I had big wins on Drogba scoring and Chelsea winning the FA Cup (4/1), Parma beating Siena (21/10) and Wigan beating Blackburn (15/8), but I’m still feeling a little bit sore about the two that let me down. I predicted 2.5+ goals in Blackpool v Birmingham, but the match ended 1-0 and, to my disbelief, saw 4 goals disallowed. In the Spanish Segunda, I predicted a Vallodolid win against league leaders Deportivo, but Valladolid only managed a draw due to conceding a needless penalty in a game which they dominated from start to finish. Anyway, it’s all in the past now. It’s not like I’m sobbing in the corner of a dark room, watching endless videos of disallowed goals and penalties. Honest.
Tonight’s Europa League final between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao is a really tough one to call. I could sit here all day and argue reasons why both teams should win it, but it wouldn’t really get me, or you, anywhere. It’s so difficult to call for me because my heart tells me that Atletico will win, but my head tells me that it’s impossible to bet against a team managed by Marcelo Bielsa in a 50/50(ish) game. Atletico are slight favourites to win with the bookies, but if you’re unsure, I think the one thing we can bank on is an open game with a lot of chances and a decent amount of goals. It’s for that reason that my tip for this game will be over 2.5 goals at 10/11 (Paddy Power).
If you’re familiar with either team, you’ll know that a lot of their success this season is down to their strikers and you can get great odds on bets involving either of them. In Radamel Falcao and Fernando Llorente, each side boasts having one of Europe’s top strikers on their team sheet. This season Falcao has scored 33 times (including 2 goals when Atletico beat Athletic earlier this season) and Llorente has netted 29 times (including 2 goals when Athletic beat Atletico earlier this season). Do you see a pattern developing? Tonight you can find odds of 17/2 on Falcao scoring twice or 10/1 on Llorente scoring twice with Paddy Power. If you want to go with the safer option, wincasts (player to score anytime and their team to win) are available at 16/5 for Falcao/Atletico and 4/1 for Llorente/Athletic. I don’t see any situation in which Falcao or Llorente (or both) won’t score – infact, I’ll eat my own face* if neither of them do. I guess I really have to pick a winner, don’t I? Given the choice between Falcao/Atletico and Llorente/Athletic, I’d have to go for Falcao/Atletico simply because of the huge faith I have in Falcao’s goalscoring ability. His ability to turn a half chance into a goal is something that can prove crucial in a cup final – as it did as he won the Europa League for Porto last season. Okay, I’ve stuck a tenner on it, so it’s decided – my second tip will be Falcao to score at any time and Atletico to win at 16/5.
*I won’t really eat my own face.
To summarise, the smart money would be on:
Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, over 2.5 goals at 10/11.
The risky – but more rewarding – money would be on:
Atletico Madrid to win and Radamel Falcao to score anytime at 16/5.
Radamel Falcao to score 2 goals or more at 17/2.
There’s also a Paddy Power offer over there —> where new customers will see their first bet matched up to the value of £50. It’s like Christmas, but in May…