Mark O'Haire
3 months ago - 9 minute read

Mark O’Haire: “The Market Has Given Bologna Too Much Respect Here And I’m Happy To Oppose Them”

Mark O’Haire is making a festive trip to the continent this week, first off stopping off at the Ennio Tardini Stadium in Parma before heading to La Liga to attack a goals angle.

Happy To Be With The Crociati This Week

Parma became the first team in Italian football history to achieve three consecutive promotions when returning to Serie A this summer, nearly 15 years after the club went bankrupt and disappeared from the top table.

The Crociati have made an encouraging start to life back in the top-flight under Roberto D’Aversa, comfortably nestled in mid-table and nine points ahead of the relegation zone having returned W6-D3-L7. Those 16 matches include an eye-catching triumph at San Siro against Inter Milan, as well as an excellent effort in a 2-1 home defeat to Juventus.

At their Stadio Ennio Tardini home, the Gialloblu have only been beaten by Juventus and Lazio, collecting W3-D3-L0 in their remaining six contests. And if we exclude top-six sides, Saturday evening’s hosts have pocketed W5-D3-L2 in their 10 home/away tussles against the rest of the division, suggesting they’re capable of competing at this level again.

Parma’s performance data might not be magnificent but they’re posting a 46% Expected Goals from open play ratio, which is admirable for a newly-promoted club and far outweighs that of their visitors this weekend. Struggling Bologna are enjoying just a 35% share, which puts them third from bottom and only marginally better than beleaguered Chievo.

Parma Manager Roberto D’Aversa has his side in solid form this season, especially at home.

With the above data in mind, it’s interesting to note that Parma have been made 2.68 shots to succeed here on Saturday despite going off 2.12 against Chievo as hosts earlier this month, whilst also being chalked up at 2.13 against Frosinone, 2.50 against Empoli and 2.48 against Cagliari.

The odds certainly hint at D’Aversa’s troops being overpriced.

Taking a deeper delve into Bologna’s previous market history, the guests went off as favourites at both Chievo and Frosinone, failing to win on each occasion. Those two encounters ended all-square, but the Rossoblu gave up 3.14 xG and head coach Filippo Inzaghi is teetering on the edge after a series of turgid, dour and defensive displays.

In midweek, Bologna picked up a point at home to Milan but it was another dire match that ended goalless with Inzaghi’s men generating just 0.37 xG. Across the campaign as a whole, Bologna boast an appalling average of just 0.52 xG from open play – the second worst in the division – and so it’s no surprise to see the away side winless since September.

Bologna have only twice won this season in Serie A, have claimed only three points from a possible 24 on the road (W0-D3-L5) and have shipped an average of 1.60 goals-per-game. The Rossoblu have conceded twice or more in six of those eight away days and since the start of last season have been beaten in 17 of their 28 road trips.

The market has given Bologna too much respect here and I’m happy to oppose them with Parma available to support at 1.83 off a scratch 0 start on the Asian Handicap line.

Expecting Goals in Madrid But Not At The Usual Location

Last season’s Segunda champions Rayo Vallecano have had a tough introduction to life back in La Liga. The Madrid minnows are entrenched in the bottom three of the Spanish top-flight having lost 10 of their opening 16 fixtures, although the capital club have tended to be involved in open, enjoyable and entertaining encounters.

Michel’s men aren’t a million miles away from picking up more positive results; Rayo have only lost by more than a solitary strike on four occasions and their performance data marks the newly-promoted club out as a bottom-half side above the dreaded relegation zone. However, it’s their carefree approach that’s worth attempting to profit from here.

Rayo recorded only six clean sheets in 21 home outings on their way to the second-tier title last term as Michel was determined to continue the club’s cavalier playing style. That’s continued in 2018/19 with Los Franjirrojos seeing nine of their 16 games feature both sides scoring as matches have averaged a bulbous 2.88 goals-per-game.

Rayo have recorded just two shutouts since promotion and are shipping an average of 1.94 goals-per-game – but they’re firing in 6.81 shots in the box per-game, which is more than high-flying Atletico Madrid. In fact, their 0.83 xG from open play return is better than that of Atletico, Celta Vigo and almost on a par with Real Betis.

Rayo Vallecano are a great team for an Over this season.

Due to the open nature of Los Franjirrojos’ contests, finding a goals-based selection is always preferred when analysing Rayo’s matches, and that’s most definitely the case when a lively Levante outfit turn up on Sunday evening.

Under Paco Lopez’s stewardship, Los Granotas have only twice failed to score this season, notching twice or more in nine of their 16 outings. During his 27 matches at the helm, Levante have scored twice or more on 16 (57%) occasions with the likes of Roger Marti, Emmanuel Boateng and Jose Luis Morales enjoying the freedom of expression in the final third.

That swashbuckling approach has caused numerous problems for opposition outfits, although Levante – like Rayo – suffer from below-par backline efforts. Los Granotas have leaked two goals or more in half of their 16 encounters this season and only Rayo have given up a larger xG from open play figure on average.

Put the two teams’ styles, ideals and stats together and this looks like a great chance to support Over 2.75 Goals around 1.83. Collectively, the pair have seen their La Liga matches feature 2.03 xG from open play – easily the highest joint-average in the division, whilst Over 2.5 Goals has banked in 11/16 (69%) of their combined home/away games with an average of 3.44 goals-per-game seen in those contests.

Recommended Bets

  • Parma v Bologna – Parma +0 Asian Handicap (1.83)
  • Rayo Vallecano v Levante – Over 2.75 Goals (1.83)

On this week’s Football Podcast – Host Ali Maxwell is joined by Brodders and Mark O’Haire for a Euro special – taking in games from France, Spain and Italy, with betting angles for Rennes vs Nimes, Rayo Vallecano vs Levante and Parma vs Bologna. We are delighted that Matchbook Betting Podcast has been nominated for Best Betting Podcast in the 2019 Smart Betting Club Awards. If you enjoy listening to the pod, please vote for us. Vote > surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SBCAwards2019