Pakistan v Afghanistan
ODI Cricket – 10.30 am
Pakistan recently took a bit of a drubbing against England in their five-match ODI series. After the first game was washed out, Pakistan lost the other four. That is far from being the ideal preparations for the 2019 World Cup which starts at the end of the month. Pakistan will be looking for a positive therefore as they step out as 3/10 odds-on favourites with leading bookmakers to beat Afghanistan in this World Cup warm-up contest.
Afghanistan too will be lining up at the World Cup. They came through a qualifying tournament to earn their spot. They are one of the big rank outsiders for success at the World Cup, but they will fancy their role as plucky underdogs nonetheless. So this will be a good workout for them against one of the top sides. It will be just the fourth ever ODI contest between themselves and Pakistan.
Pakistan have won those previous three meetings, the most recent of which was in September last year. To their credit, Afghanistan pushed Pakistan in that contest which was in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan collected the win by three wickets, but with only the three balls remaining in the match. Afghanistan warmed up in the weekend with a heavy victory over Ireland and they will be looking for their first win against Pakistan as 5/2 underdogs with top bookmakers.
Amiens v Guingamp
Ligue 1 – 2.45 pm
It is the final weekend of league action in the French top flight. Amiens are playing for their survival. So there is going to be a great deal of pressure on them ahead of this one. At least they have home soil advantage for the fixture, which may boost their chances. Amiens are two points clear of 18th spot in Ligue 1. Whoever finishes in 18th spot will head to a playoff against the team from the second tier who wins the promotion play-off. That will decide who plays in the top flight next season.
So Amiens need a win to guarantee they avoid that playoff. However, they are winless in their last nine league games (D7 L2). A draw would be enough only if Dijon don’t win their final game of the season. If they do, goal difference comes into the picture. The positive for Amiens, who are 4/9 odds-on favourites with leading bookmakers, is that they are undefeated in their last seven games at home.
They are also playing Guingamp who are rock bottom of the league and who are heading to the second tier next term. Like Amiens they are on a long winless streak of form, only managing to go D5 L3 in their last eight. So while an away win doesn’t look likely (Guingamp have won two away games all season) the draw in the match outright may appeal as one of the best bets of the day for punters.
Caen v Bordeaux
Ligue 1 – 8.05 pm
It is a battle for survival then in France on the weekend. As mentioned above, Amiens are playing for their top-flight status. Caen are also in that position. The only way they guarantee absolute survival is by winning and hoping that Amiens lose. Caen could beat Amiens on goal difference if they win and Amiens only draw. But there is another issue for Caen that Amiens don’t have. If they lose this and second-from-bottom Dijon win, that leaves Caen in the automatic relegation spot.
So Caen are in that tricky position of being brave enough to push on for the win to try and secure safety, and being cautious enough not to implode and lose. This is going to be a tense afternoon for them. Caen are the 4/11 odds on favourites as they line up on home soil against Bordeaux who are sat five points ahead of them in the bottom half of the table. They are safe and with nothing to play for.
Bordeaux are in a dreadful run of form at the moment. They are on a six-match losing streak and have lost each to their last three played by a 1-0 scoreline. This has been some crash from them. Bordeaux have failed to score in four of their last six games. Away from home, they are winless in nine now. Could their form be the salvation for Caen? The visits are 9/1 underdogs with leading bookmakers.