Mark Stinchcombe: It's on to Kiev for the big one!

10 min


It was another winning weekend but unfortunately only a small profit when on another day it could have been a full house.

Utrecht – Vitesse had 3+ goals, PSG only drew 0-0 with Caen and Tianjin Quanjian beat Shanghai Shenhua 2-1.

Having backed over 2.75 goals in Utrecht v Vitesse and there having been three goals after only 46 minutes, it was really frustrating that’s how it finished and I only ended up with a half win. Especially with Vitesse being 5-3 up on aggregate and the emphasis on Utrecht to attack.

They had 62% possession, 11 corners and 8 shots but alas couldn’t score anymore as Vitesse seemed content with their two-goal cushion. This was Utrecht’s first home defeat in 16 games.

Emery departs on a quiet note

In France it was disappointing in Unai Emery’s last game in charge he chose to leave out the likes of Julian Draxler and Giovani Lo Celso for Timothy Weah and Lassana Diarra – the perils of guessing lineups. As a result their price went out to 1.98 from 1.79. However, they dominated possession with 68% and won the expected goals 1.02 – 0.44 so it was unfortunate they couldn’t get the win.

Unai Emery called off the dogs in his final game as PSG Manager.

Christopher Nkunku and Javier Pastore the guilty parties missing two good chances in the opening 15 minutes.

Emery was appointed the manager of Arsenal this week and my view on him has been a negative one for a while. I would be surprised to see him take them back into the top four and challenging for league and Champions League titles.

It was most definitely Chinese Delight last weekend

Over in China, I was on a superb bet as I correctly predicted Tianjin Quanjian shortened and went off at 1.64 having backed them at 1.94. It required an 87th minute Alexandre Pato goal for the winner but he also assisted the opening goal as the difference the overseas players make in the CSL previously explained showed.

There wasn’t a lot in the game in terms of quality of chances, but long-term quality players will outperform lesser players.

On to the main event this Saturday

This weekend I am focusing on the biggest club match of the season on Saturday night – the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. You can listen to the preview below on the Matchbook Betting Podcast.

I want to take a look at some of the side markets on Matchbook for this showcase event.

In terms of goalscorers, we have two obvious candidates in Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. Ronaldo has scored 44 goals in 43 games this season and Salah 44 goals in 51 games. While Ronaldo has been on the pitch he has scored 39.45% of Madrid’s goals, while Salah has scored 35.9% of Liverpool’s. Based on the markets goal expectancy and supremacy we are looking at the following prices:

  • Ronaldo 1.95 anytime, 4.82 1st
  • Salah 2.37 anytime, 6.34 1st

As we can see these prices are pretty much falling within the market. With that in mind, it’s tempting to look to the first goalscorer market in lieu of a bigger price. The advantage here is we can post up requesting a bigger price.

With Salah tending to share goals with Firmino and Mane, and Ronaldo peaking at the right time of the season with 25 goals in his last 19 games, it’s enticing to side with the Portuguese star, particularly when comparing shot data.

The reigning Ballon D’Or winner has opened the scoring in 6 of his last 15 games (40%) whereas Salah’s is only 23% for the season (11 in 48 starts).

The corner expectancy is set around over/under 10 and that seems a bit low for two attack-minded teams. Looking at the two sides this season the data in the league and Europe is as follows:

If we were to take an average of the two as a rough guide we would have 10.5 so there doesn’t actually look like any room to manoeuvre here.

Of course, corner betting can often come down to an interpretation of how the match might play out and sides attacking momentum.

Personally, it’s not a market I often delve into but it is always interesting to compare the underlying data to the market.

Finally, the win from behind market is an interesting one, particularly the Real Madrid one.

Since Jurgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool, they have surrendered 47 points away from winning positions in the Premier League – more than any other team in Europe.

This season it’s 14 points and it’s not just happening in the league. 1-0 and 2-1 up in Roma only to lose 4-2, 3-0 up in Sevilla only to draw 3-3 and 2-1 ahead at home to them only to finish 2-2. Even the FA Cup run ended in the same way against relegated West Brom, taking an early lead only to lose 3-2.

For all his fans Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has failed to adjust his tactics to counteract conceding goals when his team has a lead.

Their record against ‘the big 6’ in the league this season is not great either, winning only two of eight, losing all four at the top five. Winning positions were thrown away v Tottenham (twice), Chelsea and Arsenal.

And Real Madrid are the masters of recovery. This season they have recovered deficits in 14 games to leave with points, winning six times including away at Bayern Munich and at home to PSG. This is nothing new either, winning 10 matches from losing positions last season. A combination of experience, belief, trust in Zidane’s tactics and winning mentality are key to their success.

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane has developed a midas touch when it comes to in game tactics and substitutions.

Then having a world class player also helps. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 22 goals from losing positions in the Champions League alone, compared to just 4 from Lionel Messi. At a double-figure price, it looks chancing here, given the data and Liverpool just 2.25 to score first. At worst if Madrid were to equalise, it would provide a trading position.

Recommended bets:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo 1st goalscorer 5.10+ – 0.5pts
  • Real Madrid to win from behind ~10.0 – 0.5pts

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