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  • Birthday 09/28/1990

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  1. 0.5pt e/w F. du Plessis to be top tournament batsman @ 33/1 with William Hill (1/4 odds 1-4) 0.5pt e/w G. Maxwell to be top tournament batsman @ 100/1 with Bet365 (1/4 odds 1-4) Both of these men had good series when coming up against each other in South Africa and I fancy them to carry on that form. Faf du Plessis topped his side’s runscorer chart vs Australia and you’d think he’s guaranteed a bat in every match he plays here. As captain he won’t lose his place and at number three he should get plenty of balls to face on more than one occasion. He’s one of many that come in to this tournament with very good knowledge of Indian conditions – he’s played in the IPL since 2011. Good form and guaranteed time at the crease make this price look very good. Glenn Maxwell finished the series against South Africa in good touch. He was at the crease when the winning runs were scored in the series decider and his partnership with David Warner in the second match set them up for victory. Australia play at the home ground of KXIP twice and that suits Maxwell nicely since it’s his home IPL ground. At number five, facing enough balls could be an issue but with his talent he may only need one occasion of getting in early for him to register a big score. He’s more than capable of scoring quickly at the end of an innings so he should be able to accumulate plenty of runs in that role. Despite the risk of him not getting much time at the crease, 100/1 seems far too big for a man in this kind of form and with this kind of talent.
  2. 0.5pt e/w J. Bumrah to be top tournament bowler @ 20/1 with Bet365 (1/4 odds 1-4) 0.5pt e/w D. Steyn to be top tournament bowler @ 33/1 with Paddy Power (1/4 odds 1-4) I’m confident that India and South Africa will go far in this tournament so it’s logical to go with bowlers from their sides at prices I believe offer value. Jasprit Bumrah comes in to this off the back of a successful Asia Cup – taking six wickets and doing well when given the ball in the latter overs. The expectation on this India side will be huge but Bumrah has enough talent around him in the bowling attack to ensure that he isn’t carrying his side’s hopes on his shoulders. This will be the first time some batsmen have faced him so that element of surprise could catch some out. He’s only young and has relatively little experience but the success so far in his career and his ability to outfox batsmen lead me to believe 20/1 is a little big. On the other end of the experience scale is Dale Steyn. We all know he’s one of the best bowlers in the world and that is partly because he has bundles of experience of pressure situations. Steyn has been a consistently high performer in the IPL over the years so knowledge of the conditions isn’t an issue and although he’s not played a great deal lately, he had a couple of run-outs vs Australia and came through those ok. In a side that should go far, Steyn should be up there challenging for the top wicket-taker title.
  3. 1pt India to win Group 2 @ 13/8 with Stan James This price looks huge. I’m not sure it needs much justification as they come here following another Asia Cup win and with a side packed full of talent. They’ve been consistently good in T20s for a while now and their side are more than used to the pressure their nation will place upon their shoulders. Australia have just beat South Africa in South Africa but their bowling attack, Faulkner apart, concerns me – they lack a quality spinner and potentially another pace bowler. New Zealand look short of a batsman and a bowler and Pakistan could be a lively outsider or lose every game. Whilst the odds on them to win the tournament look a bit tight, I’m very surprised that India aren’t around 5/4-6/4 to win the group.
  4. 1pt South Africa to win tournament @ 11/2 with Skybet 1pt South Africa to win Group 1 @ 15/8 with BetVictor South Africa have all of the ingredients to go far in this competition. I think they’ve been put in the easier of the two groups so should be more than able to swat aside a transitional Sri Lanka, a West Indies side without some of their big names and an England team who they’ve just beaten 2-0 at home. Nine of South Africa’s probable starting eleven have IPL experience so these conditions shouldn’t be a problem. In de Villiers, Amla/de Kock and du Plessis they have a powerful top three and an in-form Miller lurks down the order fully capable of finishing an innings. Tahir is one of the best spinners in the world at the moment whilst Rabada has shown no signs of being overawed by occasions in his fledgling career. Add those to Steyn and you have a triple threat that will rival everyone else’s bowling attack. South Africa have just lost a home series to Australia but that doesn’t concern me – if anything I’m happy because the price has remained value, if not increased. That series was used to experiment with the top two and with the bowling attack whilst a few changes were made in the middle order too. There were enough big performances to leave me confident that they will go to India in good spirits. This side has an abundance of talent with the bat and enough variation with the ball to cause sides problems. 11/2 could look very big very early in the tournament. The 15/8 on them to win the group also looks very big.
  5. An Australia win meant that the series score outright lost. Rabada struck with at the death to deny Tahir the number one wicket-taker spot for his side but the dead-heat still brings in a profit. du Plessis managed to bring in his outright although Miller did make it a bit too close for comfort. All of this, minus the one point loser in today's game, means a healthy final profit of +14.63 points.
  6. Chelsea vs PSG: 1pt Both teams to score @ 3/4 with Betfair Both of these sides should go in to tonight’s game looking to score as one Chelsea goal puts PSG on the brink and vice versa. This is the third season in a row that the sides have met in the knockout stages and both sides have found the net on three of the four previous occasions. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last ten at home and in eight of those games they’ve scored and conceded at least one. PSG have found the back of the net in eight of their last nine away ties. Chelsea are still missing Terry and Zouma whilst PSG have doubts over key men Verratti and Matuidi. These potenital weak points plus the firepower each possess and their need to score makes the 3/4 look just big enough to be worth taking.
  7. Zenit vs Benfica: 1pt Zenit to qualify @ 2/1 with BoyleSports 1pt Zenit to beat Benfica @ 21/20 with Ladbrokes 1pt Both teams to score @ Evens with Paddy Power I rarely take three bets in one game but it could have been even more – two others narrowly missed the cut. I think the bookmakers have underestimated Zenit in this match and have overestimated Benfica’s patchwork defence. The hosts come in to this game without Javi Garcia but it’s the visitors who have the bigger problems to deal with. Benfica are without Luisao, Lopez, Jardel, Cesar and Almeida and only Lindelof of their recognised centre-backs is available. Jardel and Cesar have played in every game since the start of the group stage whilst Almeida has played in six of those seven matches. The absence of the ability and, potentially more importantly, experience of Luisao (four appearances) and Lopez (two appearances) will be felt once more. Whilst Zenit weren’t in a strong group, their home record in the group was impressive. They scored seven and conceded only two in their games against Gent, Lyon and Valencia. They’ve done well in the league when playing host, only losing two of their ten home games so far. Benfica were also in a relatively weak group and did ok away, scoring five and conceding five as they beat Atletico, lost to Galatasaray and drew at Astana. Benfica have been great away from home in the league, winning eleven of the twelve games, drawing the other. They’ve managed to score at least two goals on eight of those twelve occasions. These two sides met twice in the 2014/15 Champions League and Zenit were victorious on both occasions, winning 2-0 away and 1-0 at home in the group stage. The main negative against Zenit is the fact that, since December, they’ve only played one competitive game – the first leg. Benfica haven’t had the luxury of having weeks to prepare for these games but they may be a bit sharper than their opponents. Despite Zenit coming in to this following friendlies rather than competitive matches, I think the prices on them to win and qualify offer value. Zenit’s home record to-date in this year’s competition has to be admired and odds- against on them winning the match looks a good price. Benfica’s defence is there to be got at so Zenit will fancy their chances of scoring at least a couple. One Benfica goal could end Zenit’s hopes of progressing but at 2/1 I’m willing to take a chance on Zenit out-scoring them by a big enough margin. Benfica have a habit of scoring away from home and Zenit need to score at least once, therefore, odds-against on both teams to score looks good value.
  8. Great work on the Shahzad bets, Fader
  9. Vfl Wolfsburg vs KAA Gent: 1pt Both teams to score @ 3/4 with Betfair These two sides played out a five-goal thriller in the first game and I think there’ll be goals again tonight. Wolfsburg have Jung out but should be able to cover adequately but they’ll be sweating over the fitness of key players Draxler and Kruse. I’d imagine at least one, if not both, will be risked if it is touch-and-go but, either way, they should have enough to progress. Mitrovic will be a big miss for Gent as the Serbian has been an ever-present for them up until now. The form of these sides are at opposite ends of the scale. Wolfsburg come in to the game having only lost once in seven and that was against Bayern Munich. Overall they have a very good record at home, only losing three times all season with two of those against Munich and the other against Dortmund. Despite that good record, they have conceded on all but six occasions. Gent had a great spell of one defeat in fourteen not so long ago but have since only won twice in seven. They do have a habit of scoring at least one away from home – only failing on 4 occasions all season. Both of these sides have a good habit of getting on the scoresheet so, for me, the odds on offer represent a little bit of value.
  10. It looks as though Russell is free to play, that's a big boost for the West Indies. Like BMD, I'll be getting involved after the South Africa - Australia decider.
  11. 3rd ODI: 1pt G. Maxwell to be top Australian runscorer at 8/1 with Skybet We go in to the third and final T20 in good shape as all three outrights are still very much alive. We're effectively on South Africa to win the match at 13/8, du Plessis leads his side's runs chart and Tahir is a good performance away from topping the bowlers'. Like Durban, past results indicate that wickets should fall. In the two T20s and one ODI here since the start of 2015, fourty of the sixty wickets fell with only one of the six innings seeing less than five bastmen sent packing. This makes the 8/1 on Glenn Maxwell to top score for Australia look a bit big. Maxwell and David Warner took Australia to victory last time out and the former's 75 will ensure he comes here feeling in good touch. We all know that Maxwell can be inconsistent but with wickets likely to fall he should get time to play himself in. 8/1 for a man in form and likely to get a bat looks too big to turn down.
  12. Rabada shared the top-the wicket-taker prize. Now +8.25 points for the series with 3 bets unsettled going to Cape Town.
  13. 2nd T20: 1pt K. Rabada to be top South African bowler @ 7/2 with BoyleSports I backed Rabada in this market in the first T20 and I'm more than happy to do so again at this price. He picked up two wickets in that game and should follow that up with another solid performance at his home ground. South Africa played England here in T20 and ODI matches earlier this year and Rabada chipped in with six wickets over the course of those two games. Familiar surroundings, a rich run of form and a shaky Australian line-up are enough for me to give the youngster another chance to top his side's wicket column.
  14. Watford vs Leicester City: 1pt Over 2.5 goals @ 5/4 Betfair Leicester travel to Watford for the Saturday evening game hoping to extend or maintain the lead they had before the start of the day. Watford come in to this match in inconsistent form. They’ve won, drawn and lost a couple of their previous six games and have only managed to score four, conceding four too. They’ve had a tough run of games lately against Chelsea, Man. United and Spurs but did well to come away with a win at Crystal Palace amongst those. This game isn’t much easier but I do think there is reason for them to hope because they’re still looking a solid side. They were unfortunate to lose against Man. United in midweek when a direct free-kick was the only thing separating the two sides. With relegation very unlikely and Europe just as far away, Watford have the luxury of being able to start playing with freedom. Leicester come in to this after a couple of unconvincing displays. After leaving it late to beat Norwich at home they let West Brom snatch a point in midweek. Those results suggest to me that a bit of nerves and/or tiredness are starting to creep in to their game. The Foxes have lost two of their last five away games after going unbeaten since the start of the season. Whilst they should have Kante available for this game, how fit he is remains to be seen. He’s such a key player for them that any niggles could leave his team exposed. Watford have a very good defence and Leicester have the league’s best attack so something has got to give here and I think it’ll be the former. Despite their defensive record Watford have conceded two or more in four of the five games they’ve played at home against the top seven. They’ve scored in four of the five games, despite their poor attack. Leicester usually concede on the road but they also usually score. All of the above leads me to believe that the 5/4 on offer for over 2.5 goals looks the value play.
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