English Premier League
Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday 5.30pm)
The big game of the weekend didn’t disappoint, with both the Actual Score and Fair Score showing that it was deserving of four goals. However, the outcomes of both were vastly different, with Spurs somehow grabbing a 2-2 draw in actuality without ever looking convincing. The 3-4-2-1 didn’t work against City’s bold 4-1-4-1 and even a switch back to their more familiar 4-2-3-1 barely made a difference, with Guardiola’s side constantly finding gaps and looking capable of inflicting serious damage. They got to 2-0 soon after half time, having somehow entered the break level, but still managed to throw it away.
At the 0 game state chance creation was tilted towards the hosts, though crucially they did not manage to create anything better than a Very Good Chance (~25% conversion), and indeed only had one of these. Otherwise they had a trio of Goods (~15% conversion) and a quartet of Fairly Goods (~8% conversion), showing that they were at least worth a 1-0 by the interval. Tottenham scored twice despite only creating four chances in total, though the ones they scored were Great (~40% conversion) and Very Good. Being efficient even when playing poorly in every other respect can obviously pay big dividends, but Pochettino’s men got away with one here and also benefitted from the solitary controversial decision in the game when it was 2-0.
Recommendation: Tottenham Hotspur +0.5 @ 1.87
Actual Outcome: +1 (2-2)
Fair Outcome: -1 (3-1)
Italian Serie A
Milan 1-2 Napoli (Saturday 7.45pm)
This one really exploded into life and would have had anybody backing overs salivating after just nine minutes, when the visitors led 0-2 thanks to Insigne and Callejon. Milan looked shell-shocked and were fortunate to not find themselves three behind when Mertens missed a Great Chance on 29 minutes. Still, the home side recovered from there, making a Great Chance of their own six minutes later, before redressing the deficit before the break through Kucka to see the 2.75 goal line pay out half.
Surprisingly, this is where things stayed, though, in a second period where neither side wanted to commit too much and where chance creation slowed despite the home side trailing. Milan managed to create a solitary Very Good after half time, but Napoli missed the biggest opportunity when Mertens was again wasteful in front of goal. After this point came a raft of substitutions that did nothing to aid momentum, the home side going down with a whimper to condemn us to a loss on the +0.5. We stopped out of the goals altogether and though it looked like a huge missed opportunity early on, both the Actual Score and Fair Score had this at three total.
Recommendation: Milan +0.5 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: -1 (1-2)
Fair Outcome: -1 (1-2)
French Ligue 1
Olympique Lyonnais 3-1 Olympique Marseille (Sunday 8pm)
It can be very difficult to predict which Lyon is going to turn up, which is why we wanted nothing to do with lines of -0.75 and 2.75. Our lean was to work a combination of Marseille +1 and overs, which would have seen us advocating a small loss, so it proved the right thing to do to stay away. In the end it was hard to argue with the outcome, as Valbuena sent the hosts into the interval ahead and Lacazette put them into a commanding position on the hour mark.
Marseille had shown very little by this juncture but were forced to react, bringing in Lopez and Sarr for Cabella and Allesandrini and being rewarded instantaneously when Doria scored to make it 2-1. From here it looked like they could go all the way to a 2-2, but Lacazette robbed Rolando and finished it off very coolly, giving Lyon a deserved win. They showed more intent and cutting edge throughout, with Marseille improving under Garcia but still having a long way to go.
Actual Outcome: N/A (3-1)
Fair Outcome: N/A (3-1)
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Friday 7.45pm)
This was notable for a truly remarkable double save, as Stockdale denied Forestieri from the penalty spot before twisting in spectacular style to prevent him from tucking home the rebound. That looked to be a huge moment in the race for promotion, with Wednesday matching Brighton every step of the way and seeming set for a huge win when the hosts were reduced to ten men with half an hour left to play.
They certainly had their chances to take the lead, but momentum soon waned and after Stockdale’s brilliance they seemed to lose belief as Brighton grew in stature. Knockaert, the game’s standout player, then made the breakthrough to win it, before things descended into farce and Fletcher saw red before Hutchinson followed him down the tunnel. Brighton covered the handicap and the overs came in, but the way events unfolded meant we felt good being out of it.
Actual Outcome: N/A (2-1)
Fair Outcome: N/A (1-1)
Turkish Super Lig
Fenerbahce 1-0 Istanbul Basaksehir (Sunday 4pm)
We have a tendency to call Basaksehir the “Turkish Leicester” around the office and we genuinely thought they could grab a win despite their plus handicap, so had no hesitation in recommending them. The game proved to be as tight and evenly matched as we expected, with no chance better than a Good ever being created. Fenerbahce edged it by the slightest of margins and grabbed a 1-0, but our Analyst Fair Score believed it to be a 0-0 contest. Ultimately this was one of those games where the result matched the handicap perfectly, so we cannot have any complaints, and it must be said that Fenerbahce saw the game out quite comfortably, Basaksehir having only a solitary Fairly Good Chance in the second half.
Recommendation: Istanbul Basaksehir +0.5 @ 1.96
Actual Outcome: -1 (1-0)
Fair Outcome: +1 (0-0)
PSV 4-3 Heerenveen (Sunday 3.45pm)
It took an 89th and 90th minute goal for PSV to put Heerenveen to the sword, which meant we only had to endure a few nervy seconds waiting for our +1.5 recommendation to come in. This was yet another game where the early goal to the underdog really set the tone, with PSV taking some time to readjust but going on a tear from the 26th minute until the 43rd, creating 12 chances of note, including a Superb, a Great and four Very Goods! They left it late but they deserved to win, our Analyst giving them a two-goal margin.
Recommendation: Heerenveen +1.5 @ 1.94
Actual Outcome: +1 (4-3)
Fair Outcome: -1 (4-2)
Ones to Watch
Spanish Primera Division
Athletic Club 2-2 Atletico Madrid (Sunday 3.15pm)
When you get a third minute goal in a game where you have an unders bet then there’s nothing left to do but bite your nails and hope. In the end this one went well over 2.25 due to that early strike, although our Fair Score had it as 1-1.
Recommendation: Under 2.25 @ 1.86
Actual Outcome: -1 (2-2)
Fair Outcome: +0.5 (1-1)
German Bundesliga 1
Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Hertha BSC (Sunday 2.30pm)
We did not like the look of the Asian Handicap on Leverkusen and ultimately steered clear, playing it safer with what we thought was a low goals line. Still, both the Actual Score and Fair Score had us covering this nicely, with the early home opener a big determining factor.
Recommendation: Over 2.25 @ 1.83
Actual Outcome: +1 (3-1)
Fair Outcome: +1 (2-1)
Italian Serie A
Juventus 2-0 Lazio (Sunday 11.30am)
Juventus should never be as low as -1 at home at the moment, unless they are beset by injuries. This was a routine a 2-0 win as could have been expected, with Dybala and Higuain striking early to take the sting out of a Lazio missing too many attacking weapons.
Recommendation: Juventus -1 @ 1.95
Actual Outcome: +1 (2-0)
Fair Outcome: +1 (2-0)
French Ligue 1
Nantes 0-2 PSG (Saturday 4pm)
The hosts managed to disrupt PSG for long periods here, but as soon as Cavani grabbed the opener on 21 minutes it looked a big ask for them to beat the +1.25 handicap. PSG produced a consistent display and created more and more as Nantes opened up, deserving the 0-2.
Recommendation: Nantes +1.25 @ 1.99
Actual Outcome: -1 (0-2)
Fair Outcome: -1 (0-2)
Barnsley 3-2 Leeds (Saturday 5.30pm)
A hugely volatile and controversial Yorkshire Derby ended in a relatively surprise win for Barnsley, who we have had a lot of joy backing on overs but were a little sceptical of here after recent sales. We steered clear, but the difference between Actual Score and Fair Score is stark.
Recommendation: N/A (3-2)
Actual Outcome: N/A (3-2)
Fair Outcome: N/A (1-1)
Greek Super League
Olympiakos Piraeus 2-0 Xanthi (Saturday 5.30pm)
Our feeling that the -1.75 was impossible to justify proved to be way wrong, with Olympiakos just about covering the spread. They did so by virtue of creating the only Great Chance in the game and our Fair Score believed this to be a 1-0, which would have done nicely.
Recommendation: Xanthi +1.75 @ 2.00
Actual Outcome: -0.5 (2-0)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-0)
Total Actual Outcome: -0.5
Total Fair Outcome: +0.5