Analyst Mark O’Haire returns to highlight his favourite betting opportunities from across this weekend’s action in Europe with Ligue 1 in France and the Dutch Eredivisie top of the menu.
The 2019/20 column almost began in perfect style. Mo Salah got us off to a great start last Friday night, banking as a First Goalscorer selection at 4.20 in the Premier League’s curtain-raiser. But it was pretty galling to see Bournemouth and Sheffield United’s 1-1 draw ruin our Over 2.5 Goals pick, even more so after reviewing the footage and post-match data.
Nevertheless, we’re back on the horse this weekend with a Franco-Dutch feel with our full focus switching to continental action.
Knowing Me, Knowing You, Den Haag
Eight of this weekend’s nine Eredivisie games have a pre-match goals line set at a flat 3.00, understandable considering the league averaged a huge 3.47 goals last term with 66% of matches producing Over 2.5 Goals profit and a further 44% paying-out for Over 3.5 Goals backers. However, the prospects of a high-scoring contest look undervalued in Den Haag.
Yes, ADO Den Haag entertain newly-promoted Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday night with a goal line set at 2.75.
In these sorts of situations, I’m often tempted to just blindly attack but the more sensible approach is obviously to dig a little deeper; I did and the conclusion is most certainly to get with the goals at a very kind 1.83 available on Over 2.75.
Essentially, we’re making money if three or more goals are scored in The Hague. A half-stakes profit is earned should exactly three goals be plundered with four or more strikes earning a full paid-out profit. Encouraging, eh?
Looking at the hosts, Den Haag saw exactly half of last season’s outings produce four or more goals with an overall average per-game of 3.50. ADO have started this term with a 4-2 defeat at home to Utrecht and a 3-1 reverse at PSV Eindhoven last weekend, suggesting they’re still capable of coping without the loss of key forward Nasser El Khayat this summer.
Michiel Kramer has returned to spearhead the attack for Alfons Groenendijk’s group who are otherwise largely the same pool of players that pushed to within a place of the European play-off berths. A repeat performance probably looks beyond The Storks in 2019/20 but they’re unlikely to alter their attacking approach in search of progression.
Sparta Rotterdam secured immediate promotion back to the Eredivisie last time out, boasting the second-tiers second-best attack. Henk Fraser has overseen an impressive rejuvenation that’s brought together a bright and talented young squad with starlets such as Halil Dervisoglu, Deroy Duarte and Abdou Harrou all hitting the headlines.
Top-flight veteran Lars Veldwijk has proven in the past that he can be a prolific goalscorer in the Eredivisie and the club captain is expected to lead Sparta’s challenge where consolidation looks very achievable, especially after The Castle Lords’ opening two encounters – a 2-2 draw at rivals Feyenoord and a 4-1 thrashing of VVV Venlo.
Sparta’s 4-3-1-2 is designed to play on the front foot and, as Feyenoord found out, this team has no fear in their offensive approach.
Playing with the handbrake off can leave the newcomers a little open at the back, mind. The visitors recorded only four shutouts on the road last term and so plenty of entertainment is expected when they pitch up at Den Haag.
Already these two teams have beaten the Over 3.5 Goals line in both of their 2019/20 league matches, with two of those four fixtures even surpassing the Over 4.5 Goals barrier.
The evidence suggests the Over 2.75 Goals line is too skinny for Saturday night’s showdown.
Montpellier No Easy Meet
Montpellier opened their Ligue 1 account with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat against Rennes last weekend with star striker Andy Delort seeing a penalty saved. La Paillade fired in 19 efforts and generated 2.50 Expected Goals (xG) with head coach Michel Der Zakarian bemoaning his side’s lack of a clinical edge in his post-match press dealings.
Nevertheless, Montpellier are often functional rather than flashy, preferring organisation and defensive structure to attacking flair in a gritty 3-5-2 formation. The process employed by La Paillade ensures they’re always competitive with only PSG and Lille giving up a greater xG figure last season.
Put simply, they’re no easy meat.
Der Zakarian’s group suffered only nine league losses last time out with only three of those Montpellier defeats arriving by a margin of two goals or more – highlighting their combating nature. Delort and strike partner Gaeten Laborde can normally be relied upon in the final third and so I’m always happy to keep this group onside when outsiders on the road.
Therefore it makes sense to support Montpellier with a +0.25 start at 1.70 quotes when they travel to an inconsistent and rudderless Bordeaux outfit this Saturday night.
This selection made money in 21 of Montpellier’s 24 encounters with teams in ninth and below as they finished in sixth last season, whilst only the top-three earned more points on the road.
Opposing boss Paolo Sousa admitted his Bordeaux team were second-best when going down 3-1 to Angers on the opening weekend. Les Girondins made a dream start – scoring inside the opening 10 minutes with Nicolas De Préville’s stunning free-kick – but soon unravelled and were clear and deserving losers, continuing their dreadful 2019 form.
The Garonne club ended last term with seven defeats in their final eight games and those vulnerabilities came to the fore once again. Les Girondins folded in the 15 minutes before half-time, entering the interval 3-1 down, and rarely looked like clawing their way back into the contest thereafter. Sousa admitted, “Angers were better than us in every department”.
Supporters were quick to criticise the club’s performance and fans’ frustration is understandable with the 2009 champions continuing to toil in attack, and seemingly unable to stem the flow in defence.
Advanced data marked Bordeaux out as the division’s fourth-worst last term and the squad at Sousa’s disposal is undoubtedly weaker with young defender Jules Kounde joining Lukas Lerager at the exit. The club collected the third-fewest points in the second half of 2018/19 (W4-D4-L11), going through three coaches, and best opposed in their current guise.
- Over 2.75 Goals in ADO Den Haag v Sparta Rotterdam 3 units @ 1.83
- Montpellier +0.25 – 3 units @ 1.70