Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend with a pair of plays from La Liga and Serie A.
BOTH SIDES TO OBLIGE IN CATALAN ENCOUNTER
Girona have bounced back to Spain’s top-flight in style. After three seasons in Segunda, the Blanquivermells returned to the big time via the play-offs with Michel’s men continuing their effervescent approach in La Liga.
Despite winning just four games, and sitting only three points above the drop-zone, the Catalans have really captured the imagination.
La Liga is the lowest-scoring league out of Europe’s big five, yet Girona are currently crowned as Spain’s goal kings.
Amazingly, only Barcelona and Real Madrid have scored more La Liga goals than the newly-promoted outfit, however, just three clubs have conceded more often.
Matches have tended to be thrilling affairs, averaging 3.13 goals per-game.
Girona’s proactive approach ranks them 10th on Expected Points (xP), suggesting Michel’s troops have been a touch unfortunate, although the Blanquivermells are heading into matchday 17 still searching for their first clean sheet of the campaign.
On the flip side, the Catalans have managed to get on the scoresheet themselves on 14 occasions.
So with 14 (88%) of their previous 16 fixtures paying-out for Both Teams To Score backers – including seven from eight at their Estadi Montilivi base, as well as their most recent 11 across all venues – a repeat has to appeal around the 1.85 mark when Girona host a similarly helter-skelter Sevilla side on Saturday.
Traditionally challenging for a top-four finish and European honours, Sevilla are right in the black stuff.
Last weekend’s scrappy 2-1 success over Getafe – the club’s first home triumph this term – has lifted Jorge Sampaoli’s team out of the bottom-three, but Los Nervionenses have largely toiled and remain far from a trustworthy betting proposition.
There’s hope Sevilla can use their Getafe win as a catalyst to kick-on, yet defensive flaws are yet to be solved; the visitors have silenced only one of their La Liga opponents thus far.
However, Los Rojiblancos have grabbed a goal themselves in 13 of their 16 fixtures, leading to 12 (75%) winning BTTS wagers, including seven from eight on their travels.
So overall, we have two teams here with a grand total of one clean sheet across their opening 32 La Liga dates.
But with the duo collectively scoring in 27 of those contests, and Both Teams To Score banking in 26 (81%), I’m more than keen to get involved in the available 1.85 on both sides obliging.
GOALS UNDERRATED IN SERIE A SHOWDOWN
Milan head coach Stefano Pioli admitted the defending champions felt “bitter” about their 2-2 draw with Roma at San Siro last weekend.
The Rossoneri were leading 2-0 through Pierre Kalulu’s diving header and a Tommaso Pobega strike and seemingly in cruise control before a late capitulation allowed the capital club to earn a share of the spoils.
Roma didn’t have a shot on-target until Roger Ibanez’s free header from a corner in the 87th minute reduced the arrears.
In stoppage-time, goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu could only parry another Nemanja Matic header from a set-piece into the path of Tammy Abraham to level proceedings right at the death as AC dropped vital points in the title race.
A much-changed Milan were back in action in Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia, suffering a surprise 1-0 home reverse against 10-man Torino.
Pioli was again critical of his team’s performance, although injuries and suspension have bitten the Rossoneri hard.
Milan head into the weekend without Sandro Tonali, Mike Maignan, Divock Origi, Fode Ballo-Toure, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rade Krunic, Alessandro Florenzi, Simon Kjaer and Ante Rebic, and look vulnerable short-priced favourites for their visit to a vibrant Lecce side.
Pioli’s posse have already failed to win half of their eight road trips with their toughest away days arriving against sixth-placed Atalanta and 10th-placed Torino.
However, goals look a much more appealing angle of attack at Stadio Via del Mare with Both Teams To Score available to support at a bulbous 2.12.
Milan have already travelled to six of the current bottom-eight, and the guests have managed only two clean sheets on the road thus far.
Six of their eight trips have paid out for BTTS backers, and if we go back to the beginning of their title-winning campaign in 2021/22, a huge 67% of the Rossoneri’s road trips have seen both sides oblige.
Like Girona in La Liga, Lecce have made a very positive return to the Italian top-flight.
The newly-promoted side have suffered a solitary reverse by more than a one-goal margin, appeared well-organised, and dangerous on the counter-attack. On home soil, the Giallorossi have been more than happy to engage and display a freedom of expression.
Unintimidated by more illustrious opposition, Lecce have scored in eight of 10 tussles with top-half teams, including away at runaway leaders Napoli, at Roma, as well as when welcoming Inter, Lazio and Atalanta.
Now they’re entertaining the BTTS leaders in Serie A, with Both Teams To Score banking in 13 (76%) of Milan’s 17 showdowns.
In Apulia, BTTS has clicked in seven of Lecce’s eight – only the visit of Juventus failed to see both sides score – and the two teams have combined to keep only six league shutouts in 34 this term, whilst they’ve managed to grab a goal in 13 of their respective home/away matches already, giving us more than enough evidence to suggest a repeat is overpriced.
In 2022/23, Both Teams To Score has paid out in 54% of Serie A showdowns, yet the odds for Saturday’s match-up following suit imply just a 47% chance, despite the overwhelming numbers in our favour.
BTTS in Girona vs Sevilla – 1 unit @ 1.85
BTTS in Lecce vs Milan – 1 unit @ 2.12
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