Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
25th February 2018
The Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks both enter Friday’s series opener coming off two straight loses in a meeting that could be pivotal for each club moving forward.
Chicago Cubs Form
Coming off their first World Series title in over a century, the Cubs have struggled to find any level of consistency on the field for much of this season. Despite the rollercoaster season, Chicago still finds themselves atop of the NL Central sitting at a 59-54 record heading into the series opener against the Diamondbacks. The Cubs had appeared to finally hit stride following the All-Star break winning 14 of their first 17 games, but have since dropped six of their last eight games.
This stretch includes dropping two of three to the Diamondback at home at the beginning of the month of August in spite of outscoring them 24-17 in the series. Granted, the bulk of that came in the series opener in a 16-4 win, it marked the start of a disappointing span for the Cubs where they lost two of three games to both the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants. On top of that, Chicago also lost catcher Willson Contreras to a hamstring injury that requires an MRI. He had been blazing hot since the All-Star break hitting .311 with 10 home runs, 29 RBIs, and 16 runs scored in 90 plate appearances.
The Cubs are already dealing with the absence of shortstop Addison Russell, who has been sidelined with a right foot strain that should keep him out several more days. That said, Chicago is set to send veteran right-hander John Lackey to the mound on Friday night against the Diamondbacks. Lackey holds a 9-9 record with a 4.81 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 21 starts. In his career against Arizona, he holds an unblemished 4-0 record with a 2.76 ERA in five career starts. Lackey is also 6-5 with a 4.83 ERA in 11 starts on the road this season.
Arizona Diamondbacks Form
It has been much of the same struggles for the Diamondbacks over the last couple of months holding a 14-22 record since reaching a season-high 22 games over .500 back on June 27. Things have continued in that direction in the last 10 games holding a 4-6 record over that stretch including dropping the final two of the three-game series at home against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, who hold the top the record in the majors.
Arizona has been one of the better teams in the National League this season currently sitting comfortably in the second NL wild card spot just a game behind the Colorado Rockies for the top spot. The Diamondbacks have just been overshadowed by the dominant play of the Dodgers over the last few months as they have 46 wins in the last 54 games played. That said, they yield one of the top pitching staffs in the majors this season ranking second in ERA (3.55), fourth in opponent batting average (.238), and sixth in strikeouts (1051).
The Diamondbacks are set to counter with young right-hander Taijuan Walker, who holds a 6-5 record with a 3.60 ERA in 18 starts this season. This includes allowing more than three earned runs just once in the last 13 outings this year. Friday’s game will mark his first career game against the Cubs, and hold currently holds a 4-3 record with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts this season at home.
The bookmakers currently have the Diamondbacks as the slight favorites in the series opener on Friday night. 1xBet Review has them slated at 8/5 odds over the Cubs, who are at 5/9 for the contest.
Given Arizona’s success a Chase Field this season holding a 37-20 mark, which is one of the best home records this year, we recommend staying the course with them at a 7/4 odds to top the defending champions.
Betting Tip: FaZe vs G2
23rd December 2017
This group stage competition sees international all-star team FaZe compete against the ‘French Super Team’ G2. As these are the best two teams in group B, this should be an intense game.
Despite only 1 player in their roster having a Major title, FaZe are currently the best CS team in the world. The world class line-up of talent, led by tactical mastermind Karrigan, have been on dominant form recently. Combining the firepower of Niko, Guardian and Olofmeister has proved to be an incredibly successful scenario. After this roster was created, FaZe were undefeated on 15 maps across two LAN tournaments and looked to be unstoppable until EPICENTER where they went out in the group stages. Outside of EPICENTER, FaZe’s successes include coming 1st place at ESL One New York 2017 and Winning the Eleague Premier this September. Provided FaZe maintain the form that they had at those tournaments, then they will clearly be a favourite to take home the title of IEM Oakland Champions.
G2 were dubbed ‘The French Super Team’ after adding KennyS and NBK to their roster earlier this year. Even though they have had varying levels of success, G2 are currently ranked the 3rd best team in the world behind SK and FaZe. A highly skilled line-up that combines the raw skill of KennyS and Shox with NBK’s supportive playstyle creates a fiercely competitive team. Their main pitfall appears to be their economy management as they seemingly elect to force-buy too often instead of saving to compete in full gun rounds. Their recent achievements include placing 3rd at EPICENTER 2017, winning DreamHack Masters Malmö and placing top 2 at the PGL Major Qualifiers.
Head to Head Record
G2 and FaZe haven’t played against each-other on LAN since FaZe added Olofmeister and Niko to its roster. The last time they met on LAN was at the ECS Season 3 finals in which a lesser FaZe roster still managed to overcome G2 2-0 in a BO3 elimination series. Both sides have met online but once again it doesn’t look good for G2. In the last 8 maps that these teams have played against each other online, FaZe have won every single one. Showing evidence of the incredible skill that FaZe have to offer.
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Top betting tip
G2 have a superb line-up, if they can manage their economy well then against any other team this would likely be a victory for the French side. However, FaZe have looked monstrous recently despite their failings at EPICENTER. It will take a huge effort from every single player on G2 to even compete against FaZe in their current form. While this is a BO1 and upsets are prone to happening in this format, if we see the same FaZe that won Eleague and ESL One NY then this match should comfortably go their way. Our prediction is that FaZe win this BO1 group stage match. Find here more.
Betting Tips: F.C. Krasnodar vs Red Star Belgrade
10th August 2017
Thursday’s first-leg match at the Krasnodar Stadion in Russia will be the first time these two clubs have met and no doubt a fearsome clash between the Eastern European sides. Both are looking to advance to the group stage of the UEFA Europa League following a series of impressive results in the qualifiers. Red Star are likely to put a lot of pressure on Krasnodar in spite of the home advantage. Both teams have excellent goal-scoring records and typically concede very few.
Krasnodar have performed well over the last few months, averaging more than 2.5 goals per game. They scored a total of 11 goals in their last six league matches and looked impressive on the European stage.
They’ve surged through the qualifying rounds, beating Lyngby BK a comfortable 5-2 on aggregate and winning the away leg in round 3.
Their performance in the Russian Premier League has been a little less convincing, with 3 wins 2 draws and 1 loss putting them in 5th place, behind Zenit and Rostov.
This may be due to the fact that their normally strong squad has been blighted by injuries recently, with strikers Smolov and Okirashvili and first team goalkeeper Kritsyuk all out for Thursday’s Europa League tie.
Uruguayan midfielder Mauricio Pereya is their current top scorer in the competition with 2 goals. Red Star will need to mark him tightly to prevent him from acquiring any more goals and playing the ball through to Krasnodar’s weakened strike force.
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star have won 4 and drawn 2 so far in the Europa League qualifiers, scoring an impressive total of 12 goals and conceding just 4. They’re currently top of the Serbian Super Liga with five matches played an 5 straight wins. They’ve scored 16 goals in their opening games of the season and conceded just once. They’ve also won their last 8 games in all tournaments since May, coming away with a clean sheet in 7. Ghanian forward R. Boakye is the man to watch. He’s scored twice so far in the qualifying round. Slavoljub Srnić is another threat to Krasnodar, having scored twice in this tournament and 3 times in the Super Liga so far.
Altogether they’ve scored in every single one of their last 11 games, so the Russian side will need to be strong defensively to keep them out.
Top Betting Tips
This one is tough to call considering the two sides’ goal scoring records and clean sheets over recent months. The clubs have never played each other in a major tournament.
Krasnodar will want to use their home advantage to challenge an impressive Serbian side. They’ve scored at least once in their last 12 home games. Red Star have scored in every game so far in the Europa League preliminary stages.
A win for Red Star with both teams to score offers good value at 9/1. Krasnodar to win and both teams to score is a reasonable 10/3. Considering the goal scoring record of the two clubs, ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ is a reasonable bet at 23/20. Combined with the Krasnodar win it’s a fairly unimpressive 21/10 and 13/5 for Red Star. The draw and Over 2.5 is a much more interesting wager at 16/1, with the option of cashing out earlier in the game.
It would be surprising if Krasnodar will be able to shatter Red Star’s winning streak, and at just 4/5 the straight victory for the home side is not worth the risk. Red Star have scored in every away game so far in the competition and backing them to win in Russia at 15/4 could be lucrative. The first leg of the UEFA Europa League qualification playoff stage kicks off on Thursday at 5pm UTC and our money is on Red Star for the surprise away win with both teams to score.
Last 3 Games
- Rubin Kazan 1-2 FC Krasnodar
- FC Krasnodar 2-0 TosnoSpartak Moscow 2-0 FC Krasnodar
- Red Star Belgrade 3 – 0 Radnicki Nis
- RAD Belgrade 0 – 2 Red Star Belgrade
- Red Star Belgrade 3 – 0 Cukaricki
Premier League – Crystal Palace vs Huddersfield Town
5th August 2017
Excitement is reaching fever pitch as the new Premier League season begins and Saturday’s clash at Selhurst Park between Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town sees a new manager, in Frank de Boer, taking charge of his first ever game in England and a team, in Huddersfield Town, playing in their first ever Premier League game. The Terriers have not played a game in the English top flight for 45 years and their fans will see this game as a very winnable one as they begin their quest to stay in the division.
- When: 12:30PM, Saturday, August 12th, 2017
- Where: Selhurst Park, London, England
Crystal Palace struggled last season under Alan Pardew, before Sam Allardyce was brought in to keep the club in the division. The former England manager was successful in his efforts and victories against big teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea kept the club in the division. At the end of the campaign, Allardyce shocked the football world by announcing his immediate retirement from the sport and he was replaced by the exciting young Dutch manager, Frank de Boer. Crystal Palace have a squad capable of finishing in the top half and in Christian Benteke they have a proven Premier League goal scorer. It will be interesting to see how quickly the players adapt to the new manager’s instructions, but the club will need a fast start to avoid falling into another relegation battle.
Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner has been extremely busy this summer, moving to bring in ten new players. Despite this huge outlay, the club still look short on quality in almost every area of the pitch and are the favourites to finish bottom of the Premier League. One player who has done well in pre-season is Tom Ince, and Wagner will be looking to the winger to be the man to provide the creative spark for his side.
- Will Crystal Palace start well? The London club started the season very poorly last time around and were dragged into a relegation battle before Christmas.
- Do Huddersfield Town have what it takes to stay in the league?
- Can Christian Benteke improve upon his 15 goals from last season?
I think this will be a tight game; Crystal Palace will be looking to impress their new manager whilst Huddersfield Town will be fired up in their first game back in the big time. On paper Crystal Palace have the better team, but I think Huddersfield Town might be able to grab a draw in this one.
Betting Tips (Bet365)
Crystal Palace are favourites for the game with odds of 5/6, whilst Huddersfield Town are 4/1 to pick up an unlikely victory. I think a better bet could be the draw though at odds of 13/5. Crystal Palace might take a few games to get used to Ronald de Boer’s new tactics and Huddersfield Town will be right up for this one.
My pick – Draw – 13/5