Weekend Preview – 04/11/16

Highlights

English Premier League
Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday 12pm)
The North London derby is always a welcome sight on the calendar and this one is no different, though it is a shame that Tottenham look likely to be some way off being able to field their best side. Kane should be back in the squad but is not guaranteed to start, but Alderweireld and Lamela are missing and there is a doubtsover Dembele. On the other hand it seems that Arsenal could only be missing Santi Cazorla, as Bellerin, Monreal, Walcott and Xhaka are all back and expected to start.

The hosts also come in with better form, which means they are understandable -0.5 favourites on the Asian Handicap. The line looks a bit high upon first glance but definitely seems to be factoring in all of the news already. It is important to remember that Tottenham are the only unbeaten team left in the league, however, and that they would happily take the draw if offered it pre-match. If the handicap seems too risky then the goals are not much better, with 2.75 pitched just right due to the fixture itself being high on goals. Still, Tottenham have been under the goal line in 4/5 games.

Spanish Primera Division
Sevilla vs. Barcelona (Sunday 7.45pm)
Sevilla have already had a big say in the early part of the title race, when beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 at home two weekends ago. The hosts will be hoping for another upset here against a Barcelona side that look set to be without Iniesta, Pique and Alba once again. Nasri is seemingly absent for Sevilla in a bit of a loss, but regardless an Asian Handicap of -1 on the away team seems punchy on first sight. Of course they have Messi, Neymar and Suarez, but they are far from top form at the moment.

Luis Enrique’s squad have at least had one extra day of rest after Champions League participation, though this is less of a factor due to the fact that they were losing away to Man City while Sevilla won easily at home to Dinamo Zagreb. Opposing Barca on the handicap is logical enough on this occasion, though a safer starting position may be to go on an under 3.5 goals line that looks big but is actually pitched quite intelligently.

Portuguese Primeira Liga
Porto vs. Benfica (Sunday 6pm)
Two of Portugal’s big three meet this weekend, with Porto at absolute full strength and starting from a handicap of -0.25 due to this and their home advantage. Benfica are undoubtedly the pedigree side these days but are without key striker Jonas and centre-back Jardel, while defensive midfielder Fejsa is also struggling after picking up an injury in midweek. The away side look badly weakened down the spine, which accounts for the natural line favouring Porto.

Benfica have had an extra day of preparation following Champions League action, however, with the market seemingly making a hedge on the handicap by setting a low-looking total goals line of 2.25. This one is incredibly tough to call due to the team news and stopping out seems like the most common-sense approach, though going for the overs in a game where an early goal will add significant volatility is never a bad idea.

Norwegian Tippeligaen
Lillestrom vs. Molde / Rosenborg vs. Bodo/Glimt / Tromso vs. Odd / Stabaek vs. Start (Sunday 5pm)
There are four teams in contention for the drop on Sunday afternoon in Norway, which should allow for some fascinating multiscreen viewing. Start are already relegated in last place but can still have a big say, as they head to second-bottom Stabaek looking to be a fly in the ointment. The visitors’ form is okay and Stabaek have to win when they not used to being the aggressors, which looks a difficult position to begin from. Rosenborg seem to have completely switched off with the title won and Bodo/Glimt could not have played them away at a better time, which could put Lillestrom or Tromso into deep trouble. Both have home games against decent opposition who are not playing for much, which means advantage Lillestrom.

English Premier League
Chelsea vs. Everton (Saturday 5.30pm)
Chelsea are absolutely flying now, with clean sheet wins in their last four games. They have no new injury or suspension worries and will be at full strength, which will mean an unchanged team from the one that easily beat Southampton. Everton look fairly vulnerable here, especially without Gueye and most probably Baines, but the -1 handicap on Chelsea looks to be about right when factoring this in. It could be worth a look, with the under 2.75 providing a useful hedge position in the circumstances. Having all of the risk on a low-scoring draw or Everton win seems fair.

Ones to Watch

Swedish Allsvenskan
Helsingborg vs. Jonkopings Sodra / Ostersunds FK vs. Gefle (Sunday 2pm)

Helsingborg and Gefle are in a shootout to make the relegation play-off instead of going down automatically and both won their last game. Helsingborg have a two point advantage and seemingly have the much easier fixture, so are deserved favourites.

Dutch Eredivisie
AZ vs. Ajax (Sunday 1.30pm)
Ajax should come under significant pressure from full strength AZ, especially after a strenuous 3-2 Europa League win on Thursday. Given that a full win could be obtained from a draw, backing AZ at +0.5 seems to have some merit.

English Championship
Bristol City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday 5.30pm)
Brighton are starting to look like the real deal, but this is one of the toughest away trips in the Championship and the DNB handicap line looks merited for that reason alone. However, backing Brighton early looks a sensible approach.

German Bundesliga 2
Eintracht Braunschweig vs. Hannover 96 (Sunday 12.30pm)
This big game could be coming at a good time for the hosts and a bad time for the visitors, with Braunschweig expecting to have a full squad and Hannover worrying about doubts over a couple of their automatic starters.

Turkish Super Lig
Galatasaray vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Friday 5pm)
Basaksehir are surprise league leaders, but this is their sternest test to date despite Galatasaray’s team news. The hosts are -0.25 at this point, but if Sneijder, Balta and Inan pass fit as expected they could be -0.5 at kick-off.

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