Mark O’Haire returns with two bets for the weekend.
Opposing The Narrative With The Blues
Wolves have done so much more than just consolidate their place in the Premier League since promotion. The Old Gold are challenging to finish ‘best of the rest’ behind the Big Six following a hugely impressive return to the top-flight.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad have displayed style, panache, hunger and bravery in their business this term and deservedly sit inside the top-half coming into this weekend’s trip to the capital. And there’s plenty of reason to believe Wanderers can keep their contest at Stamford Bridge competitive despite the bulbous quotes on an away day success.
Wolves have returned W3-D3-L3 when taking on the Big Six in 2018/19; admittedly one of those matches came against a second-string Liverpool side in the FA Cup, but there’s enough evidence to suggest this side have the capability to keep Chelsea in-check on Sunday. After all, the Old Gold have already W1-D2-L1 at Big Six teams in league action.
In four of Wolves’ last five away days, market support has been significant in Wanderers’ favour – the only encounter that didn’t was a trip to table-topping Manchester City.
The Black Country boys were clipped from 10.0 to 8.5 before kick-off when winning at Tottenham and moved from 3.20 to 2.90 ahead of the Old Gold’s visit of Everton.
Meanwhile, Wolves’ raw results also show a competitive streak with just six of 29 seeing Sunday’s guests lose out by a margin of two goals or more – two of those defeats came against City and Liverpool, the two teams that are streets ahead of the cashing pack across all facets. Being able to support Wolves with a +1.25 start has to appeal at 1.74 quotes.
That selection has provided profit in six of eight previous Premier League meetings with the Big Six under Nuno, as well as 23 of 29 games across the whole league campaign. And with a possibly tight tussle on the cards this weekend, the generous handicap has even more chance of landing in West London.
Only five clubs (all bottom-half dwellers) have seen fewer goals at home than Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri, whilst Newcastle are the only club to feature fewer goals on the road than Wolves; nine of those 14 away days produced a maximum of two goals. And that’s before we inspect the impressive performance data in Wanderers’ favour.
Nuno’s troops rank third in the Premier League for Expected Goals (xG) from open play ratio. Indeed, only the top two have conceded fewer xG from open play, whilst the full xG ratio rankings mark the Old Gold out as just 6% inferior to the Blues. So why the major discrepancy in pre-match pricing?
Chelsea answered their critics with brave displays against Man City and Spurs, although last Sunday’s trip to Fulham was far from conclusive evidence that the Blues are back to their best. The returning Kepa was given the Man of the Match award for a string of fine saves and Sarri suggested his squad were tired after a demanding week, which is fair enough.
Nevertheless, the Blues take on Dynamo Kiev on Thursday night in what’s becoming an increasingly more important competition. With no guarantee of a top-four finish, Chelsea must give the Europa League the focus and respect it deserves. Sure, they won’t field a first XI but it’s a potential distraction that will eat into preparation time against a well-rested Wolves outfit.
Banking On Goals In Arnhem
The Eredivisie is renowned for being one of the planets highest-scoring leagues and 2018/19 hasn’t disappointed with an average goals-per-game figure standing at 3.48 – a huge 67% of matches have produced winning Over 2.5 Goals selections and 43% have even crept above the Over 3.5 Goals line. And I reckon this Sunday showdown can follow suit.
The goals line has been set strangely low despite rather overwhelming trends in our favour, making the 1.78 available on Over 2.5 Goals an outstanding angle of attack.
Vitesse, coached by former Russia and Hull boss Leonid Slutsky, have delivered Over 2.5 Goals profit in 17 of their 24 league outings – 17/24 of those contests also produced Both Teams To Score winners with the average goals-per-game tally sat at a hefty 3.17. Looking purely at their Arnhem encounters and Vitesse’s games average 3.83 goals with 10 of 12 breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier; already there’s a precedent to attack that goals line.
Expected Goals (xG) data is also in our favour with Vitesse outings sitting at 3.06 overall, increasing to 3.22 on home soil. The hosts haven’t failed to score here since November and have notched at least twice in seven of their last nine, as well as all bar three of their 12 matches in Arnhem. However, Slutsky’s side have recorded a solitary home clean sheet.
Feyenoord have only fired three blanks since the opening weekend of the season, although the Rotterdam giants have only twice kept their sheets clean since the start of December. On the road, the visitors have recorded one shutout and leaked twice or more in half of their 12 tussles – nine of those crossed the Over 2.5 Goals barrier with a 3.17 goals average.
The goals stats and advanced data is overwhelmingly in favour of a goal-heavy game so I’m very happy to exploit the Over 2.5 Goals line with a four-point play in Holland on Sunday.
- Wolves +1.25 Asian Handicap (1.74) – 2 point win
- Vitesse v Feyenoord – Over 2.5 Goals (1.78) – 4 point win
On this weekend’s Football Podcast Host Ali Maxwell is joined by Mark Stinchcombe and Mark O’Haire to look ahead to the weekend’s Premier League and Eredivisie action – with four selections in total from Arsenal vs Manchester United, Chelsea vs Wolves, Huddersfield vs Bournemouth and Vitesse vs Feyenoord. Subscribe now to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, or on your preferred Podcast app by searching for ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’.