7 min

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend’s European action with Germany and Italy taking centre-stage.

Both Sides To Oblige In Berlin

Union Berlin have undoubtedly been the Bundesliga’s biggest surprise package this season.

The alternative club in the capital are just three points outside of the Champions League qualification places, having already held Bayern Munich at their charismatic Stadion An der Alten Försterei home, as well as overcoming Dortmund here before Christmas.

The plucky underdogs were expected to struggle following the sale of star striker Sebastian Andersson, although the shrewd addition of influencer Max Kruse softened that blow.

However, injury forced Union’s key creator force out of the side recently and Urs Fischer has worked wonders to implement a successful style to combat his absence from the side.

Union have continued their upward trajectory and come into this clash unbeaten in five without their headline act (W2-D3-L0) as Taiwo Awoniyi has taken over as inspirational spearhead.

The Nigerian has been wonderfully complemented by speedster Sheraldo Becker in the Berlin boys attack with Marcus Ingvarsten also providing thrust from the flanks.

Fischer’s troops have now netted in all 15 of their Bundesliga encounters in 2020/21, notching twice or more on nine occasions and should have enough craft and guile in the ranks to cause faltering Bayer Leverkusen problems on Friday night.

Even so, Union’s own vulnerability, particularly in the defensive third should ensure a watchable affair.

The hosts have recorded only three shutouts this term, leading us towards 12 successful Both Teams To Score selections, and that’s the preferred play for this match-up.

Bayer might be stumbling after being knocked off top spot, although Peter Bosz’s side have only once fired a blank since the opening weekend of the campaign way back in September.

The visitors have provided profit in this market in 10 of their 15 fixtures this term, silencing only three of their opponents from 12 games when excluding the bottom-three, whilst their thumping 4-1 midweek victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB Pokal should provide Die Werkself with a welcome shot in the arm ahead of their trip to the capital.

Goals Forecast For Turin Tussle

Entertainment and excitement is rarely in short supply in Serie A.

The peninsula is now posting 3.15 goals-per-game on average, with 62% of matches breaking the standard 2.5 Goals barrier, a percentage hit-rate that implies blanket odds of around 1.60 could be expected across the division.

Obviously, that’s not the right way to provide tissue prices but it does mean the 1.90 available on Over 2.5 Goals between Torino and Spezia deserves a second-look.

Cash has already come for the wager and I’m expecting interest to heighten before kick-off considering the approach and evidence at-hand on both teams this term.

Torino have been fantastic fun under the stewardship of Marco Giampaolo since the summer.

Under the attack-minded coach, the Granata have been involved in 11 (65%) Over 2.5 Goals games with eight (47%) paying out for Over 3.5 Goals backers.

A hefty 71% of contests have delivered Both Teams To Score pay-outs, including seven of eight in Turin.

Newly-promoted Spezia are also making an impression.

The Aquilotti have been involved in 14 Over 2.5 Goals winners across their 17 outings thus far, with seven (41%) going a step further and 71% also banking in the BTTS column.

On the road, Vincenzo Italiano’s adventurous outfit have seen goals in both goals in all bar one of eight away days.

Collectively, this pair have scored in 28 of 34 league games, whilst posting a paltry five clean sheets.

Matches have averaged 3.42 goals-per-game – that figures increases when looking at relative home/away encounters and so with two forward-thinking coaches, plus two far from reliable backlines on show, I’m more than happy to support a high-scoring showdown.

Our angle of attack is boosted by the news that midfield shield Tomas Rincon is suspended for Torino, whilst star striker Andrea Belotti was rested from the start in the Coppa Italia midweek. Spezia do have a few injuries to contend with but energetic front three M’Bala Nzola, Emmanuel Gyasi and Diego Farias are all available for the visitors.

Recommended Bets

  • Both Teams To Score in Union Berlin vs Bayer Leverkusen 3 units @ 1.80
  • Over 2.50 Goals in Torino vs Spezia 3 units @ 1.90