Category Archives: Sports

Ravens betting favorites in NFL Hall of Fame game


First off, let’s be clear: What a team does in the preseason has absolutely nothing to do with how it performs in the regular season barring major long-term injury in an exhibition game. Want Ravens Betting Favorites in NFL Hall of Fame Gameproof? The 2008 Detroit Lions were the first team in NFL history to finish a regular season at 0-16. They were perhaps the league’s most dominant team that preseason in going 4-0. Last year, the Cleveland Browns joined the Lions in 0-16 infamy. What did Cleveland do in the preseason? 4-0, naturally.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

All that said, NFL bettors are going to wager on the preseason simply because football is back. And the exhibition slate begins as usual with the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio, on Thursday night. This year the participants are the Baltimore Ravens, who are 2.5-point favorites on the NFL odds, and the Chicago Bears. The league tries to schedule teams that will have someone inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that weekend. Baltimore will send in Ray Lewis and Chicago will have Brian Urlacher, two legendary linebackers.

Because the Ravens and Bears will be the only teams to play a fifth preseason game, they were allowed to report to camp earlier than the other 30 clubs in the NFL. In all honesty, though, the Hall of Fame Game is largely a throw-away event for the teams participating. It’s unlikely most starters will play and if they do it will be briefly.

Perhaps the two biggest storylines entering Thursday are that it’s the head coaching debut of Chicago’s Matt Nagy and the (presumed) NFL debut of Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson. Nagy was the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last season and replaces John Fox. Jackson was an electric, record-setting player at Louisville and won the Heisman Trophy in 2016. The Ravens traded back into the end of the first round of this year’s draft to take Jackson as Joe Flacco’s eventual replacement.

Rookies like Jackson and backups should see most of the action. Chicago first-round rookie Roquan Smith, a linebacker from Georgia, will not play, however, due to a contract holdout.

It’s the Ravens’ first time playing in this game, while the Bears are 4-0 all-time in it. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is an astounding 28-12 (27-13 ATS) in his preseason career with his team on an eight-game exhibition winning streak. That’s likely why Baltimore is favored.

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College football Heisman Trophy odds update


Here’s something you probably can’t remember seeing: A player as a co-favorite on the Heisman Trophy odds who might not even begin a season as a starter on his team.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

College Football Heisman Trophy Odds UpdateSaid player is Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is +700 on the futures odds to win the Heisman along with Stanford senior running back Bryce Love. With all its tradition, one might expect Alabama to be among the leaders nationally in Heisman Trophy winners, but the Tide have had just two and only since 2009: running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. Of course, the most famous former Alabama QB is a guy named Joe Namath.

Tagovailoa barely played last regular season as a freshman but rescued a struggling Alabama offense by taking over for Jalen Hurts in the second half of the national championship game against Georgia. Tagovailoa, from Hawaii like former Oregon Heisman winner Marcus Mariota, threw one of the most memorable passes in NCAA history in that game: a walk-off 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith for the 26-23 overtime victory.

Nick Saban has yet to reveal whether Tagovailoa or Hurts will be his 2018 starting quarterback and Saban has no reason to reveal that before the team takes the field Week 1 against Louisville. Better to keep the opposition guessing, and if Saban makes a choice too early the loser might decide to transfer. Or, he could play both guys as Tagovailoa is the better passer and Hurts the superior runner. Hurts is not available on the Heisman prop currently, but Tide running back Damien Harris (+4500) is on the board.

There’s another young quarterback among the Heisman favorites who might not start for his team, either: Clemson true freshman Trevor Lawrence, who is +1500. He’s battling senior Kelly Bryant, who had a fine 2017 season until struggling mightily in the College Football Playoff loss to Alabama. Lawrence obviously has no collegiate experience but has a much higher ceiling and was the No. 1 rated prospect in the country by some services. Bryant is +4000 on this prop, with Tigers running back Travis Etienne at +7000.

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was a first-round pick by the Oakland A’s in June’s Major League Baseball amateur draft, but he’s putting off baseball full time for at least one college football season. Murray is +2000 to give the Sooners their second straight Heisman-winning quarterback after Baker Mayfield last year. Oklahoma also has running back Rodney Anderson (+4000) as a Heisman option.

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Early NFL week 1 odds roundup: Betting lines and trends


NFL handicappers and oddsmakers will tell you that the first week of the regular season is the hardest to pinpoint because no one really knows what teams truly are yet.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

Early NFL week 1 odds roundup: Betting lines and trendsThe NFL has the most parity of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States, and every year a few clubs that were supposed to be good aren’t and a few that were supposed to stink don’t. Just look at the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2016, they were last in the NFC East. Last year, they won the franchise’s first Super Bowl.

The biggest Week 1 home underdogs for 2018 are, to no surprise, the Cleveland Browns as they are +6.5 against the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns come off the second 0-16 season in league history and have one victory in 32 games under head coach Hue Jackson.

In addition, Cleveland hasn’t won a season opener since 2004. Last year, Cleveland also opened at home against Pittsburgh and managed to cover a 10-point spread in a 21-18 loss. It was only the Browns’ fourth cover in their past 20 season openers.

One interesting game is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the New Orleans Saints, which we will call the Suspension Bowl. That’s because Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended the first three games of the season for an off-field issue and Saints running back Mark Ingram is banned the first four because he failed a drug test.

The Saints opened at -7 but that line already has moved as high as 9.5 points at some sportsbooks in the wake of the Winston news. Veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, barring injury, would start in his place.

There is one game currently listed as a pick’em on the Week 1 NFL betting board: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals. Both teams will have new starting quarterbacks: Alex Smith for Washington and, presumably, Sam Bradford for Arizona, which also has an entirely new coaching staff.

The first Sunday night game of the year is Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, the NFL’s oldest rivalry. That had the biggest spread on the board at Packers -8 but has been passed at some books by Bucs-Saints.

Aaron Rodgers is the early betting favorite to win a third NFL MVP Award. He missed a big chunk of last season due to a broken collarbone and the Packers missed the playoffs. Green Bay has been a good Week 1 bet in recent years, covering eight of its past 11.

And it’ll be the head coaching debut of former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy for Chicago. The Bears were busy this offseason adding offensive weapons around second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

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World series odds update: Yankees the June betting favorites


The New York Yankees have the best winning percentage in baseball as of this writing, so it’s no surprise that the Bombers are +500 favorites to win their first World Series title since 2009. Yet, the Yankees might not even win their own division – the Boston Red Sox are right there in the AL East – and they also clearly have some issues in the rotation.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

World series odds update: Yankees the June betting favoritesThe team recently lost young left-hander Jordan Montgomery, the No. 5 starter, to season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then, No. 2 starter Masahiro Tanaka injured both hamstrings running the bases – another argument for the NL adding the designated hitter as it happened during an interleague game – and will miss about a month.

As it was, the Yankees had questions in the rotation behind ace and All-Star Luis Severino. It’s all but a lock that New York will trade for a frontline starting pitcher, perhaps Texas’ Cole Hamels, as it has the need, the money and the prospects to do so. Now that we are into mid-June, trade talks should start heading up, with the non-waiver trade deadline July 31.

The Houston Astros (+525) and Boston (+600) are just behind New York. The Red Sox and Yankees figure to stage an epic race for the AL East title all season, with the runner-up forced into the Wild-Card Game. Houston, meanwhile, is in a surprising race in the AL West with the Seattle Mariners (+2200), who seem to be getting no respect from oddsmakers.

Seattle is an astounding 21-9 in one-run games this year (easily the most such wins in MLB) thanks in part to a terrific bullpen anchored by closer Edwin Diaz. The Mariners don’t seem to miss All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who won’t return until mid-August due to an 80-game PED suspension. Seattle has the longest playoff drought in the sport, last reaching in 2001. It has never reached a World Series.

In the National League, the Chicago Cubs (+750) are playing their best baseball of the season and have taken over the Senior Circuit’s favored role, with the Washington Nationals (+800) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000) right behind. The Cubs, Nationals and Dodgers have all won their division at least each of the past two years and it would be an upset if they don’t each again.

The Arizona Diamondbacks (+2800), though, currently lead the NL West. The Atlanta Braves (+1600) are atop the NL East. The Milwaukee Brewers (+1600) have a short lead on the Cubs in the NL Central.

 

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EPL review week 35: Stoke slide closer to the abyss; Swansea hammered


Week 35 of the Premier League sees Arséne Wenger wave the white flag; Stoke slides closer to the abyss after failing to beat Burnley at home and Man City humiliate Swansea with a 5-0 drubbing.

EPL Review Week 35: Stoke slide closer to the abyss; Swansea hammeredArséne Wenger won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. Considering he won most of these competing with Sir Alex Ferguson at his pomp he deserves a hat tip.

Ferguson devoted 26-years of his life to the dressing room. Wenger is in his 22nd year. But there is one primary difference. The United manager left the club as a champion; Wenger leaves feeling alienated, unappreciated and unwanted.

On Friday, Wenger told the press that he would finally step down at the end of the season quoting the global status of the club as a brand as the primary reason, given that most of the focus on Arsenal seems to be on Wenger.

If only the man had moved on after his last FA Cup win.

At 68-years-old, it’s time to send his football boots to the charity shop. The Premier League is no place for an old man. With Arsenal 11-points behind Spurs despite beating West Ham 4-1 at the weekend. Unless they win the Europa League, they will miss out on Champions League football for the second successive season.

The Premier League will never see the likes of Wenger again.

Arsenal’s CEO Ivan Gazidis said the next Arsenal manager has to be “Open minded, brave and bold.”

Here are the odds.

Odds on the Next Arsenal Manager

 Luis Enrique 5/2
Carlo Ancelotti 5/1
Joachin Loew 7/1
Brendan Rodgers 8/1
Patrick Vieira 9/1

The Battle For Relegation

With only three/four Premier League games remaining on the calendar here are the relegation odds.

Relegation Odds

 Stoke 1/16
Southampton 4/9
Swansea 4/1
Huddersfield 5/1

Almost all bookmakers have stopped taking odds on West Brom’s demise despite picking up another point this weekend coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Anfield, a week after beating Man Utd at Old Trafford.

Danny Ings and Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool into a commanding 2-0 position with 18-minutes of the game remaining. Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondón struck in the 79th and 88th minute to steal a point.

Ahead of Stoke’s home tie against Burnley, Paul Lambert said his team needed to win three of the remaining four games to avoid relegation. Badiu Ndiaye gave Stoke the start they required finding the bottom corner in the 11th minute, but Ashley Barnes scored his sixth goal in eight games to stop Stoke from winning their first game in 11 matches.

“There are still a lot of twists and turns to come,” Lambert told the press after the match.

Stoke’s Remaining Games

Liverpool (A)

Crystal Palace (H)

Swansea (A)

Southampton picked up a solid point in a goalless draw against Leicester at the King Power Stadium, and three of their final four games are at home. If the Saints can beat Bournemouth and Swansea, and collect something at Goodison then who knows. There is also the after-effects of losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup Semi-Final. Will the day out at Wembley inspire them, or will the loss see them play the final four games winded?

Southampton’s Remaining Games

Bournemouth (H)

Everton (A)

Swansea (H)

Man City (H)

Swansea was never expected to beat Man City, but Carlos Carvahal won’t be happy with his side conceded five without reply. The drubbing means Swansea are winless in six in all competitions, and they lie two points clear of the drop zone (David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus scored for City). Those home games against Southampton and Stoke will decide the fate of the Welsh side.

Swansea’s Remaining Games

Chelsea (H)

Bournemouth (A)

Southampton (H)

Stoke (H)

Huddersfield didn’t play this weekend, but they did pick up a point against Watford in midweek with a goalless draw. Scoring remains the Terriers Achilles heel and looking at the fixture list they won’t penetrate any of these defences. The only saving grace for Huddersfield is the difficulty in obtaining points of those around them.

Huddersfield’s Remaining Games

Everton (H)

Man City (A)

Chelsea (A)

Arsenal (H)

Results in Full

Brighton 1 v 1 Spurs
Bournemouth 0 v 2 Man Utd
Burnley 1 v 2 Chelsea
Leicester 0 v 0 Southampton
West Brom 2 v 2 Liverpool
Watford 0 v 0 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 4 v 1 West Ham
Stoke 1 v 1 Burnley
Man City 5 v 0 Swansea

To Be Played (Mon)

Everton v Newcastle

Premier League Table

1. Man City – 90
2. Man Utd – 74
3. Liverpool – 71
4. Spurs – 68
5. Chelsea – 63
6. Arsenal – 57
7. Burnley – 53
8. Leicester – 44
9. Everton – 42
10. Newcastle – 41
11. Bournemouth – 38
12. Watford – 38
13. Brighton – 36
14. Crystal Palace – 35
15. West Ham – 35
16. Huddersfield – 35
17. Swansea – 33
18. Southampton – 29
19. Stoke – 29
20. West Brom – 25

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Champions League review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finals


The finishing acts of the first two quarter-final matches see Roma become only the third club in history to overturn a three-goal first leg loss into a win, and Liverpool is back in the semi-finals after a decade’s absence.

Roma 3 v 0 Barcelona

Champions League Review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finalsI was reading Alice in Wonderland to my 18-month old daughter last night.

“Don’t like it.” She said.

The scene that upset her was when Alice ate the cake that said ‘Eat Me’ and ended up too big for the room. Tears streamed down the girl’s face and flooded the room.

“Tears aren’t a bad thing,” I told her.

“Don’t like it.” She said again, as the book went tumbling to the floor like Alice the nosey parker falling down the rabbit hole.

My lesson, lost.

I should have taken her to the pub to watch Roma play Barcelona.

On a night when Barcelona took a 4-1 lead to the Stadio Olimpico, and Liverpool took a 3-0 lead to the Etihad, all the pre-match talk was of the Premier League champions-elect making an incredible comeback.

Roma?

Not on your nelly.

Before the teams lined up, Roma was a 250/1 shot to win the Champions League. Barcelona was the 9/4 joint-favourite.

And with good reason.

Roma entered the second leg knowing only three teams had ever overcome a three-goal first leg deficit in Champions League history. In 2004, Deportivo La Coruna trailed the reigning champs AC Milan by 4-1, only to win the second leg 4-0 to go through 5-4 on aggregate, and last season, Barcelona trailed Paris St Germain 4-0 before winning the second leg 5-1 to go through 6-5 on aggregate.

There’s more.

Roma sits fourth in Serie A, 21-points behind the leaders Juventus, and on the weekend they lost to Fiorentina.

And let’s not forget, they would have to score at minimum three goals, and Barcelona had conceded that many Champions League goals in their last ten matches combined.

In contrast, Barcelona lead La Liga, 11-points clear of Atletico Madrid, and their 3-1 home win against Leganes on the weekend was the Catalan club’s record 38th unbeaten game on the bounce. They are also in the final of the Copa Del Rey.

No, my dear readers, this tie only had one outcome.

Unless, like my daughter, you believe in fairy tales.

The Romans needed an early goal, and it came in the sixth minute. Edin Dzeko proved too strong for the Barcelona defender as he latched onto a long ball before calmly slotting home. Patrick Schick missed a golden opportunity to send Roma into the half-time interval when he headed wide, but the 1-0 lead gave them renewed confidence.

The Roma faithful began dreaming in the 57th minute. Gerard Pique brought Dzeko down in the box, and after a chat between the officials, they gave a penalty, which Daniele De Rossi scored.

And then the place went mental.

82 minutes were on the clock when Cengiz Under whipped in a corner, and Kostas Manolas met the ball at the near post to flick the winning goal into the net surrounding the far post.

Tears rained down from the stands at the final whistle as the enormity of the comeback dawned on everyone. I am sure there were also a few tears on the pitch.

Roma moves into the Semi-Final of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 1984, when, incidentally, they lost to Liverpool.

And guess what else happened last night?

Man City 1 v 2 Liverpool

The five-time European Champions could face Roma in the last four after beating Man City for the third time this season, coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad.

City has a team more than capable of overturning the 3-0 deficit they faced after losing at Anfield, and when Gabriel Jesus dispatched Raheem Sterling’s pinpoint pass as early as the second minute, hope exploded like a man achieving orgasm.

And then came the most controversial moment of the two-legged affair.

With 42-minutes on the clock, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz disallowed a Leroy Sane goal for offside when video evidence clearly showed James Milner was the man who set up the German.

Pep Guardiola was so incensed by the decision that he ran onto the pitch to remonstrate with the man in the middle who promptly sent him to the stand to watch the second half as a spectator.

VAR?

I don’t think Pep will be complaining about it any longer.

The fact that it’s not in play in the most significant competition in the world is barmy.

City was never the same without their Commander-in-Chief at the helm. Ten minutes after the restart, a mazy run from Sadio Mane came to an end at the body of Loris Karius, but the ball fell to Mohamed Salah who chipped it into the net for his 39th goal of the season.

It was a pitchfork into the lungs of a City side who dominated the first half. Then, as City sped forward in search of a miracle, Nicolas Otamendi screwed up at the back to allow Roberto Firmino in to score his eighth Champions League goal of the season.

City loses for the third time in six days.

Liverpool will appear in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League for the first time in a decade.

The draw is on Friday at 12:00 (BST) in Nyon, Switzerland.

Here are the odds (courtesy of Bodog):

Real Madrid – 6/4

Bayern Munich – 2/1

Liverpool – 10/3

Roma – 10/1

Sevilla – 150/1

Juventus – 150/1

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Kansas, Xavier seek payouts on conference tournament odds


For the ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers (28-2) and Big East’s Villanova Wildcats (27-4), top seeds in the NCAA Tournament appear locked up based on their regular-season performance. But for others such as the Big East’s Xavier Musketeers and Big 12’s Kansas Jayhawks, there is some work left to be done this week during their respective conference tournaments in order to prove they should earn No. 1 seeds as well.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

Kansas is favored to win the Big 12 Tournament at +200 while Xavier is the +325 second choice to win the Big East Tournament behind favorite Villanova.

The top-seeded Musketeers (27-4) – who are also ranked third nationally – will play the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between the eighth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas (15-14) and ninth-seeded St. John’s Red Storm (15-16) in the quarterfinals on Thursday, and they might need to win the championship game to get a top seed in the Big Dance on Selection Sunday.

The Wildcats are the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament and ranked second in the country with two winsKansas, Xavier Seek Payouts on Conference Tournament Odds over Xavier during the regular season.

The Jayhawks (24-7) are the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament but ranked just ninth nationally after getting swept by the Oklahoma State Cowboys (18-13) in their regular-season finale. Kansas may meet Oklahoma State for a third time in the quarterfinals if the eighth-seeded Cowboys can get past the ninth-seeded Oklahoma Sooners (18-12) on Wednesday.

A loss in the conference tournament, especially before the title game, would likely end any talk of the Jayhawks as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Arizona Wildcats (24-7) are ranked 15th in the country with an identical overall record as Kansas, and they are the top seed and favorite in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Wildcats are listed at +175 to win the Pac-12 Tournament and will play the winner between the eighth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes (16-14) and ninth-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils (20-10) on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Sun Devils may be a solid sleeper pick to win the Pac-12 Tournament at +850 considering they might need to win two games to get into the Big Dance, including an upset of Arizona.

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Rockhold favorite to win UFC Interim middleweight title against Romero


An injury to middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has shaken up the betting odds for the main event at Saturday’s UFC 221 card in Perth, Australia. Instead of sitting as a solid underdog against Whittaker, challenger Luke Rockhold (16-3) is now a -160 favorite (bet $160 to win $100) versus No. 1 contender Yoel Romero (12-2).

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

Rockhold favorite to win UFC Interim middleweight title against RomeroRomero is listed as a +130 underdog (bet $100 to win $130) and coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Whittaker for the interim title on July 8 at UFC 213 in Las Vegas, snapping an eight-bout winning streak. He got the call to fight for the belt again when Whittaker did not properly treat a staph infection in his stomach and was forced to withdraw from his originally scheduled championship bout against Rockhold.

Whittaker had been promoted to middleweight champion when Georges St-Pierre gave up the belt after defeating Michael Bisping at UFC 217 last November 4. The winner of Romero-Rockhold will then take on Whittaker at a later date to unify the titles.

Rockhold bounced back from a surprising first-round knockout loss to Bisping at UFC 199 nearly two years ago by submitting David Branch at UFC Fight Night 116 last September 16. He had earned the middleweight championship by scoring a fourth-round TKO of Chris Weidman at UFC 194 before relinquishing the title to Bisping.

Leading up to that matchup, a local favorite remains on the card in heavyweight Mark Hunt (13-11-1, 1 No-Contest), who will battle Curtis Blaydes (8-1, 1 NC) in the co-main event. The 43-year-old New Zealander picked up a fourth-round TKO of Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 110 in Auckland on June 11 to break a two-fight winless streak.

Hunt is the +140 underdog and was knocked out in the third round by Alistair Overeem in his previous bout after a UD loss to Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 was later overturned to a NC because his opponent tested positive for a banned substance. He had won two in a row before that skid, knocking out Antonio Silva and Frank Mir, both in the first round.

Meanwhile, Blaydes is the -170 favorite and tested positive for marijuana a year ago following a TKO win over Adam Milstead at UFC Fight Night 104, turning that into a NC as well. Otherwise, he would be riding a four-fight winning streak, with his lone loss coming against Francis Ngannou, who just lost to Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title.

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EPL review week 25: Arsenal & Chelsea stutter; Spurs take advantage


Week 25 of the English Premier League sees Spurs become a serious contender for a Champions League spot after beating Man Utd. Arsenal and Chelsea both suffer unlikely defeats. 

Man City 3 v 0 WBA 

EPL Review Week 25: Arsenal & Chelsea stutter; Spurs take advantageWest Brom remains rooted at the foot of the table after a predictable hammering at The Etihad. The Baggies were the anvil, City’s forward line the hammer. Alan Pardew knows his team is not going to go down based on defeats against the best sides in the world, but he will be worried about the way his team failed to advance beyond the halfway line.

The Baggies didn’t touch the ball in the City box in the entirety of the first half and Liverpool loanee, Daniel Sturridge, was the only West Brom player to have a shot on goal and that came with time running out. If Pardew is to avoid the drop, you sense Sturridge will play a key role.

But this night was not Sturridge’s night. It belonged to Kevin De Bruyne who marched around the pitch as if he owned the place. The Belgian had a foot in both of City’s goals, putting Fernandinho through to score his third of the season, and finding the net himself after finishing off a driving run, and cute one-two with Raheem Sterling. And he nearly scored the goal of the season, trying to lob Ben Foster from the halfway line only for the England keeper to tip the mischevious effort over the bar.

After the second goal, Pep Guardiola gave De Bruyne a rest. As he sat on the bench looking like a smurf, Sterling pirouetted Diego Maradona style on the halfway line, drove into the guts of West Brom, slid Sergio Aguero in, and the Argentine chipped the ball into the net for his 24th goal of the season.

The defeat means West Brom have now failed to win in their last 12 away games in the Premier League. Meanwhile, City registered their 18th straight home win.

“They were in full bloom tonight. They kept coming.” Alan Pardew told reporters after the match. 

Full bloom indeed. 

Spurs 2 v 0 Man Utd 

The gap at the top is now 15-points after Man Utd put in a horror show in front of the largest Premier League crowd in history at Wembley last night.

Jose Mourinho joined 82,011 souls in the capital with his side having not conceded a goal in their previous six matches, but it took Christian Eriksen 10.52 seconds to change that. A long ball into the box straight from kickoff eventually ended up at the feet of Eriksen, and the Dane put the ball away with aplomb.

It was the perfect tonic.

The crowd roared, Spurs drove on, and United looked shell-shocked. Then in the 28th minute, the game was all over. Kieran Trippier rampaged down the right, sent a sweet daisy-cutter into the box and Phil Jones slammed it comically into the roof of his own net.

“The confidence of my players was totally broken with the second goal,” Mourinho told reporters after the game. 

Alexis Sanchez made his Premier League debut for United. Juan Mata made way. But he never saw enough of the ball to make an impact. Spurs won the game from the middle of the park where Mousa Dembélé had Paul Pogba chasing him like an untrained six-year-old. With Pogba chasing shadows, the Spurs midfield ran Nemanja Matic ragged, and from that strategic point, Spurs won their third home game in a row against United, the first time they’ve achieved that feat since 1966.

The Best of the Rest 

It was a good night for Spurs as both Chelsea and Arsenal lost ground in the race for Champions League positions. Chelsea, watched by their £18m new signing Olivier Giroud, crumbled at home to a resurgent Bournemouth. The trident of Callum Wilson, Jordan Ibe and Junior Stanislas cut Antonio Conte’s men to shreds. Goals from Wilson, Stanislas and former Blue Nathan Aké sealed the points for the Cherries who rise to tenth after a dodgy start to the season.

Arsenal fell to strugglers Swansea. Carlos Carvalhal remained faithful to the starting eleven that beat Liverpool before the FA Cup break. That meant five at the back, but it didn’t stop them from scoring three at the other end. Sam Clucas scored twice, and Jordan Ayew got the third on the day his brother rejoined the club in a record $18m deal. On a more positive note, Arsenal did sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £55.4m, and Mesut Ozil signed a new three-year contract worth £350,000 per week.

That win for Swansea sees them move into second from bottom. Joining them and the Baggies in the bottom three are Southampton who could only muster a 1-1 draw in the South Coast derby against Brighton. Glenn Murray opened the scoring from the penalty spot for his ninth of the season. A Jack Stephens backheel saved a point for the home side.

Fellow strugglers Newcastle will be kicking themselves after failing to hold on to all three points against Burnley at home. Chelsea loanee Kenedy excelled in a positive Newcastle performance, and they went ahead in the 65th minute thanks to a powerful header from Jamaal Lascelles. Burnley’s late pressure paid off when a Sam Vokes header was tipped onto the crossbar by Karl Darlow only for the ball to rebound into the net off his face.

Liverpool got back to winning ways with a comfortable away win at Huddersfield. Emre Can. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah got the goals in a 3-0 win. Everton stopped the rot with a 2-1 win over Leicester. Theo Walcott grabbed a brace. Jamie Vardy scored his 12th goal of the season from the spot. Riyad Mahrez sat the game out after his move to Man City fell apart at the last hour.

Results in Full

Swansea 3 v 1 Arsenal
West Ham 1 v 1 Crystal Palace
Huddersfield 0 v 3 Liverpool
Southampton 1 v 1 Brighton
Chelsea 0 v 3 Bournemouth
Everton 2 v 1 Leicester
Newcastle 1 v 1 Burnley
Man City 3 v 0 West Brom
Spurs 2 v 0 Man Utd
Stoke 0 v 0 Watford

Premier League Table

1. Man City – 68
2. Man Utd – 53
3. Liverpool – 50
4. Chelsea – 50
5. Spurs – 48
6. Arsenal – 42
7. Burnley – 35
8. Leicester – 34
9. Everton – 31
10. Bournemouth – 28
11. Watford – 27
12. West Ham – 27
13. Crystal Palace – 26
14. Newcastle – 24
15. Brighton – 24
16. Stoke – 24
17. Huddersfield – 24
18. Southampton – 23
19. Swansea – 23
20. West Brom – 20

Premier League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)

Man City 1/100
Man Utd 100/1

Premier League Relegation Odds

Huddersfield 4/6
Swansea Evens
West Brom 5/4
Brighton 6/4
Newcastle 5/2
Stoke 5/2
Southampton 9/2

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Vwin sponsor AC Milan; UK online betting sponsorship own goal


vwin-ac-milan-regional-partner-online-bettingItalian football club AC Milan has inked its first Asian regional sponsorship deal with online gambling operator Vwin.

On Monday, the Philippine-licensed Vwin announced its new role as Official Regional Partner of Serie A side AC Milan, marking the first such regional deal with the club. Club COO Lorenzo Giorgetti said the deal marked an “important step in the development of our commercial strategy in this key market.”

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, while the duration was described only as “multi-year.” Vwin inked a similar partnership with Milan’s Serie A rival Juventus one year ago. Vwin doesn’t have a license to offer wagers in Italy, meaning the deal is entirely focused on boosting the operator’s profile among football-mad Asian punters.

UK BETTING SITES SCORE YOUTH TEAM OWN GOAL
In less positive sponsorship news, several UK-licensed online gambling operators are wearing egg on their faces after some of the English Premier League clubs they sponsor posted images of their junior teams’ players wearing official kit emblazoned with the betting companies’ logos.

The Sunday Times was first to spot the posts, which featured underage players for teams including Newcastle United, Stoke City, Swansea City and West Ham United, wearing kit promoting their respective sponsors Fun88, Bet365, Letou and Betway.

The photos were taken offline following publication of the Times’ investigation, and the embarrassed clubs claimed the photos had been ‘inadvertently’ uploaded.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) acknowledged that the photos represented a breach of the existing gambling advertising rules but RGA CEO Clive Hawkswood suggested the “inappropriate” usage was down to the clubs’ “marketing guys,” who “just treat it as any other product.”

The timing of this cockup couldn’t be worse for UK online gambling operators, whose activities are under an increasingly powerful microscope. Last October, the UK Gambling Commission and other regulatory bodies specifically ordered online operators to purge kid-friendly marketing from their websites, even if the activity being promoted wasn’t for real-money play.

That same month, the UK government’s triennial review of the gambling industry opted not to impose further restrictions on advertising on television or via team sponsorship, based on studies that showed “the prevalence of advertising did not appear to be linked with the prevalence of problem gambling.” Operators would be wise not to give the government cause to rethink this conclusion.

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