Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (total £64.06, up £39.06)

For the first time in two weeks a full schedule of domestic football returns and as usual we are getting ready to earn some extra dosh by taking money off the bookies.

By now you know the score. Those who think they know football cash in their expertise, so back up your loudmouth by registering with 888.com and swell the coffers. Alternatively, you can continue to be a meek armchair viewer and watch on as we earn some more hard cash. The choice is yours.

Onto this weekend’s bets.

We start in France, where Ligue 1 is experiencing the closest title race seen in years as seven-times champions Lyon finally look to have some real competition for their crown. Of all the teams fighting it out for top spot arguably Bordeaux are the most stable, with former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc recently committing himself to a contract extension aimed at instilling some continuity into the club. With three wins in their last four Ligue 1 matches, confidence will be high at the Stade Chaban Delmas ahead of the visit of fifteenth-placed Nancy, who in turn head into the match off the back of two successive defeats.

One place below Bordeaux is the surprise package of the French season, as newly promoted Toulouse currently sit in fourth-spot. Their talisman is Andre-Pierre Gignac, the striker having scored 18 times in 28 matches so far this season, while at the back TFC have proven amazingly miserly, conceding only 21 goals (the second least amount in the league.) This weekend Toulouse travel to second-bottom Caen with the hosts in a desperate scrap for their survival.

Looking to cash in on the double, we are staking £7 on Bordeaux to win at 4/9 and Toulouse to win at 7/5 in the hope of reaping a return of £24.27.

Next we head over to Spain where Barcelona’s march to La Liga sends the Catalans to Real Valladolid for what will undoubtedly be a stern test for the champions elect. Pep Guardiola faces some selection headaches with the Champions League quarter-finals just around the corner, with many predicting the Lionel Messi may get a rest after being given the run-around in Bolivia, while Carlos Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Yaya Toure all missing with injuries.

Nevertheless, memories of Valladolid’s 6-nil thrashing at the Nou Camp earlier in the season linger fresh in the memory and the smart money is on a fifth-straight victory for Barca on Saturday night. We’re putting a tenner on the Barca win (1/2) and Samuel Eto’o to score (5/6) looking to get £28.64.

Looking to cover our riskier bets we are aiming to secure some guaranteed lolly by backing some of the homiest homers of the weekend. Arsenal look dead certs to beat homesick Manchester City at the Emirates (8/15) while over in Belgium on Sunday second-placed Standard Liege should have far too much for mid-table Germinal Beerschot (Standard are 2/5 to win). We are backing the Arsenal-Standard Liege double with a £7 bet looking to earn a £15.03 windfall.

Lastly, we feel compelled to jump on board the Alan Shearer bandwagon, with Michael Owen seemingly a shoe-in to get on the scoresheet with the bookies offering hugely attractive odds of 12/5 that Little Mickey will net a goal in 90 minutes. We are willing to let our heart rule our head putting down a £5 on the gut-shot punt.

If you disagree with our predictions, think you know better, or have any other hot tips to share please leave your comments below.

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