Aston Villa to overcome Middlesbrough; Atletico to win Europa League?
It was another solid weekend of profit for the column with a 3/1 single scooping and a near 5/1 treble winning during the final round of Premier League matches. There's plenty for punters to get stuck into in midweek too with action from the English playoffs and the Europa League final.
Running total: -£65.66
The Home Banker
Aston Villa put in a typically dogged away performance as they beat Middlesbrough 1-0 on Saturday to put themselves in the box seat at the midway point of this intriguing Championship playoff semifinal. Boro had the better of it in terms of chances but Villa were excellent at the back and the seven-time champions of England look a decent bet at 5/4 to finish the job by winning at Villa Park. Steve Bruce's side took four points from Boro during the regular season and of course finished higher in the table. Villa have also been very solid at home this term, beating Wolves Fulham and Cardiff on their own patch.
Selection: £4 on Aston Villa to win at 5/4 with bet365.
The Tasty Treble
Atletico Madrid (8/13) should have enough quality to land yet another Europa League title on Wednesday night against Marseille. The latter were a touch fortunate to get past FC Salzburg over two legs in the semifinals and may struggle to break down a very well organised Atleti. As mentioned, Aston Villa (5/4) are the pick to get the better of Middlesbrough once again, while adding Rotherham (23/20) to see off Scunthorpe United in their League One playoff semifinal second leg (the first leg finished 2-2 but it was a game the Millers could easily have won) gives us a treble with bet365 paying better than 13/2.
Selection: £2 on the treble at 6.81/1 with bet365.
The Euro Wager
Atletico Madrid look rightful favourites to lift the Europa League but might have to be patient against Marseille on Wednesday night. The Spanish side are vying for a third Europa League title in the last 10 years but will have to claim it without Diego Simeone, who is suspended once again from taking his place in the dugout. They will also have to do it on French soil, with Lyon hosting a final that may take a while to catch fire. Atletico were workmanlike rather than dazzling as they edged past Arsenal in the semifinals, and odds of 3/1 that this game is all square at half-time but Atleti winning at the end look tempting.
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The Wildcard Tip
Statistically, playoff return legs produce more goals than first legs do so 8/1 looks pretty big about Aston Villa and Middlesbrough going in 1-1 at the break on Tuesday. The two sides look pretty evenly matched and Boro will be looking for the guile of Muhamed Besic and the raw pace of Adama Traore to open Villa up.
The Bookie Basher
Lucas Piazon has scored four times in his last eight home games for Fulham, and the Brazilian could be worth nibbling at 11/1 to score first against Derby County on Monday night. The Cottagers are looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg and classy Chelsea loanee Piazon can help restore parity in the tie by notching first.
Selection: £1 on Piazon to score first at 11/1 with bet365.