Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid (Saturday 3.15pm)
The big shame for this game is the fact that it has to kick off during live football blackout hours in the UK in order to give both teams as much time as possible to prepare for their midweek encounters. The second is that it’s coming directly before an enormous midweek in Europe’s premier competition, as it means neither side may be willing to place complete focus upon the other. There’s certainly more at stake for Real than Atletico, with Barcelona now just two points behind them (although Zidane’s side do have a game in hand), while the visitors look guaranteed a top four spot and really should be finishing third without much trouble from Sevilla.
In terms of the positives, both have won their last five games in the league and so are at the absolute peak of their powers, while this is always a huge occasion regardless of circumstance. In addition to this both squads are pretty much at full capacity, with Varane the only one to miss out for Real and Vrsaljko the only significant name absent for Atletico. We’ll back the unders and hope that there’s no early goal, allowing minds to drift to the UCL.
Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.88
Italian Serie A
Lazio vs. Napoli (Sunday 7.45pm)
BT Sport 3
Third travel to fourth in another superb game from Serie A, with Lazio trailing Napoli by just four points. What makes this one so interesting is that third in Italy is the final UEFA Champions League spot, so there’s a huge amount riding on it. Napoli drew 1-1 with Juventus last weekend and actually beat them in their Coppa Italia Semi-Final second leg during midweek, though it was not enough to progress after a 3-1 loss in the first outing. Still, that result is a good psychological boost.
Lazio have an even bigger one after dispatching of city rivals Roma in the same competition, however, and have had an extra day to prepare. All of this adds up to make the home side attractive on a plus handicap, although we are put off by the doubts over De Vrij, Biglia and Immobile. If all were absent it would equate to a significant weakening (especially defensively), not what you want against the league’s top scorers, while Napoli are looking likely to be at absolute full strength.
Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.84
German Bundesliga 1
Bayern Munchen vs. Borussia Dortmund (Saturday 5.30pm)
BT Sport ESPN
In years past this would have easily been our top game of the weekend, but with Bayern having a ten point lead over Leipzig back in second and Dortmund not even finding themselves in the top three there’s a bit less at stake than there has been. Ultimately there’s more at stake for the visitors than the hosts in terms of the league, especially as Real Madrid are immediately on the horizon at the Allianz for Bayern and they can afford to place more focus upon that enormous contest.
Dortmund are still alive and kicking in the Champions League too though, of course, with the small matter of free-scoring Monaco to contend with on Tuesday evening. Then it all boils down to this being the biggest current rivalry in Germany at the moment, which means that neither can just turn up without full attention. It should be a great watch.
Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.81
English Premier League
Manchester City vs. Hull City (Saturday 3pm)
City had a go at Chelsea on Wednesday and were probably a little bit unfortunate to come away with nothing, while Hull were involved in a thrilling relegation battle with Middlesbrough that yielded six goals. Most models pointed towards an unders bet in that one, somewhat ignoring Middlesbrough’s desperate need for points, but this game looks more straightforward from a psychology perspective. City need a win with Arsenal and United hot on their heels for the final top four spot, while this is one of those games that Hull would be delighted with a draw from. The lines both look high upon first sight, but Hull have been porous on the road, although we think City could struggle for motivation to win by two plus.
Suggestion: Hull City +2.25 @ 1.81
English Premier League
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (Monday 8pm)
Sky Sports 1
The wheels came off Palace’s revival at St. Mary’s, with Allardyce’s side involved in a crazily open game that could have had more than the four goals it ended up with. The loss of Dann and Tomkins to injury certainly didn’t help them, while Cabaye being forced off at half time was also a real problem. All three are missing again here, while Arsenal continue to be without Cech, Koscielny and Ospina for an on-going defensive weakening. We think Allardyce’s few days on the training ground will be enough to tighten his side up and bring in an unders result.
Suggestion: Under 3 @ 1.80
Ones to Watch
English Premier League
Middlesbrough vs. Burnley (Saturday 3pm)
Middlesbrough are into must-win territory and their habit of coming in under the total goals handicap could go out of the window now. The 4-2 loss at Hull came after a switch to a more aggressive 4-4-2 formation and the likelihood is that it holds for the visit of Burnley.
Suggestion: Over 2 @ 1.88
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Newcastle United (Saturday 5.30pm)
Sky Sports 1
Newcastle survived some refereeing controversy to take a crucial win over Burton in midweek, while Wednesday steadied their ship with a 0-2 success at Rotherham. Both still have a huge amount to play for and both would probably accept a draw from this meeting. It should be a tactical one.
Suggestion: Newcastle United 0 @ 1.75 and Under 2.5 @ 1.78
Aberdeen vs. Rangers (Sunday 12.30pm)
Sky Sports 2
Rangers’ form in the last weeks has almost ended their chance of a top-two finish, but they could cause Aberdeen some jitters if they manage to get a win here. There’s no real reason for either to settle and there’ll be a lot of edge, so the overs is on.
Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.98
Turkish Super Lig
Istanbul Basaksehir vs. Galatasaray (Monday 6pm)
Both of these teams are just about hanging on in the title race, with Basaksehir trailing Besiktas by five and Galatasaray behind by ten. It’s tough to argue with the hosts being quarter-goal favourites, but given how tight this could be we see some value in going on the unders.
Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.91
Greek Super League
PAOK vs. Panathinaikos (Sunday 5pm)
Panathinaikos’ managerial change is really paying dividends, with the capital club now unbeaten in five and having taken 13 points in that time. They trail PAOK by one point with three games of the regular season remaining and the hosts are also on fire. This is too close to split.
*Odds accurate at time of writing