Something for the Weekend: Best Racing and Football Bets

chelsea vs man city

The latest Premier League action and a cracking Saturday afternoon of televised racing dominate the sporting weekend, providing a whole host of punting opportunities. The Chelsea vs Manchester City clash from Stamford Bridge takes centre stage on the football front, whilst racing fans are in for a treat in the Grand Sefton Handicap, with the race representing the opening event of the season over the famous Grand National Fences.

Here, using data presented by, we pick out our best bets in the big one from Aintree, the November Handicap at Newcastle, and the doubleheader of Super Sunday Premier League action.

Saturday: Aintree 2:45 pm BoyleSports Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

The Chair, Becher’s Brook, Valentines and co move into the limelight for the first time in this cracking handicap chase. Held over a trip of 2m5f, this isn’t quite the marathon affair of the April showstopper, but with the ground at the Aintree currently described as heavy, proven stamina is likely to be one of the main prerequisites for success.

18 remain in the race at this stage, with a decent case to be made for many in the lineup. Thankfully, we have a couple of trends in evidence to assist in whittling down the list of runners. Firstly, eight of the past ten winners have been either eight or nine years of age, and secondly, seven of the last ten have been saddled with no more than 11st1lb on the day. Applying those trends to this year's field creates a shortlist of only four contenders – Dorking Cock, Half Shot, Percussion, and Yccs Portocervo. Of that quartet, the one to catch the eye is the Laura Morgan-trained, Percussion. This one has an excellent record over the National Fences, having finished third in the Becher Chase and this event last year. He’s 5lb lower than for that placed effort in this event and a perfect one from one on heavy ground. At a double-figure price, he looks excellent value to at least hit the frame once again.

  • Best Bet - Percussion each way @ 10/1 with BetUK

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Saturday: Newcastle 3:45 pm Virgin Bet November Handicap

The best efforts of the wonderful British weather have resulted in an unusual edition of this 1m4½f handicap. Traditionally acting as the main event on the final day of the turf flat season, this year, the contest will take place on the all-weather Tapeta surface up at Newcastle. That factor and a significantly smaller field changes the complexion of the historic event, but the race still looks to present a decent betting opportunity.

Charlie Appleby’s Local Dynasty has plenty going for him – not least the late-season form of his yard, but is a little short for one yet to run beyond 1m2f. At more than twice his price, the one we like for an each-way punt is the Julie Camacho-trained Beraz. This one has enjoyed a varied career, beginning on the flat in France before failing over obstacles with Dan Skelton. However, the switch to the Camacho operation appears to be suiting him well, with the son of Zoffany winning two of his last three starts. He tackles the all-weather for the first time here but should handle it well on pedigree, and a 3lb rise for his success at Leicester looks perfectly fair.

  • Best Bet - Beraz each way @ 9/1 with LiveScoreBet

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Sunday: 2 pm West Ham United vs Nottingham Forest

We head to the London Stadium for the first of the televised Sunday games, as 12th placed West Ham United take on a Nottingham Forest outfit who sit just one point and one position behind them in the table. Forest have the advantage of having had a free week in the lead-up to the game, whilst West Ham were in Europa League action on Thursday evening. Forest nicked a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture last season, but West Ham ran out 4-0 winners in this game.

Following a solid start, West Ham have hit a roadblock of late, and head into this seeking to avoid a fourth Premier League defeat on the spin. Forest, in contrast, have lost only one of their last five in the league and arrive on the back of an excellent display when beating Villa at the City Ground.

Current form and freshness favour the visitors, but what do the xG number say? At home, the Hammers are averaging 1.47 xG for and 1.88 xG against. Forest’s figures on the road stand at 0.95 for and 1.86 against. Combining those numbers suggests a score of West Ham 1.67, Forest 1.42. West Ham are heavily favoured in the market and boast the stronger side on paper, but we fancy in-form Forest to do enough to take a point in this one.

  • Best Bet - Draw @ 11/4 with Midnite

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Sunday: 4:30 pm Chelsea vs Manchester City

Last but not least, the clear standout on the Match Day 12 slate of fixtures as the Blue sides of East London and Manchester lock horns. The hosts who hold the freshness edge here, with City having been in Champions League action in midweek. Whether that will be enough of an edge to see Mauricio Pochettino’s men take anything from the game, we aren't so sure. City did the double over Chelsea last season, winning 1-0 in this game and at the Etihad, in addition to a 4-0 thumping of the Blues in the FA Cup.

At first glance, Chelsea’s 4-1 win at Spurs last time out appears an impressive result, but of course, that doesn’t tell anything like the full story, with Chelsea having laboured for long periods against nine men. A full complement of Pep Guardiola’s Champions League kings presents a far sterner challenge. Following back-to-back defeats at Wolves and Arsenal, City have bounced back in resounding style with wins over Brighton, Manchester United and Bournemouth, hitting 11 goals in the process as their fearsome frontline has found top gear.

Chelsea’s xG home figures stand at 2.04 for and 1.27 against. City’s numbers on the road are 2.8 for and 0.62 against. Combining the figures suggests a score of Chelsea 1.33 and City 2.04. Overall, there remains a significant gulf between these sides, and we expect City to show their class. Whilst the games were tight last season, this year's xG numbers suggest there could be a few goals around in this one.

  • Best Bet - Man City to win and over 3.5 goals in the game @ 19/5 with LiveScoreBet

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