Back Novak Djokovic to win the Rome Masters at [1.95]All week
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The early value has been nibbled away here, but we’re still happy to back the world number one at just under evens to win this ATP 1000 tournament on his return from a short break.
The Serb has a tough draw to negotiate, with newly crowned Madrid Masters champion Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer to get past, but as Sean Calvert notes in his outright preview, Djokovic loves this tournament – he and Rafa Nadal have been utterly dominant here.
Incredibly, the last non-Djokovic/Nadal winner at the Foro Italico was Carlos Moya, way back in 2004. Rafa is second in the betting at [5.1] with everyone else at double figure prices but, as evidenced by his defeat to Murray in Madrid, the Spaniard is some way short of his best right now, so we are sticking with the jolly. DT
Back Barcelona to beat Bayern Munich at [2.76]
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In what was an engaging and entertaining affair in the first leg, Barcelona eventually won out late on thanks in large part to the genius of Lionel Messi.
The final score of 3-0 was perhaps slightly flattering, but Barca dominated large parts of the tie at the Nou Camp and, with the injury problems Bayern have, it doesn’t see a huge stretch to consider Luis Enrique‘s men winning the second leg at what looks to be an inflated price.
It’s worth remembering that Pep Guardiola‘s side are in something of a rut form-wise as well – they followed up a defeat at Leverkusen with a pitiful home reversal to fifth-placed Augsburg at the weekend, and I just have a feeling that Barca will delight in turning the screw against their old boss. LM
Back Phil Mickelson to finish Top 10 at the Wells Fargo Championship at [3.5] or better
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Some may call him a fading force, but Phil Mickelson’s record this year is pretty impressive. Alongside his tied second at The Masters, he has a pair of top 20s and no finish worse than 31st when he has made the weekend’s play.
Just like Augusta, which produced his best finish of the year, Mickelson is at one of his favourite venues this week in the shape of Quail Hollow. Eleven starts there have produced seven top 10s with a runner-up in 2010 his best.
Phil’s missed cut last week should put a bit of juice in his price and our recommendation is to play the top 10 at as close to 5/2 as possible once the market gains liquidity. JD
Back Adrian Lewis to beat Gary Anderson in Brighton at [2.9] or better
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A poor start to the campaign meant he was always going to struggle to get into the playoffs but Adrian Lewis is finishing the Premier League season in fine style.
Last week’s impressive win over top-of-the-table Michael van Gerwen made it just one defeat in six matches for Lewis and, with the pressure off as the playoffs are now out of reach, we’ll take a chance at a good price that he can overcome already qualified Gary Anderson.
The Englishman tends to save his best performances for the bigger players – he’s undefeated against MVG, battered Barney in week one and held Phil Taylor to a draw a couple of weeks ago – and he will be after revenge after Anderson thrashed him 7-1 earlier in the season, so here’s hoping ‘good Adrian’ turns up on Thursday. DT
Back Middlesbrough to beat Brentford at [1.98]Friday, 19:45
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Brentford and Mark Warburton did fantastically well to make it into the playoffs after promotion to the Championship, and now find themselves just two games away from Premier League football. However, Middlesbrough have been consistently better this season, arguably have far more quality and are on a run of six straight wins over the Bees.
Just under evens is a decent price for Boro to finish the job they started at Griffin Park and book a place in the playoff final at Wembley with a home win. Aitor Karanka’s men only conceded 12 goals at home all season and have to rate as the value team going into this game. LM