The Longshot: Pep now the second favourite to walk next

The Longshot: Pep now the second favourite to walk next

DECISION TIME: Pep Guardiola has said before that if he thinks he has been deceived by Man City over financial dealings, he will walk away from the club.

IT HAS been a dramatic week on the football front. First the Premier League takes on their most successful club for the past decade. Then the Super League wanders back into the limelight, claiming their European competition could contain up to 80 teams in a multi-divisional format, and exclude English sides (although perhaps Man City might like to join if sanctions come their way on a domestic front). Oh, and Qatar have put the feelers out about buying cross-city rivals United.

That’s ignoring the drama on the pitch, that saw City, Arsenal, and Liverpool all lose, and Everton benefit from the bounce of appointing a new manager (Sean Dyche was the 15th man in charge of the Toffeemen to record a win in his first match!).

Pep Guardiola has claimed in the past that if he discovers the desk jockeys lied to him about any financial shenanigans, he would walk the very next day. As he said himself: “If you lie to me, the day after I am not here. I will be out and I will not be your friend anymore. I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that.”

Now that Premier League have charged City with more than 100 breaches of its rules, we should watch this space. Points deduction or relegation would almost certainly see the Catalan heading for the door. He is now rated as the 9/2 second favourite in the Next Manager to Leave market ahead of beleaguered Nathan Jones at Southampton (2/5). His side’s main aim will be to capture a Champions League (something he notably also failed to achieve while in charge of Bayern Munich), considering they are 2/1 to overtake five-point leaders Arsenal to win the league itself (despite having two head-to-heads yet to play).

Mauricio Pochettino is the 7/2 favourite to be City’s next permanent manager as he is still out of work, having parted ways with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season.

Burnley boss and club legend Vincent Kompany is 9/2.

At the other end of the table, Feyenoord boss Arne Slot is the 11/10 favourite to be the next permanent Leeds manager, but he has some opposition in the market, with Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola the 10/3 second-favourite and Nuno Espirito Santo 4/1. Having taken a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening and threatened to get a first win there since 1981, maybe they would be better off waiting another while to make an appointment. Currently 17th, they are 23/10 to go down and 3/10 to avoid it. They get to host Man United this Sunday, which is surely the shortest turnaround in a league fixture in history.

Jurgen Klopp is actually 25/1 to take over at the Etihad, and his bristling at last week’s press conference after defeat to Wolves shows the pressure of this season’s decline has been getting to him.

He could probably do without having to host Sean Dyche’s Everton this Monday, and 7/1 on 1-1 looks like decent value.

Odds on that SuperBowl will be heavily wagered

THIS weekend’s SuperBowl is forecast to be the most wagered on event in sports history.

According to different reports and surveys somewhere between $1billion and $16 billion (€15 billion) will be laid on Sunday’s finale between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The reason for the disparity in estimated amounts is down to the majority of these bets taking the form of private transactions between individuals or even unofficial bookies.

Up until recently, this was the only way for any intereste parties to gamble in most states across the Atlantic.

Since 2018 however, online sports betting has been deregulated in many of them and the nascent industry is very much on the rise.

The American Gaming Association has estimated 30 million adults in the US plan to place a bet on the game through an online betting platform or a retail betting shop, up from 18.2 million for last year’s event, it says.

The most-watched US television event of the year usually garners in excess of a viewership of 100 million people in the US alone.

The game’s 57th edition will be held in Arizona, for the first time in a state where sports betting is legal after a landmark Supreme Court ruling five years ago.

The odds remain finely balanced on who will win, with both sides hovering around evens.

Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes has not fully recovered from a high angle sprain that dogged his last two games or the Kansas men would probably enter the game as slight favourites.

The Eagles have looked far more decisive in their two playoff games, brushing aside the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers (who were suffering their own injury issues).

It is possible to bet on almost everything surrounding the game, from the opening coin toss, to how long the natioanl anthem will be sung for, to what colour Gatorade will be poured over the winning coach. (yellow and green are the 4/1 favourite ahead of orange and blue at 9/2).

The best proposition bet may have to do with the first score of the game however (see above).

Garry can run rings around France

OUR 26/1 tip this day last week was Wales, Scotland, in the Six Nations and Cork to beat Limerick in the National Hurling League.

The first of those underdogs obviously let us down (and the other two spent much of their games trying to) as Ireland inflicted the heaviest home defeat suffered by Wales since 2001.

Backing against Ireland proved unwise, so we will not do likewise this weekend, even if they face a much sterner test tomorrow afternoon when France land in Lansdowne Road.

Dan Sheehan is the only change from last week’s game, with the hooker ruled out for the visit of reigning Grand Slam champions after suffering a hamstring injury, with Rob Herring taking his place.

France were made to work extremely hard in their opening-day match against Italy, and were lucky enough to pull through with a win. They conceded 18 penalties against Italy in their opening game. That was the most a side coached by defensive supremo Shaun Edwards has conceded in over two decades.

A week is a short turnaround to reverse that, especially playing against the number one side in the world.

Ireland are 1/2, which still seems a bit short. Centre Garry Ringrose at 16/1 to be the first try-scorer is a better choice.

Great win but only February

CORK performed and astonishing turnaround to come from 0-16 to 0-8 down against Limerick last Saturday evening.

Of course, the proviso must be added that this is “only” the league and the greater intensity offered up by the Rebels might have been married to a foot being removed off the pedal by the men in green.

A trip to Galway is up next for Pat Ryan’s charges (where they are 6/5 to win) and they are now 5/4 favourites to win the NHL title for the first time in 25 years.

Shannonsiders meet tomorrow

LIMERICK and Clare served up the best hurling game of the season last year and the neighbours meet again in the league this Saturday evening.

Limerick might be smarting from the comeback by Cork, but Clare will probably travel to the Gaelic Grounds thinking they will be in with a shout of winning as underdogs, and they seem priced high at 15/8.

The Bet

FIVE of the last six Super Bowls have had field goals open the scoring and the only game in that span to start with a touchdown had a field goal as the second scoring play of the game. The Chiefs’ two Super Bowl appearances in the past three seasons have each opened with field goals as well. Get on it at 7/4.

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