Published on January 8th, 2018 | by Ian John
BDO Darts, Carabao Cup Semis and NFL Playoffs Top A Busy January Week for Sports Betting
Let’s now take a look at each of these events, together with a couple of tips for the events in question with all prices brought to you courtesy of our partners at Coral Sport.
BDO World Darts Championship (6th to 14th January)
Although not as prestigious as the PDC World Championship event which was won recently by Rob Cross, the BDO World Darts Championship is the oldest of the two world championships in darts but it is fair to say that it is more of the ‘second tier’ world title, with most people acknowledging the majority of the top players are in the PDC event.
However, the BDO event is not without its stars with current World Champion Glen Durrant being the pick of the bunch and hoping to defend the crown he won last year. Durrant came through his first round tie with Gary Robson, a qualifier, 3-0 with an impressive 95.29 average to earn a place in the second round which gets under way on Wednesday.
There he will face either 16th seed Darryl Fitton or qualifier Justin Thompson who play their First Round match on Monday evening. Durrant is a very short price of 5/4 to win the event outright such is his dominance of the game in the BDO at present and it seems it is going to take a monumental effort from any of the other top players top stop him.
There are a number of players who could though with the books rating the chances of Dutch qualifier Danny Noppert, who reached the final last year only to lose to Durrant. Coral have the Dutchman as the 5/1 second favourite despite being a qualifier and he is 1/6 to beat his opponent Richie Edwards in their first round match on Monday afternoon.
Scott Mitchell, Mark McGeeney and Scott Waites have already claimed a place in the second round with solid first round performances and Mitchell posting the best three-dart average of all second round qualifiers so far of 98.7. Another potential winner, England’s Jamie Hughes gets his campaign underway on Tuesday against either Canadian David Cameron or Germany’s Michael Unterbuchner.
Tip: Glen Durrant is where the smart money is going but I think a solid bet here is an each way punt that will pay out if Scott Mitchell manages to reach the final. The fourth seed is a 9/1 chance to win the event and of all the players in the first round, he was the most impressive in terms of scoring and came through a very tough match against Lithuania Darius Labanauskas, who actually averaged 99.08 but ended up on the wrong side of a 3-2 defeat. Mitchell won the event back in 2015, is also a former World Number 1 so he knows how to handle the pressure of these bigger BDO events.
Remember too that Coral are offering plenty of different betting markets on the BDO World Darts, including In-Play betting so it always pays to tune in regularly to check out the latest odds for this popular event.
Carabao Cup Semi Finals First Legs
This week, three of the biggest teams in England, plus a giant-killer who knocked the mighty Manchester United out of the competition in the last round, will battle it out in the first leg of their two-legged semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, the second cup competition in English soccer after the FA Cup.
Manchester City v Bristol City (Tue – 7.45pm)
Manchester City turned around a 1-0 half time deficit against Burnley at the weekend into a 4-1 win at full time and they come into this game with Bristol City, who sensationally defeated Manchester United 2-1 at Ashton Gate in the last round, still unbeaten in all English-based competitions this year.
The task facing the Championship side is huge; City have swept aside all challengers so far in the Premier League and remain undefeated this season in that competition and the prospect of winning all four of the competitions they entered this season remains realistic.
This is a tough game for Bristol City to approach. If they play defensively and concede possession to City, City will unpick their defence. If they try to attack then City have the players to hit them hard on the counter-attack. Indeed, regardless of what approach Bristol City take here, I cannot make any case for them getting a result here and instead, all I do see is a very strong City win that will make the second leg all but a formality.
Tip: I think this is a game that will have plenty of goals based on both teams recent performances and as such I think the 15/8 on the Total Goals Over 4.5 market at 15/8 is a solid bet here.
Chelsea v Arsenal (Wed – 8pm)
These two teams have played out a very entertaining 2-2 draw the weekend before the last, with Hector Bellerin’s last minute leveller denying Chelsea all three points in a dramatic game. Indeed, the previous match between the teams earlier in the season also finished all-square with Arsenal earning a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier on in the season. Both those meetings coming after Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup Final last summer.
What seems certain is that unless one of the two teams have an aberration of an evening, this will be a game that will be evenly poised heading into the second leg at Stamford Bridge in two-weeks time.
What is interesting about this game is that it will be one of the first games in the UK that will see a Virtual Assistant Referee officiating the game alongside the usual assortment of referee’s and assistants. It is hoped that the use of technology in assisting referees with key decisions will result in more correct decisions and less controversial ‘grey areas’ in games. Critics though point out that the flow of a game could be disrupted if officials become too reliant on it.
Neither side enjoyed a positive result in the FA Cup at the weekend with Chelsea only managing a 0-0 draw away to Norwich City, while Arsenal were thumped 4-2 by Nottingham Forest, although both teams fielded weaker sides in these games.
Tip: It’s difficult to make a case for either side earning an advantage here. Both games this season have finished in draws and both teams look well-matched. However, I think the key issues here are home advantage for Chelsea and confidence and I think of the two, Chelsea are the more confident side and that combined with home advantage makes me think they are the team to take a slender lead into the second leg.
After Wildcard Weekend this Saturday and Sunday there are now just eight teams that could still win Superbowl LII in February and these teams will clash in AFC and NFC Regional Playoffs, with the two winners moving through to face off in the Conference Finals. The winners of those two games then go on to contest the Superbowl.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
These look to be two very well matched games with the Eagles holding the best record in the NFC but they are without their talisman quarterback Carson Wentz through injury. The Falcons earned a superb win over the LA Rams in their Wildcard game and they’ll be confident of another upset here.
The Falcons could face their NFC South rivals New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game if Drew Brees has another stellar game as he did against the Carolina Panthers on Wildcard Weekend. They face a tough trip to the Vikings though who have the added incentive of knowing that the Superbowl will be hold on their home turf in February.
Tips: My money is on an NFC South Championship game so I am backing the Saints and the Falcons to emerge with away team victories in the NFC.
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
After their fine comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tennessee Titans are massive underdogs heading into their AFC Regional Playoff with the current Superbowl holders the New England Patriots. The Titans have an appalling record against the Pats, especially in Foxborough and in truth, this is a game that the home side should win at a canter.
The other AFC Game looks more evenly contested as Jacksonville have already beaten Pittsburgh this season at Heinz Field and the Jaguars have a good record against the Steelers in general. The question here is whether the Steelers can unpick the outstanding Jaguars defence, or whether it will be Blake Bortles who proves the unlikely here in taking the Jags to a divisional final.
Tip: New England are a lock in for me and I also feel the Jags could pull off another upset here so I think that qill equate to a rather nice double.