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Thursday’s betting news: Barcelona, Liverpool, Cheltenham and the World Match Play

by Sean Goff | February 21, 2013

Football

Liverpool have to overcome a two-goal deficit against Zenit St Petersburgh at Anfield tonight (8.05pm ITV1) if they are to advance to the last 16 of the Europa League. Brendan Rodgers’ side are 7/10 favourites to do the business against the Premier League side and desperately need a performance like the one that saw them run out 5-0 winners over Swansea last weekend. Daniel Sturridge and new-signing Philippe Coutinho were on the mark against the Swans but both are cup tied tonight.

While Liverpool won their Group to advance to the last 32 of the competition they only managed to win one of their home games – 1-0 against Anzhi – and Zenit may be overprived at 4/1 to win the game.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew must be cursing his look – in French – as two disallowed goals leaves this tie finely balanced at 0-0 against Metalist. An away goal may not be good enough to see the Magpies through as the Ukranians were unbeaten at home in the qualifying stages scoring at least two goals in all three games on their own patch.

Tottenham face a more straight-forward task as they travel to Lyon and defend a 2-1 lead thanks to Gareth Bale’s free-kick magic while Chelsea’s away goal in Prague should make the hostile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge a little easier to manage.

The Champions League betting was thrown into turmoil last night as AC Milan beat Barcelona 2-0 at the San Siro and the Catalans are in real danger of being knocked out of the competition. Bayern Munich are the new 3/1 favourites in Paddy’s online betting with Barca and Real Madrid second favourites at 9/2.

Racing

It’s a long time since Paul Nicholls was 8/1 in Paddy’s top trainer at Cheltenham betting. But with Kauto Star retired and Big Buck’s on the injured list England’s champion trainer has no stand-out bankers for next month’s Cheltenham festival. The master of Ditcheat held a press day at his yard on Wednesday and put up his Dodging Bullets at 12/1 as the ‘forgotten horse’ of the Supreme Novice Hurdle which opens the Festival.

With live chances in the Champion Hurdle (Zarkandar), Gold Cup (Silviniaco Conti) and Triumph Hurdle (Far West) it would only take a handicap win or two  – and Nicky Henderson’s string to underperform – for Nicholls to be leading trainer at Cheltenham 2013.

There are inspections at Ayr (8am), Huntingdon (8am) and Sedgefield (8.30am) but Clonmel in Ireland and Kempton’s twilight meeting should go ahead. problems.

#19sleepsuntilCheltenham

Golf

A freak snow storm in the Arizona desert has delayed the opening round of the WGC Matchplay Championship as players took to Twitter  at the freak event.

While the caddies had snowball fights to pass the time none of the first-round matches were finished which leaves the tournament looking at playing the semi-finals on Saturday – after the quarter-finals – or going to an extra day next Monday.

If your selection is leading through 12 holes but fails to win, Paddy Power will refund your losing bet on that match.

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