Sports Betting Centre

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

10 Things You May Not Have Known About Queen's Park Football Club

Despite being a modest footballing side currently plying its trade in Scotland's League Two, Queen's Park FC boasts an extraordinarily colourful history with which few can compare.

Here are 10 interesting facts you may not have known about Scotland's 35th best soccer team:

1. Queen's Park is the only fully amateur club remaining in the Scottish professional football league. Its motto is Ludere Causa Ludendi, which means "to play for the sake of playing".

2. Founded in 1867, it is Scotland's oldest club and the oldest outside of England and Wales.

3. The club was launched on 9th July 1867 with the immortal words: "Tonight at half past eight o'clock a number of gentlemen met at No. 3 Eglinton Terrace for the purpose of forming a football club".

4. Queen's Park is the only Scottish club to have played in an English FA Cup Final, which it did in both 1884 and 1885, losing on both occasions. It was customary in the early days of the competition for selected Scottish clubs to be invited to participate in the tournament.

5. Queen's Park has won the Scottish Cup more times than any other team except for Celtic and Rangers, although the last occasion was in 1893.

6. Home games are played at Hampden Park, also the home of the Scottish national side. The stadium's capacity is 51,866 although in the 2014/15 season Queen's Park's average home gate was 608.

7. Hampden was the largest stadium in the world until 1950 when the Maracanã was built in Rio de Janeiro.

8. In 2014 due to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games the team had to play its home fixtures at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium.

9. Queen's Park are nicknamed The Spiders and some supporters call themselves the "Irn Bru Firm" and enjoy a close and friendly relationship with supporters of the German club SG Wattenscheid 09.

10. In a fixture held on 30 November 1872 Scotland played England at the West of Scotland Cricket Club ground in Hamilton Crescent. For the one and only time ever all eleven of the Scotland players were from Queen's Park. 4000 fans watched Scotland play with a 2–2–6 line-up and England in a 1–1–8 formation.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

"Special" Betting

Small investors who are prepared to take a gamble could do worse than to keep an eye on some of the larger sportsbooks such as Bet365, Unibet and Paddy Power for what are usually simplistically termed “Special Bets”.

These are usually bets on non-sporting events such as elections, TV reality shows and film awards.

Because the sportsbooks by definition specialise in sport, these bets so often fall outside of their areas of expertise and can often therefore lack the shrewd insight which usually gives the bookies their built-in “house edge”.

Major betting exchanges such as Betfair, being customer-driven, will usually operate a book which reflects the odds on these events much more accurately, and often an opportunity will be created to lay off or “arb” an over-generous price offered by one of the conventional books, creating an opportunity for an immediate profit.

It is worth remembering that even multi-million betting operations with inside information and intelligence on horse racing and the world of football will often have less insight into the politics of your local electoral constituency, for example than you have.

Don’t always assume that the bookie knows best. Shop around, and take advantage.

Reproduced with acknowledgements to Money Making Ideas.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Warburton and Weir Get Prime Rangers Posts

Former Brentford manager Mark Warburton and his assistant David Weir are to become the new dream team at the helm of troubled Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers, it has been announced.

52-year-old Warburton was recently released by Brentford despite having steered them from League One to the Championship and the play-offs for promotion to the Premier League, following a polite but fundamental disagreement with owner Matthew Benham over his footballing philosophy and the owner's future plans for the club. Assistant Manager Weir went with him and is to play a similar role at the Scottish Championship side, where we was once team captain.

"Whoever comes in must appreciate the size of the task in terms of the history of the club and where they have to be," said Warburton prior to the announcement.

"This is about making significant progress in a designated period of time."

The appointment is set to be made official by close of play today.

Wales to be in Top Seeding Group for 2018 World Cup Draw

Wales' 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win over Belgium in Cardiff on Friday saw them move closer to a first major finals since 1958.

But the victory could also see Chris Coleman's side enter the top 10 in the Fifa rankings for the first time.

It will almost certainly put Wales among the top seeds when the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw is made in July.

"We're in pot one for the World Cup and the rankings are very healthy, the best we've ever been," Coleman said.

Belgium were ranked second in the world before the match at Cardiff City Stadium, which was settled by Gareth Bale's 17th goal for Wales.


Coleman's side were ranked 22nd, but the points gained from the win will see them climb the order under Fifa's coefficient system when the new rankings are published on 9 July.

If England fail to beat Slovenia in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Sunday, Wales could be ranked above Roy Hodgson's side for the first time in their history.

Being among the top seeds when the draw for Russia 2018 is made in St Petersburg on 25 July will see Wales avoid the likes of Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France and England in their pool.

In March 2011 Wales were as low as 116th, and in the last World Cup qualifying campaign they were bottom seeds alongside countries such as San Marino, Andorra and Luxembourg.

Coleman became Wales boss in January 2012 following the death of former manager Gary Speed.

The former Fulham and Coventry manager lost his first four matches in charge before a 2-1 win over Scotland.

"It is astonishing," Coleman said.

"We've been chipping away at it for a long time and my staff are absolutely fantastic, they work so hard when we're in camp."

Reproduced with acknowledgements to BBC Sport

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Marinus Dijkhuizen Takes Over as Brentford Head Coach

Marinus Dijkhuizen
Championship club Brentford have named Excelsior manager Marinus Dijkhuizen as their new head coach.

The 43-year-old Dutchman replaces Mark Warburton, who left at the end of the season despite reaching the play-offs.

Warburton led the Bees to promotion from League One last year but was told in February he would not be retained at the end of the campaign.

Dijkhuizen will be assisted by Roy Hendriksen, who joins the club from Dutch side NEC.

Warburton was involved in a disagreement with Brentford owner Matthew Benham over the future direction of the west London club, with Benham keen to increase the use of statistics in the club's recruitment of players.

Dijkhuizen will work with Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles, who were recently installed as co-directors of football at Griffin Park.


"The appointment of the new head coach was a very important part of the restructure of the football management we have been undertaking," Benham told the club website.

"We wanted someone who could share our vision for the future.

"We want to be an innovative club in everything we do and having a head coach who thinks in that way was very important."

Dijkhuizen took over as manager of Excelsior in January 2014 and led the side to 15th place in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, although they ended the campaign without a win in nine games.

A former striker, he had two spells as a player with the Rotterdam-based club and also spent time on loan at Dunfermline.

His assistant Hendriksen, 46, had a 16-year playing career in the Netherlands and had a spell as a coach at RKC Waalwijk before joining NEC in 2014.


Bees owner Benham has decided to change the club's management structure, with their future recruitment set to be based more on mathematical modelling and statistics which, allied to more traditional scouting methods, is referred to as a 'Moneyball' approach.

Moneyball is a system which emerged in baseball in which the smart use of undervalued statistics allowed financially disadvantaged teams to compete with better-resourced rivals.

"It has been important for us to find a coach who is open-minded, forward thinking and who has great man-management skills," said Ankersen.

"In the recruitment process, Marinus has shown all those qualities and we are confident that he will be able to succeed in the role as head coach."

Reproduced with acknowledgements to BBC Sport

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hagler vs. Hearns - the Mother of All Battles?

It was thirty years this week since those of us who are of a certain age witnessed what is considered by many to have been the greatest fight in boxing history - the epic three-round war between the middleweight titans "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns.

It was the fight that everybody wanted to see, in a golden age of middleweights which also included such legends as Sugar Ray Leonard and the diminutive but hard-as-nails Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran. Between them they, along with several other fighters who in any other age would themselves have dominated the division (the Argentinian Juan Roldán springs readily to mind), captivated fight enthusiasts for a decade the likes of which has never since been seen and probably never will again.

Even in the UK names such as Herol Graham, Errol Christie, Tony Sibson and Mark Kaylor were commonly known amongst amongst sports fans, with the gutsy Sibson challenging no fewer than three times for various world titles.

Marvin Hagler
Hagler had become world middleweight champion in 1980 at the second attempt when, following a drawn contest against the defending champ Vito Antuofermo ten months previously, he defeated Britain's Alan Minter on a technical knockout in the third round. Notwithstanding his total command of the division he felt sidelined by the trilogy of Leonard, Hearns and Duran, who had seemed content to share the spotlight through a number of money-spinning mutual encounters.

Hearns had begun his professional career as a welterweight, for which at 6'1" he was freakishly tall, usually boasting a massive reach advantage over his opponents. He possessed a peculiar style, gangly and awkward but deadly effective with arguably the hardest punch in the sport. He had dispatched the solid Duran to the canvass in the second round of their meeting in 1984, after the Panamanian had taken Hagler the distance in his previous encounter. This was seen by many as indicative of Hearns' superior pedigree when he came up against Marvelous Marvin a year later.

The fight itself, when it came, was from the onset a veritable explosion of raw aggression and talent. Both fighters claim not to have even heard the first bell. Fearsome blows were exchanged and the pace did not let up until the end of the first round. Back in his corner, Hearns revealed that he had broken a finger, whilst Hagler had blood streaming from a gash to his forehead.

Thomas Hearns
During the second round Hagler alternated his style between southpaw and orthodox, discomfiting Hearns and not giving him the opportunity to settle. He was comfortably on top before, in the third round, referee Richard Steele suspended proceedings to enable the doctor to take a closer look at the cut on Hagler's forehead. He permitted the fight to proceed, but Hagler knew there was no way he would last the distance in his present predicament. From there onwards it was kill or be killed.

With this firmly in mind, Hagler hurled himself back into the fight with a renewed sense of urgency. Hearns was wobbled, he clung on, then he fell. Then he got up again, but referee Steele had seen enough.

Although Hearns was enthusiastic for a rematch (and apparently still is, although the 60-year-old Hagler is perhaps understandably dismissive), it never did happen. Hagler eventually retired after losing a dubious decision to Leonard, whilst Hearns continued a little longer than he perhaps ought to have done, finally hanging up his gloves after his 2006 tenth-round defeat of Shannon Landberg at the age of 47.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Talking About BFC

By Phil Andrews

With my single-minded pursuit of keeping my son Joe at school for the remaining four months – a commitment way above our means but necessitated by events elsewhere in our lives – my availability for attending Brentford matches has diminished to almost zero. By a happy coincidence however Joe himself, after a junior flirtation with Arsenal which cost me several items of the requisite kit during the course of his rapid growth, has matured into a fully-fledged Brentford season ticket holder in his own right and thereby, I like to believe, discharges my obligations by proxy.

But having been a supporter since 1965 I do nonetheless take a close interest in the fortunes of the team, and like everybody else have been excited by events this season, when a perennial lower league side (only one previous and very brief foray beyond what is today known as League One in the whole of my lifetime) has taken the Championship by storm, and brushed aside teams with the pedigree of Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the course of what had appeared to be a realistic, if unlikely challenge for promotion to the Premier League itself.

Then came the bombshell. And it was a bombshell of such magnitude that even long-suffering Brentford fans are calling it – well, a bombshell. An article in the Times (that’s the real Times not the local paper of the same name – such is the respect that Brentford has achieved in the football world) revealed that Mark Warburton, the rookie manager who had delivered so much success on the field of play, was to be surplus to requirements at the end of the season. Taken by surprise by the leak the powers that be at the club wobbled, panicked, and issue a verbose, almost Cantona-esque statement saying not very much at all which only served to make matters far, far worse than they were already for shocked fans as well, perhaps, as for the players, who subsequently slumped to a very untypical 3-0 defeat by a poor Charlton Athletic side who had all but played them off the field.


An awkward silence ensued, until a couple of days later a more considered statement emerged from the club, to which both owner Matthew Benham and manager Mark Warburton were signed up. The truth of the matter was that Benham wants to introduce a radical new management system much used on the continent but relatively unknown here in the UK, and Warburton and his closest staff had felt unable to work with it as it ran contrary to their own footballing philosophies. And so the parting of the ways, when it happens, is to be by mutual agreement. Now fans are hoping against hope that “Warbs” hangs around to finish the job of getting the Bees promoted to the dizzy heights of the Premier League, but most of us are realistic enough to know that if a top team were to come in for him now it would be very difficult for him to resist taking up the challenge, knowing that his days at Griffin Park are drawing to a close.

For the benefit of Bees fans, or for that matter of mere voyeurs who may wish to be kept regularly updated on this story, my advice would be to visit BFC Talk, an excellent private blog by Bees fan Greville Waterman which is frequently replenished with eloquent articles and well-presented news and views from around the club. On this particular subject, as with many others, regular new features are posted to this site to relate and offer intelligent comment on all the latest developments.

If you are a Brentford supporter BFC Talk deserves your unqualified support. Especially so as it is a useful, not to mention probably the most articulate source, of regular post-match analysis.

It would be a brave punter who was to commit to a position on Brentford’s likely performance for the remainder of this campaign. An uninspiring if uncharacteristic wipeout at Charlton was followed by an impressively dominant performance against high-flyers Bournemouth and a walkover against no-hopers Blackpool in which the 4-0 scoreline flattered the visitors, which in turn was followed by defeat at the hands of a less than spectacular Birmingham side.

This year’s ongoing Brentford saga is a fascinating one on and off the pitch, whether you are an avid fan or a mere passenger. It is a blessing that we have the tools to keep us well informed.

Reproduced with acknowledgements to A Community In Action

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Making Money from Sports Betting Arbitrage

"Betting is a mug's game," or so they say.

You'll never meet a poor bookie".

Clichés as they are they do have a certain truth. Bookmaking is all about the "house edge". What this means is that the price offered to the punter by the bookmaker is less generous than the "real" price should be. In other words, if a bookie was offering you odds on the flip of a coin coming up heads he would probably be setting a price in the region of 10/11 or 5/6, when the true odds would of course be Evens.

Certainly you still have a 50/50 chance of winning the bet. But if you win the bet at 10/11 your £11 stake will win you £10. If you lose, your loss is £11. So although your chances of winning a single bet are 50%, place the same bet 100 times and it is virtually certain that you'll be out of pocket. Hence "the house edge".

Sports betting arbitrage reverses that verdict. By using different odds at different bookmakers you turn the prices to your advantage. For instance, if Bet365 is offering 6/5 on Bloggs to beat Brown in a snooker fixture and Evens is available at Betfair on Brown to beat Bloggs in the same match you can, by carefully setting your stakes accordingly, lock in a guaranteed profit whatever the outcome.

There are pitfalls - human error, last-minute price changes, cancelled bets, maximum permitted stakes being altered without notice - but the skilled arbitrageur will overcome these on balance. Of course the return each time is relatively low - any "arb" over 2% is considered a good one, so an investment of £1000 would be needed just to make £20 in profit. In other words to benefit from sports arbitrage one needs some serious starting capital.

But it does work, and many people make a living from it.

Reproduced with acknowledgements to Money Making Ideas.

AP McCoy Retires - then Wins First Irish Gold Cup

Champion jockey AP McCoy has won his first Irish Hennessy Gold Cup - the day after announcing his retirement at the end of the season.

His mount Carlingford Lough had to be pushed to the limit after making a mistake at the penultimate fence at Leopardstown. Despite this, under the guidance of the 40-year-old legend he overcame rival Foxrock to triumph by three-quarters of a length. It was McCoy's 202nd win of the season, having ridden Sort It Out to victory in the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle earlier in the day.

Incredibly, McCoy has been champion jockey every season since making his professional debut in 1996.

Monday, 19 January 2015

High Roller Sports Betting

The term "high roller" in sports betting refers simply to the placing of large stakes. What one person might consider high of course might differ substantially from another's understanding of the term. For the purposes of this article let's consider those punters who are frequently prepared to wager into four figures and beyond.

Very few bettors place four-figure or five-figure bets every time. Ordinarily they will assess the likelihood of a wager being successful and stake accordingly. How generous a price on a particular market happens to be would often be a consideration too. However a person who places high stakes with some degree of frequency might reasonably be considered a high roller.

Perhaps unsurprisingly different bookmakers (sometimes called sportsbooks) will take different views on the desirability or otherwise of high roller custom. A very large wager on a line which carries a big price exposes the book to the prospect of hefty losses should the bet be successful. A good book such as Pinnacle (now sadly no longer accepting business from UK customers) will welcome the bet every time due to its skill in balancing its prices out. Others though will run shy, and seem to prefer the custom of the pound-a-bet hobbyists and occasional dabblers.


Most sportsbooks will operate different limits for different markets. A punt of several thousands on the likely winner of the next X-Factor competition is unlikely to be accepted as this tends not to be a high roller market, and it would be difficult for the bookmaker to offset the bet. The same sportsbook is likely to offer a far more generous limit on the outcome of the FA Cup Final or the winner at Wimbledon because there will be wagers aplenty on the opposite side of the line creating some sort of equilibrium. Indeed your five-figure punt may have the effect of pushing down the price on that market, thereby increasing the price on the opposite line{s) which is thereby itself made a more attractive proposition for potential customers.

It is an unfortunate but unavoidable truth that some online bookies are known to slash the maximum stakes offered to certain customers once a few large wagers have proved successful. Indeed it is not unknown for punters to access their accounts and attempt to place their bets only to find that their previous £1000 limit has been reduced to £1.

Paradoxically the best sportsbook for high rolling customers is probably one which doesn't operate a limit at all on its stakes - Betfair. Because Betfair is a betting exchange which makes its money solely from the commission it deducts from winning bets it has no interest in restricting customer action, indeed quite the opposite.

High rolling is not a discipline for everyone. To even attempt it one must first have the money to stake in the first place (and be prepared to lose it), and then some considerable knowledge of the market in order to ensure at the very least that losses are kept to a minimum, and ideally that a profit is made.