English Premier League
Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday 5.30pm)
Both sides were involved in 4-0 games last weekend, with Man City getting a slightly undeserved battering at Everton while Tottenham were running riot at home to West Brom. This is fifth versus second and using seasonal pricing and supremacy numbers it’s easy to price this one at -0.25 in a sort of typical “big game” approach, where there’s not much to separate the two sides other than home advantage. However, when you start to look more at recent trends and especially team news, then it becomes clear that this is not the true price of the contest.
City have struggled badly at times this season, but the suspension of Fernandinho combined with untimely injuries to Gundogan and Fernando has really left them exposed defensively. In a game against a side operating in a new 3-4-2-1 formation where the exceptional Alli and Eriksen have freedom to move between the lines and drift wide, you really do not want to be relying on Toure and Zabaleta as your midfield pairing. Guardiola may opt against going down this road again, but even if he does switch things up then it’s difficult to make a case for City being half goal favourites. In addition to this the goal line of 2.5 looks on the short side, but not enough to make us confident in recommending an overs bet.
Recommendation: Tottenham Hotspur +0.5 @ 1.87
Italian Serie A
Milan vs. Napoli (Saturday 7.45pm)
Milan are exceptional at home, while Napoli have been surprisingly good away since the injury to Milik, meaning that this likely to be a hugely competitive fixture. The market has the line set at +0.5 on Milan, which looks off at first sight, with the seasonal supremacy showing that a -0.25 or DNB line would be more reasonable. Both teams have beaten a DNB line seven times when home and away, respectively, and even looking more recently it’s tough to split them with Milan beating the mark three out of five times and Napoli four.
All of this adds up to make us lean more heavily on our Fair Form and the team news, with the form edging Napoli a little bit and the news showing that both sides are missing key men. Romagnoli and Montolivo are absent for the hosts and Koulibaly, Ghoulam and, of course, Milik miss out for the visitors. De Sciglio is also a big doubt for Milan, which sees us the team news only slightly in favour of them. Ultimately this brings us back to believing it should be a DNB, which means we really like Milan +0.5. The total goals looks about perfect, however.
Recommendation: Milan +0.5 @ 1.89
French Ligue 1
Olympique Lyonnais vs. Olympique Marseille (Sunday 8pm)
Both teams come into the back of this one off losses, with Lyon’s being much more surprising than Marseille’s. The hosts fell 3-2 at Caen but were a little harshly done by, while Monaco did their usual trick of scoring four goals to down Garcia’s side in the Velodrome. As such, both come into this a little wounded having been on good runs before the break. Indeed, Lyon have won 3/5 at home and Marseille 2/5 away, although our Fair Score believes Lyon have been a little fortunate in that regard.
Looking at the lines we see -0.75 for Lyon, which is hard to argue with when considering seasonal supremacy, recent trends and team news that sees them without Ghezzal and possibly Diakhaby. Marseille have signed Sanson in a great move, but are still without Bedimo and N’Jie. We priced the goals at around 3, but see 2.75 as being a pretty reasonable natural line too, so will stop out of this entirely despite favouring Marseille +1 and the over 2.75 line as a combination.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Friday 7.45pm)
The home side are still firmly in the title race with Newcastle and are deserving favourites here, with -0.5 right about the perfect line when pricing this game in our usual manner. However, Wednesday are finally beginning to find their feet and have been stringing results together, climbing into the playoff places and being within touching distance of Leeds in third now. The visitors should play without fear, but this is an incredibly tough trip.
Their chances are enhanced with the recent signing of Winnall, who could be set to start up front as Hooper returns to the bench after injury, although Brighton receive a defensive boost with Dunk coming back from a ban. This should be a high quality contest in the context of the Championship, but the market has it absolutely nailed, with the line of between 2 and 2.25 on the total goals market also looking perfectly pitched.
Turkish Super Lig
Fenerbahce vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sunday 4pm)
Surprise league leaders Basaksehir have one of their biggest tests to date with a trip to Fenerbahce, who are deservedly unbeaten in their last six home matches. Basaksehir themselves are deservedly unbeaten in their last eight away, however, meaning that a line of -0.5 needs some explaining. Indeed, if betting off this mark on both teams all season then you would be down on Fenerbahce but hugely in profit on Basaksehir.
The visitors are at full strength, while the hosts had a quartet of first teamers missing last week, which points towards the fact that this should be a DNB line. With Fener’s reduced goal threat the total goals pitch of 2.25 is about right, with our pricing showing 2.5 before final team news adjustments.
Recommendation: Istanbul Basaksehir +0.5 @ 1.96
PSV vs. Heerenveen (Sunday 3.45pm)
PSV have not been exciting this season, being involved in games that average just 1.55 goals at home. However, Heerenveen have seen a huge average of 3.44 when away, which means the total goals pricing is approached from opposite angles. Ultimately recent trends and team news mean that 3.25 is the fair mark, especially if St. Juste misses out again for the visitors, though it does surely depend on them scoring twice, based on PSV’s own output. We think PSV should be -1 at most, if the team news goes completely against Heerenveen, so we’ll back the underdog yet again.
Recommendation: Heerenveen +1.5 @ 1.94
Ones to Watch
Spanish Primera Division
Athletic Club vs. Atletico Madrid (Sunday 3.15pm)
Team news is against Athletic here, with Aduriz and Benat both absent due to suspensions. This takes away a chunk of their attacking threat, and they are already in a poor run of form. Due to that drop in expected goals and Atletico’s own inconsistency, we like the unders here.
Recommendation: Under 2.25 @ 1.86
German Bundesliga 1
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha BSC (Sunday 2.30pm)
On first sight the handicap on Leverkusen looks way off, but they are recovering Aranguiz, Bellarabi and Volland, while Hertha are still without Weiser in addition to Kalou. Brooks and Langkamp do make it back, however, giving them something of a boost. 2.25 looks a bit short in this one.
Recommendation: Over 2.25 @ 1.83
Italian Serie A
Juventus vs. Lazio (Sunday 11.30am)
We are now at the point where every Juventus home game looks a foregone conclusion, but it’s interesting to see them only at -1 here, albeit against a Lazio side who have done well recently. However, with Lulic and Keita both absent we find it impossible to back the visitors.
Recommendation: Juventus -1 @ 1.95
French Ligue 1
Nantes vs. PSG (Saturday 4pm)
This doesn’t immediately jump out as a schedule highlight, but Nantes are a totally different animal under new boss Sergio Conceicao. He may have been a terrible cheat of a player, but he has his side motivated and running through walls, they seem to be too long at +1.25 here.
Recommendation: Nantes +1.25 @ 1.99
Barnsley vs. Leeds (Saturday 5.30pm)
This should be a Yorkshire Derby with some real spice, with Leeds flying high in third and Barnsley involved in a number of ding-dongs already this season. The home side’s goal production has taken a big hit due to Winnall leaving, explaining the low-looking 2.5 line and Leeds’ favourites tag.
Greek Super League
Olympiakos Piraeus vs. Xanthi (Saturday 5.30pm)
Olympiakos have slipped up twice in their last two games, allowing Xanthi to gain four points on them. The visitors still find themselves eight back but a shock result here could throw some huge doubt into the title race. It’s impossible to justify the leaders at -1.75 against second place.
Recommendation: Xanthi +1.75 @ 2.00
*Odds accurate at time of writing