Mark Stinchcombe: “My bet of the season this weekend comes from La Liga, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the price of this one”

14 min

Before a ball was even kicked at the Hawthorns last weekend I knew our bet on a goalfest at West Brom v Leicester was a good one. The goal expectancy had increased from 2.35 to 2.45 come kick-off and it was all plain sailing from there. Salomon Rondon broke the deadlock after just eight minutes before Jamie Vardy swiftly equalised with a great finish after only 20 minutes meaning our bet on over 2.25 goals was already half way home.

As it was Leicester they added three more goals in the second half to make a mockery of the goal quote. The expected goals total was 2.77, which is a huge difference of 2.23, although xG can sometimes be open to interpretation and having watched the highlights it definitely felt closer to 5 than 2.77.

Regardless, I always enjoy taking advantage of the 2.25 goal lines in the Premier League and we’ll continue to look for them.

It wasn’t quite as smooth sailing in Dortmund on Sunday where we’d bet the home side at -0.75 on the handicap and come Friday morning the bet was in a bad position with the match odds drifting from 1.71 to 1.78. This was due to Dortmund losing 2-1 to Salzburg in the Europa League the night before, and for me this wasn’t an issue, but it gave over two days for the layers (and lemmings) to get stuck into opposing BVB forcing the price to an incredible 1.91.

Bad beats narrowly swerved

Anyone who waited until near kick off to get involved now had an amazing value bet, but the game was a painful sweat.

After twice taking the lead, Dortmund surrendered it in the last minute and I was all ready to label it a bad beat. But then up stepped Michy Batshuayi to smash in a winner in the 94th minute. It was a great result, particularly the way the match unfolded, and I felt vindicated in my faith in the underachieving Dortmund. It’s also time for the doubters to take another look at Batshuayi.

Batshuayi celebrates his 95th minute winner. Thank you Michy!

It’s now five in six for the Belgian and anyone who questions his ability need only look at his expected goals output across three big sides since signing with Marseille in 2014. He’s scored 36 goals, despite regularly not being first choice, returning an xG of 34.44 meaning he is as good as his figures look. He’s producing better numbers per 90 minutes than Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, so someone at Chelsea isn’t making the right decisions.

Before we move onto this week’s bets it’s worth touching on Newcastle v Southampton where I was happy to see the match go over 2.25 goals. I mentioned I envisaged the possibility of a low scoring game but with both sides under-achieving in a league where a 2.50 goal line is more common place, it would have been too clever to try and oppose goals, and with the third going in after just 57 minutes this feels like the correct decision in retrospect.

It’s time to oppose Sunderland

Onto this weekend and I’m looking towards the Championship for my first spot of value.

And after reading Mark Langdon’s first hand piece on Sunderland’s continuing demise in the Racing Post it further clarified in my mind how we should be looking to oppose Sunderland and it’s as good a time as ever to do it this weekend. Bottom of the league, five points adrift of safety and with no wins in nine, they face a Preston side with just three defeats in 21 who are only four points off the play-offs.

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman is struggling to turn Sunderland around.

One of the problems with Sunderland’s squad seems to be overpaid over-the-hill players and a lack of strikers. Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan left the club in January and Grabban in particular is a huge miss.

Having scored 12 he still accounts for 32% of their goals, while his replacement Ashley Fletcher has failed to score in his last 19 appearances.

Preston on the other hand have showed no signs of missing the departed Jordan Hugill. They post the third most shots and shots-on-target away from home while facing the fewest shots against and the disparity between these teams is shown in their respective home/away records against the opposing half of the table.

  • Sunderland at home to the top half: P10 W1 D3 L6 F10 A19 (-9)
  • Preston away to the bottom half: P8 W5 D3 L0 F14 A5 (+9)

This gap in performance doesn’t look like it’s been priced in and should be taken advantage of. I like Preston at -0.25 on the Asian Handicap, as we will get half our stake back if it’s only a draw and it’s a one point from me here.

Sing viva Espana, it’s my best of the SEASON

My bet of the season so far (yes that’s right my bet of the season) comes from La Liga where Real Betis host Espanyol. The goal line is just 2.25 and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. Betis’ matches are some of the most entertaining in the league having seen a staggering 99 goals in their 28 games at an average of 3.54pg.

Betis are the sixth highest scorers in the league with 46 (1.64pg) and they have scored just two less than second place Atletico.

But even better than this, Betis have the third worst defence having conceded 53 (1.89pg) and they are at their most lively at home where over 14 matches there has been 3.79 goals per game, and ten games have gone over 2.5 goals.

Betis’ manager Quique Setién who took over at the end of last season is known for his attractive style of football and they have a squad full of very good attacking players. Espanyol aren’t quite as exciting but they have managed 2.46 goals per game away from home and expected goals tells us they’re over-performing in defence and should have conceded at least 24% more goals. At the other end of the pitch they also possess two decent goal scorers in Gerard Moreno and Leo Baptistao.

Real Betis average 55% possession compared to Espanyol’s 46% so it will definitely be the home side who dictate play and looking at both sides average total expected goals per-match we have Betis on 3.20pg and Espanyol on 3.10. Betting over 2.25 goals with half money back if only two goals are scored looks phenomenal value and I’m having 2.5 points here.

Goals, goals, goals in the FA Cup

For my third bet this weekend I’m returning to the well and backing goals in a Leicester game against the big six.

They host Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday and this one has the potential to be a cracker. I backed over 2.5 goals when they met in the league back in December and while Claude Puel has taken charge since it’s good to the see the goals trend has continued since I first spoke about it.

In total over eight games against the big six there have been 26 goals scored at an average of 3.25pg. While in the 22 matches against the big six since the start of the 2016/17 season the data shows us there were 77 goals, at an average of 3.50pg, and 16 games went over 2.5 goals (72%).

Chelsea’s Hazard and Morata could prove too much for a leaky Leicester defence.

It’s often Leicester on the end of defeat, but Chelsea have regressed recently as shown by their price of 2.11 compared to 1.81 the last time these two sides faced each other. That price is someway understandable with a cup game and a chance of rotation following the match with Barcelona and Leicester look to have a better chance than usual, which should lend itself to a higher goal expectation.

This fixture normally delivers, with all five since Leicester’s return to the Premier League seeing over 2.5 goals so I’m hoping for a nice open cup tie with goals on the agenda. I’m having one point on over 2.5 goals here and I’m hoping for another profitable weekend for us all.

Recommended bets:

  • Preston -0.25 @1.95 – 1 point
  • Over 2.25 goals Real Betis v Espanyol @ 1.89 – 2.5 points
  • Over 2.5 goals Leicester v Chelsea @ 1.99 – 1 point

Click here for Matchbook’s football markets.