The Wolf’s Sporting Guide – February 2
It’s another big week in the sporting calendar, headlined by Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, while the T20 international tri-series between Australia, New Zealand and England gets underway.
A-League: Under 2.5 goals @ $1.95 (Central Coast v Western Sydney) – Sun 5pm
Over the years the Mariners and Wanderers have hardly put on a show. There have been less than 3 goals in 14 of the last 19 encounters with a team managing more than two goals just twice! They are the two lowest scoring sides in the A-League this season with just 18 goals each. The Mariners are yet to find the back of the net more than twice this season while the Wanderers have been held scoreless in 5 of their last 11. The Wanderers attack lacks any sort of flow at the moment while sides have put a lid on Mariners star Daniel Da Silva. The Mariners will be without hard man Brama who was sent for a sickening late challenge in the loss to the Roar. The Wolf will be shocked if we see more than two goals and says a solitary goal may be enough for maximum points.
NFL Super Bowl LII: New England -4.5 @ $1.92 (v Philadelphia) – Mon 10:30am
It will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX when the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles clash in Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be making his eighth Super Bowl appearance and aiming for his sixth career championship. Both the Patriots and Eagles went 12-6 ATS including playoffs this season. The Patriots are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games after an ATS loss, while the Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog. In fact, underdogs have gone 13-4 ATS in the last 17 Super Bowls. The Patriots are 28-9 ATS over the past two seasons including playoffs. That’s the best record for a team covering the spread in the NFL over a two-season period. The total game total is currently set at 48, with the under hitting in 10 of the last 14 Patriots games, including six of the last eight away from Gillette Stadium. There’s no question that the Patriots can put points on the board, but Foles might have played his Super Bowl a fortnight ago and won’t want to go toe-to-toe in a shootout with Brady. It’s the Patriots to cover and the unders for The Wolf.
1st T20: Australia @ $1.67 (v New Zealand) – Sat 7:20pm
Australia have won four of the six T20 international matches they have played against New Zealand and won their most recent T20 against the Kiwis by 8 runs back in 2016 at the World T20 in India. Both countries have named strong line-ups, with plenty of the Australian squad selected on the back of strong form in the Big Bash League. The Wolf sees Australia having a massive advantage in their batting ranks when you consider that the likes of David Warner, Aaron Finch, D’Arcy Short, Alex Carey, Chris Lynn and even Glenn Maxwell are all capable of opening the batting. Hobart Hurricanes opener D’Arcy Short has scored the most runs during BBL|07, with 506 runs at an average of 56 and strike-rate of 147.80. Alex Carey is second with 425 runs and Glenn Maxwell fifth with 299 runs. It might not be Australia’s first-choice bowling attack, with an eye on the Test series against South Africa, but they have plenty of depth, especially in this format of the game. Scorchers quick and change-up specialist Andrew Tye has 16 wickets at an average of 12 during BBL|07 and will be well-supported by Kane Richardson (12 wickets IN BBL|07) and Billy Stanlake (11 wickets IN BBL|07). The Big Bash is a massive advantage for these Australian players, while the Kiwis look vulnerable after their T20 series loss to Pakistan.
It has been a week full of bad news for the Victory. They went down to arch rivals Sydney after taking the lead and will be without Geria who was sent from the field. It doesn’t end there, with club captain Mark Milligan departing for Saudi Arabia. His move to Al-Ahli leaves a big hole to fill in the middle of the park with Terry Antonis tipped to get the start. Troisi is likely to step back into a deeper role alongside Valeri but they are likely to be more vulnerable on the counter. It won’t take us long to see if that is the case as the Jets are one of, if not the most effective side on the counter. The Jets have scored multiple goals in 7 of their last 8 matches and remain the only side to have scored in all 18 matches this season. The home side has won 4 of the last 5 and The Wolf likes Newcastle to get the job done against a Victory side that will need to make significant adjustments in the coming weeks.
EPL: Watford @ $6.50 (v Chelsea) – Tues 7am
Antonio Conte’s tenure at Stamford Bridge could be coming to an end sooner than expected. They have won just 1 of their last 4 league games and were bounced out of the League Cup by Arsenal. The loss to Bournemouth was unacceptable to say the least and there can be no excuses with Cahill, Azpilicueta, Christensen and Kante all taking the field. They attacked with virtually three players – Hazard, Pedro and Barkley. Therein is where the problem lies according to Wolfy and it highlights Conte’s repetitive negative tactics. The addition of Giroud is likely to give them some presence up front but we are unlikely to see the Frenchman and Morata on the field at the same time. Watford frustrated Stoke in a 0-0 draw and we should see them employ similar tactics against a Chelsea side still looking for an identity in attack. Holebas and Mariappa have the pace and experience to deal with Alonzo and Zappacosta while the addition of Deulofeu will give them plenty of spark on the flanks. The Wolf can smell an upset!
Liverpool v Tottenham – (Mon 3:30am)
Alongside Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham were the only other sides in the top 8 to register midweek victories. Tottenham put on a magnificent display to beat Man Utd while Liverpool took their chances when presented with them at Huddersfield. Just 2 points separate them on the ladder and this is a match with massive top 4 implications. Road wins have been a rarity in this series with the visiting side claiming victory in just 3 of the last 17 meetings across all competitions. Liverpool were undefeated in their last 10 meetings with Spurs until earlier this season when the men in white posted a crushing 4-1 win. Spurs have failed to score in just 2 of their away games this season (Man Utd & Arsenal) but The Wolf says Liverpool will not be joining that list. The Reds have struggled against the long ball and Kane is a prime target in the air. Look for him to give Liverpool all sorts of headaches.
Best: Both Teams To Score – YES ($1.53)
Value: Tottenham Over 1.5 goals ($2.75)
Brisbane v Melbourne City – (Sun 7:00pm)
City extended their unbeaten run to 5 games but goals look set to dry up temporarily with McCormack returning to parent side Aston Villa. The Scottsman netted 15 of the sides 28 goals this season but the hefty loan fee was apparently too much to ask for. Fornaroli will be back sooner rather than later but until then The Wolf says they will do well to put pressure on opposing defences. It leaves the door open for the Roar to register a 3rd straight win. Holman has proved to be a real threat in recent weeks, striking combinations with both McKay and Maccarone. The experience of North and Papadopoulos will allow the Roar to build from the back and they should be able to shut down a City attack missing it’s best weapon.
Best Bet: Brisbane WIN ($2.90)
Value Bet: HT/FT – Brisbane/Brisbane ($4.75)