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Eastern Conference

The East has continued it’s mantle of the weaker conference struggling in most of the matches between East and West sides. There’s a considerable gap between DC United in 1st and the rest of the division, 11 points behind. To me, anyone bridging that gap already looks unlikely. The remaining play-off spots are really there for the taking for anyone. Even the sides towards the bottom could make it, with NYCFC improving their form and about to be boosted by Lampard, whilst Chicago and Montreal have a few games in hand over the sides above and around them.

Chicago Fire

Chicago have been impressive to watch on the counter and also at home when they do much better in possession. For me they have been one of the better sides in the division for running at defences but their own defence has been decidedly weak. A -6 goal difference tells you that they are only losing games by the odd goal and certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. Their continued involvement in the US Open Cup could prove more and more costly, however. Players that have impressed me the most have once again been the young playmaker Harry Shipp, David Accam who has lightning pace and good skill and Shaun Maloney who has adapted to MLS in good fashion. Strategy for the rest of the season; Back at home, oppose away. Back David Accam in the goalscorer markets. I think they will drag themselves off the bottom but a 6th placed finish really does look the ceiling of what they can hope for. Somewhere between 7th and 9th looks more likely. Also back the big hitting, penalty and free kick-taking, centre-back Jeff Larentowicz to score anytime. Current position; 10th Original prediction; 6th New prediction; 9th

Columbus Crew

Crew have yet to win an away game which is shocking considering many had them down as potential Eastern Conference dark horses. Their one positive is Kei Kamara’s form. The Sierra Leonean striker leads the MLS scoring chart but without his goals Crew would be bottom of the league and that has to be a worry. Their home form has been pretty good and I do expect them to linger around 6th place where they currently stand, qualification for MLS Play-Offs could be deemed a success with the way things have gone thus far. Only 5 players have scored so far for Crew this season and if they want to threaten in the MLS Cup post-season then they really need others to step up and contribute. Strategy for the rest of the season; Back at home, oppose away even when they are visiting similarly weak opposition. I really thought they’d be top four contenders but it seems I was wrong and any injury for Kei Kamara and I fear they may well even drop outside of the play-off places. Current position; 6th Original prediction; 3rd New prediction; 5th

DC United

The team of the season so far for me. They have been the most profitable side to back in the last 3 years in Major League Soccer and continue to be overpriced when away from home. An exit from the US Open Cup at the hands of Philadelphia probably shows their intentions with the league and with an 11 point lead in the Eastern Conference they look poised to go deep into the MLS Play-Offs. Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva have returned from injury to bolster the attack which already has almost limitless options in Pontius, Rolfe, Arrieta and Doyle. I expect them to continue their good form and I also think they may well win the MLS Cup. The spirit they have shown when going behind in games has been second to none. Winning 5, drawing 2 and losing just 1 of 8 games that they have been trailing in this season. Strategy for the rest of the season; Back them to win both home and away. They regularly go off at prices north of 3/1 on the road. Both Teams To Score has also been a good play on them this year and backing them to win from behind would have seen you make huge profit this season, the odds are usually between 12/1 and 20/1 and I will be backing it every game. Current position; 1st Original prediction; 2nd New prediction; 1st

Montreal Impact

The French Canadians have been pretty good thus far. They currently sit 8th but only because of the fact they’ve played up to 6 games less than some of their opponents. Their involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League was terrific and has certainly been overlooked by many people. Strategy for the rest of the season; Back at home and oppose away as usual. They tend to concede pretty heavily on the road and not score too often so potential for handicap backers. McInerney, Piatti and Romero worth a look in the goal-scoring markets. Current position; 8th Original prediction; 7th New prediction; 6th

New England Revolution

As a Revs fan this might sound like bias but they have been terribly unlucky with some awful referee decisions lately and I feel they would be a bit further clear of 3rd place with a bit of luck. I did predict that they’d finish 1st and that looks unlikely now given how impressive DC United have been in the East but I still believe they are the best of the rest. They have an embarrassment of riches going forward but the defence is slightly lacking especially with Farrell banned for 3 games and Jermaine Jones out injured for a few more weeks. They should still go quite far in the MLS Cup but I feel like they’ve shown too many weaknesses already this season and we all know that they are the perennial bottlers when it comes to finals. Strategy for the rest of the season; Lee Nguyen has looked sharper lately and I believe with him scoring again they will play a lot better. They were unbeaten at home until that early red card which ultimately led to a Vancouver win last weekend; I would back them at home as usual and oppose them away. They do however tend to score quite a few goals on the road. I have found backing 2-2 correct scores and BTTS/Overs quite fruitful with New England for a few years. Current position; 2nd Original prediction; 1st New prediction; 3rd

New York City FC

Andrea Pirlo was at the Yankee Stadium last weekend and if he links up with NYCFC plus the arrival of Lampard alongside David Villa they really will be a force to be reckoned with in this Conference. The dimensions of their baseball field gives them a good home advantage and in Mix Diskerud they have a player who is excelling on the International scene. I certainly underestimated them but I do think MLS Play-Offs is a stretch too far and they’ll probably just miss out due to their weak defence. Strategy for the rest of the season; Back 2-1 and 3-1 home wins. They seem to have found that winning formula at home but on the road they are vulnerable. Another side that have seen plenty of goals at home (GPG of 2.67) but away they keep it tight (GPG of 2.00) so worth either leaving in the Overs market of backing under 2.5. Current position; 9th Original prediction; 10th New prediction; 7th

New York Red Bulls

I seem to have been bang on with NYRB. The New Jersey based side have an overall solid roster but they are lacking that bit of magic now Cahill and Henry have departed and it was always going to be a challenge to get back to that level. BWP hasn’t been amongst the goals as much either and I think that’s a result of that drop in class. They have just recorded back to back wins which shows some promise but bear in mind that one of those victories was just 1-0 over the 9 men of Salt Lake which is pretty disappointing. Strategy for the rest of the season; Back them to overcome the weakest sides but they have been pretty inconsistent and drawn almost a third of their fixtures so can’t be completely trusted to perform, or not perform, in any game. Current position; 4th Original prediction; 4th New prediction; 4th

Orlando City

The Lions have been a breath of fresh air to the Eastern Conference. They’ve really taken the bull by the horns in their away games and that’s pushed them to 2nd place in the away table and though they had a slow start at the Citrus Bowl they have improved winning 3 of their last 4 in Florida. I thought that the injuries to Molino and Ribeiro would be catastrophic but Adrian Heath has found a good formation and starting XI and Kaka has been pretty influential, as expected. Cyle Larin is the real star of the show and presents a really awkward opponent with his strength and pace. He has been good value in the goalscorer markets and is worth backing. Strategy for the rest of the season; Be careful opposing them on the road. Back them at home now they’ve found their rhythm with no defeat in 5 in Florida, the heat of the summer is really taking it’s toll on visitors. Current position; 5th Original prediction; 9th New prediction; 5th

Philadelphia Union

By far the worst defensive record in MLS with 32 goals conceded in just 19 games, the Union have really struggled, however 22 of those 32 conceded were away from home. At home Philly are capable of pulling of a shock; they have beaten Seattle, DC and Orlando in the last 5 at home; that’s 3 sides that are in the top 5 of their respective Conferences. C.J Sapong has found a good vein of form and though their forwards are a little below par they do have good options that can be called upon when a change of approach is required; Aristeguieta and Casey. I have been backing Cristian Maidana to score for some time now and believe he will soon enough. He has a lot of technical ability and takes a good set piece. Strategy for the rest of the season; Be wary of them opposing them at home but the better sides should leave PPL Park with all 3 points. Keep an eye on their goal scorers as most of their goals come from just a handful of players. Current position; 7th Original prediction; 8th New prediction; 10th

Toronto FC

Well I thought the Reds would improve on last season but they’ve actually been even better than I expected. Sebastian Giovinco has settled wonderfully and lived up to his tag of the best player in MLS whilst Jozy Altidore has silence his doubters with 6 goals on his return to MLS after a torrid time in the Premier League. TFC have played just 15 games but find themselves in 3rd place, if they win most of their remaining games in hand they should find themselves right near the top. Their defence has also been a real strong point. I only consider DC United’s to be better. Strategy for the rest of the season; Toronto endured a tough start to the season with 7 consecutive away games. That rough patch has real bonded the team and given them the ability to get results from tough games. I would happily back them at any price over 2/1 away and anything over 8/11 at home. Current position; 3rd Original prediction; 5th New prediction; 2rd

Western Conference

To follow… MLS Mid-Season Review and Ante Posts
City Lacked Chelsea
The Open Championship - Things to think about over the coming month.
Trainers to follow in July

2015 Tour De France

by Micko70 on 01 Jul at 20:53

The 2015 Tour De France begins in Holland on Saturday July 4th and ends as usual in Paris on July 26th, in this years edition of the race, the race will visit 6 Towns/Cities that have never experienced the race before The race gets underway in Holland when Utrecht hosts the opening individual time trial, the race then moves onto Belgium where stages 2 & 3 finish Stage 4 see's the race finally enter France as they finish in Cambrai There are 9 flat stages in the race this year, 3 stages that are quite hilly with 1 or 2 categorized climbs There are 7 stages that see some pretty steep climbs, 5 of those stages will see a summit finish which are usually great stages for the fans to watch We will also have 1 individual time trial and 1 team time trial and..

05/07/15 13:51:34 © 2002-2015 OLBG, part of Invendium Ltd    
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