It is a tough coupon today full of not immediately readable matches. I'll do some tennis research today. Good to practice. I have selected some matches which catch the eye. League Football is returning this weekend. Our Irish friends are back and Norway and Swedish leagues are in full force.
AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS
15:30 - Madagascar v Burundi - 2.74 Burindi
- I don't like the odds here. It suggests a tough match to read.
- 108th v 134th. Can we really trust teams ranked so lowly?
- Group B also includes Nigeria and Guinea.
- Nigeria are on 3 points, Guinea and Madagascar are on 1 point.
- 2-2 v Guinea for Madagascar saw Guinea score a penalty to make it 2-2.
- Burundi lost 1-0 to Nigeria. A hint that Burundi are defensively sound - it took 77 minutes for better ranked Nigeria to break them.
- I have nothing really to work with here. In-play stats or leave alone.
18:00 - Senegal v Algeria - 2.18 Senegal
- Senegal are the highest ranked team in this ACN.
- 22nd v 68th in the rankings.
- Group C also sees Kenya and Tanzania. Algeria and Senegal are the 2 teams with a win each. This match could determine first place.
- Both sides recorded 2-0 wins in their openers. Both sides are in excellent form recently too.
- Are the rankings enough for us to side with Senegal not to lose? Senegal are not odds-on favourites today.
- 2-2 the last time these 2 teams met in 2017.
21:00 - Kenya v Tanzania - 2.28 Kenya
- 105th v 131st. More lowly ranked sides.
- These are the other 2 sides in Group C and a win for one of these 2, given 1st and 2nd could cut each other's throats.
- 2016 and 2017 head to heads saw a 1-1 and a 1-0 Kenyan win.
- 0-0-0-0-1-0-1-2 goals conceded recently by Kenya. Are they defensively driven? The first Algerian goal was a penalty.
- Only 3 wins for Tanzania since July 2017 came v Congo, Cape Verde, and Uganda.
- If Kenya can maintain this strong defence then lay Tanzania if Tanzania scores first?
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
20:00 - Norway v England - 2.16 England
- 0-1 Norway in a friendly in 2017.
- Norway have conceded in their last 3 World Cup matches. England have had 3 consecutive clean sheets.
- Knock-out stages now.
- 12th v 3rd in the rankings.
- England are looking good under chuckle brother Phil Neville. I think if Norway score first, I would lay them (consider 1-0 cover given the stage of the competition). Remember that Norway conceded in their last 3 matches. England clean sheets suggests they'll be hard to score 2 goals against. Norway got here on penalties after a 90 minute 1-1 with Australia. I favour England today.
EURO UEFA U21 Championship
17:00 - Germany U21 v Romania U21 - 1.55 Germany U21
- 1st v 23rd in the rankings I could find.
- These are semi-final matches today.
- It is difficult to read semi-finals given the significance of the match. Tactics may be unique to this match. i.e. damage limitation for Romania U21 for instance?
- 2014 head to head saw an 8-0 Germany U21 win.
- Germany conceded in their Euro matches, 3-1, 6-1 and 1-1. But note this. In all 3 matches, their opponents scored a penalty.
- No messing from Romania. 4 goals v Croatia. 4 goals v England and a 0-0 v France is impressive. Note that their opening goal in the matches they scored in was.....a penalty.
- Germany are yet to concede a goal from open play. That is a real plus. Romania have been full of goals but noticeably were shut out by 6th in the rankings. That said, they scored 4 v 3rd placed England.
- I would favour Germany today.
20:00 - Spain U21 v France U21 - 2.2 Spain U21
- A trickier 2nd semi-final.
- 4th v 6th in the rankings.
- 1-1 when these 2 met in 2018.
- Spain U21 conceded in 3 of their last 4 matches in the Euros.
- 0-1-1-0-0 conceded by France U21 in Euros recently. Defensively sound. France were lucky against England. An England red card and then 89th and 90th minute France goals. An ability to stop opponents scoring 2 goals is key to their success.
- Two well-matched teams in a match where I don't have a strong angle.
EASTBOURNE OPEN WTA
Ons Jabeur v Alize Cornet - 1.94 Cornet
- The victor over Johanna Konta (1.16 fav) yesterday, Ons Jabeur takes on fading light Alize Cornet.
- 62nd v 55th.
- Ons Jabeur: Won 4 of last 5 overall. Won 4 of last 5 in Great Britain. Won 4 of last 5 in Europe. Won 4 of last 5 on Grass. Won 4 of last 5 at WTA Premier level.
- Alize Cornet: Won 4 of last 5 overall. Won 4 of last 5 in Europe. Won 4 of last 5 on Grass. Won 6 of last 7 at WTA Premier level. Won 4 in a row when priced as Favourite ($1.50 to $1.999).
- Good recent form for both players.
- Easy win v Konta yesterday for Jabeur says that something was amiss for Konta rather than some sudden Jabeur lunge into top 20 beating form.
- The previous 2 wins were 3 setters v 76th and 98th ranked players.
- Jabeur did retire from Mallorca.
- Jabeur's WTA grass court form is not that hot.
- 3 2 set wins for Cornet.
- I would lay Jabeur if she wins the first set today. I hope the win v Konta was down to Konta.
Fernando Verdasco v San Querrey - 1.51 Querrey
- 36th v 79th.
- Fernando Verdasco: Won 4 of last 5 at Eastbourne ATP. Won 4 of last 5 when priced as Underdog ($2.00 to $2.999).
- Sam Querrey: Won 5 of last 6 overall. Won 4 of last 5 in Great Britain. Won 4 of last 5 on Grass. Won 5 of last 6 at ATP level. Won 4 in a row when priced as Moderate Favourite ($1.20 to $1.499).
- Querrey has won the last 4 head to heads, the latest 2015 though.
- 2 3-setters already for Verdasco suggests to me that he will not be winning 2-0 today.
- 2 2-set wins for Sam who remember had an excellent Wimbledon in 2017. This is his first grass court tournament.
- I will lay Verdasco if he wins the first set. I think Querrey is looking good and has a pedigree on grass.
Angelique Kerber v Simone Halep - 1.92
- I did say yesterday that there was a thought that Kerber has got over her virus and injury concerns from the clay court season. A good win yesterday v Peterson.
- 6th v 8th in the rankings. This looks like a humdinger and 1.92 the favourite suggests a 3-setter waiting to happen.
- Kerber won 12 of last 13 when on grass. 3/4 wins in head to heads for Halep, the last 2 wins in 2018. As I said yesterday, Kerber's semi final on grass in Mallorca suggests she is back up and running.
- This is Halep's first grass court tournament after a quarter final in the French Open. 3 setter v 61st Hercog last round here.
- I will stick with the 3-setter. Kerber back up and running and has a full grass court tournament under her belt. Halep solid on clay but only 2 grass court matches.
- I like the Halep head to heads and would be keener if Kerber won the first set.
Gilles Simon v Thomas Fabbiano - 1.32 Simon
- 38th v 99th.
- Simon has impressed me of late.
- Gilles Simon: Won 6 of last 7 overall. Won 6 of last 7 in Great Britain. Won 6 of last 7 in Europe. Won 6 of last 7 on Grass. Won 6 of last 7 at ATP level. Won 10 of last 11 when priced as Moderate Favourite ($1.20 to $1.499).
- Simon Finalist on grass at Queens and beat 13th and 8th ranked players (albeit 8th ranked Anderson not played since March 2019).
- All 3 setters in Queens for Simon. Note that, particularly if Fabbiano wins the first set.
- Losses on grass for Fabbiano v 66th in Holland and 84th in Halle. Through qualifiers to get here.
- I am with Simon here. I just hope Fabbiano wins the first set as I would be more confident of a 1-1. But do note Simon had all 3 setters at Queens. Is that an argument to simply lay the first set winner?
Aryna Sabalenka v Kiki Bertens - 1.54 Kiki
- 10th v 4th in the rankings. Bertens is a recent winner on grass in the Holland tournament.
- Aryna Sabalenka: Won 7 of last 8 at Eastbourne WTA. Lost 4 in a row when Opponent is a Top 10 Player.
- Kiki Bertens: Won 6 of last 7 overall. Won 6 of last 7 in Great Britain. Won 6 of last 7 in Europe. Won 6 of last 7 on Grass. Won 11 of last 12 at WTA Premier level. Won 4 in a row when Opponent is a Top 10 Player.
- Compelling trends here.
- Aryna has been inconsistent on grass. Loss to 229th, 27th, then can beat the mighty Wozniacki (14th) here in 3 sets.
- Aryna was a finalist here last year, losing to Wozza who, as we know, she beat last round this year.
- Kiki was a finalist in Holland, losing in 3 sets to Riske. It admittedly looked a weak event, Kiki beat 4th 100+ ranked players to reach the final.
- I do like the trends. Aryna has lost 4 in a row v top 10 and Kiki won 4 in a row v top 10.
- I am not taken by Kiki's Holland form. The players were too lowly ranked to make the form strong.
- The value here is in laying Kiki if she wins the first set. She is already odds on so this will produce lower odds already. If Aryna has positives from her Final here last year, I'd put this down as a 3 setter today.
Lorenzo Sonego v Adrian Mannarino - 1.45 Mannarino
- 75th v 37th.
- Lorenzo Sonego: Won 5 in a row when Opponent is a Left Hander. Lost 7 in a row when priced as Moderate Underdog ($3.00 to $5.999).
- Adrian Mannarino: Won 6 in a row overall. Won 4 of last 5 in Turkey. Won 6 in a row on Grass. Won 4 of last 5 at Antalya ATP. Won 6 in a row at ATP level. Won 5 in a row when priced as Moderate Favourite ($1.20 to $1.499).
- Sonego won the 2018 head to head in 3 sets.
- 1st round exit twice this grass season but 2nd round here for Sonego. He lost in 3 sets to 48th ranked and plays 37th ranked today.
- Mannarino was a winner on grass in Holland.
- I am with Mannarino today. I would lay Sonego if Sonego wins the first set.
Jordan Thompson v Damir Dzumhir - 1.62 Thompson
- 45th v 63rd.
- Jordan Thompson: Won 5 of last 6 overall. Won 5 of last 6 on Grass. Won 5 of last 6 at ATP level
- Damir Dzumhur: Won 6 in a row in Turkey. Won 7 of last 8 on Grass. Won 6 in a row at Antalya ATP. Won 6 of last 7 at ATP level.
- Thompson a finalist in Holland - very good form. 4 of the players beaten were sub 50 in the rankings.
- Pretty poor last season on grass, Thompson went out first round Holland and Turkey. So improvement so far.
- 3 setter for Damir last match saw him play a local Turkish player.
- Damir was a winner here last year.
- So we have a recent Grass court tournament winner playing last year's tournament winner. I would personally like Damir to win the first set, I would be happy laying him more than Thompson.