To be a successful bettor, you have to understand probability. If you toss a coin in the air there's a 50% chance that it will come down on heads, throw a dice in the air and there's a 16.6% chance that it will land on a 6, throw a cat in the air and there's a 100% chance that it will be a right good laugh.
But occasionally, even if you're an expert in the field of probability theory, with an encyclopedic knowledge of football and the greatest staking plan since 'The Bride of Dracula', you can still do your proverbials if poor value teams like Italy keep on winning.
Amazingly, the Italians are a short as 4/6 to lift the World Cup, and that's the most ridiculous investment since the wife had the cheek to pay for beauty products. The French have the necessary tools to lift the trophy; at odds of 11/10, stat nerds, value hunters and football anoraks will all be eating cheese, snails and various frog appendages, in a show of solidarity for our French brothers.
To say that the Italians have had the luck of the draw throughout the competition is like saying that John Motson is annoying; it's so obvious that clarification is not just fluous, it's superfluous. The French are good things to wrap the game up in 90 minutes at 23/10. Correct score bettors need look no further than a 2-0 scoreline at 14/1, but perming 1-0 and 2-0 together at 7/2 is a little bit safer/camper.
You can sum up the difference between the teams in two words, 'Thierry Henry'. The Gallic genius is the most complete player in the tournament, although the Spanish would probably call him a complete tart. Henry missed the final in '98 even though he was their top scorer at the time; if patience is a virtue, then Henry is on the path to righteousness. It's time for King Henry to ascend to the throne; it's 6/1 that he bags the opener.
The Golden Shoe may sound like an item that one of the WAG's would buy, but it's actually the award for the competition's top scorer. (Personally, I don't allow the wife to go shopping for anything other than cleaning materials, but i'm far more flexible with the girlfriend.) Thierry Henry needs two more goals to potentially grab a share of the coveted award (the wife will also be receiving a shoe on Sunday); Henry is a 13/2 shot to net two or more goals.
If all the rumours are true, Juventus players just have to turn up to win matches in Italy, which might explain Paddy Vieira's indifferent season. Itâ€™s great to see Vieira look back to his thundering best, another commanding performance from the resurgent Vieira will see the French ease to victory. Man of the match betting is available, I've seen worse 10/1 shots that the mighty Patrick Vieira.
The Italians have constantly surprised me throughout the competition. Their transformation from an over-hyped collection of show-ponies to an over-hyped, lucky collection of show-ponies has bordered on the extraordinary. The same accusation has often been thrown at Zinedine Zidane, but the reality is that Zizou remains the definition of greatness. A bet on the sublime Zidane for the 'man of the tournament' award (The Golden Ball) at 1/2 is money for old rope.
Luca Toni had a massive reputation for his Serie A goal scoring exploits, but looks to be suffering from a serious case of Lamparditis, he couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo. On a related note, I once tried to hit a cow's arse with a banjo, at least that's what I told the police officer, although the lack of the banjo aroused some suspicion. Toni will not score, the French have a clean sheet in Le Bag, help yourself to 6/4.
Franck Ribery may look like something that Dr Frankenstein knocked up after a heavy night on the ale, but it's not physical looks that make the footballer (otherwise I'd have 150 caps under my belt), pace, skill and grace are the key attributes and Ribery has all three in abundance. The youngster has improved from game to game and the 9/2 on offer for Ribery to score at any time should attract support.
Whoever wins, I'll be walking in to the bookies with a big smile, asking if they'll pay me out on Argentina, as they're the moral winners of the competition. Although, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here; sometimes in life, it's not the winning that's important, it's the taking apart the betting shop if they refuse to pay.
Italy v France Sunday 9th July 19.00
Get on: France
'Top Totti' - Totti to score with a header 10/1
Two Tone' - Luca Toni to score two or more goals 7/1
Gattu blaster' - Gattuso to score from outside the area 20/1
Caught on Camora' - Camoranesi to be sent off 33/1
Gross misconduct' - Grosso to be booked 2/1
'Zid vicious' - Zidane to be booked 5/2
Daylight Ribery' - Franck Ribery to score two or more goals 16/1
De Gaulle of him' - Henry to be booked for diving 12/1
Franck Butcher' - Ribery to be sent off 33/1
Pat Butcher' - Vieira to be sent off 16/1
Manager Tim Sherwood has spoken of his disappointment - and shouldered the blame - for today's one nil loss to Stoke City.
All the stats from Aston Villa (0) vs (1) Stoke, Villa Park, 3/10/15 Att: 33,189
Statistics, damn lies and Aston Villa..
Bit of a mix and match today from manager Tim Sherwood's pre Stoke press conference.
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