As ever Mark O’Haire has done the heavy lifting so you don’t have to with three bets for the weekend beginning in Turin on Friday night.
Juventus v Inter Milan (Friday 19:30)
Juventus are enjoying their best start to a Serie A season since three points were introduced for a win. The Bianconeri came away from Fiorentina with a thumping 3-0 victory last weekend to make it 13 wins from 14 unbeaten fixtures. Nine of those victories have already arrived by a margin of two goals or more.
The Old Lady’s only hiccup came in a 1-1 home draw with Genoa and Max Allegri’s men have now tabled 40 points from their opening encounters, a new record by an Italian top-tier team. If Juve continue at their current pace, they’ll conclude the campaign with a barely-believable 108 points.
Allegri insists the secret to the Old Lady’s success is “the humility to work at the same rate physically as your opponents, then technique makes the difference.” And he’ll be looking for Juve to make another major mark on Friday night when old rivals Inter Milan arrive at the Allianz Stadium for the always excellent Derby d’Italia.
The Bianconeri have already beaten Napoli and Lazio here by two-goal margins and the hosts are fancied to overcome a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle here at kind 1.19 odds. Under Allegri, Juve have W72-L8-LD3 at their Turin base, with 47 (57%) of their triumphs arriving by a two-goal margin or better.
Focussing on top-six teams, the Old Lady have W19-D1-L2 as hosts in Serie A during Allegri’s tenure with nine victories achieved by two goals or more.
Our chosen selection will see us make money should the home side come out on top, with a full pay-out earned if Juventus win by more than a solitary strike.
Inter Milan twice saw their lead cancelled out at injury-hit Roma last weekend in an entertaining contest, although the Nerazzurri were extremely fortunate as they controversially opened the scoring moments after their opponents should have been given a stonewall penalty. Even referees chief Marcello Nicchi accepted that an ‘inconceivable error’ meant Roma were not awarded a spot-kick.
Inter boss Luciano Spalletti shrugged off the controversy and felt a 2-2 draw was “valuable for both Roma and Inter because it shows we are on the right track.” However, supporters weren’t impressed by the Nerazzurri’s performance considering their opponents were missing a whole host of key players.
Now Inter – 11 points behind Juventus – travel to Turin have returned just W3-D2-L2 against clubs currently in 11th or above in 2018/19. Atalanta put four past Spaletti’s side in their November meeting and that soft centre could be exposed with the guests returning W1-D1-L3 in their most recent five on their travels.
Juventus are the division’s top goalscorers and have shipped the fewest – not since their opening day triumph has any domestic opponent scored more than twice against the Old Lady – and their efficiency in both boxes should ensure the hosts come out on top once more on Friday night.
Selection: Juventus -0.75
Leicester v Tottenham
Saturday night’s Premier League showdown promises plenty at the King Power Stadium and backing a goal-heavy game appears the smartest way to approach this fixture.
Leicester have lost all five of their encounters sides currently occupying eighth and above, although Claude Puel’s posse have scored in each reverse.
The Foxes have a fantastic record for getting on the scoresheet against the division’s elite, netting in 12 of their last 13 meetings with top-eight teams despite 10 ending in defeats.
City will certainly fancy their chances of hurting a Spurs side that’s conceded in five of their most recent six Premier League outings, and in 10 of their 15 fixtures across the campaign. Tottenham are giving up 0.89 xG from open play on average – only eight top-flight teams are allowing more – and so it’s difficult to have faith in an away clean sheet here.
Nevertheless, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been smooth operators when excluding the top-six this term. Spurs have won 10 of their 11 meetings with teams in eight and below as only Manchester City have stopped the Londoners scoring.
Collectively the pair are averaging 2.82 xG per-game, whilst 17/30 (57%) of their combined matches have delivered Over 2.5 Goals with 9/16 (56%) following suit when drilling down to their respective home/away records.
I’m happy to support another goal-filled game and back Over 2.5 Goals at 1.82.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Stuttgart
Unlikely Bundesliga title challengers Borussia Monchengladbach lost vital ground on runaway table-toppers Borussia Dortmund last weekend when going down 2-0 at fellow high-flyers RB Leipzig.
For the second week running, the Foals conceded the opening goal inside the first 10 minutes. However, this time around there was no comeback from Dieter Hecking’s men. The reverse was only Gladbach’s third of the campaign, all of which have arrived on the road.
So the North Rhine-Westphalians will relish returning home this weekend for what should be a straightforward success over Stuttgart on Sunday. The Foals have made their best start to a Bundesliga season for decades and with the Hinrunde closing in, can confidently say they’ve been one of Germany’s best.
Hecking’s close-season switch away from their traditional 4-4-2 to a more dynamic and attacking 4-3-3 system that has reaped plenty of rewards, particularly headlines wins over Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich – at the Allianz Arena to boot.
Gladbach’s swashbuckling approach has seen the Foals only out-scored by Dortmund as they’ve racked up two goals or more in all bar three of their 14 Bundesliga outings.
At Borussia Park, Hecking’s outfit have W6-D0-L0 with a splendid 18-3 goal difference across those six fixtures. The hosts have won by a margin of two goals or more in seven of their eight victories in 2018/19, including five on home soil, and we can support the Foals with a -1 Asian Handicap start at 1.83 here.
Stuttgart picked up a vital victory at home to Augsburg last time out to keep the Swabians outside the automatic relegation places in Germany. Nevertheless, VFB are renowned tough operators at their Mercedes-Benz Arena base, and tend to struggle on their travels.
Die Roten have been beaten in five of their eight away days, and conceded at least twice in six of those encounters. The guests have been beaten in seven of their eight meetings with teams in 11th and above – shipping 20 goals – and since the start of last season Stuttgart have lost 15/24 (63%) away days, nine of which were by two goals or more.
Selection: Monchengladbach -1
- Juventus -0.75 Asian Handicap (1.79)
- Leicester v Tottenham – Over 2.5 Goals (1.82)
- Borussia Monchengladbach -1 Asian Handicap (1.83)
On this week’s Football Podcast Host Ali Maxwell is joined by Nigel Seeley and Mark O’Haire to look ahead to the weekend’s Premier League action – focusing on Newcastle v Wolves, Bournemouth v Liverpool and Cardiff v Southampton. Listen below and search for ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’ on your preferred podcasting app to subscribe.