English Premier League
Chelsea vs. Arsenal (Saturday 12.30pm)
Chelsea passed up a big opportunity to take another huge step towards the title in midweek, with Diego Costa’s late missed penalty at Liverpool meaning they were unable to extend the gap too much back to the chasing pack. With this weekend’s opponents Arsenal losing surprisingly at home to Watford, Spurs drawing at Sunderland and Man Utd dropping points at home to Hull it could have been a supreme round for Antonio Conte, with only Man City looking anything like real challengers. Chelsea are again full strength here and should be hefty favourites based on their recent dominance, with -0.5 seeming a little shy.
Arsenal continue to have problems in midfield and Ramsey is now added to the injury list, but Cazorla continues to be the real miss in the engine room, so we’ll naturally be recommending the hosts in the Asian Handicap market. The Total Goals line looks more reasonably set at 2.5, but Over 2.25 can be bought at 1.71 currently and we like the idea of a combination that will only cost us a solitary unit if we get a “big game” 1-1. At Stamford Bridge we’d be surprised to see Chelsea scoring less than twice, however.
Suggestion: Chelsea -0.25 @ 1.70 and Over 2.25 @ 1.71
German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund vs. RB Leipzig (Saturday 5.30pm)
After ending Hoffenheim’s superb unbeaten run, Leipzig have a fresh challenge in the face of a trip to Dortmund. This is a huge battle in the race for the “top without Bayern” market and it comes at a perfect juncture in the season, with Leipzig having restarted brilliantly following the winter break and with Dortmund having a stronger squad than at any point previously. Tuchel has no automatic starters missing, while his opposite number is still without Forsberg and Klostermann, in addition to top scorer Werner.
This big edge on team news in addition to home advantage means that the hosts go off at -0.75, with Leipzig available at +1 for 1.77 at the current time. They may have lost 3-0 at Bayern in their last visit to one of the Bundesliga elite, but that still looks a tiny bit on the wide side here. Like our first game we find the Total Goals market pitched more reasonably, if a little on the low side, but team news makes this too volatile for our liking.
Italian Serie A
Juventus vs. Internazionale (Sunday 7.45pm)
Italy has been throwing up great game after great game for a while now, with this meeting of runaway train Juventus and revitalised Inter sure to provide some excellent viewing. We are big fans of Inter under Pioli and have liked them as an outside bet for top three for a while now, but this looks an enormous task for the visitors despite their excellent team news. Juventus are full strength and any time you can buy a home win for Allegri’s side at near evens we like to get involved.
On recent trends it is also tempting to go for an Under 2.75 bet here as a combination, but Inter games have the tendency to be volatile if there’s a goal before half time and if Juventus come out fully motivated there is no reason to believe that they won’t score before the break. As such, we’ll stay away.
Suggestion: Juventus -0.75 @ 1.83
French Ligue 1
Monaco vs. Nice (Saturday 4pm)
First meets second in France, with the market correctly pricing Monaco as the true contenders to PSG’s crown with a -1 Asian Handicap line. Nice won their last game against Guingamp 3-1 but certainly didn’t have it their own way, while Monaco got a morale-boosting draw away at the champions when Bernardo Silva struck late. We’re not sure Nice have the mentality in the side to cope under extreme examination, but we would like to see Jardim allow his side more freedom to attack here than he did last week. The visitors can be got at and we’d be surprised to see the hosts getting anything worse than a push on this line. Of course we’ll be combining this with an Overs bet as well.
Suggestion: Monaco -1 @ 1.98 and Over 2.75 @ 1.84
Portuguese Primeira Liga
Porto vs. Sporting CP (Saturday 8.30pm)
Porto are hot on the heels of Benfica, while Sporting are seven points back and fighting to get back into the title race. Both are at full strength, which is always good to see in a game of this magnitude, but it does mean that there is little to pick off in terms of value. -0.5 on Porto is abundantly fair as a line when considering all of the factors, while 2.25 is a little bit low but probably accounts for the similar quality of the teams very nicely. We’d be tempted by Porto and Overs, but won’t suggest it.
Ones to Watch
English Premier League
Leicester City vs. Manchester United (Sunday 4pm)
United’s 0-0 draw at home to Hull was another example of numerous wasted chances and this continuing trend makes them impossible to like, even when a win can be bought for close to evens. Leicester home are better than Leicester away, of course, but we still can’t trust them either.
Spanish Primera Division
Sevilla vs. Villarreal (Sunday 11am)
It’s impossible to argue with -0.75 here, but we have a fancy for the Unders due to the fact that both Sevilla and Villarreal have been scoring more than they “should” have been lately. We’re relying on Villarreal to play cautiously, which they have done to good effect at times.
Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.92
AZ vs. PSV (Saturday 6.45pm)
The market does not yet seem to have reacted to AZ’s team news, which sees them again without captain Vlaar, but also missing key left-back Haps and star striker Weghorst. We expect this one to move a fair bit by Saturday evening, so perhaps best to get on it now.
Suggestion: PSV -0.5 @ 1.88
Newcastle United vs. Derby County (Saturday 3pm)
A comedy own goal saw Newcastle drop points on Wednesday evening and this game heralds the return of Steve McClaren to St. James’ Park. Derby have improved hugely since he went back after a disastrous time in the North-East and we like the goals here, even with Gayle out again.
Suggestion: Over 2.25 @ 1.89
Huddersfield Town vs. Leeds United (Sunday 12pm)
After disposing of Brighton at home on Thursday, Huddersfield have another huge game in front of their own fans against Leeds. This is fifth hosting fourth and both teams have excellent team news and strong recent form, so it’s impossible to call off standard Championship lines of -0.25 and 2.25.
*Odds accurate at time of writing