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Bear in the Square: Our take on the three televised games of the weekend

Jamie Clarke is a massive player for Armagh

Another bumper weekend of GAA action is upon us as the pace really picks up in the provincial championship races.

We have football action from Leinster and Ulster starting from Saturday while on Sunday it’s the Muster hurling semi final. We have considered all the betting markets available and have some tasty selections that will hopefully put some cash in your pocket this bank holiday weekend.

Dublin v Carlow – Saturday, 7pm, Sky Sports

All Ireland Champions Dublin make their first appearance on Saturday with a matchup against Carlow. Facing Dublin at any stage for Carlow is a daunting task, but playing them first up after a last gasp league final defeat to Kerry is simply frightening.

Jim Gavin has an abundance of talent available to him, and U-21 star Con O’Callaghan gets his start this weekend. He will be out to impress along with a host of others and you can be sure Dublin will look to a fast start.

At 1/500 on for the win we need to look elsewhere for some value. And what catches our eye is the half-time handicap market. Looking back to previous Dublin games at this stage, in 2015 they were 16 points up against Longford at the half while the margin in 2016 was 11 points against Laois. The even money available on Dublin -8 at half time looks the way to go and we advise a 3pt stake. (Boyles or PP)

Down v Armagh – Sunday, 2pm, RTE

A competitive game is expected between these two neighbours on Sunday, with Armagh slight favourites for the win.

Looking at their respective league campaigns Armagh were arguably the best team in Division 3 but were very unlucky not to gain promotion, while Down held onto their Division 2 status courtesy of a late draw against Cork. Armagh scored 15-103 during the league and this was helped no doubt by the return of coffee loving Jamie Clarke.

Down still have plenty of question marks about their defence and  veteran defender Aidan Carr faces a late fitness test. How they deploy Kevin McKernan will also be key but we expect him to be named in the forwards but spend most of his time in defence. It’s 25 years since Down’s last championship victory over Armagh, and we think their wait will continue on Sunday.

Armagh have too much firepower for Down and the even money available with Paddy Power is the selection here, and we will have 2pts on that.

Clare v Limerick – Sunday, 4pm, Sky Sports

An intriguing game is in store this Sunday in Tom Semple’s field down Tipperary way. The Munster Championship exploded into life two weeks ago and the hurling purists are expecting similar excitement this Sunday. Clare, warm favourites for this at 1/2, are a tad short given the unpredictability of the hurling championship so far.

Looking back at the National League, a number of interesting trends emerge. If we strip down Limerick’s campaign to their games against stronger opposition (Wexford, Galway (twice) and Cork), a feature of their play has been their doggedness in defence and inefficiency in attack.

None of their games against stronger opposition contained more than two goals. Likewise with Clare, they have been quite defensively solid this league campaign, only conceding three goals in their six league games while none of their games featured more than three goals.

Their clash in the 2016 championship finished goalless with Clare winning 0-19 to 0-15. Based on this, our selection here is a 3 point stake on Under 3.5 goals at 8/11 with Ladbrokes.

SEE ALSO – Looking back: 14 years since Laois’s most memorable win over Kildare

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The Bear in the Square is your home for all things GAA Betting related. The idea was created by two friends who shared a combined love of GAA, raw full backs, big full forwards, Ciaran McDonald and gambling. Noticing there was an ever increasing focus and hunger for GAA coverage in the media, they established their blog gaabettingtips.blogspot.com and twitter page @bearnthesquare in February 2017. After researching the available markets for both Club & Intercounty games, selections are made which weight from 0-5points, with 5pts being the top pick. Since Bear in the Square was set up, they have successfully delivered over 36 points profit to their followers. Our aim for 2017 is to reach 100pts profit and see the glory days return to both Mayo and Offaly.