LEICESTER v MANCHESTER UNITED – Click here to bet
What a cracking match to get the day’s action going and 2nd place Leicester host 3rd place Manchester United.
Leicester won 3 of their last 4 EPL matches including beating Tottenham 2-0 away last time out. They have actually battled a bit at home though winning just 3 of their 7 games and losing the other 4.
Manchester United are only a point behind Leicester with a game in hand. They have won 6 and drawn 1 of their last 7 League matches hammering Leeds 6-2 at home last time out. It is their away record which is particularly impressive with 6 wins in 6 starts.
Manchester United 14/10
Suggested Bet: Manchester United win at 14/10
Leicester are battling at home and were beaten 2-0 by Everton in their last home match. They face a Manchester United side with a 100% away record as well as an excellent head-to-head record against Leicester, winning 7 of their last 8 starts.
CHEETAHS v SHARKS
The Cheetahs are currently 5th on the table and in desperate need of a win if they are to stay in contention for a semi-final spot. They had to come from behind to beat the Pumas 35-31 in Nelspruit last week and the week before were well beaten at home by the Lions going down 23-39. When these sides met in Super Rugby Unlocked in Durban the Sharks edged the game 19-13.
The Sharks go into this fixture 3rd on the table and a win here would pretty much guarantee them a semi-final spot. They were very disappointing last week in Johannesburg going down by 15 points to the Lions and they failed to score a try. That was in contrast to the week before in Durban where they beat the table topping Blue Bulls 32-29.
BETTING – Click here to bet
Handicap: Cheetahs (+4.5) at 9/10, Sharks (-4.5) at 9/10
Suggested Bet: Handicap, Sharks (-4.5) at 9/10
The Cheetahs are struggling at the moment having lost a number of key players and while the Sharks were disappointing last week, this is an earlier kick off and conditions should be better and I expect the Sharks to put in an improved play and to win going away.
WESTERN PROVINCE v GRIQUAS
Western Province sit 4th on the table and as things stand would make the semi-finals. Their last action was 2 weeks ago when they laboured to a 28-14 win over the Pumas at home, but they did beat Griquas comfortably when they met them on the road in Super Rugby Unlocked winning by 33 points.
Griquas are bottom of the table and are still looking for a victory across the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup tournaments. Their last action was 3 weeks ago when they lost to the Pumas 22-17 in Nelspruit, a game where they started 5 point favourites. Their last home match was a 20-17 defeat to the Lions, a game that was shortened by lightning and where they only lost the lead just prior to play stopping.
BETTING- Click here to bet
Western Province 1/10
Handicap: Western Province (-17.5) at 9/10, Griquas (+17.5) at 9/10
Suggested Bet: Handicap, Western Province (-17.5) at 9/10
This is not a confident call, but Western Province should get on top in the pack and can grind Griquas down for a comfortable victory
Test cricket is back in South Africa after nearly a year’s absence and the hosts go into the opener at Centurion on Boxing Day as firm favourites.
2020 has been a tough year for South African cricket culminating in the withdrawal of England from the ODI series just a few weeks ago. Now we move on to the longer form of the game where the Proteas haven’t been in action since England visited here and won a 4 match series 3-1 back in January of 2020.
Sri Lanka have also been lightly raced and beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in a two match series at the start of the year and neither team has had much success in the 5 day game in recent years.
Centurion Park has become something of a fortress for South Africa and we have to go back 6 years to find the last time they were beaten.
MATCH BETTING – Click here to bet on the South African v Sri Lanka 1st Test
South Africa 4/11
Sri Lanka 5/1
I certainly won’t be taking the short price about South Africa to win this opening test and may look for some in-running options as far as the match result goes. With little form to go on it is probably wise not to get too involved in this opening match, but at the same time there is no way I am watching the Boxing Day Test without a bet.
SUGGESTED BET: Top Home Batsman, Markram at 3/1
Markram has been in and out of the Proteas side and after piling on runs in the Domestic Competition would be looking to cement his spot in the team. He has made plenty of runs at Centurion over the years and I am backing him to come good and score the most runs for the Proteas in the first innings.
SUGGESTED BET: Highest Individual Score, under 120.5 runs at 17/20
There has been some rain about in the Centurion area and I am expecting the wicket to be quite lively. Add to that the fact that these batsmen have not played 5 day cricket in some time and I like the chances that none of them will reach the 120 run mark.
CHELSEA v WEST HAM
These sides sit 7th and 8th on the log respectively, but Chelsea are in something of a decline having lost their last 2 games, away at Wolves and Everton. Their home record is stronger with 3 wins, 2 draws and a loss in their 6 starts and Chelsea home matches have averaged 3.5 goals with 4 of the 6 games arriving for over 2.5 goal backers.
West Ham have won 4, drawn 1 and lost 1 of their last 6 matches and they are coming off a 1-1 home draw against Crystal Palace. Their away form has been decent this season with 3 wins, 2 losses and a draw and they have won their last 2 away games at Leeds and Sheffield United.
BETTING – Click here to bet
West Ham 5/1
Suggested Bet: Handicap, West Ham (+1) at 16/10
West Ham did the double over Chelsea last season and they might just be meeting them at the right time with Chelsea going through a bad patch and West Ham looking for their 1st consecutive away win.