Rochdale vs Tottenham was a bit of fun last weekend, wasn’t it? Our under 3.25 goals bet was looking home and hosed as the match drew to a close. But then….
- 87 minutes: Penalty Tottenham. On average 79% of penalties are scored. But here I’m thinking that chance is higher based on the difference in ability between Kane and a League 1 ‘keeper. If it ends 1-2 then we’ll get a half win on our bet – I’ll settle for that.*
- 88 minutes: Goal Tottenham, 1-2. Bit of squeak but Spurs comfortably through, and we’ll get our half win. Spurs just need to stay composed now…*
- 93rd minute: Goal Rochdale, 2-2! What? That wasn’t in the script. 5 minutes ago I had a comfortable winner, now it’s a loser!
That’s how gambling goes sometimes.
Given the way the game unfolded, I think it’s acceptable to say this was a value loser.
Rochdale’s expected goals in this match was 0.5, yet they scored two. They only had six shots in the entire match!
Being able to understand and accept bad beats is an important facet of betting. Not being able to can see you deviating away from future bets based on one result. It’s the long-term results we’re interested in, not one game.
Experience helps here, having been through this a number of times before, and understanding and accepting variance is also crucial.
Some could argue I was due some bad luck after Valencia came back from 1-0 down to beat Malaga with two late goals, including a penalty, but I think it’s slightly unfair in this instance since Marcelino, for some reason, choose to bench both Zaza and Rodrigo despite contributing 40% of Valencia’s goals this season. Any team missing that amount of firepower is bound to suffer. With these two both coming on after an hour and Valencia subsequently going on to win; I feel vindicated in my selection.
On to this weekend and there are two huge matches on Sunday. Man Utd host Chelsea at 14:05 followed by the League Cup final between Arsenal and Man City.
Boring, Boring, United – Let’s Make Some Money
At Old Trafford, this clash comes after a week of Champions League ties where both sides spent the majority of their games on the back foot. Man Utd had just 43% possession in Seville, facing 25-6 shots, with Chelsea having just 27% of the ball as Barcelona monopolised proceedings.
With that in mind, I think there’ll be an element of tiredness about this fixture, and with both managers hating each other, I think they’ll both adopt a ‘must not lose’ approach.
In recent years this fixture has been scarce of goals – just 23 have been scored in the last 13 meetings (1.77pg) – with the scorelines at Old Trafford reading 2-0, 0-0, 1-1, 0-0, and 0-1.
Man Utd won this game 2-0 last season but the expected goals saw just 1.17. Both sides are in good shape defensively, Utd have kept the opposition out in nine of their last eleven games, and overall it’s 23 clean sheets this season – three more than any other Premier League side. Chelsea have the 2nd best away defence in the league and have kept clean sheets in 7 of their last 10. In Conte’s six matches against the ‘big 6’ this season, only 11 goals have been scored. So here I’ll be backing under 2.5 goals at around 1.80 as well as a small bet on the 0-0 at ~9.5.
The attention then turns to Wembley where I’ve got to take on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
A Pep In Their Step
It’s Arsenal vs Manchester City in the Football League final this Sunday, and this Arsenal panel is looking light. Firstly, there will be no Lacazette or Mkhitaryan, Ozil is ill and Ramsey is highly doubtful, and of course, Wenger shipped Sanchez, Giroud, and Walcott during the January transfer window.
Throw in that Wenger has already said David Ospina is starting in goal, and Arsenal look decidedly weakened.
Wenger’s record away against the ‘big 6’ currently reads W0 D8 L20. Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, has won five out of six against these sides this season by an aggregate score of 18 – 7.
Despite making the final twice before, Wenger has never won the League Cup, whereas City have won it as recently as 2016 and 2014. City won 3-1 when the sides met in November in Manchester, with the expected goals favouring the Citizens 2.24 – 0.38. Indeed, Arsenal played at Wembley just two weeks ago, and whilst they only lost 1-0 to Tottenham, they were overrun for the majority of the game, comfortably losing the xG 2.98 – 0.57.
I expect a Man City win with a bit to spare here and Guardiola to pick up his first piece of silverware.
The Price Is Wrong.
Sandwiched between these two games is my final bet this weekend, which again comes from La Liga, and more specifically the San Mames between Athletic Bilbao and Malaga.
As soon as I saw the prices I had to get involved.
Bilbao were 1.44 v Las Palmas two weeks ago, and I discussed last week how there isn’t much difference between the Islanders and Malaga, yet Bilbao are somehow 1.76 here!
Malaga were unfortunate in the circumstances that lead to their loss to Valencia as previously mentioned, but there is just nothing in their team to get excited about. They’ve now lost 17 of 24 matches, and away from home that reads 10 defeats in 12, by an aggregate score of 5 – 20.
Bilbao haven’t had the best of seasons, but so often form gets affected when smaller sides try to juggle league fixtures with European football. They’re currently sitting 14th, but they’re by far the most underperforming side in the league in front of goal by nearly 10 goals.
One of their issues this season is trying to manage the minutes of 37-year-old top scorer Aritz Aduriz. He’s started all 11 Europa League ties, including qualifiers, but has only started 16 league games. It’s noticeable as well, as their win % drops by almost 30% without him, winning just 1 of 10.
With qualification for the next round of Europe in good shape following a 3-1 lead from their trip to Spartak Moscow, and having served a suspension against Atletico last weekend, Aduriz should be in line to start here.
I mentioned Malaga’s lack of investment in replacing the quality they’ve sold last week. What did Bilbao do when Laporte left for Man City? They spent €32M on Inigo Martinez just to emphasise the opposite direction both clubs are going in.
- Under 2.5 goals Man Utd v Chelsea ~1.80 – 1 point
- 0-0 Man Utd v Chelsea ~9.5 – 0.25 points
- Man City -0.75 ~1.81 – 1 point
- Athletic Bilbao -0.75 ~2.04 – 1 point