Wednesday 23 November 2016

Barnsley versus Nottingham Forest, Friday, November 25

Barnsley have drawn their last three Championship matches, failing to score in the last two, but still look worthy of support against a Nottingham Forest side that has conceded 30 goals this season, 16 of them away from home. Indeed, the Reds’ 2-0 victory against Ipswich at Portman Road last Saturday evening was their first away win, and first clean sheet, of the season.

Although ultimately frustrated by a Wigan Athletic side playing without a recognised striker at Oakwell last Saturday, the Tykes dominated possession and may well do so again against Forest, whose away record is better than only Blackburn, Burton Albion and Rotherham. Forest boss Philippe Montanier says he is aiming for a top ten finish in the Championship, but acknowledges that his side needs to keep improving and, on this occasion, Barnsley, at 2.58 with Marathon Bet, get the nod.

Selection: Barnsley to win (2.58 with Marathon Bet)

Monday 7 November 2016

Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Friday, November 11

On Friday, the PGA Champions Tour concludes with the third, and final, Charles Schwab Cup Playoff, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. The leading 36 players from the three-tournament series tee it up, but none makes more appeal than the evergreen German Bernhard Langer, who seems better than ever at the age of 59. The two-time Masters champion has won four times on the PGA Champions Tour in 2016 and finished in the top ten in 17 of the 20 events in which he’s played. In a rare foray onto the PGA Tour, he not only made the cut at the Masters, but played in the penultimate group on Sunday before finishing a highly respectable tied 24th. He’s chasing his third successive Charles Schwab Cup, and fourth in total, so at 9/2 with bet365, looks well worth a punt.

Selection: Bernhard Langer (9/2 with bet365)

England versus Scotland, Friday, November 11

The World Cup qualifier between England and Scotland at Wembley on Friday may be overshadowed by events off the field and, in the eyes of Gareth Southgate and Gordon Strachan, anything that distracts attention from the football may not be an altogether bad thing. Despite the match being scheduled for Armistice Day, FIFA has banned players from wearing armbands featuring poppies. The Royal British Legion has written to the governing body, pointing out, quite rightly, that the poppy “has no political, religious or commercial meaning”. So, too, have Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince William, but FIFA is reportedly “sticking to the letter of the law”.

England interim manager Gareth Southgate enters the third game his four-game tenure on the back of a 2-0 home win over Malta, ranked 178 by FIFA, and a 0-0 draw in Slovenia, ranked 52. In the latter performance, the Three Lions managed just three shots on target had goalkeeper Joe Hart to thank for a succession of outstanding saves that prevented further embarrassment in a match short on positives. Southgate will also be without Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, who suffered a knee injury in training, so it’s hard to enthuse about England.

Scotland have been equally hapless in recent starts and, not for the first time, looked defensively vulnerable during the 3-0 defeat by Slovakia in Trnava last month. Gordon Strachan’s side currently lie fourth in World Cup Qualifying Group F, four points behind leaders England and a point behind Lithuania and Slovenia. On the plus side, Strachan can welcome back Hull City midfielder Robert Snodgrass, who came on as first-half substitute and scored in the Premier League on Sunday.

Frankly, it’s difficult to get worked up about either side at present and a bore draw would be no surprise but, with home advantage, let’s try England to win 1-0 at 9/2 with bet365, who’ll give us our money back as a free bet if it does finish 0-0.

Selection: England to win 1-0 (9/2 with bet365)