The blog from the bog…
|BettingExpert/Betfair Euro 2012 blog correspondent entry profile|
|Barry Snidetats is the founder and editor of his blog WagonBetting.com.|
|Twitter : @BarrySnidetats|
|Website : WagonBetting.com|
Narcissism and mediocrity peddled by the semi-deluded for the fully-lobotomised. An unholy triumvirate of failed journalists, Panini-sticker plebiscites and high-school halfwits hacking up regurgitations from club websites and weekend tabloids. Is this the real world of blogging? Drooling over a lap-top, girlfriend-less and a century lost to Championship Manager?
The good news is that it’s not all about sexual and literary frustrations. When done well, blogging offers more than a sea of silage. It can capture the essence of the sport it portrays: the unexpected moment of brilliance, that flash of ability that makes a difference, and an unerring stamina to sift through the crap.
We sit through the painful nil-nils – like the Italian fans who have endured 270 scoreless minutes – because that’s the very thing that gives a goal its value. When it comes, and it will come at the Euros, it’ll be worth the wait.
So where does betting fit in to all this? Well, for me, it is as important as the sport itself. Life, tactics, ability, injury and luck all whittled down to a percentage chance, a probability… the odds. It’s real-life Championship Manager, but without the soggy conclusion.
And while the managers at Euro 2012 battle internally with tactics and selections, it is we the punters who face the really big match-day decisions: early or late goals, cards or corners, overs or unders, the speculative long shot or the grey margin between 4/7 and 8/11? The football quality may vary, but there is always brilliance in numbers.
So what do the numbers tell us this time round?
There’s growth potential in little Dick
Dick Advocaat’s Russia are worth backing in the weakest section of the competition. The average world ranking in this group is 29, compared to just 4 in Group B, and Russia with the likes of Zhirkov, Dzagoev and Pavlyuchenko should have too much class for obdurate but ordinary sides like Poland, Greece and Czech Republic. The Russians only blips in qualifying were a 1-0 defeat to Slovakia and a 1-1 draw with Ireland, but they should have scored a barrel-load on both occasions (goal attempts: 15 to 7 and 18 to 2 respectively).
CSKA Moscow midfield Alan Dzagoev is the one who really caught the eye with an impressive 4 goals in 8 games and he seems to have slipped under the radar of most bookies. He is returning from a broken toe but has made the provisional 26-man squad and there are worse shouts than backing him each-way for top tournament scorer at 150/1. Take that and Russia to top Group A at 6/4.
ROI offer a poor return on investment
The Republic of Ireland deserve every credit for qualifying, but I fear for them in the tournament proper. They are tough to break down but goals will be a real problem. Trappatoni attacks for no man and in Italy they face the most miserly defence in qualifying (just 2 goals conceded), while reigning champions Spain could put them to the sword. That leaves Croatia, a team who shut out a capable Turkey side over two legs in the play-off.
I’ve already taken 14/1 on no Irish scorer (now in to 7s), but I also like the cover on Birmingham’s Keith Fahey at 28/1 each way, a player who has 3 goals in 15 internationals and is as short as 16/1 elsewhere.
One final consideration is Irish cards on the match markets. They committed the third-most fouls of all teams in qualifying which is a pretty remarkable stat when you throw in the likes of San Marino and Andorra. Their backs-to-the-wall style is also likely to produce plenty of last-ditch tackles, and when you add in the Richard Dunne factor we could be on to a winner…
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