Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns with his best bets from across the continental card this weekend.
A desperately disappointing weekend to review for my latest Insights column. Both of my goals-based angles went down by a solitary strike but there was very little argument to suggest either/or deserved any better.
Freiburg were fancied to overcome Augsburg in an entertaining encounter on Saturday, and with a goal apiece at the interval, I was feeling confident. However, neither team displayed the intention, invention, or attacking inspiration in the final-third to pinch a winner. Just 1.62 Expected Goals (xG) were seen in total, with only five attempts hitting the target.
On Sunday, title-chasing Bodo/Glimt chucked in one of their worst displays of 2019 as they were held 1-1 at relegation-haunted Ranheim. Bodo bagged a late leveller to keep their feint championship-winning hopes alive, although the challengers showcased little of their revered football to suggest they’ll be capable of reeling table-toppers Molde in from here.
Saturday Night Goal Glut In Serie A
Serie A has long since rid lazy clichés of Catenaccio-style football, batting back stereotypical assumptions of a boring, low-scoring league. Italy’s top-flight has largely been a thrilling division to follow over the past few seasons and 2019/20 is already shaping up to be a very watchable affair.
Both Sassuolo and Atalanta should feature towards the top end of a neutrals list of teams to follow due to their forward-thinking styles and attack-minded head coaches, making Saturday night’s showdown between the pair a perfect match-up for a goals-based angle.
We can support Over 2.75 Goals at 1.82 and I wouldn’t be keen on laying that line.
Sassuolo have established themselves as a top-flight club in recent seasons and registered a respectable mid-table finish in 2018/19. The Neroverdi came close to piercing the top-10 before downing tools in their final four fixtures and were a difficult team to overcome at their base in the Emilia-Romagna region.
Roberto De Zerbi’s offensively-minded outfit were beaten only five times in front of their home fans with games often thrilling affairs at the Mapei Stadium. Matches averaged a huge 3.47 goals with almost half of their 19 Serie A outings producing Over 3.5 Goals profit. It’s been a familiar theme for Sassuolo this time around.
The Neroverdi have smashed Sampdoria (4-1) and Spal (3-0) in their opening two Mapei Stadium encounters and there’s a mood of optimism surrounding Sassuolo this season. They certainly have the tools to trouble an Atalanta team that might have one eye on a crunch midweek Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Regardless, Atalanta supremo Gian Piero Gasperini deserves immense respect for his role in guiding La Dea from mid-table obscurity into Europe, doing so on a budget, with one of Serie A’s most enjoyable styles of play. Few teams guarantee goals and entertainment as much as the Bergamo boys.
The Nerazzurri set-up with a unique 3-4-1-2 formation with full-backs pushing high and Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic providing the ammunition for either Duvan Zapata or new recruit Luis Muriel in attack. The Colombian forwards offer pace and physicality in forward areas and are a platform for the side to build attacks.
Atalanta are mightily tough operators and are well-capable of causing Sassuolo countless concerns.
But the Bergamo outfit are far from flawless – as seen in the opening weekends of the season as they’ve struggled to defend set-pieces and shown a soft-centre which was evident throughout last term.
Looking at the duo’s records since the start of last season, a collective 28/42 (67%) of their combined home/away games have produced Over 2.5 Goals with a massive 21/42 (50%) crossing the Over 3.5 Goals barrier, highlighting the appeal to support a high-scoring shootout at the Mapei Stadium.
Entertaining Dust-Up In Dusseldorf
Fortuna Dusseldorf have endured a devilishly difficult opening stanza in the Bundesliga and Friedhelm Funkel’s troops face another tough test on Sunday when high-flying Freiburg arrive at the Merkur Spiel-Arena. The hosts have locked horns with four teams playing in European competition with North Rhine-Westphalia returning W1-D1-L3 from five games.
Fortuna finished in mid-table after promotion to the top-flight last term with the newcomers winning many admirers for their attacking approach. The side lost Dodi Lukebakio in the summer but brought in an exciting prospect in Nana Ampomah, as well as USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen and the latter has made a major impact between the sticks.
Dusseldorf made an impressive start with a 3-1 win at Werder Bremen, although Steffan was the Man of the Match that day having made 10 saves to help Funkel’s troops earn an unlikely victory. The American has since made a further 25 stops – 16 more than any other shot-stopper: a sign Fortuna men have been on the back-foot for the most part of the campaign.
With 10 points from five games (W3-D1-L1), Freiburg have made their best-ever start in the Bundesliga. They are now bidding to open a campaign with three away wins for the very first time, although they haven’t won any of their four Bundesliga trips to Düsseldorf. Nevertheless, Christian Streich’s side will be confident they can make a mark here.
The Black Forest boys failed to fire at home to Augsburg (1-1) last time out, but have options in forward areas. After scoring last weekend, Lucas Höler is likely to keep his place in attack ahead of Germany international Luca Waldschmidt, while Vincenzo Grifo is in line to make his first start since returning to the club. Elsewhere, forward Nils Petersen is also available.
Despite the club’s eye-catching victories over Paderborn and Hoffenheim on their travels, it’s still difficult to support an away-day victory knowing the guests’ mediocre road record. Only the bottom three sides had a worse record on the road than the Black Forest club in 2018/19, while the year before only Koln earnt fewer than their dismal nine point output.
Over 2.5 Goals has been quoted at 1.71 and that’s too big to ignore.
Going back to the beginning of last season, a huge 15/19 (79%) of Dusseldorf’s matches at the Merkur Spiel-Arena have beaten this goals line, with 12 (63%) of those tussles featuring goals at both ends. Over the same period, Freiburg have rewarded Over 2.5 Goals backers in 12/19 (63%) road trips, with 11 (58%) also banking for Both Teams To Score hunters.
Already this term, the duo are comfortably beating the Over 2.5 Goals line when viewing Expected Goals (xG) output and so it’s hard not to foresee another high-scoring shootout.
- Over 2.75 Goals in Sassuolo v Atalanta 3 unites @ 1.82
- Over 2.50 Goals in Fortuna Dusseldorf v Freiburg 4 units @ 1.71