WeLoveBetting.co.uk’s Mark O’Haire returns with betting selections from Scotland and Germany. Follow Mark O’Haire on Twitter and subscribe to the Matchbook Betting Podcast to hear his thoughts on this weekend’s football action – iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, or simply search for Matchbook Betting Podcast on your preferred podcasting app.
Now, onto the bets…
Kilmarnock v Hearts (Friday 7.45pm)
The Scottish Premiership has been one of the most absorbing divisions in 2018/19. With Celtic searching for an eight successive title, the revival of Rangers and the varying degree of challenges from Aberdeen, Hearts and Kilmarnock, plus the resistance of St Johnstone, have led to numerous trials and tribulations at the top.
Celtic’s midweek win has lifted the Bhoys six points clear of the chasing pack, but surprise high-flyers Kilmarnock can close the gap to three on Friday night when they welcome Hearts to Rugby Park. And I’m amazed to see the East Ayrshire side at odds as big as 2.45 to win.
Manager Steve Clarke has performed minor miracles since arriving in the hot-seat in October 2017, guiding a previously winless Killie to a fifth-placed finish with a record points haul. Clarke opted to invest faith in continuity and camaraderie in the summer, keeping incomings to a minimum and the club have gone from strength-to-strength.
That upward trend has continued into 2018/19 too. No top-tier team picked up as many points in 2018 as Kilmarnock and Friday night’s hosts have suffered only five defeats in 35 Premiership outings since the start of 2018 (W22-D8-L5). Killie are third in the current standings on merit – their xG numbers being bang in-line with their goals and results output.
With such kind quotes available on Kilmarnock, I’m very keen to get stuck into the 1.71 available on Clarke’s charges off a scratch 0 start on the Asian Handicap line.
Killie have made Rugby Park into a fortress under his tutorship, claiming W17-D2-L5 here as hosts, including eight victories from 11 this season.
This season, Kilmarnock are boasting a 61% xG ratio on home soil, shipping more than a solitary strike just once. Celtic and Rangers have both departed Rugby Park pointless this campaign, and even without the recently departed Greg Stewart, there’s enough ability in the home ranks to make a mockery of pre-match quotes here.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund (Saturday 2.30pm)
Marco Reus returned to the Dortmund fold last weekend to help inspire BVB to a 5-1 victory over lowly Hannover. It was the 15th Bundesliga win in 19 since Lucien Favre took charge in the summer and keeps Bayern Munich at bay, for now.
Although Die Schwarzgelben eventually ran out deservedly cushy winners at the Westfalenstadion, it wasn’t an entirely easy ride for the table-toppers. Hannover might be languishing in the relegation zone but they gave Dortmund a stern examination and forced goalkeeper Roman Burki into a series of smart first-half saves.
Favre was pleased with the end result but admitted things could have been different had Burki not played a significant role in the opening 45 minutes. The league leaders now turn their attention towards Saturday’s mouthwatering match-up with surprise high-flyers Eintracht Frankfurt and it’s hard to imagine this fixture failing to ignite.
Last weekend, Frankfurt were held to a 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen. The stalemate kept Die Adler in fifth but their advantage over the chasing pack has been reduced to three points and it could have been worse had keeper Kevin Trapp not pulled off a series of smart stops.
Like Dortmund, Eintracht have been led by their electric forward options and last weekend was no different. Ante Rebic and Sebastien Haller each notched equalisers for Die Adler, and along with Luka Jovic, the trio have contributed 31 of Frankfurt’s 39-goal tally this term, making them the most feared frontline in the German top-flight.
Head coach Adi Hutter admitted the match at Bremen was a “good point for us”, acknowledging his team had come under plenty of pressure and the Swiss boss will be keen to improve upon a return of just W1-D1-L5 when taking on teams in eight and above here.
But it’s goals we’re interested in as two of the Bundesliga’s top three goalscoring sides collide and Over 2.75 Goals just has to be backed around the 1.75 mark on Saturday.
Collectively the pair have seen 29/38 (76%) of their combined fixture feature at least three goals with 17 (45%) also breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier.
Matches involving the pair have produced an average of 3.53 goals per-game as they’ve combined to score in all bar three of their Bundesliga battles in 2018/19. The Expected Goals average involving the duo stands at 2.83, and only accounting for open play efforts the number sits at a very positive 2.09.
I’m not sure many punters will be rushing to oppose goals at the current line so take advantage whilst you can. It should be fun.
- Kilmarnock v Hearts – Kilmarnock +0 Asian Handicap (1.71)
- Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund – Over 2.75 Goals (1.75)