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Thursday, 29 November 2012

NFL Week 13 Picks 2012

Another week has flown by and I think the new Thursday night game has not helped matters as work takes priority during the week.

However, this week I thought I'd have a quick look at the Divisions and how things are shaping up as we fast approach the Play Offs.

This was my pre-season preview of the AFC Conference

And this was my pre-season preview of the NFC Conference


In the AFC East, you will notice that New England have pretty much reached the expectations that I had for them, although they may not be quite good enough to pick up the Number 1 seed in the Conference as I thought they could.

The rest of the teams have surprised me, although Miami have reached my initial expectations for them rather than the lowered targets. Buffalo have been the biggest disappointment in this Division and the New York Jets blow up has hardly been a surprise to anyone.


The Baltimore Ravens are on course to win the AFC North, although I only expected them to finish behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and earn a Wild Card spot. Injuries are really hurting the Steelers and they look a really vulnerable side when it comes to making the Play Offs, especially if they can't stop turning the ball over and Ben Roethlisberger misses extended time.

Cincinnati could be the team that takes advantage, but they still have a tough road to negotiate if they are to make the most of their winning record at this stage. The Browns are performing as expected and I doubt they surpass the 4 wins that I believed was the maximum they earn this season.


The AFC South hasn't surprised in some aspects as Houston lead the Division and Jacksonville are in the basement... The Texans have already reached double digits and look like they could earn the Number 1 seed in the Conference, while the Jaguars look set to fall short of the 5 wins they managed last season.

Tennessee have also not surpassed expectations as I believed they would likely end with a losing record and are 2 losses from that situation. However, I couldn't have been more wrong about the Indianapolis Colts as I didn't think they would be close to a winning record. The Colts have been so surprising that they could be in line to make the Play Offs as a Wild Card team, and I doubt even Jim Irsay would have been expecting that this season in what was a rebuilding year... Interestingly, if the Play Offs started today, the Colts would be visiting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Wild Card Round.


Speaking of Denver, Manning has been excellent and has helped them far exceed what I thought the Broncos would achieve... I projected another 8-8 season for them this season, but they are already 8-3 and look in total control of the AFC West.

I had believed in San Diego again this season, but they need to win out if they are to finish with a winning record and even the Play Offs looks a stretch for them. Both Oakland and Kansas City have been poor this season, with the latter in the best position to finish with the Number 1 pick in the Draft next April.


The NFC East was always a tough Division to project, but the performance of Philadelphia has been far worse than what most would have expected. Andy Reid is likely to be on the way out as is Michael Vick and the Eagles are virtually set to have a losing record.

I had projected the Giants to finish 9-7 and that looks a record that could see them win the Division, while they are on course to surpass that projection at 7-4 already. I also tipped Dallas to be either 8-8 with the possibility of going a win or loss either side of that mark and they look set to finish around that number.

The biggest surprise so far is Washington as I didn't think they would reach 5 wins for the season, but they are already at that mark and have a chance of making the Play Offs, but that could all depend on whether they can beat the Giants at home on Monday Night Football this week.


The Green Bay Packers were my pick in the NFC North and I still think they will do that, although they won't be reaching the 13 wins I had projected for them this season. That is mainly down to a couple of bits of bad luck, especially the loss in Seattle and a disappointing defeat to the Colts despite being up big in that game.

In pre-season, I couldn't separate the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions and while the former is on course to reach the record I projected, the latter has been a huge disappointment and will be missing the Play Offs this season. Minnesota have surpassed the 3 wins from last season as expected, but I didn't have them finishing outside of the basement in the Division, although that does look the case at this moment.


As with many, the New Orleans Saints have severely under-achieved from my pre-season expectations, although it says a lot about the character in the team that they are still in a position to enter the Play Offs despite a 0-4 start. The NFC South is in control of the Atlanta Falcons, a team that I thought could win the Division with a bit of luck, but one I did not see winning double digit games this season, something that has already been surpassed.

Carolina are going to be a disappointment as I had believed they will reach the same record as last season, but that looks to be a step too far as they need to win 3 of their last 5 games to do so. I had tipped Tampa Bay to reach 6 or 7 wins, but they have responded to Greg Schiano and they are set to finish at least 0.500 for the season with 2 more wins avoiding a losing record.


The NFC West was probably the easiest Division to pick in the NFL this season and I don't think too many people will be surprised by the way it is shaping up. I had picked San Francisco to reach double-digit wins again this season and take the title, which they are well on course to do so, while I also projected Seattle to come behind them.

However, the Seahawks have managed the surprise wins that they needed to avoid a 7-9 record that I had picked for them, although I still think they come up short for the Play Offs.

St Louis have also doubled last seasons wins as expected, and Arizona are set for another losing record (although at 4-0, I thought the Cardinals could surpass expectations massively).


My Top Ten
1) Houston Texans (10-1): There really isn't a stand out team in the NFL this season that I think is 'unbeatable', but the Texans look the best balanced.
2) Baltimore Ravens (9-2): Injuries are still an issue, and the Ravens are not half as good on the road as they are at home, but I still think they are a legitimate SuperBowl contender.
3) New England Patriots (8-3): The arrival of Aqib Talib improves the Defense, and the Patriots have the experience of winning the big games.
4) Atlanta Falcons (10-1): I can't be the only person that doesn't have faith in this team when it comes to the Play Offs.
5) San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1): This team would be my pick to represent the NFC right now.
6) New York Giants (7-4): Are they back? If they play like they did on Sunday night against Green Bay, I think the Giants will be the biggest threat to San Francisco.
7) Green Bay Packers (7-4): I believe Sunday night was an aberration and the Packers will get better as injuries clear up going forward. Still the team to beat in the NFC North.
8) Denver Broncos (8-3): Have struggled against the best teams they have played in Houston, Atlanta and New England and their next big test will be how they have handle the Baltimore Ravens.
9) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5): Lost their last 2 games down to mental errors and Special Teams play. Will be falling out of this list if Ben Roethlisberger isn't back sooner rather than later.
10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5): Were very close to knocking off the Atlanta Falcons last time out and are a real threat to make the Play Offs if they can pick up confidence and momentum again.


My Bottom Five
32) Kansas City Chiefs (1-9): Any team that chooses to start Brady Quinn isn't very good... They'll get the Number 1 Draft Pick next April unless they do something foolish in their last 5 games.
31) Philadelphia Eagles (3-8): 7 consecutive losses and they know there are a lot of changes to be made this off-season.
30) Oakland Raiders (3-8): Have plain given up!
29) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9): Least these guys have shown more heart and determination than the two teams immediately below them.
28) Cleveland Browns (3-8): Had 8 turnovers last week and still almost lost the game while Colt McCoy may be back in the Quarter Back starting role this week.


NFL Week 13 Picks
I will update my review from last weeks picks either later or tomorrow, but the Thursday night game pick has to be put up first.


New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons Pick: I like the road team to at least cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, this spread does seem an over-reaction to the New Orleans loss last week when it was only a couple of pick sixes that cost the Saints the game.

Second, the Saints have won 7 of their last 8 games against Atlanta in the Divisional series and they have won 4 of their last 5 games at the Georgia Dome.

Third, it goes back to when I picked the Saints to beat the Falcons three weeks ago, I just prefer their Offense of the two teams and think they are more likely to score touchdowns. That makes being given more than a field goal head start look very appealing.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys Pick: I like the Cowboys, despite being a crappy team to back when considered the home favourite, for the following reasons:

First, despite the injuries the Philadelphia Eagles are playing with, Dallas will not take this game lightly in the Division as they have lost their last 2 home games against the Eagles and can't afford another Divisional loss this season if they want to catch the New York Giants.

Second, I just think the Eagles are too banged up to get things done against this Defense, particularly if LeSean McCoy is out to join Michael Vick  and DeSean Jackson on the sidelines.


Third, the Cowboys are 6-2 against the spread in the last 8 games in the series.


New York Giants @ Washington Redskins Pick: I will be taking the road underdog to win this game on Monday Night Football and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, barring one terrible overthrow, Eli Manning looked fresh in the dismantling of the Green Bay Packers last week and I think he will torch a Washington Defense that has been obliterated by injuries.


Second, I feel the New York pass rush is going to cause some issues, while I believe they will eventually win the turnover battle as they did in the first game between the teams this season.

Third, it should be a high-scoring game tonight as I feel both Offenses will be able to move the ball with some success, but I just think Manning makes more plays with his receivers than RG3 can when it is all said and done.

Fourth, I know the Redskins swept the Giants last season and the game earlier was very close, but New York had previously won 5 in a row at FedEx Field and they are 4-2 against the spread in their last 6 visits here.


MY PICKS: New Orleans Saints + 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Dallas Cowboys - 10 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
New York Giants - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (2 Units)



Week 12: 3-6, - 7.15 Units
Week 11: 8-1, + 12.99 Units
Week 10: 4-4, + 0.74 Units
Week 9: 3-3, + 1.64 Units
Week 84-3, + 2.58 Units
Week 73-3-2, + 0.58 Units
Week 63-5, - 5.26 Units
Week 52-5, - 6.24 Units
Week 46-3, + 2.50 Units
Week 34-3, + 0.95 Units
Week 26-4, + 3.92 Units
Week 13-6, - 6.76 Units

Season 201231-32-4, + 0.09 Units

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Weekend Football Picks (November 24-25)


These are my picks for the weekend games in the Premier League and the reasons I have made them:


Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers Pick: It has been over 10 years since Manchester United have lost three games in a row and I think we are going to see a reaction from the loss at Norwich City last weekend.

Mark Hughes is gone as manager of Queens Park Rangers and it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction the players have.

However, as well as wanting to recover from the loss last week, I have no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson will be reminding his team of the lack of effort QPR gave at the end of their match with Manchester City that ultimately cost United the title when it was clear that Rangers were not going to be relegated.

Fergie will not want his side to let up here and I think United can score a few goals in this one and cover the 2 goal handicap with an exact 2 goal win returning the stake.


Aston Villa v Arsenal Pick: I don't know if I can trust Arsenal fully after a couple of wins, but Aston Villa look a side that is struggling with the inexperience in the squad and they look ripe for the taking after a couple of big games against Manchester United and Manchester City in the last couple of weeks.

The side host Reading on Tuesday night and there is every chance that Villa are targeting that game as the one where they can pick up three points so I think Arsenal will be a little too good for them when all is said and done in this game.

Arsenal have won 1-2 on their last two visits to Villa Park and a similar scoreline is definitely in the offing in my opinion so I'll have a small interest that they pick up the three points in a game that has either 3 or 4 goals in total.


Swansea v Liverpool Pick: I don't really have a lot of statistics to back this pick up, but I do like over 2.5 goals between these sides as both have been scoring and conceding goals in equal measure at the moment.

Swansea will know what to expect from Brendan Rodgers and Rodgers will also be able to give his new team some insight into what the Swans will be doing.

Both sides will consider this a winnable game and I just think someone will win after both sides have at least scored one each so taking the over looks the call to me.


Southampton v Newcastle United Pick: Newcastle United have been a disappointment in recent games and I think they have struggled without the likes of Yohan Cabaye and that can only be more of an issue now Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out.

Southampton should be full of confidence thanks to their win at Queens Park Rangers last weekend, but they are always liable to concede at least one goal through a mistake and that does put the pressure on them to turn draws into wins.

However, I do like Southampton to win this game after their performance last week and I do think Newcastle have had some tough losses of late and confidence can't be high for this long trip down south.


Chelsea v Manchester City Pick: Why are Manchester City the underdog in this game? I know a new manager can bring a change of fortunes so Chelsea will be hoping for that in this one, but the fans are not happy with recent events at the club and that could cause a tense performance from the home side.

To make matters tougher for them, Chelsea have been conceding plenty of goals at the moment and have conceded at least 2 goals to the likes of Manchester United (twice) and Shakhtar Donetsk here at Stamford Bridge.

Confidence also has to be a little shot after a comprehensive loss to Juventus has left Chelsea's Champions League dreams in tatters, and I just think City can take advantage here.

It won't be easy for City who have a bad record at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons, but I just think they have enough firepower to prove they are better than being the underdog in this one and will back them for a small interest to win the game.


MY PICKS: Manchester United - 2 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Bet Fred (4 Units)
Arsenal Win and either 3 or 4 Goals Scored @ 3.60 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Swansea-Liverpool Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Southampton Win and at Least 3 Goals Scored @ 4.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Manchester City @ 2.90 Pinnacle (1 Unit)


November Update8-16, - 3.25 Units (32 Units Staked, - 10.2% Yield)

October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Friday, 23 November 2012

College Football Week 13 Picks 2012

It has been a tough season, as I say every week, but the last couple of weeks has at least seen a small profit develop, although again teams have left points on the board and cost me.

This is the final week of the regular season for many of the College teams up and down the nation, but these are the picks I'll go with before the start of the Championship Games next weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating.


Northern Illinois Huskies @ Eastern Michigan Eagles Pick: It is a big spread, but I like the Northern Illinois Huskies to cover for the following reasons:

First, the Huskies have won their last 3 at Eastern Michigan while covering the spread and have recorded some huge wins including a 68 point win last time they played here.

Second, the Huskies have a lot of momentum and will want to complete the sweep of the MAC in Conference play ahead of the Championship Game next weekend.

Third, the Eagles are just 5-9 against the spread as the home underdog since Ron English took over as Head Coach.


Marshall Thundering Herd @ East Carolina Pirates Pick: I'll back the home favourite to win the game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, East Carolina have dominated Marshall at home, winning 6 in a row by an average of 20 points per game.

Second, the Pirates are also a decent home favourite going 5-3 against the spread, compared with Marshall who are 5-7 as the road underdog.



Buffalo Bulls @ Bowling Green Falcons Pick: I'll back the Bowling Green Falcons for the following reasons to cover the spread:

First, I think the Bowling Green Defense has the definite edge in this contest and they should be able to slow down the Bulls enough to win this game and cover the spread.

Second, the Falcons did lose any hopes of winning the MAC East with a home loss last week, but they will still want to get some momentum ahead of their Bowl game that they should be involved with.


Third, Bowling Green have been very strong as the favourite this season and should be able to overcome Buffalo as long as their minds haven't wandered after the loss last week.


LSU Tigers @ Arkansas Razorbacks Pick: I will back the LSU Tigers to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Arkansas have never recovered from the Bobby Petrino scandal before the season began and they have played like a team that is looking forward to the end of the season from day one. That's not good against a LSU team that will be focused on reaching double-digit wins again.

Second, the Tigers should have enough turnovers to pull away from the Razorbacks and I think their Special Teams could also have a big impact in the game.

Third, LSU are usually a solid road favourite, going 6-2 against the spread in that spot over the last 3 seasons.


Indiana Hoosiers @ Purdue Boilermakers Pick: I'll back the Purdue Boilermakers to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, I think this will be a high-scoring game, but I'll be looking for Purdue to win the turnover battle and secure the win by a touchdown at least.

Second, Purdue have been pretty dominant in the recent series and won't be under different pressure having beat Indiana to become Bowl eligible last season.

Third, the Boilermakers are also in revenge mode having lost here the last time they played one another, and had previously beaten Indiana comfortably in 4 straight home games.


Kentucky Wildcats @ Tennessee Volunteers Pick: I said a few weeks ago that Derek Dooley wouldn't be long for the Tennessee Head Coach role and that was confirmed last week. I still like the Tennessee Volunteers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Tennessee have been a big disappointment this season but I do think they are the better team here and should be able to do enough at home to win by pulling away late.

Second, Tennessee are also in a revenge spot having lost in Lexington last season and they had covered in 4 straight games in this series before that.

Third, Kentucky are an awful road underdog, going 2-10 against the spread under Joker Phillips when in that spot.


Florida Gators @ Florida State Seminoles Pick: I'll back the Florida State Seminoles to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Florida State have blown out the Florida Gators two seasons in a row and I think they will have more focus here as the Gators think about missing their chance of winning the SEC East.

Second, the Seminoles are better on both sides of the ball and should make enough big plays to cover the spread in a winning performance.

Third, Florida are only 1-4 against the spread as the road underdog over the last three seasons.


Wisconsin Badgers @ Penn State Nittany Lions Pick: I'll take the points in this one with the Wisconsin Badgers for the following reasons:

First, Wisconsin will want to pick up some momentum ahead of the Big Ten Championship Game next week and so they should be fully focused against a rival.

Second, the Badgers have fallen short against the best teams in the Big Ten, but I think they match up well against the Nittany Lions and may just be able to win this outright.


South Carolina Gamecocks @ Clemson Tigers Pick: I'll take the Clemson Tigers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the match up seems to favour the Tigers more than South Carolina and I think Tajh Boyd makes the big plays that lead to the victory.

Second, Clemson have been playing the better football of the two teams and will be focused on the game with the ACC Championship Game not in their future this season.


Third, the Tigers have also been exceptional at home in the last two seasons and I think that will also make the difference in this game.






MY PICKS: Northern Illinois Huskies - 20.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
East Carolina Pirates - 6.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Bowling Green Falcons - 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
LSU Tigers - 12 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Purdue Boilermakers - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Tennessee Volunteers - 12.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Florida State Seminoles - 7 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Wisconsin Badgers + 2 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

NFL Week 12 Picks 2012

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the week has come through. I will be fleshing out this thread in the next couple of days, but for now, these are my Thanksgiving Day Picks.

EDIT: Will have to wait to have a more fleshed out thread as just been too hungover/busy/going to see United since Thursday so it'll only be the picks for the games again this week.

Have a great Thanksgiving if you're celebrating it.


Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions Pick: I like the Houston Texans in this game for the following reasons:

First, Detroit are off back to back emotional Divisional losses and they could easily be a little down in this one.

Second, the Lions have notoriously struggled on Thanksgiving Day, losing their last 8 against the spread.

Third, I think the Detroit Offense has just been too banged up and I believe the Texans Defense will play much better than they did against Jacksonville on Sunday.


Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys Picks: I'll back the Washington Redskins to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, Dallas are so up and down as a team and have struggled as the home favourite, going 3-14 against the spread in that situation.

Second, they have been even worse as a home favourite against NFC East teams, going 4-15 in that spot over the last few seasons. Washington are also 12-3 against the spread as the road underdog in Divisional contests.


Third, I think RG3 has a huge game coming back to Texas and I think the Dallas Secondary has just slipped a little bit of late so I expect he can make enough big plays with the spread over a field goal in difference.


New England Patriots @ New York Jets Pick: I'll back New England to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, I think they will be play up and hard with the loss of Rob Gronkowski and the Jets Defense has really struggled at the moment.


Second, Mark Sanchez had a decent outing against the St Louis Rams but I don't trust him to have back to back strong games and that could be the difference.

Third, the Patriots are 14-6 against the spread as the road favourite against AFC East teams over the last few seasons.


Four, I think Aqib Talib does make the Patriots a better Defense and he should help in shutting down this Jets Offense that makes too many mistakes with dropped balls and bad decisions from the Quarter Back.


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns Pick: I like the Pittsburgh Steelers in this contest to grab an important win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Steelers have dominated this recent series, winning 21 of 23, and they will also be focused despite this game being the meat in a Baltimore sandwich.

Second, I expect the Pittsburgh Defense to step up again this week (remember they only allowed Baltimore to 6 Offensive points) and I think they will be able to create one big turnover that wins the game for them.

Third, very few rookie Quarter Backs get the better of Dick LeBeau who is 17-1 straight up against them.

Fourth, Cleveland are just 2-9 against the spread over the last 3 seasons when set as an underdog of less than 3 points.


Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars Pick: I like the road favourite to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, road favourites have a very high percentage of covering games when they are off a bye.

Second, the Jaguars lost a heartbreaker to the Houston Texans last week and while this is a Divisional game, they could still be flat with nothing really going except playing out the string this season.

Third, the Titans have won 3 of their last 4 visits to Jacksonville and the Jaguars have really played badly at home all season.

Fourth, Jacksonville are 3-10 against the spread as the home underdog this season and have already lost to both Divisional rivals here while failing to cover the spread.


Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs Pick: Another road team I will be backing is the Denver Broncos and I like them to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Denver have Peyton Manning... Kansas City start Brady Quinn.


Second, the Broncos have also won 2 of their last 3 visits to Arrowhead and will not take the game lightly as it is a Divisional game and Denver can still force their way into one of the top two seeds in the AFC with the way the schedule has gone down.

Third, the Chiefs just don't protect the ball and a couple of turnovers should allow Manning and this Offense to pull away and earn the cover.


Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick: I'll take the momentum and pick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, I think the Buccaneers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now and they will have been given a real boost by their come from behind win over Carolina last week. That momentum and the home field advantage could be huge.

Second, this is an important game for the Falcons as it is a Divisional game, but I am still not convinced that they are not looking ahead to their Thursday night tussle with the New Orleans Saints.

Third, the Buccaneers knocked off the Falcons here last season to snap a 2 game home losing run in the series and that should bolster their confidence.


St Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals Pick: I'll back the road underdog to pull the upset, but I'll take the small number of points to be on the safe side. I like St Louis for the following reasons:

First, Arizona have been on a long losing run and they are starting a rookie Quarter Back behind an Offensive Line that blows. Rian Lindley struggled last week and I expect Chris Long and Robert Quinn make it tough for him this week.

Second, St Louis haven't been playing well at all in recent weeks, but they have shown some signs of being able to move the chains and I expect Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson to do enough to score enough points to win the game.

Third, the Cardinals shouldn't be favoured over any team right now and they are 1-6-2 against the spread as a home favourite over the last three seasons.


Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers Pick: I'll take the San Diego Chargers in this spot for the following reasons:

First, this game doesn't mean as much to Baltimore as it does to San Diego as the Ravens are much more likely to be looking ahead to the second clash with Pittsburgh in 3 weeks, a game they can win and basically wrap up the AFC North.

Second, Baltimore are 2-10 against the spread when playing on the West Coast, which includes a 20 point loss here last season.

Third, after beating the Steelers twice last season, Baltimore failed to win or cover the spread in their next game. In fact, over the last five seasons, the Ravens are just 3-6 against the spread in their game immediately following one with the Steelers in the regular season.


San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Pick: I'm backing the New Orleans Saints to win this game for the following reasons:

First, New Orleans have been playing a lot more like their old selves in the last few weeks to bring them back in contention in the NFC and I think they are ready to show off what they can do and earn some revenge for the Divisional Round loss at Candlestick Park last year.

Second, the Saints should not really be considered a home underdog with Drew Brees as they are 5-0 against the spread in that spot.

Third, I just believe the Saints are playing with a lot of momentum and confidence right now and I just think the revenge angle helps their cause in this one to win the game outright, although expect some swings and turns.


Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants Pick: I don' think the Green Bay Packers should be an underdog, let alone one by 3 points so I am picking them to cover for the following reasons:

First, actually that above is a pretty good reason- should the Packers really be giving anyone a field goal start with the way they have been playing? Personally, I don't think so.


Second, Eli Manning was not himself in the weeks prior to the bye and he is going to have to have recharged his batteries to keep up with the Packers in what could be a shoot-out.

Third, the Giants are 7-18-1 against the spread as the home favourite... Green Bay are 17-6-1 against the spread as the road underdog including that shelling of Houston earlier this season.

Fourth, this looks a shoot out and I favour Rodgers over Manning in that sense.


MY PICKS: Houston Texans - 3 Points @ 1.85 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Washington Redskins + 3.5 Points @ 1.85 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
New England Patriots - 7 Points @ 2.05 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 1.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tennessee Titans - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Denver Broncos - 10 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers + 1 Point @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
St Louis + 1.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
San Diego Chargers @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
New Orleans Saints @ 2.05 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers + 3 Points @ 1.90 Pinnacle (3 Units)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Midweek Football Picks (November 20-22)

It's back to the Champions League and European football this week as we get set to enter a busy two months in England with a heavy run of fixtures around the festive period.

Remember to keep an eye on team news ahead of these games as some teams have qualified and others are already out of the competitions so resting players in not against the norm at this stage.


Galatasaray v Manchester United Pick: I find it horrible to back against my team and usually steer clear of doing so... Unless it is a Capital One Cup game or a meaningless Champions League game like we have on Tuesday evening.

Sir Alex Ferguson has taken a youthful looking squad to Turkey and that is not the easiest place to get some experience as Galatasaray have been very tough to play out there in front of their passionate fans.

After seeing the amount of chances Galatasaray created against a stronger United team at Old Trafford, I have little doubt they will be able to do the same in this one, but I also think the home side have shown some vulnerabilities in the Champions League this season and are yet to keep a clean sheet.

The layers know United have a weaker squad out here, and they have also priced down the home win simply because Galatasaray 'need' to win... However, I would rather have a small interest in Galatasaray winning with a few goals scored in the game as I doubt they keep a clean sheet.


BATE Borisov v Lille Pick: Talking about skeleton squads, Lille have taken a very young squad to Belarus to face a BATE Borisov side that has played well in the Champions League and already thumped the French side on their travels and beaten Bayern Munich here.

BATE should be on the front foot for much of this game and the inexperience in the away side may make all the difference.

I expect Lille to make an effort to get off the pointless track, but BATE should be too strong when it is all said and done.


Juventus v Chelsea Pick: Chelsea have really hit the wall in recent weeks and I think they are going to have another tough day in the office and could be faced with the prospect of being knocked out of the Champions League at the Group Stage.

Juventus should be on the front foot in this game and they look capable of exposing a Chelsea back line that is missing John Terry and one that has struggled for clean sheets. The Blues have conceded at least 2 goals against the likes of Manchester United (twice), Shakhtar Donetsk (twice) and West Brom in recent games and you have to favour Juventus to grab the win here.

However, Chelsea should be able to get on the scoreboard themselves in this game as they have players that will certainly help create chances. My issue is that they are too open at the back and could be picked off by a Juventus team that could have beaten them at Stamford Bridge and clearly can create chances against this defence.

We should see goals in this game so a small interest in Juventus winning a high-scoring game looks the call.


Valencia v Bayern Munich Pick: Two teams in very good form meet each other in a game that could determine the winner of this Group and a chance to avoid some of the bigger names in the last 16.

Valencia have won 6 in a row at home in all competitions, while Bayern Munich have only lost 1 of their last 9 away games. The German side will be very happy avoiding defeat in this one as that would mean a win over BATE at home would win them them the Group.

A draw actually would suit Bayern down to the ground in this one and I think Valencia would be happy too as that would secure their place in the last 16.


Arsenal v Montpellier Pick: Arsenal look remarkably short considering their recent struggles in both the Premier League and the Champions League, but Montpellier have been a little exposed in the competition as they are inexperienced and struggling to reach the heights of last season when they won the French domestic League.

I think Arsenal probably win, but the best way to get on seems to be Both Teams to Score and Arsenal to win which is offered at 3.00 by Ladbrokes.

The home side have earned just 1 clean sheet in their last 14 games in all competitions and look vulnerable, something that Montpellier could expose as a team that has scored in every away game they have played this season, including at Schalke and Olympiacos in this competition.

Arsenal have also had 3 clean sheets in their last 10 Champions League home games and this looks a spot of value considering they have won 8 of those games.


Manchester City v Real Madrid Pick: This looks like a game that may continue from where they left off in Madrid as both teams will be pushing forward to win the game.

Manchester City have to win and hope Ajax beat Borussia Dortmund to give themselves a small chance of progressing from the Group, while Real Madrid come here with less pressure as they can afford to lose as long as they beat Ajax at home in their final Group game. However, Jose Mourinho will still harbour ambitions of finishing top of the section and he has to see his side earn 2 more points than Dortmund if they are to do so and that means they cannot sit back and wait for things to happen either.

Both defences have shown vulnerabilities in the competition, while both attacks are definitely clever enough and have enough pace and creativity to cause problems.

The over 2.5 goals has been priced down accordingly, but I still think taking the odds against quote for over 3.5 goals may be the way to go.


MY PICKS: BATE Borisov @ 2.20 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Galatasaray Win and at Least 3 Goals Scored @ 3.25 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Juventus Win and at Least 3 Goals Scored @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Valencia-Bayern Munich Draw @ 3.50 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Both Teams to Score and Arsenal to Win @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Manchester City-Real Madrid Over 3.5 Goals @ 2.30 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)



November Update6-12, - 3.75 Units (26 Units Staked, - 14.4% Yield)

October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

NFL Week 11 Picks 2012

It's the short Thanksgiving week coming up so I'll have a full thread for that day where I'll look back at how my pre-season predictions have been doing and it will be a much fuller thread than this one.

It has been a long week at work for me so I'll only be posting my picks and reasons for them this week:


Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions Pick: I'll back the Green Bay Packers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, both teams have some major injuries on both sides of the ball, but at least the Packers are coming off a bye and can have planned for this game without the likes of Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson.


Second, the Packers are 6-0 against the spread when coming off a bye under Mike McCarthy.

Third, Green Bay picked up some serious momentum before their bye, while the Lions loss in Minnesota last weekend could be the body blow to their Play Off chances and they may be emotionally down because of that defeat.

Fourth, road favourites coming off a bye generally do cover the spread.

Fifth, Green Bay have dominated this series, going 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games and they are also 3-1 in their last 4 visits to Detroit.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers Pick: This is essentially a 'pick 'em' contest and I am backing the road team for the following reasons:

First, the Buccaneers are one of the hotter teams in the NFL, while Carolina have struggled for most of the season and so Tampa Bay should be able to make that momentum count.


Second, I believe the Buccaneers have more play-makers on both sides of the ball and a turnover here or a big play there could make all the difference in what should be a high-scoring game.

Third, the Buccaneers do have Atlanta on deck and I have seen that being an argument for them perhaps being unfocused on this game- personally, I think Tampa Bay know that game will be almost meaningless if they lose this one as they are already 3 games behind in the Division. To earn a Wild Card, they can't pick and choose games on which to focus.


Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs Pick: I'll be backing yet another road team to win and cover the spread in this game for the following reasons:

First, Kansas City put in a big effort on Monday Night Football before coming up just short in pulling the upset over Pittsburgh and they may have emptied the tank for that game and could be flat in this one.

Second, the fans are planning on showing their discontent in this game and that could make it tougher for an Offense that has given the ball away far too much this season.

Third, the Bengals are 4-2 in the last 6 games of this series and they will know they could potentially have a big impact in the AFC North if they win this game with Pittsburgh and Baltimore meeting one another twice in three weeks and both suffering with major injuries.

Fourth, Cincinnati are 4-1-1 against the spread as the road favourite since the beginning of last season.


New York Jets @ St Louis Rams Pick: I am taking the New York Jets to keep this close enough to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Jets have been blown out twice, but teams generally respond well to that dynamic in their next game, although I am a little concerned with the way they seem to be imploding from within for a second season in succession with players blaming Tim Tebow under anonymous names.


Second, a stat I picked up from another site was that teams coming off a tie are just 2-6 against the spread in their next game if they are playing a non-Divisional game.

Third, the Jets may be focusing on the Thanksgiving Day game where they host the New England Patriots, but that game will be meaningless if they lose this one. However, the spot the Rams find themselves in is even worse as they have two Divisional games after this one while coming off a Divisional game.

Fourth, the Rams are 8-17 against the spread as the home favourite over the last few seasons.


New Orleans Saints @ Oakland Raiders Pick: I am backing the New Orleans Saints to continue their late run and also cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, both teams are going to move the chains all day long in my opinion, but the difference will be that New Orleans will convert more drives into touchdowns than Oakland will and I also think Carson Palmer is more likely to throw turnovers than Drew Brees.


Second, momentum is a huge factor and I think the Saints have a lot more momentum than the Raiders who have allowed at least 42 points in each of their last 2 games.

Third, the Saints are 14-5 against the spread when playing non-Conference opponents, the Raiders are 8-17-1 against the spread in the same spot.


San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos Pick: I haven't picked too many home teams, but I like the Denver Broncos in this one for the following reasons:

First, the San Diego Chargers just make far too many mistakes and that has hurt them all season, while the pressure on Norv Turner is beginning to take its toll.

Second, as I said before, momentum is a huge factor and the Broncos have won 4 in a row while they have scored at least 30 points in each game. Peyton Manning is on fire and the Chargers were torched by Josh Freeman last week.

Third, the Broncos will be fully focused in putting the Chargers away in the Division and a win today would do just that.


Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots Pick: It does look a big spread, but I am going to back the New England Patriots to cover for the following reasons:

First, Tom Brady is one of the 'bitter' players in the NFL who seems to raise his game when he is playing against someone who is getting all the attention at the Quarter Back position. Brady made a point of crushing Tim Tebow twice last season and I think he is focused on doing the same here and putting Andrew Luck 'in his place'.


Second, the Patriots should be a little better on the Defensive side of the ball now that Aqib Talib is back from suspension and can make his debut for them here. Talib is a good Defensive Back and I expect he will make New England a little tougher.

Third, Indianapolis are playing really well, but they were blown out in Chicago and by the New York Jets and Luck is definitely not as good on the road as he is in his dome.


Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick: I will take the home side to keep this close despite missing Ben Roethlisberger and I like the for the following reasons:

First, I imagine the Steelers Defense is going to step up their play knowing the Offense will need a lot of help without their Quarter Back leader.

Second, the Ravens Defense has given up some big plays on the ground and they should be given a healthy does of runs which may open things up for Byron Leftwich to make deep plays to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.


Third, 6 of the last 10 games between these teams have been decided by 3 points so getting more than a field goal on the points looks generous to me.

Fourth, over the last 10 seasons, Pittsburgh have only been the home underdog on 4 occasions and they have covered the spread in every one of those games.


Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers Pick: I am going to take the Over 36.5 Points in this game as I think that looks too short considering both Defenses are capable of scoring points themselves or creating turnovers that lead to short fields.

I think the layers may be under-estimating Chicago's chances of moving the chains with Jason Campbell on last weeks performance against Houston, but there were a couple of factors in play. First, the weather was ridiculous and even the Texans had a hard time finding consistency, particularly in the passing game, and second, Campbell will have had a week learning with the first team Offense this week and should be more clued in.

Alex Smith should be starting for the 49ers despite leaving the game against St Louis with a concussion last week, and I think he'll have some success too. A 20-17 result either way would not be a surprise to me so the over total points looks the call for a small interest.


MY PICKS: Green Bay Packers - 3 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1 Point @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Cincinnati Bengals - 3 Points @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
New York Jets + 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
New Orleans Saints - 5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (3 Units)
Denver Broncos - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Tote Sport (1 Unit)
New England Patriots - 9.5 Points @ 2.00 Tote Sport (1 Unit)
Pittsburgh Steelers + 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
San Francisco 49ers-Chicago Bears Over 36.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

College Football Week 12 Picks 2012

It's been a remarkably poor season for my NCAA College Football Picks and it really has been a big disappointment for me.

Last season was very successful, so it is balancing it out into a small profit over the last two years, but I expect much more from the picks.

Some of it has been bad luck... Some of it has been terrible picking, but it all adds up to the same thing and I'll be hoping for some sort of comeback over the last couple of months left this season.


Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Cincinnati Bearcats Pick: I am taking the road underdog to cover the spread in this game for the following reasons:

First, these teams have both been very good against the spread this season, but I just think Rutgers can make more big plays on the Defensive side of the ball and that could keep them close throughout.

Second, Rutgers are 4-1 against the spread as the road underdog over the last 18 months.

Third, the underdog is 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 games in this series.


Memphis Tigers @ UAB Blazers Pick: I'll be backing the UAB Blazers to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, UAB have just picked up a bit of momentum with back to back wins and I like their chances to make it three in a row despite Memphis snapping a 4 game losing run last time out.

Second, I have more faith in the Blazers Offense and like their match up more than I like the Memphis Tigers doing the same.

Third, UAB have won 3 in a row in the series and they are 6-2-2 against the spread in the last 10 in the series.


East Michigan Eagles @ West Michigan Broncos Pick: Neither of these teams have been playing well of late, but I'll take the West Michigan Broncos to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Broncos were beaten last season so they will be in a revenge spot and West Michigan had on the previous 3 games in the series by at least 15 points per game.

Second, the Broncos Offense matches up better against the Eagles Defense than when the other two units are on the field in my opinion.

Third, West Michigan are 7-1 against the spread as the home favourite since the beginning of last season. East Michigan are 1-4 against the spread as the road underdog this season.


Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Nebraska Cornhuskers Pick: I am going to back the home team to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Nebraska should be fully focused with the Big Ten Legends Division still within their grasp and they are the better team.

Second, the Cornhuskers bashed Minnesota on the road last season and they have been incredibly strong at home this season, going 4-1-1 against the spread as the home team this season.

Third, Minnesota were comfortably beaten when facing the best of the Big Ten teams this season, losing by at least 22 points to both Michigan and Wisconsin and I think Nebraska can reach the same margin in this one.


Texas Tech Red Raiders @ Oklahoma State Cowboys Pick: I like the Oklahoma State Cowboys to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Cowboys are 6-1 against the spread in the last 7 games in the series.

Second, Oklahoma State are 8-3 against the spread as the home favourite since the beginning of last season.

Third, Texas Tech just seemed to be off the pace since their beating from Kansas State and Tommy Tuberville is suspended so they'll be missing their Head Coach for this one.


Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders @ South Alabama Jaguars Pick: I'll be backing the Middle Tennessee State team to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Middle Tennessee have certainly enjoyed the team bonding when going on the road this season as they are 4-1 straight up and against the spread in those games so far and should be motivated with the Sun Belt Championship still within their grasp.


Second, South Alabama are a school that has faced this level of opposition for the first time and they may just be feeling the tiredness after a long season.

Third, South Alabama have lost all 5 home games against the spread so far this season.


Purdue Boilermakers @ Illionois Fighting Illini Pick: I'll back the Purdue Boilermakers to cover the spread against a poor Illinois team for the following reasons:

First, Illinois have been blown out in 7 straight games and have looked like a team that is looking forward to the end of the season and they are also 0-7 against the spread in those games.


Second, Purdue can at least point to a 3-1 record against the spread in their 4 road games this season.

Third, the Boilermakers are 6-1 in the last 7 games of this series.


Oklahoma Sooners @ West Virginia Mountaineers Pick: I'll back the Sooners to win this high-scoring game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, West Virginia have just struggled in the last few games as they get used to playing the higher level competition in the Big 12 than they were used to in the Big East. They have lost their last 4 games and they are 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 games.


Second, the Sooners will be in a big revenge spot as they were beaten in the Fiesta Bowl by West Virginia in 2008 and this is still an important game for Oklahoma as they look to finish in 2nd in the Big 12.

Third, West Virginia are just 3-8 against the spread in their home games since the beginning of last season.


Arizona Wildcats @ Utah Utes Pick: I am taking the Utah Utes to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:
First, Utah have won the last 3 games in the series, including a 13 point win on the road last season.

Second, the Utes have a 4-1 record at home this season and Arizona have lost every game on the road so far in 2012.

Third, the Utes have the better Defense and that could make all the difference in what figures to be a close game.


California Golden Bears @ Oregon State Beavers Pick: I'll take the home team to win the game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Beavers have won their last 2 home games against California and they have covered the spread in each of those wins.

Second, the Golden Bears have just hit the wall as far as this season has gone with 4 straight defeats and 4 losses against the spread and only one of those losses has come by less than 18 points.

Third, I think the match ups favour Oregon State on both the Defensive and Offensive sides of the ball and I just think they can break Golden Bears hearts and run away with this game when it is all said and done.

MY PICKS: Rutgers Scarlet Knights + 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
UAB Blazers - 9.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
West Michigan Broncos - 13.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Nebraska Cornhuskers - 20 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Oklahoma State Cowboys - 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders - 7 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Purdue Boilermakers - 6 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Oklahoma Sooners - 11.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Utah Utes @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Oregon State Bears - 14.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)


Week 11: 5-4, + 0.71 Units
Week 10: 1-3, - 2 Units
Week 9: 1-2, - 1.08 Units
Week 8: 3-3, - 0.21 Units
Week 72-4-1, - 2.03 Units
Week 63-2, + 0.82 Units
Week 54-6, - 2.18 Units
Week 43-8, - 5.10 Units
Week 35-5, + 0.15 Units
Week 24-4, + 0 Units
Week 12-4, - 2.10 Units

Season 201233-45-1, - 13.02 Units
Season 201163-36, + 23.25 Units (99 Units Staked, + 23.5% Yield)

Weekend Football Picks (November 17-19)

November has sucked for my football picks, but it isn't the end of the world with a couple of weeks left this month and it has been a very successful season which covers the small backward steps I have taken.

Below are my picks from the weekend Premier League games:

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Pick: The North London derby has produced some high-scoring games in recent seasons and the way that both of these sides have defended in recent weeks suggests this should be another one for viewers to enjoy on Saturday lunchtime.

While Tottenham haven't won too many games recently, their away form in the Premier League has to be respected and they had been scoring freely before being held to just the one goal in their loss at Manchester City last weekend.

However, I think Spurs can take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the Arsenal backline that has seen them concede at least 2 goals in each of their last 4 games, while teams like Manchester United and Schalke could have scored far more than they managed in their games against the Gunners.

Spurs have scored at least 2 goals in 3 of their last 4 visits to the Emirates Stadium and they had scored at least 2 goals in Premier League visits to the Majedski Stadium, Old Trafford and St Mary's so are capable of doing the same here if Andre Villas-Boas can hold back his defensive tendencies that have taken over at times.


Manchester City v Aston Villa Pick: Even at 2-0 down last weekend, I still thought United could come back and beat Aston Villa at Villa Park and that should tell you what you need to know about what I think of this young side that has a lot of pressure on their shoulders.

I appreciate Villa have won at the Etihad Stadium this season in the Capital One Cup, but I think the Manchester City win over Spurs last weekend will have given them some momentum to carry into this game.

If City hadn't been virtually knocked out of the Champions League, the game against Real Madrid next Wednesday would be seen as a real distraction, but I think their position means that game has significantly less pressure on them now. I expect they can ride the momentum from last week and win this one with some room to spare.



Newcastle United v Swansea Pick: Newcastle United lost 0-1 at home to West Ham United last week and their inconsistencies this season were shown up again as a lackluster display saw them fail to get anything from the game.

Swansea are another team that has struggled on their travels and they were fortunate to get a draw against Southampton last weekend when being outplayed for large periods and that is why I think they will lose here.

The injury list for the home side is a major concern, but they have three forwards that should pose Swansea plenty of problems and I'll back them for a second week in a row and hope they can bounce back in a positive manner.


West Brom v Chelsea Pick: Manchester City may not have a 'massive' Champions League game to look forward to, but Chelsea certainly do as a defeat in Turin against Juventus would mean the Italians and Shakhtar Donetsk would be in a very powerful position in the Group and Chelsea could be knocked out at the first hurdle when trying to defend their Champions League title.

That's not the only factor that will make this a difficult game, but the fact that a number of players will be returning from international duty means preparation for the game is not at the best level it could be.

Add to the fact that West Brom have been very, very good at the The Hawthornes this season and everything is pointing to Chelsea being far too short and the home side should be able to get a result in the game.


Only Manchester City have won at this ground in the League, but even that was with the final kick of the game and West Brom could easily have won that game too, while the Baggies beat Chelsea last season to remove the mental baggage that comes with 5 straight defeats to Chelsea prior to that win.

I am surprised that you can pick up West Brom to avoid defeat at a little under odds against and that looks to be the call.


Norwich City v Manchester United Pick: Last weekend, I mentioned the fact that United just seem incapable of keeping clean sheets at the moment, but they have the attacking firepower to deal with most of the Premier League teams (although I remain convinced that this will be highlighted by teams in the Champions League once the Group Stage is completed).

That could be the case again this weekend as they face a Norwich City side that have been playing much better in recent weeks and have beaten both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur here.

Grant Holt should cause as many problems as Christian Bentenke did at times last week and it just seems United are making a few mistakes in defensive areas to expect a clean sheet this week.

It took a late Ryan Giggs goal to win the game for United last season here, but hopefully that won't be the case this time and it will be a little easier for the away side- however, I can't imagine them keeping a clean sheet, so it is likely another nervy, but entertaining game, is in the offing.


West Ham United v Stoke City Pick: Both of these teams have likely circled this as a game that they can pick up points from, but I just think the home side will be a little more motivated to grab them in front of their own supporters, especially considering they follow this one with a run of games against Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Stoke have been one of these sides that struggle away from home because of a lack of goals, but they did perform well at Old Trafford in a recent away game and are clearly capable.

Both of these sides have a similar philosophy when it comes to style, but I think the game being played at Upton Park makes the difference. West Ham have won 3 of their last 4 home games against Stoke City in the League and they look worth a small interest at odds against.


MY PICKS: Tottenham Hotspur Over 1.5 Team Goals @ 2.75 Stan James (1 Unit)
Manchester City - 2 Asian Handicap @ 2.15 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Newcastle United @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
West Brom + 0.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Both Teams to Score and Manchester United Win @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
West Ham United @ 2.05 Pinnacle (1 Unit)



November Update: 3-9, - 5.60 Units (17 Units Staked, - 36% Yield)

October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Monday, 12 November 2012

ATP World Tour Finals Final Pick 2012 (November 12th)

Aside from the Davis Cup, this is the last tennis match of the season of real importance as only Challenger Events will be taking place this week.

It seems fitting that the top two Men's players in the World will end the season playing for the ATP World Tour Finals Trophy.

Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played some very good tennis yesterday in the Semi Finals and it does look like a fascinating match on Monday night.


Roger Federer v Novak Djokovic: I'll admit it- I thought Roger Federer was there for the taking on Sunday evening when he played Andy Murray, but I was wrong as he looked very good for the most part and outplayed Murray after recovering from an early break of serve.

I still believe that Federer fancies his chances against Novak Djokovic more than any other player in the top 4 and I think it remains the case that Federer is the best indoor player in the World.

Djokovic does show plenty of character in his matches and he back to doing the same on Sunday as he came from a set and a break down against Juan Martin Del Potro before moving through the gears to win that match.


However, I can't help feeling that Djokovic was there for the taking yesterday and I think Federer will feel good about his chances having won the last 2 matches against Djokovic.

Federer is also 3-1 against Djokovic on an indoor hard court, including a straight sets win here in London two seasons ago in the Semi Final on that occasion.

This might be close, but the odds on Federer look to be a joke and I'll back him to win this tournament for the third straight year in a row.


MY PICKS: Roger Federer @ 2.50 William Hill (2 Units)

ATP World Tour Finals Update: 9-5, + 8.74 Units (25 Units Staked)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

ATP World Tour Finals Semi Final Picks (November 11th)

Remembering all those who gave their lives for the benefit of freedom (11/11 11am)


Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Juan Martin Del Potro: This should be a fascinating first Semi Final, but I think Novak Djokovic is playing a little too solid at the moment to be beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro, especially considering the Serb has won the last 5 sets they have competed since the Olympic Games.

The courts here are playing just slow enough to think Djokovic will get enough returns in play and I think he is a little more solid on both wings than the big man and I expect him to win more of the extended rallies.

Del Potro certainly has the ability to take a racquet out of an opponents hands, but the lack of rest since beating Roger Federer in 3 sets means there is more in favour of Djokovic in this one.

The Serb would have covered this spread in the last 2 matches between the players and I'll look for him to make Monday's Final in impressive style, possibly coming through 6-2, 6-4.


Andy Murray - 1.5 games v Roger Federer: Anyone who followed the outright selection earlier in the week may want to hold off on this one as they already have Andy Murray to win the tournament, but I think the layers are over-estimating Roger Federer in the match.

Murray has won the last 5 sets they have competed including that absolute hammering at the Olympic Games and he is playing much better tennis at the moment in my opinion.

To be perfectly honest, Federer has looked a little flat this week and very ratty- he destroyed Janko Tipsarevic who was playing far below his best, but struggled against David Ferrer and was beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro and I have an inkling that the last 12 months of full tennis has caught up with him and he could do with a break.

Federer has put a lot in to the game in that time to make sure he recovered the Number 1 Ranking in the World and the amount of tennis he has played is tough for a 31 year old, especially with the level of competition and the fact he has reached the latter stages in most events in that time.

I just feel he is ready to recharge the batteries and Murray will be able to put enough pressure on his serve to get through to the Final and possibly a repeat of his second match at this tournament against Novak Djokovic.


MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 2.17 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 1.5 Games @ 1.92 Sky Bet (2 Units)

ATP World Tour Finals Update: 8-4, + 8.40 Units (21 Units Staked)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

College Football Week 11 Picks 2012

I seriously cannot understand why I am beginning to second guess myself... Hold that thought, I can understand as I have sucked at picking the College Football games this season, but I honestly feel I left so much on the table last week and was mad at myself.

Anyway, I've given up hoping things will turn around as it has just been one of those seasons, but here are the picks I am playing today:


Iowa State Cyclones @ Texas Longhorns Pick: I am taking the Longhorns to put a small smile on their supporters faces after a disappointing season for the most part. I like them to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Texas are on a bye after this game so I fully expect them to be motivated and focused on winning this one.


Second, the Longhorns have dominated the recent series going 8-1 at home against Iowa State and they will also want revenge having lost the last time they played here.

Third, I think there is a chance that the Cyclones are looking ahead to the game with Kansas next on the schedule as the one they can win and book their place as being Bowl eligible.


Wisconsin Badgers @ Indiana Hoosiers Pick: This won't be easy for Wisconsin, but I think they can do enough to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Badgers have dominated the recent series, going 5-1 against the spread. They have also won 3 in a row in Indiana, covering the spread twice.

Second, motivation is still extremely high as they will be in the Big Ten Championship Game if they can win this game as both Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible as the two teams above them.

Third, Indiana have been playing a lot of teams tough in the last few weeks and I just think that could catch up with them if Montee Ball gets rolling for the Badgers.


Missouri Tigers @ Tennessee Volunteers Pick: I am going to back the Tennessee Volunteers to win their first SEC game of the season and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, home field advantage should be critical when two evenly matched teams contest this game and that goes to the Vols in this one.


Second, Missouri put in a big effort to play Florida incredibly tough last week in the Swamp and that could take its toll against a Tennessee side that played a non-Conference opponent.


Third, I just have more faith in the Tennessee Offense to make enough big plays to see them home in this one, while Missouri have underwhelmed for the most part this season when against SEC foes and may be feeling a little physically worn out after last week.


Arizona St Wildcats @ USC Trojans Pick: I am going to back the USC Trojans to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, despite this being a disappointing season, the USC Trojans are still in a position where they can win the PAC-12 South and get into the Championship Game to gain a bit of revenge over the Oregon Ducks.


Second, the Trojans are playing with revenge on their mind in this one following a loss in Arizona State last season and they are the better team.

Third, both teams have been in poor form, but I have much more faith in USC in this one to turn things around and get ready for their huge game against UCLA next week in style.


Texas A&M Aggies @ Alabama Crimson Tide Pick: After their win in Baton Rouge last weekend, I am backing the Crimson Tide to keep rolling in this one against a tough Aggies team. I like Alabama to cover for the following reasons:

First, Texas A&M have been a big surprise this season as Johnny Manziel has come along brilliantly as a Freshman, but this is the toughest test he would have faced having previously come up against Florida and LSU at home.


Second, the Crimson Tide are rolling along nicely and I think they will be able to shut down the Aggies to some extent, while also creating field advantage opportunities.

Third, I just think this road test will be too much for what is a young Aggies team for the most part.


Georgia Bulldogs @ Auburn Tigers Pick: I like the Georgia Bulldogs to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Auburn are just about to fire Gene Chizik as Head Coach and the team have clearly given up on their Coach and season.

Second, Georgia are absolutely focused on this game with a win securing the SEC East and a place in the Championship Game.

Third, Auburn were blown out in their last 2 games at home against SEC rivals and this is arguably the best team to visit since LSU early in the season.


I was hoping to put up my reasons for my last few picks that I had, but it's not going to be possible this week, although you can find my full picks below... On another note, what a heartbreaking loss for Tennessee and likely the end of the Derek Dooley era after 3 poor seasons with little encouragement of the future.


MY PICKS: Texas Longhorns - 10.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Wisconsin Badgers - 7 Points @ 1.92 Coral (1 Unit)
Tennessee Volunteers - 3 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
USC Trojans - 8.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 13.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Georgia Bulldogs - 14.5 Points @ 1.92 Labrokes (1 Unit)
SMU Mustangs - 14 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
UCF Knights - 13.5 Points @ 1.92 Coral (1 Unit)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish - 19.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

Weekend Football Picks (November 10-11)

November has not started off that well after the success of the last three months, but hopefully that won't be the case for the whole month.

These are my picks for the weekend football.


Reading v Norwich City Pick: If it wasn't for Norwich City's struggles to score goals away from home, the over 2.5 goals would be a huge price from this game and I still believe it will come in.

Reading have been scoring and conceding goals for fun at the Majedski Stadium this season and they won't be sitting back in this game as it looks a very winnable one to get off the mark in the Premier League, while they have struggled to hold on to leads so will want to keep scoring goals to ensure the three points are earned.

Reading's defensive struggles are well documented, and Norwich have scored in 3 of their last 4 away games so they should be able to get off the mark, while the Canaries haven't kept an away clean sheet since May 2011.


Southampton v Swansea Pick: This is a simple pick for me as I do think Southampton have been playing well enough at home to pick up the three points here, but I think it is worth backing them to win with at least 3 goals scored in the match.

Southampton can't defend effectively and it would be a real surprise to me if they keep a clean sheet against Swansea who have shown they can create chances.

However, the Swans have a number of defensive problems with injuries taking their toll and Southampton are certainly a side that look dangerous going forward and will be able to create chances themselves.

At 4.00 being offered, goals and a home win look like they go hand in hand and I can't imagine the latter happening without the former so looks the best way to attack this game.


Aston Villa v Manchester United Pick: You have to like Manchester United's chances of extending their winning run in the Premier League at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, particularly with the form that Robin Van Persie and Javier Hernandez have shown in front of goal in recent games.

However, United will need all the goals they can get as they have still looked a little suspect defensively and I have little doubt that Aston Villa can cause problems with Christian Bentenke looking like a bit of a handful.

It was tough to find an angle for this game but seeing a market for both teams to score and United to win looks the best way to get on, especially at 3.00, considering it would have been a winner in 8 of United's last 9 wins.


Newcastle United v West Ham United Pick: Newcastle United are definitely a stronger side in front of their own supporters as shown by 4 wins in their last 5 games in all competitions and I still believe West Ham United are going to struggle on their travels and build their foundation of their survival of their season at Upton Park.

The Hammers haven't really been tested on their travels in terms of strength of teams they have played, but they have already been beaten at Swansea and Wigan Athletic and I would suggest that Newcastle have a stronger home advantage than those two sides.

Newcastle do have a couple of injury concerns and suspensions in defensive areas, but they have a front three that can cause problems for any team and I expect them to be on the front foot for much of this game.

I imagine Newcastle are going to finish in the top 7 this season and I don't think many, if any at all, of those sides will be odds against to beat West Ham this season so this price has to be taken.


Chelsea v Liverpool Pick: This is a very simple pick for me- I think Chelsea are going to win the game and snap their recent poor run against Liverpool, but I wouldn't be surprised if their defensive vulnerabilities are exposed again and they concede for the fifth straight time at home in all competitions.

Chelsea look like they have enough attacking power to score goals, but they have struggled to find the right balance and we have seen Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk come here and expose those issues. Norwich City also scored here so I do expect Liverpool will find their way on to the scoreboard.

However, I think there is enough talent in the home ranks to get through this tricky test and I'll have a small interest in them doing so with both teams scoring at least once.


MY PICKS: Reading-Norwich City Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Southampton Win and at least 3 Goals Scored (Quatro) @ 4.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Both Teams to Score and Manchester United Win @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Newcastle United @ 2.05 Coral (2 Units)
Both Teams to Score and Chelsea Win @ 3.75 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)



November Update2-5, - 1.60 Units (10 Units Staked, - 16% Yield)

October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

ATP World Tour Finals Day 6 Picks (November 10th)

I do understand the need of the television companies to tell us how 'good' this round robin stage of the tournament is, but they must thing the fans are complete and utter morons with that drivel... Let's face facts for a minute- my memory isn't what it was, but how long ago was it that the round robin was trialed in the smaller ATP tournaments and quickly removed.

The bottom line is that players can effectively tank matches at certain stages and we did elements of that in both matches last night. Don't get me wrong, both favourites won easily enough, but there is no doubt that both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had reduced energy levels in the second set of their matches one qualification to the Semi Finals was assured.

In a regular tournament, you can't decide to coast through matches if you are to get through and win a tournament so the round robin is a bit of a nonentity.

For this tournament, I accept this is the best way of using the top 8 players, but it isn't a good method that needs to be used ever again on the main tour outside of this World Tour Finals.


Juan Martin Del Potro v Roger Federer: After Roger Federer beat David Ferrer in straight sets and Juan Martin Del Potro did the same against David Ferrer, it meant the World Number 2 had booked his Semi Final place and now it is a matter of whether he would prefer playing Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray.

Federer does have a chance of 'picking' his opponent as a defeat to Juan Martin Del Potro will mean Federer finishes second in the Group, while a win sees him knock out the Argentine if David Ferrer beats Janko Tipsarevic.

It might not be in Federer's hands anyway as Del Potro has certainly got closer and closer to beating him all season before eventually cracking that in Basle last month.

Del Potro should have beaten Federer at both the French Open and the London Olympics also and I think his motivation is much higher than Federer's in this particular match, even if the World Number 2 would likely want to see the Argentine out of the tournament as he is a major threat.

However, it may also work for Federer who certainly feels he has the beating of Djokovic, perhaps even more than Murray, and would be rewarded with a Semi Final against the World Number 1 if he fails to win this match. With all this added intrigue in mind, backing the Argenitne at big odds looks the call.


David Ferrer - 5.5 games v Janko Tipsarevic: This could be a meaningless match if Juan Martin Del Potro has beaten Roger Federer earlier in the day, but David Ferrer will still want to maintain some form ahead of the Davis Cup Final next weekend against the Czech Republic.

Janko Tipsarevic has just been happy to get through an hour on court in each match he has played and he has looked far short of his best form as an illness and a long season has taken its toll on the Serb.

Ferrer has had the better of the matches they have played and I just think he will be a little too strong here and will likely get through with a 6-4, 6-2 win, although I am only having a small interest as it is potentially a meaningless match.


MY PICKS: Juan Martin Del Potro @ 3.00 Stan James (1 Unit)
David Ferrer - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (1 Unit)


ATP World Tour Finals Update: 6-4, + 5.30 Units (19 Units Staked)

Friday, 9 November 2012

ATP World Tour Finals Day 5 Picks (November 9th)

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Tomas Berdych: The final round robin matches at this tournament can be hard to read as motivations of the players can be questioned, but this is not one of those matches as neither player is through to the Semi Final just yet.

I wondered about Novak Djokovic's mentality for this tournament as he has much bigger concerns with his father's health being the foremost thing in his mind, but it clear that he is very much here to win the tournament with the way he played against Andy Murray in the second game in the Group.

That means Djokovic is the only player with 2 wins to his name, but there are some crazy permutations that could potentially see him knocked out of the tournament, although it would take a straight sets defeat to put him in trouble.

Berdych has played a couple of solid games in the tournament, but Djokovic does have his number more than most players with a 10-1 record against the big serving Czech, and 6 of those wins have come since the beginning of 2011.

If anyone saw the Berdych match with Andy Murray, they would have noticed that he did offer the British Number 1 a few chances to break serve and I think the slower conditions here will favour Djokovic to create some chances in the match too. However, he looks capable of taking those chances and I'll back him to win this with maybe a 6-4, 6-3 scoreline.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga + 4.5 games v Andy Murray: Talking about motivation, it is hard to guess what the motivation of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be now that he is very close to going out of the tournament, although he would have a sneaky chance of getting through if Berdych loses the earlier match and if Tsonga can beat Andy Murray handily.

Even without massive incentive, Tsonga is an entertainer and he will be happy to see an opportunity to perform against the home player here and the lack of pressure on his shoulders may make him a very dangerous opponent for Murray in this match.

They have played some really close matches in the past, but also some easy wins for Andy Murray so I'll only have a small interest in this one. Personally, I believe that Tsonga can at least push one set very close and he would be in a very strong position if he can sneak a set.

Murray can still sometimes lose serve at inopportune times and he will have a lot more pressure on his back in this one, pressure that may see him come through a tight, tough encounter.


MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga + 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

ATP World Tour Finals Update: 5-3, + 4.10 Units (16 Units Staked)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

NFL Week 10 Picks

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars Pick: I am going to have a small interest in the Jacksonville Jaguars to cover the spread in the Thursday night game for the following reasons:

First, I know there is a lot of hype, rightly for the most part, around Andrew Luck, but his touchdown-interception ratio is 2:6 on the road compared with 8:2 at home.


Second, are the Indianapolis Colts really playing that well to be favoured by more than a field goal on the road? They are facing a different pressure having won the last two games as the underdog.


Third, I know the Jaguars stunk for most of the game against the Lions last weekend, but I would not all be surprised if a team with one win was looking ahead to a Divisional game at home where they can put a dent in the Colts Play Off chances.

Fourth, the Jags beat the Colts on the road earlier this season meaning they have improved to 4-1 in the last 5 games in the series.


Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens Pick: I am going to back to Oakland Raiders to cover the spread in this game for the following reasons:

First, this is a horrible spot for the Ravens as they are between Divisional contests and could easily be looking ahead to the huge game with Pittsburgh next week.


Second, the Ravens are only 3-4 against the spread as the home favourite against non-Divisional teams and added to the poor spot, it makes the Oakland team more appealing.

Third, the Raiders are 8-4 against the spread as the road underdog since the beginning of last season.


Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers Pick: This was going to be a no-pick game for me, but I have changed my mind and will have a small interest on Denver Broncos covering the spread:

First, John Fox was fired by the Panthers before last season- I have absolute faith that he is going to get his team fired up to win this one for him despite it being a non-Conference game and San Diego next on slate.

Second, the Broncos are on a bit of a roll at the moment, covering in 4 of their last 5 games, and Carolina have struggled at home for the most part.


Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins Pick: I am backing the Tennessee Titans to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, Miami are an awful home favourite, going 9-32 against the spread in that spot over the last ten years.

Second, another factor is Miami have a big Divisional game against Buffalo on Thursday nights and teams have struggled as the favourite ahead of that new game on the schedule this season.

Third, Tennessee were blown out last week, but teams generally respond favourably in that situation in their next game.


Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings Pick: I like the Lions to cover in this game and put themselves back in the mix for a Wild Card berth in the NFC for the following reasons:

First, Adrian Peterson will have success for the Vikings, but the absence of Percy Harvin is huge for their Offense and Special Teams and puts Christian Ponder in a tough spot.


Second, the Lions have enjoyed their last 2 visits to Minnesota, winning both and they look a team on the rise.

Third, Detroit have covered the spread in 4 straight games and the Offense is finding their feet, making them too strong for the Vikings to keep up.

Fourth, the Vikings are 1-3-1 against the spread as the home underdog against Divisional rivals.


San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick: I am going to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Tampa Bay have been playing really good football over the last couple of weeks and I think  they will want this game 'more' with a gap to Atlanta to make up.

Second, San Diego are in a tough spot as they travel across the country and face Denver on the road in their next game so this could be a 'meaningless' contest for them.

Third, San Diego are 2-5 against the spread as the road underdog over the last couple of seasons.

Fourth, Tampa aren't a great home favourite, but Vincent Jackson should help the Offense know the nuances of the Defense and I think he'll have a big game against his old club.


Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles Pick: I'll back the Eagles to cover as the underdog in this one for the following reasons:

First, these two teams are the biggest fools in the NFL- both spend more time making mistakes and killing themselves than losing to the opposition so home field advantage could be critical for Philadelphia.

Second, the Eagles have won 3 of their last 4 games against Dallas.


Third, the Cowboys are not really a great road favourite to be backing, going 3-8-1 against the spread in that spot over the last few seasons.

Fourth, both teams are in a must win spot, both are playing badly, both are making mistakes, so taking the points looks the best option.


Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick: I hate laying double-digit points, but I am going to back the Pittsburgh Steelers in this game to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Todd Haley factor can't be underplayed in this one... I have heard the Chiefs might be extra focused against their former Head Coach, but I am thinking he won't play a conservative game plan in this one and will ask his Steelers Offense to take deep shots and put up a lot of points on the Chiefs.


Second, the Chiefs just don't take care of the ball and that isn't good news against a Steelers Defense that will be able to limit the impact of the Kansas City Offense.

Third, the Steelers are just on a bit of a roll right now and will not want to lose momentum ahead of the big clash against Baltimore next Sunday night.


Other Picks: Cincinnati Bengals + 4.5 Points; Buffalo Bills + 13.5 Points; New Orleans Saints + 1 Point; New York Jets + 6.5 Points; San Francisco 49ers - 12 Points; Houston Texans + 1 Point


MY PICKS: Jacksonville Jaguars + 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet 365 (1 Unit)
Oakland Raiders + 7.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Denver Broncos - 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Tennessee Titans + 6 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Detroit Lions - 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3 Points @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles + 2 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 12.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
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