FREE PREMIUM - We believe TAKINGRISKS would have won at Kelso if he had not fallen after travelling well. Suffice to say, with an unchanged mark we are wanting to give Nicky Richard’s runner another chance. Craig Nichol taking over in the saddle is a good thing, because he’s likely to get this fella into a proper rhythm at a track that should suit. KNOCKGRAFFON and MERCIAN PRINCE won last time out, so naturally they are up in the ratings. Both having to give weight to the selection could be the difference.
FREE PREMIUM - With all due respect, why should FOOTPAD be 8/15 and PETIT MOUCHOIR 3/1. When they met in last seasons Champion hurdle the De Bromhead charge was 6/1 and FOOTPAD 14/1, and they finished accordingly. Yes the Mullin’s six year old has won his two chasers in good style, but their was nothing wrong with the way PETIT MOUCHOIR beat a decent type on his first attempt. We are really struggling to understand why these odds are so biased, is it the blind leading the blind!
Virginia enters this match up at 21-1 and the #2 ranked team in the country and will face a Syracuse team that's coming off a dreadful offensive performance in their 55-51 loss to Georgia Tech. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers have gotten a few undeserved covers in our opinion against Wake Forest and on Wednesday against Louisville and we'll take them on gain in what we believe is a slightly inflated line. The Orange will gladly play the Cavaliers game as they play at one of the slowest paces in the country and will of course play their vaunted zone defense. Virginia's strength is in their defense too, of course, but we don't believe they have the consistent enough shooters to win this by a large margin and Syracuse's home court advantage should be magnified given the scenario and opponent.
Both sides suffered humbling losses in their last game with the Gators falling to Georgia as road favorites and Alabama losing at home to Missouri. The Crimson Tide haven't had the best of luck away from home this season but they have thrived in the underdog role and their defense should be enough to keep them in this game. The Gators recently lost outright to South Carolina, a team with a similar profile to the Tide and we believe an upset wouldn't be completely out of the cards here!
Idaho St came through for us Thursday as they defeated Northern Arizona 63-61 and narrowly covered the 1 pt spread. We expected the Lumberjacks to be outmatched here but it's worth mentioning that the Bengals appeared to lose some steam late and allowed a double digit lead to shrink to 2 in the waning moments. Southern Utah is again one of the Big Sky bottom dwellers but they have proven to be dangerous playing at home over the years and should provide a serious challenge against a Bengals team that will be playing their 2nd consecutive game at elevation. The Bengals will have to earn it!
Texas Tech has won their last 3 but have struggled against the market, winning just one time ATS in their last 7. Furthermore, the Red Raiders have lost their last 3 road games in conference play by a combined 37 points including 2 losses as a favorite against Iowa St and Texas. TCU has been a bit of a hard luck team with 6 losses in conference play but the Horned Frogs have been competitive in every loss and this is a team we rate highly despite their record. Hosts to win comfortably over the poor travelers!
The Citadel, traditionally one of the weaker teams in the Southern Conference has made some headlines in the past week as they pulled off 2 stunning upsets and nearly a third. The Bulldogs first won at Mercer as 16 pt underdogs then nearly repeated the feat against East Tennessee St losing by 2, only to then turn around and defeat Wofford on Thursday as 10 pt underdogs. Suffice to say, however, we are not convinced as it's more an indictment on their opponents poor preparation and they will face a team in Furman that has enjoyed beating up on their rival in recent years. The Paladins are coming off 2 convincing wins over Western Carolina and Mercer and won the reverse fixture by 40 earlier this month. Visitors to put the upstart Bulldogs back in their place!
UCF may have gotten a relatively comfortable win over Connecticut on Wednesday but we are none too convinced with the Knights, after all, the Huskies are far removed from their championshp calibre teams and aren't even a top 150 team this season. Since Tacko Fall's season ending injury, the Knights' defense hasn't been quite the same and this is one that the markets still have not quite adjusted to. Houston is a legitimate team this year and has scored a win over Wichita St and deserved better than a 70-80 scoreline against Cincinnati last game. The Cougars have multiple players they can rely on offensively whereas the Knights have just BJ Taylor. We'll back the more balanced team.
Freiburg are ultra tough to beat at home, and that’s only happened once all season. Schalke (0-1) was the team to take all three points against Christian Streich’s team, and that was back on 4th November. Following a poor start to the season the Breisgau-Brasilianer are into full stride with 8 matches unbeaten, and four of them were wins including three at this stadium. During that phase teams who left empty handed include Gladbach, Leipzig and Mainz, but even more impressive was the last round 2-2 in Dortmund. Afterall, only a 93rd minute goal gave their opponents an equaliser. More good news for Freiburg is a whole host of players have become available, including the recenty ill Kaputska and Kath. First choice GK Schwolow is set to return, and so are Stenzel andLienhart. Even Hofler could make it back today. Bayer Leverkuesen are currently second in the table, although just 3 points ahead of the next seventh place. We could also add that the visitors only won 4 from 10 on the road, albeit 3 from their last 4. Yes Leverkuesen will be fighting for a place in Europe, but Freiburg are not easy to beat at home.
Borussia Monchengladbach won one and lost two of their matches since the new year. The win came at home against Augsburg (2-0), albeit from what we witnessed the result was a bit harsh on the then visitors. It would probably be fair to suggest that Gladbach were themselves harshly treated in the last round with a 2-0 defeat in Frankfurt, although on that note bad defending does usually lead to goals. A new worry for the host is having to do without first choice goalkeeper Sommer, and that’s especially the case with Tobias Sippel taking the gloves. Afterall, the 29 year old played three times and conceded 10 goals in 254 minutes of football, that’s a goal every 25.4 minutes. Left back Wendt has also been added to the injured list, and top scorer Rafael isn’t available for the second match in succession. Add to that all of Benes, Johnson, Strobl, Traore, Doucoure and Villalba remain sidelined. Leipzig haven’t been has dominant this season, and last weeks draw against Hamburg was a moderate effort. Nevertheless, we prefer to remember what they did to Schalke (3-1) and what they did in this fixture last season (1-2). And, best of all, only Holstenberg and Forsberg are now sidelined. With the team balance like it is take Leipzig to claim a vital three points.
Viktorija Golubic must be happy that she stayed on in Australia to take on this ITF tournament. Afterall, four wins would have helped restore confidence, and making any final is a fair reward. However, today she gets to play unknown teenager Marta Kostyuk, and we believe the 15 year old Ukrainian will come away with a vital win. Kostyuk was born into tennis on both sides of her parentage, and she’s clearly a player to reckon with. In fact, prior to arriving here she had already beaten both Shuai Peng and Olivia Rogowska in the main event of the Australian open, and that was after coming through three rounds of qualification. Marta has beaten the likes of Khromacheva, Elie, Wang (Xiy) and Hives this week, so she’s clearly not going to be intimidated by playing someone with more experience. At these odds why not!
PREMIUM BET FOR FREE (1 from 4) - SUBSCRIBE TO PAID ELITE FOR OTHERS -------LUCKOFTHEDRAW brings decent bumper form, and he is receiving a useful six pounds from the two ahead of him in the betting. Nevertheless, that pair set decent figures, and they are more proven at this game. Last but not least is the trainer issue, because betting Twiston-Davies runners is a quick way to the poor house. DON’T ASK appears to have the most stable form, but on official figures he’s got three pounds to find on MARLEY FIRTH. Dan Skelton’s runner disappointed at Plumpton last time out, so that’s the main worry. However, lots of fancied runners ran below par at that meeting has the ground seemed to make some horses nervous. Forgive and forget and concentrate on his CD win!