Mark Stinchcombe: “Burnley are massively overachieving this season and at some point we should see them regress to the mean”

9 min

Talk about another weekend of bad luck!

Having backed Man City to win in the Derby we looked home and dry at half time with City two nil up and United yet to have a shot. City hadn’t lost a game when they’ve scored first all season, they hadn’t lost at home since 2016 and Guardiola had never lost from a two goal lead. But they somehow lost 3-2!

It’s hard to say we had a bad bet though. City outshot them 20-5, had 60% possession and won the xG 3.01-1.20. To put those xG figures into context, that makes City a 1.37 shot, so having backed them at 1.87 at kick-off that one hurts. I don’t think a single person saw that result coming at half-time but that’s the beauty of football.

Chris Smalling and more prominently Paul Pogba broke Man City and Mark’s heart last weekend.

It was similar frustration in Madrid where we backed Real to overcome Atletico, although the game didn’t play out in quite the same dramatic fashion. Real outshot their neighbours 30-9, had 65%-35% possession and created much the better chances winning the xG 3.03-1.20. Like City this made Madrid a 1.37 chance, so having been on at 1.79, it’s another one to put down to bad variance.

To partially save the weekend, it was pleasing to call Dortmund right again and cash in on their 3-0 success. I’ve been with them and against them a lot recently, and it always comes down to price. This time I made them value and success was fully deserved with a comfortable xG victory of 1.60-0.61.

This week’s bets are harder to call

We’re at the midpoint in April, and at this time of the season, it’s very hard to estimate teams motivation with nothing to play for. Generally I don’t get involved in these matches unless there’s a huge price worth chancing. And with the MLS, Chinese Super League and Swedish Allsvenskan all in their infancy, value was harder to come by this weekend but there’s a couple of games I like the look of.

Firstly there’s a battle for Europe at Turf Moor on Saturday as Burnley entertain Leicester where we have a goal expectation of 2.30. This match sees seventh place play eighth with both sides going for Europe so I’m hoping for an open-ish game. Seventh place will be enough for Europa League qualification if Southampton don’t win the FA Cup.

No Love lost here?Leicester City’s Danny Simpson (left) and Burnley’s Phil Bardsley after the final whistle the last time these teams met.

As you can imagine Burnley’s games haven’t seen a lot of goals (1.84pg) but they’ve won their last four with three goals scored in each after a 12-match winless run.

I’m not sure it’s been that well documented but Burnley are massively overachieving this season. Expected points has them down in 14th and they have the most overachieving defence with their xG seeing them conceding an extra 15 goals.

The goals could come at Turf Moor

Last season Burnley conceded 55 in their 38 games (1.45pg) which was expected, compared to 28 in 32 so far this season (0.88pg). When they were relegated in 2014/15 they conceded 53 which wasn’t too much different to the 58 expected. So at some point we should see them regress to the mean and concede a few more goals and I think it’s worth taking on here.

While the last two meetings between these two have both finished 1-0 to the home side but that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. At the King Power in December there were 30 shots between the teams returning an xG of 2.24 and in this fixture last season there were 37 shots returning an xG of 3.30.

Burnley’s matches average 2.50 xG per-game which is obviously a big increase on the actual 1.84, with Leicester’s averaging 2.80 xG which is not too dissimilar to their actual average of 2.90. There has to be more upside than downside taking over 2.0 goals with money back if there’s only two goals and I’m betting over 2.0 goals at around 1.8.

Back to Germany to find some value

My second bet comes on Sunday in the highly anticipated Revierderby between Schalke and Dortmund. This is second versus third in the race for Champions League spots as just six points separates 2nd-6th. But it’s not Dortmund’s match odds I want to concentrate on this week, it’s the goal line where I was surprised to see a line of 2.5.

I thought it would be more like 2.75 with Dortmund’s relentless attacking.

Looking back I think I’m on the right lines with this seasons 4-4 classic at the Westfalenstadion having a goal line of 3.0 and this fixture last season having 2.75. Schalke’s matches are averaging 2.69 goals per-game this season, which is in line with the goal expectancy of 2.70, but Dortmund’s is much higher at 3.31 and I believe it’s Dortmund’s play that will dictate the match.

Their constant attacking will produce goals and leave gaps for Schalke to exploit and this fixture usually contains goals with 38 in their last 12 meetings (3.17pg), especially in Gelsenkirchen with 12 of the last 15 going over 2.5 (80%) with 48 in total (3.20pg). Defender Matija Nastasic is also suspended for Schalke which should weaken them at the back and I’m happy to have one point at 1.95 on the over 2.5 market and hope Dortmund win us some money once again.

Recommended bets:

  • Over 2.0 goals Burnley – Leicester ~1.82 – 2 points
  • Over 2.5 goals Schalke – Dortmund ~1.95 – 1 point

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