Mark O'Haire - Motivation Overrated By The Market

7 min

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns after yet another 2-0 weekend to share his favourite fancies for the week ahead with plays from Serie A and the Premier League this Sunday.


The Premier League campaign reaches a conclusion on Sunday with Everton looking to avoid relegation for the first time since 1950/51.

The Toffees are the second-longest tenured team in the top-flight (only Arsenal have maintained their top-flight status longer) and start Sunday two points above the dreaded drop-zone.

Sean Dyche’s troops know a victory over Bournemouth at Goodison Park will guarantee survival, although Everton can also secure safety by matching or bettering the results of Leicester and Leeds.

Motivation is clearly an advantage for the Toffees, especially when welcoming a Bournemouth side that have already preserved their Premier League status.

But do Everton deserve to be such short favourites here? Has the motivation factor been overplayed? The Merseysiders are around 1.50 to claim top honours this weekend, and that’s laughably short for a side that’s far from accustomed to winning football matches.

Everton arrive having bagged a solitary success in 10, won twice in 12 and managed only four triumphs in 17 under Dyche since February.

The hosts have kept only four clean sheets during that 17-game sample and managed multiple goals on only four occasions, yet the market is giving them a 67% chance of succeeding here. That’s drastically OTT.

Everton’s need doesn’t turn them into a superior side overnight. In similar circumstances at Molineux last weekend, the Toffees required a stoppage-time goal just to earn a share of the spoils against a Wolves side in a similar position to Bournemouth. 

Now, of course, Goodison Park could make a difference here, but it’s worth noting Everton have scored the fewest home goals in the Premier League – only 15 goals in 18 outings – whilst only Southampton and Leicester have won fewer home league games – the Toffees have tabled just five victories in front of their home supporters.

Everton have only gone off as odds-on favourites once all season and been priced at 2.50 or shorter on just four occasions, yet Dyche’s troops are sub 1.50 despite Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury, plus the fact the Toffees could well survive without actually winning the contest.

I’m therefore more than happy to oppose the hosts at the odds and lines on offer. 

We can support Bournemouth +1/1.5 at 1.91, a selection that makes money as long as the Cherries avoid defeat or even lose by a one-goal margin.

Our proposed play has already paid out profit in 35 of 37 Everton encounters, and I’m more than happy to support a repeat on Sunday.


Monza and Lecce both secured promotion to Serie A for the start of this season, yet the two teams have travelled in contrasting directions. 

Despite losing their first five fixtures in their debut top-flight campaign, Monza rapidly recovered to consolidate comfortably in the top-half of the table.

In contrast, a bright Lecce start began to disintegrate through the winter, and the visitors now sit only three points above the relegation zone with two rounds of football still to play. 

Like Everton, Lecce’s desperation and motivation for points has made the Giallorossi artificially short in the market, and I’m quite comfortable opposing Il Lupi on Sunday. 

This match-up isn’t far off a pick ‘em and that’s simply disrespectful to Monza’s progress.

Over the last 31 fixtures, Raffaele Palladino’s posse rank sixth in Serie A for points earned – Milan have picked up a solitary point more during that same sample, whilst the Biancorossi have performed better than the likes of Roma. 

Only Napoli have lost fewer games over that 31-game segment with Monza suffering just seven defeats.

More recently, the newcomers have been beaten once in 12, with the Biancorossi toppling the likes of Napoli and Fiorentina at their Stadio Brianteo base. 

Last week Palladino’s outfit triumphed at Sassuolo to make it five wins from seven unbeaten outings and so backing Monza with a 0-ball start at 1.88 holds plenty of appeal against struggling Lecce.

Lecce have tabled a solitary success in 13 and have managed only seven victories all season. Exclude the bottom-six and the visitors have taken top honours in four of 26 Serie A showdowns, and once again, the motivation factor has been grossly overestimated in the market odds, making the Giallorossi easily opposable this weekend.

Recommended Bets

  • Bournemouth +1/1.5 in Everton vs Bournemouth– 1 unit @ 1.91
  • Monza +0 Asian Handicap in Monza vs Lecce – 1 unit @ 1.88

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