The football continues to uninspire. The tennis is getting that way. First Dominic Thiem downs tools and looses to 250th+ ranked players. Now Garbine Muguruza decides not to show up yesterday, barely raises a sweat and loses completely. She did not even hide her non-effort. Is she Nick Kyrgios in disguise?
There are 50 Europa League matches today. I will not be researching them all. We saw with the Champions League matches that the betting market is quite simply a guess. Some of the teams are yet to start their season so lack the match fitness we'd normally associate with them. I will focus on teams I know initially. These are first leg matches today which further muddies the waters. They are not must win matches.
16:30 - Levadia Tallin v Cork City - 2.16 Cork
- Cork City are unbeaten in an Irish Season well under way so from a fitness perspective, there are no excuses.
- Cork has tended to score 2+ goals domestically.
- This has continued on into their away matches.
- Levadia Tallin are as good as Cork domestically and are unbeaten 9 wins in 10 at home.
- They have 2 wins and 2 draws at home in the Europa League. As ever with this competition, how on earth can we gauge them, or their opponents, against today's opposition?
- Cork struggle in the Europa League, suggesting the Irish Premier League level is low. Recently they lost home and away to Gent.
- If we look at the countries, Estonia and Ireland, we would favour Ireland were this an International.
- I will certainly be focussing on this match as Cork City have momentum and goals away from home.
- As to trading angles? Well this is the Europa League for you. Teams who never meet are in a 2 match shoot out.
18:00 - UE Santa Coloma v Osijek - 1.12 Osijek
- I chose this match not knowing the odds as UE are an Andorran side and Osijek a battle hardened Croatian side.
- Whenever UE have been in the Europa League, they have lost their matches and never scored their 2nd goal.
- 3 tends to be the scoreline they lose by , including another Croatian side Lokomotiv Zagreb.
- Osijek have not had a draw in recent Europa League matches. They played and beat FC Santa Coloma 0-1 away and 3-1 at home in 2012.
- That is some form to gauge today's match by.
- The odds suggest 3/4 goals from Osijek, as does UE's recent Europa League performances.
- Angles in? If 0-0 for a while I would back 1-3, 0-3 and any other away score.
I think what I will do here is list matches with very short priced favourites. I would then add these matches to the 'my games' facility at www.flashscore.com and monitor for potential upsets. I see no worth in researching every match today in the Europa League. It is a competition where angles are so hard to find. Second legs of course are easier as we can work from the first leg scoreline.
15:45 - UK Kairat Almaty v Atlantas - 1.12 Kairat
- Kazakhstan v Lithuania.
- Kairat's level may be gauged by their beating of Aberdeen in the Europa League in 2015 and beating of Bordeaux. A loss last year to Maccabi Tel Aviv was care of an 86th minute goal so unlucky.
- Unbeaten at home in the Europa League.
- In their last 6 matches, Atlantas failed to score 4 times in the Europa League.
- Odds look justified. Look for 3/4 goals which usually accompanies a 1.12 quote.
16:30 - UK Dinamo Minsk v NSI Runavik - 1.10 Dinamo
- Belarus v Faroe Islands here.
- Minsk lost to Vojvodina last year in this competition.
- Their losses have been v Rapid Vienna, Villareal and vojvodina at home in the Europa League.
- NSI have only 1 win in the Europa League and that was a 4-3 v Linfield. In all other matches they failed to score.
- If Minsk score, they win. They have not really scored more than 2 in recent matches but the market expects 3/4 goals minimum.
17:30 - UK Lyngby v Bangor - 1.05 Lyngby
- 1.08 odds with Betfair currently are Lyngby.
- Denmark v Wales. Welsh football was poorly advertised by the New Saints losing to a Gibraltar side in their Champions League match earlier this week.
- This is Lyngby's first Europa League match.
- Bangor were last here in 2014 but their record is poor. 5 defeats and a 0-0.
- 1.08 odds suggests 4+ goals from the home side so use that as a trading angle i.e. if 0-0 for a while or if Bangor bang in the first goal.
18:00 - UK UE Santa Coloma v Osijek - 1.06 Osijek
- Andorra v Croatia here. Croat league is a good enough league with the likes of Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb providing the opposition.
- No draw for Osijek this Europa League. All defeats for UE. They have conceded a maximum of 6 but tend to level off at 3/4 goals so this is what we should expect of Osijek.
- At home, UE tend to concede 3 and did lose 1-3 to fellow Croats Lokomotiv Zagreb.
- Funnily enough, Osijek met FC Santa Coloma and won 0-1 away with a 77th minute goal.
- If you think Osijek may unexpectedly struggle as they did in that match, then laying at 1.08 does little harm.
18:00 - UK Haugesund v Coleraine - 1.12 Haugesund
- Norweigan club Haugesund should have some familiarity with you.
- They were last in the Europa League in 2014 and drew 1-1 with Airbus, and beat Airbus 2-1 - Airbus I think are a Welsh side so this could be tighter than the odds suggest?
- Northern Irish Coleraine were last in the Europa league 2013.
- The market is emphatic. 3/4 goals expected from the Norwegians. If you think that result v Airbus, albeit 3 years ago, may indicate Haugesund ain't that good, then lay them 1.13 or if they score first for shorter odds.
18:00 - UK AEK Larnaca v Lincoln Red Imps - 1.05 AEK
- Cyprus v Gibraltar
- AEK had an ok 2016, ending v Slovan Liberec who were too strong for them home and away.
- They play a Gibraltar side who are playing the Europa League for the first time.
- 1.06 is layable for me for AEK given what Europa achieved in the Champions League in beating The New Saints earlier this week.
18:00 - UK Odd BK v Ballymena - 1.12 Odd
- Odd you will know as a Norwegian team who have had a raft of 0-0's domestically.
- They meet Northern Irish Ballymena.
- 3 0-0's in their last 5 matches for Odd domestically.
- Odd were unlucky to meet the likes of Dortmund in this competition in 2015. other losses v PAS Giannina recently.
- Odd look full of goals at home in this competition.
- On that basis, I think the odds are justified given this is Ballymena's first Europa League.
- I was going to put up a lay of Odd because of their 0-0's but they seem to score 2+ readily at home in the Europa League.
19:00 - UK Midtjylland v Derry - 1.15 Midt
- I do like Midtjylland from Denmark.
- They have beaten the likes of Southampton, and Man Utd in the Europa League and a Derry side whose only win was v Aberyswyth, really should be put to the sword.
- 1.15 odds suggests 3/4 goals at least for the Danes.
19:00 - UK Norrkoping v Prishtina - 1.14 Norr
- Sweden v Kosovo. Kosovo as a National side are the new whipping boys, suggesting their leagues are very weak.
- Norrkoping were last in the Europa League in 2000 and Prishtina are yet to play.
- Faith in the market here and the assumption that if Kosovo are so poor as a National side, their league is also weak.
19:00 - UK Skenderbeu Korce v UE Sant Julia – 1.05 Skender
- Albania v Andorra for this Europa League tie.
- UE are yet to win a Europa League tie, indeed they are yet to score.
- Skender are clearly limited, in losses to Besiktas,Lokomotiv Moscow, but they did beat Sporting Lisbon at home in this competition.
- 0-0 best result for UE. Skender score, they win here.
19:00 - UK Maccabi Tel Aviv v KF Tirana – 1.10 Maccabi
- Israel v Albania. Tirana were last in the Europa League 2012.
- Maccabi lost to Zenit and Dundalk last year.
- Faith in the market. Little else to go on.
19:30 - UK Red Star Belgrade v Floriana – 1.08 Red star
- Red Star have a poor Europa League record.1-1 last year at home v Sassuolo is reasonable enough.
- Floriana are a Maltese side who conceded 8-1-8-4 when last in the Europa League.
- The market expects similar treatment today.
19:45 - UK Lech Poznan v Pelista Bitola – 1.06 Lech
- Poland v Macedonia.
- Lech failed to score last 3 Europa League matches, albeit v Fiorentina, Belenenses and Basel.
- Pelista may be competitive. 0-0 and 1-0 loss v APOEL.
- I must lay Lech at 1.07 with little hope bar a Pelista defensive display.
19:45 - UK Rangers v Progres Niedercorn – 1.05 Rangers
- Rangers were last in the Europa League in 2011 and did not win in 8 matches.
- Progres are a Luxembourg side who failed to score in a 0-0 and 3-0 defeat v Shamrock Rovers.
- Rangers should at least match the 3-0 today.
19:45 - UK St. Josephs v AEL Limassol – 1.12 AEL
- Gibraltar v Cyprus here.
- New experience for St Josephs.
- AEL were last in the competition 2012 and 2014.
- Faith in the market here.
19:45 - UK Videoton v Balzan Youths – 1.14 Videoton
- Hungary v Malta.
- 2 matches in 2016 for Balzan and they lost and beat an Azerbaijan side.
- Solid home record for Videoton - they have only lost 0-1 and to good Europa League sides.
- I do expect a win in line with the odds - 3/4 goals minimum.
19:45 - UK Valletta v Folgore – 1.18 Valletta
- Malta v San Marino and Folgore have lost all ventures into the Europa League.
- Valletta lost their last 3 Europa League matches.
- Not a match which greatly appeals. The in-play stats will decide interest.
The highlight for me yesterday was the Richard Gasquet comeback. His odds hit 7 in play and he still won the 2nd set after losing the first set. I did miss Halep and Ferrer dropping first sets and winning the second. As I mentioned above, Muguruza's performance sometimes makes me wonder if players are just taking an appearance fee and then tanking?
EASTBOURNE - may be weather affected
Agnieszka Radwanska v Lauren Davis - 1.79 Davis current odds
- 4-5 to Davis in the first set. A quick look at the form. This match did not show up on the Betfair Tennis Coupon yesterday otherwise I would have researched it. I may have to start using William Hill's Coupon.
- 8th v 35th.
- Aggie won the quarter finals in Nottingham in straight sets 6-2 6-2 but is obviously being given a game today.
- Aggie was 1.5 odds pre match so you may view her current 2.3 odds as value to back and lay at lower odds if she plays to her ranking.
- First grass court event this year for Aggy.
- Semi Final Eastbourne, Final Wimbledon in 2015, Quarters Eastbourne and Fourth round Wimbledon last year suggests proficiency on grass.
- Davis is nowhere near that level. Last year she only managed qualifiers for Birmingham and Wimbledon.
- First Round Birmingham, and First round here so far after going through qualifying.
- 2.3 does look value for Aggy albeit this is her first grass court outing. The first set is not over yet.
Dusan Lajovic v John Isner - 1.27 Isner
- 2-1 Lajovic in this current match. Isner is strong favourite.
- 79th v 24th.
- There have been 3 tie breakers between these 2 and 2 tie breakers in their last match in 2016 on clay, won by Dusan.
- Dusan is largely a Challenger Tour player.
- 2nd round and 3rd Round Wimbledon last year for Big John, albeit meeting Gilles Muller who we know is great on grass, and Tsonga so unlucky to meet quality so early.
- I cannot see Big John losing 2-0. As a tie breaker, he does open the door though for opponents.
Mischa Zverev v Bernard Tomic - 1.58 Mischa
- I am confused here. Matchstat shows this as Zverev v Ryan Harrison.
- I will research as per Betfair. I must say Betfair's tennis coverage leaves a lot to be desired. Their coupons do not show all of the daily matches.
- The last 2 players to beat Mischa on grass were Lopez and Federer. Tomic is nowhere near that standard.
- On that basis alone, Mischa really should not be losing 2-0 and is backable if its odds rise to near evens.
Robin Haase v Daniil Medvedev - 1.54 Haase
- 46th v 63rd so rankings are relatively tight.
- 's-Hertogenbosch saw Medvedev win in 3 sets after winning the first set tie breaker - that was this year and on grass.
- Daniil went all the way to the quarters at that event.
- He was beaten at Queens in 3 sets v Dimitrov.
- In Halle, Haase beat Thiem and Ferrer but after Thiem's suspiciously poor performance in Turkey we have to wonder whether the real Dominic turned up that day.
- I am not with the market today I'm afraid and would lay Haase if his odds hit 1.3 or lower. Daniil clearly has some grass court capabilities and a recent head to head win to work from.
Steve Johnson v Thomas Fabbiano - 1.2 Steve
- 6-3 Johnson and 2-2 second set so little else to say.
- SJ was 1.35 pre match so this 1.2 after 1 set is a little high don't you think? It might be worth speculatively laying?
Tsvetana Pironkova v Simona Halep - 1.35 Pironkova
- A little unfair for Halep to have to play a 2nd match in one day.
- In her earlier match that say, Simona lost the first set and won the match.
- It is 7-6 Pironkova first set, 2-1 up on serve Pironkova and 40-30 so superbly poised.
- If Pironkova wins that service match, her odds will drop considerably. If Halep makes if 40-40 her odds will rise just on that point.
- Value is in Halep at 3.55 but it is too finely poised for me to be ultra confident.
- A match muddied by the fact one player had to play 2 matches in one day.
Richard Gasquet v Kevin Anderson - 1.74 Anderson
- 23rd v 66th and a feeling Gasquet's rankings doesn't seem to go anywhere.
- Anderson has won 3 of the last 4 head to heads, Gasquet won in the French Open.
- These head to heads rarely are clean sheet wins.
- Gasquet was great to trade yesterday, hitting a high of 7 if we kept on his side.
- He lost to Anderson very recently in the quarters in estoril on clay.
- Anderson was ok on clay, losing to Nishikori and Zverev but he did retire v Cilic and on that basis I opposed him in his win last round. Seems he is over the hamstring injury.
- I could see another struggle for Gasquet today and lay Gassa if he wins the first set. There is always that niggle that the hamstring problem could return for Anderson but he seems ok from yesterday.
Caroline Wozniacki v Elena Vesnina - 1.55 Wozza
- 11th v 14th so this could be tight.
- Vesnia the most recent head to head winner. Others have come 2013 and earlier. Wozza is better than ever I feel
- Quarters at the French Open for Wozza advertises that.
- 2nd round, 1st round, 3rd round, 1st round last year on grass for Wozza is poor stuff.She is 27/15 win loss on grass. A 2:1 win to loss ratio.
- Vesnina looks to be in a trough at the moment. A run of 3 1st round exits, 2 3 set wins at the French Open but an easy win first round here v 105th.
- I feel Wozza will not be losing 2-0 today so would love Elena to win the first set.
Kristina Mladenovic v Svetlana Kuznetsova - 1.6 Mladenovic
- 19th v 9th.
- 2-0 Kristina head to heads.
- 5 3 setters for Svetlana in her last 6 matches suggests we lay Svet if she wins the first set.
- 3 consecutive quarter finals for Kristina is good form.
Karolina Pliskova v Shuai Peng - 1.3 Pliskova
- 3rd v 37th.
- Pliskova semi finalist French Open.
- Peng won in 3 sets v 22nd ranked player first round.
- 3 first round exits on grass last year for Peng. Chinese players though must be respected given the resources they have behind them.
- A good match to hope for a Peng first set win as I would be laying her if Peng won first set.
Novak Djokovic v Donald Young - 1.13 Novak
- 2nd v 44th.
- Quarter, Semi, Final, Quarter for Novak is a mini crisis.
- Beginning of the slump last year? Loss to Querrey 3rd round for Novak.
- I must lay him today at 1.14 as Donald Young could give him a tester. I would actually prefer to lay Novak if he wins first set at even shorter odds.
Angelique Kerber v Lara Arruabarrena - 1.29 Kerber
- 2nd v 61st.
- 3-0 head to heads Kerber.
- Lara had a walkover in 2016.
- 4 consecutive 3 setters for Lara suggests that she will not be winning 2-0 if giving Kerber a game and winning the first set.
- I dismissed a Kerber comeback from 1-0 down yesterday but she accomplished it.
- Kerber was Wimbledon finalist last year. She retired in Madrid this year and subsequently lost her next 2 matches.
Jelena Ostapenko v Johanna Konta - 1.49 Konta
- This tends to be the 'go to' price for bookies with Konta. So often she is 1.5 or thereabouts and usually she has delivered in 2 sets.
- 50th v 7th No head to heads.
- Ostapenko French Open winner no less!
- Konta got to the final on grass in Nottingham and lost in Birmingham to 23rd.
- Quarter Final, Second round, First round Wimbledon on grass for Jelena.
- First grass court match in Konta's back yard.
- Tough to call/ If carrying the French open momentum through Jelena could make Konta's 1.5 odds far too short.
- Jelena beat Suarez Navarro in 3 sets opener and I would be keen here to lay Konta if Konta wins the first set. That would present shorter odds for me.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkov v Heather Watson - 1.79 Pav
- 16th v 111th.
- No head to heads yet Pav is not overwhelming favourite.
- Why? Heather thrives in her locality.
- Although she lost first round Nottingham and Birmingha, Heather tool Svitolina to 3 sets.
- She has beaten Tsurenko and a poor Cibulkova here at Eastbourne.
- Muddling form recently for Ana.retirement of opponent, 3 set loss, 3 set win, 2 set loss (3 games only won), 3 setter here first round.
- I would lay the first set winner here I think. Preference if Ana wins first set.