IT’S back to the grind after a great day out at Cheltenham. I landed a few winners with the help of Johnb (Don Poli) and Voice of Value who picked three winners on a tough day at the Festival.
Some of my profit was wiped out later when Hibs failed to cover the -1 handicap at home to Livingston despite taking the lead well before half-time.
Both singles went down as there were Bolton failed to score at Blackburn – so maybe I should stick with the horses.
On Thursday we have the first legs of the Europa Cup last-16 ties and there are some interesting match-ups. We have Fiorentina v Roma and Villarreal v Sevilla and both are tough to call. England’s last survivors Everton tackle Dynamo Kiev while Ajax travel to Dnipro.
Tournament favourites Napoli entertain Dinamo Moscow and Zenit face tricky opposition in Torino. The sides I like best are Besiktas at Bruges and Wolfsburg at home to Inter and having checked team news here are my tips.
I’m tempted by Everton but can’t trust them. Roberto Martinez’s men have won just three of their last 15 games – and two of them came against Young Boys in the previous round – so their European form is better than domestic.
Dynamo will be missing banned Younes Belhanda and Serhiy Rybalka while Jeremain Lens is injured and Belhanda and Lens are two of their best players. They’d be happy with a draw but Everton may nick it.
But instead of taking the Toffees at a best 7-5 at Coral I’ll be on Romelu Lukaka to score. He hit four goals in the ties versus Young Boys and is 19-10 at BetVictor and 888sport to net.
The Belgians are unbeaten at home and in the Europa League but have had a much easier passage than the Turks who are joint top of their league.
We know Slaven Bilic’s side quite well because they were unlucky to lose to Arsenal in the Champions League qualifiers, topped Spurs’ Europa League group then knocked out Liverpool in the last round. I don’t think they’ll lose tonight but Bruges’s home record has to be respected so I’m on Besiktas draw no bet at 11-8 with BetVictor and William Hill for the Super Single.
Wolfsburg have been pretty much unstoppable in all competitions but their 18-match unbeaten record was ended by a surprise defeat at Augsburg at the weekend. Maybe they had one eye on tonight’s tie with Inter Milan – I don’t know.
We all know how good Wolfsburg have been and the goals Bas Dost has been banging in. I’m backing them against an Inter side who lost at home to Fiorentina on Monday and who struggled past Celtic 4-3 on aggregate in the last round. Wolfsburg are a best 7-10 at Betfred and bet365 while Bas Dost is 1-1 at Ladbrokes to score at any time.
Napoli threw away a 2-0 lead to Inter at the weekend but took their foot off the gas too early. Rafael Benitez loves a knockout tournament and will be keen to take a lead to Dinamo Moscow for the second leg of their clash. Napoli should win but I’d love them to be bigger than 8-11 at Betfred.
For my goals single I’m on over 2.5 goals at Villrreal v Sevilla. This should be a fascinating battle over two legs between two evenly-matched La Liga rivals.
Elsewhere tonight I’ll be on Bayer Leverkusen to see off a Stuttgart side who haven’t won any of their last six. Bayer are 1-2 at McBookie and William Hill.
Both have players missing so picking a winner isn’t easy but looking at stats there should be goals. Seven of the last eight meetings between the sides have gone over 2.5 goals and Sevilla have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 away matches against Villarreal.
3.35pts Super Single
Besiktas draw no bet (6pm)
3.5pts Goals Single
Villarreal v Sevilla over 2.5 goals (8.05pm)