Get Active With a Holiday in Palma De Mallorca

A holiday in Palma de Mallorca will offer holidaymakers sun, sea and sand in multitudes. However, there is a fourth that is sure to delight holidaymakers. Sports.

With a rich sporting background, tourists to the city – the largest in Mallorca and the capital of the Balearic Islands – will find plenty of activities to take part in.

And with the sun on their backs, visitors may be inclined to take advantage of the good weather and indulge in some tennis. Hosting a number of tennis academies, Palma de Mallorca could be an ideal destination for those looking to perfect their smash and volley and perhaps follow in the footsteps of tennis pro Rafael Nadal, who was born on the island.

Of course, the city’s waterfront location also means there are a multitude of watersports to take part in, including swimming, snorkelling, diving and sailing.

Meanwhile, those looking to take a more passive approach to sport may want to head to the city’s Can Valero district. Home to the ONO Estadi stadium, visitors will be able to watch La Liga side Real Mallorca in action against teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Whatever athletic pursuit their day has been taken up by, tourists may wish to head back to their villas in Mallorca to have a quick bath or shower, change clothes and head back out into the city for something to eat. And with the fare on hand ranging from traditional tapas to Indian cuisine, there is certain to be something to tickle everyone’s tastebuds.

When walking back to their accommodation – which may include the city’s numerous villas – tourists looking to burn off some calories may wish to take in some of the local attractions, with the old Arab Baths and Almudaina Palace among the numerous monuments and sites of historical significance in Mallorca.

And with so much to see and do, why not make Palma de Mallorca your next Mallorcan holiday destination?

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Newcastle United v. Manchester United | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 10/6/19 | NBC Sports



Nineteen-year-old Newcastle native Matty Longstaff scored the winning goal for his boyhood club in his Premier League debut as the Magpies secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Manchester United. #NBCSports #PremierLeague #Newcastle #ManUnited #MattyLongstaff
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Your Dance Sucks

If you play soccer or you are a fan of the sport, you will understand the joy that comes when the ball is in the net. Some of the scorers skid on their knees over the field while others break into a dance as a way of celebration.

Dancing is my preference when I score. My dancing style is to sway, and wiggle my trunk and elbows. Since you can only dance if you score, I try so hard to score. I might get three goals on a good day, and that is three opportunities every Saturday to show my celebration dance.

Don't stop to wonder why a man at age fifty-six would waste away his life and risk bodily injuries playing soccer. There is no way I can explain it; just know that I do, every Saturday morning, and if my knees permit (because it is the knees that are the problem) I intend to continue for the foreseeable future.

On this particular Saturday morning, the game did come to an end, but as usual too fast for my liking. I took possession of my sweater which I had left on a side table and began to walk among the other sweat-soaked players towards the exit sign of the indoor soccer arena.

Upfront, Alex and Pedro were sitting down on the Astroturf, taking off their soccer boots, stuffing them into duffel bags and putting their heads, their arms in their street clothes.

'You saw my four goals today and my dance?' I shouted as I approached them.

'Yes, we did! How many goals did you score last year? ' Alex responded.

'We lost count of the number of goals you scored,' added Pedro.

'You are a really scoring machine,' said Alex, 'but the problem is that you don't play defense, and that is why other players don't like you. Mix up your game, play defense sometimes. '

'You know,' I began to say, 'as long as my mother loves me, I don't care who hates ——-' a sentence which was interrupted by, 'Your celebration dance sucks.' I turned, and it was Mike speaking.

Mike is a short thirty-something; he could be younger or older, but estimating the age of a short man is like reading the oracle. In any case, Mike is one of those short-statured men who for some reason think that in order to mask their lack of height their voice must tear down walls; their shoulders are in constant elevation, and their entire muscle system humped and knotted.

Anyway, Mike had walked by, and on his way out of the soccer arena, very near the exit door, he decided to turn back. With a smirk on his face and two cold, unmoving eyes he said, 'You know what? Your goal celebration dance sucks. '

Silence came upon Pedro, Alex and me. Holy crap! How does one begin to respond? Is this an insult or banter? Some people, like my brother Vince, have the gift of quickly decoding this vital difference in a comment, but I don't. Vince reacts like a viper when he decides who to bite back or who to spare.

Though Mike and I have played pick-up soccer together for a couple of years, our contacts have been largely limited to when I chip a little on his ankles or pry the ball out from between his feet. On many occasions he has briefly stood, glaring in my face, both eyes in full beam; but in the end has backed down, with an understanding that what I have done is within the limits of a clean game.

What kind of response would 'Your celebration dance sucks,' deserve? Similar cynical comments are plentiful everywhere. It could have been an uncle or an aunt saying your soccer shoes suck, your ideas suck, your degrees sucks, your wealth sucks, your hair sucks, or your stories suck.

On a plain, tit-for-tat level, the comment deserves a 'Shut up, you short idiot' response. But it happened that on that day, in that moment, I was not at a shallow level of mind. I happened to be at a deeper level, which prompted me to brood over the comment. 'Where is this fellow coming from?'

Is his comment, the longest sentence he has said to me in two years, an overture for a better relationship in the future? If it is, then hurling an insult at him would destroy such a budding intent.

But what if his comment is an outright decision to ridicule me, a way to project an imaginary dominance of a diminutive physique? Then a kindhearted 'turn the other cheek' response could actually embolden him further. Did he need to be confronted, an eye for an eye, while we wait for Judgment Day?

Throwing one insulting word to counter another insulting word is easy; what is hard is to tell what is in the heart of the men and women who throw insulting words around, and whether, as my seventeen-year-old son said, they deserve a compassionate response.

Some highly emotional people have reacted forcefully to mere banter, only to recognize their folly shortly afterwards. They apologize profusely, but the harm has been done; they have let their guard down, exposing the childishness lurking inside every adult man.

Misinterpretation of a comment is a common mistake many people make. My late uncle Ralph, though everybody in the village said he was a kind man with a good heart, prospered on benign mockery, and was always on the edge between praise and criticism; he lived to be one hundred and four years old.

Without a doubt, the world unfortunately is filled with people who are out to destroy others with venomous words. How do you recognize those people so that you can respond adequately, because if you don't they will walk all over you all the time?

If you are the recipient of a negative comment, asking for clarification may help gain insight into the heart of a detractor. However, enemies always muddy up their original intent during clarification.

While negative comments spur some men into creative energy, they may devastate a child, a young adult and even adults who lack confidence or self-awareness.

But that very Saturday I was immaculate in my mood and would not allow anybody to steal my joy. After a thoughtful, brief moment, and with a broad smile, I looked Mike in the face and answered, 'I will come up with a new and a better dance next week.' A response which soothed his disturbed little soul.

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Interesting Facts About Soccer Cleats

Soccer is a sport that has been growing in popularity around the world for hundreds of years. It is the favorite sport in most European countries, and is continuing to gain popularity in America. People young and old around the globe enjoy the game of soccer. One of the most important aspects of the game of soccer is the soccer cleat! Cleats help to give athletes enhanced turning and running capabilities on the field.

Shoes for soccer are generally referred to as either soccer cleats or football cleats. The first ones were supposedly designed for and worn by King Henry VIII in 1525. The king asked his personal shoemaker to make him a pair of shoes that were more durable for normal shoes for playing football. Modern day soccer cleats have come a long way from their initial design. Today, they are specially designed to help athletes perform to the very best of their ability.

One of the most important things that soccer cleats do for soccer players is to provide traction. The cleats help to grip the ground, allowing players to change direction quickly and without getting injured. Especially on wet, slippery grass, changing direction quickly is extremely difficult when you do not have shoes that can grip the ground well. Before cleats were manufactured world-wide, some players used to attach pieces of leather to the bottom of their shoes to help them gain better traction. The small leather studs have since developed into the modern day cleats that we know today.

High end soccer cleats such as the Mercurial Vapor VI FG cleat are usually priced well over $200. However, with the right amount of luck, you can find high-end soccer cleats online for a discount. Shopping for cleats online can provide huge savings. Additionally, soccer cleats, like many shoes, run almost identically in sizes across different brands. This makes buying cleats online an easy process!

Now, soccer cleats are available in a whole assortment of types and designs. Lightweight leather generally makes up modern soccer cleats. Without these special shoes, the sport of soccer would not be as fast paced and exciting as we know it to be today. Cleats are one of the most important aspects of any soccer player’s game. When you hit the field for a game of soccer, make sure you are wearing a great pair of soccer cleats! Your feet and your teammates will thank you.

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The Features and Advantages of Indoor Soccer Shoes

If you play soccer indoor with tennis shoes on, you may have a common problem: you may not have control over the playing ball. What is the reason? Actually, the problem is that they are not meant for indoor games. Actually, indoor soccer shoes look like those used for the tennis game. However, the difference is that they come with harder soles giving you more control when you are on the playing field. Let’s know some features and advantages of these indoor soccer shoes.

Features

There are various manufacturers. These products feature a suede supper, kangaroo leather and a flat outside made of gum rubber. Moreover, the heel is connected to the strong upper. Aside from this, the tread pattern features a herringbone pattern or interlocking triangles for traction. The bottom of the metatarsal has a rotating disk.

Identification

The top brands of the product include Adidas, Puma, and Nike, just to name a few. Most of them come in black; however, you can also find some that are hot lime, bright silver, white, cherry and so on.

Aside from this, the weight can be between 9 ounces and 12 ounces. The indoor ones feature a shield pane. This is to give a quilted surface in order to add spin during the game play. The laces are exposed. They are either asymmetrical or centered or they can be hidden in the middle just below the extended tongue.

Function

You should be able to run forward with them on. For these movements, they offer a tread pattern that is different from that of regular running shoes. The fact of the matter is that they are designed in a way that they let you play indoors or on a turf indoor field.

The reason is that they don’t provide as much cushioning. For additional comfort, you can go for gel heels or shoe inserts.

Benefits

Actually, the greatest benefit of indoor soccer shoes is that they give you a lot better control over the ball. As a result, you can do sprints and cuts more easily. The rubber sole won’t leave any mark on the indoor surfaces since it complies with the rules and regulations of indoor soccer facility.

On the other hand, the metal or plastic cleats may cause a significant damage to the turf. Actually, the indoor surfaces are made of pile fibers and rubber granules.

Types

Manufacturers tweak indoor soccer shoes so that they can meet the preferences of the customers. For instance, Nike5 Elastico features a green or bright blue pattern. On the other hand, the Puma PowerCat features a powerful external heel counter. This is an additional layer of quality material that offers support.

So, this was a brief introduction to the features and advantages of indoor soccer shoes. If you have been looking to buy a pair, we recommend that you review the features and benefits that we have listed in this article. Hope this will help.

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'Gobble Up' Kale Book by Super-Food Author Stephanie Pedersen This Thanksgiving

Forget the latkes! This Thanksgiving, surprise family and friends with a fresh take on a holiday standard. Stephanie Pederson's go-to recipe for Potato Kale Cakes highlights this review of the book.

Stephanie Pedersen's book "KALE: The World's Most Powerful Super Food," published by Sterling Press is dedicated to the super food. Pederson is a mom to three growing boys, a nutritionist, coach, media personality and speaker.

After reading the book and trying the recipes, it's clear that Potato Kale Cakes are one of many recipes in Pedersen's book destined to it past discerning palettes to be gobbled up along with the turkey at any family gathering.

In the book, the reader learns that super-foods like kale have a tremendous value because they are packed with the nutrients and antioxidants needed to balance a carb-filled feast.

To introduce the cakes as a new food to picky eaters, cooks may simply place a plate of these on the kitchen table and let the food do the talking!

For those who wish to try potato kale cakes, Pedersen's favorite recipe is below: below:

Sauce (optional)

C cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (use more if you can take the heat), Salt, to taste, Pepper, to taste.

Potato cake

1 p pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes, c cup whole milk, 2 tablespoons (st stick) unsalted butter, Salt, to taste, 3 t tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, 1 cup onion, minced, 1 large garlic clove, minced, p pound kale, deribbed, coarsely chopped, Optional: te teaspoon lemon zest.

Directions: Sauce

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.

Directions: Potato cake

1. Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; return potatoes to same saucepan.

2. Add milk and butter. Mash potatoes until smooth. Season with te teaspoon coarse salt and te teaspoon pepper.

3. Transfer 3 cups mashed potatoes to large bowl and cool (reserve remaining potatoes for another use).

4. Heat 1 t tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes.

5. Increase heat to medium-high. Add kale and cook until kale softens, about 7 minutes.

6. Add kale mixture, te teaspoon salt, and te teaspoon pepper to potatoes and thoroughly combine. Allow to sit for 45 minutes or more until mixture is thoroughly cool.

7. When the potato-kale mixture is cool, shape it by patting–cup portions into patties about–inch thick. Keep shaping until all potato-kale mixture has been formed into patties.

8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook, without moving (you want a crust to form!), Until they are brown and crispy on bottom, about 4 minutes.

9. Carefully turn cakes over. Cook until brown on bottom, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to plates. Top each cake with dollop of optional sauce, salsa, or other condiment.

Some Pearls Shine in the Shallow Waters of Qatar’s Sea of Culture

Qatar is gaining ground in the Gulf Countries’ race to become the ultimate cultural destination.

Doha is not a usual cultural destination; the only reasons why people get to visit Doha are pretty much just business or layovers between flights to more exotic destinations, even though curiosity must be growing due to all the fuss around the apparently mysterious winning of the 2022 Soccer World Cup bid.

Together with all other Gulf Countries Doha is taking part in the race to attain cultural credibility. Abu Dhabi, for example, is gaining ground with its magnificent museum projects (including a Solomon Guggenheim and even a branch of the Louvre), but Doha is moving very fast and with a precise strategy.

In the quest for popularity, Doha decided to walk the different path of preserving and enriching its very own culture by fostering Arabic art, which means showing the world that Arabic culture and art is not a world apart, but that it has always been melded with both western and far eastern cultures.

With this objective in mind, this old pearl fishing village got itself two absolute pearls in the Museum of Islamic Art and the Mathaf, but even more are on the way.

Before diving in to the discovery of Arabic arts, you may want to stop first at the Islamic Cultural Center, to get a glimpse of what Islamic culture is about.

The Babel tower shaped building is home to a cultural center which aims to introduce people to Islamic culture. On walking in you will be approached by a friendly officer who will offer you tea and will give you some booklets (in your own language) about Islam and Arabic culture. You then enter the main downstairs room and take a look at the wide graphic on the walls displaying the interaction of Arabic world history with the rest of the world, and the interaction of Islam religion with other faiths. If you spend some minutes reading the short descriptions of Islamic customs and behavior you will be pretty well ready to enjoy the rest of your visit to Doha with a deeper awareness.

The Museum of Islamic Art alone is worth the visit to Doha. Designed by I. M. Pei, the legendary Louvre Pyramid architect, the building looks like a combination of superimposed geometric shapes, culminating in a parallelepiped that almost reminds you of a Qatari woman’s face, traditionally covered by the hijab but revealing her eyes, and protecting the city with her gaze.

When you will walk in, you will be attracted to the wide windows looking over the water with the West Bay skyline in the background. While sitting and having a coffee and enjoying the view, just look around you and discover, glimpse by glimpse, the many aspects of the gravity – challenging architecture.

The collections feature a selection of masterpieces from the 10th century to the present age, organized in a precise journey through the discovery of Islamic art, but the museum also hosts an average of two big exhibitions a year featuring western masters’ masterpieces.

The Mathaf (Arab Museum of Modern Art) is the real surprise. Created to exhibit to the public the extensive H.E. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani’s (The Emir of Qatar) art collection, it opened its doors on the 30th December 2010.

Practical note: if you are new in town you’d better get clear directions to reach it, as the taxi drivers won’t be of any help and you’ll need to reach the edge of the city.

The museum is located in a white anonymous building; you will probably be the only visitor, and in the beginning you will think there is not much more than the theatrical «Animals’ arch» installations in front of the building.

However, when you wander around the many rooms, you will realize how huge and valuable H. E. the Emir’s collection is. So huge that it can’t be displayed all together at the same time, it must be organized in themed temporary exhibitions, providing extensive descriptions to enhance the visitors’ enjoyment of these works of art. You will discover that most modern Arab artists have trained themselves by looking at western art, and you will easily recognize here and there some Miro and Picasso influences, or an Impressionist’s flare. You won’t be surprised when reading the labels that most of the artists have died or are currently living in a western country.

Qatar’s ambition to become a cultural destination is not yet satisfied, and it will reach its climax with the New National Museum project, designed by no less than Jean Nouvel (Torre Agbar, Barcelona). The building will feature the petal-like shapes of the desert rose stone formations found under the desert sand, acknowledging the desert Bedouin cultures of Qatar. It’s meant to become the most iconic building in Doha, and the first thing tourists will spot when landing at the airport. But that is still in the future, we’ll talk about it in a few years time.

A World Cup Experience

Every four years the world stops to watch one game loved by all, the FIFA World Cup. Started as a tradition in 1930 pitting the best football clubs in the world against one another, the World Cup has grown to be the most watched sporting event in the world. Billions of people gather around their television sets to watch their favorite team compete for the most coveted trophy in sport, the Jules Rimet Cup. This event attracts millions of visitors to the host city, providing a great opportunity to showcase the local flavor and culture of that particular city.

Originally alternating between Europe and the America’s, FIFA World Cup host cities were expanded to Korea and Japan as co-host cities in 2002. This year’s Cup is being held in South Africa, making it the first World Cup to be held on African soil. The Cup kicks off on June 11 and continues until July 11 when a champion is crowned. Being a host city is a very prestigious accolade to add to a cities history, much like being an Olympic host city. Each host city expects an average of 3 million people to visit their city to watch up to 64 matches.

The chosen city announced about 8 years prior to the matches, which allows time to prepare for the matches as well as the visitors that come with the World Cup. They are given the opportunity to show off unique culture and everything the city has to offer. Preparations include opening of new hotels, restaurants, and stadiums as well as other cultural mainstays designed to keep millions of fans entertained when they are not rooting their home country on. Attending a match is an experience unlike no other as the best of the city’s culture and flavor is brought out during the month long event and is sure to be an experience to last a life time.

Denis Law Was the King of Stretford End

The great Denis Law was born in Aberdeen on the 24th February 1940 and he began his soccer career as a wee boy playing for Aberdeen Lads Club. When Law left the Granite City to join the once great Huddersfield Town, he was only 15 years old and and it did not take him long to make his debt debut for his native Scotland against Wales in 1958.

The legendary Sir Matt Busby reputedly wanted the promising Denis Law to play for Manchester United but was turned down by the Terriers. Bill Shankly, who was the manager at Huddersfield Town at the time, then tried to take Law with him to Liverpool. However, the Liverpudlians didn't have the money to take the prolific marksman out of Yorkshire. Instead, the vastly talented Leeds Road youngster went to Manchester City when the Maine Road club paid a then British record transfer fee of £ 55,000 for him in March 1960. After a rather disappointing spell with famous Italian club Turin, he returned to Lancashire finally signing up for Busby's Manchester United in 1962. Denis Law opened the 1963-64 season on a bright note and was deservedly picked out to play for a Rest of the World side against England at Wembley. As a Manchester United player, the Scottish international won every major domestic honor, despite injury kept him out of the European Cup Final against Benfica at Wembley in 1968.

Denis Law returned to his old club Manchester City in 1973, and retired from football in 1974 after playing his last match in the World Cup in West Germany. During his 585 matches for his clubs, he managed to score a massive 300 goals. He also scored a total of 30 goals for Scotland in 55 matches. In 1964, Law was voted European Footballer of the Year as the only Scotsman to this day. Always in the best of spirits, Denis Law was no doubt one of the greatest entertainers ever watched on the British soccer scene. He was not only a Danny Kaye look alike, he also closely resembled the American comedian when performing some of his antics on and off the football pitch.

Football Betting – End-of-Season Games

Everyone loves a trier, especially when it comes to putting down your readies. There’s nothing more galling for punters than to realise that your selection was ‘not off’ and that you’ve not even had a fair run for your money.

Blanket television coverage and the greater transparency of the betting exchanges have raised awareness of the ‘non-trier’ issue in horse racing, but football punters need to be on their guard too. It’s clear that all is not well in the world of football, judging by the recent match-fixing scandal in Germany involving referee Robert Hoyzer, ongoing investigations into some Italian results and irregular betting patterns on obscure European and international matches.

Thankfully, the consistency of results in the bigger leagues (and especially in England) indicates that there is no reason for lack of punter confidence. The main problem – as in horse racing – lies around the margins, in those matches (or races) not subject to the full glare of the media spotlight and where skulduggery is less likely to arouse suspicion.

All very trying

However, my research suggests the ‘non-trier’ issue does rear its ugly head towards the end of the season, even in the major leagues. Most leagues are competitive enough to ensure they go right to the wire in the battles for championships, places in Europe and safety from relegation.

But, inevitably, some teams have nothing left to play for in the final weeks of the season, which is where problems can arise.

The last few weekends of a league season feature three types of match:

1. Matches between two teams with nothing to play for.

2. Matches between two teams with something to play for.

3. Matches between one team with something to play for and one team with nothing to play for.

Out of focus

The commitment of either team cannot be taken for granted in the first category, so the most sensible betting strategy towards the end of the season is to focus on categories two and three.

Matches in the second category should be assessed using your usual techniques. (Anybody who doesn’t know needs to read our football betting articles on inside-edge-mag.co.uk – Ed), but the best betting opportunities often lie in category three, where there’s always the potential for a ‘non-trier’.

This isn’t to suggest that anything underhand takes place in these games, merely that a slight drop in focus by one team can make all the difference in a competitive league such as the English Premiership.

There may be many reasons for this drop in focus – including the widely held view that some players are ‘on their holidays’ before the end of the season. It’s equally likely that, given the demands of modern football, a player who has been carrying an injury will be rested once his team has nothing left to play for, or that there may be some easing off in training sessions. Whatever the reasons, our results at the bottom of this article show a team with something to play for is more likely to win a match against a team with nothing to play for.

Across the top three English divisions and the major European leagues that we analysed (Spanish Liga, German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1), these matches usually produce a win rate of 50-60% for the team with something to play for, and a win rate of 20-30% for the team with nothing to play for. The stats vary a bit from year to year and league to league, but overall are pretty consistent.

It’s a bone of some contention that such figures offer conclusive proof of the non-trier effect, but there’s one crucial piece of supporting evidence that swings the issue for me. If there was no link between the results and one team’s urgent need for points in such matches, we’d expect a higher win rate among higher-placed teams than those struggling near the bottom, since that’s what has been happening during the rest of the season. In fact, the win rate of teams battling to avoid relegation is abnormally high in such matches at the end of the season – virtually on a par with the win rate achieved by teams at the top of the table who are chasing titles, places in Europe or play-off slots.

Fight for survival

For example, the last five seasons of the English Premiership have produced a win rate of 55% for teams with something to play for. That figure does not vary, no matter whether the team is in the top six or the bottom six.

It’s a similar story in other leagues, though the win rate of relegation-threatened teams in such matches does tend to be slightly lower overall than that achieved by teams near the top of the table.

So, do these stats alone offer a good betting opportunity? The simple answer is no, but there are some refining touches that can put these figures to good advantage.

Let’s look at the overall picture first. A 55% win rate would give a tidy profit margin if the average odds available were evens, but that’s unlikely to be the case in matches where one team has something to play for and the other team doesn’t.

Taking the games that fell into this category last season in our featured leagues, a level-stakes bet on all the teams with something to play for would have brought a small loss. This was due, in part, to last season’s lower-than-average win rate by these teams, but a more significant factor is the reduced odds that punters are asked to accept on such teams.

How to beat the odds

The bookmakers generally factor in the ‘nothing to play for’ syndrome when pricing up end-of-season matches, though a few do slip through the net. If you’re good at making your own book on matches, you can spot these matches – otherwise, you will find it difficult to make a profit backing blind on the teams with something to play for.

The counter argument, of course, is that the value lies in backing against these sides, given that teams with nothing to play for will be available at artificially inflated odds in such matches. This doesn’t hold water, though, due to the lower win rate of these teams. The problem for punters, as outlined earlier, is to know whether these teams will be trying hard enough – the evidence suggests that, on the whole, they won’t be.

How, then, can we beat the odds? Well, a little more delving into the statistics puts more flesh on the general assumptions often made about end-of-season matches.

Starting at the top, the late-season records of league champions are very revealing. There’s clear evidence that, once a title has been secured arithmetically, there’s a widespread tendency for champions to take their foot off the gas. Last season, for instance, the Spanish and German champions were confirmed with two games to play – Valencia and Werder Bremen, the respective winners, then promptly lost their last two games.

This is far from an isolated example. In 2001, Manchester United lost their last three games, having run away with the title, though it has to be said that they had finished with four straight wins when in the same position the previous season.

Overall, however, the record of already-crowned champions suggests they’re prone to easing up once the race is won. In the leagues analysed here, the win rate of champions over the course of the season usually exceeds 60%.

Once the title has been secured, however, this dropped to an average of 57% over the past five seasons. And the fall is even more dramatic in games where they face a team with something to play for – their win rate then averages just 45%.

A ton of profit

In general, then, it’s worth opposing already-crowned champions. Last season, in the leagues featured here, this approach would have yielded a 24% profit to level stakes. If you had concentrated only on games where the opposing team still had something to play for, the strike rate in opposing the champions would have been 100% and the profit a whopping 125% to level stakes.

The only caveat is to be wary of any factor that may cause the champions to keep the pressure on – one example is Arsenal last season, when they were Premiership champions with four games to go but were keen to maintain their unbeaten record. They did so, but with only a 50% win rate in their last four games (two wins, two draws).

Another factor might be when a lower-division side is chasing a landmark such as 100 points – that was the case with Wigan Athletic in the old Division Two in 2003, when they reached three figures with two wins and a draw, even though they were already champions.

Knowing that champions ease off once they’ve nothing to play for, it’s easy to assume already-relegated sides must be even more prone to this. Again, the reality is more complicated.

Bottoming out

Overall, in the leagues analysed here, relegated teams have a 23% win rate once they’re mathematically doomed – pretty close to the average expected from relegation-zone teams over the course of the season. In other words, they don’t fall apart once all hope is gone.

In fact, relegated teams actually have a surprisingly good home record in the final weeks of the season. On average, they manage a fairly even split of wins, draws and losses at home and in none of the leagues does their number of home defeats outweigh the combined number of wins and draws – making relegated teams always worth a look on the Asian handicap at home, as they’ll rarely, if ever, be giving up a start to their opponents.

Where they perform very badly is away from home. Even more markedly, they’re usually lambs to the slaughter (home or away) versus teams still with something to play for. Their loss rate in such matches is 70% and, in the past five seasons, no relegated team recorded a single win in this type of fixture in the top leagues in France, England and Germany.

That 70% loss rate is equivalent to the odds on their opponents being around the 2/5 or 4/9 mark. The bookies are stingy about such teams, though you could still have made a profit last season backing against the relegated teams in such matches. With extra selectivity about the odds you’re prepared to take (no less than 1/2, say), the potential exists to make money on these games.

Middle-of-the-table teams is an area to tread warily. While the stats show punters generally can rely on sides scrapping for top places or battling against relegation, this isn’t the case with teams marooned in mid-table for the last few games of the season, with no incentive to move up and no fear of dropping down a few places.

The final word

In the leagues analysed here, the win rate of mid-table teams in their final games doesn’t appear too bad, averaging 33%, which is broadly in line with their overall seasonal record.

The picture isn’t so rosy, however, when the figures are narrowed down to games against teams with something still to play for. The win rate of safe mid-table teams dips to 26% and their loss rate goes up to 49% (from 41% overall).

In the end, end-of-season betting all comes down to the odds available. Pricing up these games is a difficult process, and it’s impossible to come up with hard-and-fast rules about when to bet or what odds to accept. An appreciation of the underlying stats is important, however, because end-of-season games aren’t governed by the normal rules of form and are a law unto themselves in many instances. The one golden rule is: be sure you know your selection will be trying.

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Dennis Publishing

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