Starting Out

I remember when I first started betting on football, it was down my local bookie after school when I turned 18, me and my mates didn’t know what to do in there, we then lumped £1 on 2 accumulators with the odds of 300+/1. We were sure we will win big money and be minted the next day, in reality that never happened. A few years without success punting the pound on big accumulators, I then looked at focusing on picking winners, at the time I would call these MUST WIN BETS, they are often around odds of 1.2-1.3. I would then pick a few and lump a £10 or so on them and hope they come in.

Looking back now, I would laugh at my old-self, which obviously didn’t work, even though a lot of the times you will win, but upsets in the matches will happen, the risk vs reward ratio isn’t worth doing. Bookies will always beat you over the long term because of VALUE, they don’t give a lot of value out as they have very smart people working for them and they play against the sharp sharks everyday. I’ll give you an example of betting with value, if you look at Casinos, they don’t really care if you win 10 hands in a row on Black Jack (unless you are card counting), or hitting the magic number on roulette 5-6 times in a row and got a big win, all the games in the casino gives them an EDGE, mostly 51-53% chance. As a player, we only have around 48% or less chances in the games, so in long term we will always lose in a casino, they don’t care if you have been winning  10 games in a row, they know the variance will sort themselves out long-term and they will be a winner after another 100…1000 games, the law of averages will be in their favour.

Odds are probabilities and if you can master the art of it, you will become successful in sports betting or sports trading and make profit long-term. It’s hard to really say what is the ‘true odds’ of a football match outcome, how would you calculate it? There are so many variant involved and calculating the true price, so what is right and wrong? Well if you look at it this way.. the bookmakers find it hard too and they do get it wrong sometimes, this is where we take advantage of it.

English Racist Card

The English used the racist card a lot in their own campaign to beat the Russians to the rights for 2018. Unfortunately, this makes them racist too, and they lost on top of that. However, admit it, not all Russians are racist. It’s only a few topless and drunk boys who can even barely afford their match tickets who come to stadiums with these banners looking for some attention. I have a few Russian friends and they are nice people! For years, the Soviet Union invested heavily in Africa. Thousands of near-retirement professionals in my country had some Soviet education, sort of.

The nation’s policy isn’t racist and we could look forward to a good World Cup. After all, we have heard similar doubts about World Cup hosts in the past, haven’t we? Didn’t we all hear “Can South Africa pull this off” or “We are not sure the Japan-Korea co-host arrangement can work smoothly”? These kinds of comments are common as long as you have sore losing bidders (like England, right?). But FIFA has a good reason to take the World Cup to Russia. They have a vision to spread football to every country in the world. And if spreading football means teaching a racist Caucasian how to play alongside a Black, Latino or Asian, then I’m game. Play Ball!

Politically, the Russian government has a big task, if they are to avoid a boycott of the 2018 tournament. I think their primary weakness is the denial of the gravity of the situation. They even denied the interpretation of Odemwingie’s banana banner! They must accept that all the neo-Nazi chants in stadiums and activities outside of it are a red alert crisis. When a referee has to stop a game because of a chant against a Black player, you think that’s not a problem? Gradually, a new generation of racially intolerant kids will grow and enter sports and politics. The hate crimes continue and people are being murdered year on year for just looking the way they were born to look. If as much as a tiny fraction of an increase in these rates appear in the run to 2018, then forget it.

They will have to attend their own World Cup. A lot of assurances need to fly around the world. South Africa had to promise the rest of the world that its outrageously high crime rate wouldn’t be a problem for fans and tourists. They had to do this repeatedly until we all felt we could walk on the streets in South Africa without looking over our shoulders for a mugger or rapist. Until a lot of things change and tolerance education is intensified in Russia, I won’t be caught dead on the streets of Moscow wearing the Black Star jersey and brandishing my Ghanaian flag. I’ll be in the safety of my living room in 2018, for now…….

Messilona Healing

So soon a new season is upon us. I personally could not wait for this season(am still nursing a fractured heart from our whipping by Messilona). What better way to dry those tears than success in a brand new season? I am however just a tad worried about the capabilities of the other teams in the premier league (you know who am talking about; City, Chelsea, Liverpool. Sorry Wenger, you don’t make the list this time).

City do give me great hope that money cannot buy success. What else can you expect when your star player insists on using his innocent kids as an excuse to escape you? Ballotelli is player full of meaningless teenage angst. I think the worst decision he made was deciding not to play for Ghana. We would have given him some good old African discipline and he would man up. The other aren’t so bad and Toure is essential to their success this season as well as Hart. I believe they made a mistake letting Given go as Hart is not guaranteed an injury free season. Without a champions league position, it will be bye bye Mancini.

The freshest talent Chelsea have acquired this season is the new Manager who at 33, is younger that a lot of their start players. I can’t wait for the drama yet to unfold between him and the ageing primadonnas. Essien is injured and although he is supposedly 30, we all know better. He is at least 5 years older than his ‘football age’. Lampard is fat, Cech is burnt out, Torres is misplaced and Ashley is looking for himself. Throw an impatient billionaire into the mix and you have the makings of a kick ass Mexican telenovella. The only thing missing will be the guns (oops! Ashley will be providing that; so no worries).

Barca midfielders

Sir Alex should play with 4.5 midfielders (I will explain the 0.5 soon). Now to deal with the Messi/Villa threat, you need to deny them direct access to your back four. You need to clip them (yes, literally) all the time. Which means you plant a “cleaner” in front of your centre-backs to mop up any crumbs left from the process of flushing out attack waves. I am referring here to a JS Park or Darren Fletcher, preferably Park, considering the speed with which Barca attacks through the middle. To counter Park’s erratic but effective style will be a Michael Carrick, who comes with the added feature of being a good ball distributor. So Park cleans, Carrick distribute, easy. In 2009, Park started against Barca in an attack right position, disastrous! This time, he should be made to replicate the role he played in the quarter-final games against Chelsea: a neutralizing holding midfielder.

Now on the flanks, United should not go for full-time wingers. In modern football, a full-time winger is tied down with work along the flanks all game, and barely contributes to central midfield play. Thankfully, Giggs has grown (or rather aged) into a full-midfielder nowadays and Valencia is brave enough to take the entire midfield on his own! So that makes 4 midfielders. The 0.5 is the boy Wayne Rooney. He will be United’s number 9.5: a deep-lying centre-forward. Helped by his physical strength, he will be difficult to pick out since he will neither be in the face of Pique nor in the midst of Iniesa or Xavi. With Rooney lurking in a deep-lying centre-forward position, Busquet will be wary of running forward in attack and wrecking his usual supply damages. And in case Keita plays for Barca, he is likely to behave the same way, as Barca’s central midfielders will have their backs to Rooney, with the threat of him supplying a difficult-to-catch Hernandez.

FORWARD

Rooney will lend his other half in attack to support Hernandez. Hernandez is matured enough to stay on his own, with his speed being his main weapon. Pique is good, but may not be quick enough to outrun Hernandez. Rooney’s other half, as well as Valencia and Giggs coming in from the flanks, could turn the Mexican into a hero on the night, especially Valencia’s crosses (and potential ability to deal with Eric Abidal). Having studied United this season, Guardiola will certainly be smart enough keep an eye on the Mexican. This gives opportunities in a counter-attack situation for Rooney, Valencia, Park or Giggs to pop up with a goal.

Whatever you do Fergie, just don’t go to Wembley and defend all night!

Race to Christmas

In the “Battle of the Model vs. the Midget”, the Midget prevailed. The Midget permanently ended all the “Who’s the best?” arguments and that must have made the Model’s nicely gelled hair stand straight with envy. The Midget run faster (even with shorter legs), jumped higher (have you seen the guy’s size?) and smiled more (and he’s not even the good-looking one). Just like the ones before, there can only be one “greatest” per generation. When you are up for the greatest in your generation, the trick is to play in different leagues from your competitors, apart from the one or two odd Champions League meeting. Avoid them totally so the comparison can never be complete. The Model did not get the trick early, and went off to the exposure of the La Liga. Now it’s all settled, no more hat-trick contests!

The excitement of pre-Christmas football is as good as end-of-season. Everyone wants to be the team to finish the first half of the season on top. Even though you could end the other half at the bottom, it gives you a false sense that you are halfway to championship. It could also be a tough time, especially if you are in the situation Chelsea finds itself. Dates with Spurs, Man United and Arsenal – in that order – isn’t fun to think of, especially at a time when the team seem to have run out of steam (and it’s freaking winter too!). Now there are only 3 points separating the top 4 teams, with Man United having a game in hand (thanks to Blackpool’s frozen pitch). This is a sharp contrast to the Bundesliga table, where Dortmund has taken a 10 point lead, and the season isn’t even halfway yet! Reminds me of the Ghanaian league about a decade ago, when Accra Hearts of Oak could almost win the league halfway to end, hehehe. It’s still tight at the top of the La Liga, with 2 points separating Barca and Madrid. Who knows, the Model could have the last laugh in May 2011.There are many legends of famous training ground and dressing room pep talks. There’s even a comedy movie made on Rafa Benitez and his legendary half-time pep talk in Istanbul 2005, at a time his Liverpool team were 3 goals down against Milan. His players came back and cancelled all 3 goals to become European Champions on penalties. They say it’s the greatest half-time pep talk of all time. So Harry Redknapp took a cue. He knew Spurs had not beaten Arsenal in 17 years. So he huddled his player together after training and told them the following lies:
“It’s wide open this league this year, it’s wide open. Chelsea are not as good as they were; Man United are not as good as they were three or four years ago. They’re still excellent teams but they’re not the force they were. They were almost invincible, the pair of them. I think Tottenham are now getting closer and the championship is wide open. Why can’t you win the championship? Who says you can’t? It’s wide open for somebody who can put a run together. It’s there for someone to have real go at it this year. Why should we all be fearful and keep saying, ‘We can’t win it’? I wouldn’t be saying it if we had a bad group of players. I’m a realist; I’m not dreaming. It’s difficult to do but it’s not impossible. This is the best chance anyone’s going to get this year. There’s very little to choose between the top five or six teams at the moment.”

Guess what? They actually believed him! So when they were down by 2 goals at the Emirates, they had enough mental strength to fight back to win 3-2. The thing about this trick is that, you can only use it once. When Spurs don’t win the league this season (which is definitely what is going down, hehehe), then Harry needs to craft new lies, which won’t be easy. But there’s always a way out: TALK TO STEPHEN IRELAND. The guy once lied to the Irish FA that his maternal grandmother (who raised him) was dead, just so he can get out of a football match. The kind FA gave him a private jet to take him home to mourn. Then it was discovered that the granny was still alive. So he changed the dead subject to his paternal grandmother, who he claim he wasn’t so close to anyway and wouldn’t have bothered if he knew earlier. But the other old lady got angry about it, so he swiped his last card: his divorced grandfather’s girlfriend!