Weekend Review 25/04/17

Highlights

Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona (Sunday 7.45pm)
With the score stuck at 1-1 heading into the 73rd minute things were looking pretty steady for our recommendation, which had banked on Real to be able to manage the game effectively if at this sort of game state at such a late stage of proceedings. However, up stepped Rakitic with an excellent left-footed strike to make it 1-2 and to throw things into chaos. Ramos was sent off four minutes later, then James equalised eight minutes after that to kill off our suggestion and finally Messi went and won it for Barca in the last minute for good measure.

We had shied away from suggesting Barcelona at a +0.5 line pre-match despite our instinct and our model favouring it heavily, preferring to hope for a cagey encounter short on goals. However, what we got instead was one of the most gripping Clasicos of recent times, with the visitors keeping their title aspirations alive with the only result that was good enough. Our Analyst Fair Score had this at 2-2, which would have kept Zidane’s side in the driving seat, but as it is Barcelona now lead the league on head-to-head, although Real still have that crucial game in hand.

Suggestion: Under 3.5 @ 1.91
Actual Outcome: 2-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (-1)

French Ligue 1
Olympique Lyonnais 1-2 Monaco (Sunday 8.15pm)
A rotated Lyon put up a good fight against our favourite team in Europe, but Monaco were ultimately deserved winners. Pre-match almost everything had pointed towards the visitors being favourites rather than equals, and by kick-off the DNB price was almost at 1.60 when realisation set in that the hosts were indeed going to rest a number of players. Falcao and Mbappe did the damage yet again, but a Monaco defence missing Sidibe and Mendy was made to work very hard to see the game out.

As expected, both teams tired towards the end after their European exploits in midweek, which played perfectly into Monaco’s hands. They ultimately passed what looked like their biggest test remaining in the title race, but with PSG taking three points again it seems like they are going to have to win four of their remaining five matches to secure the title. For a team still in the Champions League that is a big ask, but there are no real signs of nerves setting in or momentum waning just yet.

Suggestion: Monaco DNB @ 1.94
Actual Outcome: 1-2 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (+1)

Dutch Eredivisie
PSV 1-0 Ajax (Sunday 3.45pm)
Having been knocked out of the title race by Feyenoord weeks ago, PSV pretty much ended Ajax’s interest in the Eredivisie crown with a solid performance and fair 1-0 victory in this huge clash. The fact that Feyenoord had won earlier in the round probably didn’t help the visitors’ psychology, while they were also noticeably leggy after going through extra time with a man less against Schalke on Thursday evening.

Ultimately it was all set up for PSV to take a win and prove the pre-match market pricing to be quite accurate, though they never looked like running away with it. They could yet sneak into the runners-up spot if this result really takes the wind out of Ajax’s sails domestically, with their impending two-legged tie with Lyon in the Europa League Semi-Final certain to be a big distraction that impacts heavily on their performance against Go Ahead on Sunday.

Suggestion: N/A
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (N/A) 

Portuguese Primeira Liga
Sporting CP 1-1 Benfica (Saturday 8.30pm)
Sporting did their rivals Porto a big favour by taking a point here, but amazingly Porto then slipped up at home to Feirense to ensure that Benfica remain heavy favourites to win the title. In an incredibly tight and evenly balanced encounter the goal line was never in much danger, with most of the play taking place in midfield and very few opportunities being created. As soon as Benfica got back to parity midway through the second half they looked perfectly content with the draw and Sporting did not have the creativity to break them down. Jonas missing out for the visitors was a big issue, as we had predicted, with Benfica never carrying the same level of threat when he’s not on the pitch.

Suggestion: Over 2.25 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (-0.5)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-0.5) 

English Premier League
AFC Bournemouth 4-0 Middlesbrough (Saturday 3pm)
This should be the final nail in Middlesbrough’s coffin and it really was an afternoon to forget for the visitors. Already trailing 2-0 they saw Ramirez sent off for collecting two stupid yellows, the first for a dive and the second for a lunge, which left them with no chance. While we had expected the visitors to score, Bournemouth saw us comfortably over the goals line with a rampant performance that secures their place in the division for another season. As for Boro, they left their managerial change too late and were too entrenched in Karanka’s negative style to improve.

Suggestion: Over 2.25 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 4-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (+1)

Ones to Follow

English Premier League
Hull City 2-0 Watford (Saturday 3pm)
Despite suffering a controversial red card midway through the first half, Hull regrouped to continue Marco Silva’s imperious home record as a manager and take a big jump towards survival. Watford were ideal opponents, though, with their away performances bearing all the hallmarks of a side who are lacking incentives.

Suggestion: Hull City -0.5 @ 1.94
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (+1)

English Premier League
Swansea City 2-0 Stoke City (Saturday 3pm)
Despite not really turning up at the Liberty Stadium, Stoke missed a penalty at 1-0 down that could have really changed the complexion of this game. Swansea were undoubtedly fair winners based on their overall performance, as their visitors continued their abject form on the road and seemingly lacked motivation.

Suggestion: Stoke City +0.25 @ 2.04
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (-1) 

English Championship
Burton Albion 2-1 Leeds United (Saturday 3pm)
Leeds’ wobble continued as they failed to take anything from a game where they made the better opportunities. Burton took their best chances when they came to all but seal safety. It now looks very tough for Leeds to make the play-offs, with their goal difference vastly inferior to Fulham’s.

Suggestion: Leeds United DNB @ 1.82
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (0)

English Championship
Huddersfield Town 1-4 Fulham (Saturday 3pm)
We call Fulham the “Monaco of the Championship” around the office at the moment, because of their ridiculous attacking numbers. They are the real impetus side heading into the play-off picture and they steamrolled Huddersfield here, despite falling behind very early. Their final game against Wednesday should be a corker.

Suggestion: Fulham +0.25 @ 1.94 and Over 2.5 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 1-4 (+2)
Fair Outcome: 1-3 (+2)

English Championship
Nottingham Forest 3-2 Reading (Saturday 3pm)
This ended up being a fully deserved win for Forest and a game that was always destined to go over 2.5, with both sides needing to go all-out for the victory. In the end the hosts took a big step towards safety, while Reading’s slim hopes of automatic promotion ended.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.84
Actual Outcome: 3-2 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-1 (+1)

10 Suggestions
Actual Outcome: +2.5
Fair Outcome: +3.5

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