Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend fixtures Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd April 2005.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Appearances can be deceptive. At first glance, this Sunday's live Sky match between West Brom and Everton looks duller than a grass roots football discussion between Trevor Francis and Trevor Brooking. But dig a little deeper, and you'll discover that this match holds the key to "The war for four" and "The Showdown not to Go Down", the only two remaining betting markets in the Premiership.
The "War for Four" is now a straight race between the two Scouse horses. If Everton can get a result at the Baggies, there is every chance that their four point advantage over Liverpool could stretch to six or even seven, as the Reds will go into the match against Bolton without a recognised striker. (Something Birmingham have done all season.) Moyes' boys are a top priced 10/11 with Stanleybet to finish 4th, while Rafael's turtles can be backed at 13/8 with Skybet.
Looking at the bigger picture, it's not really important whether it's the blue half or the red half of the City that is celebrating in May though, because the fantastic City of Liverpool will undoubtedly be the real winner. The famous lyrics to a well loved ballad explain it more poetically than I ever could; "It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me, but the fact that some scally nicked my hubcaps."
The only other ante-post betting market that still has life is the relegation battle. The "Go Down Showdown Hoedown" is a fascinating contest where six must become three. There is little value to be found in backing Norwich or the Albion, but the 10/1 that Stan James offer about the woefully out of form Portsmouth dropping a division should be immediately taken advantage of.
Apologies to the residents of West Bromwich for describing their relegation battle as a hoedown, there is now a distinct possibility that either Wayne Rooney will turn up with a wad of cash, or Robbie Savage will appear with a banjo.
Cliché watch: (Inspired by Michael Owen / David Beckham)
What they say: "I'm flattered that a great club like Newcastle/Tottenham would show an interest in me."
What they mean: "Ha ha ha ha ha."
Southampton: Harry is definitely the man, if you still think they're in relegation trouble, the top price is now 11/8.
Norwich: They're 1/200 with BET 365 about the inevitable; high-rollers can play at 1/40 with VC Bet though.
Quote of the week meets Spot the difference:
"When I saw Rijkaard entering the referee's dressing-room, I couldn't believe it." - Jose Mourinho, four weeks ago.
"If something happens and I don't see, but some of my people say this happened, I say it's true." - Jose Mourinho, this week.
Nice looking Punt:
Crystal Palace: The Boro have gone; Coral are a realistic 6/5 about Palace, Stan James go 6/4.
Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Fulham, Everton
The accer pays a tasty 20/1 with Paddy Power
Specials of the week: (All available at Super Soccer)
"The War for Four" - Everton and Liverpool both to win 7/2
"The Showdown not to Go Down" - Crystal Palace and West Brom both to win 11/2
"The Ruck for the Buck" - Sunderland and Wigan both to win 10/3
"The Combat for the Wombat" - Viduka, Cahill and Lazaridis all to score 66/1
Charlton v Man City Saturday 2nd April 12.45 Live on P.P.V.
Charlton 11/10 Totesport
Draw 23/10 Sportingbet
Man City 16/5 Bet Direct
Get on: Charlton
Charlton will be out to avenge the 4-0 drubbing they received at the City of Manchester stadium earlier in the season. City have a Psycho in charge. Home win.
Match Special: Charlton to win 4-0 50/1 @ William Hill
Arsenal v Norwich Saturday 2nd April 15.00
Arsenal 1/5 Super Soccer
Norwich 14/1 Boylesports
Get on: Arsenal
Here's a stat for all you nerds; the Canaries have lost only once on their last five visits to Highbury. Terry Henry will sort that.
Match Special: Henry to score a hat-trick 12/1 @ Paddy Power
Birmingham v Tottenham Saturday 2nd April 15.00
Birmingham 11/8 Super Soccer
Draw 9/4 BET 365
Tottenham 21/10 Boylesports
Get on: Birmingham
The Blues have won their last three home matches, while Spurs have lost their last three on the road. It's pretty, symmetrical and hole-free. Home win.
Match Special: Lazaridis to score two or more goals 50/1 @ Betfred
Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough Saturday 2nd April 15.00
Crystal Palace 6/4 Stan James
Draw 23/10 Boylesports
Get on: Crystal Palace
The Boro are dropping quicker than a Manchester student, Palace will add to their woes.
Match Special: Andy Johnson to score the first goal 5/1
Liverpool v Bolton Saturday 2nd April 15.00
Liverpool 10/11 Totesport
Draw 5/2 Skybet
Bolton 18/5 Sportingbet
Get on: Draw
No strikers = No Goals = 0-0 draw = No 4th Place = Gerrard's going to Chelsea.
Match Special: Match to finish goal-less 10/1 @ Skybet
Man Utd v Blackburn Saturday 2nd April 15.00
Man Utd 2/7 Skybet
Draw 4/1 William Hill
Blackburn 12/1 Boylesports
Get on: Man Utd
Man Utd have only gained one point from a possible six against Blackburn over the last year, but with Hughesy in the opposite dug-out and Arsenal breathing down their neck, Fergie will demand and receive a comprehensive victory.
Match Special: Man Utd to score five or more goals 6/1 @ Betfred
Newcastle v Aston Villa Saturday 2nd April 15.00
Newcastle 8/11 Stanleybet
Draw 5/2 Bet Direct
Aston Villa 4/1 Totesport
Get on: Newcastle
Newcastle haven't lost a home match all year. As they average 13 shots a match, and the Villa goal keeper has a serious problem whenever a ball trickles towards him, you don't have to be Stephen Hawking to solve this problem.
Match Special: Newcastle to score four or more goals 7/1 @ Betfred
Southampton v Chelsea Saturday 2nd April 17.15 Live on P.P.V.
Draw 13/5 Sportingbet
Chelsea 4/7 Paddy Power
Get on: Draw
Chelsea are in great form, but the on fire Crouch (It's now 10 goals from 13 matches) can help the Saints to earn a point.
Match Special: Match to finish 2-2 16/1 @ Stan James
Fulham v Portsmouth Sunday 3rd April 13.30 Live on P.P.V.
Fulham 11/10 Totesport
Draw 23/10 Sportingbet
Portsmouth 13/5 BET 365
Get on: Fulham
It's six away defeats on the bounce for Pompey, Fulham will make it seven.
Match Special: Fulham to score three or more goals 3/1 @ Betfred
West Brom v Everton Sunday 3rd April 16.05 Live on Sky
West Brom 19/10
Draw 9/4 Skybet
Everton 6/4 Coral
Get on: Everton
The bookies have wildly divided opinions over this match; Betfred make Everton 6/5 favourites, while Coral believe the Baggies are the more likely winners, they make the Albion 11/8 fav's, and Everton are the 6/4 rags. Make them pay.
Match Special: Everton to win 3-1 22/1 @ Coral