Weblog: The football punter

Swerve the odds-on shots during silly season

WE have reached that stage of the campaign that I call silly season - when bookmakers start offering short prices about teams who need to win rather than who will win.

How else can you explain some bookmakers offering odds-on quotes about Newcastle beating Crystal Palace?

Can you really see Alan Pardew getting his team to roll over the way he was treated during his time at St James’ Park?

Every time you tell me about a team like Swansea chucking one in I can show you a West Brom, who had nothing to play for but still ruined Tottenham’s title charge.

Newcastle are clearly getting better under Rafael Benitez but I won’t be rushing out to back them at short prices and there are loads of examples throughout the coupon so be careful not to fall into the trap of backing teams purely because they need to win.

For a second bet I am going to lay Watford, who must be gutted at seeing their FA Cup dreams ruined by Palace at Wembley last week.

Under the circumstances I don’t think it’s wise to have a wager on Watford at odds-on even if the opposition is as woeful as Aston Villa.

I know, I know tipping Villa not to lose could look ridiculous come 5pm on Saturday but it is the silly season after all.

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Match in Focus


Augsburg v Cologne

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Cologne have lost just one of their last ten away games
Expert verdict
Three consecutive wins have vaulted Augsburg into a much safer position in the Bundesliga but they look short enough to make it four against Cologne. The Billy Goats have been solid on the road this season and look worth backing to gain at least a point.