‘And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain. My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.’ When Frank Sinatra first recorded his opus ‘My Way’ it is unlikely he had this juncture in the football season in mind, however the lyrics seem to fit perfectly as the fat lady – let alone the famous crooner – clears her throat to call time on another rollercoaster campaign.
Depending on the league there is anything from one to four games left to go, and clearly now is the time for punters to place their final outright bets of the campaign.
If you’re not au fait with the European divisions then not to worry; we’ve got your covered below. But first, let’s take a look at the top two leagues in England and see if we can’t squeeze out some late season value:
English Premier League
Best Bet: Hull City to be Relegated (19/10)
This selection is based upon the premise that Swansea will beat Sunderland (away) and West Brom (home), while Hull – able to beat Sunderland – will then suffer defeat against Tottenham (home) and Crystal Palace (away).
That’s a leap of faith, but the Tigers do tend to struggle away from home and may struggle to get something from their trip to Selhurst Park.
Swansea have just picked up some form recently, beating Stoke and taking a point at Old Trafford, and so they should be able to see off two sides who have basically signed off for the season in Sunderland and West Brom.
Best Bet: Newcastle to Win the Title (11/10)
So it all comes down to the last day in the Championship, with Brighton a solitary point clear of Newcastle at the summit of the table.
But here’s the thing: if Newcastle beat Barnsley at home – as you would expect them to – then the Seagulls would need to win away at Aston Villa to keep their hands on the trophy.
For Brighton it appears as though the end of season malaise has kicked in: safely promoted to the Premier League, they have lost their last two games without scoring. In contrast, it would be unlikely that Newcastle will put in a weak showing in front of 50,000 partisan Geordies – against a Barnsley side that has won one of their last twelve outings.
Spanish La Liga
Best Bet: There is none!
There are still three gameweeks in the La Liga campaign, but unfortunately all the betting markets have pretty much been sewn up.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are locked on 81 points at the summit but the Galacticos have a game in hand, and on Saturday they face the awful Granada while Barca have a potentially tricky tie against Villarreal. You’d be amazed if Real threw it away from here, and their price of 4/9 reflects that.
At the bottom of the table, Osasuna and Granada are down while Sporting Gijon need to take a minimum of seven points from nine if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop. For a side that has won just two of their last 21 games, that seems highly unlikely.
Italian Serie A
Best Bet: Napoli 10/11 (Without Juventus market)
With four games to go Juventus have all but sealed the Serie A title, but the battle for second place looks a titanic struggle.
Roma and Napoli are separated by just one point, with the former on 75 points at present. But we like the Naples outfit’s chances of usurping that cushion, as Roma face a tough trip to Ac Milan on Sunday and then, a week later, must take on Juve themselves.
Dropped points are a no-no at this stage of the campaign, so Napoli’s generous price of 10/11 to finish second is surprising.
For fans of extreme longshots, how about a flutter on Genoa to be relegated at 20/1? They are five points clear of Crotone, who languish in the remaining spot in the dropzone, but are currently in woeful form at present, losing six of their last seven games and conceding 18 goals in the process.
Crotone, meanwhile, are unbeaten in five (W3 D2 L0) while Empoli, in seventeenth, have won of their last three. Stranger things have happened than Genoa’s potential demotion.
Best Bet: Werder Bremen Top Six Finish (5/6)
Unbeaten in eleven games with nine of those being wins, Werder Bremen have surged up the Bundesliga table and now could deliver the incredible outcome of being in the relegation zone at Christmas before securing a European place by the end of the season.
An away trip to Koln on Friday offers no demons, and while their final two matches are against Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund, it is not beyond the pale that Werder could pick up anything from 2-4 points from that pair of matches; which would be enough to see them home in this market.
Indeed, the teams with the most likely chance of catching them – Koln (W1 D2 L3), Freiburg (W3 D0 L3) and Borussia M’gladbach (W3 D1 L2) – are hardly in the throes of great form.