Quiet World Cup day for me yesterday. Japs took advantage of the red card to beat a Colombia side which would have had them at 11 v 11. Own goals helped Russia and Senegal to victory. Both matches I had little interest in. Today is different. Portugal, Uruguay and Spain should entertain and present trading opportunities.
Helsingborg's match was different. 2-0 down, I hope you layed Varberg given my research suggesting Helsingborg were worthy favourites 2-0 to 2-1, 3-1 then to 3-2 to 3-3. Nice work Helsingborgs.
As should the tennis. I will try and tweet through the day for you @drtclub.
13:00 - Portugal v Morocco - 1.68 Portugal
- Ranking - 4th - yes that surprised me too.
- Last World Cup - 2014 - 4-0 loss to German; 2-2 v USA and 2-1 win v Ghana - note all over 2.5 goals.
- Overall form - only 1 loss in 18 matches came v Netherlands; only 2 wins in 6 matches. 2 consecutive clean sheets.
- Recent friendly form - only 2 wins in 6 matches.
- World cup qualifiers overall - 9 consecutive wins; 5 clean sheets in 6 matches; it was an easy ride though - Latvia; Faroes; Hungary; Andorra; Switzerland.
- 3-3 v Spain in their opener. Ronaldo hatrick. Already advised a lay of Ronaldo Top scorer at 3.25.
- Ranking - 41st.
- Last World Cup - 1998.
- Overall form - unbeaten in 18 matches; 5 wins in their last 6 matches; 2+ goals scored in 11 of their last 14 matches.
- Recent friendly form - 10 wins in their last 12 matches; lost to the Netherlands.
- World cup qualifiers overall - 6 consecutive clean sheets - 3 wins in last 4 matches.
- 0-1 loss v Iran care of a 90th minute own goal. Morocco crossed paths with a black cat whilst walking under a ladder.
- The rankings difference is emphatic.
- The need for a win for Portugal is ratcheted up given they only drew their first game.
- From a purely selfish perspective, I want Ronaldo kept quiet so my lay of him in the top scorer market will have legs, now a number of star strikers are on 2 goals.
- Last World Cup, Portugal saw over 2.5 goals in all group matches, and now Morocco have scored 2+ goals in 11 of their last 14 matches albeit not exclusively v top 10 ranked sides.
- 0-1 v Iran for Morocco was unfortunate. Can they show this defensive strength v Portugal? 6 consecutive clean sheets Morocco.
- This match could be well served to back a penalty to be taken in play given VAR and Ronaldo et al will get into the box.
16:00 - Uruguay v Saudi Arabia - 1.19 Uruguay
- Ranking - 14th.
- Last World Cup - Loss Costa Rica; win v England; Win v Italy; loss v Colombia.
- Overall form - only 1 loss in 9 came v Austria who also beat Germany in friendlies. 3 consecutive wins to nil and with Godin at the back, could continue that defensive strength.
- Recent friendly form - as above, 3 consecutive wins v Czech, Wales and Uzbekistan. Surprising to see no North African sides in friendlies.
- World cup qualifiers overall - losses to Brazil and Peru (who we know have been in superb recent friendly form), 0-0 v Argentina, 1-2 win v Paraguay, 0-0 v Venezuela and 4-2 win v Bolivia.
- 0-1 win v Egypt in their opener.
- Ranking - 67th.
- Overall form - 3 consecutive defeats v Italy, Peru and Germany. 2-1, 0-3 and 2-1. Tight v big names Italy and Germany. Peru rock solid friendly form so no surprise there.
- Overall form away - only 1 win in 10. 8 losses, a draw and a win last 10. 4-4-2-2 conceded last 4 away albeit v Iraq, Belgium, Italy and Germany.
- Recent friendly form - 3 consecutive defeats (see overall form).
- Recent friendly form away - 10 losses and a 2-7 win v Cambodia last 11 away. 3-4-2-3-1-4-4-2-2 conceded recently.
- World cup qualifiers overall - really weak group v Australia, Thailand, Iraq, UAE. Losses v Japan, Australia and UAE. 2 losses last 3 matches v Australia 3-2 and UAE 2-1.
- World cup qualifiers away - 3 losses in 4 away v Japan, Australia, UAE. The win....v Thailand.
- 5-0 spanking by Russia in their opener.
- The Russians have scored 8 goals v Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Uruguay have scored 1....so far.
- This match was the reason I backed Luis Suarez and Cavani in the top scorer market. I expected goals v Egypt -they did not come. But v Saudi Arabia? If a team as poor as Australia are scoring 3 goals v the Saudis, the Uruguayans should be filling their boots. The odds are the same as Belgium's were in their opener, and expectation is for a similar result 3-0 at the least.
- Come on Suarez and Cavani, get a brace and put pressure on Ronaldo in the top scorer market.
- Do remember the 0-0 at halftime trade!! A winner this group stage taking on 0-0 2nd half.
19:00 - Iran v Spain - 1.21 Spain
- Ranking - 37th.
- Last World Cup - 2014; 0-0 v Nigeria; 1-0 loss to Argentina; 3-1 v Bosnia.
- Overall form - only 2 losses in 16 matches. Played some African sides - 2-0 win v Togo; 1-0 loss to Tunisia (21st); 2-1 win v Algeria (66th).
- Recent friendly form - recent losses v Tunisia and Turkey (38th).
- World cup qualifiers overall - unbeaten in 21 matches; 13 consecutive clean sheets.
- 0-1 win over Morocco was extremely fortuitous - a 90th minute own goal.
- Ranking -10th.
- Last World Cup - 2014; 1-5 loss Netherlands; 0-2 loss Chile; 0-3 win v Australia.
- Overall form - unbeaten in 20 matches; 3 draws in 5 matches.
- Recent friendly form - recent losses v Tunisia and Turkey (38th).
- World cup qualifiers overall - have not lost a World Cup qualifier back to 1997; 8 consecutive wins; 4 consecutive clean sheets - Israel; Macedonia; Italy; Liechtenstein; Albania the wins.
- 3-3 v Portugal means a win is now necessary particularly with the Portugeuse playing earlier in the day. IF they win, expect a doubling of the incentive for Spain to win.
- Iran are obviously highly thought of in their football confederation, with 13 consecutive clean sheets and unbeaten in 21 World Cup qualifiers. Only 2 losses in 16 matches but the question is how many of those teams were ranked within the top 20? They play 10th today.
- Spain is chock-full of household names and their 1.21 odds suggests 3 goals which they are very capable of. Do remember if 0-0 at halftime you can still back 3-1, 3-0, any other away score at decent odds.
Alison Riske v Angelique Kerber - 1.87 Kerber
- Kerber may be backable here at 1 set a piece.
Lara Arrabuena v Sam Stosur - 1.77
- I did mention that fighting spirit from Sam Stosur yesterday. Expect more of the same today, particularly if favourite.
Caroline Garcia v Johanna Larson - 1.23 Garcia
- 8th v 81st. Odds look justified.
- Larsson came through qualifiers to get here. 2 3 setters in her last 2 matches suggests she is gettable if winning the first set.
- Not sure she can mount a challenge v a world top 10 player but if she likes her 3 setters, Garcia's odds will be low to lay if Garcia wins the first set.
Robin Haase v Roberto Bautista Agut - 1.43 Agut
- 42nd v 20th.
- 1-1 head to heads. 2018 head to head saw 3 tie breakers on hard in Auckland.
- Limited grass court form but both players 2 3 setters in 3 matches.
- The value call, based on that 2018 head to head, is to 1) either lay Agut now at 1.44 or b) wait for Agut to win the first set and lay him then at shorter odds.
- Laying the first set winner looks the way if we can get a replication of those tie breakers between these 2 this year.
Kei Nishikori v Karen Khachanov - 1.7 Nishikori
- 22nd v 45th.
- 1-1 head to heads. This time last year Kei retired in Halle.
- A good result for Karen yesterday v a local lad Mischa Zverev.
- Both players had 1 tie breaker set in 2-0 victories.
- Last year's grass court form for Kei was curtailed by that retirement. At Wimbledon he only won 2 matches.
- Last year, Karen reached the semis here at Halle, stopped by Federer. The question is whether he would have reached the semis had Kei been fit?
- An interesting match and tight market. Not enough recent form on grass to work with. Likely we may see a tie breaker set. This means Kei's odds may rise if you fancy him - back him at higher odds in-play.
Denis Kudla v Stefanos Tsitsipas - 1.65 Tsitsipas
- I gave Stefanos a strong mention yesterday and he obliged. I did have him as one to follow in the French Open but he bombed out. Likely to be found out by better ranked players.
- No doubting he is on the rise though.
- 174th v 91st.
- No head to heads.
- Kudla is a qualifier.
- An impressive first round win over 18th ranked Lucas Pouille for Stefanos has me with him today not to lose 2-0.
Dominic Thiem v Yuichi Sugita - 1.3 Thiem
- A successful trade in the Sugita match as local boy Marterer went a set down, but won the next set. That was all that was needed to cash out for profit.
- 5th v 40th, and a simple win for Thiem last year at Barcelona on clay, dropping only 3 matches.
- Thiem was made to struggle in a first set tie breaker with Youznhy but won 2-0. Sugita did well to beat local boy 2-1.
- Likely a Thiem 2 set win but note that tie breaker first set with Youzhny. May see Thiem's odds higher to back in play.
Naomi Osaka v Dalila Jakupovic - 1.27 Naomi
- The 2nd consecutive day she has been a strong favourite.
- 68th v 186th.
- Easily beat local girl Katie Boulter as she was entitled to, Osaka meets Dalila who has gone through qualifying and beat the strong player Elise Mertens yesterday in 3 sets.
- That form in isolation means Dalila will be giving Osaka a game. Mertens has been in excellent form.
- Dalila even lost the first set.
- Osaka the likelier winner but the value call would be laying Osaka if Osaka wins the first set.
Alize Cornet v Elina Svitolina - 1.23 Elina
- 38th v 6th.
- Svitolina has taken the last 3 head to head meetings, latterly with a 2nd set tie breaker.
- Alize lost to Elina in the Madrid masters 6-2 6-2 on clay.
- We should expect Elina to win today.
ATP London (Queens)
Frances Tiafoe v Leonardo Mayer - 1.96 Mayer
- Like 2.4 odds in the football, the market cannot split these 2 which suggests laying the first set winner.
Stan Wawrinka v Sam Querrey - 1.64 Querrey
- Still world number 9 though v 13th Querrey.
- 5-1 head to heads Stan.Last year in Geneva, 3 set Stan win.
- Both sides had very easy openers. I thought Norrie would give Stan a game but no.
- After a quarter final Wimbledon 2015 Stan has been poor on grass.
- Querrey for me likes grass. Quarters Wimbledon 2016, Quarters Queens 2017, semi finals Wimbledon 2017, I would be with Querrey today.
- It should be a good spectacle but I side with Sam over Stan.
Daniil Medvedev v Jeremy Chardy - 1.87 Medvedev
- Another of those matches in which the market suggests 3 sets.
Marin Cilic v Gilles Muller - 1.27 Cilic
- If you were with me last year, you'll recall Muller had a great grass court season.
- 3-0 Cilic head to heads He did beat Muller semis in Queens and 5 setter at Wimbledon 2017.
- 6th v 25th.
- Tough battle for Muller first round, 2 tie breaker set wins.
- Cilic is solid on grass. Despite Muller being solid on grass, Cilic is solider (if that is a word).
- Finalist at Queens and Wimbledon last year.
- Final, Final, Semi (Queens), Quarters (Wimbledon) for Muller last year on grass.
- I could see a great match in prospect with Cilic just edging it. 1.27 odds is too short in my opinion and may reflect Muller's really poor recent form on hard and clay surfaces.
- I will lay Cilic at 1.28 as the value call and hope Muller remembers to play on grass as he did last year.