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Top Three Soccer Picks for March 16 & 17: Street Fighting Man Edition

Torino Andrea Belotti

Despite a 2-2 record in last week’s column, I was still able to come out on top thanks to the six-leg parlay that was around +140 depending on when you got it. So even though we’re just slightly in the black last week, we’re still up, and that means we’ve been turning profit for the last four with a record of 10-4-2. Furthermore, since introducing the #greasyparlay to the column six weeks ago, those have gone 5-1.

With that said, can we just take a second to appreciate Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish before I continue? In case you were unaware, Villa played in the Second City derby in Birmingham this past weekend where Grealish was attacked and punched from behind by Blues supporter Paul Mitchell in the 10th minute.

Grealish was fine and promptly scored the winner later in the second half. So that’s why this week’s column is the “Street Fighting Man” edition in honor of the great Stones song. Grealish took a cheap shot from a “fan” and hit all of Birmingham with a knockout blow to help leapfrog their rivals in the championship table.

Sweet poetic justice.

On to some takeaways from the weekend.

La Liga Relegation Battle: Relegation battles toward the end of the season can make for some exciting viewing and right now, no race for survival is hotter than in Spain’s La Liga.

Huesca holds up the league with 22 points but Rayo Vallecano has lost six straight games and is now 19th with 23 points. Celta Vigo, long missing talisman Iago Aspas, is now 18th with just 25 points. Real Valladolid and Villarreal sit 16th and 17th respectively while Levante, not out of the woods yet, has 30 points thanks to four losses in its last five games and is 15th.

For what it’s worth, Huesca is on the best form over the last six games among those bottom-feeder clubs with 10 points over that stretch. They’ve also scored the joint-third most goals in La Liga (10) in those last six games. Not bad, and it makes their +150 moneyline price against Alaves this weekend somewhat intriguing. SOMEWHAT.

Schalke Reaching New Lows: It’s crazy to think, but a team that reached the Champions League Round of 16 is actually facing a relegation threat in the league. That team is Schalke and after getting hammered 7-0 by Manchester City in their Champions League game Tuesday, they now face an uphill climb in the Bundesliga.

The Gelsenkirchen club is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga and is sitting on 23 points, one point up on Augsburg and four up on Stuttgart. While they do have a comfortable cushion on 17th-placed Hannover and 18th-placed Nürnburg, that 16th spot in the table, which would put them in a playoff, is creeping up.

Schalke hasn’t won a league game since January 20 when it beat Wolfsburg 2-1 at home. Since then, they have five losses and two draws. Just five points since calendars turned to 2019. Left on the schedule for them are tough fixtures against Leipzig (more on that shortly), Frankfurt, Hoffenheim, Dortmund, Leverkusen and a potentially massive home game against Stuttgart to finish the season.

Spurs in Serious Trouble: Two weeks ago in this column I talked about Tottenham needing to “mind the gap” ahead of the North London Derby against Arsenal. What has happened since then has certainly turned the tide of those Premier League clubs searching for Champions League football.

Spurs, getting just one point from a possible 12 in their last four games, drew Arsenal and suffered a devastating loss away to Southampton last weekend. Still in third, their lead has evaporated to one point over Arsenal, three points over fifth-placed Manchester United and four points up on sixth-placed Chelsea, which has one game in hand.

With the weekend off thanks to the FA Cup, Tottenham has time to regroup to focus on a tough run-in to close the season which includes away games at Liverpool and Manchester City.

Let’s get into the picks. As always, odds courtesy Bovada.

West Ham-Huddersfield: West Ham -1 (+105)

For my first pick, I’ll take a shot with West Ham’s spread at -1 against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Huddersfield is basically just playing out the rest of this nightmarish season as it sits dead last in the Premier League table with a measly 14 points. So bad is the relegation-bound club that they have just one win in their last 17 league games, though that was an impressive 1-0 win over Wolves.

Fulham is the only team worse on the road as the Terriers have six points away while the Cottagers have a pathetic two.

Winners of back-to-back home games, West Ham will look to further cement a top-10 finish in the league and home wins against the likes of Huddersfield are must-wins if that is indeed the goal.

The reverse fixture here was a 1-1 draw but West Ham bagged all three points in this fixture last season with a 2-0 result.

West Ham vs Huddersfield Game Center

Torino-Bologna: Torino Moneyline (EVEN)

That’s right. Like last week, I’m hitching my wagon to Torino as this is one of the hottest teams in Serie A. So at EVEN money (as of Friday) at home against Bologna, it’s definitely worth another go.

Following last week’s 2-1 win away to Frosinone, Torino improved its unbeaten run in the league to seven games with five wins and two draws. Even more impressive is their five-match unbeaten run at home. And perhaps even more impressive is that they haven’t conceded a goal at home in those five games.

Torino hasn’t conceded a goal on home turf since losing to Juventus 1-0 back on December 15. Over that five-match unbeaten run at Stadio Olimpico, they’ve outscored opponents 10-0 and have trumped the likes of Inter and Atalanta.

To their credit, Bologna posted a nice 2-0 win at home to Cagliari last weekend and will be desperate to add to their points tally and escape the relegation zone. Entering the weekend, Bologna is 18th in the league with 21 points – one behind 17th-placed Empoli and two behind 16th-placed SPAL.

Il Toro are the fourth-best defensive side on home turf with just 11 goals conceded in home games in Serie A. That puts them among the big hitters in the league as Inter is the best with six goals against and Juventus and Napoli are tied for second with nine.

Striker Andrea Belotti looks to be in a good run of form with three goals in his last two games and bagged both goals in that aforementioned win against Frosinone.

Torino vs Bologna Game Center

Schalke-Leipzig: Leipzig Moneyline (+105)

Leipzig, the best defensive unit in the Bundesliga, will look to further its positioning among the Champions League contenders with a win away from home against a dismal Schalke side that was just crushed 7-0 by Manchester City in Champions League and has lost three in a row in the league.

To repeat from the takeaways section, Schalke sits 14th in the Bundesliga with 23 points and is seven points adrift of 13th-placed Mainz. The other way, they are just four points up on 16th-placed Stuttgart for that relegation playoff spot so the Gelsenkirchen club has its work cut out in the final matches of the season.

To add fuel to the fire at the club, manager Domenico Tedesco was relieved of his duties as Schalke manager with Huub Stevens and Mike Büskens taking over until the end of the season.

Maybe all that inspires Schalke to a strong performance, but I’m not buying it against a superior Leipzig side. Die Bullen are unbeaten in seven and have outscored opponents 12-2 over that stretch. Furthermore, they’ve won four straight games away from home and they’ll look to push that to five against another bottom-feeder.

Leipzig is the much better side but with Schalke fighting for survival, it could very well be a cagey affair. But at plus-money, I’m with Leipzig on this one.

Schalke vs Leipzig Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

Genoa vs Juventus: Juventus OVER 0.5 Goals (-700)

Atalanta vs Chievo: Atalanta -0.5 (-500)

Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo: Real Madrid -0.5 (-600)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen: Leverkusen +0.5 (-600)

Angers vs Amiens: Angers +0.5 (-385)

$100 wager returns $135.15

Archived Articles

If you’ve been a regular reader of this column, which is admittedly still in its very early days, you too have enjoyed a good run over the last three weeks. Since a Huddersfield-esque 0-4 performance four weeks ago, the column picks (including parlays) have gone 8-2-2 entering this weekend. Here’s hoping we can keep that going over the next couple of days.

We won with Atlético Madrid and the parlay card last week and had a push with Lille -1. I picked Roma in the Derby della Capitale and that was a train wreck as they promptly lost 3-0 to hated rivals Lazio.

Fitting that since that game, Roma was knocked out of Champions League by Porto and then sacked manager Eusebio Di Francesco.  Now, Roma has a tough conclusion to its domestic season as it looks to hold on to its Europa League spot with a hard-charging, in-form Torino side suddenly breathing down their necks and with Atalanta, Lazio and Sampdoria right there in the mix as well.

But that’s neither here nor there for this week’s column. My beloved Tottenham advanced to the quarters of the Champions League, somehow keeping a clean sheet at Dortmund, and Arsenal suffered a first-leg defeat to Rennes in their Europa League matchup on Thursday.

In short, things are going well in the footy world for yours truly right now. Hopefully the momentum continues with a positive betting weekend for this week’s picks and parlay card.

First, some takeaways from last weekend’s domestic matches.

Remember When I Said Milan Was Back?: A few weeks ago I was raving about the pivot AC Milan had taken with the additions of Lucas Paquetá and Krzysztof Piatek in January, and now the team brings a four-game winning streak into this weekend’s game against Chievo.

Milan has conceded just two goals (Roma, Atalanta) in the last seven games in Serie A and the addition of Piatek has given them a real goal-scoring threat in the box. They’ve been a very fun team to both watch and bet since calendars flipped to 2019.

Football is better when Milan is relevant and even though the scudetto is Juve’s, some great things are happening in Milan and it’s wonderful to watch unfold.

Sevilla + Road Games = Disaster: As good as Sevilla is and has been, its performance on the road this season is of real concern to both supporters and bettors.

In terms of La Liga away form this season, Sevilla sits 12th with a paltry 13 points and has lost five straight road games, including a 2-1 heartbreaker at last-placed Huesca last weekend.

They haven’t won a road game since September 29 at Eibar. September 29. That’s 10 road games without a win. Inexcusable for a club of that size and stature.

They are at home to Real Sociedad this weekend but with away dates at Espanyol, Getafe and Atlético Madrid coming up on the schedule, look to fade these guys on the road unless they get their act together.

Fabio Quagliarella: Legend: What the Sampdoria striker is doing this season is incredible and if you haven’t been watching, you’re truly missing out.

The 36-year-old is coming off a brace against SPAL last week to increase his goal tally to 19 on the season. That’s even with Cristiano Ronaldo for top scorer in the league and equals his output for last season in 10 fewer games for Samp.

One of the weekend’s best-looking games pits Quagliarella’s Sampdoria at home against Atalanta in what could be a feast of wide-open, attacking football with two of the highest-scoring teams in Italy duking it out in the chase for European football.

If you’ve got a weekend of football watching ahead, this is must-see TV and betting on Quagliarella to score anytime is as close to a must-bet as anything.

OK, that’s enough looking back, so let’s look ahead to what my three favorite bets for the weekend are. Odds courtesy online shop Bovada.

Frosinone vs Torino: Torino ML (-110)

I raved about AC Milan earlier in the column, but perhaps no club has been as impressive in Italy as Torino has been. Not only are Il Toro unbeaten in six, but they haven’t even conceded a goal over that stretch.

Now, Walter Mazzarri and his side hit the road to face relegation-threatened Frosinone on Sunday and while it’s risky with this spot being both on the road and against a team fighting for its top-flight life, I’ll be backing the Torino moneyline at -110.

If this team hopes to achieve European football, it’ll need to start taking three points on the road ESPECIALLY against a team like Frosinone. In 13 road games this campaign, Torino has just two wins and one loss. That’s right, that means that they have 10 draws. Ten! It’s always important to take points on away days but this side is playing better than two wins and 10 draws on the road.

As explained above, there is a logjam of clubs fighting for those Europa League spots in Serie A (fifth and sixth). Roma is fifth with 44 points, Torino is sixth with 41, Atalanta seventh with 41, Lazio eighth with 41, Sampdoria ninth with 39 and Fiorentina 10th with 36 – all with a legit shot at those two Europa League places. That’s why it is imperative that Torino bag all three points in road games such as this one.

With essentially a full complement of players to pick from (save for Ola Aina), Mazzarri needs to express the importance of keeping that form going and leaving Frosinone with a win here.

Frosinone vs Torino Game Center

Crystal Palace vs Brighton: Crystal Palace ML (-115)

Crystal Palace and Brighton kick off the Premier League weekend on Saturday and with Palace in decent form and on home turf here, I’ll back them against a struggling Brighton.

Palace is enjoying its best spell of football in the Premier League this season with three wins, two draws and just one defeat in its last six games. Perhaps shockingly, however, Palace has been vastly inferior at home this season compared to its road performances.

Palace is the second-worst home side in the Prem this season with 13 points from a possible 42 and is the sixth-best away side with 20 points from a possible 45. So, again, much like Torino, this one isn’t without risk, but the way they have played, especially with that fearsome attacking trio of Wilfried Zaha, Michy Batshuayi and Andros Townsend, I like them in this home spot.

Brighton did win its last game with a 1-0 home victory against horrible Huddersfield, but that was its first win since December 29 in the league. In between those wins was a poor spell of five losses and two draws.

Palace will look to distance itself from the likes of Brighton and they’re really clicking of late. I’ll take a shot here at -115.

Crystal Palace vs Brighton Game Center

Sassuolo vs Napoli: Napoli OVER 2.0 Goals (+120)

There’s not a ton that I’m in love with in Germany, Spain or France (or elsewhere) this weekend, so I’ll go back to Serie A for my third pick here and back Napoli OVER 2 goals at the lovely price of +120 against Sassuolo.

Napoli is coming off a fairly routine Europa League win over Salzburg on Thursday and while it hasn’t been the highest-scoring team on the road in Serie A this season (18 goals in 12 games), they are coming off a four-goal performance at Parma in their last road game in the league.

Even if we see a largely rotated XI since they played on Thursday, there is enough quality in this Napoli side to do some damage at Sassuolo. Lorenzo Insigne was rested so he will likely feature here and the likes of Adam Ounas, who could also get a call here, isn’t afraid of having a go for goal.

Sassuolo’s keeper (and one of their steadiest performers), Andrea Consigli, is suspended for this one so they’ll probably lean on 37-year-old Gianluca Pegolo, who has played all of 22 minutes in the league this season. Having him between the wickets against lethal Napoli is a tall order.

To their credit, Sassuolo has performed fairly well in Serie A this season and sits in 11th entering the weekend. They are, however, susceptible to conceding (41 goals against) and with Napoli looking to rebound from a disheartening loss against Juventus last weekend in the league, I expect them to find the back of the net here.

Sassuolo vs Napoli Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

1. Manchester City -0.5 (-750)

2. AC Milan OVER 0.5 Goals (-800)

3. Sampdoria-Atalanta OVER 1.5 goals (-400)

4. Atlético Madrid PICK (-850)

5. Marseille OVER 0.5 Goals (-750)

6. PSV -1.5 (-500)

$100 wager returns $142.24

Archived Articles

“Who stopped it? No don’t stop it. Leave it going right to the end til I get...don’t do that again next time, OK?”

Sports betting has highs and it has lows and right now, with this weekly soccer column, we are on a high. Last week’s column finished 3-0-1 with a push in the Ajax -1.0 1st half in their game against ADO Den Haag. Over the last two weeks, the column has gone 6-1-1 including the two parlays.

So as we flip our calendars to March, we’re buzzing. Confidence is sky-high and, as a result, “Simply the Best” is the song of choice this week. Though I prefer the David Brent usage of the tune from this scene of The Office.

Obviously hoping for another profitable column but this weekend’s board was a tough one to cap. I tweeted out some amazing matches across Europe this weekend, but settling on three solid picks was a challenge.

Before we get into the picks, let’s have a look at some takeaways from the past week in the football world.

Solid Defending Has Torino UNDERS Cashing: If you’ve been paying attention to Serie A, you’ll notice that Torino has slowly, and steadily, climbed the table. Although the side boasts a striker like Andrea Belotti, it is not through goal scoring, but great defending, that they now find themselves sixth-placed in Italy. As a result, the UNDER is red-hot in their games.

UNDER has cashed in five straight Torino games in the league thanks to wins by scores of 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0 and a pair of 0-0 draws. Five games without conceding. Obviously very good form.

Torino has just 30 goals on the season, ranking them dead last of anyone in the top 11, but has conceded just 22 times. If they can keep this up, they’ll be worthy of the European place and a home game against Chievo is a great one to keep this excellent form going.

Little Getafe Heading to Champions League?: Being the extremely tough league that it is, La Liga is headlined by three big boys (Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid) and some good sides in the next tier (Sevilla, Real Betis, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao). But it is small Madrid club Getafe that currently owns the fourth and final Champions League spot in one of Europe’s toughest leagues.

Getafe sits fourth in the league with 39 points and is two up on Sevilla entering the weekend. They’ve got two wins and two draws in their last four league games but have a tough road game at Real Betis this weekend. But a three-point haul in the green half of Seville would do wonders for their miraculous Champions League push.

Mind the Gap: One of the biggest matches this weekend is the North London Derby and considering what’s gone on the past week in England, there is a ton to play for when Tottenham hosts Arsenal in the early Saturday Premier League game.

Entering last weekend’s games, Tottenham was comfortably in third with a 10-point lead on Arsenal. Fast-forward to today and Spurs have hit a horrible couple of performances while the Gunners are buzzing and the lead has been trimmed to four.

Spurs have back-to-back losses to Burnley and Chelsea while the Gunners have won three in a row and are coming off a 5-1 beatdown of Bournemouth. Tottenham has looked awful in those two games and if they don’t get up for this one, third place is in jeopardy.

As a Spurs fan, just thinking about this has me rattled, so let’s just go ahead and get into this week’s picks.

Lille vs Dijon: Lille -1 (-120)

Lille has been THE story of the Ligue 1 season as it brings 51 points into Matchday 27, good enough for second behind PSG’s 68. Unbeaten in seven in the league and with just one defeat and four draws at home thus far, I’ll be backing Les Dogues at -1 against lowly Dijon on Sunday.

Dijon sits 19th in the league and is being threatened with relegation and any time you have a side that is in those relegation spots, you can bank on them stepping their game up in the name of survival. But on the road to Lille, which is fighting equally hard to maintain that Champions League place, is a tough task. Dijon has lost four straight games in the league and five straight away from home.

Not only is Dijon incredibly anemic in terms of results on the road, but they rarely even find the back of the net. They have failed to bag a goal in five straight games away from home and have just 10 in 13 in the Ligue 1 season. Lille, on the other hand, scores the second-most goals on home turf (25) and concedes the joint-second fewest (nine) in home games.

Lille, paced by the electric Nicolas Pepe (16 goals, eight assists), Jonathan Bamba (nine goals, two assists) and Rafael Leão (seven goals, two assists), enter this one healthy and fully equipped to try to keep third-placed Lyon (46 points) at bay in the race for the second automatic Champions League spot in France.

Lille vs Dijon Game Center

Real Sociedad vs Atlético Madrid: Atlético ML (+110)

I like the value with Atlético to win this game, but history dictates that this one could be tougher than expected.

Atlético is one of the finest clubs in Europe, let alone Spain, and has its grip on second place in the league and is fresh off an incredibly strong 2-0 performance over Juventus in the Champions League. But San Sebastian club Real Sociedad has been a thorn in Atlético’s side in recent meetings. The Basque club has won the previous two home games against Atlético in the last two seasons by scores of 3-0 and 2-0.

There’s been a winner in this matchup each game since a 1-1 draw on February 5, 2012 and with the way Atlético is playing recently, I’m banking on another as I’ll be on the Madrid side at -0.5. It should also be noted that Atlético won the reverse fixture 2-0 back in October.

Sociedad will be bolstered by the return of defender Theo Hernández and forward Willian José but their home form has left a little bit to be desired this season. They rank just 13th in home form with four wins, four draws and four defeats at Anoeta.

Admittedly, this is the toughest of the three picks in this week’s column, but I gotta go with the hot hand here. Atlético was dynamite against Juventus and was very good in cementing another three points against Villarreal last weekend. I’ll stick with Los Colchoneros as they try to distance themselves from Real Madrid, who have the “pleasure” of another El Clásico this weekend.

Real Sociedad vs Atletico Madrid Game Center

Lazio vs Roma: Roma PICK (+110)

If you’re looking to bet on the craziest, most intense game of the weekend, look no further than the Derby della Capitale on Saturday.

Roma has had a pretty good advantage against its bitter rival in recent head-to-heads with seven wins, one draw and two losses in the last 10 meetings across all competitions. Plus, Roma is one of the hottest clubs in Serie A over the last eight games with six wins and two draws and a +10 goal differential. That’s not to say it hasn’t had its ups and downs, however.

Close shaves against the likes of Bologna (2-1) and Frosinone (3-2) in their last two Serie A games have been rather far from convincing, with the defending – or lack thereof – raising some eyebrows. Roma has conceded 33 goals to date, easily the most of any club in the European positions in Serie A.

Lazio led Serie A in goals just one season ago with 89 but they have lacked that pop offensively this time around. Entering the weekend, they have managed just 33 goals, the second-fewest of any club in the top 11, only ahead of Torino’s 30.

With Roma grinding out results thanks to inspired play from the likes of Nicolò Zaniolo, I like them in this massive fixture Saturday, but will play it safe with the pick’em (0.0) spread at +110.

This one is always a crazy game and getting a bet in will only add to the excitement of one of the weekend’s biggest games.

Lazio vs Roma Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

1. PSG OVER 1.5 (-335)

2. Bayer Leverkusen +0.5 (-750)

3. Frankfurt-Hoffenheim OVER 1.5 (-850)

4. Gladbach-Bayern OVER 1.5 (-575)

5. Genoa +0.5 (-650)

6. Osasuna PICK (-1000)

$100 wager returns $145.06

Archived Articles

Get ready for the big payback. Hit me again!

I might have been dealing with my oh-fer column by listening to some Simon & Garfunkel last week, but this time around it’s all about the Godfather of Soul and “Payback” after a profitable column last time out.

There’s nothing like coming out on top after a poor betting performance and that’s exactly what we did with last week’s soccer picks. We went 3-1 including the parlay card with the only miss being the PSV -1.5 pick which ended up a 2-2 draw at Heerenveen. Turns out the top Dutch clubs might not exactly be locks against the spread.

The Marseille -1 and Leipzig OVER 2.0 goals bets were fairly comfortable hits and the parlay card was pretty safe as well. I always enjoy a good sweaty bet but hitting picks fairly easily is good for the confidence and, probably, the soul.

Before this week’s picks, let’s look at some takeaways from the weekend.

Bundesliga Title Race is Back On: Not long ago, it looked like Borussia Dortmund was en route to a Bundesliga title. Now, as we enter Matchday 23, the lead over Bayern Munich is just three points. Dortmund has three straight draws in the league while Bayern has won back-to-back league games entering the weekend. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it’s Bayern that leads the way in Bundesliga futures at -165 with Dortmund +110 and this weekend could be telling for the fate of the title. Bayern is at home to Hertha Berlin while Dortmund hosts a red-hot Leverkusen side that is really hitting its stride.

Piatek Really Settling at Milan: While the Twittersphere overreacts by calling the Paqueta-Piatek combo “the new Kaka-Shevchenko,” let’s just try to enjoy what is happening at Milan right now. Piatek came over from Genoa in the January window and has fit in perfectly with what Gattuso is doing. The Pole has scored four goals in four Serie A matches for his new club and is coming off a brace away to Atalanta last weekend. Milan gets a home fixture against Empoli and is -290 on the moneyline and +110 as 1.5-goal faves with Piatek at -120 to score anytime.

Is Kane Ready to Return for Spurs: That rumbling of excitement you hear is Tottenham supporters buzzing about the reports of Harry Kane’s return to training and potential return to the setup this week at Burnley. Kane has been sidelined since January 13 but Spurs have survived with five wins and two losses across all competitions without the services of their talisman. Entering the weekend, Spurs sit third in the table, five points behind Liverpool and nine up on Manchester United. Away to Burnley could be tough, but if Kane even suits up for the bench, what a rallying point for Tottenham.

All right, let’s get into this week’s picks and hopefully I can keep the good times rolling with another positive record for the weekend.

Hannover-Frankfurt: Frankfurt ML (-125)

In my last column, I wrote about how I try to avoid betting teams before or after Champions League and/or Europa League games and right off the bat I’m breaking that rule by taking the Frankfurt moneyline at Hannover this weekend.

Frankfurt is coming off a Europa League fixture against Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk but played the home leg on Thursday and now makes the quick trip north to face relegation-threatened Hannover 96 on Sunday.

Frankfurt has been a draw machine of late with five draws in its last six games across all competitions entering this one. Die Adler sit seventh in the Bundesliga table entering Matchday 23 with 34 points, one point behind Wolfsburg, one up on Hoffenheim and 20 up on Hannover.

Furthermore, Frankfurt has won six straight meetings with Hannover and has picked up points in seven straight. The reverse fixture was a 4-1 Frankfurt win with goals coming from Evan Ndicka, Ante Rebic, Jonathan de Guzman and, of course, Luka Jovic.

Couple tough spots here with this being a road game and on the heels of a Europa League game on Thursday, but -125 for a far superior team is a decent wager.

Hannover vs Frankfurt Game Center

Bournemouth-Wolves: Both Teams to Score (-125)

There’s a couple of good matches on the Premier League docket this weekend, but Bournemouth-Wolves could very well be second-best after the always classic Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry.

Both teams can play highly entertaining football and both should be pretty well rested entering this one at Vitality Stadium so I’m taking a shot with both teams to score at -125.

Wolves have been an excellent story in the Premier League thus far, sitting seventh in the table entering Matchday 27, two points up on Watford and 11 back of a struggling Chelsea side. Bournemouth runs hot and cold and sits in 11th with 33 points. The Cherries are the seventh-best home team with 24 points from 13 games while Wolves are the sixth-best away side with 18 points from 12 games.

Both teams sit in the top 10 in the league for goals scored but it is Bournemouth’s leaky defending that has me on this BTTS play. They’ve conceded the third-most goals in the league (47) despite defending fairly well at the Vitality in recent games.

Of Wolves’ 12 road games, they’ve scored in all but three (at Leicester, at Brighton, at Man City) and a BTTS bet would have hit in six of their last seven away games.

I love the way both teams play the game but with this one evenly matched on Bournemouth’s turf, I’ll take BTTS here.

Bournemouth vs Wolves Game Center

Ajax-ADO Den Haag: Ajax 1st Half -1.0 (+110)

Nothing really crazy in this one, I just like the odds here for one of the best teams in the Netherlands to get off to a fast start and put up a first-half W against a Lilliputian club.

Ajax has put up a couple of stinkers in the league recently with that 6-2 whupping against Feyenoord at the end of January and the bizarre 1-0 loss at Heracles, but they played very well against Real Madrid in Champions League and then hammered NAC Breda 5-0 last time out.

The Amsterdam club won the reverse fixture 5-1 and won the first half by a score of 3-1. While ADO Den Haag hasn’t beaten Ajax in some time (2010-11), they have managed to nab some points along the way. Both games last season were draws, for example, and a lot of these meetings have been lower-scoring down the years compared to what you’d normally see for an Ajax game.

ADO has played pretty well at home with back-to-back wins entering this one, but got destroyed 7-0 at home by the only club above Ajax in the table, PSV, back in September.

I like the +110 on this one and I love how Ajax plays football. History says this one might be tougher than it looks, but I’ll take my chances with this first-half spread bet.

This Week’s Parlay Card

Juventus +0.5 (-850)

Ajax -0.5 (-750)

Benfica OVER 1.5 goals (-500)

Atletico Madrid/Draw Double Chance (-1000)

Real Madrid +0.5 (-575)

PSG OVER 1.5 goals (-450)

$100 wager returns $139.89

Archived Articles

Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.

Last week’s column was a disaster and it left me spinning Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” in a dark room as I contemplated what to do with this week’s picks. What’s important to remember is that bad periods are going to happen. In all aspects of life. Betting is not immune to slumps.

I felt like I capped Sampdoria-Frosinone fine. If anyone bet Frosinone, congratulations. But that was lucky. Where I totally erred was Borussia Monchengladbach-Hertha Berlin and Strasbourg-Angers. Those are definitely on me.

Despite incredible home form this season, Gladbach was picked apart by a game Berlin side and suffered its first dropped points at Borussia-Park. Strasbourg had two-thirds of the ball against Angers but were always on the back foot after the visitors went up 2-0.

With all those L’s in mind, I did recoup a lot of those losses in Champions League this week, which I disclose on the Guys & Bets show on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Jonny OddsShark. I had PSG at Manchester United and Real Madrid at Ajax, so that was a very positive rebound.

Live and learn. Speaking of learning, here are some takeaways from around Europe.

MORE UPSETS!: Some big upsets of note last week: Cardiff (+400) over Southampton, Burnley (+333) over Brighton, Hertha (+500) over Gladbach, Frosinone (+630) against Samp, Huesca (+335) away to Girona, Angers (+370) over Strasbourg, Nimes (+375) against Nantes and Nice (+500) against Lyon.

OVERS in the Bundesliga: Seven of the Bundesliga’s nine Matchday 21 games cashed OVER tickets. In total, there were 34 goals for an average of 3.8 goals per game. That’s pretty solid considering there was one match that resulted in a nil-nil (Leipzig-Frankfurt). Leverkusen got the week off to a strong start, banging home five goals against Mainz.

Zapata Anytime, Everytime: This guy is insane right now. If you follow and/or bet Serie A, you know all about Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata. Zapata is tied for second in Italy with 16 goals (with Fabio Quagliarella, trailing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 18) and has been pretty much automatic in anytime goalscorer markets. The Colombian has scored in nine of his last 10 league games and has 15 goals in that span. Tough one this weekend as they host AC Milan in the marquee matchup, but always worth a shot with the way this guy is playing.

It’s a UEFA Week: With Champions League and Europa League having resumed this week, I tend to try to avoid betting on clubs participating in those tournaments before and after the European games. You never know how they’re gonna line up, which games they are going to prioritize, travel plays a big factor with so many eastern European clubs in Europa League, etc. I typically avoid these spots; I will occasionally play one, but it is rare.

Let’s get into the picks and this week’s parlay card and let’s all hope for some winners after a poor showing last weekend when I should have been subbed off at halftime.

Marseille-Amiens: Marseille -1 (-145)

For a club of Marseille’s size and tradition, plus coming off a Europa League finals appearance, the 2018-19 campaign has been a largely disappointing one. Entering the weekend, L’OM sits sixth in the table with 37 points – equal with Montpellier and Nice, three behind Saint-Etienne and just one ahead of Rennes. Not great, Bob.

They do have back-to-back wins in the league but have just three in their last 10 in Ligue 1. But if this team wants to return to European football next campaign, winning at home – at the very least – is of the utmost importance. That’s why I like L’OM on the spread with that -145 price attached to it.

Amiens is in the safe zone (for now) sitting at 16th in the league with 21 points. They are a weak side on the road with just eight points from 12 games and have lost to Lille (2-1) and Rennes (1-0) in their previous two away days.

History is begging bettors to back Marseille on the spread as the pair have played five times with Marseille winning all five and outscoring Les Licornes 14-3 in the process. Now, that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the gulf in stature between the two clubs and historical “trends” should certainly be taken with a grain of sel, but Marseille won the reverse fixture 3-1 and this team needs a convincing win on home turf.

Dimitri Payet’s status remains up in the air for this one, but Marseille still boasts infinite amounts of quality compared to their opponent, including Mario Balotelli, who has a pair of goals in three league games since coming over.

Marseille vs Amiens Game Center

Heerenveen-PSV: PSV -1.5 (-105)

Here we go with another spread but this time it’s an away team and this is -1.5 with PSV away to Heerenveen.

PSV leads the Eredivisie by six points over a sublime Ajax side and has 18 wins, two draws and just one defeat all season in the Netherlands. Heerenveen, on the other hand, sits one point above the relegation zone in Holland with 23 points and of all 18 clubs in the league, this is the WORST home side. Shockingly, De Superfriezen have just seven points on home turf with their only win coming back in January in a 3-1 victory against Fortuna Sittard.

Make no mistake about it, Heerenveen will be playing for points in its struggle to stay up in the top flight, but PSV, devoid of European football and looking to take steps to win the league, will be basically fully fit and out for three points.

The reverse fixture in Eindhoven was a convincing 3-0 win that featured a Hirving Lozano brace and a single tally from Luuk de Jong. PSV owned every facet of the game with 71.2 percent of the possession, 28 shots and a further two attempts that hit the woodwork. All that said, Heerenveen spent about an hour of the game a man down after a Morten Thorsby red card, but I’m still liking the value on the Eredivisie leaders to cover that -1.5.

VfB Stuttgart-RB Leipzig: Leipzig OVER 2.0 Goals (+130)

Things have been really bad for Stuttgart and a home game against Champions League-bound Leipzig could spell more doom for the relegation-threatened club.

Nobody in the Bundesliga has conceded more often than VfB, which has allowed 47 goals this season – one more than last-placed Nürnberg. This is a far cry from the team that finished seventh in the league last year, just two points back of Leipzig for that final Europa League spot.

Leipzig is currently fourth in the league entering Matchday 22 in Germany, boasting 38 points. That number puts them four back of Borussia Monchengladbach and five points up on both Frankfurt and Leverkusen.

What’s different about this Leipzig side compared to the one that surged to second place in the 2016-17 season is the defending. Leipzig can still find the back of the net, evidenced by their 38 goals in the league, but they’ve conceded a league-low 18 this season – a far cry from the way the team played the previous two seasons.

Leipzig has been inconsistent away from home this season but has put together back-to-back wins on the road entering this one. They thumped both Dusseldorf and Hannover 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. Considering the way Stuttgart defends, or doesn’t, I like the OVER 2 goals here, especially on that flat number keeping the push in play at plus-money.

Stuttgart vs Leipzig Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

Barcelona ML (-700)

Ajax -1.5 (-700)

Benfica PICK (-800)

Roma PICK (-800)

Hoffenheim ML (-325)

$100 wager returns $116.17

Archived Articles

We’re coming off a profitable column with last week’s picks so let’s keep that momentum going and find some more winners across the soccer landscape for the weekend ahead. I’m still shocked that Udinese-Fiorentina OVER 2.0 didn’t hit. I will die firmly believing that Rodrigo de Paul was on the push (or the UNDER) after missing this wide-open chance.

But I digress.

I introduced a Joe Osborne-inspired greasy parlay to the column last week that hit relatively safely so I’ll keep that going as well. The goal with these is to return something around one unit. Plus, there’s nothing like hitting a parlay no matter what the return is.

First, however, some takeaways from the weekend.

Some Big Underdogs Cashed: I know hindsight is 20/20, or 50/50 like Cam Newton once posited, but last weekend’s fixture list featured a pretty handsome return if you bet the right side. Biggest of all was Bologna downing Inter 1-0 and cashing at +750 as Luciano Spalletti’s future at the club continues to be a talking point in Serie A.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen trumped Bayern Munich as +450 dogs, Real Betis (+260) downed Atletico Madrid, Celta Vigo (+250) beat Sevilla and Lyon (+250) upset PSG, not to mention the Juve-Parma draw cashing at +650.

Is Milan Back?: Some readers out there may be too young to realize that AC Milan was the titan of their day. Milan last won Serie A in 2010-11 and Champions League in 2006-07 and while they still might be some time away from challenging the likes of Juventus domestically, the club seems to be on the right foot after some thin campaigns.

Entering Matchday 23 in Italy, Milan sits fourth with 36 points and is unbeaten in five games (two wins, three draws). New signing Krzystof Piatek has scored three goals in three games (all competitions) after coming over from Genoa and there is hope for a return to Champions League. Tons of work left but this team looks like a play-on team and a home game against Cagliari this weekend could have some good betting potential.

Bosz Might Have Leverkusen Clicking: Loaded with talent, Bayer Leverkusen had a rough start to the Bundesliga campaign which ultimately led to the dismissal of Heiko Herrlich and the appointment of ex-Dortmund boss Peter Bosz.

It was a tough 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach in his first game, but a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg and the aforementioned 3-1 upset away to Bayern Munich has Leverkusen fans and bettors rejoicing. They’ll get the Matchday 21 Bundesliga docket started on Friday with great value at -120 at Mainz.

Ajax & PSV Spreads Will Make Us Money: Hitting that PSV -2.5 spread in this very column last week got me thinking: why aren’t we just doing this every week? PSV leads the league with 55 points and has just one loss and one draw. Of its 18 wins, five have come by one goal, two by two goals, three by three goals, three by four goals, two by five goals, two by six goals and one by seven goals.

Ajax sits second with 50 points with just two losses and two draws. Of its 16 wins, one has come by one goal, three by two goals, four by three goals, four by four goals, two by five goals, one by six goals, and one by a whopping eight goals. Keep this in mind going forward.

OK. Enough of that. Here are my three picks for the weekend ahead and my parlay card at the bottom. Odds are courtesy online shop Bovada. Best of luck with whatever you’re betting this weekend.

Sampdoria-Frosinone: Sampdoria -1 (-120)

Genuinely one of the most entertaining sides to watch, Sampdoria enters this game eighth in Serie A with 33 points but off a loss to Napoli over the weekend. Fair enough. With European positions in sight, they’ll look for a convincing three-point haul against relegation-bound Frosinone at the Luigi Ferraris on Sunday.

In the reverse fixture on Matchday 4, Sampdoria crushed the promoted club 5-0 thanks to goals from Fabio Quagliarella, Gianluca Caprari, Dawid Kownacki and a brace from Grégoire Defrel. If Samp runs up the score again, the goalscorer list will look differently as Caprari looks set to miss this with an injury while Kownacki was loaned to Düsseldorf in the January window.

Sampdoria is sixth in terms of home form with six wins, two draws and two losses and has won four straight on home turf entering this one. Frosinone, on the other hand, has just eight points from 11 away games but is coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Bologna in their last away game.

During their four-match winning streak at the Ferraris, Samp has scored 12 goals and conceded just one and would have cashed a -1 bet in each game. It’s good value at -120 (it was -115 most of the week), especially considering what they did to Frosinone in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

Plus, midfield playmaker Dennis Praet is back after serving a suspension and should slot into the starting XI.

Sampdoria vs Frosinone Game Center

Borussia M.Gladbach-Hertha: Gladbach ML (-160)

I talked about Borussia Monchengladbach’s home form in my first column a couple of weeks ago, but it bears repeating since I’m on them again here: when this team is at home, find some way to bet them with good value.

I started researching for this column on Monday and as I sit here Friday morning, the moneyline has moved 20 cents from -140 to -160 so the value has evaporated a little here. But -160 is still fine in my book.

Nine matches at Borussia-Park thus far, nine wins. They’ve outscored opponents 25-3 in those nine games. The only team better at home in Europe’s big-five leagues is PSG, which has 11 wins in 11 games and has outscored teams 41-4 in those games. It’s an amazing story that should not go unnoticed by bettors.

Hence why I’m on them again this week. This time, though, I’ll back the moneyline considering it’s at the still-decent price of -160 with Hertha Berlin in town. I wouldn’t balk at -1 like I did two weeks ago, so if that’s on offer at your book, consider it.

Gladbach has owned Hertha at home as well, bringing a five-match winning streak into this fixture. In those five previous meetings at Borussia-Park, they’ve outscored Hertha 14-3. The last time they lost a home game to Hertha was back in the 2008-09 season.

This team looks poised for Champions League and maintaining that home form right to the finish line could help them pip Bayern Munich to second in the league.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Hertha Berlin Game Center

Strasbourg-Angers: Strasbourg ML (+105)

I mentioned Strasbourg briefly last week, but this side is truly one of the better stories from the continent this season. Le Racing currently sit sixth in Ligue 1 with 35 points through 22 games and take a four-game winning streak into their meeting with Angers at Stade de la Meinau on Saturday.

In that four-match unbeaten run, which is actually seven across all comps, Strasbourg defeated Nice 2-0, Toulouse 2-1, Monaco 5-1 and Bordeaux 1-0 – a pretty good haul against some good (but not great) competition. I like the value with Angers in town, but the draw is dangerous in this one.

While not the best side in away form, Angers has managed six draws in its last eight away days, only losing a pair (at Saint-Etienne, at Nimes). That said, they’ve only won twice (Dijon, Monaco).

Strasbourg is an attacking side that has hit the back of the net in eight straight games in generally low-scoring Ligue 1. They are tied for third in goals scored in Ligue 1 with 38 (equal with Lyon) and I expect them to do enough to get three points here.

It could prove to be a tricky game, but I’m trying to jump in on this Strasbourg purple patch before the well dries up.

Strasbourg vs Angers Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

PSG moneyline (-400)

Napoli OVER 0.5 Goals (-600)

Arsenal/Draw Double Chance (-700)

Heracles-Ajax OVER 0.5 1st Half (-650)

Benfica ML (-700)

$100 wager returns $119.78

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My picks got off to a great start with Borussia Monchengladbach winning 2-0 on Saturday, but Napoli couldn’t convert against Milan and ended up sharing the points at 0-0 while Real Betis couldn’t find the back of the net after going down 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao, resulting in a 1-2 picks column.

Like any bitter sports bettor, I’m chalking those up to bad beats. I feel like I capped those games right and those were bets I’d make nine times out of 10.

Some days will be good, others will be bad, so you have to take losses with wins. Regardless, I’m back to comb over this weekend’s soccer board and find my three favorite plays in an effort to pad your bankrolls.

First, though, some takeaways from the weekend.

GOALS!: There were tons of goals in Italy as 10 games produced 37 goals. Germany also featured a slew of goals as a nine-game docket yielded another 37. You would have hit OVER 2.5 eight times in Italy and OVER 3 six times. In Germany’s nine games, you’d have cashed OVER 2.5 in eight spots and OVER 3 in six. Crazy.

I’M STAYING AWAY FROM BETTING BETIS: They might play some of the most eye-catching football in Europe, but Betis has been a real thorn in my side from a betting perspective. On their day, they look like they could beat anyone (and did win at Barcelona earlier this season) but they’ve paired that with some bad losses. A very tough side to get a read on, so I’m staying away until further notice.

ESPANYOL STRUGGLING: After winning six, drawing three and losing just two of its opening 11 games in La Liga, Espanyol has hit a major funk with one win and nine losses in the subsequent 10 games. This weekend’s game at Villarreal is a biggie – for both clubs – but with their form, they might continue to be a great fade and with the hosts at -125, it could be another spot.

GLADBACH UNSTOPPABLE AT HOME: I backed them -1 last week based purely on their dominance at home and that continued with a 2-0 win against Augsburg. They’ve now won all nine games at Borussia Park and have outscored visitors 25-3 in those games. They’re on the road this week, but always, ALWAYS, look to back these guys on home turf.

WE SHOULD ALL BE BETTING STRASBOURG: I know Ligue 1 is far from the most exciting, but Strasbourg has been a very pleasant surprise in France this season. The club currently sits fifth in the league and has won seven straight in all competitions and four straight in the league. They’ve been so profitable that you’d be up $845 if you’d wagered $100 in their last four Ligue 1 games. Let’s hope this impressive form isn’t over quite yet. They’re +315 at Saint-Etienne this week.

I could go on and on with this being the world’s game and all, but let’s get on to some picks. As always, odds are courtesy of online shop Bovada.

Udinese-Fiorentina OVER 2.0 (-150)

I started putting this column together on Wednesday when the juice was -130 but I still need to add this bet because I love it.

Since Serie A returned from the winter break, Fiorentina has played in two of the most exciting games in the league and has four points. In the first, they drew 3-3 with Sampdoria courtesy of a last-minute equalizer from German Pezzella while in last week’s thriller, they took all three points from Chievo by a final score of 4-3.

Key to those four points is the return of striker Luis Muriel to Serie A. The former Udinese and Sampdoria striker is at Fiorentina on loan from Sevilla. The Colombian bagged just one goal in La Liga this season but has three in two Serie A starts for the Viola.

With just 17 goals scored this season and nine of those in home games, Udinese owns one of the most anemic attacks in the league but has been proven unlucky with an expected goals tally of 21.21. With Muriel settling in, Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa coming off a brace against Chievo and the Fiorentina defending a bit questionable, I like OVER 2.0 even at that chalky price of -150.

Oh yeah, Fiorentina also completely obliterated Roma in the Coppa Italia by a score of 7-1 on Wednesday. And yes, Muriel scored and Chiesa bagged a hat trick. This team is on fire, though playmaker Marco Benassi misses out due to suspension here.

Udinese vs Fiorentina Game Center

Celta-Sevilla: Sevilla OVER 1.5 Goals (-110)

The La Liga relegation zone is weird right now. Celta Vigo sits 18th while Villarreal sits 19th. It will be a travesty if either, let alone both, of those teams get relegated but it is a testament to just how tricky this league can be.

Things don’t get any easier for the Galician side with Champions League-poised Sevilla visiting for Saturday’s La Liga finale. Sevilla is the second-highest scoring club in the league with 36 goals while half of those have come from 11 away games. Considering how Celta’s defending has been playing this year, I absolutely love Sevilla to bag OVER 1.5 goals at the fair price of -110.

Los Rojiblancos were a goal-scoring machine in away games earlier this season, banging home 15 goals in their first five away games. Recent away days? Not so much. Sevilla has scored, gulp, just three goals in its six away games entering the trip to Vigo. That said, those were against some strong defending sides like Bilbao (the current version), Leganes, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Alaves and Real Madrid. So, I’m banking on Celta Vigo’s defending, or lack thereof, as being the perfect cure-all here.

Sevilla’s attack is quick, wide and is poised to cause Celta’s defenders plenty of fits on Saturday. If visionary manager Pablo Machín starts both Andre Silva (nine goals) and Wissam Ben Yedder (10) up top, a bet on either of them to score anytime would be pretty decent as well.

Celta Vigo vs Sevilla Game Center

PSV-Fortuna Sittard: PSV -2.5 (EVEN)

OK, so I know in my very first column last week, I stated that I’d be paying attention to Europe’s “big five” leagues, but with the Premier League coming off midweek games and nothing really jumping out in Germany and France, I’ve got to turn my attention to the Eredivisie leaders in the Netherlands, PSV, and their home game against Fortuna Sittard for my third pick.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Dutch league, PSV leads the league with 52 points from 19 games – 17 wins, one draw, one defeat – a dominant season to be sure, especially with how wonderfully Ajax has played (last week’s 6-2 loss at Feyenoord notwithstanding).

With 64 goals for and 11 against, PSV boasts the league’s second-best attack and easily features the best defending and with this fixture at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, I think even money on this spread is doable, especially with Sittard getting throttled 5-1 in its last away game at last-placed De Graafschap.

Despite largely playing in a 4-3-3 defensive setup, PSV boasts a lethal attack featuring the deadly trio of Luuk de Jong and highly sought-after wingers Steven Bergwijn and Hirving Lozano. The three of them combined have scored 37 goals and tallied 20 assists in domestic league play.

Covering -2.5 is always gonna be tough in soccer, but the Dutch league is prone to boatloads of goals and with the way PSV defends, this bet looks like a good one.

This Week’s Parlay Card

Inspired by my pal Joe Osborne’s fantastic “Greasy Moneyline Parlays” that he was running with during football season, I figure I’ll put out a similar parlay card to return something around a unit (all of this with Joe’s blessing, of course).

Here is this week’s card:

Leg 1: Ajax -1.5 (-450)

Leg 2: Juventus OVER 1.5 Goals (-375)

Leg 3: Frankfurt-Dortmund OVER 1.5 (-650)

Leg 4: Hoffenheim-Düsseldorf OVER 0.5 1st Half (-500)

$100 wager returns $114.36

Whatever you bet this weekend, best of luck, and best good luck with your Super Bowl bets!

 

Archived Articles

With no Premier League action on the board this weekend due to the FA Cup, I figured I’d take this opportunity to start a new soccer betting column for OddsShark that I’ll use to take a look at the best bets across Europe’s top five leagues.

Now, when I say best bets, I’m looking for great betting value in anything ranging from sides, totals and spreads all the way to in-game props like anytime goalscorers or bookings.

For my first entry, I’m heading to the continent to take a look at Serie A in Italy, La Liga in Spain and the Bundesliga in Germany. I’m a firm believer that if you’re a soccer bettor and you only bet the Premier League (like many do, and that’s fine, of course), you can find some great money-making opportunities (and some great football) on the continent, so let’s hope I can get this thing off the ground with some winners.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at three bets I’ll be making this weekend. All odds are courtesy of online shop Bovada.

AC Milan-Napoli: Napoli Moneyline (+105)

Fresh off a 2-1 win against Lazio in its first game back after the winter break, Napoli looks to keep a firm grip on second place in Serie A at Milan on Saturday.

The important note about last week’s win was that I Partenopei did it without Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly and Allan, who were suspended, and all are available here and that is huge for Carlo Ancelotti.

Napoli won the reverse fixture 3-2 after going down 2-0 thanks to a brace from Piotr Zielinski and a late winner from Dries Mertens. That extended an unbeaten run against Milan that dates back to the 2014-15 season when Milan won 2-0 in December. The two Italian giants have met eight times since (all in Serie A) with Napoli winning six and the teams drawing twice.

The danger here, of course, is the away factor. Napoli is the second-best away team in the league but all three of its losses have come on the road (Sampdoria, Juventus, Inter).

Milan enters the weekend as the fifth-best home team in the league with 20 points from 10 games. They’ve lost twice on home turf (Juventus, Fiorentina) and are enjoying a fairly good run of form with three wins, four draws and just one defeat in their last eight Serie A games, but Napoli boasts superior quality all over the pitch and I’m loving the moneyline price as I put this together on Friday morning.

The aforementioned Insigne has been very good against Milan down the years with six goals in 10 games while Polish hitman Arkadiusz Milik has two in two. The former is +175 to score anytime with the latter +150 if you’re looking for Napoli players to score anytime.

Athletic Bilbao-Real Betis: Both Teams To Score (-125)

It wasn’t the best of starts to the La Liga campaign for Athletic Bilbao, but this team has really begun hitting its stride since handing the managerial reins over to Gaizka Garitano. In six La Liga matches since he took over, Bilbao has three wins and three draws for 12 points. The Basque outfit had just one win before Garitano took over.

Furthermore, they’ve scored in every game with their new manager save for a 0-0 away to Alavés in December and with the oft dangerous Real Betis coming to San Mamés on Sunday, they’ll need to find the back of the net if they wish to bag points.

Betis is a very attack-minded side that loves keeping the ball and is prone to conceding as much as it scores as a result of a 3-5-2 (or 3-1-4-2) formation. Their last five La Liga matches have seen both teams score and with Bilbao in good form, I like the look of this wager at -125.

It should also be noted here that the reverse fixture back on Matchday 5 was a 2-2 draw, adding a little fuel to my choice here.

When these two have met in recent head-to-heads, there is usually a winner and it’s usually Bilbao. In the last nine league meetings, Bilbao has won seven with one draw and one Betis win, so I wouldn’t blame you if you took the Bilbao moneyline (currently +110) either.

Borussia M.gladbach-Augsburg: Gladbach -1.0 (+105)

Third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach will attempt to keep second-placed Bayern Munich within arm’s reach as they trail by just three points and a win against Augsburg at home will be the only acceptable result in Bundesliga action on Saturday.

Augsburg enters this one in rough form away from home with three losses and one draw in its last four on the road. To their credit, however, they haven’t lost by more than one goal on the road all season. This includes some pretty close shaves at Dortmund (4-3), Hoffenheim (2-1) and Leverkusen (1-0), while they were able to draw at Bayern Munich (1-1) earlier in the season.

So why am I backing Gladbach on that -1.0 spread? Because they are absolutely dominant at Borussia-Park. They have won all eight of their home games and have outscored opponents – brace for it – 23-3 in those home games. Furthermore, seven of those home games would have cashed a -1.0 spread wager while the other, obviously, would have pushed.

Despite their 15th-placed position in the Bundesliga table entering this one, Augsburg has been a worthy opponent on the road. But with the way Gladbach has played on home turf, this is great value.

 

 

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