iBet: Ribery The Surprise Favourite For The Ballon D’Or

Gareth Purnell

The Championship

Wigan V QPR, kick off 7.45pm

Lay Wigan at 2.7 with Betfair

Tonight’s domestic football looks trappy especially as at the time of writing I have no team news relating to the Capital One Cup. In the Championship the fixture between Wigan and QPR could be of interest. Wigan are doing okay in the Europa League but surely don’t have the depth of squad to cope with a sustained campaign on two fronts.

Although they are just below mid table with games in hand and are unbeaten at home, it’s interesting to note that they have won only four of their 11 games in the Championship this season. QPR may have lost their last game at Burnley, but that might turn out to be their toughest away game all season.

Apart from that, they have lost only one other fixture at this level out of 11, and they have conceded only six times. At the prices, I make Wigan a firm ‘lay’ at 2.7 against certainly one of the best two teams on form in the division. If you don’t have an exchange account, back QPR in the draw no bet market at 20/21 with BetVictor.

Another possible lay comes in the Scottish League Cup Quarter Final, where I have to fancy Hibernian against Hearts, who are having a miserable season having won none of their last nine in all competitions in 90 minutes. Indeed Hearts have won only two games all season – both at home – and their progress in this competition is thanks to wins over Raith and Queen of the South on penalties. Hibernian have lost only twice in their last ten games. I thought it would be about 6.0 to lay Hearts based on that kind of form but they are 4.6 to lay and for small stakes that may be a bet.

Ballon D’Or
Some will be surprised that Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery, and not Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, has been made favourite for the 2013 Ballon D’Or award. Ribery is as short as even money and several of the odds analysts at the major bookmakers who I know think that there is a movement within FIFA to shake things up a bit.

Messi’s first Ballon D’or came in 2009 before the prize was merged with FIFA’s World Player of the Year. The field has been expanding ever since – he faces a record 23 challengers this year – but that hasn’t stopped the mercurial Argentinean picking it up ever since. Messi, best priced 7/4 this time around, scored 60 Barcelona goals last season (and has 12 already this season) and six for his national side as they eased to qualification. Not too shabby!

However, there’s just a feeling that the time may be right for a new name. The best price you will get about Ribery is the 11/8 on offer with Ladbrokes at the time of writing. Those looking for some value will certainly raise their eyebrows at the 9/1 (yes, nine to one!) being offered about Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo with Bet365, who has only missed out on the award over the last few years because of that man Messi. Another to consider is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is as short at 16/1 with William Hill, but as big as 40/1 with Stan James and Betway. Gareth Bale is as short 33/1, although you can get 66/1, and he surely has no chance in this company.


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