You can’t always get all of your predictions right, but the least we can do it so make sure the prices compensate for our less successful weeks.
That was the case last week as only two of our picks delivered, yet managed to do so at big enough prices to ensure a profit. Christian Benteke scored the first goal for Aston Villa, before Carlos Bacca found the target against Real Madrid.
So we begin this week’s column seeking to find similar value and we start in the Premier League. Newcastle United are currently in free-fall but they might have a possible saviour in the form of Papiss Cisse.
The Senegal international has just served a seven week ban in which he also suffered niggling injury worries but has returned to training this week. With Newcastle unable to buy a goal right now they will surely throw their top scorer back in at the deep end in their crucial home match with West Brom.
Cisse has 11 goals in 20 games this season but many of his appearances have come from off the bench. He has the best goals-per-minute ratio – one every 92 – of any player who has scored five or more in the Premier League and in addition has scored three times against WBA in just 199 minutes of action. Let’s back him at [3.1] to get back among the goals.
As we’re taking a risk with Cisse, we’ll play it safe with our Premier League first goalscorer pick. Christian Benteke has been such a regular source of income in recent weeks that he might as well just pay a small percentage of his salary directly into my bank account.
In all Benteke has scored 11 goals in his last ten matches for Villa and may well add to his tally against a West Ham side with just two wins in his last 14 games. Back Benteke to score the first goal at [4.9].
Not only are we keeping faith in a player that scored for us last week, but also one who failed to. Preston’s Joe Garner finished the season as League One’s top scorer with 25 goals, yet drew a blank as his side lost 1-0 to Colchester and missed out on an automatic promotion spot.
Now Preston take on Chesterfield in the play-offs having won the first-leg 1-0 in midweek. This extended Chesterfield’s poor run of form to four games without a win and Preston go in as odds on favourites to win and secure their place in the final. In such circumstances the [2.4] on offer for Garner to score looks like very good value.
Over in Scotland, Celtic have already achieved their target of winning a fourth Premiership title in a row, but that shouldn’t mean they’re not up for today’s match with Aberdeen.
With Aberdeen having challenged Celtic in the title race this season, the champions should be up for this. In particular you’d expect Leigh Griffiths to want to continue the fine form that has seen him score four goals in his last two games. Let’s back him at [6.0] to open the scoring against an Aberdeen side that lost to Dundee United last week.
Finally, we leave these troubled islands to head to Italy. Roma look likely to once again finish as runners-up to Juventus, as they battle with neighbours Lazio for second place. Perhaps it’s been a lack of a regular goalscorer that has held Roma back, with Francesco Totti the last player to break the 20 league goal barrier way back in 2006-07.
Roma fans will be hoping that they might have found someone who can emulate the great man next season, with January signing Seydou Doumbia having netted in his last two appearances. The Ivory Coast striker was signed from CSKA Moscow where he plundered 84 goals in 130 games. This weekend he’s up against an AC Milan team without a win in five and looks value at [2.9] to score.
Best Bet: Back Cisse to score at [3.1]
Back Benteke to score first at [4.9]
Back Garner to score at [2.4]
Back Griffiths to score first at [6.0]
Back Doumbia to score at [2.9]