THE live Serie A match on ESPN tonight features Roma and Chievo and while the Betfair markets are predicting plenty of goals those who tune in at 7.45 may be left disappointed.

Roma picked up a magnificent victory at Fiorentina at the weekend and those three points have kept them in pole position for the final remaining Europa League spot in Serie A.

Udinese and Lazio are snapping at their heels though so a victory at home tonight is a must.

The Yellow-Reds are the top scorers in the division this term and bar rock bottom Pescara they have conceded the most too. Those stats were mainly achieved under the cavalier style of Zdenek Zeman though and since Aurelio Andreazzoli took over 13 games ago things have been a bit different.

In the league, six of Roma's last eight have all gone under 2.5 goals, with four of their last half dozen at Stadio Olimpico following suit. They produced a thoroughly professional defence display in Florence at the weekend and if they are in similar mood it's hard to see Chievo scoring.

Chievo look set for another mid-table finish and given their start to the season they'd probably take that.

After losing five of their first six, Eugenio Corini was appointed as manager and he has managed to get the club up to 13th place, eight points clear of danger.

One of the main problems they've had this year is scoring goals. With just 33 to their name they have the third lowest total in Serie A.

They've netted just once in the last four matches but fortunately they've conceded just once themselves. Seven of their last eight have had two goals or less and they played out a 0-0 draw with Cagliari last time.

I wouldn't be shocked if Roma produced a swashbuckling performance and blew away Chievo this evening but there is serious value in laying over 2.5 goals at the current prices. It's trading at around the 1.52 mark and with Andreazzoli at the helm it just has to be my lay of the day.

Recommended Bet

Lay over 2.5 goals in Roma v Chievo @ 1.52

5 Comments
  1. Milesey 7 years ago

    RESULT :

    ITALY: Serie A
    AS Roma 0 – 1 Chievo

    Milesey

  2. Milesey 7 years ago

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    GREYHOUND RESULTS
    ——————

    Teddy The Legend 19:34 ** WINNER @ 8/11 **

    Green Amigo 19:49 ** WINNER @ 2/1 **

    Bucks Blade 20:19 ** 3RD @ 5/2 **

    Farloe Barracuda 20:49 ** WINNER @ 4/9 **

    Welton Arthur 21:19 ** 5TH @ 7/4 **

    ***********************************************

    HORSE RACING RESULTS
    ———————

    2.30 Fakenham
    NOT TILL MONDAY ** 1st **

    3.30 Fakenham
    COWARDS CLOSE ** 1st **

    4.0 Fakenham
    THEMILANHORSE ** 1st **

    4.30 Fakenham
    LITTLE LEGEND ** 1st **

    2.10 Kempton
    LEWISHAM (nap) ** 1st **

    4.10 Kempton
    NEAMOUR ** 2nd **

    Milesey

    GOLF
    *****

    THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, where the world’s best will be attempting to win the year’s ‘fifth major’…

    Tournament History
    Originally known as the Tournament Players Championship, the event used to be staged in March but was moved to May in 2007. Universally known as the games ‘fifth major’, a top-class field always assembles at TPC Sawgrass and this year is no exception. The PGA Tour website describes this week’s line-up as the deepest, strongest field in golf and it’s impossible to argue against them. This will be the 40th staging of The Players Championship.

    Venue
    TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

    Course Details
    Par 72 -7,215 yards
    Stroke Index in 2012 – 72.47

    Constructed in 1980, specifically for the purpose of hosting this event, the Stadium Course at Sawgrass has been the tournament’s venue since 1982. It’s yet another Bermuda-grass Pete Dye design and it’s one of the most renowned courses in the world. The par 3 17th, with its dramatic island green, is one of the most recognised holes in golf.

    Described as a balanced course, with doglegged holes going both ways and holes routed so that no two consecutive ever play in the same direction, it’s a true test that doesn’t tend to favour any one type of player, though accurate iron-play and tip-top scrambling is usually the key to success.

    In 2006, just before the event moved to it’s now regular May date, all the tees, fairways and greens were stripped and new drainage, irrigation, and sub-air systems were installed. The result being that the firmness of the, smaller than average sized, greens can be controlled in any weather conditions.

    TV Coverage
    Live on Sky all four days, starting at 6.00pm on Thursday

    Last Five Winners
    2012 – Matt Kuchar -13
    2011 – K.J Choi -13 (playoff)
    2010 – Tim Clark -16
    2009 – Henrik Stenson -12
    2008 -Sergio Garcia -5 (playoff)

    What will it take to win The Players Championship?
    The odd big-hitter has obliged but driving distance is pretty much unimportant. Nine of the last 13 winners ranked in the top ten for Greens In Regulation and Sergio Garcia and last year’s victor, Matt Kuchar, are the only winners in the last eight years to rank outside the top-ten for Scrambling.

    Is there an angle in?
    Plenty of course experience certainly helps and getting to know the gaff looks key. When Henrik Stenson took the title in 2009, he was playing in the event for just the fourth time but he’s the only Players champ in the last seven years to have previously played Sawgrass less than seven times prior to winning.

    The chances are we’ll see another new winner of the event – in the last 20 years there have been 20 different winners. Jack Nicklaus is the only man to win The Players three times and Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and Hall Sutton are the only men to win it twice. And don’t back Matt Kuchar – nobody has ever defended.

    Don’t be afraid to back an outsider – the list of past champions contains plenty of shock winners. I can’t imagine too many picked out the likes of Craig Perks or Fred Funk and although I have fond memories of backing Stephen Ames in 2006, he went off at 170.0.

    Is there an identikit winner?
    I would certainly favour the older, experienced players with an accurate approach game over the younger aggressive types. The wily old vet that knows how to plot his way around is just as likely to contend as any of the young guns. Fred Funk won here in 2005 and the likes of Paul Goydos, Kenny Perry and David Toms have all come close to winning recently. But in truth, all sorts of players have won here and finding a single type of player to prosper is hard.

    In-Play Tactics
    Being up on the pace from early on is certainly preferable. In the last ten years, only Stephen Ames and K.J Choi have won from outside the top-20 after day one. Between 2004 and 2008, that necessity for a fast start was advertised most strongly, with Adam Scot, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia all going on to win having led the field after round one. And Fred Funk, the 2005 champ, had been second after the first day.

    Third round leaders are worth opposing though – the last six have all failed to convert.

    Romilly Evans highlights here how starting out on the 10th hole could prove advantageous and he also describes the pivotal finishing holes superbly too.

    Market Leaders
    Tiger Woods reserves all his best golf for the same venues nowadays but unfortunately for favourite backers, Sawgrass isn’t one of them.

    In 14 starts, he’s won just once and he has an average finishing position of 25th. That’s perfectly respectable form of course but when you consider he’s been the best player on the planet, and by some margin, over much of the last 15 years and that it’s safe to assume he’s pitched up here on numerous occasions in his absolute pomp, then taking a single-figure price about him this week holds no appeal.

    Adam Scot and Rory McIlroy are vying for second favouritism and if I had to pick one it would be the latter. Scott, winner here in 2004, is making his first appearance since his dramatic US Masters playoff triumph and winning back-to-back is always tough, especially when you’re attempting to back-up a major! The media will no doubt be all over him this week and although I expect a big upturn in the Aussie’s fortunes now that he’s won a major, I don’t expect it to be immediate.

    McIlroy’s record here is poor to say the least. Causing much ado, he swerved the event in 2011 and he’s only played here three times. He’s never made the cut, he’s never broken par and he claims not to have gotten to grips with the place yet but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that change this week. Rickie Fowler finished runner-up last year after a couple of missed cuts, so it can be done if you’re classy enough and Rory’s game was in tip-top order at Quail Hollow last week.

    Selections
    Luke Donald isn’t a terrific price this week but he ticks all the right boxes so boldly that I felt he had to be backed and I’ll be quite disappointed if he doesn’t contend.

    With ten Sawgrass starts already in the bag, he has plenty of vital course experience and his course form’s not bad either. Runner-up behind Funk in 2005, Luke also finished 4th in 2011 and 6th last year. He has an impressive record in Florida, where he’s won twice recently and where he’s finished inside the top-six in eight of his last 11 starts and he was third last time out, in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head – another Pete Dye design.

    I was more than happy to take 30.0 about 2007 champ, Phil Mickelson, whose putting at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, on greens most were struggling with, was quite simply sensational. He made 39 consecutive putts inside ten feet at one stage and unsurprisingly topped the Putting Average stats for the week.

    He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with bogeys on two of the last three holes on Sunday but he’s just the sort of character to put that behind him immediately and bounce right back the following week. He comes here in fine form, has plenty of Sawgrass experience and at odds of 30.0, I fancy he’s slightly overlooked.

    My third and final selection is Ben Crane, who also has bags of Sawgrass form to call on. After running up a sequence of finishes here reading 6-5-4, he’s been a bit disappointing in the each of the last two renewals (tied 45th in 2011 and a missed cut in 2012) but he could very easily find his Sawgrass swing again this time around and I thought he was well worth backing at 140.0.

    Pre-Event Selections:
    Luke Donald @ 24.0
    Phil Mickelson @ 30.0
    Ben Crane @ 140.0

    Back to LAY SHOTS
    ******************
    You won’t get many better opportunities on the golfing calendar to make money trading outsiders than the Players Championship. It isn’t so much that it regularly produces freak winners, though we’ve had three in triple-figures this century. Rather, the great thing about Sawgrass is that leaderboards change fast, often meaning many more players than usual get into contention and shorten markedly in the betting. It is not unheard of for a dozen different players to hold weekend favouritism at some stage.

    It also helps that an elite field at the ‘Fifth Major’ means no shortage of quality available within our price range. My plan, therefore, is to back a trio of players all at well above 200.0, with a view to laying back for a sizeable profit should any of them hit the relatively unambitious target of 20.0.

    First up a man who traded well below that mark in no lesser contest than the Masters on his penultimate start. Marc Leishman was mightily impressive at Augusta, standing his ground in contention for all four days, and maintained his good form with a top-ten the following week at Harbour Town. That marked improvement makes it easy to ignore three previous failures at Sawgrass, a course that takes plenty of learning.

    Accurate driving is a pre-requisite for success around hazard-strewn Sawgrass, which leads me towards 280.0 chance John Huh, who has been hitting a high percentage of fairways lately. 11th on his penultimate start at the Masters was outstanding and last year’s Sawgrass debut was promising, fighting back from an opening 75 to make the top-25.

    Finally, despite lacking any course form to recommend, Mark Wilson is simply too big to ignore at 400.0 after finishing third and ninth on his last two starts. Four PGA Tour victories is an outstanding for a player of Wilson’s calibre. All came at huge odds and there were no obvious course form clues available beforehand. In short, he’s precisely the type of rank outsider worth throwing a few pennies at, because he knows how to win.

    Recommended bets
    Back Marc Leishman 2u @ 220.0
    Back John Huh 1.5u @ 280.0
    Back Mark Wilson 1u @ 400.0

    Milesey

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    IPL CRICKET
    ————

    Sunrisers Hyderabad v Chennai Super Kings
    Wednesday 8th May, 15:30 BST
    Live on ITV4 and itv.com

    Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Hyderabad continue to surprise. The fade that many expected them to suffer in the second half of the IPL group stage just hasn’t happened and with seven wins from 11 games only an inferior net run rate keeps them outside the play-off places. Kumar Sangakkara may be struggling with his own form – he’s dropped then reinstated himself, moved up and down the order and now handed over the wicketkeeping gloves in a fruitless search for runs – but there is no denying that he has built up a real team ethos which has kept the Sunrisers punching far above their weight. With the ball, Dale Steyn continues to be miserly and has the best economy rate of any bowler in this IPL who has taken more than 10 wickets, whilst Amit Mishra remains third in the overall wicket-taking table with 17. The problem is that until the batsmen start scoring some runs (their top scorer is Hanuma Vihari with a meagre 166) that net run rate is going to be a problem and they need to not only win, but win with some comfort in order to make those play-offs.

    Chennai Super Kings

    Chennai sit atop the table with nine wins from 12 games, but Saturday’s heavy defeat in Mumbai cost them the chance to seal an automatic play-off spot by winning in Hyderabad. MS Dhoni will hope that that clumsy defeat, in which they were bowled out for 79 and leading batsman Michael Hussey was dropped three times in an over en route to top scoring with 22, serves as a wake-up call, as defeat here opens up the possibility of them missing the post-season altogether. On the positive side, Chris Morris is at last showing some of the form that made him Chennai’s biggest signing of the 2013 auction and Dwayne Bravo’s excellent run with the ball continued as he picked up another wicket to make him the first to 20 this season. Both will fancy their chances of taking wickets against the lacklustre Hyderabad batting, the bigger question is whether their own batsmen can recover from the weekend’s performance against Steyn, Mishra & co?

    Venue and Conditions

    The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the Sunrisers so far. They’ve won every home match, the last two by six and seven wickets. It isn’t the easiest ground to score runs on, with the top first innings score being 130, and the only time that a team has won batting first was in the hosts’ opening game, when they beat an already weak Pune side. There are some heavy rain showers predicted for the afternoon, but these are expected to clear up by the time the game starts and with temperatures still in the high thirties even at 8.30pm there shouldn’t be a delayed start.

    Match Odds

    Hyderabad are 2.46 outsiders to Chennai’s 1.62. Given their unbeaten home record, which includes sides currently above them in the table such as Bangalore and Rajasthan, that looks a good value bet to me, especially if they get to bat second.

    Top Hyderabad Batsman

    There’s been a temptation all through this season to back Sangakkara purely on the basis that he’s a world class batsman who has to come good eventually. Well, it hasn’t happened yet and watching him scratch around as his team chased down 80 to beat Delhi at the weekend it doesn’t look like happening any time soon, so resist that temptation. Instead, back another of Hyderabad’s overseas stars in Darren Sammy, who is striking the ball very well and who has been batting higher up the order than Sangakkara. He should be priced at around 5.0.

    Top Chennai Batsman

    Hussey is always the safe bet for Chennai, even managing to stop score in the weekend debacle, but for that reason he’ll be short odds. There will be better odds to have on Dhoni, who often promotes himself up the order following bad performances and who should be available at around 4.4.

    Recommended Bet:

    Back Sunrisers Hyderabad at 2.46 to win.

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    Milesey

    ( BETFAIR )

  3. Milesey 7 years ago

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    CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS
    ———————-

    Leicester City v Watford
    Thursday, 7:45pm (Live on Sky Sports 1)

    Watford’s nightmare end to the season could be about to get worse when they travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester in their playoff semi-final first leg clash.

    Watford endured two goalkeeping injuries, a red-card, a late winner from Leeds’ Ross McCormack and a comeback from Hull against Cardiff on the last day of the league season, as the Tigers snatched automatic promotion from within the grasp of Gianfranco Zola’s side. Zola must now rouse his team for a difficult trip to Leicester – although they did triumph there 2-1 there just two weeks ago. But the Hornets will be without the man that opened the scoring that night, as striker Troy Deeney starts serving a suspension for his sending-off against Leeds.

    Despite recording the most away wins in the league this campaign (12), Watford have won on the road just twice from their last six attempts. Championship Player of the Year Matej Vydra should return to the starting XI to replace Deeney, and the 20-goal forward looks the most likely to score for the visitors even though he has not found the net in 12 games for the club.

    Leicester will go into the game the more confident of the two sides given they found a stoppage-time goal against Nottingham Forest to secure their playoff chance. French midfielder Anthony Knockaert has been a solid performer all season, and his strike ensured the Foxes pipped Bolton to sixth place in the league.

    Nigel Pearson’s side have been inconsistent this season – two wins in 13 is hardly strong form going into a knockout format – but they will feel uplifted after winning at Forest while Watford may be deflated after coming so close to automatic promotion. In winger Lloyd Dyer and strikers Dave Nugent and Chris Wood, Leicester have the necessary firepower to punish Watford at home and could take a lead back down to Vicarage Road at a tempting price of 2.05.

    Leicester’s 46 home goals during the league campaign is the second-highest in the division and they could capitalise on Watford’s disappointment by overpowering them with a Win To Nil at a healthy 3.5.

    Recommended Bets
    Back Leicester at 2.05
    Back Leicester To Win To Nil at 3.5

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    Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion
    Friday, 7:45pm (Live on Sky Sports 1)

    Bitter rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton meet at Selhurst Park for the first leg of a potentially enthralling two-legged playoff semi-final.

    Crystal Palace ended a barren run of nine games without victory on the last day of the league season by beating – and relegating – Peterborough with a 3-2 comeback victory. It was a timely return to form for Ian Holloway’s side but whether they can keep that going against old foes Brighton could be doubtful. Striker Glenn Murray remains the league’s most prolific marksman after scoring a penalty against Posh to finish the regular season on 29 goals, but that was his first in nine.

    Murray is particularly influential to the Eagles hopes at home in the first leg, as is the creativity of Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha. If he and Murray can replicate their form earlier in the campaign then Palace will be dangerous, while their 52 goals at home was the most scored in the division by a cushion of six.

    Brighton on the other hand are definitely in good form, with their 2-0 win over Wolves at the weekend (which saw the West-Midlands outfit slip through the down into League One) their fourth win in five. Gus Poyet’s side are unbeaten in nine outings, keeping five clean sheets in the process. The Seagulls may struggle to hold out a fired-up Palace side away from home, but they should be backed to find the net themselves after hitting 10 in their last three, and average of over 3.3 goals a game.

    Young Kazenga LuaLua has come into goalscoring form at the perfect time of the season with three strikes in as many games, and if he is picked from a strong forward line also possessing Leonardo Ulloa, Will Buckley and Ashley Barnes then he could add to his brace against Wolves.

    While these two sides both produced 3-0 home wins against one another during the league season, a repeat result for Palace here looks unlikely given Brighton’s form. However a draw is worth backing at 3.2 with Both Teams To Score a more conservative 1.83 bet.

    Recommended Bets
    Back Draw in Crystal Palace v Brighton at 3.2
    Back Both Teams To Score at 1.83

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  4. Milesey 7 years ago

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    CHELSEA V TOTTENHAM

    They do not come any bigger than this London derby at Stamford Bridge with Champions League football on the line…

    Tottenham have never won a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in 20 visits; no side is currently on a longer run without victory at an opponent’s ground than Spurs against Chelsea
    In his brief tenure as Chelsea boss, Andre Villas-Boas did not find the Stamford Bridge furnishings particularly comfortable ones. Now, with his former employers in pole position to nudge his new Tottenham team out of the top four, the Portuguese must find a way to do what no other manager has done in 20 long seasons, and win on the Kings Road. However, this may well be beyond his Spurs’ side considering their in-form hosts are currently searching for their seventh straight league win at the Bridge. Tottenham were well below par against Southampton, where only the Gareth Bale show rescued them again, following up a last-gasp point at Wigan when similarly sluggish. Meanwhile, victory for a Chelsea side riding high on that Old Trafford win will all but seal a top-four spot.
    Recommended Bet: Back Chelsea to beat Tottenham @ 1.97

    On only one occasion this season have Tottenham failed to score away from home in the league
    Some of Tottenham’s performances in front of the White Hart Lane faithful have smacked of a team struggling to cope with the pressure at times in recent weeks. However, when playing away from north east London, this Spurs side often cut loose the shackles and, armed with the perfect counter attacking tools, the goals seem to follow, if not always the desired results. The Lilywhites have struck exactly twice on each of their last three away league assignments before this trip across the capital. The reverse fixture produced a thrilling 4-2 win for Chelsea, who have also averaged exactly two goals in their last five Premier League games, so this one should see both keepers beaten.
    Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 goals @ 1.78

    Juan Mata has scored three times in his last two appearances against Tottenham in all competitions
    Chelsea’s diminutive Spaniard has been shortlisted for every award going this season but thanks to the man he’ll line up against on Wednesday, Bale, Mata been unfortunate not to scoop any of them. The number 10 has so often been the creative spark in this Blues outfit and, although he has since been discredited with the winner against Manchester United on Sunday, he has been back to his early season string-pulling best in recent weeks. Mata seems to have an affinity with harming Tottenham hopes too, having struck twice in the space of three minutes during that win at the Lane earlier in the campaign.
    Best Bet: Back Juan Mata to score @ 3.85

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  5. Milesey 7 years ago

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    GOLF
    *****

    THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, where the world’s best will be attempting to win the year’s ‘fifth major’…

    Tournament History
    Originally known as the Tournament Players Championship, the event used to be staged in March but was moved to May in 2007. Universally known as the games ‘fifth major’, a top-class field always assembles at TPC Sawgrass and this year is no exception. The PGA Tour website describes this week’s line-up as the deepest, strongest field in golf and it’s impossible to argue against them. This will be the 40th staging of The Players Championship.

    Venue
    TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

    Course Details
    Par 72 -7,215 yards
    Stroke Index in 2012 – 72.47

    Constructed in 1980, specifically for the purpose of hosting this event, the Stadium Course at Sawgrass has been the tournament’s venue since 1982. It’s yet another Bermuda-grass Pete Dye design and it’s one of the most renowned courses in the world. The par 3 17th, with its dramatic island green, is one of the most recognised holes in golf.

    Described as a balanced course, with doglegged holes going both ways and holes routed so that no two consecutive ever play in the same direction, it’s a true test that doesn’t tend to favour any one type of player, though accurate iron-play and tip-top scrambling is usually the key to success.

    In 2006, just before the event moved to it’s now regular May date, all the tees, fairways and greens were stripped and new drainage, irrigation, and sub-air systems were installed. The result being that the firmness of the, smaller than average sized, greens can be controlled in any weather conditions.

    TV Coverage
    Live on Sky all four days, starting at 6.00pm on Thursday

    Last Five Winners
    2012 – Matt Kuchar -13
    2011 – K.J Choi -13 (playoff)
    2010 – Tim Clark -16
    2009 – Henrik Stenson -12
    2008 -Sergio Garcia -5 (playoff)

    What will it take to win The Players Championship?
    The odd big-hitter has obliged but driving distance is pretty much unimportant. Nine of the last 13 winners ranked in the top ten for Greens In Regulation and Sergio Garcia and last year’s victor, Matt Kuchar, are the only winners in the last eight years to rank outside the top-ten for Scrambling.

    Is there an angle in?
    Plenty of course experience certainly helps and getting to know the gaff looks key. When Henrik Stenson took the title in 2009, he was playing in the event for just the fourth time but he’s the only Players champ in the last seven years to have previously played Sawgrass less than seven times prior to winning.

    The chances are we’ll see another new winner of the event – in the last 20 years there have been 20 different winners. Jack Nicklaus is the only man to win The Players three times and Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and Hall Sutton are the only men to win it twice. And don’t back Matt Kuchar – nobody has ever defended.

    Don’t be afraid to back an outsider – the list of past champions contains plenty of shock winners. I can’t imagine too many picked out the likes of Craig Perks or Fred Funk and although I have fond memories of backing Stephen Ames in 2006, he went off at 170.0.

    Is there an identikit winner?
    I would certainly favour the older, experienced players with an accurate approach game over the younger aggressive types. The wily old vet that knows how to plot his way around is just as likely to contend as any of the young guns. Fred Funk won here in 2005 and the likes of Paul Goydos, Kenny Perry and David Toms have all come close to winning recently. But in truth, all sorts of players have won here and finding a single type of player to prosper is hard.

    In-Play Tactics
    Being up on the pace from early on is certainly preferable. In the last ten years, only Stephen Ames and K.J Choi have won from outside the top-20 after day one. Between 2004 and 2008, that necessity for a fast start was advertised most strongly, with Adam Scot, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia all going on to win having led the field after round one. And Fred Funk, the 2005 champ, had been second after the first day.

    Third round leaders are worth opposing though – the last six have all failed to convert.

    Romilly Evans highlights here how starting out on the 10th hole could prove advantageous and he also describes the pivotal finishing holes superbly too.

    Market Leaders
    Tiger Woods reserves all his best golf for the same venues nowadays but unfortunately for favourite backers, Sawgrass isn’t one of them.

    In 14 starts, he’s won just once and he has an average finishing position of 25th. That’s perfectly respectable form of course but when you consider he’s been the best player on the planet, and by some margin, over much of the last 15 years and that it’s safe to assume he’s pitched up here on numerous occasions in his absolute pomp, then taking a single-figure price about him this week holds no appeal.

    Adam Scot and Rory McIlroy are vying for second favouritism and if I had to pick one it would be the latter. Scott, winner here in 2004, is making his first appearance since his dramatic US Masters playoff triumph and winning back-to-back is always tough, especially when you’re attempting to back-up a major! The media will no doubt be all over him this week and although I expect a big upturn in the Aussie’s fortunes now that he’s won a major, I don’t expect it to be immediate.

    McIlroy’s record here is poor to say the least. Causing much ado, he swerved the event in 2011 and he’s only played here three times. He’s never made the cut, he’s never broken par and he claims not to have gotten to grips with the place yet but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that change this week. Rickie Fowler finished runner-up last year after a couple of missed cuts, so it can be done if you’re classy enough and Rory’s game was in tip-top order at Quail Hollow last week.

    Selections
    Luke Donald isn’t a terrific price this week but he ticks all the right boxes so boldly that I felt he had to be backed and I’ll be quite disappointed if he doesn’t contend.

    With ten Sawgrass starts already in the bag, he has plenty of vital course experience and his course form’s not bad either. Runner-up behind Funk in 2005, Luke also finished 4th in 2011 and 6th last year. He has an impressive record in Florida, where he’s won twice recently and where he’s finished inside the top-six in eight of his last 11 starts and he was third last time out, in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head – another Pete Dye design.

    I was more than happy to take 30.0 about 2007 champ, Phil Mickelson, whose putting at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, on greens most were struggling with, was quite simply sensational. He made 39 consecutive putts inside ten feet at one stage and unsurprisingly topped the Putting Average stats for the week.

    He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with bogeys on two of the last three holes on Sunday but he’s just the sort of character to put that behind him immediately and bounce right back the following week. He comes here in fine form, has plenty of Sawgrass experience and at odds of 30.0, I fancy he’s slightly overlooked.

    My third and final selection is Ben Crane, who also has bags of Sawgrass form to call on. After running up a sequence of finishes here reading 6-5-4, he’s been a bit disappointing in the each of the last two renewals (tied 45th in 2011 and a missed cut in 2012) but he could very easily find his Sawgrass swing again this time around and I thought he was well worth backing at 140.0.

    Pre-Event Selections:
    Luke Donald @ 24.0
    Phil Mickelson @ 30.0
    Ben Crane @ 140.0

    Back to LAY SHOTS
    ******************
    You won’t get many better opportunities on the golfing calendar to make money trading outsiders than the Players Championship. It isn’t so much that it regularly produces freak winners, though we’ve had three in triple-figures this century. Rather, the great thing about Sawgrass is that leaderboards change fast, often meaning many more players than usual get into contention and shorten markedly in the betting. It is not unheard of for a dozen different players to hold weekend favouritism at some stage.

    It also helps that an elite field at the ‘Fifth Major’ means no shortage of quality available within our price range. My plan, therefore, is to back a trio of players all at well above 200.0, with a view to laying back for a sizeable profit should any of them hit the relatively unambitious target of 20.0.

    First up a man who traded well below that mark in no lesser contest than the Masters on his penultimate start. Marc Leishman was mightily impressive at Augusta, standing his ground in contention for all four days, and maintained his good form with a top-ten the following week at Harbour Town. That marked improvement makes it easy to ignore three previous failures at Sawgrass, a course that takes plenty of learning.

    Accurate driving is a pre-requisite for success around hazard-strewn Sawgrass, which leads me towards 280.0 chance John Huh, who has been hitting a high percentage of fairways lately. 11th on his penultimate start at the Masters was outstanding and last year’s Sawgrass debut was promising, fighting back from an opening 75 to make the top-25.

    Finally, despite lacking any course form to recommend, Mark Wilson is simply too big to ignore at 400.0 after finishing third and ninth on his last two starts. Four PGA Tour victories is an outstanding for a player of Wilson’s calibre. All came at huge odds and there were no obvious course form clues available beforehand. In short, he’s precisely the type of rank outsider worth throwing a few pennies at, because he knows how to win.

    Recommended bets
    Back Marc Leishman 2u @ 220.0
    Back John Huh 1.5u @ 280.0
    Back Mark Wilson 1u @ 400.0

    Milesey

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