Weekend Preview – 30/09/2016


English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City (Sunday 2.15pm)
The headline game comes from the Premier League, where leaders Man City meet second-placed Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Both come into this on the back of travel in the Champions League, but City had much less of a journey to Glasgow than Spurs did to Moscow. However, coming away with a win probably made the flight back to London much easier on Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who have an extra day of recovery, while Pep Guardiola’s squad were left disappointed after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Parkhead.

The market currently has City as quarter-goal favourites on the Asian Handicap, which seems a little punchy despite their perfect league record. Although they have only conceded 0.83 goals per game to date, they have looked unconvincing when up against quick-breaking sides. There are not many better in transition than Spurs, so the hosts should get some joy here, especially with Rose set to return and Dier available to shield the defence. Ultimately DNB looks a fairer line, and it would be no surprise to see the money moving that way by morning.

Bettors overestimated Kane’s absence last week at Middlesbrough when considering that goal line and it would be a surprise if both teams did not score again here. City will adopt their usual fluid, attacking approach; meaning the 2.75 total looks very achievable in a contest where neither side will be happy to settle for a draw. On paper this looks superb, so let’s hope it lives up to the billing.

Italian Serie A
Roma vs. Internazionale (Sunday 7.45pm)
Sunday is also the day of our second highlight of the weekend, with third-placed Internazionale visiting fourth-placed Roma in a contest that will have bearing on the race for Champions League, even so early in the season. Both were in Europa League action on Thursday, but Roma had the benefit of a 4-0 stroll at home to Astra while Internazionale were losing 3-1 in Prague. Each rotated their squads, which may be why the market is leaning in Roma’s direction with line currently set at -0.5. Inter are in better form and have great team news, however.

With the visitors our lean on the handicap, a combination with a pick of Under on the 2.75 goal line seems to be the most bold trade to make here. Although Roma have been over the line 5/6 times this season, Inter have beaten it on just 2/6 occasions, home to Juventus and away to Pescara. They are only conceding an average of 1 a game so far and will undoubtedly seek to make this tight, especially in the early going. Starting on the underdog and unders gives the advantage of both markets moving your way, making for some attractive early exit opportunities.

German Bundesliga 1
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund (Saturday 5.30pm)
We head to Germany next, this time on Saturday, where two teams firmly in the mix for Champions League finishes meet. Leverkusen are hosting Dortmund after a patchy start to the season that has only seen them collect 7 points from 5 games, though our Analyst Fair Score has them sitting on 11. Borussia have taken 12/15 to date, which is exactly in line with the AFS.

As a result it is no huge shock to see the visitors half-goal favourites on the handicap, with the total goals line set at 3 due to the goal averages of both teams combined this season being an enormous 3.5. Each are missing a key player in Bellarabi and Reus, respectively, meaning there is little to split them outside of form. It should probably be a quarter tighter than -0.5, but it would take a brave man to bet against a Dortmund win.

French Ligue 1
Olympique Lyonnais vs. Saint-Etienne (Sunday 7.45pm)
Both of these teams have huge injury problems, which makes for an extremely interesting derby clash in France. Lyon are without three automatic starters, including key striker Lacazette, plus a number of squad men, while Saint-Etienne are absolutely ravaged. At last count they had 11 players sidelined, including club captain Perrin, which throws a lot of instability into this outcome. As a result a handicap of -0.75 in favour of the hosts looks too big, while the goal line of 2.5 also seems to be set too high despite the absence of so many defenders. This fixture looks like a big opportunity, but a look at the late team news is crucial, just in case anybody crucial passes fit that was expected to be absent.

Spanish Primera Division
Valencia vs. Atletico Madrid (Sunday 11am)
Once upon a time this would have been a marquee event and a “best of the rest” game in Spain, but Valencia are a pale shadow of their former selves. They come in with two wins in two, albeit against promoted sides, which does mean confidence will not be as low as before. Godin being out for Atletico is always very noteworthy, with the Uruguayan hugely valuable at both ends of the pitch. Simeone’s side being half goal favourites looks about right, but the goal line of 2.5 seems high with the visitors undoubtedly tired and seeking a customary 0-1.

English Championship
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday 3pm)
These remain two of the best sides in the Championship and both have started the season well, with Wednesday showing a particular uptick in form of late. At Hillsborough they remain tough to beat and so probably deserve the narrow favourites tag, while the goals line of 2.25 is pitched exactly where one might expect given the two sides’ averages. Brighton and unders look the safest starting point, but this may be one to avoid.

Ones to Watch

Japanese J1 League
Urawa Reds vs. Gamba Osaka (Saturday 6.05am)
Top meets third in the J1 second stage, with the market surprisingly confident in Urawa and at least 3 goals.

Netherlands Eredivisie
Heerenveen vs. PSV (Saturday 6.45pm)
This looks a banana skin for PSV despite their -1 handicap; with Heerenveen seeking a fifth successive win.

United States MLS
Dallas vs. LA Galaxy (Sunday 2am)
Top meets third in the West, but both are struggling for consistency and Dallas at -0.75 looks too wide.

Austrian Bundesliga
Salzburg vs. Sturm Graz (Sunday 3.30pm)
Second host first in a mouthwatering contest, with things leveled somewhat due to Salzburg’s Europa trip on Thursday.

Swedish Allsvenskan
AIK vs. Norrkoping (Sunday 4.30pm)
The team news is stacked against the second-placed visitors, with third-placed AIK understandable favourites here.

Greek Super League
Olympiakos Piraeus vs. AEK Athens (Sunday 6.30pm)
If AEK can play smart then they could make the -0.75 starting handicap look a wide one, but Mandalos would be a big miss.

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