The Week Ahead: Five 'must have' bets in the coming week

Chris Ramsey's QPR look a great price to beat out-of-form West Ham
Chris Ramsey's QPR look a great price to beat out-of-form West Ham

Another cracking week of sport to look ahead to including IPL and Test Match cricket, Premier League and Champions League football, World Snooker, Premier League darts, and some top class horse racing. Joe Dyer, Dan Thomas, and Mike Norman provide their five 'must have' bets from the coming seven days...

"Rangers have pulled off some encouraging results in recent weeks and while both team's six game form is nothing special, Chris Ramsey's charges look a decent bet at the prices."

1. IPL Cricket
Back Rajasthan Royals @ 1.9720/21 to beat Kings XI Punjab @
Tuesday, 15:30
Live on Sky Sports 2

Anyone who took IPL tipster supreme Ed Hawkins' advice and backed the Royals antepost at a chunky 17.016/1 will now be sitting on a nice Cash Out offer after five straight wins saw their outright price plunge to 4.94/1.

Their win on Sunday over outright favourites Chennai Super Kings confirmed that this year's edition of the Royals are the real deal and I was surprised to see them underrated in the market - yet again - for Tuesday's encounter with Punjab.

Kings XI simply haven't got going yet - three straight losses have left them just one off the bottom of the table - so this is no way an even money game in my book. Back Shane Watson's men to make it half a dozen wins on the bounce. DT

2. Champions League Football
Back Bayern Munich to qualify v Porto @ 2.0621/20
Tuesday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 1

Bayern Munich produced a most un-Bayern Munich performance last time out in the Champions League and now have a big task on their hands to get past Porto and into the last four. Trailing 3-1, they must win by a 2-0 scoreline or better in 90 minutes to make the next round while another 3-1 will mean extra time. So they are on the proverbial tightrope.

But if we are going to trust any team to get the job done from this sort of position it is Bayern. They are packed with goals of course, but also possess one of the best defensive units in Europe - the goal they conceded against Porto broke a spell of six straight clean sheets. Bayern have the tools to qualify and we are happy to take better than even money that they can do so. JD

3. World Championship Snooker - First Round
Back Shaun Murphy -4.5 Frames @ Evs v Robin Hull
Wednesday, 14:30
Live on BBC and Eurosport

Shaun Murphy has enjoyed a successful season, the highlight being an emphatic and quite spectacular 10-2 victory over Neil Robertson in the final of the Masters in January, one of snooker's 'Major' tournaments, promoting him to one of the top five in the betting to win this year's World Championship.

Murphy, a former winner at the Crucible and described as having the best cue action in the game, has been slightly below par in recent events but he should have no problem winning his first round match against Finland's Robin Hull.

At 40-year-old Hull is approaching the veteran stage of his career, yet he has never gone beyond a quarter-final in any ranking event. His two previous visits to the Crucible resulted in first round defeats by scorelines of 10-6 and 10-4, and just a few months ago he lost to Murphy 6-3 in the last-64 stage of the UK Championship. Back the Englishman to overcome the -4.5 Frame handicap. MN

4. Premier League Football
Back QPR @ 2.56/4 to beat West Ham
Saturday, 15:00

With nothing left to play for, West Ham are the ideal opposition for any team in these final weeks of the Premier League season. Saturday's opponents QPR, on the other hand, are fighting for top-flight survival and should be far ahead of Sam Allardyce's troops in the motivation stakes in this 3pm kick-off.

Rangers have pulled off some encouraging results in recent weeks and while both team's six game form is nothing special, Chris Ramsey's charges look a decent bet at the prices. JD

5. Horse Racing - bet365 Gold Cup, Sandown
Back Unioniste To Place (4 places) @ around 4.03/1
Saturday, 15:50
Live on Channel 4 and RUK

There's arguably no better recent form on show in this race than that of Unioniste's 10L defeat by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree in the Betfair Denman Chase in February, remember, Paul Nicholls' 7yo gave the winner 5lb that day.

Unioniste was staying on extremely well over the 3m journey in that race and was expected to go well in the Grand National, but the grey gelding got no further than the fifth, meaning he should be relatively fresh for this race.

He was being offered up at 20.019/1 on the Exchange on Monday morning, a price that will surely shorten should he take his chance on Saturday. Early indications are that he'll be in the line-up.

A previous course winner, this 3m5f trip should be right up his street and Unioniste looks set to run a big race off his current mark of 159 and go close to giving Nicholls yet another Saturday big-race winner - a back in the Place market on the day is advised. MN

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