Early Round Champions League second leg matches. The ideal form of trading is via the in-play stats. Why? Well, how on earth do we quantify a Kazak and a Latvian team for example, or a Georgian side v an Azerbaijani side? We have the first leg scorelines only to work with. The best free resources for in-play stats? www.williamhill.com and www.flashscore.com. If I am online, I will be monitoring these matches today. I see some good possible trades.
There are some tennis tournaments today on the ATP (men's) and WTA (women's) calendar. ATP Bastad looks the tournament to focus on. Lots of decently ranked players.
15:00 - FC Astana v Spartaks Jurmala - 1.16 Astana
- 0-1 Astana in the first leg of this Champions League was perfect for Astana. Away goal and no concession.
- This is Kazaks v Latvia.
- The market expects Astana to score 3/4 goals today. They only need a 0-0 of course. Spartaks need a 0-1 to keep this alive but the market does not expect that.
17:00 - Alashkert v BATE Borisov - 1.72 BATE
- 3 1-1 draws in 4 Champions League matches for BATE now. Alashkert scored the 2nd goal and it was an own goal.
- This is Armenia v Belarus.
- 3-0, 1-1, 1-0 for Alashkert at home in recent Champions League matches.
- BATE has not won an away match in the Champions League yes are favourites today.
- Alashkert actually has the advantage given they have scored the away goal.
- Ideals? Alashkert 0-0, or 1-0. BATE 0-1 are the very basic scorelines required.
- A tough match to quantify as Armenian and Belarussian sides rarely meet. The market is with the away side.
17:00 - Vardar Skopje v Malmo FF - 1.94 Malmo
- Macedonia v Sweden in the Champions League.
- Malmo drew 1-1 with Vardar first leg. Vardar has the away goal advantage coming into this match. They merely need a clean sheet and they are through in 2 legs.
- Vardar are yet to win a Champions League match.
- Malmo's 1-1 was the first draw in the Champions League in 9 matches.
- Malmo were last in the Champions League in 2015 and played the big guns so it is hard to compare that record with a match v a Macedonian side.
- This is an easier assignment for Malmo compared to the likes of Real Madrid. Can they grab the opportunity?
18:00 - Samtredia v Qarabag FK - 2 Qarabag
- Georgia v Azerbaijan in the Champions League.
- 5-0 Qarabag in the first leg pretty much tells its own story. Qarabag can afford a 4-0 defeat and still qualify.
- If Qarabag score one goal, it's goodnight Samtredia.
- Qarabag look the best side and 2 is very tempting odds wise if you want a play. Qarabag though do not need to win this match.
19:00 - The New Saints v Rijeka - 1.31 Rijeka
- TNS negotiated Europa FC in the 2nd leg courtesy of 2 red cards to their opponents. Croatia's Rijeka have just begun their season and are likely to be vying for the title.
- It was a comfortable 2-0 win for Rijeka in the first leg v the Welsh side. Rijeka did not concede an away goal. All they need today is an away goal, and that will ensure victory, as TNS will require 4 goals in reply.
- TNS are a poor side relative to Rijeka. Remember they lost to a Gibraltese side at home in the last Champions League match.
- I expect Rijeka to qualify. They can tolerate a 1-0 defeat remember so note that. But if they score today, that nails qualification.
19:00 - Vikingur Gota v Hafnarfjordur - 1.83 Hafnar
- Faroe Islands v Iceland. How on earth do we gauge these 2 teams?
- It's 1-1 from the first leg. Vikingur got their away goal courtesy of a penalty.
- In-play stats will relay any play here.
- Viking need a 0-0 bare minimum to go through on the away goal run. Hafnar must score today and score first.
19:45 - Buducnost Podgorica v Partizan Belgrade - 1.6 Partizan
- Montenegro v Serbia in another tough-to-gauge Champions League match.
- 2 second half goals for Partizan gave us a 2-0 win (2nd goal a penalty). Partizan advantage today as an away goal makes life very difficult for Buducnost.
- I expect Partizan to put the nail in the coffin with an away goal.
The Scottish League Cup. Take your cues from the market. I also focus on matches with noticeable gaps in the league. Do note this is the off-season so we are assuming that the teams play to their form despite ring-rustiness.
19:45 - Stirling v Inverness CT - 1.4 Inverness
- League Two v Scottish Premier League (SPL).
- Both sides tend to avoid the draw in the League Cup.
- Stirling won their last 2 home matches in the League Cup but tend to lose when meeting an SPL team.
- only 1 loss in 6 League Cup matches for Inverness suggests they give the cup a go. They did lose their last League cup away match this time last year.
- The market is right here. Stirling tend to struggle v SPL teams.
19:45 - Morton v Queens Park - 1.44 Morton
- Championship v League One.
- 6 wins in 7 League Cup matches for Morton plays a Queens Park team with only one win in 7 League cup matches.
- Again, I am with the market here. Morton seem up for the cup.
19:45 - Albion v Stenhousemuir - 1.99 Albion
- 4 0-0's in 6 League Cup matches for League One Albion betrays their tactics? Look for extra time?
- Or does this betray Albion's inability to score consistently? 0-0-0-0-1-0 scored in recent matches for Albion.
- Stenhousemuir has lost 7 consecutive league cup matches. Either they are not up for the cup or they tend to struggle v teams from higher level leagues?
- Not a match I am keen to focus on. You may want to back 0-0 pre-match and hope the hapless Albion turns up tonight?
19:45 - Brechin v Forfar - 2.06 Brechin
- Only 1 win in 7 League Cup matches for Brechin - a Championship side.
- Brechin at home in the League Cup tend to look good. Win, Draw, Loss (v SPL team), draw, 0-1 loss, Win, Draw in recent League Cup matches.
- Forfar are League One.Only 1 win in 7 away matches in the league cup for Forfar.
19:45 - Airdrieonians v Stranraer - 2.26 Airdrie
- 2 League One teams here in the League Cup. 3 consecutive 2-1 scorelines in head to heads saw Stranraer win the last 2 head to heads.
- I will back 2-1/1-2 here and hope we see another head to head with both teams scoring. I tend to trade out at 1-1 as 2-1 and 1-2 scorelines' odds will have dropped.
19:45 - Queen of South v East Kilbride - 1.25 Queen
- Championship v League One.
- 5 wins and 2 defeats for QOTS in the last 7 League Cup matches. QOTS lost to SPL teams. A suggestion that they are up for the cup and indeed find lower league teams within their compass.
- East Kilbride are a Football League team. Little is known of East Kilbride, but the market looks right.
19:45 - Raith v Dundee - 1.87 Dundee
- League One v SPL and the market sides with the team from the better league.
- No win in 3 for Raith saw Raith not score in their last 2 matches which were v SPL teams.
- Dundee has beaten Championship and League one opponents (albeit with home advantage) 6-2 and 7-0 recently in the league cup.
- No win in 7 away for Dundee in the league cup may explain the odds.
- Value? Lay Dundee if Dundee scores first. A hint away from home of struggles in the cup (or a negative attitude from the cup).
19:45 - Dumbarton v Ayr - 2.26 Dumbarton
- Championship v League One and Dumbarton has not won a league cup match in their last 6 matches. 3-1-2-2-6-3 goals conceded by Dumbarton in the cup.
- 4 wins in 6 matches for Ayr in the League cup.3 clean sheets in 4 matches.
- We have a Dumbarton from the better league conceding 2+ goals regularly.
- No strong angles for me.
19:45 - Edinburgh City v Berwick - 2.2 Edinburgh
- 2 League Two sides in this Scottish League Cup. Both teams are poor in the league cup.
- A match I will leave alone.
19:45 - Alloa v Arbroath - 1.87 Alloa
- 2 League one teams.
- 2 consecutive defeats for Alloa were v SPL teams in the league cup.
- 5 losses and a draw for Arbroath includes a loss v a League two side suggests Arbroath are not necessarily up for the cup. I am with the market and will favour Alloa.
19:45 - Kilmarnock v Clyde - 1.25 Kilmarnock
- Premiership v League Two. This is the kind of gap I like to see in a League Cup match.
- League One and League Two teams have been beaten by Clyde in recent League Cup matches.
- Kilmarnock in the League Cup have not exactly been that impressive. 0-2 loss, 2-3 win (were 2-0 down), 0-0 and 1-0 loss.
- Note the gap in the leagues. But note too that Kilmarnock don't seem to show an interest in the cup. Value? Lay Kilmarnock if Kilmarnock scores first? It will be a short odds lay.
19:45 - St Mirren v Livingston - 1.85 St Mirren
- 2 Championship sides. 2-3 St Mirren in 2 consecutive head to heads. Is that an angle today?
- 4 wins in 5 league cup matches for St Mirren.
- Only 1 win in 6 matches for Livingston in the League Cup.
- It looks as if St Mirren are up for the cup so side with the market. If you are feeling speculative, back 2-3 and 3-2 as trading angles and hope the head to heads are repeated.
19:45 - Montrose v Ross Co - 1.25 Ross Co
- League Two v Premiership.
- 7 consecutive League Cup defeats for Montrose suggests the market is right here. Only 1 loss in 7 for Ross County suggests they are up for the cup.
19:45 - East Fife v Dunfermline - 1.68 Dunfermline
- League One v Championship.
- Dunfermline's 3 losses in the League Cup were v SPL teams suggesting a League One side should be within their compass.
- 2 consecutive losses for East Fife in the League Cup.
19:45 - Elgin v Hearts - 1.18 Hearts
- 6 defeats in 7 matches for League Two Elgin in the league cup.
- Hearts has scored and conceded in each of their last 5 league cup matches.
- Hearts has tended to play SPL teams in the League cup and their 2 consecutive defeats need to be put into that context.
- Expect 2+ goals from Hearts today in what should be a routine win.
Thiago Monteiro v Dusan Lajovic - 1.41 Dusan
- 80th v 79th. Note the tight rankings but not the tight market.
- 2-0 Dusan in head to heads.
- Dusan has just won the Dusan Challenger tournament so comes into this ATP event with momentum and a winning mentality.
- Monteiro has little momentum. He had 2 4 setters at Wimbledon. I do not expect Monteiro to win 2-0 and would hope for him to win the first set.
Thomaz Bellucci v Dustin Brown - 1.61 Bellucci
- 54th v 75th.
- 2016 head to heads are muddling. Brown won in 3 sets and the 2nd in the Olympics saw Brown retire.
- We are on clay now.
- Only 1 win in 8 on clay for Bellucci.
- 6 consecutive defeats on clay for Brown too.
- I think Bellucci's odds look a little short. That said, both players are poor on clay and that puts me off having 100% confidence in laying Bellucci should Bellucci win the first set.
Maximilian Marterer v Diego Schwartzman - 1.37 Diego
- 132nd v 34th.
- No head to heads.
- Diego is a battler. 5 sets v Novak in the French Open, 3 setter at Nottingham and 3-0 loss at Wimbledon (first set a tie breaker) v Dimitrov.
- Marterer has gone through qualifiers to get here.
- I would want Marterer to win the first set as I would be happy to back Diego at higher odds.
Alexandr Dolgopolov v Leonardo Mayer - 1.86 Mayer
- 82nd v 131st.
- No head to heads.
- Dolgopolov retired v Federer at Wimbledon so there may be a cloud regarding fitness.
- Mayer reached the Bastad Challenger Final. On that basis alone, I would not expect Mayer to lose 2-0 today and would love Dolgo to win the first set so I could lay Dolgo.
David Ferrer v Federico Delbonis - 1.78 Ferrer
- 32nd v 98th.
- 2-0 Ferrer in head to heads.
- On clay, Ferrer has lost to some big names such as Busta, Nishikori, and Lopez. He should give a good account today on clay.
- Delbonis went through qualifying to get here. Delbonis' focus has been on clay of late. No grass court tennis for him recently.
- 3 consecutive Challenger Finals for Delbonis. He retired in the Milan Challenger. Now putting on my Miss Marple hat, is that the reason he shows no grass court form? Injury?
- Meeting Ferrer the Terrier when you may have an injury niggle is foolhardy.
- I would be very keen to back Ferrer at higher odds in-play. I would love Delbonis to win the first set as I would lay him.
Ernests Gulbis v Arthur De Greef - 1.73 Gulbis
- 169th v 134th - immediately the rankings put me off.
- Decent run for Gulbis at Wimbledon albeit in beating Del Potro there was a question mark regarding Del Potro's fitness. A tie breaker v Novak in a 3-0 loss suggests fight.
- Gulbis has a recently poor record on clay.
- De Greef is a Challenger player.
- A match to leave alone. No strong angles.
Nikoloz Basilashvili v Horacio Zeballos - 1.7 Horacio
- 61st v 84th.
- No head to heads.
- Zeballos retired in his last match. Again I see this as a negative.
- 6 defeats in 7 for Basil so poor recent form - Querrey, Nadal, Muller recent victors.
- On clay Basil has reasonable form running from the warm up to the French Open onwards.
- 2 players I am not too hot on.
Fernando Verdasco v Elias Ymer - 1.28 Verdasco
- I like Verdasco. He tends to give an excellent account when playing better ranked players.
- 36th v 186th.
- No head to heads.
- The last 3 players to beat Verdasco on clay? Alexander Zverev, David Goffin and Kei Nishikori. Not 186th ranked any of these 3. Even adding their 3 rankings together, it does not come to 186th!!
- Ymer reached the quarters of the Bastad Challenger.
- One of the stronger matches today. I really like Verdasco. A reliable sort so bring on the hiccup Fernando - I want to back you at higher odds!!