After another 2-0 weekend on Insights, Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies with plays from Belgium and Serie A this Sunday.
GOAL FRENZY BACKED IN BELGIUM
Belgium’s First Division A, also known as the Pro League, is a curious concept.
The eighteen teams play home and away matches before the top-half of the division splits into two sets of play-offs.
The leading four sides see their season-long points tallies halved before entering a round-robin tournament to conclude the campaign and decide the champion.
We’re two weeks into championship play-offs, and it couldn’t be tighter at the top.
Cup winners Antwerp lead joint-regular season leaders Union St Gilloise and Genk by a solitary point and on Sunday the latter pair face-off in a mouthwatering match-up from the capital.
The First Division A has been a high-scoring division in recent years and 2022/23 has been no different.
The Belgium top-flight has averaged 3.03 goals per-game with 58% of contests producing Over 2.5 Goals, and 36% of fixtures featuring four strikes or more. Here we have two of the chief protagonists in terms of goals output now going head-to-head.
Both regular-season meetings between Union St Gilloise and Genk ended in a 2-1 scoreline, and the duo have each returned a chunky 71% hit-rate for Over 2.5 Goals across the campaign.
The high-flyers have combined to score in all bar five of their 68 regular season match-ups, and have been on-target in three of their collective four play-off outings too.
Over 2.5 and Both Teams To Score backers were paid in three of those four play-off dates, and BTTS has proven popular when the two teams are in action.
Indeed, both sides have obliged in 74% of St Gilloise showdowns, including 12 of 14 encounters with top-eight sides. Meanwhile, Genk saw 11 of their 14 against the same standard of opposition follow suit.
Looking deeper, across 32 grouped games against the league’s elite – including play-offs – Union St Gilloise and Genk have managed to score in 29 (91%) yet have managed to record a paltry tally of just three (9%) clean sheets along the way.
That’s led to a chunky 21 (66%) of Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score winners with 3.41 goals per-game on average.
The Expected Goals (xG) average of those same 32 contests comes in at a hefty 3.06 xG, whilst 17 shots taken from inside the penalty area on a per-game basis.
A repeat of those figures should bring our proposed Over 2.5/3.0 Goals selection into play with odds of 1.89 holding plenty of appeal. A goal total of three or more will guarantee profit.
BOLOGNA APPEAL AGAINST DISTRACTED ROMA
Roma have been hit hard by injuries and suspensions in recent weeks, yet the Giallorossi squad appeared reasonably healthy ahead of Thursday night’s crunch Europa League contest with Bayer Leverkusen.
That clash has taken priority over domestic duties with Jose Mourinho opting to make major changes to his starting XI for last week’s date with Inter.
Mourinho wrote himself into club folklore with success in the Europa Conference League last season, and there’s a fair argument to suggest the Portuguese tactician will have his eyes firmly on the European prize as we enter the business end of the campaign.
Roma’s league form has faltered recently, and the capital club are now five points adrift of a top-four finish.
Europa League glory is the Giallorossi’s best chance of securing Champions League football next season, and Mourinho is investing full focus on the two-legged semi-final.
It’s therefore quite likely to anticipate a rested and rotated Roma side for Sunday’s tricky trip to Bologna, so opposing the visitors here makes complete sense.
Mourinho’s men have managed just four wins and five losses across their last 11 Serie A encounters, whilst on their travels Roma have picked up top honours only twice in nine since November.
There’s more than enough ammunition to support Bologna +0.0/0.5 at 1.85 with the hosts proving awkward operators at their Stadio Renato Dall’Ara base.
Thiago Motta’s team are safely ensconced in mid-table and have suffered just four league defeats in 17 coming into this match-up, with three of those losses occurring away.
Bologna have been beaten just three times on home soil this season and have posted a mightily impressive W3-D3-L1 when welcoming top-half teams to Emilia-Romagna.
Bologna are a stubborn unit – just one visitor has plundered multiple goals here – and supporting them with a plus handicap should give us a good run for our money.
We’ll earn a half-stakes pay-out should the game end all-square, and collect the full bounty if the Rossoblu pick up maximum points on Sunday evening.
- Over 2.5/3.0 Goals in Union St Gilloise vs Genk– 1 unit @ 1.89
- Bologna +0.0/0.5 in Bologna vs Roma – 1 unit @ 1.86
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