Italian Serie A
Juventus 1-0 Roma (Saturday 7.45pm)
The biggest game of the weekend also turned out to be our biggest position, as we backed Juventus to maintain their formidable home record against the second best side in Serie A. We wobbled a little bit when the starting elevens were announced and both Barzagli and Dybala were only named among the substitutes, though solace was taken from the fact that Salah was in the same position for Roma. In the end the 1-0 result was fair, with Juve creating the only two Great Chances in the contest and ending up with a final Expected Goals sum of 1.32, according to our model.
Roma gave the hosts a little scare in the middle portion of the second half but were never really able to take control of the game, with the momentum line staying firmly with Juventus as they maintained a slight edge from Higuain’s superb opener until full time. We shied away from doing anything in the Total Goals market on this one, but it was very much an Under 2.5 game, so that was a missed opportunity. However, the -0.5 paid off handsomely and Juve look a shoe-in to retain their title for the sixth consecutive season.
Recommendation: Juventus -0.5 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: +1 (1-0)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-0)
English Premier League
Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal (Sunday 4pm)
There was a definite sense of déjà vu for Arsenal here, as they surrendered an early 0-1 lead on the road for the second time in a week to lose 2-1. This time around Wenger’s side did not start especially well, but were able to grab the lead against the run of play and looked threatening against City’s shaky back line almost every time they got the ball upfield. Then, for whatever reason, they ceded control and the below-strength hosts took full advantage.
There was no way our tentative recommendation of Arsenal +0.5 deserved to pay out, but the half-win on the Total Goals trade came in quite comfortably despite the total sum of xGoals only being 2.65. Looking longer-term this was a huge win for City, while Arsenal are wobbling a little earlier than normal this season. Before 2016/17 kicked off we took a speculative position laying them for Top Four and with Tottenham finding some consistency and Man Utd starting to motor it’s beginning to move towards green after a long time red.
Recommendation: Arsenal +0.5 @ 1.85 and Over 2.75 @ 1.94
Actual Outcome: -0.5 (2-1)
Fair Outcome: -0.5 (2-1)
French Ligue 1
Monaco 1-3 Olympique Lyonnais (Sunday 7.45pm)
As sure as the sun rises and sets, Monaco’s home games will go over the natural goal line. Apparently this is even the case if the game itself should only have been 1-1, as according to our review. Our analyst rightly noted that although the total sum of xGoals was 3.45, Lyon’s best pair of chances came late and with the game “dead” at 1-3, while Monaco were denied a clear penalty and Lyon were awarded one incorrectly.
This gives a good illustration of the complexity that goes into generating an Analyst Fair Score, although whether it should have been 1-3, 1-2, 1-1 or even 2-2 we cannot shy away from the fact that every outcome would have led to a loss for our Asian Handicap recommendation. Put simply, Lyon turned up in this ill-tempered affair, which hasn’t been the case too often this season. They seem to be back.
Recommendation: Monaco -0.5 @ 1.95 and Over 2.75 @ 1.90
Actual Outcome: 0 (1-3)
Fair Outcome: -2 (1-1)
Ajax 1-1 PSV (Sunday 3.45pm)
This was a rare game where our recommendation of Under 2.5 paid off in actuality, despite the Analyst Fair Score pegging it as a 2-2 due to the surprisingly open nature of the play. Taking subjectivity out of it the teams each had two Great Chances, three Very Good Chances and four Good Chances between them, which would easily point to a contest that should have ended up over the allocated Total Goals line. From our perspective this was very much a “big game” bet and one that followed recent trends, but it provides a good lesson in how historical patterns can occasionally mean little when there is so much motivation and relative quality on show. We got away with this one in the end.
Recommendation: Under 2.5 @ 1.95
Actual Outcome: +1 (1-1)
Fair Outcome: -1 (2-2)
English Premier League
Everton 0-1 Liverpool (Monday 8pm)
“Merseyside Monday” produced a cagey affair that never looked like seeing our overs recommendation come off, although the xGoals sum was 2.64 thanks to things opening up more towards the end when Liverpool sought the winner that they deservedly got. This was one of those games that would have likely exploded with an earlier goal, but Mane’s strike arrived deep into added time and left no room for a response. It would have been nice to see the Blues having a go at a Liverpool defence minus Matip, but we have to chalk this one down as a bad tip.
Recommendation: Over 2.5 @ 1.79
Actual Outcome: -1 (0-1)
Fair Outcome: -1 (0-1)
Ones to Watch
German Bundesliga 1
Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Dortmund (Friday 7.30pm)
Hoffenheim remain the only unbeaten side in the Bundesliga after a deserved 2-2 draw with Dortmund, where the hosts led twice even before Reus’ controversial red just before half time. There was great value to be had at +0.5 here, with that line a winner whichever way you slice it.
Recommendation: Hoffenheim +0.5 @ 2.05
Actual Outcome: +1 (2-2)
Fair Outcome: +1 (2-2)
German Bundesliga 1
RB Leipzig vs. Hertha BSC (Saturday 2.30pm)
Pre-game we wondered whether Leipzig could bounce back from their first Bundesliga defeat of 2016/17 against similar surprise package Hertha, and the answer was a resounding “yes”. We shied away from their line of -0.75 but were incorrect to, with the home side outshooting their visitors by 1.65 on xG.
Actual Outcome: N/A (2-0)
Fair Outcome: N/A (2-0)
Spanish Primera Division
Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol (Sunday 7.45pm)
An enforced goalkeeping substitute for Espanyol was largely to blame for their failure to cover a huge handicap in the Catalan Derby, with the away side last until 67’ before things started to disintegrate. However, the performances of Messi and Co. were well worth a three-goal margin by the end.
Recommendation: Espanyol +2.75 @ 1.83
Actual Outcome: -0.5 (4-1)
Fair Outcome: -0.5 (3-0)
Portuguese Primeira Liga
Sporting CP 0-1 Sporting Braga (Sunday 8.15pm)
Braga were without a permanent manager, but made a mockery of their +1.25 Asian Handicap with an almost deserved victory. Sporting were again made to pay for poor finishing, but in truth they could not argue for anything more than a 1-1, which would still have been a losing pick.
Recommendation: Sporting CP -1 @ 1.70
Actual Outcome: -1 (0-1)
Fair Outcome: -1 (1-1)
Melbourne City 1-2 Melbourne Victory (Saturday 8.50am)
Cahill did end up playing and scoring to help us on our way to a half-win on this goals trade, but his side were second best for almost the entire contest after he found the net early on. Three goals was fair enough, with 3.33 being the total xG sum.
Recommendation: Over 2.75 @ 1.95
Actual Outcome: +0.5 (1-2)
Fair Outcome: +0.5 (1-2)
Total Actual Outcome: +0.5
Total Fair Outcome: -2