AND here are the classified results from next week’s Champions League matches.
Celtic 2 Juventus 1; Real Madrid 3 Manchester United 1; Arsenal 2 Bayern Munich 2; and AC Milan 1 Barcelona 2.
Of course they’re not the final results (although I might have a bet on a couple of those scorelines). But if Europol’s investigations into match-fixing are to be believed there are plenty of fixtures around Europe where predicting the outcome can be a lot easier for some.
Or not as the case may be.
Especially if you are facing a Liverpool attack featuring Fernando Torres – was it a sign of things to come – who managed not to score even against a keeper allegedly hell-bent on letting him and team-mates do just that. Although he denies any wrong-doing.
Liverpool clearly weren’t in on any ‘fix’ to help them win by three or more goals which is said to have been plotted in the Champions League group clash with Hungarians Debrecen in 2009.
And clearly the criminals behind the betting scam probably wish they’d picked someone other than the Hungarian’s Montenegrin keeper Vukasin Poleksic, who was banned for not declaring any approach by the shady figures in the background but denies any collusion.
And that may be backed up by the fact he was only beaten once on the night by Dirk Kuyt.
But it is bad enough as a punter trying to fathom out form, fitness, potential refereeing errors or bad or good luck when you’re betting without the idea of players deliberately throwing a match.
But match-fixing is nothing new and Merseyside has seen plenty of cases directly or indirectly linked to them.
The idea of Liverpool and Manchester United players colluding over the result of a match would send shivers down the collectives spines at each end of the M62.
But back in 1915 the players of both sides met in a pub to conspire to fix the result so Manchester United won 2-0. And Howard Webb wasn’t even born.
We know that because in the match Liverpool were given a penalty, which they missed.
Seven players were eventually banned over the scandal.
In 1962 future England international Tony Kay was involved in the fixing scandal in Sheffield Wednesday’s match with Ipswich. Kay was one of four players banned and sent to jail after they had bet on their side losing, which they did 2-0.
By the time the fix was revealed by the Sunday People in 1965 and he was convicted Kay had moved to Everton.
In Italy match-fixing rears its ugly head on a recurring basis. Usually just before a World Cup. And usually just before Italy make off with the trophy as in 1982 and 2006. All above board those World Cup victories as far I know.
In fact in Italy towards the end of most seasons bookmakers shy away from betting on a draw in some matches when a stalemate suits both parties.
Because when a draw suits both parties in Italy, you can usually predict the final outcome.
But this latest investigation appears to be more widespread with 380 in 15 countries in Europe under scrutiny.
Once it all comes out it will make interesting reading.
But whether it puts off punters from betting on European football is highly unlikely, with millions being wagered year after year. Especially with the Champions League and Europa League set to return with the knock-out stages next midweek.
It is hard to see anything other than a Spanish winner (11/13 Bwin) this year with Barcelona (9-4 Coral) and Real Madrid (5-1 BetVictor) the most likely winners. Although that is the same every year.
In the Europa League it is a bit tougher as you don’t really know who will take it seriously – especially the four English sides. Holders Atletico Madrid at 7-1 (Betfred) make most appeal.