Top 3 Trading Moves of the Weekend 16/10/17

Highlights

England Premier League
Burnley vs West Ham United (Saturday 3:00pm)

With the original line for this game set at DNB – this despite Burnley’s strong start to the season and West Ham’s own poor form – a tight game was envisaged. So this turned out to be, with West Ham taking the lead on 19 minutes via Michail Antonio after a poor mistake at the back. However, the real turning point was the deserved red card to Andy Caroll on 27 minutes after 2 quick bookings. Even though West Ham were ahead at this point, with over an hour to play the line swung dramatically in Burnley’s favour. It did then take Burnley until 85 minutes before Chris Wood headed home the equaliser, with relatively few high quality chances created the market had corrected by this time and would have favoured West Ham holding out – if Carroll had not been sent off then West Ham would have fancied themselves to hold on for the win.

Actual Outcome: 1-1 (DNB)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (DNB)

England Championship
Barnsley vs Middlesbrough (Saturday 3:00pm)
With Middlesbrough taking part in relatively low scoring games this season and Barnsley lacking in firepower an appropriate Goals line of 2.5 was set for this game. This was blown out of the water in the first 9 minutes as Barnsley took the lead via an Ashley Fletcher own goal, Braithwaite equalised for Middlesbrough and McGeehan then restored Barnsley’s lead all before the 10 minute mark, hurting any Unders traders very early on. Middlesbrough went on to get a 2nd equaliser on the hour to end the game in a fair draw.

Actual Outcome: 2-2 (2.5 Goals Line)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (2.5 Goals Line)

Dutch Eredivisie
VVV vs PSV (Sunday 1:30pm)

While several of the smaller clubs in the Eredivisie have started well – including newly promoted VVV – the traditionally bigger sides are starting to exert their power. PSV were -1 favourites before this match, slightly lower than what they would likely have been in the past couple of years and indicative of their recent struggles. Early in the 2nd half Hunte scored to turn the game around and give VVV a 2-1 lead, putting the AH line in severe jeopardy. However, it’s at this point that PSV really came alive and scored three goals in 14 minutes to go 4-2 ahead and be ahead of the AH line. This was helped by the 60th minute dismissal of Promes for VVV. PSV added a 5th goal with 5 minutes to play to cap off a great 2nd half performance after looking in danger for almost 2/3 of the game.

Actual Outcome: 2-5 (+1 VVV)
Fair Outcome: 1-3 (+1 VVV)

Weekend Review 16/10/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Liverpool vs Manchester United (Saturday 12:30pm)
With only one team really playing with the intention to score the Under 2.5 goal line looked safe in this one for long periods. While it was expected Mourinho would go with the intention of keeping things tight it was a surprise to see such a strong Manchester United team play quite so defensively. While Liverpool struggled to break them down they did have several high quality chances to break the deadlock and should have taken all 3 points, though it looked very unlikely they would ever beat the goal line by themselves.

Suggestion: Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.941
Actual Outcome: 0-0 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (Win)

Germany Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig (Saturday 5:30pm)
Once Dortmund took the lead after just 4 minutes of this game it looked like this would be a real uphill battle to beat the generous Handicap given, but RB Leipzig turned things around very well, putting in an excellent performance to claim a deserved win and ensure Dortmund suffered their first home league defeat in 41 games, stretching back to April 2015. Leipzig had gone ahead before half time, and despite Dortmund being on top a penalty and red card early in the 2nd half gave Leipzig a comfortable cushion. A late red for the away team and a soft penalty made for a tense last few minutes but even had they conceded an equaliser RB Leipzig always looked likely to beat the +1 Handicap.

Suggestion: RB Leipzig +1 @ 2.085
Actual Outcome: 2-3 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 2-3 (Win)

Spain Primera Liga
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona (Saturday 7:45pm)
A very close fought game deservedly ended in a draw with Barcelona coming close to snatching it in the 2nd half after Atletico Madrid had taken the lead then restricted the away side from creating much for long spells. The game had a very open start with good opportunities for Messi & Griezmann but soon settled and Saul gave the home side the lead with a terrific effort from outside the box on 20 minutes. Barcelona struggled create many clear cut chances but Messi hit the post with a free kick before Suarez headed an equaliser from close range with 10 minutes to play. In the latter stages Suarez came very close to poking home a ball across the 6 yard box and Messi had a free kick in the dying seconds well held by Oblak, giving a win on the Under Goal Line.

Suggestion: Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.970
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (Win)

 

Ones to Watch

Italy Serie A
Internazionale vs Milan (Sunday 7:45pm)
A frantic derby between these two old rivals which piles the pressure on Milan manager Montella. While Inter fully deserved the win it took a dramatic finale to seal the victory. After a tight start Icardi gave Inter the lead, which they held until half time but Milan started the 2nd half brightly and eventually levelled through Suso. Icardi again put Inter ahead but an own goal by Handanovic brought parity again with 10 minutes to play. With the game heading for a draw and a half loss on the handicap Inter were awarded a penalty in stoppage time which Icardi scored to complete his hat trick and turn the half loss into a deserved full win.

Suggestion: Internazionale -0.25 @ 1.909
Actual Outcome: 3-2 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (Win)

France Ligue 1
Lyon vs Monaco (Friday 7:45pm)
This was an end to end game with another last minute winner. An understrength Monaco attack and weakened Lyon defence pointed to goals and that’s exactly what happened with Lyon taking the lead in just the 11th minute having already hit the woodwork twice. It didn’t take long for Monaco to equalise with Rony Lopes getting on the scoresheet but Fekir scored to put Lyon ahead again only for Adama Traore to level again before half time. The 2nd half was much quieter with Monaco missing a Great Chance to win the match and this proved costly as deep into injury time Fekir drilled home a free kick from 25 yards, winning the game for Lyon and turning a half win into a disappointing loss.

Suggestion: Monaco +0.25 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 3-2 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (Half Win)

England Championship
Derby County vs Nottingham Forest (Sunday 1:15pm)
Sky Sports Football
Perhaps the most disappointing loss of the weekend came in this clash between two East Midlands rivals. Derby took the lead after just 25 seconds, clearly pointing to an Overs game, especially with how open Nottingham Forest usually are. Vydra almost added his 2nd and Murphy and McKay were close to equalising but early in the 2nd half Nugent went through to double Derby’s lead – meaning another goal in the final 40 minutes would have meant a win. Unfortunately Derby then decided this was enough and the match became much tighter with Forest not able to create any high quality chances after this. While Forest deserved a draw there weren’t really enough chances to justify an Overs pick, despite the early goal.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (Loss)

 6 Suggestions
Total Actual Outcome: +2
Total Fair Outcome: +3.5

*Odds accurate at time of writing

Weekend Preview 13/10/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Liverpool vs Manchester United (Saturday 12:30pm)
Sky Sports Premier League
This clash between two fierce rivals is probably the first fixture both these sets of fans looked for and there has been reason for both to be optimistic in their starts to the season. Liverpool have slightly underperformed but continue to show huge potential and look very dangerous going forward while Jose Mourinho has finally begun to turn Manchester United back into a force after a few seasons of mediocrity.

Liverpool were dealt a huge blow in the week with Mane picking up a hamstring injury with Senegal but Coutinho is now fully fit and slots in, with his craft and flair making up in part for the loss of Mane’s pace. With Pogba still out for Manchester United, his replacement Fellaini – who has fitted into the team very well – also suffered injury on international duty so Herrera is expected to start. This is Manchester United’s first real test this season so it will be interesting to see if Mourinho makes any drastic changes to how they have been playing against weaker opposition.

While the neutral would love this game to be an end to end affair the last 5 meetings in all competitions have all been under the 2.5 goal line which has been offered and with Mourinho giving the visitors more solidity this season only an early goal is expected to really open this one up.

Suggestion: Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.941

 

Germany Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig (Saturday 5:30pm)
BT Sport 2

Dortmund have had a great start to the season, winning 6 of their 7 games and sitting 5 points clear at the top of the league. RB Leipzig have lost some of the impact from last season but have still done well and aren’t too far behind and will be able to close the gap with a victory in this one.

Dortmund are missing a few key players with notably both first choice full backs unavailable and squad depth is being tested with several mid/long term absentees. With a vital upcoming Champions League clash against APOEL which they need to win their could be some slight temptation to rotate. In contrast RB Leipzig are able to recall both Keita and Werner which gives them a huge boost, though Sabitzer is a doubt. They also have a key UCL tie on Tuesday but will feel anything less than a full strength side may struggle to return with a positive result.

Both the Asian Handicap and Total Goals lines are set very well for this game and finding an edge is tight. Dortmund are clear favourites after their excellent start but RB Leipzig have the capability to get something. Both games last season were very tight so there is more value on backing RB Leipzig to take something from the match.

Suggestion: RB Leipzig +1 @ 2.085

 

Spain Primera Liga
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona (Saturday 7:45pm)
Sky Sports Football
The first big clash in Spain this season between two of the expected top three comes amid political tension in Spain and the Catalan team travelling to Madrid has an extra edge. Barcelona’s perfect start to the season is under threat and Atletico could find themselves 9 points off the pace with defeat in this one.

Atletico do have a full strength side available, with Felipe Luis returning at left back. Simeone is expected to pay maximum respect to their visitors by dropping Cassasco to the bench in order to bring in the more defensive Partey, with Saul playing from the left to limit the space available. Barcelona look set to be without Iniesta which is a blow for their creativity with Paulinho adding more presence and physicality in midfield. Messi will start after almost single handedly ensuring Argentina reached the World Cup.

With Barcelona made favourites on the Asian Handicap line it’s realistic to say that Atletico could expect to take a least a point but there appears to be more value in the Under. It seems odd to go Under 2.5 Goals in a Barcelona game but with Atletico determined not to slip further off the pace a tight and cagey match is expected, with potential fatigue from long journeys over the international break another factor.

Suggestion: Under 2.5 @ 1.970

 

Ones to Watch

Italy Serie A
Internazionale vs Milan (Sunday 7:45pm)
BT Sport 1
These famous rivals have finally started to turn their fortunes around after a tough few seasons but already this game could go a long way to determining who finishes higher at the end of the year. Interesting have made a great start, winning 6 of their 7 games while Montella is already under pressure at Milan after some mediocre results. Inter are at full strength while Milan have a few injury and suspension problems and have already suffered 2 poor away defeats to Sampdoria and Lazio. The market only makes Inter slight favourites but given their form it’s hard to see past Inter taking all 3 points.

Suggestion: Internazionale -0.25 @ 1.909

 

France Ligue 1
Lyon vs Monaco (Friday 7:45pm)
BT Sport 3
Due to European commitments these two French heavyweights will battle it out on Friday night, with Monaco having much the better start to the season than Lyon – though both are already playing catch up to PSG. Lyon manager Genesio is under pressure already after just 1 win in 8 games but more notably losing the lead in quite a few of those games. They are without Marcelo at centre back making them notably weaker in this area but in contrast Falcao and Fabinho are both out for the away side. Monaco’s nature means they rarely play to draw and even without some of their key attacking talent they will push for 3 points and expect to take a positive result of some sort back home.

Suggestion: Monaco +0.25 @ 1.89

 

England Championship
Derby County vs Nottingham Forest (Sunday 1:15pm)
Sky Sports Football
Another clash between two local rivals, with real animosity between these sides usually making for a frantic clash. Both have underperformed so far this season and Derby are winless in 4, though they have drawn 3 of those. They are slightly below full strength with Johnson missing through suspension, a blow to their midfield. Nottingham Forest’s fortunes improved slightly by beating Sheffield United before the international break and Mills and Vaughan should both be available to strengthen the side. With Forest always looking to play for the win and Derby needing a morale boost, both sides could open up and go for it in this game, so the Over line looks to hold more value.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.880

 

 

*Odds accurate at time of writing

What is the Trading impact of Chelsea’s change to a back 3

How has Chelsea’s switch to a back three affected the Premier League and has this had any impact from a trading perspective?

After a decade dominated by formations like the 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, three defender formations have seen something of a revival over the past couple of years. In his final season at Barcelona, Josep Guardiola saw the 3-4-3 diamond as the next evolution for his team, while Louis Van Gaal utilised a 3-man defence with Holland at the 2014 World Cup to some success. However, the trend only really started to hit the headlines when Antonio Conte radically switched to a 3-4-3 formation after 6 games of the 2016/2017 Premier League season. Using Stratadata, I will assess how the tactical switch improved Chelsea, while also looking at the potential impact the current trend of 3 defender formations may have on trading markets.

To begin with, let’s have a look at their actual performance over the first 12 games of last season. In their first 6 games, Conte toyed with a 4-1-4-1/4-2-3-1 system, picking up 10 points and 10 goals along the way. Back to back defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal proved to be the spark for Conte’s decision to switch to a 3-4-3 and it proved to be a pivotal point in the season. For comparisons sake, in the next 6 games, Chelsea took maximum points, scoring 7 more goals while conceding none, but more interestingly, Conte’s men went on a 13-game win streak which ultimately helped them on their way to the Premier League title.

Blog - 0610 - graph1

So how did the 3-4-3 actually improve Chelsea’s performance on the pitch? One of the main reasons for Conte’s switch to a 3-4-3 was to get Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa playing closer together. With an additional defender, the wingbacks could afford to stay higher up the pitch to provide width, which in turn, creates more space for the front three to link up in the centre. This proved to be the case as before the switch to a 3-4-3, Chelsea made key entries into the final third from a central position on average, 36% of the time. After the switch, that figure went up to 43%, with Hazard, Diego Costa and Pedro seemingly given more space to attack.

Blog - 0610 - graph2

Staying on the topic of key entries, but instead looking at the defensive side of things, it seems that opposition teams tried to counter Chelsea’s 3-4-3 by exploiting the attacking nature of the wingbacks, having more success down the right flank (33% compared to 41% with a 3-4-3) However, this explains one of Conte’s most intelligent decisions; utilising Azpilicueta (a natural fullback) as a right-sided centre back meant the defender could provide natural cover for Victor Moses from a position he’s fairly comfortable and accustomed to. The extra space available to opposition teams on the opposite flank could be explained by the fact that Gary Cahill (a natural centre back) tends to play on the left side of the back three, as the defender probably feels more comfortable defending from a more central position to Azpilicueta.

Interestingly, Chelsea’s desire to play through the centre of the pitch has had a slight effect on their corner count as they’re less likely to force corners from blocked crosses for example and on average, they received 1.5 less corners per game in 6 games after the switch to a 3-4-3, so it’d be interesting to look at this on a broader scale for a future blog.

Blog - 0610 - graph3

Moving on to StrataBet’s chance data, there was also a vast improvement in the quality of opportunities Chelsea created. They did have slightly more shots on goal in their 6 games prior to switching to a 3-4-3. However, when you compare the number of great chances they created before and after the tactical adjustment, there’s no denying Chelsea became much more efficient at creating higher quality chances, which naturally lends itself to scoring more goals.

Blog - 0610 - graph4

At the other end of the pitch, the 3-4-3 also had the desired effect. Not only did they concede less shots overall, after conceding 5 great chances in their first 6 games before utilising a 3-4-3, they conceded none in their next 6 games after switching their formation. The number of very good chances also decreased so it’s no surprise they kept an incredible run of clean sheets with the addition of another defender.

Blog - 0610 - graph5

From a trading perspective, Chelsea’s increased creative efficiency and defensive solidity also had an impact on the pre-match total goals market. All 6 of Chelsea’s opening games of last season finished over the total goals line which ranged from 2.5 to 2.75, but in their next 6 games, only half went over the total goals line despite it naturally falling to 2.25 goals on 3 occasions, which was probably due to their opposition struggling to create anything clear-cut.

First 6 games of 2016-17 Season
Home Team Away Team Total Goals Line Result Over/Under
Chelsea West Ham 2.5 2-1 Over
Watford Chelsea 2.25 1-2 Over
Chelsea Burnley 2.75 3-0 Over
Swansea City Chelsea 2.5 2-2 Over
Chelsea Liverpool 2.75 1-2 Over
Arsenal Chelsea 2.75 3-0 Over
Games 7-12 of 2016-17 Season
Home Team Away Team Total Goals Line Result Over/Under
Hull City Chelsea 2.75 0-2 Under
Chelsea Leicester City 2.75 3-0 Over
Chelsea Man United 2.25 4-0 Over
Southampton Chelsea 2.25 0-2 Under
Chelsea Everton 2.75 5-0 Over
Middlesbrough Chelsea 2.25 0-1 Under

It’s amazing to think such a simple switch in a team’s shape can have such big consequences. After the 1st of October 2016, when Chelsea first lined up in their new formation, more and more teams have experimented with a back three. Most notably, Tottenham Hotspur ended Chelsea’s 13-game win streak with a similar formation. The trend appears to have continued into this season, with the likes of Manchester City, Everton, Burnley, Swansea and Bournemouth all using three at the back at some stage, but has this had a broader influence?

In total, 33 Premier League games this season have featured either one or both teams using three at the back and of those, 15 games have finished over the total goals line (45.45%), while 16 have finished under (48.48%), with the 2 remaining games earning a push. Interestingly, the number of matches not featuring a back three finishing under the total goals line jumps up to 17 games out of 27 (62.96%), with the other 10 games finishing over the total goals line (37.04%). What’s even more interesting is the fact that the average total goals line for games between teams playing four at the back (2.45 goals) is actually lower than the average for games featuring a back three (2.62 goals).

It could be that the bookmakers are still slightly over-estimating the total number of goals in games not featuring a team playing three at the back and this could suggest that although more teams are experimenting with a back three, they may actually be more comfortable and efficient defending in a back four, mainly due to the unfamiliarity of 3 defender formations over the past 10 years. Perhaps it will take some time and more training than expected to get teams defending efficiently in a back three which could open up trading opportunities on under markets whenever a team experimenting with 3 defenders reverts to their usual back four.

Blog - 0610 - graph7

Ultimately, it appears Conte’s experience and familiarity with coaching a team to play three at the back at Juventus and Atalanta has paid dividends in ensuring Chelsea’s quick transition and instant results. It’s unlikely other teams will experience the same drastic improvements with such a simple change, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more teams using 3 defender formations more frequently and efficiently over the remainder of the season.

 

@danny_yarr

Top 3 Trading Moves of the Weekend 02/10/17

Highlights

England Championship
Burton Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Saturday 3:00pm)

Despite the perceived gulf in quality between these sides the goals line was set at a relatively low 2.25. This was even though Burton had lost 4-0 at home to Aston Villa in midweek and had already suffered big defeats away to Leeds and Hull and with Wolves having both first choice central defenders out. The dominant visitors made a mockery of the low line, scoring twice in the opening 11 minutes before eventually confirming the Overs with a 3rd goal on 41 minutes. They added a deserved 4th in the 2nd half for good measure.

Actual Outcome: 0-4 (2.25 Goals Line)
Fair Outcome: 0-4 (2.25 Goals Line)

Norway Eliteserien
Stabaek vs Valerenga (Saturday 5:00pm)
In this battle of two mid table sides in Norway, Stabaek were made slight favourites given a -0.25 Asian Handicap. By half time, they found themselves 2-0 down against a side that doesn’t score many but also doesn’t concede many and it looked like a lost cause. However, an impressive 2nd half saw Stabaek continue to make chances and they took 4 of them to complete the turnaround.

Actual Outcome: 4-2 (-0.25)
Fair Outcome: 3-1 (-0.25)

England Premier League
Stoke City vs Southampton (Saturday 3:00pm)

With another 2.25 goals line set this was again expected to be a tight game. However, there were quite a decent number of chances even before Diouf headed Stoke in front. Before half time Berahino missed a penalty and Southampton looked like they’d made them pay with Yoshida’s equaliser on 75 minutes. The Goals line looked appropriate at this point as the game headed towards a draw but up popped Crouch in the latter stages to sneak the win for Stoke and force the overs on the Goal Line.

Actual Outcome: 2-1 (2.25 Goals Line)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (2.25 Goals Line)

Weekend Review 02/10/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Chelsea vs Manchester City (Saturday 5:30pm)
A tight game eventually hinged on the quality of Manchester City going forward but the key moment occurred in the 35th minute with Morata being forced off for Chelsea due to injury. It was clear that Chelsea lacked a Plan B, with Hazard playing further forward but unable to have the same effect from his usual deeper role.

Few quality chances were created over the course of the game but the better ones did fall to Manchester City who looked the more likely to grab a goal. That eventually came with just over 20 minutes left as De Bruyne fired an outstanding effort in from outside the box.

Chelsea rarely threatened after going behind and Manchester City proved to be surprisingly dominant as they looked more likely to add a 2nd goal than Chelsea did to get back into the game. Once Morata had departed it seemed Chelsea’s best hope was to hold on for a point but this didn’t happen.

Suggestion: Chelsea DNB @ 1.880
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 0-1 (Loss)

Germany Bundesliga

Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich (Sunday 2:30pm)
After the turmoils of the past week Bayern were looking to bounce back and prove a point following the miserable performance in Paris and Ancelotti’s subsequent sacking. All seemed to be going according to plan as goals from Hummels and Lewandowski gave them a commanding lead just 5 minutes into the 2nd half.

However, from that point some of this seasons frailties crept back into the side as they were punished by essentially the only 2 chances Hertha Berlin created throughout the entire game. Duda and Kalou scored in a frantic 5 minute spell to get Hertha back level and they then defended very well to earn a point at the end of the game.

Bayern created numerous chances, especially in the 1st half and were guilty of being wasteful and while they should have won this game they rarely looked like doing so by a two goal margin needed to beat the handicap. The Bavarian giants now sit 5 points behind Dortmund and while it is still early in the season, significant improvement is needed.

Suggestion: Hertha Berlin +1.5 @ 1.862
Actual Outcome: 2-2 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (Win)

Italy Serie A
Milan vs Roma (Sunday 5:00pm)
Roma had surprisingly drifted to +0.25 outsiders in this game prior to kick off. The long trip from Azerbaijan was partially to blame for this but there was little in the way of breaking team news that moved the line. It was in the latter stages of the 2nd half that a tight game opened up and Roma were able to make their quality count.

The game was very close for over an hour and it was only during the last 20 minutes that chances started to come. Milan could have taken the lead – and had they done so it’s unlikely Roma would have beaten the Asian Handicap line – but instead it was Dzeko and then Florenzi who scored the goals to seal a very good away win.

Milan will feel they deserved to score but Roma defended well after going in front and never looked like giving up the lead they had worked so hard for. It brings further pressure on Montella and it now seems like a matter of time before he is replaced, though he did get a vote of confidence from the board after this defeat.

Suggestion: Roma DNB @ 1.980
Actual Outcome: 0-2 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (Win)

 

Ones to Watch

Portugal Primeira Liga
Sporting vs Porto (Sunday 7:15pm)
This game ended goalless much to the surprise of those watching who saw Porto create a string of high quality chances during the 1st half. Aboubakar was the chief culprit in squandering these and Porto eventually had to settle for a solitary point when they really should have had all 3. Sporting were poor and rarely threatened, though they did defend much better in the 2nd half, but the value at DNB remained on Porto throughout the game, with Marega missing a Great Chance near the end. It’s likely 1 goal would have been the difference in this game, unfortunately it didn’t come.

Suggestion: Porto DNB @ 1.990
Actual Outcome: 0-0 (Push)
Fair Outcome: 0-1 (Win)

Belgium First Division A
Anderlecht vs Standard Liege (Sunday 5:00pm)
We provided two suggestions for this game, Anderlecht to win comfortably and Over 2.75 goals. While Anderlecht eventually prevailed, thanks to an 89th minute winner, this was the only goal of the game. Both sides were evenly matched for long spells and it wasn’t until around the hour mark that Anderlecht took control and started creating quality chances, only to spurn them all. They kept pushing but it wasn’t until Onyekuru scored a header with 1 minute left to get the win. Even after this Standard had their best – and only real chance of the match – with Luchkevych missing the chance to grab a share of the points.

Suggestion: Anderlecht -0.75 @ 1.990 AND Over 2.75 Goals @ 1.900
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (Half Win/Loss)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (Half Win/Loss)

Dutch Eredivisie
Heerenveen vs Ajax (Sunday 1:30pm)
Having spoken of Heerenveen’s excellent start to the season and Ajax’s own faltering campaign it’s ironic that the Amsterdam giants used this game to really show their quality. They destroyed Heerenveen and even at a 4-0 scoreline they had the quality chances to score more. Heerenveen were in the game until just before the break and had periods of pressure but 2 goals by Neres before half time not only killed their hopes but also made the suggested Under bet unlikely. This proved to be the case, though despite all the chances it wasn’t until Wober added the 4th with 7 minutes left that this one lost.

Suggestion: Under 3 Goals @ 1.860
Actual Outcome:  0-4 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 0-4 (Loss)

Norway Eliteserien
Rosenborg vs Sarpsborg (Sunday 7:00pm)
While the result of this one is a slight surprise, what’s perhaps more surprising is the tempo and quality with which this one was played out. A win for Sarpsborg could have given them a realistic chance of a late challenge for the title but it seemed that both were content with a draw, Rosenborg putting minimal effort in and creating little while Sarpsborg did well to get back on level terms so quickly after falling behind. Rosenborg had plenty of the ball in the first half but ultimately did little with it and Sarpborg were well worth the draw they set out for.

Suggestion: Rosenborg -0.75 @ 1.862
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (Loss)

 8 Suggestions
Total Actual Outcome: -1.5
Total Fair Outcome: -0.5

*Odds accurate at time of writing

Weekend Preview 29/09/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Chelsea vs Manchester City (Saturday 5:30pm)
BT Sport 1
Chelsea have been quietly going about their business after the surprise opening day defeat to Burnley and sit 3 points behind their top of the table visitors who have won all but one of their games. The away side have been improving all the time and look a real force so far.

Manchester City have been dealt two injury blows this week,  with Sergio Aguero breaking ribs in a car crash, while Mendy is expected to miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Both leave them weaker in their respective positions. David Luiz is banned for Chelsea with Christensen likely to step in as a weaker alternative. Chelsea also have a days less rest after their away Champions League tie.

The AH line has been set at Draw No Bet and this is likely to be where the slight edge is with Chelsea. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this line move with news of Aguero’s injury to -0.25 and Chelsea will be confident of at least avoiding defeat.

Suggestion: Chelsea DNB @ 1.880

Germany Bundesliga

Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich (Sunday 2:30pm)
BT Sport 2
German clubs have suffered badly in Europe this week, all 6 sides losing their games including both Hertha (at Ostersunds) and Bayern Munich (at Paris SG) – with the latter costing Carlo Ancelotti his job. It does seem like Ancelotti had lost favour with many Bayern fans and the players, with rumours of unrest rife. Willy Sagnol will give them a boost as Interim Manager.

Hertha have rotated their team in the last couple of games and should be able to welcome back Jarstein, Plattenhardt and Darida but with Ibisevic missing through suspension their attack is weakened. Bayern also have rested players to come back in such as Robben, Ribery, Hummels and Boateng but Neuer is a key absentee with Ulreich looking poor so far.

Hertha are likely to be ultra defensive and may sense some weakness in the Bayern Munich team. The lack of strikers means they are unlikely to be adventurous but with Bayern perhaps feeling that a win by any means will do, this could favour Hertha on the AH line.

Suggestion: Hertha Berlin +1.5 @ 1.862

Italy Serie A
Milan vs Roma (Sunday 5:00pm)
BT Sport 2
In contrast to the German sides, Italian teams fared well in Europe with both these sides picking up wins in midweek. Milan were slightly fortunate to overcome Rijeka at home but Roma should have been more comfortable on their long trip to Azerbaijan to face Qarabag.

Milan rested a few of their bigger players for the Europa League tie so Rodriguez, Biglia and Kalinic should all return and be fresh. Vincenzo Montella is coming under pressure after a couple of poor results with high expectations on the expensively assembled squad. Defeat in this game could leave the door open for Ancelotti to return to the club. Roma have a lack of attacking depth, with a few injuries but their strongest XI is available and they will be confident of counting their good start to the season, unbeaten since the opening day.

Milan have improved since last season but expectation seems to be weighing heavily on them and they have struggled against the better sides. Roma fall into this category and it’s likely had they not had such a long midweek trip they could even have been -0.25 favourites. The Draw No Bet line favours them.

Suggestion: Roma DNB @ 1.980

 

Ones to Watch

Portugal Primeira Liga
Sporting vs Porto (Sunday 7:15pm)
FreeSports
The top two clash in Portugal early in the season with both going very well after 5 games. Sporting lost 1-0 to Barcelona in midweek, limiting their opponents chances but seeing little of the ball. With 1 days less rest compared to Porto – who beat Monaco 3-0 away – this could be a key factor. Both sides have almost their first choice starting XI’s available and with a low goals line appropriately set in what is expected to be a tight clash, it looks like the value again lies on the AH line, with Porto drifting in to Draw No Bet and looking to have some value.

Suggestion: Porto DNB @ 1.990

Belgium First Division A
Anderlecht vs Standard Liege (Sunday 5:00pm)
Not on TV
Both these traditional big Belgian rivals have had terrible starts to the season. Anderlecht have already sacked their manager and defeat to Celtic in the Champions League in midweek has added to the already hostile atmosphere at the club. Standard have been faring even worse, with just 2 wins in 8 league matches this season – though back to back cup and league wins sees a slight improvement. They have some key players out through injury and suspension however and it’s hard to look past a large Anderlecht win, with AH and Goals lines both offering value.

Suggestion: Anderlecht -0.75 @ 1.990 AND Over 2.75 Goals @ 1.900

Dutch Eredivisie
Heerenveen vs Ajax (Sunday 1:30pm)
Sky Sports Mix
Heerenveen have started the season in excellent fashion, currently lying 2nd in the table and having already beaten PSV at home reasonably comfortably. Ajax on the other hand have struggled, exiting the Europa League and failing to beat Den Haag and Vitesse in their last 2 games. With a couple of injury problems as well it is surprising to see the AH line set where it is, with Ajax’s prestige likely to be having a big impact on this and Heerenveen more than capable of getting at least a point. However, there seems to be better value on the Unders line, with only 1 each of both these sides 6 games this season going over 3 goals.

Suggestion: Under 3 Goals @ 1.860

Norway Eliteserien
Rosenborg vs Sarpsborg (Sunday 7:00pm)
Not on TV
While this may seem like a slightly obscure clash, this has actually become a title decider in Norway. Rosenborg lead Sarpsborg by 9 points with 7 games remaining and a victory in this one would all but seal the title. Rosenborg haven’t been that impressive over the season, given their means compared to other sides in the Eliteserien, but they have improved in the past couple of months and were victorious over Vardar in the Europa League in midweek. This is likely to be Sarpsborg’s best ever season and they have a cup final to focus on as well, so they are unlikely to be too disheartened by a defeat while Rosenborg can finally have the motivation to turn in a good performance and show their superiority.

Suggestion: Rosenborg -0.75 @ 1.862

 

*Odds accurate at time of writing

The secret behind Manchester United’s strong finish to Premier League games

After a summer of heavy investment, it is perhaps no surprise to see the two Manchester clubs leading the way at this early point in the Premier League season. Deadlocked on 16 points from a possible 18 and only separated by Man City’s superior goal difference, we could be looking at a very early two horse race for the league title. Chelsea are clinging to their coattails after recovering well from an opening day defeat, but for the purpose of this piece, I wanted to look at the red half of Manchester, and more specifically, an emerging trend that has seen them blitz opponent’s late in matches to run up an inflated score line. Using Stratadata, I will assess whether the results have been just, and what this could mean for the trading markets, specifically Asian Handicap and Over/Under from a dead ball and in-play perspective.

Taking a quick trip down memory lane to this point in the season 12 months ago (6 games), and there is already a noticeable difference in output at both ends of the pitch.

Blog - 2809 - graph5

Spurred on by the goals of Lukaku up front while remaining staunchly organised defensively, there has been clear early improvement across the board for Jose Mourinho’s men. But how have they done it, and is it a sustainable method?

Looking at this season’s data, one thing that immediately jumps off the page is the quality of chances that have been created over the opening six games. Naturally there is a gradual reduction in the number frequency from Poor Chances to Superb Chances, as by definition, the better the chance the harder it is to carve out in the first place, though the rewards are often far greater. However, what is interesting is that the number of Good (22), Very Good (21) and Great (21) chances is very closely bunched, each accounting for roughly 15% of all chances created by the team so far. What this means, is that not only are they creating with reasonable regularity, on average 3.6 Great, Very Good and Good chances apiece per game, but they are also drastically improving their odds of finding the net as a result.

Blog - 2809 - graph2

Looking a little deeper at the numbers, we can not only see that Man Utd are creating chances, but that a lot of their better chances are coming later in matches, correlating nicely with their elevated goal output at these moments. After the 60 minute mark in games so far, Man Utd have fashioned, 11 Great chances, and 12 Very Good chances, a very interesting trend considering that in the opening hour of games they have managed 10 Great chances and 9 Very Good. Could this purely come down to fitness? Or is there more to it?

If we look in terms of game state at this point in matches, it can be argued that Man Utd aren’t doing enough in the first 60 minutes to totally kill off opponents, which leads to more space opening up in the latter stages as an equaliser is chased. They have been ahead of their handicap just twice in their opening six games at this point, suggesting movement on the in-play market could hold some value for the more patient.

Blog - 2809 - graph4

By managing games well defensively and controlling the tempo. Man Utd could be very cleverly waiting for the opportunity to strike and further pad their advantage when opponents press a little higher and commit more bodies forward. It’s well known Mourinho likes his team to be well organised defensively, especially when they are holding onto an advantage. However, when games become stretched, this is where goal efficiency has really improved, with Man Utd showing a lethal touch in front of goal late in games, converting 91.6% of all Great Chances created beyond the 70 minute mark, a remarkably high statistic that they would do very well to sustain throughout the season.

Blog - 2809 - graph1

The use of substitutes has also been a useful tool in Jose Mourinho’s arsenal this season, and it’s noticeable how their goal output rises when fresh legs are introduced from the bench. On average Man Utd’s first substitution has come after 68 minutes this season, while all 10 goals scored in the final 30 minutes of matches have also been netted following the first change, something which could act as a potential trigger point for traders looking at in-play on both Over/Under and Asian Handicap markets, where better opportunities could be available. For those more inclined to make dead ball trades, staying patient with Man Utd and not hitting the exit button early seems a smart move at present, especially if games are close, as they have been in every game so far.

From a trading perspective, the markets have naturally leaned towards Man Utd as favourites in their matches, with all six opponents faced being weaker on paper. However, the highest dead ball handicap that they have faced is -1.5 (on four occasions), with there being understandable wariness about Mourinho’s pleasure at getting the result above a high scoring victory. In their two closest games to date away at Stoke and Southampton, the handicap has been set lower (-1 and -0.75 respectively). Neither are easy places to go, and while they only earned a draw at the former, the Stratadata fair score for that clash was a 2-1 win, which would have at least secured a push on any handicap staking. Indeed, by using Stratabet’s Fair Score model, it reveals that not only have Man Utd been winning games, but they have been doing so on merit, with only matches with Everton and West Ham being closer than the real end score suggests.

Blog - 2809 - graph3

Moving into future matches where opponents will become tougher, they may find it harder to continue their excellent trend of results and late goals, but the defensive resolve that is coming with their attacking output so far should allow them to continue picking up results even when they are stifled in the final third. So far only Stoke have managed to breach the Man Utd defence, with both of those goals coming from a Great Chance, so conversion could perhaps be expected. Total Goals markets have tended to follow a similar pattern to the handicap markets, with the most recent clash against Southampton seeing the lowest set line at 2.25 (much due to Southampton’s abysmal home output), while there has been nothing higher than 2.75 in the dead ball markets across other fixtures. While these lines have ultimately been beaten in 4/6 matches played, the late goals scored have tipped games beyond the natural line where it had previously looked unlikely.

Ultimately it’s likely that opponents will wise up to Man Utd’s late attacking threat and will remain a bit more rigid at the back, so O/U markets may not push into the 3+ range too often pre-match, but it appears at present Man Utd can be relied upon to not only create, but also convert with regularity in the final third of matches, helping them overcome both Handicap lines, and Total Goals Lines for weeks to come.

 

@Payney3

Weekend Review 25/09/17

Highlights

English Premier League
West Ham Utd vs Tottenham (Saturday 12:30pm)
A game that was tight and tense for the opening 30 minutes but exploded into life shortly before half time, bringing with it a glut of goals. Tottenham have looked much better playing away from Wembley and that was the case in this one as Harry Kane struck twice before the break.

West Ham looked to get back into it but struggled and Eriksen finished superbly to put the game Over the goals line before West Ham finally started to trouble the Spurs defence, with 2 goals sandwiched by a red card for Aurier. In truth, it was more due to clinical finishing by Tottenham and West Ham throwing men forward with nothing to lose but once it was 2-0 before the break this one was always likely to finish as Overs.

Suggestion: Under 2.75 Goals @ 2.030
Actual Outcome:  2-3 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (Half Loss)

Spain Primera Liga

Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla (Saturday 12:00pm)
It was rather a surprise how comfortably Atletico won this game. They never really hit top gear against Sevilla, always looking like they had one eye on the Champions League game with Chelsea in midweek but still did enough to easily see off a Sevilla side who were expected to put up more fight.

The 1st half was relatively even but once Carrasco scored in the opening minute of the 2nd half there was only ever going to be one winner. Sevilla pushed forward a little more after this but Atletico defended comfortably and Griezmann eventually scored a 2nd to put the game beyond doubt with the home side then sitting back and taking the sting out of the game to claim the easy victory while expending minimal effort. Sevilla created little of note throughout the game and didn’t deserve to score.

Suggestion: Sevilla +1 @ 1.854
Actual Outcome:  2-0 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (Loss)

Germany Bundesliga
Hoffenheim vs Schalke (Saturday 2:30pm)
While this looks like a comfortable win for Hoffenheim it proved to be anything but. After taking the lead through Geiger on 13 minutes Hoffenheim then sat back and looked to defend and play on the counter attack but Schalke had numerous quality opportunities to score, just not being able to put the ball into the net.

After squandering a host of chances it was the home side who got the crucial 2nd goal as a mistake by Fahrmann allowed Rupp to tap into an empty net and make it 2-0 right at the end. Schalke will consider themselves unlucky not to take at least a draw from the game as Hoffenheim looked to conserve energy for their Europa League tie in midweek.

Suggestion: Schalke +0.25 @ 2.000
Actual Outcome:  2-0 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (Half Win)

 

Ones to Watch

England Championship
Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield United (Sunday 1:15pm)
Being a Wednesdayite I’d really rather not talk about this one! The goal after 2 minutes really opened the game up but Sheffield United did enough to beat the goal line comfortably on their own through some truly terrible defending by the home side. While Wednesday fought to get back into the game at 2-2 it was undeserved and took United just 2 minutes to retake the lead and then add to their score through more bad defending. This was the Sheffield derby with the most goals in since 1951, so the high scoring game was a real surprise.

Suggestion: Under 2.25 Goals @ 1.877
Actual Outcome:  2-4 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (Loss)

Scotland Premiership
Rangers vs Celtic (Saturday 12:00pm)
This was a relatively comfortable win for Celtic but it looked like it would be much tighter for long spells of the 1st half, as both teams struggled to create much, wanting to give little away. At the start of the 2nd half Rogic fired Celtic into the lead which forced Rangers to attack for the first time in the match. This was defended adequately by Celtic who then used the spaces to score a 2nd goal and see out the remainder of the game with ease to beat the handicap with little fuss.

Suggestion: Celtic -0.75 @ 2.000
Actual Outcome:  0-2 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 0-2 (Win)

Italy Serie A
Juventus vs Torino (Saturday 7:45pm)
Juventus cruised to a win over local rivals Torino as they continued their perfect start to the season. Goals from Dybala and Pjanjic in the first half were sandwiched by a red card  for Baselli which made it look increasingly like Torino wouldn’t score and it would be down to Juventus alone to beat the goals line. With a midweek Champions League tie it would have been easy for them to sit back and reduce the tempo in the game but first Alex Sandro and then, after a series of misses and heroic saves, Juventus eventually got a 4th in injury time as Dybala struck his second of the game to end with a scoreline reflective of the home sides dominance.

Suggestion: Over 3 goals @ 2.020
Actual Outcome:  4-0 (Win)
Fair Outcome: 4-0 (Win)

Greece Super League
AEK Athens vs Olympiakos (Sunday 6:30pm)
This game turned into an utter disaster for Olympiakos who looked to be heading for a much needed victory for the majority of the game. Goals from Marin in the 1st half and Odjidja-Ofoe early in the 2nd, combined with the generally ultra defensive nature of the Greek league seemed to mean the game should have been done at that point. But Christodoulopoulos scored twice, grabbing an 80th minute equaliser before Mandalos scored on 89 minutes to turn things around and allow AEK to beat the handicap. 2 late red cards had no impact on the game but the loss cost Besnik Hasi his job as Olympiakos manager on Monday morning.

Suggestion: Olympiakos +0.25 @ 1.909
Actual Outcome:  3-2 (Loss)
Fair Outcome: 3-1 (Loss)

 7 Suggestions
Total Actual Outcome: -3
Total Fair Outcome: -1

*Odds accurate at time of writing

 

Top 3 Trading Moves of the Weekend 25/09/17

Highlights

 

Germany Bundesliga
Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg (Friday 7:30pm)

Bayern were big favourites as expected in this game. After winning 6-0 and 5-0 last season this was anticipated to be another comfortable game with a -2.25 handicap set for the home side. At half time when they were 2-0 up it looked like a case of when not if they would beat the handicap but a lacklustre performance in the 2nd half, combined with some good finishing by Wolfsburg, saw the away side get a well deserved draw. This was a big surprise, especially once Bayern had moved into such a commanding position.

Actual Outcome:  2-2 (-2.25)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-2.25)

Italy Serie A
SPAL vs Napoli (Saturday 5:00pm)
Napoli topped the league ahead of this game with a perfect record of 5 wins from 5 games, scoring 19 goals in the process. Newly promoted SPAL have looked a little out of their depth but aren’t in the relegation zone yet, but still a comfortable win was expected for Napoli with a -1.75 handicap. They never pulled away from the visitors, going behind on 13 minutes but levelling almost straight away but once they went ahead on 71 minutes, they were then pegged back just 7 minutes later. It took an 83rd minute goal to seal the win, but it wasn’t enough to beat the handicap.

Actual Outcome:  2-3 (+1.75)
Fair Outcome: 1-3 (+1.75)

 

Spain Primera Division
Malaga vs Athletic Club (Saturday 5:30pm)

An even contest was expected in this one, with a line of Draw No Bet, but Bilbao were soon in control taking the lead from a 4th minute penalty. Malaga equalised before the break but after Kuzmanovic was sent off for the hosts and Inaki Williams scored twice to put Bilbao 3-1 ahead with 10 minutes left the game looked safe. A disastrous last 10 minutes however allowed Malaga to score twice and deny Athletic Club all 3 points and a win on the DNB line – an unexpected turnaround from the home side.

Actual Outcome:  3-3 (0.00)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (0.00)