Odds are out at the LVH SuperBook here in Las Vegas, so it’s time to see if I can at least select twice as many winners as losers for a change.
After doing this the past three weekends, I’ve gone a more-than-mediocre 8-7-1 after a 3-3 weekend last time out. None of my teams lost, but three ties (Bayer Leverkusen, Villarreal and PSG) kept me from success.
As I know, there’s no crying in sports wagering (well, sometimes). So let’s try to go at least 4-2.
Here's the brutal reality of soccer (futbol) wagering. There are three possibilities (W-L-D). And that draw can be deadly.
Let’s do it.
Note: HOME teams in all caps.
This first pick on Saturday morning (FSC, 10:00 a.m. EDT/7:00 a.m. PDT) sees EPL fifth-place side Newcastle hosting 14th-place Stoke City.
Newcastle, a team on the rise in the Premiership seldom mentioned, is tied with Tottenham Hotspur in points (59) and has a very good chance of qualifying for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League if it can keep on winning.
The Magpies have now won five straight matches, with four clean sheets, and outscored opponents 10-1 in the process. Newcastle also has two double-digit scorers in Demba Ba (16) and Papiss Demba Cisse (10), and is a hidden gem in Europe along with other under-appreciated clubs like Juventus (Serie A), Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) and Valencia (La Liga).
Newcastle (17-8-8, wins-draws-losses) is 10-5-2 at home (26-15 goals) while Stoke City (11-9-13) is a weak 4-4-9 on the road (11-29 goals).
The Magpies defeated the Potters 3-1 at Stoke City on Oct. 31.
With all its success this season and momentum, Newcastle is the call here to win its sixth straight match with another shutout.
PREDICTION: Newcastle United 2, Stoke City 0 BEST BET
BET: Newcastle United -150
Another Saturday morning match, this one in Germany’s Bundesliga, sees first-place Borussia Dortmund (22-6-3, 69-23 goals), a team that’s gone 2-0 in this space for me, hosting fourth-place Monchengladbach (16-8-7, 46-22 goals).
Dortmund is 12-2-1 at home (38-12 goals) and is led by Robert Lewandowski (20 goals) and Shinji Kagawa (12) and should win the league now over No. 2 team Bayern Munich, which is concentrating on Real Madrid and UEFA CL now.
Monchengladbach is 7-2-6 away from home (17-12 goals) and Marcus Reus (16 goals) is its top scorer.
A motivational factor for Gladbach is that they’re in fourth place in Bundesliga with 56 points, just one point behind FC Schalke (57) and seeking a third-place finish and automatic UEFA CL qualification next season.
The two teams tied 1-1 in their Dec. 3 meeting at Monchengladbach.
This should be a very tight, low-scoring match if you can find a total of 2 or 2½.
PREDICTION: Borussia Dortmund 1, Monchengladbach 0
BET: Borussia Dortmund -250
Time for a game from Mexico’s Primera Division Clausura.
Monterrey (15-5-4), the fourth team in the table, hosts Pachuca (6-6-3), the seventh-place club, on Saturday night.
Monterrey, fresh off a 2-0 win over Santos Laguna on Wednesday in CONCACAF play, is 4-1-2 (11-7 goals) in Monterrey while Pachuca is a mediocre (2-4-2, 8-8 goals) on the road.
This is the first meeting this season between the two.
I will simply side with the better club, Monterrey, in this game.
PREDICTION: Monterrey 2, Pachuca 1
BET: Monterrey -120
Off to an incredible start and the best record in Major League Soccer this season, Sporting Kansas City (7-0-0) has outscored opponents 12-2 and has shown they may be the team to beat this season.
Portland (1-1-4, 8-11 goals) sits in last place in the Western Division and has blown leads lately. The Timbers are 1-0-2 in the Rose City.
Getting a plus with a team like Sporting Kansas City (3-0-0 road, 5-1 goals) is nice, and even nicer considering they’re facing a struggling side and that SKC is still perfect this season. Jump on it.
PREDICTION: Sporting Kansas City 2, Portland 1
BET: Sporting Kansas City +140
This match goes off Sunday in North America (FSC, 2:30 p.m. EDT/11:30 a.m. PDT)
and features one of the best clubs to bet on (along with Borussia Dortmund) and a team that never loses and hardly ever gets scored on with goalkeeper extraordinaire Gianluigi Buffon. Try typing those four words back-to-back-to-back-to-back brother.
Juventus (18-14-0, 53-18 goals) is the best defensive team in all of Europe and is 11-5-0 at home in Turin and have a mind-blowing 32-game unbeaten streak going.
Serie A’s fifth-place club, AS Roma (15-5-12, 52-42 goals), is no slouch and is 5-2-9 (18-26 goals) away from home. The two clubs tied 1-1 on Dec. 12 in Rome.
With AC Milan hot on its heels, I expect Juve to stay solid in a low-scoring game that could end 0-0, so look for a total if you can find one.
PREDICTION: Juventus 1, AS Roma 0
BET: Juventus -235
This match will also be played on Sunday (3:30 p.m. EDT/12:30 p.m. PDT) and sees the third-place team in La Liga, Valencia (14-10-9, 50-42 goals), welcoming 12th-place Real Betis (12-6-15, 40-45 goals) in a revenge match (Real Betis won 2-1 at home on Dec. 10).
Valencia is coming off a 4-2 loss on Thursday at Atletico Madrid in Leg 1 of its UEFA Europa League semifinals series and may be a bit tired, but should find a way to win at home where it is 8-4-4 (31-20 goals).
Real Betis is a weak 5-1-10 (16-24 goals) away from home and will have trouble scoring in this one in my opinion.
With 10 losses in 16 road matches, I will favor Real Betis in this one.
PREDICTION: Valencia 2, Real Betis 1
BET: Valencia -170
I have three other selections worth noting if you want to do your own homework:
Good luck and the best way to really watch a soccer (futbol) match is not to bet on it. Trust me.
Follow me on Twitter: @KevinStott11