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Friday, 30 December 2011

English Football Weekend Picks (December 30th-31st)

With the way the games have been staggered over this new year period, I am going to keep this post for all the December games and I will recap how the month ended next week on Wednesday.

As always, I will update Twitter whenever I have new picks posted.

Have a Happy New Year to all.

Liverpool v Newcastle United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12822-Liverpool-v-Newcastle-United.htm)

Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12823-Manchester-United-v-Blackburn-Rovers.htm)

Arsenal v QPR Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12829-Arsenal-v-QPR.htm)

Swansea v Tottenham Hotspur Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12834-Swansea-v-Tottenham-Hotspur.htm)

Bolton Wanderers v Wolves Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12837-Bolton-Wanderers-v-Wolves.htm)

Norwich City v Fulham Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12838-Norwich-City-v-Fulham.htm)

Sunderland v Manchester City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12846-Sunderland-v-Manchester-City.htm)

MY PICKS: Andy Carroll to score @ 2.38 Stan James (2 Units)
Manchester United - 2 goals English Handicap @ 2.15 Stan James (2 Units)
Arsenal - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur - 0.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Bolton Wanderers-Wolves Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.80 BetFred (2 Units)
Norwich City-Fulham Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Manchester City - 1 Asian Handicap @ 2.00 Pinnacle (4 Units)

December Update: 18-23, - 3.64 Units

Monday, 26 December 2011

English Football Midweek Picks (December 26-27)

I hope everyone out there had a brilliant Christmas... Due to the busy period, I have not been able to put up full previews of today's games, but my picks are below:

Manchester United v Wigan Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12782-Manchester-United-v-Wigan.htm)

Arsenal v Wolves Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12794-Arsenal-v-Wolves.htm)

Swansea v QPR Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12793-Swansea-v-QPR.htm)

Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12791-Norwich-City-v-Tottenham-Hotspur.htm)

MY PICKS: Manchester United Win to Nil @ 1.80 Paddy Power (3 Units)
Bolton-Newcastle United Draw @ 3.40 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Sunderland-Everton Draw @ 3.40 Stan James (1 Unit)
Stoke City @ 2.05 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Arsenal - 1.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.92 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Swansea @ 2.10 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (3 Units)

December Update: 15-19, - 1.84 Units

Saturday, 24 December 2011

NBA Basketball December Picks

I will be posting up all of my December picks from the NBA in this thread... As there are many games during a month, I will update the results at the bottom of the post, while I won't write full previews for all of my picks.

I will always try and give some explanation as to why I have picked who I have, but sometimes time constraints will make that difficult.

Follow me on Twitter (@DavAulak) where I will always supply a link to this thread whenever new picks are made.

December 25th
Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12771-Miami-Heat-at-Dallas-Mavericks.htm)

Orlando Magic @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12772-Orlando-Magic-at-Oklahoma-City.htm)

LA Clippers @ Golden State Warriors Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12775-LA-Clippers-at-Golden-State.htm)

December 26th
LA Lakers @ Sacramento Kings: I am going to put a single unit on the LA Lakers to cover the spread in this game tonight- while I think the team will be disappointed with their loss to the Bulls with seconds left, I still think the Lakers will want to prove a point to all those who have ruled them out this season.

The Lakers have a strong record in Sacramento, covering the spread in their last 5 road games against the Kings and I will go for them to extend that run today.

December 27th
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Milwaukee Bucks: I am going to back the underdog with the points in hand tonight.

Minnesota have a decent starting 5 and I expect improvements from them after last season, while they showed they can at least hang around with some of the better teams when pushing Oklahoma City all the way last night.

They beat the Bucks twice in the pre-season, and they have a 5-2-1 record ATS in the last 8 games in the series. Milwaukee also took a heart-breaking loss in Charlotte last night and may start a little too slowly to cover.

December 28th
Miami Heat @ Charlotte Bobcats Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12806-Miami-Heat-at-Charlotte-Bobcats.htm)

Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12807-Washington-Wizards-at-Atlanta-Hawks.htm)

New York Knicks @ Golden State Warriors: I am going to take the points in this one and back the Golden State Warriors to keep it close.

The Knicks have travelled across the country, are playing the Lakers tomorrow night, and face a team expected to be without their best player so they may have their focus not completely on the game.

The Warriors have traditionally been a much stronger team at home, and should be fired up after beating Chicago in their last home game.

Golden State had won 8 in a row at home against the Knicks before a loss here last season and are just 1-4 against the spread in the last 5 games.

December 29th
Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers: I always like backing Portland at home as they are a much stronger team there than on the road and I like their chances of covering the spread in this game tonight.

Denver have made a very good start to the season, but this arguably their toughest test after playing an out-of-sorts Dallas and a home game against Utah.

The Nuggets do well against Portland usually, including going 3-1 against the spread last season, but I think the Trail Blazers are playing with a lot of emotion after the retirement of Brandon Roy.

Portland are 10-4-2 against the spread in their last 16 home games, and I think they are still the better team of the two so I will look for them to improve that record here.

December 30th
Miami Heat @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12825-Miami-Heat-at-Minnesota-T-Wolves.htm)

New Jersey Nets @ Atlanta Hawks Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12826-New-Jersey-Nets-at-Atlanta-Hawks.htm)

December 31st
Indiana Pacers @ Detroit Pistons Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12845-Indiana-Pacers-at-Detroit-Pistons.htm)

MY PICKS: Miami Heat - 4 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Oklahoma City Thunder - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
LA Clippers - 5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
LA Lakers - 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Minnesota Timberwolves + 5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Miami Heat - 10.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Atlanta Hawks - 9 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Golden State Warriors + 5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Portland Trail Blazers - 5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Miami Heat - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Atlanta Hawks - 11.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Indiana Pacers - 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

December Picks: 6-4-1, + 1.65 Units

Thursday, 22 December 2011

NFL Week 16 Picks and Previews

Sometimes you just have a bad week when things don't go quite the way you want them- it seems to me that year, when I have a bad week it quickly goes down a bad path and becomes a REALLY bad week and that has put me in a big hole for the season. This is quite easily the worst season I have had picking NFL games since 2004, and it just seems like teams have it in for me.

For example, I picked Kansas City to keep things close against the New York Jets in Week 14 but they got absolutely hammered and effectively ended their chances of making the Play Offs... Yet a week later there they are not just covering the spread, but beating Green Bay OUTRIGHT- that's right, the unbeaten Packers.

This week we also saw the New York Giants, the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans lose heavily outright, while I still can't believe Oakland threw away a 13 point lead with under 5 minutes to play.

Like I say, it just seems things quickly go downhill when I have a bad week, while the good weeks have been relatively small in comparison.

Week 15 Thoughts
1) The Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers are somehow still alive: Both of these teams were expected to be Play Off contenders this season and perhaps a chance to win the whole Championship, yet long losing runs effectively seemed to knock them off that course.

However, with 2 games left this season, both have chances to make the Play Offs although they do need a lot of help from other teams.

The first thing both need to do is win their remaining two games: Philadelphia play at Dallas and then entertain Washington, while San Diego are on the road at Detroit and Oakland.

The Eagles then need the Jets to beat the Giants this week, and then the Giants to beat Dallas in Week 17 for them to win the NFC East with an 8-8 record.

San Diego need Denver to lose both games they have left, at Buffalo and against Kansas City.

Both Philadelphia and San Diego have disappointed this season yet still have a chance to get into the post-season and I will tell you now that almost all the other Play Off contenders will be very happy if both fail to make it.

2) Injuries may just knock the Green Bay Packers off course: I have said many times this season that I think this is the best team in the NFL, although the loss to Kansas City may have highlighted a couple of areas of concern.

The first is the Defense that could not stop the Chiefs doing what they want, either through the air or on the ground, although that has been covered up by an incredible Offensive output.

HOWEVER, what happens if the Offense stutters as it did on Sunday? All of a sudden, the Packers looked a little vulnerable, but I won't be panicking knowing someone will have to come into Lambeau Field to knock them out before the SuperBowl and I would still like them against any of the potential AFC rivals in the big game if they get there.

3) Pittsburgh should sit Ben Roethlisberger until Wild Card Weekend: The Steelers blew their chance of gaining the Number 1 seed in the AFC on Monday Night as turnovers killed their drives. Ben Roethlisberger played as expected, but was clearly hurting and now is the time to rest their star player.

Pittsburgh are not getting to the SuperBowl with either Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch, and they have little chance of overhauling Baltimore in the AFC North with 2 games left and the Ravens holding the head to head, so why not sit Roethlisberger and let him heal for 3 weeks before he needs to play again.

It seems that is going to be the case as Mike Tomlin has all but said Big Ben will not be playing against St Louis this weekend and I think that is the correct move if the Steelers wish to make it back to the big game.

4) The biggest winner in the AFC last week was New England: The New England Patriots now have the inside track to the Number 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage through to the SuperBowl.

They are not unbeatable at home in the Play Offs, as New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens have proved in the last couple of seasons, but it gives them another edge.

New England got their chance thanks to defeats for Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Houston last week, but I still have a big concern about that Defense as they probably couldn't stop a High School team the way they have been playing.

They could be a big lay before the Play Offs begin if they do wrap up the Number 1 seed as expected.

Power Rankings Top 10
1) Green Bay Packers (13-1)
2) New Orleans Saints (11-3)
3) New England Patriots (11-3)
4) San Francisco 49ers (11-3): May just have got back on the right road with an impressive win over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football
5) Baltimore Ravens (10-4)
6) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4): Need to rest Ben Roethlisberger to get him ready for the Play Offs
7) Houston Texans (10-4): Bad performance last week, but may just have been looking ahead to their short-week contest with Indianapolis
8) Atlanta Falcons (9-5): Chance to prove themselves as a real threat in the Play Offs if they can beat New Orleans in Louisiana on Monday Night Football
9) Detroit Lions (9-5): Had a couple of very lucky escapes in the last 2 weeks and definitely cooled down after a 5-0 start
10) Dallas Cowboys (8-6): Control the NFC East, but need to beat the Giants in Week 17 to confirm the Division is theirs.

My Top 5 and Bottom 5
1) Green Bay Packers                                   32) Indianapolis Colts
2) New Orleans Saints                                   31) St Louis Rams
3) Pittsburgh Steelers                                    30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4) Baltimore Ravens                                      29) Minnesota Vikings
5) New England Patriots                               28) Cleveland Browns

Week 16 Pick and Previews
As always, I will put up my picks from the Week 16 slate of games in a staggered way over the next couple of days.

Of course, the majority of games has been moved from Christmas Day to Christmas Eve so it will be Saturday Night NFL instead of the usual Sunday... That's not to say we won't have a Christmas Day game as the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers.

You can follow me on Twitter for updates as to when new games have been posted:

Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12747-Houston-Texans-at-Indianapolis-Colts.htm)

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12750-Miami-Dolphins-at-New-England-Patriots.htm)

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12751-Cleveland-Browns-at-Baltimore-Ravens.htm)

Arizona Cardinals @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12752-Arizona-Cardinals-at-Cincinnati-Bengals.htm)

Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12753-Minnesota-Vikings-at-Washington-Redskins.htm)

Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12758-Denver-Broncos-at-Buffalo-Bills.htm)

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12759-Philadelphia-Eagles-at-Dallas-Cowboys.htm)

San Diego Chargers @ Detroit Lions Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12760-San-Diego-Chargers-at-Detroit-Lions.htm)

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12764-Chicago-Bears-at-Green-Bay-Packers.htm)

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12765-Atlanta-Falcons-at-New-Orleans-Saints.htm)

MY PICKS: Houston Texans - 5.5 Points @ 1.92 Coral (2 Units)
Miami Dolphins + 9.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Baltimore Ravens - 13 Points @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Arizona Cardinals + 4 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Minnesota Vikings + 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Denver Broncos - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles + 2 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
San Diego Chargers + 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 12 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (3 Units)
Atlanta Falcons + 6.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (3 Units)

WEEK 15: 5-8, - 5.15 Units
WEEK 145-6, - 1.09 Units
WEEK 136-3, + 5.54 Units
WEEK 125-3, + 2.87 Units
WEEK 113-7, - 8.26 Units
WEEK 104-6, - 3.74 Units
WEEK 96-2, + 7.04 Units
WEEK 83-5, - 6.44 Units
WEEK 75-4, - 2.61 Units
WEEK 64-4-1, - 2.24 Units
WEEK 55-3, + 3.15 Units
WEEK 4: 4-7, - 6.66 Units
WEEK 3: 4-3-1, + 2.77 Units
WEEK 2: 3-5, - 5.03 Units
WEEK 1: 4-2, + 2.53 Units

SEASON UPDATE66-68-2, - 17.32 Units

Monday, 19 December 2011

English Football Midweek Picks (December 20-22)

Due to the busy Christmas period, we have a full schedule of Premier League games beginning on Tuesday 20th December through to Thursday 22nd December.

We will then see another full round of games on Boxing Day and New Year's Eve before another set of midweek games in early January, all before the FA Cup begins.

This week, I have coupled up my picks page with the 'Things We Learned' from the last set of games. As usual, I will update my picks in staggered stages as I lock them in and will post links on Twitter as soon as some new games have been placed in the blog.

Things We Learned (December 18-19)
1) The 'Sack Race' is between Steve Kean and Owen Coyle: These two managers are the leading contenders in the 'next manager to leave their post' market and it is just fate that they will be facing one another on Tuesday night.

I think one of these men will be out of a job by Christmas Day as the pressure on both increases by the day, while the loser of the Blackburn Rovers-Bolton Wanderers game on Tuesday will already find themselves a little cut off from the safety zone.

I actually like Owen Coyle, but he has to take the blame for his sides terrible run of form stretching back to the FA Cup Semi Final defeat to Stoke City, while the failure to bring in suitable strikers to replace Johann Elmander and Daniel Sturridge is a mistake he could pay for.

Steve Kean has already lost the fans and it must surely be only a matter of time before he is removed from his post unless the Venky's are truly trying to ruin the club. I am astonished they signed Kean up to a new 2 year contract recently as he has never enjoyed a period of success and Blackburn are sinking faster than a stone.

2) Alex McLeish is another manager in need of a positive result: Yes, Aston Villa beat Bolton Wanderers last weekend, but their second consecutive surrender to one of the 'big' clubs at home has infuriated the fans.

McLeish is seen as a negative manager and that is something that is being used to beat him as results have not been impressive either. They now face Arsenal at home next in the League and it is going to be tough for Villa if they fall behind as early as they did against Liverpool at the weekend.

A former Birmingham manager who had little support when coming in during the Summer, McLeish could begin to feel the pressure unless results take a sharp upturn in fortunes.

3) QPR need some real reinforcements in the January Transfer Window: I thought QPR were going to be really up for getting amongst Manchester United on Sunday, but they almost allowed themselves to be rolled over and tickled.

It was a very disappointing performance and the 0-2 loss flattered them as United could have named the score with the amount of chances they created.

This is a worry for a QPR side slipping to just 3 points clear of the relegation zone and one that has won just 2 of their last 11 League games. They face a big game with Sunderland on Wednesday and a defeat there may have a few fans reaching for the boos.

There doesn't seem to be enough goals in the side, while I think they could do with a couple of Defenders and a holding Midfield player... If they cannot address the majority of these issues in January, they could find themselves in a real relegation scrap come May.

My picks and previews from the midweek round of games will follow:

Blackburn Rovers v Bolton Wanderers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12718-Blackburn-Rovers-v-Bolton-Wanderers.htm)

Wolves v Norwich City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12720-Wolves-v-Norwich-City.htm)

Aston Villa v Arsenal Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12726-Aston-Villa-v-Arsenal.htm)

Manchester City v Stoke City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12728-Manchester-City-v-Stoke-City.htm)

Fulham v Manchester United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12730-Fulham-v-Manchester-United.htm)

QPR v Sunderland Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12732-QPR-v-Sunderland.htm)

Wigan v Liverpool Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12733-Wigan-v-Liverpool.htm)

Newcastle United v West Brom Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12734-Newcastle-United-v-West-Brom.htm)

MY PICKS: Blackburn Rovers-Bolton Wanderers Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Steven Fletcher Score Anytime @ 2.88 Unibet (1 Unit)
Aston Villa-Arsenal Draw @ 3.75 Stan James (1 Unit)
Manchester City - 1.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (4 Units)
Fulham-Manchester United Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
QPR-Sunderland Draw @ 3.40 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Liverpool Half time-Full time @ 2.40 Stan James (2 Units)
Newcastle United-West Brom Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 188Bet (2 Units)

December Update: 12-14, - 3.54 Units

Friday, 16 December 2011

Champions League/Europa League Draw Reaction

Champions League Draw
Lyon v Apoel
Napoli v Chelsea
AC Milan v Arsenal
Basel v Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
Zenit v Benfica
Marseille v Inter Milan

So the draw for the last 16 has been completed in Nyon this morning and it is the clear the two English sides have received the toughest draws available for Group winners.

I think the Chelsea draw is an interesting one as Napoli have shown what they are about in the Group along with Manchester City. However, this is one of those where I think playing away from home in the 1st Leg could be vital to their hopes of getting through to the Quarter Finals.

Chelsea have to have the mentality of going to Italy and not coming back behind in the tie- that would allow Napoli to hit Chelsea on the counter all day long in the 2nd Leg and could give them a chance to go through. I am looking forward to this tie, it should be a very interesting one.

Arsenal must also be a little disappointed that they drew the toughest team they could have in this round. AC Milan have definitely improved since they last met in 2008, but they have been beaten by English teams at this stage in each of the last 3 seasons and there may be a slight mental block as far as they are concerned.

The 1st Leg is perhaps more important to Milan in this case- it is in the San Siro that they have been beaten by Arsenal (2008), Manchester United (2010) and Tottenham Hotspur (2011) while achieving draws when visiting North London. Milan will surely look to avoid defeat in the 1st Leg and then take their chances at the Emirates Stadium and I am sure they would take a draw right now.

Arsenal's style of play should cause problems for Milan, but I think it will be 'easier' for them in the 1st Leg when the onus will be on the Italians to push forward in front of their own fans. This is another tie that should be fascinating viewing for the neutrals around Europe.

All 3 favourites for the Champions League (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich) should be delighted with the quality of their opponents in this round, although Real do have a long trip to Moscow to negotiate.

I fully expect all 3 sides will go through with a lot of room to spare and can only imagine that they have all hardened in prices to win the tournament.

Marseille v Inter Milan should be a close contest to call, although the Italians have improved a little bit after having a tough time replicating the form that won them this competition in 2010. Marseille are a side that have done well to reach this stage, but they are beatable and I expect Inter will make their way through.

Lyon and Benfica should both be happy with the draws they received, although neither Apoel nor Zenit will be an easy pass to the last 8.

Europa League Draw
Porto v Manchester City
Ajax v Manchester United
Lokomotiv Moscow v Athletic Bilbao
Salzburg v Metalist Kharkiv
Stoke City v Valencia
Rubin Kazan v Olympiacos
AZ Alkmaar v Anderlecht
Lazio v Atletico Madrid
Steaua Bucharest v Twente
Viktoria Plzen v Schalke
Wislaw Krakow v Standard Liege
Braga v Besiktas
Udinese v PAOK
Trabzonspor v PSV Eindhoven
Hannover v Club Brugge
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon

Salzburg/Metalist Kharkiv v Rubin Kazan/Olympiacos
Legia Warsaw/Sporting Lisbon v Porto/Manchester City
Steaua Bucharest/Twente v Viktoria Plzen/Schalke
Wislaw Krakow/Standard Liege v Hannover/Club Brugge
Stoke City/Valencia v Trabzonspor/PSV Eindhoven
AZ Alkmaar/Anderlecht v Udinese/PAOK
Lazio/Atletico Madrid v Braga/Besiktas
Ajax/Manchester United v Lokomotiv Moscow/Athletic Bilbao

I was fascinated by the Europa League draw this morning and could not have asked for more interesting ties for Manchester United... The trip to Ajax will be fun, and the potential for a trip to Bilbao is brilliant.

The draw is much like the Champions League in the fact the English sides both got tough draws in comparison to what they could have been given. Manchester City's game with Porto should be a lot of fun but I do expect they will be too strong for them. United should be too good for Ajax too unless they decide to play a weakened team in this competition.

The other stand out tie is the one between Lazio and Atletico Madrid and there are some big teams in the competition, and I do believe the last 16 and beyond will see some interesting matches taking place.

I am also pleased Stoke City get to play Valencia as they deserve a European night of that magnitude- it will be interesting to see how the technical Spanish side cope with the pressure football played by Stoke.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

English Football Weekend Picks (December 17th-18th)

These are the picks from the weekend football- obviously with the Christmas period being packed, I am going to have separate posts for each set of games.

I am going to add picks throughout the next couple of days so follow me on Twitter where I will let you know when more picks are up.

Blackburn Rovers v West Brom Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12663-Blackburn-Rovers-v-West-Brom.htm)

Fulham v Bolton Wanderers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12667-Fulham-v-Bolton-Wanderers.htm)

Wigan v Chelsea Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12675-Wigan-v-Chelsea.htm)

Newcastle United v Swansea Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12676-Newcastle-United-v-Swansea.htm)

Wolves v Stoke City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12679-Wolves-v-Stoke-City.htm)

QPR v Manchester United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12680-QPR-v-Manchester-United.htm)

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12683-Tottenham-Hotspur-v-Sunderland.htm)

Manchester City v Arsenal Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12681-Manchester-City-v-Arsenal.htm)

Aston Villa v Liverpool Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12692-Aston-Villa-v-Liverpool.htm)

MY PICKS: Blackburn Rovers-West Brom Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.25 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Fulham-Bolton Wanderers Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Chelsea - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.90 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Swansea + 0.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.10 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Wolves-Stoke City Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
QPR + 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.83 188Bet (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.92 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Manchester City - 0.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.92 Victor Chandler (3 Units)
Aston Villa-Liverpool Both NOT to Score @ 1.92 Stan James (2 Units)

December Update: 9-8, + 4.04 Units

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

NFL Week 15 Picks and Previews

It was a tough week really as teams struggle to cope with the expectation and pressure of trying to reach the post-season.

We also saw some potential big injuries this week as Ben Roethlisberger looked like he had broken his ankle (and any chances Pittsburgh had of returning to the SuperBowl) while the Green Bay Packers will be missing Greg Jennings at least until the end of the regular season.

The best moment, for me at least, was seeing Tom Brady and Bill O'Brien going at it on the sidelines during New England's win over Washington just after Brady threw a pick in the EndZone that would have iced the game http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33V0hSri6BM

Anyone else think O'Brien may have caught the - 7.5 point spread(?)

Week 14 Thoughts
1) New England will not win the AFC with that Defense: I am going to stick my balls on the line and say the Patriots will NOT win the AFC this season. New England are the short-priced favourites to do so, but that Defense stinks so much that I cannot see them beating Pittsburgh or Baltimore in their current shape.

I would have picked Houston to beat them too if Matt Schaub was still under Center, but I cannot believe the layers have the Patriots at the price they do. The only thing going for the Pats is if they can secure home-field advantage, but they have been beaten by the Jets and the Ravens in Foxboro in the last couple of seasons so even that won't be enough for them this year.

The Defense is horrible and cannot stop anybody, while they don't exactly create enough turnovers to cover these deficiencies up like the Green Bay Packers do. The Ravens and Steelers are both capable of controlling the clock against the Pats and both have Defenses that can slow down this Offense so I believe either of those teams would beat New England in January.

2) San Francisco's loss to Arizona could be huge for their future: San Francisco had the inside track to gaining the Number 2 seed in the NFC, achieving a bye and also hosting an opponent, most likely New Orleans, in the Divisional Round of the Play Offs.

However, it is all change for them now as they season comes to its conclusion as they now have a level record with New Orleans and 3 games to play but consider this: The 49ers host Pittsburgh and visit Seattle and St Louis, while the Saints visit Minnesota and then host Atlanta and Carolina.

I can see the 49ers losing at least 1 more of their remaining games, most likely in the next 2 weeks, while the Saints could run the table and steal the Number 2 seed.

San Francisco have been looking a little more vulnerable in recent weeks and I would not like their chances in the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome, a venue where the Saints are unbeaten. We all know the Saints are very impressive at home, but they have had a hard time on the road outdoors so the next 3 weeks is huge for both teams.

3) San Diego have left it too late this year: After starting 4-1, I really thought the Chargers were a lock to win the AFC West and return to the Play Offs after missing out last year... Then we saw a 6 game losing run that effectively ended their chances.

The last 2 weeks has seen the Chargers do what they do best- beat up teams in December with a late burst to make the Play Offs. It looked like they were going to be just 1 game behind the leaders in the West, but 'Tebow Time' came to play as Denver somehow beat Chicago when down by 10 and 3 minutes remaining and that means the Chargers are effectively out of the Play Offs again.

Norv Turner is unlikely to return as the team made too many mistakes in their 6 game losing run and we could see a few personnel changes in the off-season, particularly in Defense.

4) NFC Play Off picture has become a little blurry: A couple of weeks ago, it looked like teams like Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta had the Wild Card race locked up between each other, but injuries and bad defeats mean the Play Off picture has become a little blurry.

For a long time, I thought the NFC East winner would be the only representative in the Play Offs, but recent results mean it is possible that BOTH Dallas and the New York Giants could make it in.

New York and Dallas both have a 7-6 record, meaning they are both just 1 game behind the teams in the Wild Card spot, but Detroit have to travel to both Oakland and Green Bay in the last 3 weeks and have not looked like a solid team to win games. If they lose both, and the Giants and Dallas can win 2 of their last 3 games, both could go in at the expense of the Lions.

Every game is important now for these teams as things may look a little clearer after this weekends slate of games.

5) Bonehead play of the week: Marion Barber running out of bounds with under 2 minutes left in the Chicago game at Denver... That gave the Broncos an additional 40 secs to move the ball up the field and score the tying FG that eventually led to an Overtime win.

While Barber has been rightly criticised, what were the Bears thinking in calling an outside run at that time? Surely the call should have been an inside handoff and just ram it up the gut- that way there is no chance the Broncos can see Barber run out of bounds and there is always that chance of breaking a tackle and getting the game winning 1st Down.

That was a terrible decision for San Diego and Oakland in the AFC West, while it gives Chicago a mountain to climb in trying to get into the Play Offs in the NFC... Dumb, dumb, dumb play.

Power Rankings Top 10
1) Green Bay Packers (13-0)
2) New Orleans (10-3): Only team that can hang with the Packers in my opinion.
3) Baltimore Ravens (10-3): Will have to beat the Steelers again if they want to reach the SuperBowl
4) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3)
5) New England Patriots (10-3): Not going to go too far with that Defense
6) San Francisco 49ers (10-3): Could be going through a bit of a wobble at the wrong time.
7) Houston Texans (10-3): If they were at full health, they could be the team to beat in the AFC
8) Denver Broncos (8-5): Tebow has inspired this team
9) New York Jets (8-5): Don't look now, but Rex's team is in command of one of the Wild Card berths
10) Atlanta Falcons (8-5)

My Top 5 and Bottom 5
1) Green Bay Packers                          32) Indianapolis Colts
2) New Orleans Saints                          31) St Louis Rams
3) Pittsburgh Steelers                           30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4) Baltimore Ravens                             29) Minnesota Vikings
5) Houston Texans                               28) Cleveland Browns

Week 15 Pick and Previews
As always, I will post my picks in the upcoming days and will update Twitter whenever I have some more picks.

Also, remember we have a staggered schedule this week with a game on Thursday, Saturday and Monday nights and the rest playing on Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Atlanta Falcons Pick and Preview ( http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12661-Jacksonville-Jaguars-at-Atlanta-Falcons.htm)

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12697-Washington-Redskins-at-New-York-Giants.htm)

Green Bay Packers @ Kansas City Chiefs Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12702-Green-Bay-Packers-at-Kansas-City-Chiefs.htm)

New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12703-New-Orleans-Saints-at-Minnesota-Vikings.htm)

Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12705-Seattle-Seahawks-at-Chicago-Bears.htm)

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12706-Tennessee-Titans-at-Indianapolis-Colts.htm)

Detroit Lions @ Oakland Raiders Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12708-Detroit-Lions-at-Oakland-Raiders.htm)

Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12715-Pittsburgh-Steelers-at-San-Francisco-49ers.htm)

MY PICKS: Atlanta Falcons - 11 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
New York Giants - 6.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 13.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
New Orleans Saints - 7 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Seattle Seahawks + 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tennessee Titans - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Oakland Raiders @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Carolina Panthers + 6 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (1 Unit)
Denver Broncos + 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (1 Unit)
New York Jets + 3 Points @ 1.83 BetFred (1 Unit)
San Diego Chargers + 2.5 Points @ 2.00 BetFred (1 Unit)
Arizona Cardinals - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Pittsburgh Steelers + 3 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

WEEK 14: 5-6, - 1.09 Units
WEEK 136-3, + 5.54 Units
WEEK 125-3, + 2.87 Units
WEEK 113-7, - 8.26 Units
WEEK 104-6, - 3.74 Units
WEEK 96-2, + 7.04 Units
WEEK 83-5, - 6.44 Units
WEEK 75-4, - 2.61 Units
WEEK 64-4-1, - 2.24 Units
WEEK 55-3, + 3.15 Units
WEEK 4: 4-7, - 6.66 Units
WEEK 3: 4-3-1, + 2.77 Units
WEEK 2: 3-5, - 5.03 Units
WEEK 1: 4-2, + 2.53 Units

SEASON UPDATE61-60-2, - 12.17 Units

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Things we Learned from the Weekend Football (December 10-12)

I haven't done one of these for a while due to being away and the busy nature of working at the same time as keeping this blog going.

It was another interesting weekend in the Premier League when the title race was reignited, while the teams at the bottom are all jockeying for position and trying their best to avoid the cursed 'bottom of the table at Christmas' position.

The next few weeks are full of football with this being the quietest week we will see until the middle of January. Below are a few thoughts from the weekend football that has just passed:

1) Manchester City are still the right favourites for the Premier League title: The win for Chelsea has at least put a little bit of interest back in the Premier League title race after it had looked like Manchester City were going to run away with the lead.

While they will be disappointed with the defeat at Stamford Bridge, it did take a bit of luck for the home side to grab the win when City were not awarded what looked like a clear penalty while leading the game 0-1.

It will be interesting to see how they react to this defeat, but their next set of fixtures are not the most taxing in my opinion as they face Arsenal (H), Stoke City (H), West Brom (A) and Sunderland (A)... It is entirely possible that their lead at the top of the table is extended after those games.

2) Phil Jones has all the makings of a Centre Midfielder... For now at least: I said when United signed Phil Jones that I expected him to make more appearances as a Centre Midfielder than a Centre Defender- partly that was down to the two centre halves United had and partly because of what I had seen from his time at Blackburn Rovers.

Jones has the drive and box-to-box ability that gives him different abilities than the midfielders at Old Trafford, while I have not been as convinced as the pundits about his performances at centre back.

I find Jones is very much like David Luiz in the fact he comes out with the ball and can find himself in very poor positions positionally when playing at the back.

I expect Jones will be able to learn his trade at the back under the tutelage of some of the players at United, but for now I would keep him in positions like centre midfield and right back where his drive and stamina can be a real strength for the team.

3) Liverpool need to find more goals if they are to finish in the top 4: Liverpool earned a 1-0 win over QPR at the weekend and remain 5 points off the pace set by the sides in the top 4. However, the lack of goals in the side has to be a worry considering they have scored just 18 goals in 15 League games this season.

The Reds have really struggled at home, failing to score more than 1 goal since a win over Wolves at the end of September and they are in need of bringing in another striker who can finish off the number of chances they are creating.

Luis Suarez is a real handful up front, but he could be facing a long suspension if a couple of charges brought by the FA find him guilty, while the Uruguay striker only scored his first goal in 8 games at the weekend.

Andy Carroll has really struggled to justify the ridiculous fee paid for him and I think the likes of Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt are not likely to get the number of goals required for this team to finish higher than the 6th they managed last season.

4) Robin Van Persie is the best striker in the Premier League: The Dutchman has been in fine form this entire calender year, and he has really improved by adding the simple goals to the great ones he was known for scoring.

His strike at the weekend was absolutely sublime and was deserving of winning any game, but I think Arsenal are going to find it tough to keep hold of him this Summer.

Van Persie is 28 and will surely be wanting to win the big trophies now as his career starts coming towards its conclusion. He has not extended his contract and the rumour is that he has already agreed in principle to sign for Manchester City.

5) Bolton Wanderers are in big trouble: Bolton Wanderers have found themselves in a tough position as we move into a crucial period of the season and they are 5 points behind Wolves in the final relegation spot.

A disappointing 1-2 loss at home to Aston Villa at the weekend has begun to increase the pressure on Owen Coyle who has never replaced the loss of Daniel Sturridge and Johann Elmander who left in the Summer.

I think all Trotters fans out there will know a lot more about their future position as a Premier League club as 2012 ticks around- the team face Fulham (A), Blackburn (A), Newcastle (H) and Wolves (H) in the coming two weeks and anything less than 6 points could spell a lot of trouble for the side.

6) The Championship remains a tough Division to predict: You can see why managers and fans always talk about how tough it is to move out of this Division which remains one where any team can beat any other on any given day.

It is telling that there are only 15 points between 6th placed Leeds and 22nd placed Nottingham Forest while any team that gains a couple of wins in a row or loses a couple of games in a row can move a team up and down the table.

It is no surprise that almost every season a team bursts through the pack to make it in to the Play Offs and can cause a surprise or two when they get there.

The only thing that seems certain in this League so far is that Coventry City, a Premier League team up until 2001, are going to have a long season trying to survive from their current position of 13 points from 21 games, leaving them 7 points from the safety zone.

Friday, 9 December 2011

English Football Weekend Picks (December 10th-12th)

I will update this post over the next day or so as I get my picks up from the weekend football from the Premier League and, possibly, The Championship.

Keep following on Twitter and I will update whenever I have put some more previews up:

Manchester United v Wolves Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12610-Manchester-United-v-Wolves.htm)

Arsenal v Everton Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12611-Arsenal-v-Everton.htm)

Norwich City v Newcastle United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12612-Norwich-City-v-Newcastle-United.htm)

Swansea v Fulham Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12613-Swansea-v-Fulham.htm)

Liverpool v QPR Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12615-Liverpool-v-QPR.htm)

West Brom v Wigan Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12617-West-Brom-v-Wigan.htm)

Southampton v Blackpool Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12618-Southampton-v-Blackpool.htm)

MY PICKS: Manchester United win by 1 Goal (English Handicap Draw) @ 4.33 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Robin Van Persie Score Anytime @ 1.92 Stan James (2 Units)
Norwich City-Newcastle United Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.90 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Swansea-Fulham Both NOT to Score @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
QPR + 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
West Brom-Wigan Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Southampton HT-FT @ 2.50 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Leicester City HT-FT @ 2.60 BoyleSports (1 Unit)

December Update: Will be up shortly

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Silver Lining on a Bad Bad Night...

It's been around about an hour since the end of the game in Switzerland and there is going to be plenty of people looking through United's path in the Champions League and try to figure out where it all went wrong.

The decisions of Sir Alex Ferguson to play weakened teams in the early stages of the Group looks to have been a serious mistake in hindsight, although he can't be held accountable for the team blowing a 2-0 lead at home against Basel, nor conceding a goal 30 seconds after going 2-1 up against Benfica, results that would have seen United move through to the last 16 as Group Winners.

The failure to make a big midfield signing in the Summer remains an astonishing mistake as far as I am concerned as United look lightweight in that area, even if injuries had not be taking their toll. Michael Carrick, Anderson, Park, Ryan Giggs, and Tom Cleverley were not really going to fill the void left by Paul Scholes while Darren Fletcher was recovering from an illness that had curtailed the back end of last season for the Scot.

United didn't play badly tonight, but the defending once again let them down- it has been the defensive performances of the side that have helped them move through to 3 Finals in 4 seasons in this competition, yet now they have failed to move through to the last 16.

The injury to Nemanja Vidic looks a bad one and I can see him being ruled out for the rest of the season, while the consolation of the Europa League is no real consolation at all (entering a competition with the likes of Braga, Standard Liege, Vaslui and Birmingham City is not what United are all about).

I remember back in 2005 phoning my brother out in Benfica when we last went out of this competition at this stage and saying I wish we had at least reached the UEFA Cup, but I certainly don't feel that way now.

So what is the silver linings from this game? The first is that it may help Sir Alex create a siege mentality in the squad that could propel them to the Premier League title- United are certain to be criticised and mocked from all angles following their exit, as they were in 2005, but the team could emulate that one and go on a long run and win the title... Granted we don't have Cristiano Ronaldo anymore, and Manchester City are unlikely to collapse like Chelsea did that season, but it is a potential silver lining.

The other one is that this should hit the Glazers in the pockets after their pillaging of our wonderful club. The 3 Finals in 4 seasons IN SPITE OF their presence has sustained the club with large windfalls from the competition, windfalls that just don't exist in the Europa League and will hopefully put a little more pressure on the parasites.

I am not interested in the sums of money they have 'spent' since taking over the club- take a deeper look at the accounts and see what has been TAKEN out of the club and you will quickly figure out that they have spent nothing and it is only the magic of the manager that United have achieved so much in that time.

The exit from this competition will hopefully open up a few more eyes and have a few more questions asked as to how these people can continue to run the club in the manner they have, piling on a bunch of debt and barely keeping up on payments.

The third silver lining I find is that we will hopefully hear less and less about what a 'great' squad United have... It is paper thin and in serious need of freshening up and I would love to be proved wrong and United to go on a spending spree next Summer, but I won't hold my breath. The midfield is severely lacking the necessary quality and results like tonight, as well as Manchester City's vast improvement, is exposing the myth that United didn't need anybody and that they have '100 million' stored in a bank waiting for the right opening in the market.

The final silver lining is quite a silly one- United have never won the UEFA Cup in it's previous forms so this is the perfect chance to complete the set... By beating City in the Final in Romania in May.

College Football Bowl Season Picks and Previews

The last couple of weeks in the regular season once again proved that it is all a myth when people say the season represents 'one long Play Off'.

The Alabama-LSU rematch (something I actually wanted to see if I am honest) has been set as the National Championship Game, but I can't help but feel sorry for Oklahoma State- the Cowboys arguably had the tougher schedule than the Crimson Tide, and their sole loss can be put down to circumstances beyond their control as it came the night after the Women's basketball Coach and Assistant had passed away in an air crash.

It seems Oklahoma State got very close to overtaking Alabama after destroying Oklahoma at home in the final game of the regular season while the Crimson Tide had the week off, but alas it was not quite good enough.

The BCS Bowls have rightly been criticised in other areas, particularly setting up the Michigan Wolverines v Virginia Tech Hokies game in the Sugar Bowl, overlooking teams like Boise State and the Kansas State Wildcats. Personally I am happy Michigan got in to that game, but Virginia Tech should not have after their thorough beating at the hands of Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

We do have some interesting games to look forward to over the coming weeks, but be careful as motivation of teams is hard to gauge, while players can also be ineligible to play in these games depending on how their academics are going.

A couple of games I am looking forward to are Ohio State v Florida, Florida State v Notre Dame, Houston v Penn State, Stanford v Oklahoma State and, of course, the National Championship Game.

I would also like to take this time to congratulate Robert Griffin III who looks the most likely winner of the Heisman Trophy which will be presented on Saturday. By all accounts, he has a large enough lead over Andrew Luck and I think Griffin III is a deserving winner for everything he has done this season.

The Bowl season unofficially starts this week as Navy take on Army in Washington, while the first official games take place on December 17th.

I will post picks and previews throughout the next few weeks and will update this post and my twitter account (@DavAulak) whenever I do... I will not be playing EVERY Bowl game, but will look at the majority of them to round off what has been a successful year so far.

Utah State Aggies v Ohio University Bobcats Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12695-Ohio-University-at-Utah-State-Aggies.htm)

TCU Horned Frogs v Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12739-Louisiana-Tech-at-TCU-Horned-Frogs.htm)

Boise State Broncos v Arizona State Sun Devils Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12742-Arizona-State-at-Boise-State.htm)

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles v Nevada Wolf Pack Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12755-Nevada-Wolf-Pack-at-Southern-Mississippi.htm)

Air Force Falcons v Toledo Rockets Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12804-Toledo-Rockets-at-Air-Force-Falcons.htm)

Texas Longhorns v California Golden Bears Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12805-California-at-Texas-Longhorns.htm)

Florida State Seminoles v Notre Dame Fighting Irish Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12819-Notre-Dame-at-Florida-State.htm)

Baylor Bears v Washington Huskies Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12820-Washington-Huskies-at-Baylor-Bears.htm)

Kansas State Wildcats v Arkansas Razorbacks Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12890-Arkansas-Razorbacks-at-Kansas-State.htm)

MY PICKS: Ohio University Bobcats @ 2.10 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs + 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Boise State Broncos - 13.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Toledo Rockets - 3 Points @ 1.92 Coral (1 Unit)
California Golden Bears + 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish + 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Baylor Bears - 9.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Arkansas Razorbacks - 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

WEEK 14: 2-3, - 1.16 Units
WEEK 13: 8-0, + 7.48 Units
WEEK 12: 3-5, - 2.21 Units
WEEK 114-5, - 1.21 Units
WEEK 105-3, + 1.74 Units
WEEK 94-2, + 1.82 Units
WEEK 82-4, - 2.16 Units
WEEK 75-3, + 1.8 Units
WEEK 66-1, + 4.66 Units
WEEK 53-3, - 0.21 Units
WEEK 44-2, + 1.80 Units
WEEK 3: 5-1, + 3.60 Units
WEEK 2: 3-0, + 2.82 Units
WEEK 1: 4-0, + 3.74 Units

SEASON UPDATE58-32, + 22.41 Units

NFL Week 14 Picks and Previews

I have been away for the past couple of weeks, but at least they have been successful weeks to reduce some of the damage done in the first 11 weeks of the season. It has been a tough season all around I think, with teams playing to some real lows and real highs, making it hard to get a real read on games.

Week 13 Thoughts
1) There is one team that can take it to the Green Bay Packers: For a long time now, I have felt the second best team in the NFL is the New Orleans Saints and I still think they are one team that can beat the Green Bay Packers as they are one of the few that can match them in a track meet and have a Defense that is capable of making big plays and create turnovers.

They met in Week 1 at Lambeau Field in a close game won by the home team, but I do have bigger concerns of the Saints Offense having to re-visit that Stadium in the cold of January. It is clear the Saints are a better team indoors, but they at least have the weapons to match up with the Packers and could be the one team in the NFC that can stop this potential unbeaten season.

2) The Giants could be ready to make a move in the NFC East: It sounds funny to say that considering they are 6-6 and have lost 4 games in a row, but take a deeper look. The Dallas Cowboys are only 1 game ahead of the Giants in the East and the two teams will be meeting twice in the last 4 weeks of the season, the first of those this week in Dallas.

The Giants are 2-0 in the new Cowboys Stadium, and they come in having lost a close one to a team looking to go unbeaten in the regular season and beyond... Deja Vu anyone? In 2007, the Giants pushed the then unbeaten New England Patriots all the way, coming up short. However, they used that to sneak into the Play Offs where they then won 3 straight road games and went on to defeat the Patriots in the SuperBowl.

I would still favour Green Bay if they were to face the Giants again, this time at home, but I think the Giants have shown enough to suggest they are going to push on from last weeks loss.

3) The AFC SuperBowl representative will come out of the AFC North: This is my personal opinion- I think either Baltimore or Pittsburgh will be representing the AFC, even if neither finishes in the top 2 seeds in the Conference.

Both teams are strong enough to beat the Patriots, even on the road, and they look the most balanced teams in the AFC on both sides of the ball. Baltimore have already recorded big wins over top teams this season, Pittsburgh have already beaten New England and they look like the teams to beat right now.

Power Rankings Top 10
1) Green Bay Packers (12-0): Not much more to say with an unbeaten season in the offing
2) San Francisco 49ers (10-2): Still a little bit of work to do to secure a top 2 spot, and a bye, in the NFC
3) New Orleans Saints (9-3): Team that can run with the Packers
4) Baltimore Ravens (9-3): Probably the pick of the AFC
5) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): SuperBowl contenders
6) New England Patriots (9-3): Defense playing better of late? Or is it the weak schedule that is making them look better than they are.
7) Houston Texans (9-3): Cannot afford a long term injury to Andre Johnson
8) Denver Broncos (7-5): I like Tim Tebow... Not convinced that he can lead them deep into the Play Offs but this has been a successful season regardless.
9) New York Jets (7-5): Really need to win out the rest of the season to make the Play Offs, but that won't be easy
10) Tennessee Titans (7-5): Chris Johnson is back on form it seems, and they are only 2 games behind the Texans in the AFC South... Big couple of weeks for their Play Off hopes.

My Top 5 and Bottom 5
1) Green Bay Packers                                32) Indianapolis Colts
2) New Orleans Saints                                31) St Louis Rams
3) Baltimore Ravens                                   30) Cleveland Browns
4) Pittsburgh Steelers                                 29) Jacksonville Jaguars
5) San Francisco 49ers                               28) Minnesota Vikings

Week 14 Picks and Previews
I will be updating this during the next couple of days as I get my picks together for this weeks action. As always, you can follow me on Twitter where I will write anytime I have some updates.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick and Preview ( http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12601-Cleveland-Browns-at-Pittsburgh-Steelers.htm)

New England Patriots @ Washington Redskins Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12636-New-England-Patriots-at-Washington-Redskins.htm)

New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12637-New-Orleans-Saints-at-Tennessee-Titans.htm)

Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12638-Kansas-City-Chiefs-at-New-York-Jets.htm)

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12639-Atlanta-Falcons-at-Carolina-Panthers.htm)

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12640-San-Francisco-49ers-at-Arizona-Cardinals.htm)

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12641-New-York-Giants-at-Dallas-Cowboys.htm)

MY PICKS: Pittsburgh Steelers - 14 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
New England Patriots - 7.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
New Orleans Saints - 3.5 Points @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Kansas City Chiefs + 10.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Carolina-Atlanta Over 47 Points @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
San Francisco 49ers - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (2 Units)
New York Giants + 4.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (3 Units)

Chicago Bears + 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Victor Chandler (1 Unit)
Baltimore Ravens - 16 Points @ 1.92 William Hill (1 Unit)
Oakland Raiders + 11.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
San Diego Chargers - 7 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

WEEK 13: 6-3, + 5.54 Units
WEEK 12: 5-3, + 2.87 Units
WEEK 11: 3-7, - 8.26 Units
WEEK 104-6, - 3.74 Units
WEEK 96-2, + 7.04 Units
WEEK 83-5, - 6.44 Units
WEEK 75-4, - 2.61 Units
WEEK 64-4-1, - 2.24 Units
WEEK 55-3, + 3.15 Units
WEEK 4: 4-7, - 6.66 Units
WEEK 3: 4-3-1, + 2.77 Units
WEEK 2: 3-5, - 5.03 Units
WEEK 1: 4-2, + 2.53 Units

SEASON UPDATE: 56-54-2, - 11.08 Units

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Midweek Football Picks and Preview (European and English Football)

It's the final games of the Group Stage in the Champions League as we get set for the 2 month winter break between this round and the last 16. There are still a number of teams fighting for their positions in the elite 16 so we can expect some tense matches in the coming days.

I will update this post during the next 24 hours before getting ready to look at the weekend football.

Olympiacos v Arsenal Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12584-Olympiacos-v-Arsenal.htm)

Chelsea v Valencia Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12585-Chelsea-v-Valencia.htm)

Borussia Dortmund v Marseille Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12588-Borussia-Dortmund-v-Marseille.htm)

Basel v Manchester United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12590-Basel-v-Manchester-United.htm)

Ajax v Real Madrid Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12596-Ajax-v-Real-Madrid.htm)

MY PICKS: Olympiacos @ 1.95 BetFred (2 Units)
Chelsea-Valencia Both To Score @ 1.80 BetFred (2 Units)
Borussia Dortmund-Marseille Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Basel-Manchester United Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.20 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Ajax-Real Madrid Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.05 Victor Chandler (2 Units)

December Update: 2-2, - 0.3 Units

Saturday, 3 December 2011

NFL Week 13 Picks and Previews

As with all my posts this week, I will have full updates from the NFL, NCAA and Football picks over the next week or so... It has just taken me a few days to get back into the right time zone so I have been a little tired.

These are my picks for Week 13 and the possibility of a pick for MNF coming tomorrow:

Denver Broncos @ Minnesota Vikings Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12568-Denver-Broncos-at-Minnesota-Vikings.htm)

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12569-Indianapolis-Colts-at-New-England-Patriots.htm)

Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12570-Dallas-Cowboys-at-Arizona-Cardinals.htm)

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12575-Detroit-Lions-at-New-Orleans-Saints.htm)

MY PICKS: Denver Broncos @ 2.10 Coral (2 Units)
New England Patriots - 20 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Dallas Cowboys - 4 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
New Orleans Saints - 8.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
New York Jets - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (2 Units)
Houston Texans + 2.5 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (1 Unit)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Baltimore Ravens - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 6 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)

College Football Week 14 Picks and Previews

I have been so tired since coming back from Vegas that I have not had the time to write full previews of all the games this week and have had little time to get back on the blog.

I will update the regular season total before Bowl season begins.

I have the following picks from the final week of the regular season in the NCAA:

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles @ Houston Cougars Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12563-Southern-Mississippi-at-Houston-Cougars.htm)

Iowa State Cyclones @ Kansas State Wildcats Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12564-Iowa-State-Cyclones-at-Kansas-State.htm)

LSU Tigers v Georgia Bulldogs Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12566-LSU-Tigers-at-Georgia-Bulldogs.htm)

MY PICKS: Houston Cougars - 13 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Kansas State Wildcats - 10.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
LSU Tigers - 13 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Virginia Tech Hokies - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Baylor Bears - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 SkyBet (1 Unit)

English Football Weekend Picks (December 3rd-5th)

I will have a full update from last month and get back to the blog over the next week as I recover from my trip.

These are my picks from this weeks set of games:

Aston Villa v Manchester United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12558-Aston-Villa-v-Manchester-United.htm)

Newcastle United v Chelsea Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12560-Newcastle-United-v-Chelsea.htm)

Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton Wanderers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12561-Tottenham-Hotspur-v-Bolton-Wanderers.htm)

Fulham v Liverpool Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12582-Fulham-v-Liverpool.htm)

MY PICKS: Aston Villa-Manchester United Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Newcastle United-Chelsea Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Fulham-Liverpool Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)