For the time being Manchester City look like a team suffering a hangover from the incredible party of last season's title win. The 1-1 stalemate with Borussia Dortmund in midweek means they've now won just one of their last six matches. It's intriguing therefore that their next opponents are one of the Premier League's only two unbeaten teams. The surprise is that it's Sunderland. The Black Cats have already held Arsenal at the Emirates and, for good measure, gave City a mighty scare in last season's clash at the Etihaad, drawing 3-3. In fact, they were the only team to stop Roberto Mancini's men winning at home in the league in 2011/12. All this suggests the 5/1 about Sunderland snatching a draw looks a good punt while have a little on the prolific Steven Fletcher netting again. The Scot has scored in all four Premier League games he's started for Martin O'Neill's men so is value at 7/2 to do so again against a City defence leaking goals.
Just as he did in the first half of last season, Demba Ba has been prolific and a brace in his last start for Newcastle made it five goals in his last three games. Next on his hit-list are Manchester United and he'll certainly have happy memories of this fixture having set Newcastle on their way to a 3-0 win when the Red Devils visited last year. Ba has netted the first goal in two of the three home league games he's started for the Magpies this term so take him at 13/2 to bag the opener yet again. I also like the 11/2 about both Ba and Manchester United's Robin van Persie finding the net. RVP has fired in six goals in his last three away games for Sir Alex Ferguson's men so getting with these two in-form strikers looks a good bet given that both defences are letting goals in.
The incredible finish to the Ryder Cup at Medinah proved a costly one for many of the bookies. After Martin Kaymer had ensured Europe couldn't lose (and hence retain the Cup), it looked for all the world as if the match would end in a bookie-friendly 14-14 tie. However Tiger Woods' missed putt on 18 and concession of Francesco Molinari's putt saw Europe snatch a 14½-13½ victory. Delight for Euro backers but woe for Sky Bet who also took another hit by generously paying out on both Kaymer and Molinari in their 'secure the winning point' market. The next Ryder Cup takes place at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014 and Sky Bet have already priced it up. They make Europe 10/11 favourites, with the USA 11/10 and the tie 10/1.
After his sensational performance in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, Ian Poulter has been installed as sixth favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year. However, given this quite extraordinary year for sport, the Englishman is still a big outsider at 25/1. The five he would have to beat are 4/6 Bradley Wiggins, 5/2 Andy Murray, 5/1 Mo Farah, 12/1 Jessica Ennis and 18/1 Davis Weir. The only other golfer quoted is Rory McIlroy at 100/1. Again that shows the competition he's up against this year. Rory has risen to world number one, won a major by eight shots and played a big part in a famous Ryder Cup win and yet still he's a three-figure price!