Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend’s European action with a pair of plays from Serie A and the Premier League.
NAPOLI TOO BIG TO IGNORE
Silly season has arrived around Europe. At this time of the campaign, motivation becomes a major factor in the production of odds-making and often sides are artificially inflated in price due to their supposed ‘on the beach’ status.
Yet this can create opportunities if you feel the market has over or under compensated, such might be the case here.
Napoli welcome Genoa to the Stadio San Paolo for their final home league game of 2021/22.
Luciano Spalletti’s hosts weren’t quite able to sustain their Scudetto challenge but are guaranteed a top-four finish ahead of the final two matchdays, and so, in theory, the Partenopei have little left to play for bar pride.
However, with star duo Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne probably playing their last match in front of their adoring home support, Napoli are unlikely to just roll over for relegation scrappers Genoa.
In fact, the Naples outfit have a fully fit squad to select from and have proven in their most recent two outings that they’re still capable of quality performances.
Spalletti’s side smashed Sassuolo 6-1 in their last home encounter before following up with a 1-0 triumph at Torino.
Napoli have taken top honours in eight of 10 tussles when welcoming clubs in 10th and below and their odds to enhance that record have been grossly overvalued due to the fact they’re playing a Genoa team in desperation mode.
Genoa are two points from safety having tabled only four victories from 36 Serie A showdowns all season. But just because the Rossoblu need the points, doesn’t automatically make them a much stronger suit, as the market suggests.
Admittedly, two of those four wins arrived in their most recent three contests, although both came at their Marassi base.
Indeed, Genoa have suffered three successive losses on their travels, scored once away in seven league dates and have registered a solitary success on the road.
The visitors have failed to score in seven of nine trips to top-half teams (W0-D2-L7) yet are priced in the same range as Milan, Juventus, Roma and Lazio when they pitched up in Naples earlier this term.
Ordinarily, Napoli would be around the 1.30 mark to succeed in a home clash with Genoa and further evidence to support such a case can be found in the closing prices of Genoa’s hosts this term: Inter (1.31), Juventus (1.22), Roma (1.37), Atalanta (1.35), Milan (1.38).
With that in mind, Napoli are just too big to ignore at 1.84.
BRIGHTON TO PILE MORE PAIN ON LEEDS
For the second successive Premier League game, Leeds shot themselves in the foot in their quest for top-flight survival.
Operating in the bottom three with just two matches to play, the Whites conceded early and had a player sent off against Arsenal last Sunday, and then repeated the unenviable feat yet again on Wednesday evening against Chelsea.
Setting up in a system with four centre-backs in a five-man defence, which included the most talented attacking player in Raphinha on the right against Chelsea, the Yorkshire giants were determined to make life difficult for their high-flying guests, but once again, composure, and a lack of cutting edge proved Leeds’ biggest weaknesses.
With Luke Ayling and Dan James now suspended, Jack Harrison joining Stuart Dallas on the treatment table, and Raphinha suffering from cramp, the Whites are down to the bare bones for Sunday’s latest showdown against Brighton.
Elsewhere, Patrick Bamford could return to the squad this weekend but is unlikely to start seeing as he lacks match fitness.
So it’s difficult to see Jesse Marsch’s outfit bouncing back immediately. The hosts have conceded 37 goals in their home league games this season, their second-worst ever record in a top-flight campaign, and are coming up against the Premier League’s fourth-best away team in terms of points accrued, as well as the division’s fifth-best away defence.
Brighton certainly aren’t ‘on the beach’, either. The Seagulls are gunning for their highest-ever finish in a league season and have found top form in recent weeks too, thrashing Manchester United and Wolves in their last two outings, picking up four triumphs in six and suffering a solitary loss in seven (against table-topping Manchester City).
Graham Potter’s posse have been beaten in only four away days in 2021/22 and should be well capable of clinching at least a point from Elland Road considering.
With that in mind, the option to support Brighton +0 at 1.97 is just tempting to ignore with Leeds’ selection issues and major concerns in both boxes.
- Napoli to win in Napoli vs Genoa – 2 units @ 1.84
- Brighton +0 in Leeds vs Brighton – 2 units @ 1.97