Having hit on 4 of his last four bets from this column Mark O’Haire is a man in form!
Goal Heavy Game In Verona
Regular readers of my Insights column will be well-aware of my love affair with goals and Serie A.
The Italian top-flight has averaged over three goals-per-game over the past two campaigns, and the 2021/22 renewal is already running at 3.18 goals on average. A massive 66% of those matches featured Over 2.5 Goals, with 45% of fixtures seeing Over 3.5 bank.
Having scanned the weekend schedule for potential inefficiencies in the market, I believe I’ve come across one when Hellas Verona entertain Lazio on Sunday.
Crudely turning that 66% mentioned above hit-rate into implied odds, the current Over 2.5 Goals rate suggests a blanket price on Overs in an ordinary Serie A showdown should be around the 1.5 mark.
However, we’re able to support Over 2.5 Goals in this match-up at a very appealing 1.77.
Well, Verona’s underlying numbers don’t necessarily reflect the fact the Gialloblu have been a bonkers team to follow this term.
Indeed, last weekend’s 3-2 reverse at high-flying Milan was a perfect encapsulation of their wild and wacky season.
Verona were two goals up at San Siro and surrendered a two-goal lead for the third time already this term.
Hellas have consistently made strong starts, only to run out of steam and drop vital points – the hosts would have collected 16 points had their eight games ended at half-time. Instead, Igor Tudor’s team have posted just eight points from their eight outings.
Verona’s matches have been quite the ride.
Their encounters have delivered 4.25 goals on average, with the Gialloblu earning a solitary shutout and failing to score themselves just once.
Seven of their showdowns have produced four goals or more; half have broken the Over 4.5 barrier with outings ending 2-3, 1-3, 0-1, 3-2, 2-2, 3-3, 4-0 and 2-3.
It’s difficult to oppose another chaotic contest when Lazio come to town.
Under Maurizio Sarri, the capital club are yet to keep a clean sheet and have shipped multiple goals in four of their eight Serie A assignments.
The Biancocelesti have appeared particularly fragile on their travels and head here having been involved in Europa League action on Thursday.
Nevertheless, this is a Lazio outfit geared to play on the front foot with a collection of high-quality personnel in the final third.
Ciro Immobile’s return is vital for the Romans, who can also call upon an in-form Felipe Anderson, plus Pedro, Luis Alberto and Sergei Milinkovic-Savic. It would therefore be a big surprise if the guests didn’t get on the scoresheet.
Lazio have paid out in this market in all bar two of their tussles under Sarri, with five of their eight fixtures featuring Over 3.5 Goals.
Those Serie A contests have averaged 3.88 goals – the third-highest in the division – and Sunday sees the Biancocelesti visit a Verona side that sit top of the table for goals-per-game in 2021/22.
It should be fun.
Lens Standout In Ligue 1
Lens enjoyed a triumphant return to Ligue 1 last year, bagging an excellent seventh-placed finish under tactically fluent Franck Haise.
The newly-promoted club quickly adapted to top-flight football and produced consistent and competitive performances across the campaign, suffering only five defeats by a margin of two goals or more.
Les Sang et Or were particularly eye-catching at their Stade Bollaert-Delelis base.
With supporters now allowed back into stadiums, the atmospheric ground is an intimidating place for visiting teams.
Since promotion, the hosts have only been beaten here on six occasions, boasting a W8-D4-L2 return when entertaining bottom-half sides in that sample.
After ten rounds of action this term, Lens are PSG’s nearest challengers, and Ligue 1’s performance data tables show Les Sang et Or’s league position is far from a fluke.
Haise’s charges are comfortably second-best to PSG in Expected Points (xP) returns, with the hosts’ five home displays proving particularly dominant. (70% xG ratio).
So naturally, I’m keen to support Lens on Sunday when lowly Metz (W1-D3-L6) pitch up.
The visitors sit third-bottom in the league standings, are the third-lowest scorers and own the second-worst defensive record. Les Grenats are ranked 19th in terms of xP, rock-bottom for xG ratio, and inside the bottom-two for various shot and chance creation metrics.
Frederic Antonetti’s outfit have suffered five defeats in six winless encounters, shipping multiple goals in each reverse, and are pointless from five fixtures against top-half teams.
Across the entire campaign, Metz have been xG inferior to their opposition in all bar one game, and the guests were particularly dreadful during last weekend’s 3-0 loss at home to Rennes.
Backing Lens -0.5/-1.0 sees us make money should the home side win.
We’ll earn a half-stakes profit should Lens win by exactly one goal and a full-stakes pay-out should the hosts succeed by two goals or more.
- Over 2.5 Goals in Verona vs Lazio 2 units @ 1.77
- Lens -0.5/-1.0 – 2 units @ 1.86
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