Admittedly it’s been tough, what with the afternoon kick-off times and the deluge of 1-1 draws, but I’m not wasting two weeks’ paid holiday from my uncle’s cycle repair shop/artisan coffee house so I’ve stuck with the Africa Cup of Nations.
This tournament always throws up a star of the future and I’d bet my fully-loaded Cereal Killer Cafe loyalty card that this year will be no different.
As such, I’m tipping Congo to get one over their neighbours Congo DR in the AFCON quarter-finals alongside wins for Southampton’s Dutch-based future feeder club, my old favourites Palermo and the sleeping giant that is Borussia Dortmund.
Read on to see why 24/1 on this fourfold is a steal.
Congo to beat Congo DR @ 9/5
With two wins and a draw to their name Congo look the form side compared to their bigger neighbours, who reached the knock-out stages with three stalemates.
The Red Devils have lost just one of their last four meetings with the Democratic Republic, including in the 2013 edition of this tournament, and with Thievy Bifouma in form goals that run should be extended.
If you trace the roots of these nations it boils down to France (Congo) v Belgium (DR) and while the latter look the better side on paper, the former boast pedigree.
Feyenoord to beat ADO Den Haag and BTTS @ 33/20
If, like me, you’re are one of the few people not surprised by Ronald Koeman’s success with Southampton it’s because your knowledge of the Eredivisie is not limited to Ajax and PSV.
Koeman built a solid side in Rotterdam and is rightly being linked with several of his former charges and with the hosts unbeaten in four and Den Haag winning just one of their last eight some future Saints men will be given a chance to shine here.
ADO have netted in seven of their last nine though so expect a consolation goal.
Palermo to beat Verona @ 4/5
Call me fickle but Palermo have always been worth supporting for their home shirt alone and with Giuseppe Iachini’s side hosting Verona this weekend it’s a perfect opportunity to see the Rosanero in action.
Palermo haven’t won this fixture since both sides were in Serie B back in ’04 but with little to split the teams this season I’m backing the home side to leave the visitors pink with embarrassment.
Dortmund to beat Bayer Leverkusen @ 9/5
I’ve long been lobbying the FA to introduce a winter break in England and Borussia Dortmund’s fortunes are a perfect example of why.
Jurgen Klopp’s beautifully-crafted side still find themselves in the relegation zone and an away fixture against third-placed Bayer seems less than ideal.
However, Klopp organised four friendlies during the break and his side won three and drew one, providing them with the confidence and fitness to restore some pride against a Leverkusen side that played just twice in the break.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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