Martin Laurence: One final weekend trip to the continent

7 min

This weekend I venture to Spain, France and Italy for value this time around, starting in sunny Seville with a game of little significance to the hosts in particular.

Sevilla vs Alaves

Having picked up a point in the derby with Real Betis last weekend, while Getafe suffered defeat to Real Madrid, Sevilla guaranteed a seventh-placed finish and with it a return to the Europa League. Alaves, meanwhile, picked up all three points against Athletic Club to keep their hopes of a top half finish alive following a strong end to the campaign.

Indeed, it’s the visitors that have enjoyed a far greater run of late, picking up 15 points from their last seven La Liga matches. That tally is enough to rank second since the beginning of April, ahead of the likes of Barcelona and the Madrid rivals.

Further back still, in 13th over the same timeframe, are Sevilla on nine points, so the odds on the away side coming away with a result certainly don’t correlate with the recent records of these two sides.

Moreover, with ten points from their last four matches on the road, and not a single goal conceded in said outings, Alaves are the form team in the entire division away from home. Given that defensive resolve of late, my tip – and a conservative one at that – would be on the visitors to start with +1.5 this Saturday.

Rennes vs Montpellier

One of a number of matches in Ligue 1 to carry significance on the final day, Rennes currently hold the upper hand in the race for fifth spot and a Europa League finish after three consecutive victories. Their clash with Montpellier is far from straightforward, despite their visitors position in mid-table, but the fact that a point would be enough for the home side suggests that this could be a cagey affair to say the least.

Indeed, everything points towards a game with very little goalmouth action on Saturday night, with the hosts set to cap off a superb season despite a very modest home record.

Indeed, Sabri Lamouchi’s side have scored just 20 goals at home so far, which is only better than four sides in France’s top-flight – all of whom are situated in the bottom five.

Montpellier, meanwhile, have scored the joint-fewest goals on the road (15) but also boast the best defensive record away from home, with their 18 away trips thus far averaging just 1.56 goals per game.

When you combine Rennes’ home and Montpellier’s away games this season just 25 percent (9/36) have seen over 2.5 goals, while none of the last six meetings between the two have ended with three or more goals scored. All things considered, this should be one of the safest unders bets of the entire season.

AC Milan vs Fiorentina

In reality, a point for either side in last weekend’s meeting between Milan and Atalanta looks to have assured both a European finish following Fiorentina’s shock defeat to Cagliari, but the visitors will hope to end strongly nonetheless.

The dream of paying tribute to late captain Davide Astori with a place in the top seven may prove beyond them, but the Viola will want to send the fans away with something to cheer following an emotionally charged end to the campaign.

Their hosts this Sunday, meanwhile, know that they will be back in the Europa League next season despite an underwhelming finish to a topsy-turvy season by all accounts. The Rossoneri have won just two of their last six home matches in Serie A – both against teams battling the drop – and just two of their last ten games in all competitions in total.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, have lost just two of their last 13 away games in Italy’s top-flight – winning seven of the last ten – and should cause problems for Milan side that has stuttered to the finish line. A repeat of the 1-1 draw between the sides earlier in the season is a real possibility from what should be a tight, low scoring match in San Siro.

Recommended bets:

Alaves +1.5 at 1.77
Rennes v Montpellier Under 2.5 at 1.83
Fiorentina +0.5 at 2.13

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