Mark Stinchcombe
6 months ago - 8 minute read

Mark Stinchcombe: “Celta Vigo matches are usually crazy so when I see a goal line of 2.25 I think that can be exploited.”

It was a disappointing weekend last time out with only one out of three bets winning. Liverpool comfortably beat Bournemouth to cover the goal line themselves, but Man City faltered and Leicester v Tottenham failed to play out the exciting match I envisaged.

It’s always good to hit the ground running on a weekend, and that’s exactly how I felt after Liverpool swept Bournemouth aside 4-0 to provide an over 2.75 goals winner. Bournemouth looked lost without Callum Wilson, and while Liverpool only managed 10 shots and a total xG of 1.81, when you have a world class player in Mohamed Salah against a defence as porous as Bournemouth’s he can outperform the averages.

Another Mo Salah special got Mark off to a strong start last weekend.

With that winner banked, I was feeling pretty confident going into the first evening game, with Gabriel Jesus a more than capable replacement for Sergio Aguero. But instead of selecting Jesus, Pep opted for Raheem Sterling as a striker and with City dominating for 44 minutes he had two decent chances where perhaps Jesus would have done better.

Alas, Maurizio Sarri deserves great credit for turning a game around that looked to be heading only one way.

With no Jamie Vardy nor Harry Kane, it was always going to be an uphill battle at the King Power Stadium and it just goes to show the importance of being able to know the team lineups. Alas the price didn’t really move and I thought I might be ok after Dele Alli made it 2-0 with well over half an hour to go, but Leicester pretty much gave up and Tottenham ended up managing the game with the Barcelona game on the horizon.

This weekend’s bets see us looking to Spain

Onto this weekend and I’m struggling to find some bets I like in the top flight of English football.

So bearing that in mind I’ve got some strong fancies in La Liga, it makes sense to take a break from the Premier League this week and focus on the continent. There will be plenty of festive football in England to occupy us in the coming weeks.

First up I want to tackle the Friday night game between Celta Vigo and Leganes at the Abanca Balaidos. This is 11th v 16th with just three points separating them. Given only 14 points separates second place Sevilla and 18th place Athletic Bilbao, there’s looks to be a great chance of some surprise sides occupying the European spots and avoiding relegation come the end of the season.

Whenever Celta Vigo are involved I’m always looking for a pro-goals angle.

Their matches are normally crazy, and since the beginning of last season, they have seen 171 goals in 53 games (3.23pg). It’s not as if it’s either end that’s more proficient than the other with 87 goals for and 84 goals against.

So I when I see a goal line of just 2.25 I think it can definitely be exploited.

Miguel Cardoso’s Celta side are a great team for an Over of late.

They face a Leganes side who while may not regularly be involved in goal heavy games, the data suggests they should be soon, with their attack guilty of missing good chances. The average total expected goals in their matches sits at a healthy 2.72 – a figure not too dissimilar to the league average over the last five years of 2.76. They sit mid-table for both shots for and against, so there should be a natural move towards the mean.

And who better to play than the side with the 4th worst defence in the league?

Celta’s total average expected goals in their matches is 3.3, so I think there’s plenty of upside in taking over 2.25 goals, particular with a cushion of half stakes back if there are only two goals.

It might not surprise that both games only finished 1-0 last season but the xG in those games was 3.42 and 3.13, so I’m hoping the underlying data comes to fruition on Friday evening and having a large 2.5 point bet here on over 2.25 goals.

More goals as Sevilla take on Girona

My second bet comes on Sunday in the early morning game between surprise second place Sevilla and ninth place Girona.

New boss Pablo Machin, who was previously at Girona, has done a great job with Sevilla since being appointed in the summer, and he seems to be getting the best out of Andre Silva who has plenty of support in behind him in Pablo Sarabia, Wissam Ben Yedder, Jesus Navas, Franco Vazquez and Ever Banega, who have 19 assists between them.

Eusebio Sacristan was brought in to replace Machin at Girona and he’s got them comfortably up in 9th.

They rely heavily on Cristhian Stuani who’s scored 32 goals since the beginning of last season but it’s not as if he’s hugely outperforming his data. His total expected goals is 25.28 with his teammates very good at creating chances for him with Stuani possessing the composure and maturity to finish them.

Sevilla coach Pablo Machin will of course know much about this Girona side.

Again it’s the underlying data I want to focus on to form the basis of a bet. Since the beginning of last season, the total average expected goals in Sevilla’s matches is returning 3.57 and Girona’s is 3.17.

With both sides in the top five for shots conceded, I like the look of taking over 2.75 goals here.

Like the first game, both meetings finished 1-0 last season but the xG paints a better picture with totals of 4.32 and 3.51.

This information gives us a much, much better representation of how the games should have played out and how they are likely to in the future. So I think a healthy 1.5 points on over 2.75 goals is the bet here to hopefully round out a profitable weekend.

Recommended Bets

  • Over 2.25 goals Celta Vigo v Leganes ~1.91 – 2.5 points
  • Over 2.75 goals Sevilla v Girona ~1.88 – 1.5 points

On this week’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 La Liga action – taking in two games from each division: Fulham v West Ham, Crystal Palace v Leicester, Getafe v Real Sociedad & Espanyol v Real Betis.