Bournemouth's amazing battle to avoid relegation reaches its climax this weekend as the Cherries travel to promotion-chasing Carlisle in search of a seventh successive victory in their final League One match of the season.
For Kevin Bond's side it's one of those agonising situations where even a victory might not be enough to ensure survival ? but on the other hand even a draw might just do.
The basic scenario is that if Bournemouth win they will stay up if Cheltenham fail to win at home to Doncaster, or if Crewe lose at home to Oldham.
On paper it's a tough, tough ask for Bournemouth to complete their escape by winning at Brunton Park, where Carlisle have for much of the season appeared pretty much invincible.
Yet the Cherries' recent record speaks for itself, and but for the 10-point deduction imposed for going into administration they would be home and hosed by now.
John Ward's Carlisle are also in desperate need of a win to keep alive their chances of securing an automatic promotion place ? all this assuming that Leeds have not had their 15 points restored by the time you read this.
But Carlisle have suffered badly from the promotion jitters, and have thrown away an excellent position by losing three games on the bounce. At odds of 3/1 a Bournemouth side which scored two late goals to triumph 2-1 at champions Swansea a couple of weeks ago must have a great chance of pulling it off ? and therefore take pride of place in this weekend's yankee.
Neither are Bournemouth the only League One side looking to escape relegation on the last day of the season. Gillingham could also haul themselves out of the mire ? but only if they can win at Leeds at 11/4. There's no real reason to suppose that they can ? except that Leeds are already assured of a play-off place (or better), and may just have a little less appetite for this one than Mark Stimson's Gills, who get my slightly tentative vote to pull off a real shock.
Sticking with a relegation theme we now bounce back to the Premiership, where Bolton are among a clutch of clubs vying to avoid taking the drop with whipping boys Derby. The Trotters are a difficult lot to predict ? as I found out last week ? but for that reason alone I reckon Sunderland look big at 19/4 to win the Reebok this weekend.
True, the Makkems are home and dry, but I'm not sure Roy Keane is one to take his foot off the gas. Sunderland have actually won four games out of six, and having finally gained an appetite for winning on the road I have a gut feeling they might graft out a victory against Gary Megson's men.
In the Championship there's a do-or-die encounter at St Mary's, where Southampton require nothing less than victory over Sheffield United if they are to stand any chance whatsoever of staying up. The fly-in-the-ointment for Saints is that the Blades have had a terrific run under Kevin Blackwell, and a victory could just see them sneak into one of the two remaining play-off places. What's more, the Blades will be mindful that their season could hinge on goal difference, so expect them to really go for it, and to win at 7/4.
That's a potentially tasty little 236-1 yankee, and for a fifth it's hard to ignore the likelihood of Sheffield Wednesday securing their own Championship survival by beating Norwich, even at relatively meagre odds of 7/10. The Canaries did the business by beating QPR 3-0 last week, and are perhaps unlikely to show quite the same urgency as the Owls, who only need a point but would be well advised to go for three.
We stay in the Championship for option six, which centres on another do-or-die encounter, this time at Portman Road. Ipswich need a win to stand a chance of making the play-offs, while Hull need all three points to keep alive their hopes of automatic promotion. Ipswich have been strong at home all season, and should take this one at 27/20.
Last weekend's six accumulator tips produced a respectable return of three wins, three draws, and, just for a change, no defeats. However, they did include some relatively conservative selections, so no fortunes are likely to have been won.
Within the yankee there were wins for Sheffield United (11/10) and Bournemouth (evs), to return a whopping great ?2.10 on our nominal ?5.50 stake. Or a loss, if you prefer. If you added Sunderland (13/10) to the mix you probably returned about a fiver and made an even bigger loss.
That's because the ones we needed to do the business at rather better odds could only muster draws ? Bolton at Spurs, Newcastle at West Ham, and Villa at Everton.
Time to give a quick mention to this evening's UEFA Cup semi-final second legs. I tipped Zenit St Petersburg to win away to Bayern Munich last week, and they at least proved their capabilities with a 1-1 draw. The bookies still rate the Russians as a 10/3 shot to finish off Bayern tonight ? if you fancy a single it might be worth backing Zenit with a draw-no-bet option (which means you'd get your stake back), available at 7/4 with Victor Chandler. Watch out for the 5.30pm kick-off though.
Difficult to fancy Rangers at 11/2 away to Fiorentina, but a couple of quid on a Rangers/Zenit double at combined odds of 27/1 has its attractions.
And, finally, did you notice that following a recent lull the away-day habit kicked in in League Two again last weekend, with seven away wins from 12 games? With all the main promotion and relegation already settled this weekend's final round of fixtures has a slightly meaningless look about it. However, with several out-of-form sides playing away, and long big odds, it might just be worth picking one final lucky dip selection from this weirdest of leagues.
How to place a Yankee
– Click on the first betting link to open up the betting slip, verify that the selection is correct and is the only selection so far, then close the betting slip.
– Click on the second betting link to open up the betting slip, verify that both the first and second selections are present, then close the betting slip.
– Repeat this process for each betting link until you come to the last selection.
– Click on the final betting link to open up the betting slip, verify that all the selections are present, then enter your unit stake in the field next the 'Yankee' option, check your estimated returns and total stake (your total stake will be 11 times your unit stake for a Yankee), enter your username and password and click 'submit' to place your bet. If you do not have an account with VCBet open one here and get a free bet worth up to ?100.
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