Hammarby had a depleted squad at the weekend, but it didn’t stop them beating last seasons champion Djurgardens. In that match Stefan Bilborns team picked up another injury when first goalscorer Aaron Johansson was forced to leave the field on 21 minutes. The situation hasn’t changed much for today, because Paulinho, Kacaniklic, Tankovic, Soderstrom, Ousted (first choice GK), Sandberg and Magyar are still missing! Despite having more injured players than ideal, we have to say the Bajen looked fantastic in that most recent match. The attack easily picked holes in the opponents defence, and if it wasn’t for some good goalkeeping the scoreline would have been bigger again. At the start of the season, Norrkoping where winning everything. The team coached by Jens Gustafsson where at the top of the table, and at one stage they had a nice cushion. On 19th July it started to go wrong for the Peking with a 4-2 defeat in Sirius. While the next game went to plan (2-0 Varbergs), what followed after was just two points from the last four games. At the weekend, 13th placed Helsingborg put 3 goals past the Norkopping goalkeeper, that followed another 2-1 loss in Hacken. The hosts remain unbeaten at home, but visually they are struggling and lost early season momentum. We can imagine a much Hammarby taking another 3 points, albeit for the sake of betting we get the draw included!
Imagine has a kid you are given everything, and you never had to fight for anything in your life. That’s not the case with billionaire daughter Jessica Pegula, and last year this heavy hitting 26 year old made it to rank 55. Pegula is tremendously focused, and only injuries have stopped her breaking into the top 50. However, today she gets to meet the really talented Cici Bellis, a now 21 year old who missed the best part of two seasons because of shoulder and elbow injuries, Bellis weighs in at around 50kg wet, so clearly her game is based on more than power. Cici is one of the best placers of the ball you will see, and granted a clear run she’s going to go significantly higher than her current rank. We admire Pegula, but CiCi is very special!
The words 9 year old and Novice don’t really fit together, strike BALLYEGAN HERO. Not every intake at the Mullins yard will scale the heights, ANDALUSA gives the impression of being a bad pupil. Now she’s switching to fences, it’s got to be last time winner MYSTERY STOWAWAY. John Patrick Ryan’s mare has the scope to jump these bigger obstacles, and she was rated on a par with the Mullins runner over hurdles!
With a better ride ALPINISTA would have won in France, but this is a harder race. Silvestre De Sousa should be able to get QUEEN POWER settled off what is sure to be a fast pace, and her rating suggests she’s the one to beat. The Queens owned AWARD SCHEME is certainly improving and holds a few of these, it’s just that I believe GOLD WAND is the one. If she hadn’t pulled last time she might have given FRANCONIA more to think about, so getting her settled is key today!
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Jamal Crawford and Donta Hall all will miss this game for the Nets. Chris Chiozza is questionable. Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen are expected back. For the Blazers, Jaylen Adams, Rodney Hood, Trevor Ariza and Caleb Swanigan all remain out for various reasons. The Blazers task is simple- win this game and clinch 8th place in the Western Conference. On paper this is an easy job against a team missing half their roster but the Nets are 5-2 in the restart and an unfamiliar opponent could create some uncertainty for the favourite. The Nets' returning players should slow their pace down some and coupled with the pressure on making the playoffs, we expect a lower scoring game, relatively speaking.
Anna Blinkova won the first set against Kristie Ahn, but lost the 2nd. The 3rd was going to plan when her opponent retired. With regards to Blinkova there was both sides of the spectrum. Some of her shots where impressive, others silly. One thing is certain, the Russian will need more consistency to test todays opponent! Marie Bouzkova was very impressive in beating Johanna Konta. Lets start by say the Brit played at a good level, and on some occasions she showed why she is a former top ten player. However, Bouzkova had it all, and that includes defending really well. In fact, there was more to her game than that, because she was quite slick in how she was building points. It was the best match we had seen for some time, don’t underestimate the level of play!
After the 2-1 defeat against Hammarby, we where actually embarrassed for Djurgardens manager Kim Bergstrand. Honestly, if we didn’t know better we would have believed some of the host players had been paid off! Conspiracy theories apart, DIF started slowly, and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Worre Bratveit they would have been 5-0 down by half time. The Djurgardens defence was often ball watching and easily taken apart. The only goal they scored was from an opponent putting a cross past his own goalkeeper. However, even after that it was the White and Greens who continued pressing, so if anything the scoreline was deceptive! Like we anticipated, Mjallby got a win against AIK, and the result was a fair reflection of what we had seen take place on the field. With that said, there was a few contentious moments with the penalty, and the Mjallby GK Eriksson clearly put the ball over the line and it wasn’t given. What we can say about the visitors is they do create chances, and in Ogbu they clearly have a really good goal getter. However, the defence will always give opponents a chance, and we doubt DIF will be sympathetic. We imagine both teams getting goals, the over 2.5 is generous!
It can be hard watching Yulia Putintseva, especially when she’s in one of her moods. All the same, despite being beaten this year by Ajla Tomljanovic, we trust her more than the new Australian! From a betting perspective Tomljanovic is a very difficult player to judge. Her swings are incredibly volatile, and she often lets her betting supporters down! Poot´s is the higher ranked of the pair, and she’s the type of player who can get into the zone quickly!
PETRASTAR is doing well over hurdles, albeit she’s actually rated in line with her flat mark (122 - 77). This track suits runners who are willing to lead, and the step up in trip shouldn’t be an issue. However, if the trainer thought he had a well handicapped individual, surely he would have gone looking for a bigger prize in that category. Some of the Newland horses are needing a run, so we are sought of hoping C’EST LE BONHEUR is an exception. The lightly raced 8 year old has clearly had physical issues, but at the same time he’s shown a good level in point to point and bumpers!
Before winning a handicap off a mark of 62, GRACE AND VIRTUE was beaten off the same mark. The three pound rise should be a stopper, whereas a mark of 77 is high enough for ETERNAL BRUSH. The one I like is Ralph Beckett´s EVENING SPIRIT because she seemed to finish full of running at Chepstow. Racing at a more even pace and being a bit wiser are reasons to call this a good bet!
This isn't a premium bet as there's too much uncertainty surrounding these final play-in games with teams resting starters wholesale. Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Jaren Jackson Jr. all remain out for the Grizzlies. Daniel Theis is probable for the Celtics while Kemba Walker is a prime candidate to be rested as he battles his lingering injury. The Grizzlies are still fighting for a playoff spot but their time in the bubble seemed cursed from the start with an overtime loss to the Blazers and only got their first win last game against the Thunder. Jackson's injury was a major blow and this team is still a bit too green and lack experience in our opinion to play at their best in must win situations, especially against an elite team. The Celtics don't really have too much to play for at this point as they are locked into the 3 seed and seeding isn't even of much importance with no real home court advantage. Nevertheless, the Celtics are well-coached, balanced and have a deep and versatile roster that head coach Brad Stevens almost always gets the maximum out of regardless of circumstance. 4 points isn't asking too much in our opinion!
PERFECT GRACE did well on her debut, but that doesn’t mean she will follow up under a penalty. One thing is certain, she wasn’t as good as COULONCES on the flat, and Dr Richard Newland´s runner should come on a bundle for her first hurdles run. In fact, she always needed a return run on the flat, so the only concern is dropping back in trip. All the same, good odds and worth a bet.