani is likely to be missing for PSG following a thigh injury.

However, Monaco also have a few problems of their own, which include injuries to key man Radamel Falcao and a worrying dip in their impressive form, which saw them draw 2-2 with Lorient in their last Ligue 1 fixture.

The second-placed side have, however, been the more impressive of the two sides in the form table, with Monaco notching up victories in all three of their previous games before their away draw last weekend.

The home side’s league form is a little less impressive after two draws and a loss in their last six Ligue 1 fixtures, while PSG have managed to put together four wins and two draws in their pursuit of the domestic championship crown.

Both sides also have the opportunity to add some vitality into their lineups midway through the season following the recent additions of Dimitar Berbatov and Yohan Cabaye, who joined Monaco and PSG respectively in the January transfer window.

Recent form


Paris Saint-Germain: WDWWDW

Possible starting lineups

AS Monaco: Subasic; Fabinho, Kurzawa, Abidal, Raggi; Moutinho, Rodriquez, Obaddi, Kondogbia; Berbatov, Riviere

Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu; Silva, Alex, Maxwell, Van der Wiel; Motta, Matuidi, Pastore, Cabaye, Lucas; Ibrahimovic

Prediction: 1-2