Saturday, Tyrone v Donegal: Donegal to win – 15/8
The betting suggests otherwise, but Donegal can prove they are the best side in Ulster by beating Tyrone and take a giant leap towards defending their provincial crown. There is no way they should be as big as 15/8 on current form.
They were patient against Fermanagh and didn’t panic despite going long periods without scores. It was a sign of how far they have come under Declan Bonner.
The most important aspect of that six-point win over Fermanagh was the performance of Paddy McBrearty. If you didn’t know it, you never would have guessed he had suffered such a nasty knee injury last year. He kicked five points and was as confident as ever.
With McBrearty back on top form, Michael Murphy playing as well as he ever and dictating the tempo of games and Jamie Brennan on fire of late, Donegal have a better attacking unit than Tyrone and that gives them the edge in what is likely to be a higher-scoring shootout rather than the traditional slugfest we’re used to in Ulster.
Sunday, Meath v Laois: (-2) – Evens
Having survived an almighty scare against Offaly in their Leinster opener, normal service was resumed for Meath in the Leinster quarter-final as they saw off Carlow with the minimum of fuss and a return to Croke Park can bring out the best in the Royal County.
Laois set up very defensively in their deserved victory over Westmeath and don’t expect that approach to change here, but Meath have enough pace to counteract it. With Bryan McMahon and Cillian O’Sullivan up front, Andy McEntee’s men have a cutting edge.
Meath managed to score 2-12 against Fermanagh in the League, so defensively-minded sides are no longer a barrier to their progress. Expect them to deft the two-point handicap handsomely.
Sunday, Kilkenny v Galway: Kilkenny under 24.5 points – 4/6
Who would have thought Kilkenny would be such a warm order to see off 2017 All-Ireland champions Galway, but the Tribesmen were so poor against Wexford and the absence of Joe Canning has left them a bit toothless up front.
It is hard to envisage anything other than a home success going on current form, but with weather conditions set to be quite poor and a slippery sliotar in store, the best bet on the match coupon could be under 24.5 Kilkenny points at 4/6 with Paddy Power.
* All odds correct at time of posting and may vary up to throw-in.