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  1. Roma -3/4 @1.97 & o2.25 @1.98 / 1.25 units stake on the hcap betMin price to bet: -3/4 @1.87 or -1 @2.21; o2.25 @1.93Model +value: yes, VERY strong for hcapSignificant team news: Roma's key cb Smalling is suspended; cf Abraham back in the squadNote: Still winless after 23 rounds, Cremonese's hopes for survival are really slim, but they won't give up just yet, and they've shown plenty of fighting spirit and good attitude in recent weeks. Unlike Elche in La Liga, who are also in terrible position, but are deservedly labeled as one of the worst teams to have ever played in La Liga, Cremonese were quite unlucky in early Serie A rounds, often playing well without being sufficiently rewarded (at one stage, after some 7-8 rounds, they have topped the league in number of shots that hit post/bar); and as it usually happens, with consistently bad results the confidence levels have gone down, and relegation to Serie B is now basically inevitable. We still expect them to double their points tally until the end of a season, but most of those pts are likely to be won against teams who are in no-mans land in mid-table, without clear incentive and motivation for European places or battle against relegation. Roma are in very good position to win UCL spot for next year, they are also through to the EL 1/8 finals after beating Salzburg in previous round, and in another piece of good news, they welcomed back cm Wijnaldum a couple of weeks ago, who was one of their star summer signings. Wijnaldum has been out for a while (injured in early Aug), but he has made 4 appearances off the bench in Roma's last 4 games, and he is expected to start tomorrow. This is like a new signing for Roma. Striker Abraham is fully back after an eye injury, he can play without a protective mask; and with Dybala and Pellegrini also fully fit, the only guaranteed starter who is unavailable for tomorrow is cb Smalling. Roma's schedule in next few weeks is very difficult (they have Juve, Sassuolo and big Rome derby v Lazio in the league, with EL games v Sociedad sandwiched in-between); they will probably have to rotate a bit and choose their priorities, but they will go with their best 11 tomorrow, after having a full 4 days of rest since their last match (good 2-0 win v Salzburg on Thu). The visitors could also have a small revenge-factor as extra motivation, since Cremonese beat them in 1/4 finals of Coppa Italia a month ago - both teams played with a weakened lineups, but it was still a surprising 2-1 Cremonese win in Rome (though it was quite lucky overall), with hosts set as heavy favs before the match (key players Dybala and Abraham have entered the pitch in the 2nd half, but it was to no avail). Ok weather conditions, we est Roma 62.5-63% to win, and would've taken the hcap pick with 1.5 units at this price, if not for value on TG, which is also worth a shot at current price, with est TG 2.60-2.65; so we'll go with 1.25 units on hcap and standard 1 unit for TG. Total of 2.25 units risk on this type of match may look high, but it's perfectly valid in our eyes, the numbers and the current situation and mood in/around two clubs support it; and while we need Roma to score 2+ goals to have a chance to win money on this match, we need them only to score 1 to lower our risk to 1.75 units; and they will certainly get quite a few chances against a dodgy Cremonese defence, both from open play and set-pieces.
  2. Anderlecht +1/4 @1.93Min price to bet: +1/4 @1.86 or dnb @2.30Model +value: -Significant team news: Ludogorets have 3 important starters suspended - captain lb/cb Nedyalkov, cb Verdon and dm Piotrowski; Anderlecht are without injured lw AmuzuNote: This pick is heavily influenced with team-news, since Ludogorets are without 3 very important starters. The absence of the trio can not be overstated - all three are guaranteed starters in important games, with 90 mins of action. Nedyalkov is their captain and regular starter for Bulgarian national team, he is a left back, but can play centre back as well, and he has played both roles in their European games this term; Verdon is a key centre back - and these two have started and played all minutes in all 14 European games that Ludogorets have played this season, 6 in UCL quals, 2 in UEL quals, and 6 in UEL group stage. Piotrowski is their regular starter in centre midfield, he arrived from Fortuna Dusseldorf in late July, so he missed Ludogorets' first 4 UCL qual.games, but has played/started in all 10 European games since then, and except for home game v HJK (when he was subbed after 85 mins, with Ludo 2-0 up), he has played all minutes in Europe. Ludogorets are one of the Eastern European powerhouses, and one of the more successful clubs from this region over the past couple of decades, but they are a bit weaker compared to period from several years ago, they could have some problems even in their domestic league (which they usually win convincingly), since CSKA Sofia are firmly in the title race; and Ludogorets are clearly weakened for this match, particularly their defensive structure. However, when it comes to this tip, it's not that straightforward, since Anderlecht are not really a side we want to trust - they have been far from impressive this season, to say the least, with very unconvincing performances, they could even miss out on UECL playoff spots in Belgium JL (5th to 8th place), which is shocking for a club of their stature. Still, they have shown some signs of improvement in recent weeks, it's not just because of fine 3-1-0 run in the league, since their schedule included 2 of the league's worst teams; but especially their general play in last round v St Truiden was v strong, it's not easy to outplay that team to the extent Anderlecht have done, and it was a well-deserved 3-1 win, with some late goals on both sides, but quite strong performance in general. Ludogorets are just back in action after a 2-month winter break, Saturday's 2-1 league win v Spartak Varna was their first official match since 4th Dec; while Anderlecht have been in full action since late Dec, and should have an advantage from that perspective. Also, recent acquisition of wng/fwd Dreyer from Midtjylland could to prove to be a major coup, so there are some more positives about Anderlecht - though, lets just say again, they are certainly not on the list of teams we are happy to back, and have usually disappointed and underperformed in their matches this season. Cold but dry in Razgrad tomorrow, we agree Ludogorets are still favorites in this first leg, albeit smaller favs than the current market prices suggest. Lazio -1.25 @1.86Min price to bet: -1.5 @2.00 or -1.25 @1.73Model +value: -Significant team news: -Note: Both teams are struggling a bit in domestic competitions, Lazio are winless in last 4 games (3 Serie A, 1 Coppa Ita); Cluj have lost their last 2 in the league, without scoring a goal. The quality difference between these two teams is huge, Cluj would be a clear relegation candidate if they were playing in Serie A. This truly comes down to Lazio's motivation in UECL and how much will they rotate; and it looks like they are making this game a priority (they have Salernitana away this weekend), and rotations are expected mainly in central midfield, as Sergej, Luis Alberto and Cataldi, their usual starting 3 cm's, have looked quite flat in last few weeks. So, it won't even be a rotation as such, but rather a need to shake things up after a poor run of results, and when it comes to attack and defence, perhaps 1 change from best poss 11 is expected. Ok weather conditions, and considering news from Lazio camp, this is 78%+ hw for us.
  3. Freiburg o2.5 @2.00Min price to bet: o2.5 @1.91 or o2.75 @2.15Model +value: yes, strongSignificant team news: Freiburg's rb Sildillia and coach Streich are both suspended; key cf Guirassy and fwd/wng Tiago Tomas unavailable for StuttgartNote: This is a Baden-Wurttemberg derby, although given the historical results in games between these two, that is not a negative fact for goals (last 2 have gone under 2.5 line, but 16 of last 20 have had at least 3 goals). However, Stuttgart's team-news is negative, especially as Guirassy is their clear first choice cf and best player in attack. Still, he has missed 2 league games this season (since his transfer from Rennes), they have scored in both (5 gls in total), and cf Pfeiffer will get another chance to prove himself; he dominated last season in 2BL with Darmstadt, but has yet to score in 1BL this season. With cm Ahamada recently sold, and wng Silas just back from injury, Stuttgart's general situation ahead of this game is a bit worse than team-news indicate, and we do have a strong pref for Freiburg hcap as well; although the hosts had a difficult Cup game on Tue at 2BL side Sandhausen (2-0 win, but Freib were far from convincing, having survived a few scares before scoring the first goal in 87th min). No clean sheets for Freiburg in their last 6 BL games, for Stuttgart in last 15 (they've conceded at least a goal in 18/19 BL games), TG est 2.90-2.95 /will leave one BL2 pick here as well, it's prob better to post it here than to open a new thread for that, not much forum activity anyway/ Paderborn -1/4 @2.10Min price to bet: -1/4 @2.04Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Hanover's first choice cb Neumann is suspendedNote: Just 4 points between these two teams after 19 rounds, which is quite insane considering the difference in level off general play they have shown so far. We've already touched upon Hannover's luck in the first part of the season, but incredibly, they are still in top 10 and even silently sttill hoping for promotion... not gonna happen. They have lost both league games after the winter break, and unless vast improvement in general play is shown, they should be expected to get nearer the relegation zone as the season goes on. Paderborn had a dip in form in weeks before the World Cup, with 4 straight defeats and 2+ goals sonceded in each, but are back with 2/2 league wins after the break, and very strong performance indeed vs strong Dusseldorf side last week (4-1 home win, game was played just 3 days after Paderborn's exhausting Cup match v Stuttgart, which lost with 2 very late goals). Paderborn lead the league in xG and shots on target per match, they are 2nd in the number of big chances created and 6th in xG against - in all of these categories Hann are in bottom half of the table (2nd from bottom in xGa). Also, Paderborn lead the league in shots differential (+4.6) and shots on target diff (+2), where Hannover are again in bottom half of the standings, actually rock bottom in shots diff (-4.7) and 5th from bottom in shots on tgt diff (-1.1). This gets even worse if we look just at last 5 games, with Hannover's poor numbers being the worst in BL2. We also know that Paderborn will not sit back here, they are an offensive-minded side who will go for 3 pts against teams they find inferior or equal in quality; so even from mentality point of view, no problems for us to back minus hcap favorite in this situation. Paderborn are more than likely to play like proper favs, estimated away win 45.5-46%
  4. Nice -1 @2.10Min price to bet: -1 @2.02 or -3/4 @1.75Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Nice are still without their important wng/fw Pepe (their 2nd top scorer); but Ajaccio are in much worse situation, they have some very negative team news, they'll be without their 4 best rated players this season - top player wng/fw Belaili (5 gls, 5 ast), their captain, cm Marchetti, cm Magnani, with cm Coutadeur (inj a month ago) still unavailable and lb Diallo suspended for this game; and fwd Touzhgar and lb/cb Kone both still out injNote: Nice have been in superb form since coach Digard took charge in early Jan, 4-1-0 in 5 Ligue 1 games, with wins against UCL hopefuls Lens, Marseille and Lille. They did have some luck on their side in some of those games, especially at home to Lille, but the general improvement in their play is obvious, confidence is good and mood inside dressing room much improved. Ajaccio are struggling at the wrong end of the table, they have lost 5 of their last 6 in the league, in 4 of which they have failed to score, and they have some really bad team-news for this one. With the right approach and no underestimation of their opponent, Nice should be able to fully control this match, and we make them 66%+ to get 3 pts. Ok weather conditions
  5. Vitesse dnb @1.95Min price to bet: dnb @1.88 or -1/4 @2.28Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Emmen without quite a few players, including rw Mendes (their assists leader), winter arrival fwd Darfalou (brought in to help their struggling attack, came of the bench in last week's game at Walwijk), while fwd Zivkovic (team's 2nd scorer with 3 gls) is doubtful; Vitesse without important cm Tronstad Note: Vitesse have clearly improved after the winter break, and while 3-1 win at Heerenveen in last round was their first win in 8 games, their schedule hasn't been easy recently, and the fact that in January they held AZ (1-1) and Twente (2-2) to draws, and just narrowly lost to PSV (1-0), surely can be applauded, as those 3 are in top 5 Eredivisie teams. Win at Heerenveen was fully deserved, in a very good and confident performance, and we expect them to take the initiative here, and be more keen to take risks to get 3 pts than their hosts Emmen, who have lost just 1 of their 9 home games this season (2-6-1), but rely heavily on organized defence and risk-less play, as they have clear issues with scoring goals. Aw est 40-40.5% Utrecht -3/4 @2.12 & o2.5 @1.98Min price to bet: -3/4 @2.02 or -1/2 @1.80; o2.5 @1.91 or o2.75 @2.15Model +value: yesSignificant team news: first choice cf Dost doubtful/out for Utrecht; Heerenveen's key gk Noppert out injured, key cb van Beek out for season (inj early Jan) Note: Utrech't giant cf Dost is doubtful (latest reports suggests he is out), but he has missed their last 2 games, 1-0 win v Excelsior and a wild 5-5 draw at title hopefuls AZ, in a game in which Utrecht were probably the better side. Heerenveen are still without their goalie Noppert - he is their key player, Netherlands' no1 gk as well; and they lost 2 in a row since he got injured, conceding 5 goals in total (2-0 defeat in Sittard, 1-3 home loss to Vitesse). In first 17 rounds, with Noppert in goal, Heerenveen have conceded more than 1 goal only on two occasions: 5-0 defeat in Amsterdam and 1-2 at home v Utrecht. WHat makes things even worse, is that it's not only Noppert's absence that is a problem, but their general play was v poor in these last 2 defeats, despite the fact they played teams from Eredivisie's bottom 10, both games were deservedly lost, and especially against Vitesse last week they were truly awful (shots 10-22, on tgt 3-12, inside box 7-15, big chances 0-6, xG 0.7-2.9). We like both hcap and TG+ in this one, and will publish both picks, though with a note that if we had to choose just one, it would be hcap option.
  6. Leipzig -1.25 @1.98Min price to bet: -1.25 @1.91 or -1.5 @2.20Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Leipzig's cf Nkunku is still unavailable; while Stuttgart are without several regular starters - cm Ahamada is suspended, cf/wng Tomas and wng Silas Mvumpa are injured (those are 3 fresh missings), lb Sosa still out injured; while first-choice cbs Mavropanos and Ito are both iffy, although likely to be availableNote: Cold weather and possible snow are in Stuttgart's favor, but that's about it when it comes to favorable things for the visitors. Leipzig are in incredible form, unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions, with 12-3-0, 2+ goals scored in 13/15, and they come into this game after an impressive 6-1 win v Schalke on Tue, in a game in which they were playing in 2nd gear for an entire second half. Stuttgart won a good point at Hoffenheim, but it must have felt like a defeat, after they conceded a 94th min equalizer (ft 2-2). They played quite well in general, but their mid Ahamada got sent off (2nd yellow card) shortly after providing his 2nd assist in the game (78th min); and with some of their other players carrying injuries, with cb Mavropanos' head bandaged after a nasty cut, and his cb partner Ito with calf problems; they just couldn't close the game out; and they've allowed quite a few chances to Hoffenheim in the final 15 mins, though the goal they have conceded was from a magnificent shot by Kramaric, and not from a decent chance. Their fwd/wngs Tomas and Silas both had to be subbed during the game after injuries, and both are unavailable for this trip to Leipzig; with Ahamada suspended, that's 3 starters - plus cbs Mavropanos and Ito are both carrying injuries, though they are likely to be available for selection. Stuttgart should've beaten Mainz last week (ft 1-1) and in general they've deserved more points this season so far; but this match at Leipzig really looks like a step too high. Schedule is also in hosts' favor here, as, including this match, it will be Fri-Tue-Fri for Leipzig; but Sat-Tue-Fri for Stuttgart; with another fact that Leipzig's game on Tuesday ended a few hours earlier; and that they were in relaxed, energy-saving mode for an entire 2nd half; while Stuttgart had to go through drama in Sinsheim and swallow that late, morale-damaging equalizer in the end. Est hw 73%+
  7. Roma -3/4 @2.05Min price to bet: -3/4 @1.96 or -1/2 @1.75Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Roma are without their star am Zaniolo, who is about to leave the club; but Siena are in much worse position, without a few key players, with key cb Kiwior just sold to Arsenal, another starting cb Nikolaou suspended, key cf Nzola (their top scorer with 9 goals, noone else has scored 2+) injured, and important cm Bastoni, who is their best rated player this season, and also the only guy besides Nzola to score more than 1 goal so far, also out injuredNote: Spezia are unbeaten in last 5 Serie A games, fine 2-3-0 run that pushed them away from the relegation zone (they have 7 pts cushion at the moment); however this will be very difficult game for them, as they have some really bad team-news, and they'll have to play without 4 regular starters, including key players in all 3 key areas of the field. Fantastic chance for Roma to get 3 pts, they are in fine form after the World Cup, with 2 league wins and a big point won in Milan (albeit in a lucky 2-2 draw); they are also through to the 1/4 finals of Coppa Italia; and with Juventus just been deducted 15 pts, the chances for Champions League football next season are more than realistic for Mourinho's boys. Ok weather conditions for this time of the year, no snow or rain or wind, with temp 7-8c during the match.
  8. Westerlo dnb @1.86 & o2.75 @1.95Min price to bet: dnb @1.80 or -1/4 @2.10; o2.75 @1.84 or o3 @2.08Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Waregem's rb Ciranni is suspended, cb/cm Tambedou injured; Westerlo's lw/rw Chadli doubtfulNote: Waregem are fighting against relegation, Westerlo trying to qualify for UECL playoffs. The hosts have improved after a terrible start, and they are in good form - they have won 2 of their last 3 in Bel JL, they are decent 2-2-2 in last 6; and they have qualified for the Bel Cup semifinals, with a realistic chance to reach the final, as their 1/2f opponent is Mechelen. They've brought in two experienced players during the World Cup break, cm Vormer and am/wng/fw Bruls, and both have had a very positive effect on team overall; Zulte indeed look stronger after the World Cup. Still, we believe that the higher quality visitors should be slightly bigger favs here - Westerlo have lost 2 games in a row (for the first time in a few years), but they certainly didn't deserve to lose to runaway leaders Genk on Tue, after they were the better team for most of the match (2-3 ft, with very efficient Genk, who have scored on all of their 3 shots on target). Waregem got a big away win at poor Anderlecht (3-2) on Wed, which also means they have had one day less of rest before this game, and it's another tiny bonus for the visitors. Goals look likely here, and price looks really good, even for this time of the year and cold weather - it will be cold in Waregem tomorrow, but without snow or rain. Est TG 3.20+, this should be a watchable game in which both teams create chances. Both Waregem and Westerlo have been quite liked by the betting market in recent games, and it's difficult to speculate where this price could move tomorrow; but unless there are nasty surprises in starting lineups (always a possibility due to congested schedule), both away hcap and tg+ look good.
  9. Fiorentina -1/4 @1.86Min price to bet: -1/4 @1.80 or -1/2 @2.13Model +value: yesSignificant team news: Viola are without rb Dodo and cf Cabral; but it's worse for Torino, who are without key cm Lukic, fullback Lazaro, and their important cb Schuurs is not fully fit, and in best case scenario will be on the bench (no chance for starting 11, as coach Juric has confirmed in today's press conf); fullback Aina is also still out (close to returning to the squad though)Notes: These two teams are in mid-table, level on points, with identical 6-5-7 record after 18 rounds. Torino should have a small fitness edge for this game, as Viola had a Cup game on Wed (1-0 win v Samp), which they've played with close to best possible 11 - however, besides lower quality overall, the visitors also have some quite bad team-news for this game, and they'll be without some important players, including cm Lukic; who is their key player, probably the most important in 11, so much of what they do when in possession goes through him. With these team-news, better overall quality and home field advantage as well, we give Viola >50% to get 3 pts tomorrow; though it has to be said that Torino are one of the most difficult teams to play against in Serie A (for favorites), as they are so sound defensively, always well-organized; often quite annoying for heavy favs. Still, Fiorentina have definitely deserved to win more points so far, they've been quite unlucky in general, and they've been very inefficient considering their offensive efforts. Their superb +6 shots per game differential is bettered only by runaway leaders Napoli; it's also only Napoli and Milan who have better shots on target differential than Fiorentina; and Viola's xG a big 5 goals higher than their actual number of goals scored after 18 games. Both -1/2 and -1/4 prices look good at the moment, we'll go for the main hcap 1/4 and lower price, and hope that history repeats itself here, as Torino have traditionally done very poor in Florenz: they've lost their last 3 here, and they're winless with 0-6-12 in last 18 league games at Artemio Franchi.
  10. Cadiz o2.25 @2.13Min price to bet: o2.25 @2.10 or o2 @1.77Model +value: yesSignificant team news: both teams have lengthy lists of unavailable players, however most of those are out for a while and only used in rotation or as backups, probably the only one worth mentioning at the moment is Elche's starting cb Bigas, who is suspended (Cadiz' first choice cb Chust is still out injured, inj b4 the World Cup)Note: After 16 rounds, both teams are in the relegation zone, but they come into this game in completely different mood. Cadiz have clearly improved in last several rounds, they have lost just 1 of their last 5 La Liga games (and it was a narrow 2-1 defeat at reigning champions Madrid); they won at Valencia 1-0 last week, and a win here would push them up to 14th place. On the other side, it's been a dreadful season for Elche so far - they are rock-bottom, with no wins and with just 4 points after 16 rounds, huge 12 points adrift of safety, they've lost 5 league games in a row and they also got knocked out vs minnows Ceuta in 1/16 finals of Copa Del Rey a couple of weeks ago. These are the two worst attacks in La Liga, their 11 (Cadiz) and 10 (Elche) goals scored are the lowest tallies La Liga, same goes for their xG metrics, and only Getafe have created fewer big chances than these two teams. So, 'overs' here can not look as a pretty or a natural bet, but, given the current situation in the standings, we are quite confident that model's est TG 2.45+ is a fine number to go with (we'd go with 2.50ish as final number) - both teams should fancy their chances here, Cadiz to extend their good run and get 3 points against La Liga's worst team; Elche to finally end their winless run; and while this is unlikely to be a high-quality game, it should produce a solid number of chances and mistakes. Elche have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, they've conceded 2+ goals in each of their 8 La Liga road games (7-1 record on o/u 2.5 line), and again, while this is certainly an 'ugly' bet, we wouldn't price o2.25 above @2.00. Weather conditions should be ok.
  11. Udinese -1/2 @1.95Min price to bet: -1/2 @1.88 or -3/4 @2.17Model +value: yesSignificant team news: it doesn't look good for Bologna, who are still without their key cf Arnautovic, backup cf Zirkzee and cb Bonifazzi; while key cm Dominguez and fellow dm Medel are both suspended - on the plus side, lw/fw Barrow is back in the squad after injury, but not expected to be in first 11Note: Udinese have started this season in great fashion, but then went on a prolonged bad run, which has yet to end - they are without a win in last 9 Serie A games, but with 25 pts they are not in danger at all, in fact, they're just 6 pts adrift of UECL spots. This is a fantastic chance for them to finally end the drought, as they face Bologna, who have some really bad team-news here, and will be without 2 absolutely key players and 4 guaranteed starters in total. We already opposed Bologna last week, when they were missing Arnautovic, Barrow and Zirkzee, and situation is even worse now, with starting cm's Dominguez and Medel suspended - both are consistent performers and among Bologna's best rated players this season; and Nicolas Dominguez can certainly be labeled as their key player as well. With adjustment after team-news, we est the hosts 56.5-57% to win this, so at current prices they look worth a shot. Some light rain is forecasted for tomorrow afternoon, ok weather in general.
  12. Rennes -1/2 @1.99 Min price to bet: -1/2 @1.95 Model +value: yes, strong Significant team news: key lw/cf Terrier out for Rennes (out for season); cm Xeka also unavailable (long-term absentee cm Santamaria still out as well, expected to be back in next couple of weeks) Note: Terrier's injury is a huge blow for Rennes' ambition, he is a fantastic player that can play in multiple positions, he is one of the best finishers in Ligue 1, and one of the most underrated players in last couple of years - and frankly, it's quite puzzling he is still at Rennes. He has scored 21 goals in 37 Ligue 1 games last season (just 2 from penalties); and this season, he's been Rennes' (by far) best rated player, top scorer (9 goals in 16 games) and joint-leader in assists (4 ast). He suffered a cruciate ligament injury in first half of Rennes' 2-1 home win v Nice on Jan 2 (though before getting injured, he scored a goal for 1-0); and he will be a big miss in the remaining part of the season. Still, Rennes have a huge depth in attacking areas, and this will be a big chance for players like Doku and Sulemana to shine again - both of them have shown plenty of promise, well both of them are quite an established names already, but injuries have slowed them down quite a bit in last couple of years... both are healthy now, and Doku is a natural replacement for Terrier in Rennes' current formation. We have initially downgraded Rennes by 0.15 rtg points after Terrier's injury, there is no guarantee that that adjustment is good/accurate and we may be proven wrong until the end of the season, but it's also difficult not to trust in this hugely talented Rennes' squad. Now, even with Terrier, 4th placed Rennes did have problems on their travels this season, as superb 8-0-1 home record (8 straight wins) is in stark contrast with 2-4-2 on the road; with a small excuse being that, except PSG, they have played each of other top 6 teams on the road (Lens, Marseille, Monaco, Lille). Obviously, they are well aware of their away-game problems, and it was one of the focuses of coach Genesio's press conf today. Clermont won at Lyon 1-0, beating us both on hcap and TG in the process, in what looked like embarrassing bets already early in 1st half (despite market agreeing with us), and terrible Lyon performance overall. Not taking anything from Clermont, but Lyon did make things easy for them there, with incredibly lethargic, unimaginative, truly abysmal performance, which at times looked like as if they didn't care at all. This win has pushed Clermont up to 9th place, well above expectations, but also well above the position their performances so far have merited - luck factor has played an important positive role for Clermont so far. They've done better on the road than at home though, 3 defeats in last 5 at home, including defeats vs relegation candidates Brest and Troyes, who have both scored 3 goals here - and this certainly looks like a venue where Rennes should be able to start on improving on their away record. Weather conditions should be ok; Rennes' rw Bourigeaud has been absolutely sensational since Oct and may have to take on even more responsibilities after Terrier's injury; but him and plethora of attacking talent that Rennes have (Guiri, Kalimuendo, Doku, midfield led by Majer and two fantastic fullbacks in Traore and Truffert/Meling) should make sure that our estimated away win of 54.5% is not too high. Nice -3/4 @2.13 Min price to bet: -3/4 @2.07 or -1/2 @1.84 Model +value: yes Significant team news: the hosts' first choice rb Atal is still out-injured; head coach Favre has been sacked, with his assistant and former Nice player Didier Digard taking over hc duties Note: Ok, we wouldn't have backed Nice here if Favre was still at helm - while he is a quality coach, things were just not all right at Nice since his appointment in the summer, the performances and results were far below expectations, with culmination a few days ago in embarrassing Coupe de France elimination against low-league side Le Puy... and Nice played with very strong 11 there, almost their best possible. Former player Digard is a new coach, he was a member of a coaching staff already and knows the team inside out, but it remains to be seen how successful he will be. So basically, while it was obvious that change is needed, there are no guarantees that this will work, and for us to trust Nice immediately after a coach change is perhaps a bit of a gamble - but looking at their roster, there is no doubt that this is a team with plenty of high quality individuals, and with no doubt that Digard will have their respect, there are some elements that make us confident this will work out well for Nice in 2nd part of the season. Montpellier have shown some signs of improvement since their coach change in mid-Oct, but they still have to be considered as widely erratic side, quite dis-balanced, with their attack miles ahead of their defensive strength (and individual quality); and they also suffered a surprising Cup exit, vs 2nd league side Pau - although at least Montpellier played with a rotated lineup in that one. Ok weather conditions, we est Nice at 58% to win this, and considering their struggles this season, and quite a poor home record (2-3-3, just 6 goals scored in those 8 games), this price could perhaps improve - but ultimately, we do expect a positive reaction after a coach change from players, who have clearly underachieved as a group so far, and perhaps some extra effort to put the Cup embarrassment behind with 3 league points.
  13. Sociedad dnb @2.13Min price to bet: dnb @2.04Model +value: yesSignificant team news: - (still quite a few absentees for the visitors, but pretty much the same squad as in last couple of months; only rb Sola recently inj)Note: Sociedad are in superb form, they have won their last 6 in all competitions, and they're 8-1-1 in last 10. They were simply superb v Villarreal last week, we have lost on both away dnb and o2.25 there, and it was a thoroughly deserved loss on the hcap, as Sociedad were the much better side right from the kick off, they were more ambitious, very active, and didn't stop playing after taking 1-0 lead in 33rd minute. If anything was off with their game, it was efficiency - they def should've scored some more goals, as they wasted massive 5 big chances. This is an early 14h cet kick off, which would be a worry with Sociedad playing UEL game a few days ago, but it was a very easy game against Sheriff (3-0 home win), in which they had a man advantage for 60 mins and rotated quite a bit, plus could've afforded to sub out a few starters at the beginning of 2nd half. Celta are blowing hot & cold, which is a standard for this side in last few years, they have lost 3 of last 4, and the only win was undeserved 1-0 against Betis at home, in a game in which their gk Marchesin was man of the match, despite the fact that Betis were reduced to 10 after just 20 minutes. Sociedad have won on their last 3 La Liga visits here, and we make them small 37% favs to make it 4 in a row.
  14. Girona o2 @1.88 Min price to bet: o2 @1.81 or o2.25 @2.15 Model +value: yes Significant team news: Note: Girona 'overs' delivered again last week, their 4th straight game that has gone over 2.5 line with both teams scoring; and we gotta try goals again here, as price seems a bit high (yet again). This time they play against one of the most defensive sides in the league, offensively challenged Cadiz, but we can't go below est TG 2.40; especially if we consider that we have a home fav of around 50% hw est. No clean sheets for Girona yet, they won't change their style under Michel, and should easily dominate possession tomorrow, be able to create chances as well; but they'll be vulnerable to counter-attacks, and Cadiz should fancy their chances to score. The visitors have failed to score in first 5 La Liga games, but they've scored in 2 of their last 3, including 2 in 2-2 draw v Espanyol last week, so things are slowly improving on the offensive front! Ok weather conditions, both teams should treat this as a winnable game. Sevilla dnb @1.90 Min price to bet: dnb @1.86 or -1/4 @2.30 Model +value: no, negative Significant team news: Mallorca are without their key cf Muriqi (suspended) Note: Two games and two 1-1 draws for coach Sampaoli, and while Sevilla were quite poor in last 20 mins v Bilbao last week, and could've lost the game, it was an improved performance in CL in Dortmund. So, perhaps a better future for them after a dreadful start to this season under coach Lopetegui, we know they have enough talents and are not as bad as La Liga standings suggest. Still, we wouldn't have touched them at this price, if it weren't for a piece of a VERY negative team-news for the hosts, which is that their key cf Muriqi is out suspended. His importance to this Mallorca team can not be overstated, he became an important figure almost immediately after arrival (signed in winter transfer from Lazio last jan), he played an absolutely vital role in their fight against relegation last season, and his importance has grown over time. A true key player, so much of what they do offensively goes through him; he is a typical target man upfront, with distinctive physical presence; and they have noone near his quality as a replacement, plus both of their cf options for tomorrow are just different type of players, so the team's style when in possession will need to be changed as well. This is a good opportunity for Sampaoli to get his first win, we est Sevilla 39.5-40% and like this dnb offer.
  15. Monaco -1/2 @2.01 Min price to bet: -1/2 @1.93 or -3/4 @2.20 Model +value: yes Significant team news: first choice gk Omlin back in the squad for Montpellier Note: Monaco had UEL game on Thu, but it wasn't a demanding one, as they beat Trabzon 3-1 at home, after playing with man advantage since 10th minute. 3-0 up early in the 2nd half, so they could've afforded to substitute Ben Yedder, Embolo, Vanderson and Camara with 30 mins left, and we can expect close to best 11 for them in this game in Montpellier. The hosts have lost at Toulouse last week, in another shambolic defensive performance, massive 21 goals scored, but also massive 19 conceded in 9 games for Montpellier, that is 4.4 goals on avg in their games, 8 of 9 have gone over 2.5 line, and each of their last 4 home games v Monaco (in last 4 seasons) has seen both teams scoring, with at least 4 goals in total - there should be goals in this one as well, we would love to get on overs, but current price is just not good enough, hopefully some pro money on unders until tomorrow that could help us get on goals! As already mentioned, Montpellier are simply the least balanced Ligue 1 side, with some high quality upfront and creativity in midfield, and absolutely terrible defence, both individually and in terms of teamwork and communication. Monaco are in a very good form, they have won 4 straight league games and 6 of last 7 in all competitions; they have scored 3+ in each of last 3 and it's not hard to envisage similar feat against this poor Montpellier defence, even though their first choice gk Omlin should be back in 11. Strasbourg dnb @1.96 Min price to bet: dnb @1.90 or -1/4 @2.30 Model +value: yes Significant team news: cb Nyamsi suspended and cf Ajorque still out for Strasbourg; cf Diony inj for Angers, cb Sabanovic also still likely out Note: Strasbourg are still win-less after 9 rounds (0-5-4), we've already mentioned that they've shown signs of improvements about a month ago, in 1-1 draw v Brest (which they played with 10 men for 3/4 of the match), but then they failed to beat Clermont at home (0-0 draw with oppo gk Diaw making a few spectacular saves) and their inj/susp situation got ridiculously bad, so losses at Montpellier (2-1, they conceded the 2nd goal in 95th min) and Rennes (1-3 at home, they were again down to 10 early in the first half) followed. Coach Julien Stephan is of course under pressure, but it would be a shame if he got sacked and hopefully Strasbourg can get over this crisis soon. This is essentially the same team that impressed last season, their injury/susp situation is much better now than in last couple of games, their key am Thomasson is also finally back in the squad, and we make them 40% to beat Angers tomorrow. The hosts have 3 points more and their lw Boufal is in superb form, but they are inferior to the visitors in terms of quality and they have conceded a league-high 21 goals so far. Strasbourg have won here on their last 2 visits and could make it 3 in a row if they stay disciplined, of course, as another bloody red card should really be avoided.
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