West Ham’s top four dream still alive

West Ham’s remarkable efforts this season has seen them go from relegation candidates last term to challengers for a coveted Champions League place in 2020/2021.

Currently sitting in fifth in the table just behind fourth placed Chelsea, manager David Moyes deserves immense credit for getting the best out of his Hammers team. Instilling a formidable team spirit and playing as a collective, the hard running and determined Irons have certainly been a challenge to play against.

Possessing the sixth best attack in the Premier League, their attackers and midfielders have shared the goalscoring burden impressively, as Jesse Lingard has nine, Tomas Soucek has nine, Jarrod Bowen has eight and Michail Antonio has seven.

Special mention must go to Lingard, who’s been sensational since joining in January, with his creativity, dynamism, intelligence, athleticism and experience adding another dimension going forward.

Courtesy of Pixabay

The fact they’ve faced their fair share of injuries makes their campaign all the more impressive. But with a core group of players who’ve played over 2000 minutes in the league, the consistency of Soucek, Lukasz Fabianski, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Vladimir Coufal, Bowen, Angelo Ogbonna and Pablo Fornals has been crucial.

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Physical, well organised and uncomfortable to play against, the bookies have them priced at $6 to finish in the top four just behind Chelsea and Liverpool in the odds.

With five games left to play against Burnley, Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, they’ll back themselves to win most of these games.

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In what’s been a tremendous season by Moyes’ men, where they’ve surprised everyone with their amazing efforts, you can guarantee this resilient, defiant team will fight to the end in their quest to make the top four.

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Phoenix Suns soaring in the NBA

Having just secured their first playoff berth in 11 years, the Phoenix Suns, who have unquestionably been one of the elite teams in the NBA, are gunning to go all the way.

Priced at $17 to win the NBA Championship, they’ll certainly be a threat for any challenger they face due to the quality they possess. “We are not satisfied, we’re not settling,” asserted coach Monty Williams. “We feel like we’re just scratching the surface.

“Our players have worked their tails off, they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. I’m just happy for them.”

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Winning an impressive 46 games and losing just 18, Williams’ side have been hugely boosted by the addition of experienced star, Chris Paul, whose all-round quality has helped them manage and control games.

Then, Devin Booker has continued to show why he’s an elite operator, establishing himself as one of the premier offensive forces in the league. An exceptional shooter, a handy creator and always causing a threat due to his understanding with his teammates, Booker’s been a nightmare to contain.

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Centre Deandre Ayton has been excellent too, as he’s averaged a notable 16.3 points per game and 10.7 rebounds pg, plus shown he can hold his own against the many elite big men in the league.

Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder then round out their starting lineup, with these two fulfilling their roles on both sides of the ball to accompany their star men.

Courtesy of Flickr

The likes of Frank Kaminsky, Torrey Craig, Dario Saric, Cameron Johnston and Cameron Payne then ensure they have some solid depth from the bench.

Ranking seventh and fifth in the league for their offensive and defensive rankings respectively (as per Undefeated), the Suns have proved they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Considering their class and that their odds are high, which would surely have something to do with their previous inability to make the playoffs, the Suns represent a decent bet to claim their first ever NBA championship.

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Online Gambling

Livingstone Brothers Make a Fortune with Online Gambling

The London billionaire Livingstone brothers Richard and Ian have hit a gold mine as they have become one of the most successful financial winners despite the coronavirus pandemic. Their stake in the online gambling firm Evolution Gaming has proven to be the best decision they ever made. It nearly doubled to £1.4 billion during the crisis, according to the Standard. The profits they’ve gotten are even bigger than the profits they get from their property investments.  

Ever since lockdowns began worldwide, millions of people have taken to betting on online gambling sites or games. One booming online gaming would be casino games like poker and roulette. Because of this, there has been a surge in share price. And with the Livingstone brothers enormous shares in Swedish internet casino business Evolution Gaming, they are earning more than ever. 

Livingstone BrothersCourtesy of Jewish Business News

Who are Richard and Ian Livingstone?

Richard and Ian Livingstone are prominently known in the real estate industry. They own property companies, mainly London & Regional, which makes them owners of a slew of the fanciest hotels in the UK. This includes the famous luxury hotel Cliveden, the backdrop to the Profumo spy scandal back in 1961. Other iconic luxury hotels they own include The Lygon Arms, Chewton Glen and 11 Cadogan.

In addition to that, The London & Regional website indicates that it has a portfolio worth at least £9 billion of offices, hotels and apartments. They also have luxury resorts in places such as Venice, Barbados and Grand Cayman. Their properties are usually run by hoteliers such as Intercontinental or Fairmont Hotels Group. 

With so many luxurious properties, it is impressive that what they have earned from their share in their online gambling firm is bigger than their property investments.

Evolution GamingCourtesy of Best Bitcoin Casino

Spectacular Success in Online Gambling

Since January, the online gambling firm Evolution Gaming’s shares have increased from 282 Swedish kroner to 552 kroner. Because of their stake in the firm, this gives them a profit of £671 million. Richard holds shares worth 30 million, which makes him own 17% of the company, while Ian holds a position on the board as director. 

Their timely investments in Evolution came as a surprise to many in the business world, but it was definitely a boon to the Livingstone brothers. This is because the profits they earned will more than offset the decline in asset values caused by the pandemic from their several hotels and resorts.

With so many people staying at home, it comes as no surprise that gambling such as sports betting API or online gaming has become so popular. Evolution has taken advantage of it by making big moves into live casino gaming. This includes players staying at home but can still bet on real-life games through their PC or mobile phone. The dealer would also be filmed live in a studio. Moreover, another thing that contributed to their success is the deregulation of live casino playing online in the United States. 

The Livingstone brothers are proof that online gambling is still very much in demand despite the pandemic. Punters just have to find the right platform for their wagers. So, if you’re looking for a platform that can give you real-time sports odds and other betting services, choose us at VOdds. We provide our clients with different betting offers, from spread betting to Moneyline betting, among others. Open an account with us!

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Max Verstappen stamping his mark in Formula 1

After an excellent start to the new Formula 1 season, which has seen him finish second in the season opener at Bahrain and win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Max Verstappen’s cemented himself as a serious title contender.

Sitting just one point behind the legendary Lewis Hamilton in the standings, the flying prodigy showed his class in Imola by getting off to a scorching start from third on the grid. Quickly jetting into first on the opening lap, Vertsappen stamped his mark and never let up on his way to cruising to an impressive 22 second win.

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Although he almost lost control during the race, the Red Bull driver impressively recovered to get the job done comprehensively and claim maximum points.

Courtesy of Flickr

When speaking after the race, Verstappen cut a delighted figure, saying: “It’s a very long season so just have to keep on working very hard. I’m very happy about the result today but tomorrow we start again. It’s great to be fighting against Lewis and Mercedes who have been very dominant for so many years.”

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His team principal, Christian Horner, was equally delighted when speaking on his young star’s efforts. “Max got a mega start and then braved it out into the first turn, and thereafter controlled the race brilliantly,” he said.

“It’s always tough to lose a race like we did in Bahrain and it’s so marginal [with Mercedes]. And so to come here and get that victory, there’s only one point between the two drivers, a huge distance in this championship still to run.

“It’s by far the best start we’ve had for quite a few years,” he added, “so we just want to keep building the momentum. But it’s fantastic for Honda, their first win since [Ayrton] Senna in ’91 here. So we just want to build that momentum and keep that all the way through the year.”

With Hamilton and Verstappen set to go toe to toe for the Championship, it will be captivating to see if Verstappen, who the bookies have priced at 2.10 to win the championship, can overcome the British star.

Only time will tell if he can, but the 23-year-old certainly appears to have the car and the skill to do so.

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Dortmund still hoping to finish in the Champions League places

In serious danger of missing the Champions League due to their inconsistent form, Borussia Dortmund will need to end the Bundesliga season in style if they’re to qualify for the coveted tournament.

Currently sitting fifth in the table one point behind Eintracht Frankfurt with three games to go, they’ll need to produce a perfect end to the campaign if they’re to have any chance.

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Having recently been knocked out of this year’s Champions League by Pep Guardiola’s sensational Manchester City team, where they acquitted themselves admirably and illustrated they belong at this level, they’ve now strung together three straight wins to keep their hopes alive.

Courtesy of Wiki

With BVB beating Wolfsburg at the weekend and Eintracht Frankfurt losing to Bayer Leverkusen, this was certainly a boost for Edin Terzic’s men. Their task to win their remaining games certainly won’t be easy, however, for they still need to face RB Leipzig, Mainz and Bayer Leverkusen.

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By the odds, after their exceptional recent form, the bookies now have them priced at 2.10 to qualify for the coveted Champions League.

Aside from the huge financial upside, another reason BVB are desperate to finish in the top four is so they can enhance their chances of keeping their star players such as Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, who will probably look to leave if Champions League football isn’t secured.

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With everything still to play for, you can guarantee Dortmund will be doing everything in their power to make the top four, which would be a fantastic end to a challenging season.

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Horse Racing Ireland CEO

Horse Racing Ireland CEO Kavanagh Announces Coming Retirement

After 20 years, Brian Kavanagh, the CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, announced that he would be stepping down as CEO this September 2021.

Horse Racing Ireland is the commercial semi-state body responsible for the “governance, development, promotion and administration of thoroughbred racing in Ireland.” As CEO, Kavanagh was responsible for many milestones of the body. And not to mention that during his tenure, he was able to oversee and implement the UK’s updated betting tax framework. 

Brian KavanaghCourtesy of The Irish Field

Who is Brian Kavanagh?

Brian Kavanagh has been the CEO of the HRI since the date of its establishment in 2001. He has provided many achievements during his career. One of which is the continual expansion of horse racing as a sport. He also helped in the uptake of the overall revenue stream. Horse Racing Ireland was able to report a 6.6% increase in turnover. This is a historic increase because Irish horse racing had seen a 75% drop over the past ten years.

Aside from that, Kavanagh led the HRI through the challenging year of 2020. It also led it throughout the UK’s exit from the European Union.

As stated by him, “While Brexit and COVID-19 are currently providing significant challenges, there are wonderful opportunities facing the sector also. Our horses and our people are our greatest strength.”

Irish Horse RacingCourtesy of SBC News

Brian Kavanagh On His Departure from Horse Racing Ireland

Kavanagh was the first chief executive of the HRI. Thus, people will remember and honour his legacy despite his retirement.

According to his statement, “It has been a privilege to serve as Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland and to work under three different Chairmen who each promoted a strategic vision for the Irish horse racing and breeding industries.

“It is a sector full of variety and of really talented people and I have nothing but good memories of the projects and people that I have dealt with on the way.”

His fellow workers also commend his incredible work integrity. According to the Chairman of the HRI, Nick Hartery, “I would like to thank Brian Kavanagh for 20 years of incredible service and deep commitment to Horse Racing Ireland and to the industry in Ireland.

“Brian was the first CEO of Horse Racing Ireland when appointed in 2001, and during his time he has played a huge role in Irish racing and breeding, enabling it to become a leader on the global stage while domestically overseeing the growth of a vital rural-based industry.”

Horse Racing Ireland will start its recruitment process for its chief executive on 26 March 2021. Additionally, there will be an acceptance for applications onwards until 19 April 2021.

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Fabio Quartararo showing his class in MotoGP

Currently sitting first in the MotoGP standings ahead of Francesco Bagnaia after recording a fifth and two first placed finishes in the opening three rounds, Fabio Quartararo’s started the season in fine style.

His victory at Qatar was especially impressive, where he strategically surged through the field to claim a memorable victory under the lights. “I feel like this win gives me much more confidence than the wins from last year as I came from far back. You need to look at yourself and try to be the best you can, and this is what we did today and it gave me a boost of confidence for the future,” he said after the race.

“Winning the second race in Doha was fantastic! Now that I have collected my first win with the Factory team, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. After the first one, I feel like I can focus even better on the task ahead.”

Solidifying his position as a championship contender for this season, the flying Frenchman certainly produced one of his finest rides in the top class on his way to securing all 25 points.

With him and Yamaha teammate, Maverick Vinales, winning a race each in Qatar, the gifted 21-year-old ensured it was a fantastic fortnight in Qatar for the Japanese manufacturer.

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As the championship now moves to Europe for an extended spell, where the real title challengers will really emerge, it’ll be fascinating if he can maintain his strong start to the campaign.

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Having won the opening two races of the 2020 crusade, Quartararo then struggled with consistency on the Petronas Yamaha, which will make him even more determined to keep up his high level in 2021.

With six time MotoGP champion, Marc Marquez, returning and a host of other riders such as Vinales, Zarco, Jack Miller, Alex Rins, Franco Mordidelli and last year’s champion Joan Mir all gunning for glory, Quartararo will need to be at his best to be triumphant.

Confident, gifted and on the excellent Yamaha factory bike, all the signs are positive that Quartararo, who’s priced at 6.50 to be crowned champion, will be a legitimate title challenger in 2021.

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PSG pushing hard for Champions League glory

After beating Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16 and then ousting Bayern Munich in a thrilling quarter final tie, Paris Saint-Germain have earned themselves a mouthwatering clash with Manchester City in the semis.

Proving their class in these fiercely competitive clashes, Mauricio Pochettino’s star studded team are certainly among the favourites to take out Europe’s elite club competition. Priced at 4.33 to win the Champions League, which makes them second favourites behind City, who are at 2.25, victory would certainly be sweet considering the Parisiens lost in last season’s final against Bayern.

Courtesy of Flickr

Possessing two of the best players in world football in Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, having these weapons at their disposal ensures they can change a game in an instant with their incredible quality. Mbappe’s scintillating pace and expert movement supplements Neymar’s wizardry on the ball and creativity, which sees them constantly threaten opposition backlines.

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The likes of Angel Di Maria, Moise Kean, Mauro Icardi, Julian Draxler, Rafinha and Pablo Sarabia then give them plenty of options to deploy alongside their dynamic duo.

Meanwhile in midfield, Marco Verratti, Marquinhos, Leandro Paredes, Idrissa Gueye, Danilo Pereira and Ander Herrera ensure they have plenty of quality and depth.

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In terms of their defence and their pretty solid in this compartment too, with the tremendous Keylor Navas in goal ably supported by players such as the versatile Danilo Pereira and Marquinhos, plus Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa, Thilo Kehrer, Abdou Diallo, Colin Dagba and Mitchel Bakker.

Related: Benefits of Using a Betting Spreadsheet

Boasting such an amazing squad and an elite coach, PSG certainly have a fine chance of going all the way this year to atone for last year’s loss.

Only time will tell if they in fact can, but they probably won’t get a better chance to claim their maiden Champions League crown than at present, which should duly enhance their focus so they can be well placed to seize the moment.

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Football Index Loss

Football Index: Market Crash Caused Users to Lose £90 million

The football trading industry was in disarray as soccer player-trading platform Football Index’s market crashed considerably. Its users have collectively lost £90 million. The company held itself as a combination of fantasy sports and the stock market.

Football Index users could buy shares in soccer players. They were then offered dividends based on player performances and real-world values. It’s also reported that the company had over 500,000 registered users, out of which 30,000 were regular traders. This means that there’s an average individual loss of at least £3,000 each.

Football Index’s Market Crash

Football IndexCourtesy of The Guardian

The company was launched in 2015 and became a popular brand for English football. It heavily advertised itself on TV, radio and player’s jerseys. Moreover, because it mimicked a stock market, the value of shares would fluctuate depending on metrics such as the player’s on-pitch performances.

However, the market crashed after Football Index announced a dramatic cut to dividends. They would be slashing dividends by 80%. Their reason for it is to “ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform.” Many users then found that their shares have plummeted. Currently, they are unable to withdraw their funds, and their accounts have been frozen.

The Measures Taken By the Regulator

UKGCCourtesy of Top Online Bookmakers

Bet Index, Football Index’s parent company, had its license suspended by the UK Gambling Commission. After its suspension, many people are wondering why Football Index even got the license in the first place and why the UKGC was not able to intervene.

Some have also stated that the company was akin to a Ponzi scheme. Others suggested that it cut dividends deliberately to devalue the platform’s market and reduce its liabilities. But, no matter the reason, most people agreed that the UKGC could not handle the matter well.

Additionally, after the company’s suspension, EFL Championship teams Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers announced that they would end their sponsorship deals. Football Index previously sponsored their jerseys.

The UKGC’s Shortcomings

The market crash happened just when the government is conducting a regulatory review on gambling laws. The review promises to reshape the UK’s gambling landscape. Thus, UKGC is in the spotlight because many people believe them to be negligent in their responsibilities.

On its part, the UKGC stated, “People using gambling operators do so at their own risk. Although remote operators licensed by the Commission must keep customer funds in a separate account/s, there is no guarantee that this will ensure customers get all their money back if the company runs into financial difficulties.

“When the Gambling Commission licenses an operator, we look at suitability, including their financial circumstances. But we do not oversee their businesses on a day-to-day basis or monitor the financial health of operators directly in real-time. That would impose significant regulatory costs and could give a false sense of security to customers.”

In order to avoid this from happening to punters and traders, it’s important to choose credible and reliable platforms just like VOdds. We offer services such as Asian bookie handicap and sports trading, among others. More importantly, we also provide excellent customer support to our users. We believe in transparency and giving the best results. So, open an account with us now!

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UFC 261: Masvidal vs. Usman set to excite

The UFC 261 match up between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal looks set to be a cracking fight when the two face off on April 24 in Jacksonville in front of a packed VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

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In the case of Masvidal, he’s made his intentions clear that he’s looking for revenge after losing the first bout between the pair at UFC 251 last year. Rewind to the first fight, and Masvidal was a late replacement for Gilbert Burns, which left him just six days to prepare before he embarked on an arduous journey to Abu Dhabi. Upon taking into account he had to lose 20 pounds to make weight compounded issues for him, meaning he wasn’t at his absolute best.

“[The weight cut] wasn’t fun. It was a lot of weight. I was 35 at the time. As you get older, the weight [cut] just sucks, you know? The last three pounds took longer than the first 17. Just trying to get those last three pounds out was a headache and a half. I don’t have to do that now for this fight. As I stand right now, I’m nine pounds away from the weight class, just ready to rock and roll.

“When I got to 18 pounds [off], I started like, ‘Wow, this hurts,’ but all I kept thinking is, ‘It’ll mean nothing if I go out there and knock this guy out, so I’m going to make the weight like a man,’ because I’ve never missed weight,” he said. “I signed that dotted line. Let’s compete. I’m going to make this weight. If not, then I shouldn’t have taken the fight. That would have been the coward’s way out. I made sure I made the weight and then gave it my best.”

Courtesy of Wiki Comms

Although Masvidal will certainly head into the fight in a much better position to challenge, the tough to beat Usman, who’s won 13 fights in a row, will be a truly formidable foe. In excellent shape and raring to go, the current welterweight champion is understandably the betting favourite, with him priced at 1.29 and Masvidal at 3.85.

Related: In-Play Asian Handicap Explained

Boasting a UFC record of 18-1 and in the prime of his career, it would take a brave man to not back “The Nigerian Nightmare” to register his second victory over Masvidal after ousting him by unanimous decision in their first fight.

With fans returning to the stands to watch these two elite fighters going toe to toe, they should be in for a real treat, as Masvidal will be looking for an upset over the in-form champion Usman.

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