A 12/1 winner falls into my lap straight after a column lamenting a terrible run of form. I seem to recall that it was a 12/1 punt on Mark Webber to win the British Grand Prix back last summer that prompted a London-bus style procession of successful big-priced bets that rescued an increasingly forlorn looking season. It is hoped that Blackburn Rovers' victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend yields similar good fortune.
Certainly, there was a bigger than usual smile worn around Tenner Bet towers on Saturday evening and not just by dint of the price, the vanquished opponents just might have had something to do with it. Alas, this weekend there's no such bookie-busting price but rather a couple of safety-first punts that, on the face of it, require a bit of a leap of faith but not quite as big as that required to back Rovers last weekend.
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CAPITAL ONE CUP FINAL
Swansea City versus Bradford City sounds as if it should have been a Leyland DAF Cup final from the mid-90s rather than a match to decide who claims English football's third trophy.
Neither side is in particularly great form with Swansea having won just three of their last 11 games and just once since reaching the final with an aggregate win over Chelsea, while Bradford are in worse fettle having managed a mere two victories during the same number of games in all competitions.
At a best-priced 9/1, Bradford represent a worse bet than Blackburn were last weekend. Yes, they have seen off Arsene Wenger's side, Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic on the road to Wembley but it could be argued successfully that there were mitigating factors in each of the Premier League sides' respective exits.
Given that Swansesa are 2-5 to win in normal time, I like the 11/10 about them with a goal against handicap. Wembley is no place for digging in and attempting to limit the opposition given its wide expanses and Bradford are unlikely to encounter the same soft centre in Swansea's defence as they have in those of Arsenal and Villa.
It pains me to say it but, as an Irishman who has listened to Scottish rugby fans repeatedly telling me that this is their year, this time around I actually believe it might be. Despite a woeful Six Nations record, the Scots have managed to beat the Irish on three occasions. There is a case for saying they did so with worse teams and against better Irish XVs than are likely to take the field at Murrayfield tomorrow. Declan Kidney's side have a slew of absences due to injury – and in the case of Cian Healy – downright stupidity as they seek to recover from an inept performance in Dublin a fortnight ago. The task is much greater than it once seemed given the injuries and the dawning realisation that there is little to separate the also-rans. An ebullient Scotland are coming off the back of a morale-boosting win over Italy, the noises coming from Scott Johnson are encouraging and the back division is now a serious threat. The 6/4 on a Scotland win is too tempting to ignore.
I like the idea of a double this weekend which will pay 3.25/1. Whatever happens we're back in the black by dint of last week's 12/1 shot and profit stands at £37.82.