Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
The sporting world really ramps up in April as we cast our eyes to a number of huge events across the world.
When it comes to football, the Champions League quarter-finals and FA Cup semi-finals take the limelight but there’s plenty more on offer. The Premier League title race heats up as Liverpool visit Manchester City, while the first of two Old Firm Derbies takes place this Sunday and there’s a Copa del Rey final to look forward to towards the end of April.
There’s plenty to sink our teeth into outside of the footballing world, too. Golf fans can look forward to the first Major of the year with The Masters starting next week, which is followed swiftly by the Grand National next Saturday. Those who like even faster racing than the Grand National can tune in to the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday before calming it down with the beginning of the Snooker World Championships, before the hype hits fever point again for Tyson Fury’s bout with Dillian Whyte on the 23rd April.
Before we dive into April, let’s take a look at some of our winners from March:
- Colby Covington to win by decision vs Jorge Masvidal
- Both teams to score in the Manchester Derby
- Josh Warrington to beat Kiko Martinez
FST’s Month in Football accumulator
Old Firm Derby – Sunday, 3rd April
Best bet – Celtic to win
Just three points separates these arch-rivals at the top of the Scottish Premiership and a Celtic win, which would take them six points clear, would be a huge boost to their chances of reclaiming the trophy.
Rangers have a Europe League trip to Portugal coming up next week and their league form does seem to be suffering a bit with the added commitments. They have dropped points in four of their last nine Premiership games and one of those was a dismal 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Celtic. The Hoops are already out of Europe but have won 11 of their last 12 league ties and haven’t lost a league away game since September.
Champions League quarter finals – Tuesday, 5th April
Best bet – Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich & Liverpool to qualify
The Champions League is down to the final eight and both quarter-finals legs are set to be played this month.
Real Madrid are my pick for their tie with holders Chelsea. The Blues have off-field issues to contend with and last season was the first time they had made it past the quarter-final stage since 2013/14. Real Madrid are nine points clear at the top of La Liga and can put all their concentration into the Champions League, while Karim Benzema is in the form of his life right now.
Atletico Madrid could cause an upset against perennial favourites Manchester City, too. Pep Guardiola’s side may have reached the final last season but prior to that they were eliminated at this stage three seasons in a row, while Atletico Madrid have won five of their last six two-legged ties against English opposition.
Bayern Munich aren’t expected to slip up, though. The Bavarians have made it to the semi-finals in seven of the last ten seasons and have won 26 of their last 29 Champions League games, while Villarreal have only made it past the quarters once in their history.
Liverpool perhaps got the easiest draw in the final eight and failure to progress would be a huge shock. This is Benfica’s first Champions League quarter-final in a decade and they haven’t made the semis since 1990, while Liverpool have won 13 of their last 15 competitive games.
FA Cup semi-finals – Saturday, 16th & Sunday, 17th April
Best bet – Manchester City & Chelsea to qualify
Saturday, 16th April is when Liverpool’s dream of a quadruple could come to an end. They haven’t reached the FA Cup final since 2012 and the new money of Manchester City have enjoyed a summer visit to Wembley twice since then, winning the 2019 trip. Pep Guardiola’s side have an excellent record in domestic cups and, with both teams still battling on three fronts, the incredible squad depth of the Manchester club could play a big role in what is likely to be their lowest-priority competition.
Chelsea are impossible to ignore in their clash with Crystal Palace. The Blues have been in four of the last five FA Cup finals and, while Palace did reach one in 2015/16, that was their first since 1990. The Eagles are much-improved under Patrick Vieira this term, but they face a Chelsea side that have emerged victorious in 22 of their last 25 FA Cup ties.
Copa del Rey final – Saturday, 23rd April
Best bet – Valencia to lift the trophy
It’s not the Copa del Rey final we expected to see, but Valencia have the historic edge in this competition and they are hitting form at just the right time. Los Che won the trophy as recently as 2019 and only four teams have played in more Copa del Rey finals than their 17.
Real Betis have played in just four and the most recent of these came in 2005 when they beat Osasuna and, while they do sit ten points ahead of Valencia in La Liga, they have suffered a downturn in form lately. Los Verdiblancos have won just one of their last eight in all competitions, while Valencia enter April unbeaten in five and with four wins to their name in this run.
FST’s Month in Sport accumulator
Golf – The Masters – Thursday, 7th April
Best bet – Jon Rahm to win
Jon Rahm has served his Augusta apprenticeship, with Masters form figures of 27-4-9-7-5, and last year his preparations were badly hampered by becoming a father just before the event.
This time, having taken a long time off at the end of last year, the Spaniard should come out all guns blazing in 2022 and be in peak condition for the Masters.
Keep on top of all our golf predictions and tips here.
Horse Racing – The Grand National – Saturday, 9th April
Best bet – Cloth Cap to win
Cloth Cap looked to be a staying chaser going places when winning the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in 2020, and although things haven’t gone quite as expected since, the ten-year-old is now down from a career-high mark of 156. We know that the trip and jumping test isn’t an issue for the Jonjo O’Neill-trained stayer and he can now be backed at around 33-1.
O’Neill is a past master at getting one ready for the big day and it’s worth remembering that Cloth Cap started last year’s race as the 11-2 favourite.
You can find all our horse racing tips here.
Formula 1 – Australian Grand Prix – Sunday, 10th April
Best bet – Charles Leclerc to win
Max Verstappen is the slight favourite after picking up his first points of the season with his win in Saudi Arabia but the value could lie with likely Championship contender Charles Leclerc in Melbourne.
The straight-line speed of the Red Bull made all the difference in Jeddah but the Ferrari – running a higher downforce setup- looked excellent through the corners and the Albert Park circuit could be favourable for the Italian team’s car.
Leclerc and Verstappen have already made it crystal clear they are the two favourites for the World Drivers Championship and, after two races filled with exciting wheel-to-wheel battles, another straight shootout between the youngsters is expected. With so little to separate them the high-downforce layout of Albert Park could make all the difference and I think the Monegasque driver can edge his rival and take his second win of the season.
We’ll be covering every Grand Prix in this season’s calendar on our Formula 1 tips page.
Snooker – The World Championship – Saturday, 16th April
Best bet – Judd Trump to win
The snooker World Championship is one of the sporting highlights in April and much of the talk in the build-up will rightly revolve around Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson.
When on-song, those four cueman are a cut above the opposition and it would be somewhat of a surprise were one of them not to be crowned champion at the Crucible this year.
Selby is defending champion but has had a difficult season both on and off the baize, while O’Sullivan’s win in 2020 was played behind closed doors and he was a second-round casualty last year.
Despite his success, Robbo has won in Sheffield only once – way back in 2010 – and he has not gone beyond the quarter-final since 2014, which leaves Trump as the leading candidate.
‘Juddernaut’ won his maiden world title in 2019 and he appears to be hitting form at the right time, having reached the final of the Welsh Open and winning the Turkish Masters in March.
Make sure to check back closer to the start for all our Snooker tips.
Boxing – Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte – Saturday, 23rd April
Best bet – Tyson Fury to win via Decision or Technical Decision
Tyson Fury defends his WBC crown against British rival Dillian Whyte later this month as the ‘Bodysnatcher’ finally gets his chance to claim a world title.
Fury heads into the clash with a near-perfect record, with a contentious draw against Deontay Wilder the only blemish on his CV, while Whyte has been beaten twice.
Both of those defeats came via stoppages, but I think he can last the distance against Fury even if he fails to take the title.
Fury has won his last two fights via knockouts, both against Wilder, but I doubt this match-up will have quite the same intensity. The defending champion won’t want to be drawn into a war with Whyte and should be able to use his superior footwork and hand speed to keep his compatriot at range and come through with a win on points.
There is a chance of a late stoppage for Fury, but when Whyte has been stopped it has been by huge shots and the ‘Gypsy King’ doesn’t boast that kind of one-punch power so the 21/10 on a win for Fury to win by decision or technical decision looks the way to go.
We’ll have a full fight preview and undercard acca on our Boxing tips page closer to the bout.
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