Mark O'Haire - Bologna Underdogs & BTTS In Spain

6 min

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his fancies with a pair of plays from Serie A and La Liga.


Bologna are Serie A’s surprise package this season. The Rossoblu have surged into a top-four league position, as well as booking their place in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals by eliminating defending champions Inter Milan during extra-time at San Siro on Wednesday.

Head coach Thiago Motta described Bologna’s midweek display as “exemplary”, suggesting his side “played a complete match”.

Goalkeeper Federico Ravaglia saved a second-half penalty to send the contest into extra-time, and despite falling behind, Joshua Zirkzee came on to provide two inspired assists for Sam Beukema and Dan Ndoye to turn the tables.

Returning to Serie A matters on Saturday, I’m eager to keep underrated Bologna onside when welcoming Atalanta.

The Rossoblu are priced up as outsiders at their Stadio Renato Dall’Ara base in spite of their fine record at avoiding defeat; Motta’s men have suffered just two defeats across all competitions thus far, one of which arrived on the opening day.

Last weekend Bologna beat Roma 2-0 in front of their home supporters, and they’ve already picked up creditable points at Serie A’s front-running pair Inter and Juventus.

Indeed, only the top-two have conceded fewer goals than the Rossoblu, whilst only Juve have earned more home points than Bologna this season (W6-D1-L1).

Delve into the performance data and there’s little to choose between the two. Atalanta are slightly ahead on Expected Points (xP) yet Bologna boast a +0.36 Expected Goals (xG) per-game supremacy at home, compared to just +0.16 xG for Atalanta away.

Overlay that with home advantage and Bologna command more respect than the market is currently offering.

So I’ll happily support Bologna +0 at 2.0 – even accounting for potential fatigue elements, the seven-time champions deserve support at these lines and prices.

Atalanta have regressed in recent years. La Dea remain an erratic and inconsistent outfit who often produce their best work against the league’s lesser lights; Gian Piero Gasperini’s group have only won twice in nine when excluding the bottom-seven and have lost all four of their trips to teams plying their trade outside of the bottom-six.

  • Bologna +0.0 in Bologna vs Atalanta – 1 unit @ 2.0


Atletico Madrid’s 20-game home winning streak came to a half in midweek as capital rivals Getafe struck two late goals to pinch a deserved point in a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Metropolitano.

On an evening when Antoine Griezmann equalled Luis Aragones’ club goalscoring record, Los Colchoneros fell short of expectations.

Even before Stefan Savic’s first-half dismissal, Atletico were second-best and Diego Simeone will demand an improvement from his troops ahead of Saturday’s showdown as Los Colchoneros slipped further behind surprise league leaders Girona in the La Liga title race.

However, the Madrid men may not find Sevilla a straightforward task on Saturday.

Sevilla dismissed Diego Alonso last Saturday night with Los Nervionenses bringing Quique Sanchez Flores into the hot-seat on Monday.

That move inspired an impressive 3-0 success at Granada in midweek and the visitors should arrive in the capital full of confidence, especially so with Ivan Rakitic back from suspension and a lengthy injury list easing.

Sevilla look an interesting option as big-priced outsiders at the Metropolitano, though I’ll take the Both Teams To Score option instead at an eye-catching 1.88.

BTTS has already obliged in 12 of Atletico’s 15 home league and Champions League outings this season, whilst Sevilla have scored in 12 of their 15 encounters across all competitions.

  • BTTS in Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla – 1 unit @ 1.88

Recommended Bets

  • Bologna +0.0 in Bologna vs Atalanta – 1 unit @ 2.0
  • BTTS in Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla – 1 unit @ 1.88

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