1. Aston Villa v QPR, Premier League, Tuesday 19:45 - Back Both Teams to Score @ 1.9620/21
Weekend wins for Leicester, QPR and Sunderland have piled the pressure on Aston Villa ahead of tonight's clash - a win for the west Londoners will dump them into the bottom three with Tottenham and Man City away on the horizon.
Tim Sherwood has questioned the character of his players in an apparent attempt to gee them up for the fixture, describing it as 'the biggest game that a lot of these players have ever played in for this football club' and he also promised an attacking approach.
"I'm not one for security in numbers behind the ball," he said, adding, of QPR, "I don't expect them to sit back."
It's probably a fair assumption given that Chris Ramsey's men come into the game on the back of an outstanding 4-1 win at West Brom that featured a newly open attacking style.
Defender Nedum Onuoha said: "The manager is trying to give us a more attacking approach and make sure we have more chances and opportunities. If it comes down to winning every game 7-6 to stay up then so be it."
It could be all talk, of course, but given that both teams have scored in each of QPR's last six and in all but one of Villa's last half dozen, just under evens on BTTS looks like an extremely solid bet. DT
2. Blackburn v Liverpool, FA Cup, Wednesday 19:45 - Both Teams to Score @ 2.01/1 or better
Just a few short weeks ago, Liverpool were flying and in the form of their season. But two defeats in big games against Manchester United and Arsenal have cast doubt on their top four credentials and in turn their ability to win the FA Cup this season. Defensively they've looked short of confidence and unbalanced, and Blackburn Rovers put Leeds to the sword at Elland Road last time out.
It may be beyond Rovers to actually get past Brendan Rodgers' men and into the semi-final, but with Liverpool's problems at the back it's not unlikely that they'll get at least a goal. 2.01/1 or better on Both Teams to Score looks a nice bet at the price. LM
3. US Masters Golf, Thursday-Sunday - Back Brandt Snedeker Top-20 Finish @ 2.6213/8 (Sportsbook)
Though power is a valuable asset at Augusta it is a course where shorter-hitters can prosper as evidenced by top-five finishes for Jonas Blixt and Miguel Angel Jimenez last year.
Brandt Snedeker is never going to rival Rory off the tee but the rest of his game is so tidy, and his work around the greens so clinical, that what he lacks in length he makes up with his short game.
We know Snedeker enjoys Augusta, he has twice gone close on the course, letting himself down with poor final rounds in 2008 and 2013 when he held chances to win. In seven appearances at The Masters the seven-time PGA Tour winner has finished top 10 twice, with a further two top-20s, and only once missing the cut.
A winner on tour this year, Snedeker looks primed for another good showing at the year's first major. He's 40/1 to win the tournament with Betfair's Sportsbook but we'll chance our arm with a far less ambitious Top 20 punt. In this small field, bolstered by a handful of complete no-hopers, odds of 2.6213/8 on another Top 20 finish for Snedeker look a wise investment. JD
4. Premier League Darts, Thursday - Back James Wade @ 2.35/4 to beat Dave Chisnall
Opposing Dave Chisnall feels like I'm betraying a best friend - he's been so good to us in this column that it just seems plain wrong to back against him, especially after he beat Phil Taylor last Thursday. But we don't do sentiment here, it's all about churning out winners and we feel that James Wade rates an excellent wager to defeat the St Helens man.
These two drew 6-6 in week three of this year's Premier League when Wade threw his worst 3-dart average of the season, just 90.19 which is some way below the 103 and 104 averages he's achieved in recent weeks. So with just a bit of improvement you'd fancy Wade to win on those grounds alone.
But what I feel is crucial here is that both Wade and Chizzy play twice this Thursday night with this match being the last contest of the evening, and there's no doubt that Wade has more experience of this format having been part of the Premier League every year bar one since 2008. Chisnall is also there to be shot at sitting second in the table currently, and despite his brilliance I'm not totally convinced he can handle pressure as well as the battle-hardened opponent who will be heaping it on him later this week. MN
5. Horse Racing, Liverpool Hurdle, Aintree, Saturday - Back Zarkandar @ 3.7511/4 to Win
There's a lot of good judges who will tell you that backing 'unlucky losers' is the quickest way to the poor house, and generally I would agree as in most cases there's a genuine reason a horse was 'unlucky' - as in that it wasn't good enough to take up a good position at a vital stage of a race, or it wasn't quick enough to go through a gap before having the door slammed shut in its face.
But in Zarkandar's case I believe he was a very unfortunate loser in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and he can make amends on Saturday in the Liverpool Hurdle.
The mistake he made at the second last cost him just a few lengths admittedly, and he was beaten further at the line than he was after seemingly recovering. But it was the momentum stopper that was key in my mind. Paul Nicholls' stayer was travelling supremely well at the time of his shuddering error, and without it I believe he would have got upside eventual winner Cole Harden possibly still on the bridle.
Nicholls himself believes Zarkandar is in the form of his life, and if that's the case then this eight-year-old bay gelding simply has to be the one they all have to beat. MN