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In the first part of the ante-post selections, Simon Pilkington has selections from the Premier League top scorer and Championship outright markets, plus a huge treble in mind

What a great year 2012 has been for sport in Great Britain so far. An epic end to the domestic football season has been followed by an excellent European Championships and an even better Olympics.

As good as the Olympics were, from a betting perspective, it was much harder to find value in a lot of the markets due to a number of short priced favourites controlling the events.

The upside of this, of course, is that I have left the betting alone for a good month or two and now have myself a bankroll ready for the football.

Before the serious betting action starts – the weekly grind of sourcing value, setting a staking plan and ensuring the bankroll isn’t at risk - I like to involve myself in a choice few season-long bets that I can track throughout the year.
 
Whilst the week-by-week picks are the bread and butter of betting for most, these ante-post bets are generally a bit more fun and of a value to potentially see you retire if the larger ones pay off.

My ante-post bets are fuelled by the stories of punters who have won hundreds of thousands of pounds by calling the four winners of the respective domestic leagues.

It’s hard, just take last year for example – whilst Swindon and Charlton were arguably strong choices, Reading at 16/1 to win the Championship would have been a massive call.
 
So this year I have £100 to put towards ante-post betting and throughout the weekly Diary of a Punter articles, we’ll try to keep tabs on their progress too.

I’m going to kick things off with the Premier League top scorer, with the market headed by Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres and Robin van Persie.

The latter is a difficult choice as despite topping the charts last year, may not be in the Premier League come the end of the transfer window.

At the prices of 9/1 (10.0) and 10/1 (11.0) respectively, Rooney and Torres just don’t offer enough value to me, despite the fact I believe Torres will have a very decent season.
 
Sergio Aguero is interesting – his quality is undeniable and he hit the ground running last season.

However he is short priced at 15/2 (8.50) and I find much more interest in his Argentine team mate Carlos Tevez. Last season was a nightmare for all involved with Tevez, and the football was never really a major talking point for him.

However, just the previous season, he equalled Dimitar Berbatov's Golden Boot winning total of 21 goals. Sure, Roberto Mancini may rotate his front line but Tevez tends to score when he’s playing and at 16/1 (17.0) with Paddy Power, it’s too big a price to be ignored.

All of Goal.com's partners will pay to four places, making this a serious each-way bet for me. £15 e/w will be my stake, making it a total of £30.

The Championship is a very exciting league and this season could be an absolute belter with some huge team names involved.

However, it is the market leaders, Bolton who appeal most for me. 

Currently at 7/1 (8.0) with Bet365, they boast a squad that has been largely unscathed from the summer transfer window with, surprisingly, few bids from other clubs.

With Stuart Holden to come back from injury too, they have some really dangerous attacking players and goals should flow at this level for the likes of David N'Gog, Marvin Sordell and Kevin Davies.

They also have an incredibly stable chairman and boardroom as well as a manger proven at this level. A £20 win bet goes on Bolton at 7/1 (8.0) for the title.

Rather than splash cash for the sake of it, I’m going to back my thoughts to the hilt this season. Therefore, I’m also having £5 e/w on the Tevez/Bolton double which pays out a massive 118/1 (119.0).

In League Two, the market is headed by Rotherham and Fleetwood Town, both of whom have a combination of cash, new manager, new stadium etc, however I’m not convinced this guarantees success, especially for Fleetwood who have only just been promoted from the Blue Square Premier.

My pick in this league is Torquay United; fifth last season, losing out in the play-offs, Martin Ling has really sorted the defence out and will be looking to push on in the new campaign.

They are a big price with William Hill currently, at 25/1 (26.0) and taking them each-way will pay out to 3 places, so if they have a strong season without quite winning the league but finish in the top three they will still turn a profit for me. I’m putting £10 e/w on this bet.
 
Much like the double, I’m going to add Torquay into a treble with Tevez and Bolton. This bet will pay out at 3,536/1 (3537.0), so my £5 e/w should go a little way to aiding that early retirement should the bet come in.

With £10 left, I’m going to put up a fourfold accumulator focused around relegation; one side from each of the English divisions. It pays out at 117/1 (118.0) with William Hill and the sides are as follows: Wigan Athletic, Barnsley, Leyton Orient and Port Vale.

The first three sides have been flirting with relegation for far too long now and I believe it will be a season too far for all of them, whilst Port Vale could end up with a point deduction due to their financial issues and will at least be unsettled with it all.
 
So there it is, £100 spent on ante-post bets. I’m very happy with all my selections and can’t wait to count my winnings come mid-May. Bring on the season!

 
Diary of a Punter: Simon's Ante-post picks
Carlos Tevez top Premier League scorer: £15 each-way @ 16/1 with Paddy Power
Bolton to win the Championship: £20 @ 7/1 with Bet365
Torquay to win League Two: £10 each way at 25/1 with William Hill
Carlos Tevez and Bolton double: £5 each-way at 118/1 with William Hill
Torquay, Carlos Tevez and Bolton: £5 each-way at 3,536/1 with William Hill
Wigan, Barnsley, Leyton Orient & Port Vale all to be relegated: £10 with 117/1 with William Hill
Total staked: £100

Simon Pilkington is a sports writer, an avid supporter of Liverpool FC and has been betting on sports for the past 13 years. Follow Simon on

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