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Weekend Football Picks and Fantasy Football 2020 (February 8-17)

The English Winter Break is in play for the first time this season and I think it has not gone as well as the Premier League and the top clu...

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Weekend Football Picks (March 30-31)

Finally, the Premier League is back... I really don't like the international breaks in a season, particularly with the amount of 'uninteresting' mismatches that seem to be in play and I just get bored during that two week period between League games.

However, for Manchester United fans, seeing our boys in action comes back with a bang as United have to play two away games in three days to keep their Premier League title bid on track and also the FA Cup replay at Chelsea to move through to a potential Manchester derby in the Semi Final at Wembley Stadium in two weeks time.

Sunderland v Manchester United Pick: Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he will utilise his full squad this weekend as he wants to make sure a fresh XI take to the field on Monday lunchtime to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

However, the boss will not have forgotten the way that Sunderland fans celebrated the fact that United had lost the title on the last day of the season and so I still expect a strong United team to take to the field on Saturday.

While two games in three days is not ideal for any team, Sunderland themselves have been slipping back towards the relegation zone and have lost Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole for the season- the loss of Fletcher will be particularly worrying for a team that has struggled to score goals all season.

I think United will be able to pick up the three points here and I do think they do with a clean sheet to boot. With the team perhaps looking ahead to the big game with Chelsea on Monday, I would be surprised if United recorded a big win and so backing them with a couple of correct scores looks the best way to get involved in the game.

Arsenal v Reading Pick: Arsenal do have a few injury problems with the likes of Jack Wilshire and Theo Walcott missing for this game, but they are chasing down fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur and I do think they continue that against Reading.

However, it will be interesting to see how the away side react to their new manager in charge as Nigel Adkins' first match is here at the Emirates Stadium, although he may also be looking ahead to much more winnable games coming up.

The problem all season for Reading is their lack of goals away from home- they were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford in their last game and while they worked very hard to make life difficult for Manchester United, they didn't show a lot of attacking intent in that game. Even when they got into the final third, Reading rarely produced a lot of quality.

Set pieces are probably their best chance of scoring in this one, and that is an area where Arsenal have been vulnerable at times, but I still think the home side will be too strong and are likely to win by becoming the latest side to keep a clean sheet against Reading at home.

Manchester City v Newcastle United Pick: The title may be almost gone from Manchester City's grasp, but Roberto Mancini is demanding his side finish the season in a positive manner to set the marker for the new season that will begin in August.

The FA Cup is still available for City too and I can't overlook a home form that has seen them win 7 of their last 8 since the 2-3 loss to Manchester United in early December. There is enough attacking players in the City team to cause Newcastle United problems in this one, particularly with the latter missing some key personnel in their backline.

I also believe there is a chance that the players could be looking ahead to their Europa League Quarter Final against Benfica on Thursday as their League position is looking stronger.

With City playing much better football at home in the last couple of months, I do think they will be too strong for Newcastle United and will look for them to win this by a couple of goals at least.

Swansea v Tottenham Hotspur Pick: A couple of bad results has the Tottenham Hotspur fans wondering if they are going to miss out on a Champions League place in heartbreaking fashion for a second season in succession and it won't be much easier for them to pick up a result from the Liberty Stadium this weekend.

Swansea have come off the boil a little following their Capital One Cup exploits, but that is understandable and I do think the international break came at the right time for them. They have proved to be a tough team to beat at the Liberty Stadium because they keep the ball for long periods and that simply doesn't provide the opposition too many chances to have a go at them.

It will be tough for Tottenham with a number of players coming back from international duty and I do think they are going to have a really difficult test here. However, a point wouldn't be seen as a bad result I don't think and I think the draw is a definite player in this one.

Everton v Stoke City Pick: Stoke City fans should be careful of what they wish for with a significant portion of them now calling for Tony Pulis to be removed as manager of the club- I would simply point to what happened at Charlton Athletic when Alan Curbishley was sacked after keeping the side ticking along as a solid Premier League club.

Stoke have been in a poor run of form so it isn't a surprise that some fans are unhappy, but it wasn't that long ago that they were being praised throughout the country for some solid defensive performances and I think it would be foolish for Pulis to be removed. However, I don't believe they will be good enough to stop the rot at Goodison Park this week with Everton certain to be a little more confident following a 2-0 win over Manchester City before the international break.

My only issue with Everton is that they are almost always going to struggle to put teams away when they have the momentum and there is always a danger that they are going to concede. The 2-1 has been the popular scoreline in Everton wins this season, but I am instead going to back the home side to win by exactly one goal.

That margin has proved to be a profitable route to take in Everton games simply because they do struggle to score a lot of goals. A 2-1 wouldn't surprise me, but I am taking caution in case of a 1-0 win and that will be my pick.

MY PICKS: Manchester United to win 0-1 or 0-2 @ 3.84 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Arsenal Win to Nil @ 2.25 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Manchester City - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Swansea-Tottenham Hotspur Draw @ 3.50 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Everton to win by one goal @ 3.50 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Friday, 29 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 29th)

While I no longer have any interest in the outright market when it comes to the Men's event, I am quite happy to see that my 'boring' picks from the Women's game have paid dividends with both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova competing in the Final to take place on Saturday.

There are also a couple of decent looking Semi Finals to be played in the Men's tournament today and I do think both will produce some entertaining tennis, although it is clear that Andy Murray is the big favourite to take home the title on Sunday.

David Ferrer - 2.5 games v Tommy Haas: I have been impressed with Tommy Haas' run here in Miami as he has been playing some very good tennis, but I do believe that run will be ended by David Ferrer in the first of the Semi Finals to be played.

David Ferrer is capable of staying out on court all day and while Haas definitely has the edge when it comes to the backhand stroke, I think the Spaniard can drag him into deep water before putting him away. I also expect Haas will be the one winning 'cheaper' points on his serve, although I don't think Ferrer will be making too many mistakes and that is where I think he can get ahead.

With the movement favouring Ferrer, I think Haas may feel he has to go for more lines on a mental level and that can lead to more unforced errors. The net play will certainly help the German shorten points and put away any chips that Ferrer uses, but it is tough to continue playing that aggressive tennis against a player that can turn defence into attack as effectively as Ferrer can.

It may go three sets, but I expect to see Ferrer in the Final on Sunday possibly after recording a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win.

Richard Gasquet + 4.5 games v Andy Murray: It would have taken one more hold of serve from Marin Cilic yesterday to have seen the cover come in, but Andy Murray was returning very effectively and that is a concern for this match.

However, I think Richard Gasquet has been playing some very good tennis this past ten days and I do think he can at least keep this match close. It wouldn't be the first time as Gasquet has found a way to stay with Andy Murray in past matches and has only been seen off when he mentally and physically fatigues as matches progress.

There is no doubt that Gasquet has the talent to take it to the top players, although he has struggled to match the intensity over a best of five set match at Grand Slam level. That is not always the case in the best in three matches where Gasquet can play enough quality tennis to see himself over the line.

I thought Marin Cilic may have been capable of taking a set off of Andy Murray yesterday and I have the same thought about Richard Gasquet in this one. He is certainly capable with the way the Frenchman has played this week, although I do think Murray has his game face on too with the knowledge that he will move up to World Number 2 if he can go on and win this tournament.

My feeling is that this is going to go the distance and I think taking the games with Gasquet looks to be the best call.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet + 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Stan James (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 16-10, + 11.14 Units (52 Units Staked, + 21.42% Yield)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 28th)

We are down to the last few days of what has been an intriguing tournament in Miami so far. It has been strange not seeing the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the tournament, while the early exit of Novak Djokovic has increased the chances of a Masters event being won by someone outside of the top four players in the World.

The list is not extensive over the last ten years of players that have won one of these events, particularly when you focus on active players that have won a Masters. It says a lot that someone with the capabilities of Juan Martin Del Potro is yet to win one of these 1000 tournaments, while David Ferrer won his first title at this level in Paris at the end of last season.

Taking that into consideration, it is no surprise that Andy Murray is the big favourite to go on and win in Miami for a second time, having reached the Final last season. A win would move Murray into the World Number 2 position at a vital time with the French Open fast approaching and that could be critical for him and his chance of winning that tournament.

It would be even more significant when it comes to Wimbledon if he can maintain that spot with the added chance that Djokovic, Federer and Nadal would ALL be on the other side of the draw... That could be hugely significant at Wimbledon, much more so than at the French Open where Murray has been beaten by David Ferrer in the past.

Today, we have the remaining two Quarter Finals in the Men's event and also both Semi Finals in the Women's tournament.

Marin Cilic + 4.5 games v Andy Murray: I am quite the fan of Marin Cilic who I believe still has a lot of upside in his game and is not too far away from cracking the top ten in the World Rankings again. I do think he is more capable of competing at the latter stage of major tournaments than he has perhaps shown so far in his career and I do think he can pose problems for Andy Murray despite being 1-8 in the head to head against him.

Cilic's one famous victory came in the US Open in 2009, but he has lost 4 matches against Murray since then, although I would argue he was completely out of gas in the last two matches having come in off long victories.

This time he should be fresher and I do think Cilic has the talent to push Murray and he has actually managed to force the British player to produce a high level of tennis to see him off. The serve can be a little erratic, but Cilic has a very under-rated return game and I do think we will see some breaks of serve in this one.

I believe Cilic will at least force a decider in this match and so taking the 4.5 games looks the way forward, especially at odds against.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Richard Gasquet: I went against Richard Gasquet in the Fourth Round, but he proved to be mentally far tougher than Nicolas Almagro and won the deciding tie-break to move through to this Quarter Final. This will be a much tougher test for Gasquet as he faces Tomas Berdych who is off a hugely one sided win over Sam Querrey.

The players are locked at 4-4 in the head to head and met last week in Indian Wells when Berdych recorded a 6-1, 7-5 win and I do think he is in a better place than Gasquet at the moment.

The Frenchman still has a tendency to get too far behind the baseline and while he is improving on that front, I do think that will cause him problems against someone like Berdych that can push a player back with the weight of his groundstrokes.

With Berdych hitting heavy groundies, I think Gasquet may resort to type and allow the big man to dictate play and that is why I like Berdych to win this one with at least a break of serve more in each set. I favour Berdych in most elements of the game, including movement, and like his chances here.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic + 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 16-8, + 15.14 Units (48 Units Staked, + 31.54% Yield)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 27th)

Hands up if you thought Tommy Haas would give Novak Djokovic a lot of problems, let alone actually beat the World Number 1? Unsurprisingly, I don't see too many hands but that was the situation last night as Haas played some outstanding tennis to knock off the Serb.

It was Haas that was the more comfortable throughout the match and his serving statistics were off the chart as the best returner in the Men's game could not put enough pressure on him. It just goes to show that Tommy Haas is still a very capable player on his day, although I don't know how he will follow that up as we get to the Quarter Final stage.

The upset also means my main outright pick this week, Novak Djokovic, is out of the tournament and I have only a couple of runners left. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova should be in a decent position in the Women's draw, but it is Andy Murray, not Tomas Berdych, that is the most likely to take advantage of Djokovic's exit.

Tommy Haas - 2.5 games v Gilles Simon: I usually avoid, or go against, players that have put together a huge win and then have to return to the court soon after, but Tommy Haas is an experienced player. The German is a former World Number 2 and has reached the latter stages of tournaments in his career so I am expecting him to be focused on reaching the Semi Final here.

I like his match up against Gilles Simon as Haas is very comfortable getting into the net off attacking shots and I think his aggression will put him on the front foot in this one. Simon is very consistent, but I think Haas can cut off some of the longer rallies by volleying away some of the chipped and loopy shots that Simon can begin playing when feeling he is defending.

The serve should favour Haas a little more in the contest and I think it is not a big surprise that the German has a 4-1 head to head record, including a couple of wins last season. As long as Haas doesn't suffer a letdown moment, I think he will be a little too strong and will be in the Semi Final.

Roberta Vinci v Jelena Jankovic: I know Jelena Jankovic is the bigger name in this match, but I am a little surprised that Roberta Vinci is the underdog as I think she has shown more consistency over the last twelve months.

In that time, Vinci has beaten Jankovic twice, both on the hard courts, and I think the Italian has the consistency to give Jankovic fits in this one. The problem for Jankovic is that she is still not sure whether she needs to be more aggressive or whether she should go back to the defensive game that took her to the very top of the Women's game.

Unfortunately, Jankovic has been by-passed by a number of players on the Tour, including Vinci, and I do think this is a match that will feature a fair few breaks of serve before falling the way of the underdog.

MY PICKS: Tommy Haas - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci @ 2.20 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 15-7, + 15.30 Units (44 Units Staked, + 34.77% Yield)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 26th)

For the second time in two tournaments, I had one of the outright picks fall away thanks to a retirement before a ball had been hit- Milos Raonic was apparently suffering with a fever and couldn't even attempt to play his Third Round match against Sam Querrey.

It could have been a terrible day for the outright picks, but both Tomas Berdych and Serena Williams dug very deep to get themselves into the next stage of their own tournaments. That means there are still four of the five outright picks running as we get into the home run for the event here in Miami so I can't be too disappointed about that.

On another note, the streak of winners came to an end at 10 when the picks went 1-1 yesterday... While it isn't a streak to rival the Miami Heat or the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, it is one that has put the picks into a very good profit and I hope to at least maintain that in the final few days.

Today there is a lot of tennis in the Men's event as the whole Fourth Round is played together, while the Women's event will set one of their Semi Final matches.

Nicolas Almagro v Richard Gasquet: This should be a very good match to watch as both of these men have great one-handed backhands and I think it will be a close contest.

However, I like the underdog Spaniard to perhaps come through as I feel he has the slightly more effective serve, while he is more than capable of rallying with Richard Gasquet who spends a lot of his time behind the baseline.

Gasquet will be the more likely to get into the net and pressure Nicolas Almagro, but the court isn't playing so fast that Almagro won't be able to find some passing shots.

Both players are playing at a decent level at the moment, and both may seriously be considering a run that could end up seeing them play in London at the End of Year Championships in November. I just feel Almagro is the slightly more consistent of the two players and the serve will give him a few more cheap points and that is why I like the underdog in this one.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Sam Querrey: It hasn't been a great week for Tomas Berdych in terms of the amount of tennis he has had to play to reach the Fourth Round, but the fact that he is still in the tournament shows the amount of toughness he has mentally these days. That is especially the case against opponents he should beat and I think he will be able to take of Sam Querrey in this match, even though the American was given a walkover last night and will be extremely fresh.

However, Querrey's game is a little easier to read than someone as enigmatic as Alejandro Falla, especially the way the Colombian played in the first two sets last night. Querrey does have the big serve that will win a lot of cheap points, but I think Berdych will be a little more comfortable with the style of play that the American will produce and I think he will feel in better rhythm in the match

I am not surprised that Berdych has won 4 of the 5 previous matches, including all 3 last season and they have all been fairly routine for the higher seeded player. I expect this one will be similar.

Andy Murray - 5.5 games v Andreas Seppi: These two players haven't met on the Tour for three seasons, and while Andreas Seppi is a much more solid player than those days, I still think it is asking a lot for him in this match with Andy Murray.

The serve is still not a great stroke for Seppi and I think he will be struggling on that side of things if Murray has his eye in, much like when Novak Djokovic dismissed the Italian in two easy sets in Dubai.

Seppi is definitely a more solid player these days, but I would be surprised with anything other than a fairly straight-forward win for Murray and I like his chances to record a 6-4, 6-2 win.

MY PICKS: Nicolas Almagro @ 2.20 Stan James (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 13-6, + 13.40 Units (38 Units Staked, + 35.26% Yield)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 25th)

It is time for the second week here in Miami and the last few days have been very successful with the picks going 9-0 since a 3-5 start to the tournament.

Hopefully this week will follow the trend of the last one and hopefully the outright picks can at least find some successes. All five of the outright picks made last week are still in the running, but that was the same case at Indian Wells in the last tournament, yet none of them made it through to the Final.

Nicolas Almagro - 4.5 games v David Goffin: I know Nicolas Almagro was beaten early at Indian Wells in his last tournament, but he does have the game that translates onto the hard courts, with a decent serve and powerful groundies.

I think he can beat David Goffin today, despite the youngster picking up a couple of morale boosting wins so far this week. It has been a tough period for Goffin since pushing Roger Federer in the Fourth Round at the French Open last May, and he hasn't been in the best form to start 2013.

Beating Robin Haase and Philipp Kohlschreiber will give Goffin some confidence, but Almagro is a much tougher test for him, in my opinion, and I think the Spaniard will have too many shots in his locker.

They met here last season in a match that ended with a comfortable win for Almagro and I wouldn't be too surprised if another 6-4, 6-2 win is in his hand at the end of this one.

Klara Zakopalova + 6.5 games v Maria Sharapova: This looks a big spread here considering Klara Zakopalova has routinely given some of the top players all they can handle- she has decent wheels and has shot-making ability to hold on to serve, while also being attacking enough to worry the big players when they are serving themselves.

Sharapova has a 4-1 record against Zakopalova, winning 4 in a row since losing the first match and the Russian is in fabulous form at the moment. However, I think Zakopalova does like having a go at the second serve and should be able to make this at least a little competitive.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Czech player can find a couple of breaks of serve to ensure she wins at least 6 games in what could be a straight sets loss.

MY PICKS: Nicolas Almagro - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Klara Zakopalova + 6.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 12-5, + 13.56 Units (34 Units Staked, + 39.88% Yield)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 24th)

The start of the week at this tournament was a little bit of a mixed bag, but the last two days have seen the picks go 7-0 to put a positive spin on the event so far.

It has also been a pretty good week for the outright picks as Victoria Azarenka's withdrawal and Petra Kvitova's exit has strengthened the position of both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in the Women's draw.

Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic have all moved into the Third Round of the Men's draw so there are plenty to positives to take into the next seven days.

David Ferrer - 5.5 games v Fabio Fognini: This will be the third time these players are meeting this season and David Ferrer has won the last two matches fairly comfortably, which is not be expected with the way both of these players approach their games.

Fabio Fognini has the talent to make a lot of quality winners, but he is forced to work hard for every point he earns and that can be tough when it comes to the top ten players who don't offer up too many mistakes.

That may be the reason why Fognini will likely lose this match, although I have to be slightly concerned with the fact that Ferrer hasn't played a Singles match for almost two weeks now after a Second Round exit in Indian Wells.

However, I think Ferrer will likely be a little too consistent for Fognini and could record a 6-3, 6-3 win here.

Jurgen Melzer - 2.5 games v Tobias Kamke: I have backed Jurgen Melzer twice this week and I see no reason to avoid him here in what looks another winnable match and a chance for the Austrian to extend his personal win streak to 8 matches.

Melzer has played some pretty solid tennis so far this week and I feel he could catch Tobias Kamke off the back of a big win over Juan Martin Del Potro. That was a really surprising win for Kamke, especially considering he was beaten comfortably by Victor Troicki and Frank Dancevic over the last couple of weeks and there is a definite feeling that this could be a case of after the Lord Mayor's show for him.

I like the way Melzer has been playing so far in Miami and he does seem to have the confidence to beat Kamke, a player that has plenty of shots in his arsenal, but also is very inconsistent. It is possible that three sets will be needed, but I do like Melzer to cover and move into the Fourth Round.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jurgen Melzer - 2.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 10-5, + 9.66 Units (30 Units Staked, + 32.20% Yield)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 23rd)

I have to spend much of the day away from a computer so I will be putting up my picks from the tournament in Miami through the mobile.

Suffice to say, the picks won't be coming with analysis today because my fat fingers don't work so well on the iPhone!

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Nicholas Almagro - 5.5 Ganes @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Friday, 22 March 2013

World Cup 2014 Qualifier Picks (March 22)

Domestic football has taken a two week break and that means it is getting the focus back to qualifying for the World Cup to be held in Brazil next Summer. This is usually quite a boring time as far as I am concerned as I have never been overly taken in by international football, particularly when it comes to the qualifying games that seem to produce a number of total mismatches.

That is the case in the first round of games on Friday as England travel to San Marino and it is no surprise that the media have decided to focus on other other elements rather than the game considering England are going to cruise to victory.

Instead, the focus has shifted onto Rio Ferdinand and the decision to withdraw from the squad- those with short memories have been quick to take their shots at Ferdinand, with Stan Collymore being a particularly vocal element.

Those people have tended to dismiss Ferdinand's claims that his fitness is at risk and have tried to put the blame squarely at the feet of Rio being 'bitter' about the terrible way he was treated by England during the John Terry racism incident.

England's management made the decision to back Terry in that incident, most likely because they believed he was the better 'long term' prospect for the national side, but that has proved to be a bad move on their part. Without much indication that it was likely to happen, Roy Hodgson then picked Rio Ferdinand for the squad, only to be later told that his strict fitness regiment designed to ensure he can continue playing at the top level for Manchester United meant Ferdinand could not possibly join up with the squad.

So those that believed Rio was wrong to do this have laughed off the 'fitness regiment' as a poor excuse for Ferdinand to get his own back on the national side and manager that refused to back him against Terry last season... Wrong as far as I am concerned.

Here is a simple reason why Ferdinand's excuse is more than a little legitimate... A simple timeline of events suggests those badgering Rio should get off his case:

First Rio is told he won't be picked for England for 'footballing reasons' (there is a poor excuse covering the real reason a player wasn't picked, the Terry problem, and one that Ferdinand had to accept).

A second key event was Hodgson openly telling people on a tube carriage he was sharing with them that Ferdinand's international future was finished as long as Hodgson was in charge of the national team.

Now I am making a couple of assumptions: I would guess that Rio Ferdinand, who is coming to the end of his contract at Manchester United, would have been told he needs to improve his fitness to get a new contract. Sir Alex Ferguson would want to call on him as much as possible and so a 'fitness regime' is put in place whereby the two week international breaks will be used in a way as to keep Ferdinand's strength and fitness at suitable levels.

Ferdinand accepts this to prolong his club career because he has no real thought of returning to the England fold, despite stating in public that he wouldn't retire from international football, as Hodgson's tube comments are clear.

For a while, there looks to be nothing to suggest Ferdinand will be called up to the England team despite some stellar performances for Manchester United who lead the Premier League. He isn't picked for the Brazil friendly in February so his 'fitness regime' has included playing a number of games and then able to rest and recuperate during the next international break in March. Ferdinand will get off to warmer climates and he will take in a punditry role at the same time as many players would- as he said himself, he would be watching the game anyway so this isn't anything unusual for him.

Suddenly England come calling and everyone is totally caught on the hop that Ferdinand may not be able to play because he has to follow strict instructions to ensure he can help Manchester United win, perhaps, the Double in the final two months of the season.

Personally, I just don't understand where any criticism towards Ferdinand comes from- how about Roy Hodgson assuming everything is hunky-dory with Ferdinand now half the centre backs in the Premier League are out injured/retired from international football? Shouldn't he have phoned someone at Old Trafford to see if there is anything he needs to know about a footballer he has ignored for over twelve months?

Or how about Hodgson not dismissing players' international future on a tube? The criticism of Ferdinand and the story in general is to help get people talking, because the game is uninspiring. I just don't think we would have seen a total over-reaction to what Ferdinand is doing if it was a big qualifier, for example the game with Montenegro coming up. The reason Ferdinand pulled out makes absolute sense to me and I think the blame lies squarely at the feet of Hodgson whose management in this case has left a lot to be desired.

Moldova v Montenegro Pick: England should be comfortable winners in San Marino tonight, so I am guessing there will be a few eyes on this game as Montenegro look to maintain their lead in the Group with the big game between the top two just days away.

England were 0-5 winners in Moldova, but the home nation are certainly no pushovers as they did earn a credible 0-0 draw with Ukraine in their other home game. Moldova are certainly a tough test for a team at home and even the likes of Holland have struggled to put them to the sword here with the England result a real exception to recent performances.

On the other hand, Montenegro have relied on a solid defensive base to push their charge forward in the Group and they have enough attacking threat to think they will find a goal. However, they are not heavy scorers on their travels, despite the six scored in San Marino, and so they will have to rely on their defence which has conceded just 2 goals in 4 qualifiers so far and one that earned a clean sheet while Montenegro won in Ukraine.

With that in mind, I think taking the away team to win to nil may be the best way forward.

San Marino v England Pick: I really think a small unit on San Marino to pull the upset is the call at 66-1... No, clearly not, and I think it would be a surprise if the minnows scored in this one as they didn't against either Montenegro nor Moldova here in the Group so far.

However, just because Montenegro managed six, doesn't mean England will as San Marino have only conceded that total in 1 of their last 18 home games, including against the likes of Sweden and Holland who both managed 5.

I think England will perhaps have one eye looking ahead to the game with Montenegro so backing them to win 0-4 or 0-5 looks a decent shout and gives back a decent price if either score hits.

Northern Ireland v Russia Pick: The snow has been falling in Belfast and there is every chance that this game won't be played until Saturday, but either way it looks a tough ask for Northern Ireland to get a result against the Russian national team which is dominating this Group so far.

A highly credible draw in Portugal has been wasted by Northern Ireland with home draws against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan and it is unlikely that they will be playing at the World Cup thanks to those results. However, a win over Russia would give Northern Ireland some hope and that may also lead to their downfall in this one as far as I am concerned.

The crowd at Windsor Park will be urging Northern Ireland to get forward and I do think Russia will be able to pick them off on the counter, while there is also a chance of a late goal on the counter if the home side are chasing the game.

Much of Russia's success comes at home, so the temperature in Northern Ireland won't affect them in my opinion, while the 0-4 success in Israel shows how dangerous the Russian team can be. With Israel and Portugal sharing a point each in their Group game earlier, Russia should have extra motivation to put Northern Ireland to the sword and I think they win by a couple of goals at least.

Uruguay v Paraguay Pick: Brazil are the hosts of the next World Cup and both Argentina and Uruguay were expected to pick up two of the top four automatic qualifiers in this section without too many worries.

Argentina are doing just that, but Uruguay have struggled and are currently in 5th place, which would mean a Play Off. However, they share 12 points with both Venezuela above them and Chile below and Uruguay could be in the top four by the end of the evening.

This game does mean a lot to them as Uruguay travel to Chile on Tuesday and have picked up 11 of their 12 points in front of their own fans while also scoring plenty of goals. They will look to become the latest to take advantage of Paraguay's poor away form which has seen the latter lose all 5 in this qualifying campaign and all by at least 2 goals.

Paraguay are bottom of the section and are 5 points behind the Play Off positions, but their away form has not inspired many people to think they will catch up. They concede plenty and have only scored twice on their travels so far in this Group and so backing the home side to become the latest to win by at least 2 goals looks the call.

MY PICKS: Montenegro Win to Nil @ 2.63 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
England to win 0-4 or 0-5 @ 3.00 (1 Unit) Back 0-4 at Bet Fred @ 6.00, Back 0-5 at Coral @ 6.00
Russia - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.60 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Uruguay - 1 Asian Handicap @ 2.10 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

March Update: 15-18, + 3.60 Units (47 Units Staked, + 7.66% Yield)

February Final14-23, - 2.81 Units (48 Units Staked, - 5.85% Yield)
January Final10-22, - 10.89 Units (45 Units Staked, - 24.2% Yield)
December Final17-24-1, - 0.83 Units (53 Units Staked, - 0.02 % Yield)
November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Season 2012/13+ 5.14 Units (296 Units Staked, + 1.74% Yield)

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 22nd)

It has been a vastly disappointing start to the week so far, but a bit of bad luck and strange collapses have also played their part. Hopefully that will change, although it is tough to know what is going on without the aid of pictures.

I said this a couple of weeks ago, but why these 'premier events' don't have live television coverage from the First Round, especially in 2013, is beyond me. Let me get this right- I can watch matches immediately in places like Bucharest, Kuala Lumpur and Outer Mongolia, but I can't in top events in Indian Wells and Miami???

I can't even get it understood as to why that is the case? All I know is that in a modern society where the likes of Twitter and Facebook have helped aid instantaneous news, why major tournaments with millions of dollars of prize money can't show the event from the outset is a big mystery to me.

Tommy Haas - 3.5 games v Igor Sijsling: These two players met at Delray Beach and exchanged sets before Igor Sijsling had to retire, but I think Tommy Haas will be a more comfortable winner this time around.

Haas has been playing the better tennis of the two players and I also think Sijsling was very fortunate to steal set when they met at Delray Beach. I think this match will follow what happened in Auckland back in January rather than the more recent meeting and will be more straight-forward for the German.

The serve of Sijsling can be a concern, but he makes a lot of mistakes as well with the way he plays the game, and I think Haas takes this 6-4, 6-3.

Jurgen Melzer - 1.5 games v Marcel Granollers: There isn't much I am going to say about this match except I think Jurgen Melzer has enough confidence to see off Marcel Granollers, especially on the hard court.

The win in Dallas helped Melzer recover from a set down to beat Richard Berankis in the First Round and Granollers has suffered a lot of disappointing defeats recently. Defeats to the likes of David Nalbandian and Roger Federer are 'acceptable, but losing easily to Frank Dancevic and Matteo Viola are a little more head-scratching.

Hopefully Melzer won't leave it as tight as a third set tie-breaker in this Round, although he made need three sets again.

Maria Kirilenko - 4.5 games v Bethanie Mattek-Sands: Bethanie Mattek-Sands is better known for her outlandish dress sense on the court than for anything she has really done in the Singles game (probably a touch harsh to be fair), and I think she finds the Indian Wells Semi Finalist a little too good for her.

Mattek-Sands qualified here so has plenty of matches under her belt as well as being adjusted to the conditions in Miami, but Maria Kirilenko is a player that should be a little too experienced and talented for her.

Kirilenko played well in Indian Wells to reach the Semi Final last week and I think she will be able to take that into the tournament here. There will be chances to break serve for both players, but I expect the Russian to get through with a 6-4, 6-2 scoreline.

Ana Ivanovic - 3.5 Games v Urszula Radwanska: There is no doubt that Ana Ivanovic is the least reliable player in the top 20 in the Women's Rankings, and is always a danger of putting in a terrible match. Her serve is erratic and her groundies can be wild and that can be tough to overcome.

However, I still think she should be too good for the younger of the Radwanska sisters, even if Urszula is beginning to find her feet on the Tour over the last fifteen months. She did reach the Fourth Round in Indian Wells last week so confidence won't be an issue, although I still think she is a little inconsistent too.

Don't be surprised if there are more breaks of serve than there are holds in this one, but I think Ivanovic will be the one who comes out on top, possibly 7-6, 6-3.

MY PICKS: Tommy Haas - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jurgen Melzer - 1.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Maria Kirilenko - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ana Ivanovic - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-5, - 4.30 Units (16 Units Staked, - 26.88% Yield)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 21st)

It hasn't been the greatest start to the tournament here for me on a personal level, but hopefully things will get moving in the right direction in the coming days. Despite that, I am glad to see that I am still not having a terrible time and a small loss can be rectified as the tournament gains speed.

Yanina Wickmayer - 2.5 games v Ayumi Morita: Ayumi Morita came back from a big deficit to beat Heather Watson in the First Round, but I don't believe she will be as fortunate when she comes up against Yanina Wickmayer in the Second Round.

Wickmayer is very inconsistent, but will have a confidence boost from the fact she has beaten Morita in both previous matches, including for the loss of just three games in Doha a little over twelve months ago.

Both players have had their injury problems of late, but I think Wickmayer has enough in her tank to at least come through one Round here. My only concern is that the Belgian does tend to drift in sets and can fall to big losses in one set despite winning matches. However, I think she will have enough belief and talent to ensure she should cover, even if the match happens to go into a third set.

Venus Williams - 5.5 games v Kimiko Date-Krumm: There is little doubt, despite still being Number 18 in the World Rankings, that Venus Williams is not the player of yesteryear, although it is now very rare that she will face someone OLDER than her on the Main Tour.

I think that means Williams will still have the edge over her opponent, even though the elder of the famous tennis playing sisters is not the same dominant force she used to be.

However, Venus destroyed Kimiko Date-Krumm here in Miami last year and she is still capable on her day. On the other hand, Date-Krumm is beginning to slip massively down the Rankings and has lost a lot of matches over the last twelve months.

While Venus makes more errors these days and her serve isn't as potent as it used to be, I still think she is capable of coming through with a 6-4, 6-2 win.

Marion Bartoli - 1.5 games v Andrea Petkovic: Andrea Petkovic was a real character on the Main Tour and was beginning to find herself at the latter stages of big events on the WTA Tour until injury has forced her to take a backward step.

The German has played little tennis this year and I think the layers are over-estimating her chances of knocking off Marion Bartoli, even though Petkovic has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the players.

Bartoli has been playing some decent tennis and will force Petkovic to earn every point and I am not sure she will be able to do that on current match fitness. Only some of the bigger names in the Women's game have been able to knock Bartoli off so far in 2013, and I think the Frenchwoman will be too strong right now.

MY PICKS: Yanina Wickmayer - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marion Bartoli - 1.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-3, - 0.30 Units (12 Units Staked, - 0.36% Yield)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 20th)

The Men's Masters event in Miami gets underway today and you can see the outright picks I have made from both the Men's and Women's tournaments here

The picks went 1-1 yesterday, which left us in the same position at the start of the day, but hopefully things can get going with these picks today:

Jurgen Melzer v Richard Berankis: There is no doubt in my mind that Jurgen Melzer is on the slide and he will be taking another fall down the Rankings after a disappointing 2012 season. He has recorded fewer wins than the season before, on the Main Tour, in each of the last two years and I think that trend will continue for a player on the wrong side of 30 years old.

However, in saying all that, I think Melzer is worth chancing after picking up a title on the Challenger circuit last week against players of the same kind of calibre as Richard Berankis.

While Berankis has a lot of upside, he hasn't been able to put things together consistently so far in his career and I think he will struggle to get over the finishing line against Melzer today.

Don't be surprised if this one goes the distance, but I think the Austrian will have enough confidence flowing from the win in Dallas and should be able to at least make it through to the Second Round.

Albert Ramos - 3.5 games v Jan Hajek: I know that Jan Hajek has beaten Albert Ramos in both previous matches they have played against one another, but I like the Spaniard to earn a measure of revenge in this one.

Hajek just doesn't compete at the same level as Ramos these days and I think that will prove to be the difference, while I also believe Ramos is the better hard court player. Last season, Ramos reached the Third Round here and I think he will be a little more solid behind serve and that will be the reason why he can pull the win.

I like Ramos' chances of coming away with a 6-4, 6-3 win from this match so will take him to cover.

Marinko Matosevic - 2.5 games v Dudi Sela: It is Dudi Sela that has had to come through the qualifiers so is likely to appreciate the conditions a little more, but I like Marink Matosevic to make it 2-3 in the head to head between these players.

Matosevic looks to have 'got it' on the Main Tour and his Semi Final appearance in Memphis and a run to the Third Round at Indian Wells suggests he will be too good for his Israeli opponent.

My only issue is that Sela can be a real brick wall on the court, forcing opponents to play one more ball and that may make this closer than anticipated. However, I think the Australian has enough big shots in his locker to find a way to come through, possibly with a 7-5, 6-4 scoreline.

Svetlana Kuznetsova - 6.5 games v Lourdes Dominguez-Lino: Svetlana Kuznetsova missed much of last season, but her form to open 2013 certainly suggests she is more than capable of getting back up into the top 10 of the Women's game.

Kuznetsova should be too strong for Lourdes Dominguez-Lino who has won just 11 games in the last 6 sets competed by these players including a 6-2, 6-1 hammering at the Australian Open back in January.

The Russian's recent losses have come against players much higher in the Rankings than Dominguez-Lino and I am anticipating another fairly comfortable win for Kuznetsova in this one.

MY PICKS: Jurgen Melzer @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Albert Ramos - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marinko Matosevic - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova - 6.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-1, + 0 Units (4 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tennis Picks Miami 2013 (March 19th)

The WTA event will start a day earlier than the ATP Masters tournament and these are my picks from the first day of the main tournament.

You can find my outright picks for the WTA tournament here

Lesya Tsurenko - 3.5 games v Su-Wei Hsieh: This isn't the most confident pick in the World as the WTA can be so up and down, especially in the First Round of these tournaments.

However, I do think Su-Wei Hsieh is coming down to her usual level after a very good 2012 season, while her opponent Lesya Tsurenko has won a lot of matches recently and is likely to have the higher confidence of the two players.

Tsurenko is actually Ranked 36 places below Hsieh, but I think those will be much closer at the end of the season and it is very possible that it is the Ukrainian who has the higher Ranking in November.

It will likely be a match that features a few breaks of serve, but I like Tsurenko's chances of coming away with a 6-4, 6-4 win here.

Shuai Peng - 3.5 games v Sofia Arvidsson: These two players are locked at 2-2 in the head to head, but I am going to back Shuai Peng to take the lead in their personal battle and book her place in the Second Round.

I think Peng's speed around the court will likely force Sofia Arvidsson into more errors in this match and I do think she is the better hard court player of the two. While Arfidsson did have some success on the hard courts last season, Peng has generally been winning far more matches on the surface and that could be enough to create the difference between them here.

This is another match that will likely feature a few breaks of serve, but I expect Peng to be on the right side in a straight sets victory and cover the spread.

MY PICKS: Lesya Tsurenko - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Shuai Peng - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Tennis Outright Picks Miami 2013 (March 19-31)

The first Masters tournament of the season has really got the appetite going for more as far as I am concerned because we have finally seen Juan Martin Del Potro return to something like the form that took him to the US Open title back in 2009 and also reach the Final of the End of Year Championship in the same season.

It is nice to see someone outside of the top four reach the Final here, particularly as he beat Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic along the way, the current two best players in the Men's game.

Coming up a little short against Rafael Nadal was no surprise considering the effort that Del Potro had to put in to reach the Final, but the Spaniard's return was a real surprise- after all the complaints surrounding his issues with hard courts, I didn't expect Nadal to run through the draw as he did, even if he didn't face the real challengers in Murray and Djokovic.

Nadal played well and is certainly going to get back to his position in the World Rankings, but I am not yet convinced that he is ready to beat the likes of Murray and Djokovic, even though we are next going to see him on his beloved clay courts. It is no real surprise that Nadal has chosen to miss the event in Miami to give him suitable rest before the clay court season begins in mid-April.

Another issue that seemed to be at the forefront on people's minds was the continued absence of the Williams sisters at Indian Wells- personally, I think the tournament needs them more than they need this event and I don't think they should turn up if they say what happened back in 2001 was true. No one has disputed those events and I think both Venus and Serena have every right to miss the tournament here.

The picks were mixed from Indian Wells with a lot of profit from the daily picks being taken away by the outright picks. However, at least it was another profitable tournament and keeps the season ticking over nicely.

At the end of the day, I am not silly enough to think that every tournament is going to bring in huge yields, but I do think every profitable tournament will contribute to another successful season. The last two seasons have proved that to be the case, despite some less than stellar weeks, so I am happy with the event at Indian Wells and hope Miami can continue the upward trend that followed an average Australian Open.

WTA Miami
The Women's event is loaded with every big name you can think of and I am not surprised that it is Serena Williams that leads the outright markets.

In a weird twist, last season was the first time Serena had played in Miami since 2009 and she was beaten in the Quarter Final by Caroline Wozniacki. However, this has been an event that Williams has found very much to her liking in the past, especially with her outside interests in Miami, and I can see her returning to the winners' roll in this one. Before last season, Serena had reach the Final in 6 of her previous 7 appearances in Miami and had won the tournament 5 times, although the last of those was back in 2008.

I don't see too many problems for Serena early in the draw, when she is perhaps most vulnerable, and I would expect her to overturn the result from twelve months ago if she met Caroline Wozniacki in the Quarter Final again.

The likes of Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska and her Australian Open conqueror Sloane Stephens are potential Semi Final threats to Serena, but I would expect the World Number 1 to be battle hardened by then and would favour her to beat all of those players.

The other half of the draw is headed by Victoria Azarenka, but there are serious doubts as to whether the current Australian Open Champion will take part having withdrawn with an ankle issue from the tournament last week at Indian Wells.

Instead, it would probably make more sense to keep Maria Sharapova in the staking plan as she has reached the Final here in Miami in each of the last two seasons. Some may be wary as Sharapova won in Indian Wells last week, but she will have a few days to rest and also reached back to back Finals (without winning either) last season.

Looking through this half of the draw, the names don't exactly stand out as being capable of beating the Russian, especially if Azarenka is not taking part. I expect Sharapova will be able to deal with Maria Kirilenko again and I don't like Sara Errani's match up against her.

Others like Angelique Kerber always seem to threaten to show and then collapse in the most obscure way so I'll be very boring and keep the big two in the market together.

ATP Miami
With both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal missing the tournament here in Miami, it is no real surprise to see the World Number 1 and 3 time winner of the event here, Novak Djokovic, being priced as the short favourite to win the title again.

The last two seasons has seen Djokovic win the tournament and when you look at his half of the draw, it is tough to imagine him being defeated before the Final.

Juan Martin Del Potro is the potential Semi Final opponent for a second Masters in a row, but it is hard to gauge how the big man is feeling following the taxing exploits of last week. While the early Rounds are not expected to cause too many problems, a potential Quarter Final against David Ferrer would be an altogether more difficult task and I think Del Potro is plenty short at 9.00 in the outright market.

Some may wonder if the Spaniard Ferrer will make it to the Semi Final after being defeated early in Indian Wells, but that has been something of a routine for him. However, he has twice reached the Semi Final here in the past and also reached the Quarter Final last season, beating Del Potro on the way, before falling to Djokovic.

Ferrer is likely to have a much more winnable match to start his tournament here this week rather than facing a big serving machine like Kevin Anderson and I think he can build ahead of steam to reach the Semi Final where Djokovic is expected to be too strong again.

While it is no surprise to see Djokovic as a short favourite without Nadal and Federer, it is also no surprise that Andy Murray is the second favourite in the market. However, I can't back the British Number 1 here with what looks a tough draw to negotiate right from the off.

Facing the likes of Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov will be tough for Murray and it doesn't get much easier for him. In a normal one-off match, I would favour Murray to get through his section of the draw 7 or 8 out of 10 attempts, but those little doubts has me looking to see if I can oppose him with anyone.

One man who had a good tournament last week, but fell a little short, was Tomas Berdych and I think it could be worth backing the big man to at least reach the Final.

I look at his section and I don't see too many problems for Berdych ahead of the potential Semi Final with Murray, although Milos Raonic could be the biggest threat.

The likes of Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco are not in great form, while Berdych disposed of Richard Gasquet fairly comfortably at Indian Wells last week. However, Berdych was beaten by Raonic in their sole meeting and I think the 100-1 on the Canadian is a huge price.

At the moment, I am not convinced that Raonic has added enough to his game outside of the big serve, but he is capable of runs in North America and has been placed in a section where he could beat Berdych in the Fourth Round and really open up the whole draw for himself. That would be the case if Murray goes out early so I think a small each-way interest in both Berdych and Raonic have to be taken.

MY PICKS: Serena Williams @ 2.10 Boyle Sports (3 Units)
Maria Sharapova @ 4.50 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Novak Djokovic @ 1.83 Bet Victor (6 Units)
Tomas Berdych @ 17.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit E/W)
Milos Raonic @ 101.00 Paddy Power (0.5 Units E/W)

Daily Picks: 21-11, + 19.92 Units (63 Units Staked, + 31.62% Yield)
Outright Picks: 0-5, - 13 Units (13 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2013+ 42.99 Units (370 Units Staked, + 11.62% Yield)

Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Tennis Picks Indian Wells 2013 (March 17th)

What has been a successful week with the daily picks has been the exact opposite when it came down to the outright picks as both the last two players I had in my book were knocked out in the Semi Final stage last night.

That really concluded a poor end to the tournament as Victoria Azarenka's decision to pull out of the event did me no favours. Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych both had chances to win their individual matches yesterday, but came up short and that means it will only be a small profit from the event here.

However, it could be worse as any profit is better than any loss so I won't complain too much.

The two Finals will be played back to back today and while I think Maria Sharapova wins the WTA event, I think the spreads and outright markets have been priced with that in mind and I'll choose to just watch that match. On the other hand, here is my pick from the Men's Final:

Rafael Nadal - 2.5 games v Juan Martin Del Potro: If this match had been played at the Quarter Final or even the Semi Final stage, I would have considered Juan Martin Del Potro having a big chance to beat the Spaniard.

However, Del Potro has had to beat the top two Men's players in the World back to back and I just have a hard time trying to figure how he will have recovered physically from a couple of gruelling battles, particularly the one against Novak Djokovic last night.

And it isn't just the fact that he had a long match- Rafael Nadal is not exactly known for shortening points so Del Potro will be forced to go through the pain of long rallies in this one if he is to to beat Nadal.

Rafael Nadal has looked in good form this week and it is correct to think he is back and ready to play a key part in the rest of the season. He has also beaten Del Potro 4 times in a row, although he hasn't met the Argentine on a hard court since the 2009 US Open Semi Final when Nadal picked up just 6 games in a demolition job.

The positives for Del Potro fans is that he is 3-3 on the hard courts against Nadal in his career, although I think the physical toll of playing back to back tough three setters, plus the knowledge of having to go through all that again will prove too much. By a strange quirk, Del Potro has a Grand Slam title but never won a Masters event, although I think his wait will continue for at least one more event today.

MY PICK: Rafael Nadal - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 20-11, + 17.92 Units (61 Units Staked, + 29.38% Yield)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Weekend Football Picks (March 16-17)

Everton v Manchester City Pick: It was a hugely disappointing result for Everton last Saturday as they were knocked out of the FA Cup with a whimper by Wigan Athletic. Many fans voiced their discontent and it does seem the small squad is struggling to maintain their level down the stretch.

The ongoing discussions about David Moyes' future is not really helping the squad and injuries have hurt Everton in key positions. All of this doesn't bode well for the visit of Manchester City that have begun playing with the freedom that comes with a 12 point deficit in the Premier League.

City will also be missing some big players including Captain Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but there is more depth here and they have been in better form than Everton. The poor performance at Southampton is looking more like a blip at the moment and I think City will come here with confidence that they can close the gap to Manchester United who play later on Saturday evening.

However, I think the best way to follow this game is backing at least 3 goals to be scored- Everton home games in recent weeks have produced a fair few goals and I do think both sides will score at least once in this one.

At slightly shorter than odds against, I do feel goals is the best way to go with this game as Everton will surely improve from last week and City do need to win the game to keep their title chances alive.

Aston Villa v Queens Park Rangers Pick: Another game that could produce a few goals is this relegation six pointer between Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers, especially with the latter knowing a defeat would likely signal the end of their stay in the top flight.

The one thing to notice about Aston Villa games is that there have been a lot of goals in them and Queens Park Rangers have also found their shooting boots over the last couple of weeks.

Both of the defences do offer up chances and both teams have better talent in the forward positions than they do at the back so it would be a slight surprise to me if we don't see goals in this one.

The only real concern is that nerves take over the game and forces the teams to be a little too cautious to find a winner, but I think both teams know the importance of the three points and will be looking for the win. I can't see that coming without both teams scoring at least once and so goals has to be the call.

Manchester United v Reading Pick: It was an emotional week for all connected with Manchester United last week, but I think the six days of rest will have done them the world of good as they get set to put another three points away in search of the Premier League title.

On the other side of the coin, it has been a turbulent week for Reading as Brian McDermott was sacked as manager and it will be interesting to see where the side go from here. They lost a big relegation battle with Aston Villa at home last week and there is now a 4 point gap between Reading and safety, while the players were very much behind McDermott and could have a negative reaction.

I think Reading will likely make life tougher for United than many would initially imagine, but I think they will also struggle to provide an effective threat in attacking positions. Reading are dangerous from set pieces, but I expect Nemanja Vidic to be back at the heart of the defence and I think United will bring home a routine win.

My opinion is that United win the game with a 2-0, possibly 3-0 scoreline, and so will back the home side to win this one with a clean sheet to boot.

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham Pick: Tottenham Hotspur just about got through to the last eight of the Europa League on Thursday night, but Gareth Bale will be available for this game and they are a vastly different side with the Welshman in their starting XI.

They need to keep winning their home games in the Premier League if they are to find a way to finish in the top four and a place in the Champions League for next season, and games against the likes of Fulham are certainly games they need to win. Spurs still face some big matches before the season is over so dropping points here will give Arsenal a real chance to finish above their North London rivals yet again, while Chelsea are also showing improvements.

Spurs should be too good for a Fulham side that have been inconsistent away from home, but one that is definitely not as good on their travels as they are at Craven Cottage. Martin Jol would love to get one over on the club that sacked him, but I think Bale will once again prove to be the difference for a Spurs team that have won 11 of their last 13 at White Hart Lane in all competitions.

Injuries in attacking areas have cleared for Tottenham and I think they win this by a couple of goals.

Chelsea v West Ham United Pick: Chelsea have picked up some serious momentum over the last week or so and I think they can go into the international break with the three points from this game. Facing a West Ham United team that have only scored 9 goals away from home in the Premier League all season and one that has lost some games by big margins should result in another home win for Rafa Benitez' men and ease the pressure a little more on the Spanish manager.

I expect West Ham will make life a little tough for Chelsea as Sam Allardyce will send them out and make them hard to beat, but the lack of goals means they will have to be very good from set pieces if they are to find a way to get on the scoreboard.

Personally I think Chelsea have played pretty well over the last couple of games and they have won 5 of their last 6 here in all competitions, while also scoring a fair few goals. I expect a strong team to take to the field at Stamford Bridge and I do think Chelsea win this by a couple of goals at the least.

Wigan Athletic v Newcastle United Pick: The inconsistency shown by Wigan Athletic has been highlighted in the last couple of weeks as they were thumped 0-4 here by Liverpool and then beat Everton 0-3 at Goodison Park in the FA Cup Sixth Round last Saturday.

So which Wigan will turn up this week? That is a tough question to answer, but results for Aston Villa over the last seven days means Wigan have to start winning games too if they are to stay in touch with the sides outside of the relegation zone. The Latics are 18th in the Premier League table and trail Villa by 6 points, albeit with two games in hand including this live one at the DW Stadium.

It won't be easy at all for Wigan as Newcastle United have certainly been playing at a better level since their injuries have begun clearing up and the new signings have fitted in seamlessly since coming in in January. The lack of goals away from home is a concern for Newcastle, especially considering they have lost 6 of their last 7 away games at Wigan.

Goals have been a feature of recent Wigan games, particularly at this stadium, and I think we could see more of the same on Sunday. I am expecting both sides to score at least once in this one and I have a feeling Wigan may sneak the vital three points. Regardless, I am liking at least 3 goals from this game.

Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano Pick: There isn't really a lot to say about this game as I am expecting Barcelona to be too strong for Rayo Vallecano.

However, I think the pick from the game is the home team to win with a clean sheet to boot- they have kept clean sheets in their last two home games and Rayo Vallecano haven't scored too many goals on their travels this season.

Barcelona have also kept 4 clean sheets in a row against Rayo and I can see them making it 5 in a row with another victory to boot from this one.

MY PICKS: Everton-Manchester City Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.90 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Aston Villa-Queens Park Rangers Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Manchester United Win to Nil @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.33 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Chelsea - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Wigan Athletic-Newcastle United Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Barcelona Win to Nil @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Tennis Picks Indian Wells 2013 (March 15th)

The tennis programme was disrupted yesterday as both Women's Quarter Finals didn't even get started with withdrawals for both Sam Stosur and Victoria Azarenka.

However, the big match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer did go ahead and it was very anti-climatic in the end as the latter just wasn't fit enough to get anything going.

It wasn't just the injury, but Nadal playing at a very high level that also saw the match swing the way of the Spaniard. Much like many of their previous matches, the Federer backhand was the weakest shot in the match and he wasn't able to dictate with the forehand which led to an easy win for Nadal.

Unlike the commentators though, I still saw some weaknesses in Nadal's game on his comeback that will likely be exposed by either Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray, but more likely by the former. When Nadal was attacking the Federer backhand, he was still leaving the ball a little short and while that works against the World Number 2, Djokovic will be given time to rip his double hander both down the line and cross-court.

That was the main shot that helped Djokovic begin to dominate the head to head with Nadal over the last couple of seasons and I have little doubt that it will still prove to be the difference when they meet at the moment. However, it is good for the game that Nadal is back and I hope his recovery keeps going in the right direction so we have some big moments to look forward to in the coming months as we approach the French Open and Wimbledon.

One other tough aspect of the Victoria Azarenka withdrawal was that she was my main pick in the outright market from the Women's draw and that means both my picks from that tournament have fallen by the wayside. Roger Federer was another I had onside, but it is not all doom and gloom with both Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych both still involved.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showed tremendous resilience to beat Milos Raonic in the last Round considering he was struggling with a knee issue, but I think that will prove to be the difference in this match.

Unlike Raonic, Novak Djokovic is a very effective returner of serve and so Tsonga will not be given too many opportunities to rattle through his own service games and will be forced to earn his games. With a knee issue in his mind, it can be tough mentally to find enough big shots to beat someone with the defence that Djokovic has and it's a tough ask for the Frenchman in my opinion.

I am expecting Djokovic to find a way to grab a couple of breaks of serve in one of the sets and I am expecting the World Number 1 to roll in this one. Tsonga has not been serving that effectively this week and I think this is too much for him at this moment in time.

Andy Murray - 2.5 games v Juan Martin Del Potro: Anyone who has watched tennis for a few years will know there is no love lost between these two players who have known one another since they were kids.

This is going to be a close match, but I do think the conditions will likely favour Andy Murray a little more as he will be able to get more balls back in play and also be able to defend a little more effectively. It will give Juan Martin Del Potro the chance to swing freely on the slower court, but the big man has looked a little short of fitness and it is mentally taxing trying to hit through a player that continues to make you play one more shot.

It is no real surprise that Murray has the 5-1 head to head record against Del Potro, but many of their matches have been fairly close for the most part. I wouldn't be surprised if this one goes to a third set, but I think Murray will likely find a way to get the job done and I do think he will be able to cover this spread with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 win.

Angelique Kerber v Caroline Wozniacki: This is a very slow court in Indian Wells and I think a few of the players have mentioned that it is almost 'clay court prepped' and with that in mind, I am not sure why Angelique Kerber is the underdog in a match against Caroline Wozniacki.

If this was on a clay court, I would favour the German and I think the conditions are going to suit her a little better than Wozniacki. It also has to be taken into consideration that Kerber has won three matches in a row against the Dane, including in three different conditions (one hard court, one clay court, one indoor hard court).

This is likely going to be a match where a deciding set is going to be required, but I think the underdog is going to have plenty of bite in this one. Kerber has won 6 of the last 7 sets that they have competed against one another within the last twelve months and she has to be worth backing in this Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 2.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 19-9, + 20.08 Units (55 Units Staked, + 36.51% Yield)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Tennis Picks Indian Wells 2013 (March 14th)

Roger Draper has stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of the LTA in Britain and he has rightly been heavily criticised considering his 'performance' saw him being paid £640,000 per year.

He was grossly overpaid considering the under-achievement of reaching the goals that had been set and having only one male player in the top 200 on the day he decided to step down says it all for me. Some point to the success on the WTA Tour of Laura Robson and Heather Watson, but he has failed more often than not, while the grassroots haven't been improved to the extent they should have.

How Draper was doing enough to pick up a bonus that amounted to over £200,000 is an absolute joke, especially when that money could have been invested in making tennis more accessible to play to everyone in Britain. Unfortunately it remains the game of the rich (just go down to some of the tournaments in the UK and see the 'class' structure in place) and I feel disappointed that it isn't made cheaper for anyone to go and try their hand.

Hopefully the new person coming in will bring a change, but the LTA remains a 'big boys club' and I don't think there is much ambition there to actually do something positive to change the state of British tennis.

The picks had another positive day yesterday, although it could have been a lot better with a little more luck. On the other hand, four of the five outright picks are still alive with Petra Kvitova falling by the wayside in her Quarter Final defeat by Maria Kirilenko.

Sam Stosur v Angelique Kerber: This is a pick 'em contest, but I like Sam Stosur to make it three in a row against Angelique Kerber and book her place in the Semi Final here.

Out of the two players, Stosur has certainly been showing more signs of good form over the last six weeks and I certainly think she has the more impressive victories this week to get to this Quarter Final.

The manner in which Stosur came from a set down to beat Mona Barthel was very impressive and I think she will be too strong for Kerber in this one. I don't like under-estimating the German, but she can mentally wonder away in matches and I think the Stosur serve will prove to be the shot that makes the difference.

Kerber did reach the Semi Final here last season so she does have previous, but I think she will end up the wrong side of this Quarter Final and it will be the Australian that is in the last four.

Victoria Azarenka - 4.5 games v Carolina Wozniacki: Despite passing each other as Victoria Azarenka reached the pinnacle of the Women's game while Carolina Wozniacki was slipping down the Rankings, this will actually be the first time they have played since 2011 and likely the first time they will have a complete match since the back end of 2010.

Wozniacki has the 5-2 head to head record, but Azarenka is a much improved player since those days and I expect she will be far too good for the former World Number 1 (one of a number of poor former World Number 1's in my book).

The problem for Wozniacki is I just don't see an area where she can consistently hurt Azarenka in this one- Azarenka has the better serve, returns serve more effectively and is better in the rallies. Even movement, the strength of Wozniacki for so long, is probably favouring Azarenka as well and I do expect she can come through fairly comfortably when it is all said and done.

One thing to say is that Wozniacki has certainly been showing some positive signs of a return to form in recent weeks, but I don't think she is ready to compete with a player as good as Azarenka just yet.

Roger Federer - 1.5 games v Rafael Nadal: This is a fascinating match between these old rivals and the first time they will have met since this same tournament twelve months ago.

There are some question marks about both players ahead of this Quarter Final- Federer has not been in the best form to open 2013 and has a slight back problem, while this will be the first time in a long time that Nadal is playing a hard court match on back to back days.

I have never doubted Nadal's powers of recovery, but he has had a really tough Fourth Round match against Ernests Gulbis which went late and long. It will be interesting to see how he copes with that and I think the conditions may just favour Federer who has always enjoyed playing at Indian Wells.

Federer beat Nadal fairly handily here last season, but this will be closer with some doubts around his fitness. He has also looked a little tetchy at times here and I that is a concern, but I do think he is still capable of playing at a level that will be tough for Nadal to handle.

There is a real chance this goes the distance, but I think Federer finds a way to get through to the Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Sam Stosur @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Victoria Azarenka - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 1.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 19-8, + 22.08 Units (53 Units Staked, + 41.66% Yield)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Tennis Picks Indian Wells 2013 (March 13th)

We are now getting down to the business end of the tournaments and that means there are a lot more fascinating matches to enjoy and plenty more to come. For the most part, the top players have made their way through to the latter stages of both the Men's and Women's events here so it should be an interesting few days as we reach the conclusion of the events.

The Fourth Round of the Men's event will be completed in just the one day so there are still a lot of matches on offer, while one Semi Final in the Women's tournament will set this evening.

Yesterday was also the worst day in the tournament for the picks so far as only 2 of the 5 picks made came off, but I won't complain about the last week which has produced a lot of winners and still leaves the thread in profit for the tournament. Add to that the fact that all 5 of the outright picks made at the start of the tournament are still involved and this is still a very promising few days to come.

Tomas Berdych - 2.5 games v Richard Gasquet: This will not be an easy match for Tomas Berdych as he hasn't played stellar tennis so far this week at Indian Wells, but I do think he finds a way to be a little too strong for Richard Gasquet in this one.

Berdych has been in very strong form to open 2013 and hasn't dropped a set so far here at the tournament, but he has not been as dominant behind his serve and I think that is an area he needs to improve if he wants to put away the Frenchman. Richard Gasquet is another who has opened 2013 in good nick and he has been fairly comfortable in getting through his first couple of matches here.

It also has to be remembered that Gasquet has a winning record over Berdych and beat him in Toronto last year in straight sets. That means Gasquet has improved to 3-1 against the Czech player on the hard courts, although I would say that Berdych wasn't in great form when they met in Canada last season.

This will be a close match, but I think Berdych will be slightly better behind his serve and should be able to come through with the cover.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Stanislas Wawrinka: This is a risky pick simply because we don't know how Roger Federer's back is feeling, although I expect he will be ready for this one knowing he has a couple of months off after this tournament.

The match is not an easy one with the way that Stanislas Wawrinka has become a really tough competitor on the Tour, but it is hard to ignore the 14-1 head to head record in favour of the higher Ranked Swiss player.

I think the conditions will likely favour Federer enough in this one to come through with a fairly routine victory, although any issues with his back will make this a far tougher ask of him. However, if Federer is ready to go, I can see him pulling away from Wawrinka in this battle of friends and booking his place into the last eight with a 7-6, 6-2 win.

Ernests Gulbis + 3.5 games v Rafael Nadal: Probably my least surprising pick of the day is taking Ernests Gulbis to at least keep his match with Rafael Nadal close.

Gulbis didn't cover for me in the last Round, but he had chances and there is a slight concern with the way he mentally fell apart in the first set against Andreas Seppi with a 5-2 lead to go on and lose that set 7-5. However, it is impressive that he came back and won in three sets and I think he has the game that will worry Nadal.

The courts are a slower hard court, which is a shame for Gulbis' game, but Nadal is still getting back into the groove on a hard court and these players have played a lot of close games in the past. I would have loved for Gulbis to be getting one more game on the handicap, but he would have covered with this number of games in 2 of their 3 matches that have been played under best of three conditions.

I believe Gulbis will at least steal a set in this one and as long as that doesn't come in a tie-break, the Latvian should find a way to keep this close.

Juan Martin Del Potro - 4.5 games v Tommy Haas: On first glance, this looks like a lot of games to be giving up, but Juan Martin Del Potro has the perfect game to take it to Tommy Haas and I think that'll prove to be the case again when they meet for the fourth time.

Unsurprisingly, Del Potro has won all three previous matches, and all very comfortably. While Haas has good volleying skills, he doesn't mind trading from the back of the court and that is where Del Potro has the edge and is able to force the German backwards.

It has to be said that Del Potro hasn't looked in 100% shape for the tournament so far, but he has comfortably come through his opening two matches at Indian Wells and is certainly capable of finding a couple of breaks of serve to make sure he covers this spread too and spends as little time on court before a potential blockbuster Quarter Final against Andy Murray.

I feel Del Potro will likely win this match 6-3, 6-4 and so will take him to cover this spread.

Maria Sharapova - 5.5 games v Sara Errani: My respect for Sara Errani is clear, but Maria Sharapova is the kind of player I have mentioned has the perfect game to take apart the Italian.

The problem for Errani is that she can't compete with the heavy groundstrokes that the likes of Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are able to produce at a consistent level and that is why those players are above her in the Rankings.

Errani doesn't have the big serve to even give her first strike in rallies and I think Sharapova will appreciate this match up. It is no surprise that both previous matches has seen the Russian lose just 10 games combined and I do think a 6-3, 6-2 win is on the cards for the third straight time they have played one another.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ernests Gulbis + 3.5 Games @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Juan Martin Del Potro - 4.5 Games @ 2.25 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova - 5.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 16-6, + 19.60 Units (43 Units Staked, + 45.58% Yield)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Tennis Picks Indian Wells 2013 (March 12th)

None of the top players are making it easy for themselves at this tournament so far as Roger Federer felt a slight twinge in his back that will need a couple of days work, while Victoria Azarenka required three sets to move through to the Fourth Round.

In saying that, I am still quite happy that all of my outright selections at the start of the week are still in their tournaments, while the picks being made on a daily basis continue chalking up big profits.

Now we move on to the Fourth Round of the WTA event and the completion of the Third Round matches in the ATP Masters as the week heats up with some top matches in prospect.

Sara Errani - 3.5 games v Marion Bartoli: It is quite a turnaround over the last couple of years that has seen Sara Errani overtake Marion Bartoli in the Rankings and also look the better player on most surfaces.

Sara Errani is the World Number 8 and while I don't think she has enough to beat the players ahead of her in the Rankings, her consistency and hard work has helped her put away the players below her. Errani has been in great form over the last month, reaching the Final in Dubai before retaining her title in Acapulco and she has been fairly comfortable reaching the Fourth Round here.

The Italian has beaten Marion Bartoli in their last two matches, both of those taking place on the hard courts last season. However, I don't want to under-estimate Bartoli who is capable of going on a roll in matches.

Regardless though, I think Bartoli's form fluctuates too much and that is the reason that Errani has begun to get the better of her in the head to head as well as the Rankings. Errani will stay out there all day and wear down her opponents and I think that will be the reason the World Number 8 gets through with a spread cover to boot.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 games v Maria Kirilenko: The last three times that Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Kirilenko have played one another have all been fairly close, although it is the Polish player that has won all three.

In fact, Radwanska has won 5 in a row against Kirilenko and I have a feeling this will be one of the more straight-forward wins for the the World Number 4. While Radwanska had to struggle through the last Round, I think Kirilenko is perhaps still suffering a few remnants of an injury that forced her out in Doha and that could prove to be the difference between another battle or an 'easier' win for Radwanska.

Of the two players, Radwanska has shown more form, although her limited serve does make her vulnerable. It will likely be a good looking match (and I don't mean solely because of Kirilenko's physical looks) with a lot of rallies, but I like Radwanska to find a way to come through 6-4, 6-3.

Marin Cilic v Milos Raonic: Milos Raonic is definitely one to watch for the future, but I think there are still enough holes in his game that can be exploited by someone as good as Marin Cilic in this one.

Cilic is rightly the underdog, but he is a better returner of serve than people may initially think, and the courts in Indian Wells are certainly not the quickest so he may just get an opportunity against the monster serve that Raonic possesses.

He has beaten Raonic on an indoor hard court around 18 months ago and that is a surface where I think Raonic will have his most immediate success. This has all the makings of a tight match, and Cilic will have to serve better than he does at times and not offer too many chances to have his own serve broken.

However, I can see Cilic taking this in three sets and will have a interest in the Croatian making it through to the Fourth Round.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 games v Mardy Fish: This is a big spread considering the way that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played against James Blake, but Mardy Fish is only recently back on the Tour and didn't play that well against Bobby Reynolds himself.

The problem for Fish is that Tsonga has a big game that will hurt any second serves he sees and I think he will be a little too tough for a player that hasn't had much tennis recently and is trying to work his way back onto the Tour in his first tournament since the US Open last September.

Tsonga has won all 3 previous matches and I think he'll do enough to win this one 6-4, 6-3, although I wouldn't be surprised if the Frenchman makes it a little harder than it should be right now.

Andy Murray - 5.5 games v Yen-Hsun Lu: Yen-Husn Lu actually has a winning record over Andy Murray having won their only previous match back in 2008, but he will be doing well to take the second best player in the Men's game, in my opinion, out here.

Andy Murray had to struggle through his Second Round match here, but that will leave him in good stead and I think he can find a way to beat this opponent fairly comfortably. However, Lu has regularly raised his level against better opponents and is able to keep the match close, even if he ultimately loses.

My problem for Lu in this one is that he is facing one of the better returners on the ATP Tour and will be forced to earn his points. The match is scheduled for the evening, making it harder for Lu to try and hit through Murray on what is one of the slower hard courts around.

Murray should have too much consistency and exert too much pressure on Lu and finish up with a 6-4, 6-2 win

MY PICKS: Sara Errani - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Marin Cilic @ 2.30 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 Games @ 2.30 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 14-3, + 21.32 Units (33 Units Staked, + 64.6% Yield)