Monthly Archives: December 2019

Complete Bookmakers’ Analysis on Leeds as Season Reaches Midpoint – by Rob Atkinson

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Most Leeds fans are reasonably happy with the way things are going of late: The team has the meanest defence in the Championship; the team is unbeaten since the 5th October, with an 11-game streak yielding 27 points; and, most importantly, there is currently a 10-point cushion to Preston North End in 3rd place.

In short, Leeds are in prime position to make it back to the Premier League next season, perhaps while putting the Championship trophy in the cabinet on the way. However, it can be difficult to look at things objectively. So, in light of that, we are going to look at what the bookies are saying about Leeds for the run-in. We will also try to pinpoint the best value for backing the team after scouring dozens of betting sites.

Without further ado:

Title Odds:

Despite being two points behind West Brom, Leeds are still odds-on favourites for the title. The best price we can find is the 5/6 with Betway and Bet365, but it’s worth noting that some sites are as low as 8/13. It’s a nice position to be in, of course, but you must bear in mind that Leeds have Preston, Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday in the next three weeks. If Bielsa and co are still in the same position in mid-January, we will be a lot more confident.

Promotion Odds:

As you might expect, bookies are really keen on the promotion chances of West Brom and Leeds, thanks to that big gap from second to third place. SkyBet has the best price currently at 1/12, although Leeds are trading a bit higher on betting exchanges. We would, however, ask you to be aware that the likes of Brentford and Fulham are offered around 5/2, so it’s not that the bookies are really sticking their necks out. Again, the busy Christmas period should really tell us whether Leeds have been overbought or not.

Straight Forecast:

A really interesting market if you believe Leeds and West Brom are guaranteed to finish in the Top 2. It’s even at Betfair money for Leeds to finish 1st and West Brom in second, whereas it’s 2/1 for the reverse. Smart punters can back both outcomes for a profit with the use of a betting offer. Sites like Freebets bring you the top free bet offers for all the bookies listed here, so consider visiting if you want to cover your own selection.

To Win the Playoffs:

This is always a muddied betting market, given the fact that teams in Leeds’ position are priced higher due to the fact it’s statistically unlikely they will enter the Playoffs. It’s 20/1 from Paddy Power that Leeds somehow fall of the cliff edge into the Playoff spots, then scramble their way back to the promised land with victory at Wembley on 25th May 2020.

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Top Scorer:

Finishing with an area that concerned Leeds fans in the early autumn – goals. Business has, of course, picked up in front of goal lately, and Leeds have scored two or more goals in seven of their last eight games. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic is way out in front on 16 goals, and he is odds-on across the board to top the list at the end of the season. Patrick Bamford, sitting on nine goals at the moment, can be found as high as 33/1 with some bookmakers.  It’s a tall order, but we still have a huge number of games to play.

 

Posh Patrick Has Become Paddy the Baddy, and Leeds Fans Just Love It – by Rob Atkinson

Paddy the Baddy advising angry Reading fans to pipe down

There may well still be a small section of Leeds United fans who don’t quite “get” Patrick Bamford, although they’ve been noticeably quieter of late – as the majority of Whites fans seem finally to have cottoned on to our number nine’s value to the team. But there’s mounting evidence to suggest that Mr. Bamford certainly does “get” Leeds United, football’s perennial pantomime villains and the club opposing fans just love to hate. Bamford seems to have bought into United’s “the world’s against us and they can get stuffed” mindset, and just lately he’s been feeding off that siege mentality vibe, fanning the flames of opposition hate, thriving on all of that negative energy. It’s been a joy to witness for any Leeds fan who glories in that old maxim “Our history makes us strong, your hatred makes us stronger still”.

Perhaps Bamford’s more defiant and in your face attitude has its roots in his much tougher and more durable physicality this season. He seems to have developed a core of steel, giving as good as he takes in terms of the rough stuff while still retaining his cultured approach and all round ability. Bamford is certainly no soft touch nowadays, and his opponents will know they’ve been in a game after the ninety minute nightmare of trying to cope with his relentless work rate and intelligent movement. But, although this factor is appreciated by the more knowledgeable Leeds fans, it’s that extra edge, that emerging nasty streak and accompanying tendency to rub the noses of opposing players and fans well and truly in it, that has really caught the eye of his admirers this season. Football fans have a word for this phenomenon, but it’s not one that I’d want to use in a family-friendly blog, so I’ll move swiftly on.

But, whatever you want to call it, it’s certainly working wonders for Bamford, in terms of his effectiveness on the field as well as the esteem in which he’s held off it. Recent manifestations of Paddy the Baddy have been sighted at Luton and at Reading, where he has made a point of winding up frustrated home fans after United’s winning goals. Add this to his heartwarming tendency to give direct opponents a physically difficult battle, and you’ve got the kind of striker that will always find a place in Leeds United fans’ affections. Bamford himself admitted recently that he’s “feeling the love” from the fans, a happy situation for a hard-working and committed striker who doesn’t always get the breaks his application and skill deserve in the attacking third of the pitch.

The thing is, even when all this effort fails to reap a goals dividend, it’s becoming clear that Bamford’s contribution is vital to United’s season. On Tuesday night, right at the end of a hard-fought win over Hull City, we saw a neat demonstration of how our Patrick puts in a shift for the team, and is not discouraged when luck is not with him in terms of goals – which, let’s face it, are the life-blood of any striker. And it was somebody else’s match-clinching goal after 86 minutes on Tuesday that summed up the Bamford effect, as he combined with keeper Kiko Casilla to scramble clear a goal-bound effort from a Hull corner. The ball was immediately played upfield, and Bamford put in a lung-bursting run to the opposite penalty area to thud a shot against the visitors’ post. Luckless again, but his narrow miss rebounded to Gjanni Alioski, who buried the chance from a narrow angle to end the Tigers’ resistance.

And that, my fellow Leeds United fans, is the Bamford effect in a nutshell, and long may it continue to manifest itself to our advantage. Because, whether it’s Posh Patrick or Paddy the Baddy we’d rather cheer from the stands, both will have a big part to play if we really are finally going to go up to the Premier League.

 

Ben White Would be a Double Your Money Bargain for Leeds at ANY Price – by Rob Atkinson

Ben-White-Leeds

Ben White – limitless potential and a bargain at any price

Without any doubt, the revelation of the Leeds United season so far has been a young man called Ben White, a lad with no previous experience above League One level, having made zero appearances for his parent club Brighton. The challenge at Leeds for this comparative novice was a stern one. Signing on loan for the season, he came in the Elland Road players’ entrance almost as the iconic Pontus Jansson was making his exit with a shock move to Brentford. Among the United faithful, eyebrows were raised so high that they threatened to wind up on the backs of their owners’ necks. Teeth were gnashed and clothes rent asunder in biblical displays of grief and dismay. Pontus was gone, and we had this tyro no mark in his place, an almost comical proposition that had a section of the Whites support writing off Leeds’ promotion chances before a ball had been kicked. Oh, we of little faith.

Now, just nineteen games into a season that has seen White play every single minute of league action for Leeds so far, the doubters are having to gorge themselves on humble pie, to the extent that there may well be no room for the Christmas turkey in just a few short weeks. Mostly, they are happy to do this, because seeing this young colossus form a vital part of the Championship’s best defence has been a joyous experience. Bloggers such as yours truly have had to reach deeper and deeper into their bag of superlatives each week, and still it’s difficult to overstate just how integral to United’s success Ben White has been. I’ve seen him described as a latter-day Paul “Rolls Royce” Madeley, and it would be difficult around these parts to come up with a more flattering comparison than that. Others see a resemblance to Alan Hansen of Liverpool fame, still others point to the young Jonathan Woodgate, who saw at first hand last weekend just what United and White could do, as his Middlesbrough charges were swatted aside 4-0.

My own view is that White, who will doubtless face far sterner tests than the Boro men managed to set last Saturday, may well end up in a category entirely by himself – he has the potential to become truly peerless. Ben seems to have the lot – skill, composure, tenacity and that innate ability to read the game which is given only to the special few. My nearest comparison out of all the footballers I’ve seen in my 44 years as a fan, would be Franz Beckenbauer, the legendary Bayern Munich and West Germany icon of the seventies. In fact, if you could just graft a bit of moral compass onto der Kaiser, who was not above a bit of skulduggery as Leeds United fans are only too well aware, then you’d have a pretty close match. Ben White deserves to be mentioned in such company, he’s simply that good. He can play for and captain England, he can lift a World Cup, he can win titles, cups and Champions Leagues. Absolutely nothing is beyond this lad.

All of which is why I would say to Leeds United: whatever else you do recruitment-wise over the next couple of transfer windows, move heaven and earth to get Ben White. There is no price too high to make his capture anything but a thief’s bargain; whatever you pay, you could at least double your money five years down the line. It’s a Rio Ferdinand type scenario, buy for £18m, sell for £30m plus – but the return would inevitably be higher still. Never mind Financial Fair Play; dig deep and do whatever you have to do in order to get this player.

You know it makes sense.