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Champions League Final and Monaco Grand Prix Top a Magnificent Sporting Weekend

UK Sports Betting Grand PrixThe coming weekend promises to be one of the finest sporting weekends of the year with a number of top events.

Indeed, the fact that it is also the weekend of the Rugby Union Challenge Cup Final, the Sky Bet League Playoffs, and the Heineken Cup Final already make this a weekend to remember.

But add to the mix two giant events of the world sporting calendar, the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and the Champions League Final, and you have a weekend of epic sporting proportions.

Indeed, with so much going on, we could have written a whole host of preview articles this week, but instead we are going to focus on the big two.

First up, let’s take a look at Sunday’s big F1 race in the glamorous surroundings of Monte Carlo.

The F1 Monaco Grand Prix

This weekend sees one of the most prestigious weekends of the F1 calendar when the teams head to the opulent and elegant surroundings of Monte Carlo for the F1 Grand Prix. For several drivers, including last year’s winner Nico Rosberg, this is effectively a home Grand Prix, with many of them living in this wealthy tax haven.

The Monaco Grand Prix holds a special place in the heart of most Formula 1 fans given its prestige and history within the sport. It is the only race in the F1 calendar that does not go the minimum 190 mile distance, chiefly due to its narrow street design and relatively low average speeds, yet despite this, the narrow streets and historic landmarks make this race one of the most challenging and dangerous for drivers.

Ayrton Senna holds the record of wins at Monaco with six  indeed from 1989 to 1993, Senna won the race five times in succession. Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher have both won the race five times.

The 2014 Monaco Grand Prix – our tips

So far, the 2014 season has been dominated by one team: Mercedes.

Nico Rosberg won the opening race of the season for the team and the next four races have seen team mate Lewis Hamilton take the chequered flag with Rosberg finishing second on each occasion. As such, the Mercedes duo have a healthy lead in the drivers championship over their rivals and similarly, in the constructors championship, Mercedes hold a huge lead already over their rivals.

The one thing which all drivers agree on at Monaco, is that establishing yourself in pole position is vital if you are to have any chance of success and with the Mercedes cars running so much quicker than their competitors, it looks likely Rosberg and Hamilton will be fighting it out for first place once again this weekend.

Both drivers have won here; Rosberg won for his current team last year, the first of his two wins of the season in 2013, while Lewis Hamilton won back in 2008, when the Mercedes team provided engines for McLaren. So far ahead are Mercedes, Hamilton and Rosberg right now that they are almost impossible to back.

Hamilton is an odds-on favourite in the race (4/6 with Bet365), while Rosberg is just 13/8 to win. Given his extra pace in qualifying, I’d go for Hamilton to take his fifth win in a row at the weekend. We’re on a real roll with our tips with big wins over the last few weeks, but this bet will only likely offer more modest returns. However, we are hopeful of landing a few bigger winners with our second big event of the weekend.

Our top site for betting on this race is Bet365 – and right now those who join will receive $100 free Bet365 Sports bets just for creating a new account with a premier UK sports betting site.

The Champions League Final: Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid in Lisbon

The Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica will host the 2014 Champions League final. It will be the second time (the first time since 1967) that Lisbon has hosted the final and what an enthralling game is in prospect. For the first time ever, two teams from the same city will contest the final in a derby contest.

Newly-crowned champions of La Liga, Atletico Madrid, will take on city rivals Real Madrid in a game which both sides will be desperate to win. Of the two finalists, Real certainly have the European Champions League Pedigree.

The nine time winners of the event will hope to rescue their season under Carlo Ancelotti by lifting their tenth Champions League title, although this would be their first since 2002. In contrast, Atletico Madrid have only ever reached one other final.

In 1974, when an extra time goal from Luis Aragones looked to have handed them the title, only for Bayern Munich to snatch an injury time in extra time leveller through Schwarzenbeck. With no penalties used to decide the winner back in those days, a replay was played two days later, with Bayern running out 4-0 winners. In the clashes between the teams this season, Atletico defeated Real Madrid 1-0 in the Bernebeu in September 2013, before the teams fought out a 2-2 draw at the Vicente Calderon in March.

In the same month however, Real recorded a 2-0 win away at the Vicente Calderon and followed that up with a stunning 3-0 win at home over Atletico in the two-legged Copa del Rey semi final. So this season, Real have won two games, Atletico one and there has been one draw between the teams.

Champions League Final 2014 – our tips

Real Madrid’s chances will certainly be improved if Cristiano Ronaldo is declared fit for the game. Their talismanic striker has netted 50 goals in 46 games this season, including 16 in the Champions League in 10 appearances. Ronaldo hasn’t played much in the run up to the final due to injury, though many experts feel this was more precautionary.

Atletico have their own injury worries, with Diego Costa and Arda Turan both doubts after picking up  injuries in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona, a result which sealed the league title for Atletico. With two key strikers seemingly struggling, this does make the first goalscorer and anytime goalscorer market a lot more interesting and will likely have an impact on the number of goals in the game.

Minus Ronaldo and against a top defence like Atletico, I can’t see Real being as potent in attack and an Atletico side without Costa is equally likely to lose attacking impetus. As such, my first tip here would be in the Over/Under 2.5 goals market with the 8/11 for the Under market looking a good bet here.

For better value, I’d look towards the first goalscorer market and with Ronaldo and Costa injuted, I’d take a look at the likes of Karim Benzema, or my choice Gareth Bale (11/2). Bale will have more free kick responsibility than Ronaldo if the Portuguese ace is missing from the team and the Welshman has enjoyed a good first season in La Liga. At 11/2, he is a good choice for the first goalscorer if Ronaldo and Costa are both unfit.

As for who is likely to win, I think this is too close to call and I can see extra time required to separate the teams. I fancy a single goal will be enough to win it and I think Real Madrid (10/11) will have just enough to take the win, perhaps in Extra time. Therefore one final tip is to consider the draw/draw bet, which at 4/1 looks a good option between two well matched teams.

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