Asian Cup Tips | 18th January 2015

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GROUP B of the Asian Cup concludes on Sunday morning. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) continues his value-hunting journey in the competition.

Uzbekistan v Saudi Arabia | Sunday 09.00

Sunday’s Group B matches promise to deliver plenty of excitement with all four teams still in the hunt for a quarter-final berth. But it’s Saudi Arabia’s tussle with Uzbekistan that holds the most appeal from a punting perspective.

The two teams are tied on three points and with China topping the table with a 100% record, only one of the Saudis and Uzbeks can progress. Over 2 Goals has been chalked up at evens with BetVictor and that’s the best place to be.

Saudi Arabia finally showed their attacking potential against North Korea, releasing the shackles and creating an abundance of clear-cut chances. The Green Falcons fully deserved their comfortable 4-1 win and means five of their last eight games have featured three goals or more.

In fact, 13 of their last 15 outings have seen at least two goals and backing Over 2 Goals means we’ll get our cash back if only two goals are netted in Melbourne.

Uzbekistan are yet to come to the boil, have shown a weakness with defensive organisation but should enjoy enough possession to carve out their own opportunities to score, making this the smartest selection for Sunday.

China v North Korea | Saturday 09.00

I’ve been surprised by China. I had them down as qualifying from a tricky group but the way in which they’ve gone about their business suggests they could easily go further than the quarter-finals.

Yes, they really could upset one of those big boys in Group A next. Their tactical transitions, speed and pressing has made them extremely awkward opponents. They rode their luck against Saudi Arabia in the opener but took Uzbekistan to task in the second 45 minutes of their last match and were full value for their win.

The question is, will they go all out for the nine-point haul or will they rest and rotate ahead of the quarter-finals? I’d be surprised if they made drastic changes, after all, major tournaments are all about building momentum and I’m sure Team Dragon won’t want to upset the progress that has been made.

Alain Perrin side are 5/6 (William Hill) to see off North Korea and at those quotes, I’m happy to get involved. They’re unbeaten in 12 and take on a Korean team on the first flight home after Sunday’s game.

I’d never dare to slag off the North Koreans (you never know who’s reading this) and I’ve complete faith in them putting in an effort to avoid the dreaded nil points. But the way in which they collapsed against Saudi Arabia and the fact they were overrun by Uzbekistan for large periods doesn’t fill me with confidence.

If China turn up determined to take top spot, there’s only one winner. So I’m with Team Dragon at 5/6.

Best Bets

Uzbekistan v Saudi Arabia – Over 2 Goals on the Asian Goal Lines (1/1 BetVictor)

China v North Korea – China to win (5/6 William Hill)

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After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production. With a huge passion for stats, the Football League and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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