Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire is returning to the continent this weekend as he sources three value-laden selections from Germany, Italy and Spain.
The Premier League didn’t bring a huge amount of festive cheer to my midweek Insights column. Manchester City turned on the style at Turf Moor – that’s always the danger when you oppose big handicaps involving the Citizens – and a half-stakes profit was made from the relegation six-pointer between Southampton and Norwich at St Mary’s.
The midweek EPL card makes accurately reviewing each contest in-depth a little problematic from a time perspective and so I’ve focussed my weekend attention on three of Europe’s major leagues with attractive angles of attack sourced in the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga. Here’s hoping for an immediate return to top form.
Foals Can Stay Competitive Against Bayern
Borussia Monchengladbach are enjoying their longest run at the top of the Bundesliga since they last lifted the German domestic title back in 1977. And now the Foals look primed and ready to give perennial champions Bayern Munich a stern examination in the original Klassiker this Saturday afternoon in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Gladbach have adapted superbly to the appointment of Marco Rose in the summer with his tried-and-tested 4-3-3 bringing the best out of young and talented squad of players. The Foals have so many different ways to get at opponents (so much so that the veteran Raffael, marginalised through injury, has barely been missed) and they’re certainly no easy meat.
Rose’s charges have built their excellent start upon a divisional-best home record and their interchanging frontline has seen all four attackers – Marcus Thuram, Breel Embolo, Alassane Plea and Patrick Herrmann – score at least four Bundesliga goals. Defensively the back door isn’t completely shut but a similar charge could be levied at visitors Bayern too.
With Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez injured, Bayern have been forced to field a makeshift back four featuring Alphonso Davies, David Alaba, Javi Martinez and Benjamin Pavard. Unsurprisingly, only four shutouts have been kept in Bundesliga action this term and that’s of the main reasons why the Bavarians are such poor value in the pre-match markets here.
Make no bones about it, Bayern have been marked up on reputation.
The underlying data point towards Gladbach and Bayern being neck-and-neck, yet the odds suggest FC Hollywood have a 63% chance of taking top honours. That’s despite the Munich men travelling to their bogey club, as well as boast as an underwhelming record at top-six teams.
The Bavarians have won only seven of their past 16 trips to top-six clubs and this season alone they’ve managed to triumph by two goals or more in just five of their overall 15 Bundesliga fixtures. Yet still the market is allowing us back Gladbach with a +1.25 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.80. It’s too good to ignore.
If Gladbach score, like we believe they will, Bayern would require three goals without leaking a second to see this selection falter.
The Foals can win, draw or lose by a solitary strike to earn a pay-out and that has to appeal at the 1.8 on offer. Bayern could well run amok but the value is most definitely not with the guests at Borussia-Park on Saturday.
Goals Forecast For Eternal City Showdown
Juventus led Serie A by 11 points at this stage last season but head into Matchday 15 in Italy trailing league leaders Inter by a point following a frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Sassuolo last weekend. Maurizio Sarri said his players “didn’t use their brains” enough in that sloppy stalemate as the Old Lady failed to win in the league for only the third time this term.
Despite suggestions the Bianconeri would be switching towards a more aesthetically-pleasing style under Sarri, Juventus still retain the durability of yesteryear. Yet to completely click into gear under their new boss in an entertainment sense, the Old Lady have only twice won by a margin of two goals or more with narrow victories the consistent theme.
Defensively, Juve haven’t looked assured or solid out of possession and there’s an expectation that backline will be tested when Lazio entertain the Bianconeri in the capital on Saturday evening.
With eight of the Old Lady’s 14 fixtures this term featuring Over 2.5 Goals – including trips to Atalanta and Inter – a repeat looks likely at a handsome 1.86.
Lazio are the form side in Italy – winning six on the spin – and were mightily impressive when dispatching Udinese last time out. The Biancocelesti are the league’s top goalscorers and in Ciro Immobile have a forward in phenomenal form, ably backed up by Luis Alberto, Joaquín Correa and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic; Le Aquile are packed with forward threats.
Simeone Inzaghi’s side are second only to Atalanta in terms of Expected Goals (xG), xG from open play and shots from inside the penalty area attempted, and the Eternal City outfit have also notched in all bar one Serie A showdown this season.
It would, therefore, be a surprise to see Lazio fail to trouble Juventus this weekend and I fully expect the hosts to strike.
Matches involving the Biancocelesti are rarely boring.
Over 2.5 Goals has landed in almost 80% of their outings with 3.36 goals per-game scored on average; 10 of Lazio’s 16 ties when welcoming top-six opposition have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers under Inzaghi and a repeat looks likely when an under-pressure Juventus arrive at the Olimpico.
Low-Hanging Fruit In Spain
Games involving Getafe are rarely thrilling affairs.
Los Azulones are a team that are masters in the dark arts, devilishly difficult to beat and superbly set-up under their workaholic head coach Jose Bordalas. However, despite their defensive nature, the Madrid minnows aren’t often involved in goalless games, especially when on the road.
On Sunday morning they make the journey to Eibar, La Liga’s smallest side. The Basque outfit have been punching above their weight for a while under the astute leadership of Jose Luis Mendilibar, although eight defeats in their opening 15 encounters this term has seen Los Armeros slump to within two points of the relegation zone in Spain.
Eibar were thumped 4-1 at regional rivals Real Sociedad last weekend but return to their miniscule Ipura base desperately looking for a slice of bouncebackability. Mendilibar’s men have scored in 21 of their 26 home games since the start of last season – averaging 1.50 goals-per-game – and should be confident of getting on the scoresheet against Getafe.
The visitors have claimed only four shutouts in 26 dating back to the beginning of 2018/19 on their travels, although the capital club have scored themselves in 19 of those contests. Bordalas boys welcome Jaime Mata back from suspension to lead the line and should be well capable of breaching Eibar’s backline, especially with their deadly set-pieces.
So with both teams expected to score, I’m delighted to see the total goals line set relatively low for this match-up.
With that in mind, I have to get with Over 1.75 Goals at 1.71. It’s a selection that’s turned a profit in 25 of the duos combined 30 games this season with 14 rewarding backers with a full-stakes pay-out – 16 of those matches saw both sides score.
Looking purely at the two teams’ home/away records since the start of last season, Over 1.75 Goals has made money in 81% of Eibar’s Ipura outing s and 85% of Getafe’s games as guests, and I’m very happy to exploit the low-hanging fruit in Spain this weekend.
- Borussia Monchengladbach +1.25 – 3 units @ 1.80
- Over 2.5 Goals in Lazio v Juventus 3 units @ 1.81
- Over 1.75 Goals in Eibar v Getafe 3 units @ 1.71