Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend with a pair of plays from the Bundesliga and Eredivisie.
BTTS IN BUNDESLIGA BASEMENT BATTLE
With only four rounds of Bundesliga still to play this season, we’re entering ‘must-win’ territory for Hertha Berlin.
The rock-bottom outfit are six points adrift of safety having tabled only five league triumphs across a disastrous campaign. But with fellow basement battlers Stuttgart and Bochum still to visit the capital, all is not yet lost…
Die Alte Dame are certainly swimming in the last-chance saloon, although Saturday’s showdown with Stuttgart could prove decisive in their survival quest.
The visitors have been in fine form since Sebastian Hoeness came into the club with the Swabians earning eight points from their past four league fixtures to pull them out of the bottom-two.
However, Stuttgart were involved in physically-draining and emotionally scarring DFB Pokal semi-final defeat as recently as Wednesday night and could therefore be vulnerable for such a quick turnaround.
The visitors have tabled a solitary triumph on their travels this term and are conceding an average of 2.13 goals in games as guests.
Whilst Stuttgart appear opposable as firm away favourites on Saturday, a more appealing play can be found in the goals markets with Both Teams To Score trading at 1.79.
After all, this is a six-pointer between two sides with horrendous rearguard records; collectively, the duo have managed just five clean sheets across their 60 Bundesliga dates.
The Bundesliga is averaging a meaty 3.12 goals with 58% of fixtures paying-out for BTTS backers – that hit-rate implies blanket odds around 8/11 (1.72), so already there’s a value gap between our proposed play and the league average.
Chuck in the ‘must-win’ attitude, plus the dire defensive records and the ingredients are in place for a goal-filled game.
Despite their plight, Hertha have managed to get on the scoresheet in nine of their most recent 11 outings, only failing to net against Leipzig and Bayern Munich in that sample.
The Berlin boys have notched in all eight when welcoming sides in eighth and below to their Olympiastadion base, also striking twice or more in five of those eight fixtures.
Both Teams To Score has been the right selection in all six of Hertha’s previous encounters with bottom-five strugglers, whilst nine (60%) of Die Alte Dame’s overall 15 home contests have also delivered BTTS profits.
Meanwhile, Stuttgart have scored in 12 of their last 15 Bundesliga matches, as well as in 11 of their 15 away days this season.
Die Roten have bagged in 15 of 17 games against sides in eighth and below, with all eight of their encounters against the bottom-six paying-out for Both Teams To Score hunters. Overall, 70% of the Swabians’ showdowns saw BTTS click.
AJAX OVERRATED AGAINST AZ
Eredivisie champions Ajax have endured a season to forget.
The Dutch giants are 11 points off the top and will relinquish their title to bitter rivals Feyenoord in the coming weeks, the Amsterdam outfit were embarrassed in the Champions League and last week suffered a defeat on penalties to PSV Eindhoven in the final of the KNVB Cup.
The club have paid the price for poor and ponderous board-level decision-making following Erik ten Hag’s departure.
Alfred Schreuder always appeared a peculiar appointment and he was removed from post after Ajax were held at home by struggling Volendam in January, extending the side’s winless run to seven league games, their longest such run since 1965.
There was a sense of relief around his sacking and positive reception for John Heitinga, the former Everton defender who was appointed as interim head coach for the rest of the campaign.
Yet after an initial bounce, Ajax have reverted to type; defensively disorganised and lacking shape, direction and purpose in possession.
The Amsterdammers have been turned over by Feyenoord and PSV in Eredivisie action in their last five fixtures (W2-D1-L2), conceding three goals in each encounter, leaving De Godenzonen three points shy of a Champions League qualifying berth.
Now they must tackle a very capable AZ Alkmaar side that start the weekend just two points behind.
AZ have already turned Ajax and PSV over this term, and whilst Feyenoord did the double over Pascal Jansen’s posse, just one of those losses arrived by a two-goal margin.
The wonderfully-nicknamed Kaaskoppen (Cheeseheads) picked up top honours at the Johan Cruyff Arena last season and should have a reasonable shot of a repeat on Saturday.
But a more sensible selection is to support AZ Alkmaar with a +1.0/1.5 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.79.
Should the visitors lose by a solitary goal, we’ll still make a half-stakes profit with a draw or an away success landing the bounty. Only an Ajax triumph by two strikes or more will see our selection downed.
AZ have shipped multiple goals only twice in their past 10 Eredivisie outings, notched themselves in 29 of 30 league dates, and rank above Ajax in both the four and eight-game Expected Goals (xG) form tables, suggesting they’re more than capable of keeping this contest competitive.
- Both Teams To Score in Hertha Berlin vs Stuttgart – 1 unit @ 1.79
- AZ Alkmaar +1.0/1.5 in Ajax vs AZ Alkmaar – 1 unit @ 1.79
Subscribe to the Matchbook Betting Podcast here
Subscribe to the Matchbook YouTube channel here