Fresh off a 2-0 Insights weekend, football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the
weekend with plays from the Championship and Bundesliga.
BORO BACKED AT THE RIVERSIDE
QPR were top of the Championship standings on the 22nd of October, but Rangers’ campaign has since dramatically blown-off course.
Mick Beale’s courting of higher-profile management opportunities saw the R’s form take a slide before the head coach accepted a role in Scotland and new boss Neil Critchley is struggling to stem the bleeding at Loftus Road.
The West Londoners have accumulated just nine points and a solitary success in the following 16 league fixtures (W1-D6-L9) and suffered an early FA Cup exit at the hands of Fleetwood.
QPR have scored only eight goals in that 16-game sample – that’s 24 hours of football – and now face a daunting trip to The Riverside with a spate of injury issues.
Rangers’ bench was down to the bare bones in their midweek reverse with Sunderland and there’s a very real danger that Critchley’s directionless group get sucked into a relegation battle.
With confidence and morale at rock-bottom, the Hoops are easily opposed on Saturday against promotion-chasing Middlesbrough.
Boro have banked top honours in 12 of 15 league fixtures since the start of November,striking at least twice on 12 occasions.
Michael Carrick’s men enjoyed an eye-catching 3-1 success at fellow high-flyers Sheffield United on Wednesday night and return to Teesside here looking to extend a five-game winning streak in front of their home supporters.
Middlesbrough can call upon two of the second-tier’s hottest performers in the final-third –Chuba Akpom has been in exceptional form under Carrick, as well as loan signing Cameron Archer.
The hosts are playing with confidence, consistency, momentum and belief. No Championship team has earned more points than Middlesbrough since the start of November and with QPR collecting the second-fewest points and suffering the most defeats in that same timeframe.
It makes sense to support Middlesbrough -0.5/1 here at 1.95 knowing we’ll make money should the Reds walk away with maximum points.
UNION APPEAL IN KOPENICK
It’s quite remarkable to see Union Berlin sitting second in the Bundesliga after 20 rounds of action (W13-D3-L4); arguably even more miraculous is the sight of Union Berlin just one
point shy of German giants Bayern Munich after 20 rounds of action.
Last weekend Die Eisernen secured their fifth successive success since the World Cup break as Urs Fischer’s unfashionable outfit secured a mightily impressive 2-1 win at fellow title challengers RB Leipzig.
Union have notched multiple goals in all five of their victories and have also secured a place in the DFB Pokal quarter-finals during their 2023 exploits.
Fischer’s crew are involved in Europa League action on Thursday night, which could be considered a potential distraction.
However, I’m backing Die Eisernen to enhance their incredible campaign on Sunday afternoon with rock-bottom Schalke the visitors; Union Berlin -0.5/1 just too big to ignore at 1.82 considering the hosts’ enticing home record.
Union have posted W7-D2-L0 at their fortress Stadion An der Alten Forsterei base, already beating the likes of Leipzig, Dortmund, Gladbach and Wolfsburg here.
The Berlin boys have scored twice or more in eight of those nine league encounters, and their impressive results in Kopenick extend far beyond this current campaign.
Since the start of 2021/22, Union have returned W17-D7-L2 on home soil – that’s a 65% win rate with both defeats arriving against last season’s top-two finishers (Bayern and Dortmund).
Die Eisernen are a formidable force here and should prove strong enough to pick up another positive performance considering Schalke’s lowly standards.
Die Königsblauen have churned out three successive 0-0 draws against reasonable opposition to move to within five points of the Bundesliga relegation play-off place, yet Schalke have lost 12 of their overall 20 tussles and managed to collect just three points from a possible 27 on their travels (W0-D3-L6), scoring four goals on the road.
Thomas Reiss’ team have averaged only 2.40 shots on-target in games as guests have suffered eight defeats in winless 10 contests with top-half teams (W0-D2-L8), netting just three goals in the process.
With that in mind, I’m quite happy to oppose Schalke on Sunday as they visit second-placed Union.
- Middlesbrough -0.5/1 in Middlesbrough vs QPR – 1 unit @ 1.8
- Union Berlin -0.5/1 in Union Berlin vs Schalke – 1 unit @ 1.82
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