Mark O 'Haire: Off To Northern France & Southwest Russia For My Top Weekend Selections

8 min

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire heads to Ligue 1 in France and the Premier League in Russia to highlight his favourite betting opportunities from the continent this weekend.

The second international break of the season is on the horizon as the 2019/20 campaign reaches the quarter-mark stage across the bulk of major leagues. It’s the perfect time to take stock of what we’ve seen thus far with results, league ladders and (most importantly for I), performance data becoming ever-more meaningful.

If you’re wondering, Villarreal, Bologna, Reims and Werder Bremen are arguably Europe’s most surprisingly strong sides according to the numbers, whilst Leicester’s lofty domestic position is also backed up by a series of eye-catching efforts according to the underlying metrics. We’ll see whether those four sides can last the pace as enter the winter months.

Crocodiles To Come A Cropper

Lille were expected to regress this season after losing key components of last season’s runners-up squad. Les Dogues replenished their roster under the guidance of recruitment expert Luis Campos, and the sporting director appears to have worked more minor miracles in the transfer market following the capture of 20-year-old striker Victor Osimhen.

The Nigerian hitman has hit six goals in eight Ligue 1 appearances since switching from Charleroi, leading Lille’s line to a series of impressive displays in the early exchanges. The Flanders outfit might have failed to clinch top honours on their travels in 2019/20, but Christian Galtier’s charges have remained as strong as ever at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Since the beginning of last term, Lille have racked up a remarkable 17 triumphs from 23 league outings in front of their home supporters and I’m backing Sunday’s hosts to add to that tally when Nimes pitch up.

The hosts are an appealing play at 1.83 to overcome a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle, earning us profit should they take top honours once again.

Lille have made the Stade Pierre-Mauroy a real fortress of late.

Nimes were terrific last term after sealing promotion to the top-flight, playing an exciting brand of attacking football. The Crocodiles consolidated in mid-table despite boasting the division’s smallest budget, although their eye-catching exploits led to a series of high-profile players being pilfered by larger league rivals in the summer.

Jordan Ferri, Sada Thioub, Baptiste Guillaume, Umut Bozok, Denis Bouanga, Téji Savanier and Rachid Alioui moved away, robbing head coach Bernard Blaquart of seven of Nimes’ top nine Expected Goals (xG) contributors in 2018/19.

The minnows have worked hard to plug gaps but it’s not too surprising to see the Crocodiles struggle for consistency since.

The visitors have been beaten in four of their opening eight encounters, firing blanks in half of those outings. Blaquart’s boys have been beaten in 12/22 (52%) games as guests at this level, and their return against Ligue 1’s top half also comes under scrutiny with Nimes losing 15 of 21 tussles against top-10 outfits, including 10 of 11 when taking to the road.

There’s a lot to like about Nimes, in particular, the footballing philosophy imposed by Blaquart, however, the visitors look likely to fall short when tackling the league’s elite and Lille should be capable of showcasing their class once more at the sparkling Pierre-Mauroy.

Dour Contest Due In Kazan

The Russian Premier League has routinely been one of Europe’s lowest-scoring leagues, although the division is undergoing an intriguing rebirth. The majority of top-tier teams were often wedded to a defence-first 3-5-2 system but an influx of fresh-faced coaches have led to more attack-minded matches, as well as overdue versatility in approach.

Rubin Kazan might set-up in a modern 4-2-3-1 formation but the Tatars continue to bore the pants off seasoned Premier League supporters.

The league’s lowest goalscorers have attempted the fourth-fewest attempts and shots on-target, despite enjoying the division’s fourth-most possession, the bulk of which takes place in non-threatening areas.

No real surprise then that goals are at a complete premium when Kazan are involved.

Visitors Tambov sit rock-bottom with seven losses in 11 since promotion and have managed a solitary shutout in the top-tier whilst simultaneously falling short in the attacking third.

Roman Sharonov Rubin has his side playing an exceptionally boring brand of football this season.

Naturally, this is a great opportunity for the hosts to get their campaign on track, although it’s hard to trust Rubin with the handbrake on. Therefore, a more intriguing poke arrives from the goals markets where Under 2.25 Goals can be snapped up at 1.75 quotes.

These two uninspiring outfits rank amongst the worst performers across a range of attacking data metrics, although the selection comes alive when digging deep into Rubin’s record at the Kazan Arena.

A remarkable 75% of their encounters here since the start of 2017/18 having fallen below the 2.5 goals line, including 17 of their most recent 20. Eleven of Rubin’s last 20 home fixtures failed to feature more than a solitary strike, with four of their first five here this season delivering pay-outs for Under 1.5 Goals backers.

Taking the Under 2.25 Goals option see sus make money should the meeting produce fewer than three strikes.

Recommended Bets

  • Lille -0.75 – 3 units @ 1.83
  • Under 2.25 Goals in Rubin Kazan v Tombov 3 units @ 1.75