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Aviva premiership exeter fancied to maintain form with sale success

Sale v Exeter

Friday, 19:45

Live on BT Sport 1

Sale's success last season was down to their formidable form at the AJ Bell Stadium but their home record has not been as strong this year. The Sharks have lost three of their last five league games at the venue which has left them languishing in ninth place. Steve Diamond's side come into this match off the back of three successive defeats in all competitions.

Exeter made a stuttering start to the campaign but appear to have found top gear heading towards the festive period. The Chiefs have scored 12 tries in their last two Premiership wins over Newcastle and Worcester. This is the type of form which took Rob Baxter's side all the way to last season's final and with the team up to fifth, a repeat performance is certainly not out of the question.

This match brings together one side struggling for a positive result and another full of confidence after their recent surge in form. There is not much between them in the betting but in-form Exeter have so much more in their favour and can take advantage of a brittle Sale team this weekend. Expect the Chiefs to make it four wins on the bounce and the visitors should have more than enough to cover a slender handicap.

Recommended Bet

Back Exeter -2.5 to win in the Sportsbook @ 9/10

Leicester v Northampton

Saturday, 17:00

Live on BT Sport 2

Leicester enjoyed a strong November winning all of their four games across two competitions. The Tigers claimed a dominant 25-6 home league victory over Harlequins before scrapping to a win at basement side Bristol last weekend. Richard Cockerill's side remain on course for a semi-final spot sitting fourth in the table heading towards the second half of the campaign.

Northampton's season has been a big disappointment so far and it will take a significant recovery for Jim Mallinder's side to challenge for silverware in the spring. The Saints have lacked consistency all year long and their latest setback came in the surprise home defeat to Newcastle last weekend. Scoring tries has been a problem for them with just seven in as many league games.

Leicester have an exceptional home record and it is hard to see them stumbling against the Saints. The Tigers have only lost once at Welford Road since February, winning their last five home matches. Leicester have won the last four clashes with Northampton but nine points was the biggest margin of victory so another narrow success looks a likely outcome.

Recommended Bet

Back Leicester to win by 1-12 points in the Sportsbook @ 29/20

Worcester v Wasps

Sunday, 15:00

Live on BT Sport 1

Worcester will be grateful for the presence of Bristol in the top flight which is enabling them to stay off the foot of the Premiership. The Warriors have only managed one league victory, against Newcastle in October, this season. It looks like it will be a long winter for Worcester and any improvement from Bristol could spell trouble in the battle to avoid relegation.

Wasps' attention is directed at the opposite end of the table with a title challenge a realistic proposition. Seven wins from their opening nine Premiership matches leaves Dai Young's side within touching distance of leaders Saracens. Wasps will be hoping for an improvement on their last away match though after a disappointing defeat at Gloucester.

Both sides need a result for contrasting reasons but the gulf in quality is stark and Worcester are hard to fancy this weekend. Wasps have the strength in depth to come away from Sixways with the victory which would be their fifth successive league win over them. But Worcester have not lost by more than a point at home this season so Wasps could be restricted to a tight win.

Recommended Bet

Back Wasps to win by 1-12 points in the Sportsbook @ 6/4


Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

Nfl playoffs dallas to cool off red hot green bay

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys

Start-time: Sunday 15 January, 21:40 GMT

TV: Live on Sky Sports


The best game of the weekend by the proverbial country mile might even put up the highest TV rating outside the Super Bowl in NFL history. You have fan favourite and red hot Green Bay led by SB winning QB Aaron Rodgers going into the home of by far the biggest TV draw, the Dallas Cowboys. This is going to be a great one folks so let's get into the nuts and bolts.

Firstly Green Bay are without wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The 31 year-old had found his form again after his injury last season and had once again become Rodgers comfort blanket. He got his ribs busted last weekend and misses out. This is a huge blow but as long as his guys can get some separation, #12 can find them. The Packers have zero running game of note. They might pay lip service to pounding the rock but the offense is put squarely on Aaron Rodgers' shoulders.

Speaking of the quarterback, how many superlatives am I allowed to write with regards to his current hot streak? In his last three games he's thrown for four TDs in each with no picks. In fact the last time he threw an interception was on November 13. He is as hot as any player has been this season and arguably in the history of the league over the past two months. Betting against him is for the bold.

For Dallas they have one big question mark on offense, 'how will the rookies fare in the bright lights of the playoffs?' If Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott can handle the pressure then I don't think anyone can have any real worries about their ability to put up points. Elliott has played in the College Football Playoffs and won it all with the Buckeyes in 2015. Dak Prescott's biggest bowl game was the Orange Bowl but he did lead his Mississippi State Bulldogs to a #1 ranking during the 2014 season.

It says a lot about this incarnation of the Cowboys that I could write this preview and legitimately not write anything about Dez Bryant. The big wide receiver is not a big part of this offense. He's still great but he doesn't get the ball half as much as he did under Tony Romo. Of course over the duration of this game, we will see several highlights of his catch/non catch from the playoff game in Lambeau in the 2014 Divisional Round Playoff (it was a catch then, it is still a catch now).

Still here is the reason I'm leaning the way I am. Sean Lee. The outside linebacker registered 145 tackles this season for #1 in the NFL. He is a game-changing talent whose athletic prowess is only beaten by his football intellect. He is the difference maker who can give Aaron Rodgers all that he can handle coming as the fifth man.

First Touchdown Scorer

Ezekiel Elliott is only 9/2 and that is just too short for me. Therefore on the Dallas side of the ball I think Cole Beasley is well worth a roll of the dice at 10/1 as Prescott keeps going to him. For Green Bay, Devante Adams at 17/2 is the play as with no Jordy Nelson, he has to step up to give the Packers a chance.


The line has been set at 52pts but I think is right on the money. I am surprised this line is lower than the over/under is in the Seahawks v Falcons game due to the way Dallas ekes out the clock with their running game. They like long drives so fewer possessions but despite this, I'm still taking the over but not by much.

The Spread & Straight-up Pick

The spread is set at Dallas -4.5pts and the trendy pick is not only to take the Packers with the points but also straight up. Rodgers is on fire and is a proven QB when the lights shine brightest. Yet I've never been trendy, so I'm rolling with the Cowboys for at least one more week. I think they control the clock with their dominant offensive line and win both outright and with the 4.5pt handicap.

Recommended Bets

3pt Back Dallas to win 4.5pts points at Evens or better on the Exchange

3pt Back over 52pts at 10/11 on the Sportsbook

3pt Back over 282.5 passing yards for Aaron Rodgers at 5/6 on the Sportsbook

3pt Back over 110.5 rushing yards for Ezekiel Elliott at 5/6 on the Sportsbook

1pt Back Cole Beasley to score the first TD at 10/1 on the Sportsbook

1pt Back Devante Adams to score the first TD at 17/2 on the Sportsbook

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