Main Menu
No.1 2 3 4
No.5 6 7 8
No.9 10 11 12
No.13 14 15 16
Play now at the William Hill Casino
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email
25/04/2008 No.17
rendspotting Football/Rugby
Dan Roebuck
Friday April 25, 2008
  Caution will draw the sting from Chelsea's title bid

Whatever happens between Manchester United and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, the title prices will change dramatically. A win for United would mean the 1-8 quotes that are available about Sir Alex Ferguson's side would disappear.

Although it will still be mathematically possible for Chelsea to win the league should they lose, most layers would be expected to follow Paddy Power and pay out early on United as champions. Some might even do that if the match ends as a draw. Avram Grant's side are 6-1 (Totesport) to pip United, but should they win at home Chelsea could be as short as 6-4, with United 1-2, according to industry insiders.

Midweek events at Camp Nou and Anfield ensured both teams remained at the summit of the Champions League betting market and are expected to meet in the final in Moscow. Indeed, Chelsea were cut to a freely available 9-4 from 10-3 to win the competition, while United are 9-5 (Coral) favourites.

However, the midweek results, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, failed to persuade the bookmakers to cut Chelsea's price for tomorrow's game even though it could be argued that John Arne Riise's stoppage-time own-goal at Anfield, coupled with Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty miss in Barcelona, has given the Blues a little bit of momentum going into the fixture.

But the compilers do not appear to have been swayed by under-par performances from both teams, and the match prices have remained static for tomorrow's match - with Chelsea 6-4, United 2-1 and the draw 11-5 all generally on offer.

Of the three it is the outside bet, the draw, that is the most appealing. In spite of the pressure, there is no doubt that Grant will stick to his safety-first approach tomorrow as the Chelsea manager views next week's return European game with Liverpool as the more important fixture.

Chelsea, significantly, have managed only one win from five league meetings with the other "big four" clubs this season. Meanwhile, United have shown their resilience in recent games, coming from behind to defeat Arsenal and to draw with Middlesbrough and Blackburn. Surprisingly, United have won just three times on their last 11 visits to the capital (including Wembley). And four of the past five games between United and Chelsea, including last year's FA Cup final, have ended as draws at 90 minutes.

The "under or over 2.5 goals" market is likely to get plenty of attention from punters and, because goals rarely flow when these two sides meet, most will want to take a position "under" the 2.5 quote. Six of the past seven and 10 of the past 13 meetings have produced two or fewer goals, an outcome that can be backed at 4-6 (general), which seems a more than fair price.

Sporting Index offers their bookings market at 52-56 - a quote at which buyers would have returned a profit in five of the past seven encounters. However, Alan Wiley, who has issued only one red card in league games this season, is the referee at Stamford Bridge, which tempers any advice to buy. The Staffordshire official controversially denied Middlesbrough a penalty last weekend against Bolton but is 5-2 with Sky Bet to award one tomorrow. Blue Square will lay you 22-1 that United miss from the spot.

One bet that could represent value is the 3-1 Blue Square is offering that Didier Drogba outscores Wayne Rooney, who is 10-3 with the tie 4-7 (bets void if either or both don't start). The United striker played out wide in midweek and could do so again tomorrow. If so, Drogba, who is always the fulcrum of Chelsea's attack, will surely have more chances to score.

Fewer than three goals during the game at Stamford Bridge at 4-6 (general)
Chelsea and Manchester United to draw at 11-5 (general)
Didier Drogba to outscore Wayne Rooney at 3-1 (Blue Square)
Fill out your e-mail address
to receive our newsletter!
E-mail address:  
First Name:  
Last Name:  

play online poker