Load up your best betting sites online, stick a few quid in the account and get ready for a weekend splurge on the betting markets as this weekend’s sports programme is packed with opportunities for the shrewd punter.
First up, the English Premier League, look no further than Eastlands for the first battle between Manchester and Merseyside between City and Liverpool. City’s recent form is hardly inspiring but Liverpool have been woeful for a while now and a narrow 1-0 win over Unirea in the Europa Cup is unlikely to inspire much confidence. Manchester City have beaten Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal at home this season and with victory guaranteeing City a four point lead over Liverpool in the race for fourth spot (with a game in hand) it would be folly to back against them.
I’d double that up with the second half of a Manchester double as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton, who could be missing Tim Cahill on top of the already confirmed out for the season Marouane Fellaini. It will be tough for United, especially coming on the back of a tough Champions League clash in midweek against Milan, but I fancy the Red Devils to take the points against an Everton side that seems to blow hot and cold at the moment.
In Golf the Accenture World Matchplay is in full swing. England are well represented along with South Africa and the USA in the third round and a good each way bet to reach the final could be the in form Paul Casey, a finalist last year. Retief Goosen and Sergio Garcia will lead the betting markets but Casey could well be a decent outside bet.
The weekend will see the Winter Olympics continue with focus on Curling. Britain will pretend it is vaguely interested in people sweeping ice and sliding stones across it for fifteen minutes as the men and women’s curling teams face off against a variety of opponents, though the men’s clash with Canada on Saturday evening looks potentially intriguing, if only for the chance to get one over on the hosts. Slightly more exciting is the site of two grown adults in spandex, flinging themselves and a cart down a track so quick it makes your eyes bleed.
Yes the Bobsleigh, the two man variety, is also scheduled to run at the weekend, however for me the best event of the weekend will be the Ladies Super G in the skiing. After watching the downhill on Friday and seeing some of the finest crashes in a long time, I am awaiting the Super G with baited breath. Is it just me or do the courses for the high speed sports seem designed to be particularly hurtful?
However of most interest to us Brits will be the women’s skeleton. This is an event which seems to consist of running very fast on ice and then lying face first down on a modified dinner tray, while hurtling down the side of a mountain. I assume it is called the Skeleton because that is all that is left of you at the bottom of the hill once you’ve come off your tray and scraped your all over body condom and skin over the sides of the track.
The sport baffles me, but not plucky Amy Williams who leads the event after two runs (with two remaining) and who could lift a rare British gold medal and no doubt inspire a whole host of patriotic British children to head to the nearest hill with a tin dinner tray in tow, ready to fling themselves down a sheer drop before heading off to A&E to get the stitches put in and dentures fitted.
Finally, back to Golf and the most eagerly anticipated Sporting Event of the decade. Hoylake being awarded the 2014 Open Championship? Tom Kite marrying Ignacio Garrido? No, it’s Tiger Woods press conference (for which read “Tiger Woods reads a carefully crafted statement to his close friends who watch on sympathetically before he dashes off to disappear for a few months in the home his wife won’t damage an 8-iron by twanging it around his head.”
Now, if the bookies would offer odds on that, I’d be taking them.