Weekend Review 23/05/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Liverpool 3-0 Middlesbrough (Sunday 3pm)
Klopp ensured that his side qualified for next season’s Champions League with a nervy win over Middlesbrough, which was affected by unfolding events at Arsenal. The first half was punctuated by shots from distance and told the story of a team struggling under pressure, with Liverpool racking up 11 chances in all, eight of which had an average conversion rate of just 2%. However, Wijnaldum came up big on the stroke of half time to completely change the atmosphere and the way the second half unfolded.

Having conceded, a Middlesbrough team with nothing left to hold onto and poor motivation quickly crumbled and were 3-0 down 11 minutes after the break. From there it was plain sailing for the hosts, who secured fourth place relatively easily in the end. All in all the campaign has to be considered a success for Klopp, though it looked as though it could promise so much more around Christmas time. Efficiency and the ability to break down opponents has been their major downfall, though they were not found wanting on this particular occasion. In terms of our suggestion we ended up with a slight positive, winning the handicap but losing half on the goals line, although our Analyst Fair Score believed us to be a little fortunate. Liverpool controlled it, but probably not to the extent of a 3-0.

Suggestion: Liverpool -2.25 @ 1.80 and Over 3.25 @ 1.92
Actual Outcome: 3-0 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (-1.5)

English Premier League
Watford 0-5 Manchester City (Sunday 3pm)
This was one we had absolute conviction in after the news broke of Mazzarri’s departure from Watford, with Man City turning in some supreme attacking performances of late and still required to go for the win with Arsenal and Liverpool breathing down their necks. As soon as Kompany headed home five minutes in we were all set to chalk up a win, and the dam broke midway through the opening period with Guardiola’s side racing into a 0-4 lead by half-time having created 10 chances overall. Watford effectively gave up, as they have had the tendency to do all season when the going gets tough.

Whoever the new manager at Vicarage Road is has his work cut out for him, with Mazzarri and Sanchez Flores before him working minor miracles to have such comfortable campaigns. Motivation is key and it seems to us that a lot of the squad need a comforting arm around their shoulders. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that they started this game with Behrami and Holebas at centre-back, with 19-year-old Mason at left-back. Motivation is always key for City too, and they should have done much better than third this year.

Suggestion: Man City -1.75 @ 1.99
Actual Outcome: 0-5 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 0-4 (+1)

English Premier League
Arsenal 3-1 Everton (Sunday 3pm)
A game full of incident proved to be worth nothing, as both Liverpool and Man City won to make Arsenal’s task impossible. In an open game that got off to the best possible start with Bellerin giving the hosts the lead after just eight minutes, the most interesting event was Koscielny’s red card just six minutes later. He now misses the FA Cup Final but was not missed much here, with Arsenal going 2-0 up and dominating before Lukaku reduced the arrears near the hour mark.

Wenger also lost Gabriel to injury, which leaves him with a real headache for their date with Chelsea, but it made no real difference as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners and could have won by a little bit more. Everton were largely abject, which was no great surprise given that they were marooned in seventh place and knew that any sort of positive result for them would have been a massive boon for city rivals Liverpool. We stayed out of this one, but missed a trick on the handicap.

Suggestion: N/A
Actual Outcome: 3-1 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 4-1 (N/A) 

Spanish Primera Division
Malaga 0-2 Real Madrid (Sunday 7pm)
Real produced a decent enough performance to take the La Liga title, being helped on their way by a Ronaldo opener that came within two minutes of play beginning. To their credit Malaga didn’t just roll over and were a little hard done to with a two-goal defeat, at least according to our Spanish analyst, but the data shows that they probably deserved to score at least once – if not more than that. Real were happy to sit back after getting the lead, knowing that just a solitary point would be enough, but this led to Malaga having a massive 18 chances, five of which were significant. They actually out-shot Zidane’s men, showing one of the key failings of xG in its failure to account for game state and tactical approach. This game was the less interesting of the two key ones in Spain, but we were pleased to win.

Suggestion: Real Madrid -1.75 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 0-2 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (-1)

Spanish Primera Division
Barcelona 4-2 Eibar (Sunday 7pm)
This was something of a classic and had a bit of everything, with events almost certainly impacted from the news coming in from Malaga. Eibar shocked Camp Nou by taking the lead just seven minutes in, catching the hosts with their guard down, but then impressively held on right through until the hour where they actually doubled the advantage. That’s when things got really interesting, though, with Messi and co. rallying to storm back to a stunning 4-2 win, though it was all for nought in the end due to Real’s comfortable win. This game also had one of the worst penalty awards ever seen, but for our part it never looked like being a huge win on the handicap for Enrique and his players.

Suggestion: Barcelona -3.25 @ 1.98
Actual Outcome: 4-2 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 4-2 (-1)

German Bundesliga 1
Hamburger SV 2-1 Wolfsburg (Saturday 2.30pm)
An enormous comeback win for Hamburg ensured their safety and condemned Wolfsburg to the relegation play-off. The tension was palpable throughout and it certainly impacted on the quality of football on display, with the game ultimately fortunate to go over the 2.5 goal line in the end. Hamburg always seemed to be holding something back but when they finally went for it they got the winner they needed, Waldschmidt heading home to send the home crowd crazy. Wolfsburg almost snatched a draw through Arnold after this, but Mathenia came up big with a great save to see his team through.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 2.04
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-1)

Ones to Follow

German Bundesliga 1
Hoffenheim 0-0 Augsburg (Saturday 2.30pm)
Augsburg secured safety by fighting hard to get a scoreless draw from Hoffenheim, ensuring that their hosts finished fourth instead of third at the same time. Given that Dortmund won and Wolfsburg only lost by a single goal any other outcome was highly unlikely, making the unders a resounding winner.

Suggestion: Under 3.5 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 0-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (+1)

German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund 4-3 Werder Bremen (Saturday 2.30pm)
With Hoffenheim dropping points Dortmund didn’t need to win this and at times they played as if they knew a point would be enough. They trailed on two occasions but woke up to take a deserved one-goal win, which unfortunately meant that our handicap selection never looked like paying off.

Suggestion: Borussia Dortmund -2 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 4-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 3-2 (-1)

Italian Serie A
Chievo 3-5 Roma (Saturday 5pm)
Roma kept their noses ahead of Napoli in the runners-up race with a thrilling win over Chievo, but only just beat the -1.75 handicap. The title has now gone with Juventus making short work of Crotone, but with Genoa visiting Rome next weekend they look set to wrap up second.

Suggestion: Roma -1.75 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 3-5 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 2-3 (-1)

Italian Serie A
Napoli 4-1 Fiorentina (Saturday 7.45pm)
Napoli are unstoppable at the moment and comfortably beat the market line here, though all of these resounding wins look unlikely to pay off with automatic qualification for the Champions League. It goes to the last day where they’ll go to Sampdoria and where we expect another big handicap allocation.

Suggestion: Napoli -1.75 @ 1.94
Actual Outcome: 4-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (+1)

French Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille 1-0 Bastia (Saturday 8pm)
The visitors bowed out of Ligue 1 with a whimper, actually deserving to lose more heavily than they did and not creating a single chance of note in a game that they had to win in order to survive. Marseille wrapped up fifth in routine fashion, but missed Payet’s creativity.

Suggestion: Over 3 @ 1.83
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (-1)

French Ligue 1
Lorient 1-1 Bordeaux (Saturday 8pm)
Lorient slipped into the relegation play-off spot and Bordeaux ended the season stuck in sixth, though they will still hope that it will be enough for Europa League qualification. 1-1 was the fair result, although either side could have won it, with the point keeping the hosts’ survival chances alive.

Suggestion: Bordeaux 0.25 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (+0.5)

12 Suggestions
Total Actual Outcome: +3
Total Fair Outcome: -4

Weekend Preview 19/05/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Liverpool vs. Middlesbrough (Sunday 3pm)
Sky Sports 1
With Chelsea champions and all of the issues at the bottom taken care of, all that we’re left with on the final day of the Premier League is the race for the top four. Liverpool currently occupy fourth spot, sitting one point ahead of Arsenal in fifth, and know that any sort of win against Middlesbrough will see them entering Europe’s premier club competition next season. They have made it very difficult for themselves, but they should get over the line against a poor Boro side.

The visitors will come and look to make it a nervy afternoon for Klopp’s men, playing the only way they really know how, but they’ve lost their motivation since being confirmed relegated and probably won’t have enough in the tank to hold out. Following a resounding 0-4 win at West Ham in their last outing the hosts will have plenty of confidence and look nicely suited to their new diamond shape. We can’t see anything other than a solid home win, but would love the handicap to be tighter.

Suggestion: Liverpool -2.25 @ 1.80 and Over 3.25 @ 1.92

English Premier League
Watford vs. Manchester City (Sunday 3pm)
Sky Sports 2
Watford would be very high up on a list of teams to choose to play on final day when needing any kind of positive result to guarantee Champions League football next season. This would be especially true of a Watford who have just announced that their manager is leaving at the end of the season, yet again. Although Guardiola would naturally prefer to be at home, this won’t faze him with the form his players are in.

The hosts again have serious issues at the back with Cathcart, Kabasele and Kaboul injured, while Prodl is suspended, but City come with an almost fully fit squad and can name the same sort of team that made short work of West Brom in midweek. We think going for the visitors to win by two clear goals is a relative no brainer as the pressure of the situation is the only significant thing going against them. Even before Mazzarri’s departure was announced Watford were one of the quickest sides to give up when things started going against them.

Suggestion: Man City -1.75 @ 1.99

English Premier League
Arsenal vs. Everton (Sunday 3pm)
No TV
Given that we have gone for both Liverpool and Man City to beat their handicaps, it’s safe to say that we don’t think Arsenal can end up taking a Champions League spot this season. Although we have to give them huge credit for taking it to the final day and making so much of their games in hand, our pre-season prediction of a fifth-placed finish still looks very good. To get ahead of Man City they need a tidy win and for City to lose at Watford, while they essentially still need to win and hope for Liverpool to slip up at home to Middlesbrough due to their poorer goal difference and goals scored.

This all seems highly unlikely to us and while the prospect of a play-off for the final Champions League spot is hugely appealing as a one-off spectacle, the 1-1 draw here and 0-2 win for Middlesbrough that is needed for that scenario is naturally a massive long shot. We think Arsenal will win, but the handicap is pitched just about right.

Suggestion: N/A

Spanish Primera Division
Malaga vs. Real Madrid (Sunday 7pm)
Sky Sports 1
We were quietly hoping for a Real wobble on Wednesday night, but at a Celta side who downed tools long ago it was never really likely to happen. As such the title race goes to the final day, but the balance is tilted very firmly in the favour of Ronaldo and company. They need just a solitary point to guarantee the title and while Malaga have hit great form to end the season, it would be a massive shock if that didn’t come to pass. Malaga are managed by Michel, who has significant ties to the Bernabeu, while two of their strongest back four are also absent. Zidane has everyone bar Carvajal and Bale available, making an unchanged side from their midweek romp very likely.

Suggestion: Real Madrid -1.75 @ 1.81

Spanish Primera Division
Barcelona vs. Eibar (Sunday 7pm)
Sky Go
This should be a procession for Barcelona, but it may not matter because if Real manage to take a point or three then they cannot prevent the title from ending up in Zidane’s hands. The hosts welcome back Pique and Roberto, leaving just Mascherano on the sidelines, while an Eibar side who have not scored in five out of their last size matches are completely full strength. Seeing the market at 4.5 total goals and with a -3.25 handicap on the home side is no surprise at all, with Barca racking up wins of 7-1, 3-0, 4-1 and 4-1 in their last four outings after scoring 3 in the Bernabeu. Eibar are good opponents for them, but even the expected huge win won’t be enough.

Suggestion: Barcelona -3.25 @ 1.98 

German Bundesliga 1
Hamburger SV vs. Wolfsburg (Saturday 2.30pm)
BT Sport 3
This is basically a relegation shootout, with Hamburg in need of a win to escape the play-off spot at the foot of the Bundesliga table. Wolfsburg are just two points ahead of them and interestingly will not necessarily be doomed if they lose narrowly and Augsburg go down hard at Hoffenheim. There is so much at play and a lot could come down to who handles the pressure better. If Wolfsburg go ahead then Hamburg have no choice but to go all out, while the same works the other way too. It will start cagily, but we can see goals.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 2.04

Ones to Follow

German Bundesliga 1
Hoffenheim vs. Augsburg (Saturday 2.30pm)
BT Sport Extra
Augsburg are not out of the woods yet despite the two teams directly below them playing each other at the same time. If they lose heavily and Hamburg win narrowly, then they will be relegated. Hoffenheim are still fully motivated because they can usurp Dortmund and finish third for automatic entry to the Champions League, but even though goal difference could be a factor it is very unlikely to play a part on Saturday afternoon.

Suggestion: Under 3.5 @ 1.93

German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen (Saturday 2.30pm)
BT Sport Extra
Dortmund left the door ajar for Hoffenheim to sneak into third again last weekend, drawing 1-1 with relegation-threatened Augsburg. They are facing less motivated opponents here, thankfully for Tuchel, which means that it’s difficult to see anything other than a home win. Bremen still have an outside chance of a Europa League spot but the market gives them little chance of achieving it, setting the money line handicap at -2.25. We’ll nudge that down one.

Suggestion: Borussia Dortmund -2 @ 1.80

Italian Serie A
Chievo vs. Roma (Saturday 5pm)
BT Sport 3
There isn’t as much going on in Italy as there is in Germany, but the title race is not officially done yet and there is still a question over who takes the second automatic Champions League spot. Roma got a huge win over Juventus last time out and should get another victory to apply some pressure to Allegri’s men, moving within a point. Even without Dzeko they should be worth a couple of goals here.

Suggestion: Roma -1.75 @ 1.81

Italian Serie A
Napoli vs. Fiorentina (Saturday 7.45pm)
BT Sport 2
Napoli have the strongest form of the top three heading into the final two weekends and should relish the chance to get after a Fiorentina team missing three first choice players, two of whom have significant importance defensively. The hosts are again completely healthy and look so dangerous at the moment that they are impossible to go against, especially given that their motivation to take the final automatic Champions League spot will still be high.

Suggestion: Napoli -1.75 @ 1.94

French Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille vs. Bastia (Saturday 8pm)
BT Sport 3
The title is decided, but there are still issues to be resolved at the top and bottom of the table. Marseille and Bordeaux are going head-to-head for the final guaranteed Europa League spot, drawing 1-1 in the wine country last week, so Marseille have to win to be sure of taking it. Bastia have to take something to stand any chance of surviving, with a draw potentially enough to end in the relegation play-off spot.

Suggestion: Over 3 @ 1.83

French Ligue 1
Lorient vs. Bordeaux (Saturday 8pm)
Bet365
The only way Lorient can hope to finish outside of the relegation spots is by taking something, although their chances are hampered greatly with Ciani, Marveaux and top scorer Moukandjo all being ruled out. Bordeaux are only missing Pallois and will also go in search of victory, due to needing three points to take the last guaranteed Europa League place. Bordeaux are tough to beat and we think they’ll be the calmer of the two.

Suggestion: Bordeaux 0.25 @ 1.80

*Odds accurate at time of writing

Weekend Review 15/05/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Crystal Palace 3-0 Hull City (Sunday 12pm)
Like Middlesbrough before them, Hull bowed out of the Premier League with a whimper and were hammered by Palace here. The hosts got off to the perfect start when an error from Ranocchia gifted Zaha the opener and they never looked like giving it up from there. Hull’s best hope here was to play on the nerves of the home crowd, but such a calamitous beginning made this impossible and the atmosphere was excellent throughout the afternoon as Benteke, Milivojevic and van Aanholt killed off Silva’s team with relative ease.

Hull only managed to create a solitary Very Good Chance (~25% conversion rate) in a fairly insipid display, even a double substitution at half time not making much difference. We said we would back the overs if Swansea did the business at Sunderland on Saturday, because it would leave Hull in a do-or-die situation, but in the end it was Palace who saw us comfortably home. The visitors kept throwing caution to the wind until it went 3-0 and then heads dropped as their relegation dawned. Silva did a great job to keep them alive this long and we’re fully expecting to see him at this level again next season.

Suggestion: Hull City +0.5 @ 1.87 and Over 2.5 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 4-0 (0)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (0)

English Premier League
Sunderland 0-2 Swansea City (Saturday 3pm)
This win at a hostile Stadium of Light saw Swansea safe, with too much pressure applied to Hull, who had to play a day later. Clement deserves huge credit for reorganising a talented but fragile squad after the disastrous reign of Bradley, who had no notion of to stem the side of chances that his team was conceding. With a lots of shape work and the gradual restoration of belief Swansea have become what they should have been all season, a solid team capable of relying on their gifted attackers for points.

The decision to change to a diamond and to move Sigurdsson inside was a real difference maker and this was another professional performance and another game under the natural goal line. As for Sunderland, they were rightly jeered off the field after a calamitous first half and woeful season, like Hull just managing to create a single Very Good Chance here and relatively little else besides. A big summer for the Welshmen awaits, but we fear for Sunderland and Moyes in the Championship.

Suggestion: Under 2.75 @1.85
Actual Outcome: 0-2 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 0-1 (+1) 

English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Manchester United (Sunday 4.30pm)
This was another instance where Pochettino’s side lived up to the occasion (“chokers”, really?), bidding farewell to White Hart Lane with an excellent team performance that produced a fully deserved three points. Wembley beckons in 2018/19 and it will be interesting to see if they can be as strong at that venue as they have been at their real home, but for this particular game they did have completely pliable opponents.

After full time Mourinho openly admitted that he’d rather not deal with any more league games this season – though United still have a couple more to go yet – before pulling his now trademark move of cutting a live television interview short. We ended up with a nice win here overall on our two suggestions, though according to the Analyst Fair Score there was a good slice of fortune involved! Spurs are now guaranteed second, while United will finish sixth.

Suggestion: Tottenham Hotspur -0.75 @ 1.94 and Over 2.5 @ 2.02
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (+1.5)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (0)

Spanish Primera Division
Las Palmas 1-4 Barcelona (Sunday 7pm)
In the Weekend Preview we suggested we were tempted by the underdogs in this one, due to the “large looking” handicap. However, Barcelona have burned us enough in recent times to take a step back and avoid any involvement at all. As it turned out the market pegged it perfectly, although there was a significant amount of controversy here with Digne somehow not sent off very early on for the visitors. A three-goal margin of victory was definitely flattering, but this is a team who have been “outscoring” their xG with good regularity of late – something that doesn’t really happen by chance. In the end we were glad to be out of it, though we wish we’d adopted the same stance for the Real game…

Suggestion: N/A
Actual Outcome: 1-4 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 2-3 (N/A)

Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla (Sunday 7pm)
Our trepidation in taking the unders in a game that pitted a motivated Real against a potentially demotivated Sevilla proved to be fair, with the goal line beaten in the end. Both sides adopted an open approach, the visitors given no choice in the matter after falling behind quite early, but five goals in the contest was a bit of a stretch. However, Real took a massive leap towards winning the title with another resounding result after making a number of changes to the team, showing once again that they are able to balance La Liga with the Champions League.

Suggestion: Under 4.5 @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 4-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (+1)

Ones to Follow

Dutch Eredivisie
Feyenoord 3-1 Heracles (Sunday 1.30pm)
Feyenoord secured their first title since 1998/99 thanks to a Kuijt hat trick, made all the more impressive by the fact it came from midfield. The veteran led his team over the line with yet another superb display and meant that we got a little bit fortunate with this one.

Suggestion: Heracles +2.25 @ 1.86
Actual Outcome: 3-1 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (-1)

Dutch Eredivisie
Willem II 1-3 Ajax (Sunday 1.30pm)
Ajax did what they had to do but came up short due to Feyenoord’s result in Rotterdam, with the capital side consigned to the runners-up spot. The visitors’ clinical finishing ability was the difference here and a two-goal margin of victory was completely fair, meaning we escaped with a push.

Suggestion: Willem II +2 @ 1.86
Actual Outcome: 1-3 (0)
Fair Outcome: 1-3 (0)

Italian Serie A
Roma 3-1 Juventus (Sunday 7.45pm)
The hosts kept their slim title hopes alive with an impressive win, although Juventus made some fairly significant rotations after their Champions League semi exploits in midweek. Our suggestion for an “unders” bet was a little bit unlucky to be a loser in the end, but only a little bit.

Suggestion: Under 3 @ 1.86
Actual Outcome: 3-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (0)

Italian Serie A
Torino 0-5 Napoli (Sunday 2pm)
Napoli kept the pressure on Roma with a crushing win in Torino, making a mockery of the hosts’ strong record in front of their own fans. Napoli are displaying Monaco-like finishing ability in this second half of the season, with the front three of Callejon, Insigne and Mertens almost unstoppable.

Suggestion: Napoli -1 @ 1.87
Actual Outcome: 0-5 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 0-4 (+1) 

German Bundesliga 1
RB Leipzig 4-5 Bayern Munchen (Saturday 2.30pm)
One of the games of the season saw Leipzig lead 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 and 4-2 before three goals in the final six minutes swung it Bayern’s way. We thought that the visitors would be fully motivated to beat a narrow handicap here but Leipzig showed they are the real deal.

Suggestion: Bayern Munchen -0.5 @ 1.96
Actual Outcome: 4-5 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-4 (+1)

11 Suggestions
Actual Outcome: +3
Fair Outcome: +3

Weekend Preview 12/05/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Crystal Palace vs. Hull City (Sunday 12pm)
Sky Sports 1
Having deservedly lost their last three, Palace find themselves back in trouble and could be deep in the mire if they contrive to lose this one. Hull are fighting for their lives after a shocking home loss to Sunderland last time out when they went off as -1.25 favourites on the handicap, but have been abysmal away from home and have to treat this like a one-off cup game. Allardyce is desperately hoping Dann can pass fit, as his defence has been decimated by injury in recent times and it has really shown.

At the moment he looks likely to make it, but his inclusion will have to be considered a calculated gamble by the manager and he may not be 100%. Cabaye and Tomkins are much less likely to make it, though Ward and Townsend should shake off knocks to start again. On the other side Silva is missing Markovic for a slight loss, but Hull’s team news is considerably better. This game becomes significantly less interesting if Swansea lose to Sunderland on Saturday, so our hope is that the Welshmen win to set this one up to be a cracker. In those circumstances we’d also back the overs.

Suggestion: Hull City +0.5 @ 1.87 and Over 2.5 @ 1.93

English Premier League
Sunderland vs. Swansea City (Saturday 3pm)
No TV
This fixture sets the tone for the weekend, as victory for Swansea would pull Palace even further into trouble and would make it so that Hull have to go looking for a win at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon. Even a draw here keeps things bubbling nicely, but Sunderland showed what can happen when the pressure is off with their win over Hull last time out. They have suddenly become dangerous opponents, especially in front of their own fans for the final time this season.

In a stunning gesture the Swansea squad have paid for 3,000 away fans to make the trip up to Wearside so will have vocal backing, while their cause is further aided by their excellent team news. We think the Swans being half-goal favourites on the handicap is understandable, but a little punchy in the circumstances, and are more content to back a low scoring contest due to the way Clement has tightened the team up. A draw isn’t a disaster, but a narrow away win does seem the likeliest outcome.

Suggestion: Under 2.75 @1.85

English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United (Sunday 4.30pm)
Sky Sports 1
Here we have a Tottenham side playing their final game at White Hart Lane versus a Manchester United side who are expected to rotate heavily after squeezing through to the Europa League final on Thursday. There will be a lot of raw emotion on show and the atmosphere should be great, while it would be fitting for these two teams to provide a fitting send-off to the ground after some of their amazing clashes here in the past.

The hosts may be a little low because of their elimination from the title race at the hands of West Ham last time out, but they can now play with some freedom and have had a lot more preparation time than their visitors. Our hope is that Mourinho doesn’t come and completely shut things down with his weaker eleven, but we may need an early home goal to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Suggestion: Tottenham Hotspur -0.75 @ 1.94 and Over 2.5 @ 2.02

Spanish Primera Division
Las Palmas vs. Barcelona (Sunday 7pm)
Sky Sports 5
The hosts welcome back Boateng and Jese for a significant attacking boost, with Gomez, Tana and Michel hoping to bolster the squad even further, but Tana is currently rated 60% to make the eleven. Las Palmas have typically been a different animal at home to the bigger sides, but they have nothing to play for and morale is awful due to a lack of faith in the coach. Barca have to win to keep their title hopes alive and will go for another resounding score, with their motivation restored since the massive result in Madrid. The market seems confident that Enrique’s side will achieve this, with a huge handicap of -3 and a goal line of 4.75 in place. It looks about fair to us.

Suggestion: N/A

Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid vs. Sevilla (Sunday 7pm)
Sky Sports 3
After a bit of a scare in their midweek Champions League with Atletico the hosts need to refocus quickly, because the title is far from sealed. Sevilla are still highly motivated because they are defending their fourth spot from Villarreal, while Real’s midweek tie in Vigo probably means significant rotation will happen either here or there. Zidane knows his men just need to get the job done and that it doesn’t need to be pretty, but the biggest threat to the goal line is Sevilla’s attitude. With a departing coach and poor form, they could fold if they concede early.

Suggestion: Under 4.5 @ 1.88

Ones to Follow

Dutch Eredivisie
Feyenoord vs. Heracles (Sunday 1.30pm)
Sky Sports Red Button
It’s crunch time for Feyenoord, who can clinch their first Eredivisie title with a win against mid-table Heracles. The visitors have a play-off spot to defend and cannot afford to lose, though they’ve deservedly won three of their last five. We’ll back them to play on the hosts’ nerves here.

Suggestion: Heracles +2.25 @ 1.86 

Dutch Eredivisie
Willem II vs. Ajax (Sunday 1.30pm)
Sky Sports Red Button
Ajax have to better Feyenoord’s result to snatch the title from De Kuip and though they are away, they are facing more pliable opponents with less to play for. However, this game follows quickly on the heels of a breathless Europa League progression against Lyon and Willem can be awkward.

Suggestion: Willem II +2 @ 1.86

Italian Serie A
Roma vs. Juventus (Sunday 7.45pm)
BT Sport 1
Juventus will be crowned champions yet again with a draw, while Roma are defending their second place and Champions League automatic qualification spot from Napoli. The visitors are playing in between a huge Champions League semi-final and the Coppa Italia final with Lazio, but the hosts’ team news is poor.

Suggestion: Under 3 @ 1.86 

Italian Serie A
Torino vs. Napoli (Sunday 2pm)
BT Sport 2
Napoli can put huge pressure on Roma if they get a win earlier on the Sunday, and while Torino are solid opponents at home and in decent form it would be a surprise if the visitors failed to take three points. The goals is tempting, but the line is high.

Suggestion: Napoli -1 @ 1.87 

German Bundesliga 1
RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munchen (Saturday 2.30pm)
Bet365
Bayern are already champions by a landslide, but this is still an interesting game as it provides a barometer of just how good this Leipzig side is. They need to take one point from their last two games to guarantee second so should have strong motivation, but this is Bayern.

Suggestion: Bayern Munchen -0.5 @ 1.96

*Odds accurate at time of writing

Weekend Review 09/05/17

Highlights 

English Premier League
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United (Sunday 4pm)
In one of the least anticipated games between Arsenal and Manchester United for a while, the home side ran out relatively comfortable winners against their rotated visitors. Mourinho was true to his word in making numerous changes to his side with a view to ensuring his side’s progression in the Europa League, with no less than eight alterations from Thursday night in all. He was always going to set up to make the game as tight as possible, hence our suggestion for an unders bet, and with an actual score of 2-0 and a fair score of 1-0 this got us off to a strong start.

It took a deflected shot from Xhaka to break the deadlock around ten minutes into the second half, and in some ways the timing of the goal was a shame because it would have been interesting to see if United might have gone for the win had it stayed 0-0 a little longer. With Liverpool dropping points at home immediately prior to kick-off the opportunity of a Champions League place through the league had opened up again, which could have caused some regrets from the visiting manager. Arsenal were not at all impressive, again.

Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (+1)

English Championship
Brentford 1-3 Blackburn Rovers (Sunday 12pm)
The conclusion to the Championship season had more drama at the top than the bottom, with the outcome of the relegation battle never in too much doubt. An open game ended with a deserved win for the doomed visitors, even though Brentford had 21 chances in all – the vast majority of which were relatively poor openings where the shot was taken on too quickly. Blackburn were two-up after just 16 minutes but never looked capable of racking up the big win they needed because of the way events unfolded elsewhere.

In terms of our suggestion we got this one wrong and underestimated the motivation element, perhaps giving too much credit to Brentford as a team with little left to play for. It’s easy to say with hindsight but an overs bet was the key here, given that Blackburn were always likely to need to hunt for goals regardless of the game state or time segment. It’s League One for Blackburn next season, so at least we got our prediction of who would go down correct.

Suggestion: Brentford DNB @ 1.90
Actual Outcome: 1-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (-1)

English Championship
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Ipswich Town (Sunday 12pm)
This one was much more straightforward for our suggestion, with Ipswich indeed proving to be perfect opposition for a team seeking to get a win and avoid the drop. Forest had the plum tie of the three teams left in the fight come final day and although it took them a while to get going, once they had the lead through Assombalonga’s excellent penalty they never looked like giving it up. Ipswich clearly missed McGoldrick and Lawrence in attack, but created just about enough to have deserved a goal.

Racking up the 3-0 score meant that Blackburn were given next to no chance of surviving, requiring three more goals than the three they got at Brentford to survive on goal difference. As such the job is done for Forest and a team with so much quality should be nowhere near this position again next season, though vultures will be circling.

Suggestion: Nottingham Forest -0.75 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 3-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-1 (+1) 

English Championship
Bristol City 0-1 Birmingham City (Sunday 12pm)
Birmingham got the job done in the end, though the Blues still have Huddersfield to thank for being in such a comfortable position coming into the final day. Even a draw would have been enough in the circumstances, which is the result our analyst believed would have been the fair outcome, though we ended up with a negative on our suggestion due to the hosts’ inability to convert their many chances into goals. This was definitely the most sedate of the three key games from England’s second flight and was another where motivation won the day, with Bristol the better footballing side but not really urgent enough in their approach. The big question now revolves around Harry Redknapp’s future, but we think he’ll stay on.

Suggestion: Bristol City DNB @ 1.97
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (0) 

German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Hoffenheim (Saturday 2.30pm)
A fascinating tactical battle from Germany’s top flight ended with a justified one-goal victory for the hosts, which was enough for a half-win on our handicap suggestion. Hoffenheim remain a lot better than the market gives them credit for and will be fully deserving of a crack at the Champions League qualifier, with Dortmund now looking set in third. This game was notable for producing three goals from just 12 overall chances, with just half of these having an average conversion rate of 15% or above. As such, our German analyst believed the game’s true fair outcome to be 1-0.

Suggestion: Hoffenheim +1.25 @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (+0.5)

French Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille 2-1 Nice (Sunday 8pm)
This was an excellent derby with two teams who still had plenty to play for, with Marseille’s deserved 2-1 win moving them ahead of Bordeaux into Europa League contention. The defeat ended Nice’s very slim title ambitions, but with Monaco winning yet again no other outcome would have made a difference anyway. This has still been another superb season for the Riviera club, but Marseille still have plenty of work to do before next year.

Suggestion: Nice +0.5 @ 2.00 and Over 2.75 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (-0.5)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (-0.5)

Ones to Follow

English Premier League
Hull City 0-2 Sunderland (Saturday 3pm)
We fell into this trap, as we’re sure so many others did as well. Interestingly, by kick-off time the line had moved to -1.25 on the hosts and our internal models began flashing value on Sunderland, with the visitors being a great bet on both the actual and fair score.

Suggestion: Hull -1 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 0-2 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-1)

English Premier League
Swansea City 1-0 Everton (Saturday 5.30pm)
The result at Hull impacted on the outcome here significantly, which always made it a risky proposition to suggest on so far in advance of kick-off. This was never an overs game, even after Swansea opened the scoring, because an Everton opening goal was what was needed in the circumstances.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.95
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (-1)

English Premier League
West Ham United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur (Friday 8pm)
New ground, same old outcome. West Ham took Chelsea’s role from last season as the rivals who killed Tottenham’s title challenge, with this still being a nightmare away trip for Spurs despite the change of scenery. The hosts were well worth the win and the unders came in quite comfortably.

Suggestion: Under 3 @ 1.91
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (+1) 

English Premier League
Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough (Monday 8pm)
Chelsea cruised to a victory that essentially sealed the title for them after Tottenham’s slip and also condemned Middlesbrough to relegation. The gulf between the two sides was clear for all to see from the outset, with the visitors bowing out with a whimper and having just a single shot.

Suggestion: Over 3 @ 1.86
Actual Outcome: 3-0 (0)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (-1)

Spanish Primera Division
Barcelona 4-1 Villarreal (Saturday 5.30pm)
We won’t dwell too much on Barcelona’s offside opener as they would have won this game either way, with their motivation through the roof and performances flowing. The three-goal margin of victory flattered them, but there are definite signs that they are a risky team to oppose at this stage.

Suggestion: Villarreal +2.5 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 4-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 3-1 (+1)

Spanish Primera Division
Granada 0-4 Real Madrid (Saturday 7.45pm)
Zidane produced his shadow squad again, but much like the result against Deportivo this was never in doubt from the first whistle. Granada offered next to no resistance as Real raced into a 0-4 lead in just 35 minutes and then coasted home from there, saving plenty for Wednesday night.

Suggestion: N/A
Actual Outcome: 0-4 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 1-5 (N/A)

12 Suggestions
Actual Outcome: -2
Fair Outcome: 0

Weekend Preview 05/05/17

Highlights 

English Premier League
Arsenal vs. Manchester United (Sunday 4pm)
Sky Sports 1
Manchester United’s narrow win in Spain means that their attention remains firmly fixed on the Europa League, as they are now just 90 minutes away from the final. Mourinho has already said he will rest a number of players for this weekend’s trip to the Emirates, which means that Arsenal are positioned as relatively slight favourites but are expected to be more fancied by the time kick-off comes. Their team news is much more set, with Mustafi expected to return and Xhaka now joining Cazorla and Perez on the sidelines.

There is no doubt that the need for points is much greater for the hosts and that United can come with a stonewalling plan that looks to eek out a solitary point at worst. With this in mind we will most certainly take a look at the unders, which we also think will move towards 2.25 as Sunday afternoon approaches. It’s undoubtedly a risk taking any sort of position on this one before seeing the finalised team news, though, as you never really know with Mourinho. We would not be at all surprised to see a couple of Old Trafford’s more promising starlets being involved, which will cause market volatility.

Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.80

English Championship
Brentford vs. Blackburn Rovers (Sunday 12pm)
Sky Sports Mix
Sky have chosen to televise the battle against relegation in the Championship, rather than the fight for the title, a decision that is totally justified when you look at the size of three teams still in big danger. Blackburn Rovers are currently occupying the last relegation slot and have a very difficult trip to Brentford, who are a very tough nut to crack at home. Indeed, they are third in the form table over the last eight games, which is no mean feat for a side that have had little to play for compared to those teams around them in that list. We can see why this is DNB and Blackburn have put up a great fight, but Brentford are professional enough to avoid defeat.

Suggestion: Brentford DNB @ 1.90

English Championship
Nottingham Forest vs. Ipswich Town (Sunday 12pm)
Sky Sports 3
Forest are the biggest name in the battle and are currently only outside of the drop zone due to their superior goal difference of one, though they have also scored more goals than Blackburn too. They are in the most awkward position psychologically of all the teams, because they are chasing AND being chased, while knowing that even a win may not be enough if Blackburn are able to produce a miracle result. The pressure is huge, but opposition could not be much better than an Ipswich side who have been garbage for much of the season and are in autopilot. The hosts should take advantage and win, but it’s going to be nail biting stuff.

Suggestion: Nottingham Forest -0.75 @ 1.80 

English Championship
Bristol City vs. Birmingham City (Sunday 12pm)
No TV
Our suggestions for the last two games mean that we think Birmingham will be safe regardless of the outcome here. They are already in the best position with a two-point gap over the other two, but crucially have worse goal difference than both. This means that IF both Forest and Rovers win then they have to match that result, as a draw won’t be good enough for them. It’s hard to say how much Birmingham have improved under Redknapp in two games, one a derby and one where the opposition played a shadow side, but a trip to in-form Bristol is not exactly an ideal way to round things off. Rotation from the hosts is a risk, but Johnson would be brave to do it.

Suggestion: Bristol City DNB @ 1.97

German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim (Saturday 2.30pm)
Bet365
Not many people would have expected Hoffenheim to be ahead of Dortmund in the table with just three games left to go, but that’s the situation they find themselves in. This is a crunch game because finishing third means no Champions League Qualifiers to worry about, so Dortmund will be going all out to win and this should give Hoffenheim’s dangerous attack some spaces to work with. The goal line is pitched aggressively, which in the circumstances makes sense, but we find more comfort in the handicap. Hoffenheim are full strength squad-wise and don’t deserve to be so widely priced.

Suggestion: Hoffenheim +1.25 @ 1.88

French Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille vs. Nice (Sunday 8pm)
BT Sport 1

Marseille have been oscillating between commanding wins and frustrating draws for a while, but the market seems to be favouring the former here with them half-goal favourites against a Nice side who just made short work of PSG last time out. Nice are used to playing without Cyprien and Plea now, but their absences probably explain things in terms of the price. Marseille are full strength and will attack, but Nice can be awkward opposition.

Suggestion: Nice +0.5 @ 2.00 and Over 2.75 @ 1.93

Ones to Follow

English Premier League
Hull City vs. Sunderland (Saturday 3pm)
No TV
Sunderland are officially down and so should at least be able to play with more freedom now the pressure is off, but Hull have serious momentum at home and will be looking at this game as being a sure thing. The market also sees it that way, which is fair.

Suggestion: Hull -1 @ 1.80

English Premier League
Swansea City vs. Everton (Saturday 5.30pm)
BT Sport 1
Swansea are in the unfortunate position of having to play after Hull, which is a definite disadvantage in their head-to-head relegation battle. They also appear to have a much tougher game to play and the market can barely split the teams, despite Everton apparently having little left to play for.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.95

English Premier League
West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Friday 8pm)
Sky Sports 1
The hosts will revel in the chance to derail Tottenham’s title challenge, but their only way to do that is to play even more cautiously than they have done of late. Although four of their last ten combined games have seen over three goals, this could be a slow burner.

Suggestion: Under 3 @ 1.91

English Premier League
Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough (Monday 8pm)
Sky Sports 1
Chelsea have been over the money line total in seven of their last ten games, while Middlesbrough are now in a position where they have to open up at some stage. Their record perfectly mirrors Hull and Swansea’s in the last four and they have to start going for wins.

Suggestion: Over 3 @ 1.86

Spanish Primera Division
Barcelona vs. Villarreal (Saturday 5.30pm)
Sky Sports 5
Iniesta is back so Barcelona are at full strength, but this looks set to be their toughest game left. They need to win all three to have a chance of taking the title, but a three goal difference looks a stretch with the visitors also likely to be full strength.

Suggestion: Villarreal +2.5 @ 1.80 

Spanish Primera Division
Granada vs. Real Madrid (Saturday 7.45pm)
Sky Sports 5
Adams has unsurprisingly failed to halt Granada’s slide and they are now officially relegated, which makes this look like a plum tie for Real between their Champions League commitments. Wholesale changes are expected from Zidane, which throws too much uncertainty into the mix, but we still think they’ll win big.

Suggestion: N/A

*Odds accurate at time of writing

Weekend Review 02/05/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Arsenal (Sunday 4.30pm)
A superb performance from Tottenham created a fantastic atmosphere at White Hart Lane and ensured that our prediction of Arsenal ending the season on yet another low note came to pass. This was one-way traffic for much of the contest, with the biggest surprise being that the visitors made it to half-time at 0-0 after Alli and Eriksen passed up a pair of Great Chances (~40% conversion) to give the hosts the lead. Tottenham are the real deal this season and even if they fail to lift the trophy, which looks increasingly likely, Pochettino deserves massive credit for their two-season performance.

Whether player 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1, as they did here, Spurs are a well oiled machine and it’s easy to forget that they were effectively without four automatic starters here, as Rose and Lamela injured, Dembele not match fit and Walker left on the bench following a row with the manager. Arsenal saw Koscielny pass fit to be left without only Mustafi and Cazorla, demonstrating just how far off the top level this squad now is. Tottenham remain four points behind Chelsea but now only have four games left, but do have the advantage of playing first next weekend.

Suggestion: Tottenham Hotspur -0.5 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (+1) 

Spanish Primera Division
Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona (Saturday 7.45pm)
Espanyol must wait yet another year for a Catalan Derby victory, with Barcelona sweeping them aside in the end but being made to work very hard to assert their dominance. Sanchez Flores sent his team out in a rigid and organised 4-4-1-1 that did a relatively good job of limiting the visitors’ threat. Espanyol even had the first significant chance of the contest when Jurado went through, but he lost his head and drilled wide when one-on-one.

After getting to half-time at 0-0 the hosts faced renewed pressure from Barcelona and after Suarez broke the deadlock after 50 minutes there was only ever going to be one winner. Jurado was again the villain of the piece, selling Lopez short with a terrible back pass to give the Uruguayan forward a Great Chance. The big question then became just how much Barcelona would win by and Espanyol had no further opportunities of real note despite opening up. All this did was give Enrique’s side more space to inflict damage to keep the pressure firmly on Madrid.

Suggestion: Espanyol +2.25 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 0-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 0-2 (+0.5) 

Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia (Saturday 3.15pm)
Marcelo has been immense this season and he stepped up again when his team really needed him, getting the winner in the 86th minute to immediately restore Madrid’s advantage after Dani Parejo had equalised for Valencia. The hosts looked nervy and displayed outright panic at times, which could be a feature of their run-in as they try to balance going for the title alongside going for a historic back-to-back Champions League win.

However, they were still superior throughout and fashioned enough chances to have just about deserved the two goals. Still, it will be very interesting to see how they get on next week at relegated Granada, playing in between the first leg of their semi-final with Atletico and directly after Barcelona host Villarreal. They’ll be in the same situation the following weekend as well, which could take its toll. Barcelona have to keep winning their own games, of course…

Suggestion: N/A
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (N/A)

English Premier League
Manchester United 1-1 Swansea City (Sunday 12pm)
Mourinho’s side edged it, as so often they do at home, but it’s hard to claim that Swansea deserved anything less than a point from Old Trafford. We had actually fancied the visitors to spring an upset when the teams were announced and were much less confident on our overs suggestion, with Clement deploying a diamond that fielded Ki, Britton and Carroll behind the superb Sigurdsson. The Swans have improved significantly in defence since the new man arrived (though they could hardly get much worse) and a draw here was a huge bonus in their fight for survival. As for United, they passed up a huge chance to make serious inroads into the top four and their fixtures don’t get any easier from here on.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-1) 

English Premier League
Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester City (Sunday 2.05pm)
Guardiola’s decision to rest Sané and Sterling did not pay off at all, especially with Silva also failing to pass a late fitness test and missing out too. City never looked like beating the handicap and were actually second best to their hosts for must of the first half. Middlesbrough showed good balance between being tight defensively and maintaining just enough threat on the break, but were undone by a shocking penalty decision given when Sané went over in the box. There were two more goals from there, but a draw doesn’t look like enough for Boro at this stage.

Suggestion: Manchester City -1.5 @ 1.84 and Over 3 @ 1.82
Actual Outcome: 2-2 (0)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-2)

Ones to Follow

Italian Serie A
Roma 1-3 Lazio (Sunday 11.30am)
When you’ve got an unders suggestion, a goal for the away team after 12 minutes is hardly the ideal start, and so it proved as Lazio went on to record a great victory in the Rome Derby. They outscored their xG nicely and deserved to win, but not by two.

Suggestion: Under 3.25 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 1-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (+0.5) 

Italian Serie A
Internazionale 0-1 Napoli (Sunday 7.45pm)
Napoli put on a clinic in a very tricky away game to take a fully justified victory, scoring on the stroke of half time after controlling proceedings. This was a huge step towards guaranteeing a top three finish, and it’s a result that pushes Pioli further towards the exit door.

Suggestion: Napoli DNB @ 1.73
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 0-2 (+1)

English Championship
Leeds United 3-3 Norwich City (Saturday 3pm)
This was a must-win game for Leeds and although they fought back from 0-3 to record a hugely creditable draw, they are now out of the play-off picture. The game saw five goals in 21 minutes to smash through the 2.75 line and was a superb watch for the neutral.

Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.96
Actual Outcome: 3-3 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (+1)

English Championship
Fulham 1-1 Brentford (Saturday 3pm)
Brentford escaped from Craven Cottage with an unjust point despite being second best in almost every department, apart from the one that matters of course! The draw was enough for Fulham to effectively clinch the final play-off spot ahead of Leeds, but it has hurt their momentum a little bit.

Suggestion: Fulham -1 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (0)

English Championship
Ipswich Town 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday 3pm)
McCarthy rotated back to his best eleven but Ipswich never looked like beating the handicap, failing to hit the heights they showed against Newcastle recently. Wednesday were extremely professional and have kept their hopes of a third place finish alive, though they may see Huddersfield as better opponents than Fulham…

Suggestion: Ipswich +0.5 @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 0-1 (-1) 

10 Suggestions
Total Actual Outcome: -2
Total Fair Outcome: -1