Friday, February 1, 2013

Week-end football, Superbowl

It is always the case that the matches following the end of the transfer window spring their cans of surprises because teams have reinforced or weakened during the flurry of activities that characterize the end of transfer proceedings. In addition, new players that are propelled straight into the first team have to gel immediately; so while it will be interesting to see how the forms of all the teams have been affected, caution is the word for the first batch of matches this week-end.

I cannot see Man Utd losing at Fulham. For one, the hosts will be without their main goal scorer Berbatov, while the Red Devils have all their major weapons, bar Ashley Young, at their disposal. The confident selection is Man Utd as a win.

West Brom look exposed against Tottenham. Striker Odemwingie threw a fit and tried to force a vain transfer to QPR on the last transfer day. Talk about morale hit to the team. Spurs were forced to dig deep last week to earn a point at Norwich and will be better served with a seemingly fully-fit Defoe. I see value backing the visitors as a draw-no-bet on this one.

In La Liga, I like Barcelona on their road trip to Valencia. The team is in excellent form and should have trounced Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Cup on Wednesday. They only put one past the Los Blancos although they had clear chances to put the match and tie away. Messi did not score but brave would be the one to oppose him again against Valencia. The hosts are possibly the third best team in La Liga but there is a gulf between them and the Blaugrana. Barcelona is a straight win selection.

Malaga should win at home to Zaragoza. Real Madrid should either win or draw at Granada, and I see Rayo Vallecano as the value bet in La Liga with a +1 goal handicap as they visit Sevilla.

Finally, it's the Super Bowl on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers are short favourites but I have a feeling the Baltimore Ravens will win this. They are the better balanced team and their quarterback Joe Flacco has the ability to unlock the sometimes unorganized 49er defence. I am no American football expert, but from what I've seen, and I could be wrong, I will speculate and believe going with the Ravens is definitely worth a small crack at the current odds.

Win: Man Utd, Barcelona, Malaga
Draw-no-bet: Tottenham, Real Madrid
+1 Handicap: Rayo Vallecano

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