I will probably add another 3 or 4 antepost bets in the next few weeks on top of what we’ve already had so far, some in the Euro leagues yet to start and a few in England once the window is shut depending on if certain things happen.
ANTEPOST PORTFOLIO BETS
Sadio Mane to be Southampton’s top Premier League goalscorer
- generally 4.33 – 5.75 available (top price 5.75 10bet)
double on AFC Fylde to win National League North + Grimsby Town to win National
- Grimsby generally 5.0 – 5.5 (top price 6.0 Betfair Sportsbk), Fylde generally 5.0 – 6.5 (top price 6.5 Fred/Tote), double pays generally 25.0 – 27.0
double on AFC Fylde to win National League North + Eastleigh to win National
- Eastleigh generally 8.0 – 9.0, Fylde generally 5.0 – 6.5, double pays generally 40.0 – 45.0
* on the odds comparison sites, not many firms outright odds for Conf North are listed for some reason (I think the league changing name over the summer may have meant they are not being automatically picked up). But most bookies do have outright odds up so it’s just a case of checking each firms website individually.
I like an each way double or treble every season if the opportunity presents itself – usually in the lower leagues. I’m a bit of a non-league geek so there’s often a couple of teams in those leagues that fit the bill. Down the years in my own personal betting it has always been a bet I really like and have done well with. I think if you get the right teams it can be a very low risk bet to have. The way I approach it is to focus on leagues with not much strength in depth and so look highly likely to land the place part of the bet for a small profit. Hitting the win part and the big profit will then take care of itself over time.
Fylde look a very solid option for a top 3 finish. I remember going to their ground a few years back with Ilkeston in the FA Cup. At the time they were called Kirkham (I think) representing the small town their ground was situated. They were playing at level 8 of English football, at a ground literally in the middle of a row of fields and playing in front of 150 people on a good day. It didn’t strike you as anything other than a typical small non-league club.
Yet plastered all over their ground they had flags, banners and boards saying “Football League by 2020”. Not knowing anything about them at the time this seemed comical and I assumed was some kind of ironic in-joke. But it turns out Kirkham had recently been taken over by a mega-rich new owner and his plan was to change the name of the club to Fylde (presumably to represent the whole of the Fylde coast rather than just 1 small town) and emulate neighbours Fleetwood by buying their way through the divisions and making Fylde a Football League club.
So far they are on track for their 2020 target. They have been promoted up to the level 6 Conference North (renamed the National League North this summer which doesn’t really make sense as a name!) so far so are 2 promotions away from becoming a Football League club.
Last season they finished 2nd, 5 points behind champions Barrow and 13 points ahead of 3rd place Boston. They look worthy favourites and would have to deteriorate by 14 points to not make the top 3. Considering the high investment they have made again this summer that looks unlikely.
The league has lots of teams who will be interesting but no real standout sides. Second faves Stockport County are giants for this level but have never come close to getting out of it because of their off the field problems. Backing Stockport in this league is like backing Liverpool to win the Prem. At some point it will be their year and they will eventually do it but there’s no signs that it is imminent any time soon.
FC United were promoted to the Conf North this season. They have a superb fanbase and a great new ground but they are slowly-slowly-catchy-footballleague and the aim is consolidation this season.
The teams relegated from the Conference Prem last season all have undergone significant changes that leave large question marks hanging over them. Alfreton have decided to drop their established players and go for a youth approach which will probably take a while to get established. Nuneaton have a new manager in ex-Ilkeston boss Kevin Wilson. Wilson has taken assistant Steve Chettle and most of last seasons Ilkeston first team with him. To be honest the Ilkeston team last season once we lost monster Che Adams was pretty average and finished 5th in the league below the Conf North. I just can’t see how that team can get anywhere near top 3 of the league above.
I wont bore you further by going through all the pro’s and cons of teams you’ve never heard of but long story short(er) it is Fylde’s league to lose IMO.
I’m taking 2 shots at the other part of the double. Grimsby are the solid option in a Conference division lacking strength in depth. They were only 6 points off the title last year and with a settled squad and a nice 100k crowd-funded gift from their supporters to boost the playing budget they look a huge chance of a top 3 finish at a minimum.
There doesn’t look too much to worry about in terms of the other Conf Prem teams and relegated teams from League Two have an awful record in their first Conference season. It must be a huge culture shock going to some of the grounds in the Conference. Only last seasons Bristol Rovers in recent years have managed to bounce straight back and they were a huge club to be at this level and even then only went up via the playoffs.
Eastleigh are the one team that would worry me so I’m going to split the e/w double between them and Grimsby. Eastleigh are throwing money at it and could well be the next new Football League team this time next year. They were 4th last season and have spent further money this summer including remarkably signing Dan Harding who made 28 appearances in the Championship last season with Forest and Millwall.
There’s quite a few teams tightening their belts at the moment in the Conf Prem and Eastleigh might just blow everyone away with their spending power.
After joining from Salzburg last summer (where he had a 1 in 2 scoring ratio in league and Champions League) Mane had a pretty poor start to his Southampton career. He scored just once in the first half of the season and his overall performances were almost comically bad at times.
As is often the case though, he just needed a little time to settle and second half of the season he was easily Southampton’s biggest attacking threat and arguably one of the leagues star performers. He scored 9 in 19 PL games after Xmas and generally was a very effective threat.
His PL goals per minute ratio last season was 1 every 213 minutes and that is despite his awful first half of the season and most of his playing time coming later in the season when Southampton were less of a surprise package. Pelle’s goal per minute ratio was 1 every 273 minutes and most of his goals were scored earlier in the season when Southampton were flying.
Koeman has been playing Mane more centrally and more as an out and out front man in pre-season, often playing him off Pelle, so he’s got a really decent chance of upping his tally this season. The return of Jay Rodriguez from long term injury complicates matters a little and means it isn’t a simple Pelle v Mane match-up. Koeman has said he won’t rush Rodriguez back though and you’d expect it to be at least a couple of months before he is in serious contention to start games.
Midfielder Dusan Tadic takes penalties so pens wont give any of the Southampton main attackers an unfair advantage and so Mane being the outsider of the 3 vs Pelle and a recovering Rodriguez looks a decent bet to me. Obviously you have to factor in the chance that Southampton may sign another front man before the deadline, but this market won’t be available after the season kicks off so it’s now or never. They have Pelle, Mane, Rodriguez, Juanmi and Long so look fairly well stocked there and looks unlikely at face value that they’d go for a major signing in that area.
I reckon Mane could well be one of the stars of this season and one of the next Southampton players to make the move up. At 23 he is plenty young enough to have lots of improvement in him and to attract interest from the big boys.
It’s a shame (for us) that he scored that record-breaking hat-trick against Villa at the back end of the season as that put him in the spotlight. Without that hat-trick we probably would be able to get 8 or 9/1 on him in this market and it would be a REALLY good bet. But even the shortest price out there of 100/30 still looks plenty big enough to me, and as big as 9/2 is available.
Betting Tips from a tour insider
25% ROI + 650% ROC since start of the service 8 years ago