NFL: Detroit Lions @ New England Patriots Preview

Detroit Lions @ New England Patriots

Patriots can rely on passing game and home comforts to maintain winning streak

Sunday’s game at Foxboro sees the New England Patriots’ (8-2) high-powered offense go up against the NFL’s best defense in the form of the Detroit Lions (7-3). The two franchises will pit their contrasting strengths against one another in the stand-out game of Week 12.

Bill Belichick’s Patriots have the conference’s top offense and are playing as well as anyone in the league. QB Tom Brady has helped the Patriots to an average of 32.2 points per game this season, and has the Patriots flying even higher during their six-game winning stretch. Across their past three games they have scored at least 42 points.

The Lions roll into Foxboro carried by a seriously impressive defense. No team has given up less than the 15.6 points per game that they surrender. They are also the only franchise that …

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Rugby: England v Samoa Preview

England v Samoa Preview

England to get back to winning ways against Samoans

England lost their fifth successive game against South Africa last Saturday – a defeat that stretched their winless run against the Springboks to 12 matches. Considering Ireland had battered South Africa the week before it was disappointing Stuart Lancaster’s side couldn’t build on a fair effort versus New Zealand.

The Red Rose might have only lost by three points in both their Autumn Internationals which have been against the world’s top two-ranked countries, but the pressure is mounting on Lancaster and a win over Samoa tomorrow afternoon at Twickenham is imperative.

The England coach has rejigged his team with fly-half George Ford set to make his first international start. Owen Farrell moves to inside centre, Ben Youngs comes in at scrum-half, Dylan Hartley is replaced by Rob Webber, and James Haskell and Ben Morgan both start.

England have convincingly beaten Samoa …

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Rugby: Wales v New Zealand Preview

Wales v New Zealand

Wales’ long wait to beat the All Black to stretch on

The Millennium Stadium will be filled to the rafters with passion and song on Saturday night as Wales welcome the world champions New Zealand to Cardiff. It has been 61 years since the men in red last beat the All Blacks, but many in the Welsh camp believe they can put that hoodoo to rest this time around. Sporting Index traders disagree with NZ/Wales trading at 12-15. 

Steve Hansen’s Kiwis have had a solid, if unspectacular Autumn tour so far, racking up a one-sided victory against an improving USA side in Chicago, before going on to nick a three point win at Twickenham. Last week saw a much changed New Zealand side claim a comfortable victory in Scotland, which allowed many of the regular first XV to recharge their batteries.

The home side, led by New Zealander Warren Gatland, …

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Cue Card back for more Haydock glory

Cue Card

The first Grade One of the British National Hunt season which takes place at 3pm at Haydock tomorrow is always an early season highlight for jump racing fans. 

Despite Saturday’s renewal only being the tenth running of the contest, the roll of honour boasts four-time winner and all-round great Kauto Star and the classy Imperial Commander, another who also landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup in his career.

The market is finding it hard to pick a favourite for this year’s race with defending champion Cue Card, King George winner Silviniaco Conti and last year’s runner-up Dynaste all likely to be trading at similar prices on Sporting Index’s race index.

Cue Card, winner of four Grade Ones, comes here on the back of the same preparation as last year. Like then he was a beaten favourite in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter a few weeks back and, although he’s bound …

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Six memorable Arsenal v Manchester United games since 2000

Six memorable Arsenal v Manchester United games since 2000

Six memorable Arsenal v Manchester United games since 2000

Arsenal and Manchester United square up again this weekend. From 1997-2005, the pair were undoubtedly the biggest and best two sides in the country, and the sparring between the likes of Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, and Martin Keown and Ruud van Nistelrooy has taken on legendary status. Not to mention Pizzagate and Ryan Giggs’ wonderful solo winner that helped United win the treble in 1999.

With both clubs in relative flux these days, some of the quality might be lacking, but the ferocity certainly won’t be. To celebrate the occasion, we look back at six of their more memorable clashes in recent memory.

Arsenal 1 – 0 Manchester United – 30th Sept 2000

After notching up an impressive 26 goals in his first season, Thierry Henry cemented his place in the hearts of …

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Arsenal v Manchester United Preview

Arsenal v Manchester United

Wounded Arsenal and Manchester United to play out tight contest

At the turn of the millennium, English football was ruled by the rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United. It’s a somewhat different story this weekend, as the pair contest a match as respective sixth and seventh-placed teams in the Premier League. 

Arsenal were the first to drop off, suffering a nine year trophy drought from 2005 to last season’s FA Cup win, but the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson saw United fall even further last season, failing to qualify for any European competition.

The jury is presently out on both clubs’ managers. Some suspect Arsenal may be better off if they finally relieve Arsene Wenger of his duties, while others aren’t convinced that Louis van Gaal’s cavalier transfer attitudes have seen much progression. This match provides a precious opportunity for one of the pair to silence their doubters.

Arsenal have the home …

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F1 2014 Final Race – Betting Preview

F1 Final Race Preview

F1 2014 Final Race – Betting Preview

A fair selection of Formula One’s greatest seasons have been decided in the final race, and this year’s closing Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi comes with the unprecedented promise of double points – likely to be scrapped next year according to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Six races ago, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton would have bitten your hand off at the offer of double points, lagging behind teammate Nico Rosberg in the Driver’s Championship at the time. Now that the date’s upon us, you suspect the Brit would prefer a more traditional allocation, having carved out a 17 point lead going into the weekend and now looking over his shoulder at the prospect of Rosberg leapfrogging him at the last.

Hamilton is Sporting Index’s favourite in the 60 Championship index, with a spread of 55.5-56.5, but it’s a risky buy – finishing runner-up makes …

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Spain v Germany Preview

Spain v Germany

Spain favourites to edge out Germany in experimental encounter

The two most recent World Cup winners square up tonight, as Vigo plays host to a friendly between Spain and Germany. The Spanish domination of world football seemed to be up after their dismal performance in Brazil, but Germany haven’t exactly sparkled since lifting the famous trophy, so game provides an opportunity of sorts for one of these nations to restate their credentials.

Spain succumbed to shock 2-1 defeat away to Slovakia last month, but rallied to win their next two qualifiers against Luxembourg and Belarus without conceding. Meanwhile, the Germans lost their first ever game to neighbouring rivals Poland, drew with Republic of Ireland and beat Gibraltar by what is not considered to be a convincing enough margin of 4-0.

Vicente Del Bosque is looking to reinvent his side following the retirements of Xabi Alonso, David Villa and, most significantly, …

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Scotland v England Preview

EnglandvScotland

Clash between Auld Enemy likely to be a damp squib

While optimism around the England team is at its lowest level for many years, the opposite is true north of the border. Scotland’s 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland on Friday night kept alive the country’s hopes of reaching a first major tournament since 1998 and a first European Championship since 1996.

At Wembley on Saturday evening, Wayne Rooney marked his 100th cap with his 44th international goal in the Three Lions’ 3-1 win over Slovenia, which maintained their 100% record in Euro 2016 qualifying. But it was once against a poor England display against limited rivals.

Tomorrow fixture between Scotland and England – the oldest rivalry in world football – may be a friendly, but in the frenetic atmosphere of Celtic Park, it will be anything but. This will be the 112th meeting between the sides …

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ATP World Tour Finals preview

ATP World Tour Finals preview

ATP World Tour Finals preview

Andy Murray’s three titles in six weeks in the lead-up to the ATP World Tour Finals in London was one of the big tennis stories of the last few months, but it’s been well and truly overshadowed by the renaissance of Roger Federer, the sporting great who could still finish the year as world number one.

The Swiss maestro dismantled Murray 6-0 6-1 in under an hour last night. It was the first time in four years Murray had lost a set without winning a game. Federer won 100% of points on his first serve and he gave notice once more that he is certainly not finished yet.

Novak Djokovic is in rampant form in this end-of-season showpiece too. The Serbian has dropped just five games in his first two round-robin games against Stanislas Wawrinka and Marin Cilic – both Grand Slam winners this season.…

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