Tottenham Hotspur vs Lazio
(Jermain Defoe is relishing currently being the main man for club & country)
Spurs start their Europa League assault against Italian side Lazio at White Hart Lane, manager Andre Villas-Boas won the trophy in 2011 with Porto & has vowed to take the competition seriously unlike previous boss Harry Redknapp. Spurs won their first game of the season on Sunday vs Reading thanks to a brace from in-form striker Jermain Defoe & he will likely lead the line again with Emmanuel Adebayor sidelined. French captain Hugo Lloris & Clint Dempsey are likely to make their first starts for the club & fringe players Michael Dawson, Steven Caulker, Tom Huddlestone & Andros Townsend could feature
Lazio have made an impressive start to the Serie A season with three straight wins against Atalanta, Palermo & Chievo Verona. Brazilian midfielder Hernanes & veteran striker Miroslav Klose have scored six of their seven goals so far & they should line-up in a similar fashion to the one that beat Chievo. Both sides are packed with high quality attacking options & with Spurs' record of conceding & scoring in every game so far this season the 10/11 on both teams to score looks a solid bet.
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers came up with a nice result when turning over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday & they now host another of the NFC's big hitters as champions the New York Giants look to continue to put points on the board after outgunning Tampa Bay 41-34 at the weekend. The Buccaneers actually provide us with a bit of a form guide as Carolina took them on in week one in a very different contest where the Tampa Bay prevailed with a 16-10 victory in a rather dour affair. The Panthers really struggled to run the ball in that week one game & that could be the Giants' key to slowing them down as quarterback Cam Newton is just about the most mobile starter in the league & keeps any defense guessing. The Giants are especially good in the pass rush though meaning they'll be coming after Newton with regularity but the defense will need to be sharp as they're missing a couple of starters on offense.
(Brandon LaFell hauls one in against the Saints as he gains 90 receiving yards)
Although the Panthers lost to Tampa Bay you'd be hard pushed to say they aren't a better team & they have two receivers who could really hurt New York's still ropey secondary in the speedy & dependable Steve Smith & 3rd year pro Brandon LaFell who looks like he might have a breakout year. LaFell could really cause the Giants some problems as he's a big physical receiver & they couldn't cope with a similar type in Vincent Jackson last time out. The Panthers will need DeAngelo Williams to be on his game at running back though as Jonathan Stewart looks like missing out, there are points to be scored against New York & so long as they don't fall behind like they did against the Saints they could win this one nicely. The Giants are more likely to be affected by the short preparation time as they have to travel & being without Bradshaw & Nicks could be the killer blows, backing the Carolina Panthers to prevail at odds of 5/6. In the touchdown markets we do really like Brandon LaFell & he's 11/1 to score the first TD with Ladbrokes - it looks worth a small wager.
Both teams to score Spurs vs Lazio at 10/11 (BlueSquare)
Carolina Panthers to beat New York Giants at 5/6 (Various)
Brandon LaFell to score first Touchdown at 11/1 (Ladbrokes)