I'm warning you now, we have a terrible bet this week. I normally try to be as optimistic as possible regardless of the outcome, but it seems like The Grambler has just gone out of his/her/its way to be awkward this week and picked a set of results that are just not going to happen. For that reason, I have provided a bonus bet at the end; one that can't possibly go wrong! Unless of course it goes wrong... As it inevitably will... In which case it can go wrong...
Read on, my good man/woman/person!
Game 1: Brighton & Hove Albion vs Bolton Wanderers
Prediction: Home win
Sports teams are often associated with birds for a reason; they are graceful creatures which soar through the sky freely and can be mastered by no man. In the world of basketball, you can find the Atlanta Hawks, named for a fierce creature known to tear apart it's prey. In Rugby Union, the Newcastle Falcons, named for a bird known for its speed and razor-sharp talons. And then in football, you can find Brighton: The Seagulls, known for being a disease-ridden nuisance that jobby on people's heads from a great height. It is little surprise that they are not the most feared in the Championship. But Brighton have been hanging around the top of the division for a number of seasons and currently find themselves 7th. Some good wins this year have been offset by a few too many draws, but they are only twice defeated at home. And whilst over-analysing animalistic nicknames, we have Bolton... In the Championship alone, you can find Lions, Wolves and Tigers. And then you have the mighty... Trotters. Invoking images of pigs waddling around a sty in their own faeces. Fearsome! Since Dougie Freedman's arrival as manager, Bolton have gone unbeaten but have drawn 75% of games under his rule. There is huge potential for a draw here but I reckon the home-side might just win it.
Reliability balls: 7/10
Odds on this result: 11/10
Game 2: Swansea City vs Liverpool
From Seagulls to Swans; the swan being a far more graceful bird and City have been one of the most graceful teams to, erm... grace the premiership in recent seasons. Michael Laudrup's Swansea have carried over their good-form from last year's surprisingly good Premiership début and the team currently sit 10th in the league following a fine 2-1 victory over Newcastle last weekend. Cap'n Ashley Williams has caused controversy this week with the well timed release of his book (seriously, does every footballer just automatically get a book deal these days? Does anyone even know who Ashley Williams is?) featuring comments about wanting to 'knock-out' Luis Saurez for his diving. Please do, Ashley. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was dismissive of these jibes: "He's a good lad. Maybe it was something he didn't mean to get out there." Yeah, because of course, if you didn't mean to get quotes out there, you would put them in a book...Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing midweek draw against a bunch of young boys and could leapfrog their opponents in the Premiership table with a victory.
Reliability balls: 5/10
Odds on this result: 5/2
Game 3: East Fife vs Arbroath
Prediction: Home win
East Fife have not had the ideal start to the season. Having been rooted to the bottom of the Second Division since the start of the season, they took just two points from the first eight games and endured a painful 5-1 defeat at Elgin. Meanwhile, manager Gordon Durie had to take leave due to illness, leaving them manager-less. Fortunately for East Fife, the appointment of Billy Brown earlier this month has brought some stability to the club and a 3-0 win over Albion Rovers last week has lifted them out of the relegation zone. Unfortunately for East Fife, Bob Malcolm plays for them. Arbroath are seven points ahead of their opponents in the league and have been in good form at home, winning four of six. However, their away form has not been so good, with only one win in six attempts. Arbroath have not lost a match to the Fifers since March 2010 and the teams have drawn three times in six ties since then. Also, what do you call a pirates favourite football team? Arrrrrrrbroath!
Odds on this result: 6/4
Game 4: Barnsley vs Cardiff City
Or alternatively, Barrrrrrrrrrnsley! The Tykes play host to second-placed Cardiff this weekend as they bid to move away from the relegation zone to the comfort of mid-table mediocrity. Barnsley have played eight home games already this season, winning two, drawing three and losing three. They have only managed to score six goals in their ties at Oakwell so do not expect a high-scoring game. Débuts could be offered to their three new loan signings Emile Sinclair, Jonathan Greening and Akos Buzsaky. Cardiff are challenging for the top-spot and the chance to become the second Welsh team in the Premiership. They currently sit two points from top side Crystal Palace and are looking for a third win in a row. At home, City have a 100% record, but they appear to be complacent on the road and have amassed five losses away from home. The Bluebirds (there is a real 'bird' thing going on this week) signed Norwich defender Simon Lappin on loan midweek and he could start tomorrow. Interesting aside: Lappin takes his name from the French phrase "si mon lapin" translating as "if my rabbit." Probably.
Reliability balls: 4/10
Odds on this result: 12/5
Game 5: Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Prediction: Home win
Struggling Aston Villa take on underachieving Arsenal in a game that the media have dubbed 'the Battle of the Only Two Teams in the Premiership Whose Names Begin With the Letter A.' Possibly. Villa currently inhabit a spot in the relegation zone thanks to their faltering start to the season. They have only won a single game at home this season, against Swansea back in September. Manager Paul Lambert will be serving a one-match dugout suspension so expect him to be sitting in the stands duetting with some X-Factor reject girl singing this song. Meanwhile, Arsenal have not been having a bad season but fans will be disappointed to look at the table and see both West Brom and Everton above them. The Gunners secured passage to the next stage of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Montpellier on Wednesday and Arsene Wenger will expect another victory here. There has also been good news for fans of the Arse' this week as the team agreed a sponsorship deal worth £150 million. With that kind of money at his disposal, expect Wenger to dig deep in January to unearth the next Carl Jenkinson.
Reliability balls: 3/10
Odds on this result: 4/1
The total odds for this week's Gramblings are 312/1. Not going to happen, is it?
Hence why I have decided to include the GRAMBLER SUPER BONUS BET! Last week, I placed a bet for myself using the 'both teams to score' market. Tis pretty straight forward; the question is will both teams score? The answer is either YES! (in which case both teams score) or NO! (in which case either one team won't score or both teams won't score). Anyhow, I won some money on this and thought "hmm, this could be Grambled up a bit!" As their are two outcomes rather than three, it could provide more chance of winning so it's worth a bash! Five games, a 50p bet, no jibberish.... And we get:
Game: Both teams to score?, Odds
Miton Keynes Dons vs Colchester United: Yes, 10/11
Brechin City vs Forfar athletic: No, 7/4
Charlton Athletic vs Huddersfield Town: No, 11/10
Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham: No, 11/10
Everton vs Norwich City: Yes, 4/6
Total odds on the GRAMBLER SUPER BONUS BET are 39/1.
Will the main bet shock us all and come good? Will the bonus bet be the saviour of The Grambler? Will Captain Delbert Gugliuzza be able to disarm the bomb whilst simultaneously evacuating all of the orphans from the building? Tune in on Monday (or Tuesday) to find out!