Monthly Archives: August 2016

Weekly & August Monthly Review

Weekly review

Profit/loss per league from 23-29th August.

Ligue 2: +1.73
Ligue 1: -1
Tippeligaen: +1.26
MLS: +0.45
Total profit: +2.44

It was a very solid, if not spectacular week. In total there were 10 picks, of which 3 were full wins, 3 half wins, 3 pushes and just the one loss. It was one of those weeks where the lines really mattered, grinding out some tough fought half wins and pushes. The over 2.5 loss Marseille v Lorient was very frustrating. Anyone who watched that match won’t know how that game ended under 2.5! Anyway, it was good to pick up a profit in 3 of the 4 leagues I cover and to end the month of August on a positive note.

Monthly review

Individual stats for each respective league are listed below. The start to the French season was how I expected. August is always a really difficult month, so to roughly come out level from both Ligue 1 & 2 combined isn’t too bad. It will set things up for the future. Sadly, the first round for each of those leagues was poor, but apart from a very disappointing 4th round of Ligue 2, it was a decent month.

The big shock was how poor the Norwegian Tippeligaen month was (-2.86 units). I totally ripped apart July with some great results and felt really confident. What went wrong? Well, I lost -5.5 units in just 3 matches. It can be risky having more than one pick in a fixture, because if you are totally way off with prediction then it can cost you. Sadly, this is what occurred. I do feel a bit unlucky with this league in August, I always seemed to be one goal short to win or push an over bet. Sometimes this is the way it goes. I still feel quite confident about the Tippeligaen, but I need to be a little more selective in future months and I will only commit to more than one bet in a match unless I’m really confident.

MLS meanwhile, was a delight. I do not cover this league fully and it’s not a subscription based league on meatmansoccer. But I have cleaned up with some selective picks each week, which seems to suit me with this league. I won 8 out of 12 picks in MLS during August, registering a strong overall profit, which saved my overall month. In total, I delivered a +2.9 unit profit across the leagues. My target for September is to be profitable in all four leagues I cover. Onwards and upwards!

France Ligue 2 – Sochaux v Brest Preview (29/8/16)

SOX-BREST

Sochaux preview

The hosts remain unbeaten but both of their victories have been on the road. In front of their own fans they’ve been frustrated by a couple of 0-0 draws against teams who have parked the bus well. Maybe it’ll be different tonight but Les Lionceaux need to find more imagination in certain situations. Last week was a bitter blow for them because they lost starting keeper Olivier Werner to a serious double leg break and he’ll probably miss the remainder of the season. Midfielder Florian Berenguer also misses out because of injury tonight. Sochaux are a really well organised side with particular strengths in defence and midfield. Goal scoring is still a bit of a concern and they miss too many opportunities. Le Stade Bonal has never been a massive fortress and isn’t the most intimidating place to visit. Sochaux might be one of those sides who actually prefer being on the road.

Brest preview

Somewhat surprisingly, Brest have hit the ground running straight away. It appeared to me like they might need some time to settle down and adapt to new coach Jean Marc Furlan, but they’ve arguably been the most impressive Ligue 2 outfit thus far. Furlan has an amazing track record at this level and has obtained numerous promotions up to the top flight. He isn’t very effective in Ligue 1 but he sure as hell can do a job here. Furlan is well known for his attacking tactics and they head into this contest having scored 8 goals in their last 3 games. It will be a much more difficult test facing a robust Sochaux backline though. Brest have had an extremely settled team all season, but they will have to make one change tonight because centre back Zakaria Diallo is suspended.

Conclusion & betting analysis

There’s two fairly good teams on show tonight and already I think it’s fair to say this is a battle between a couple of promotion contenders. The style of each team is different. Sochaux are a more compact side who first and foremost will try and keep things tight. They are arguably more effective away from home where they can counter attack dangerously. Brest meanwhile, are always going to be attack minded under Jean Marc Furlan. All of their last three games have ended over 2.5, including fixtures facing Red Star & Valenciennes who are renowned for their solid defences. Both of Sochaux’s home games have ended 0-0 but they haven't been for lack of chances. They will probably enjoy facing a side who won't actually park the bus and I have a feeling this match will yield goals. The bookies have set a goal line between 1.75 and 2 which seems on the low side. By backing over 1.75, only two goals will need to be scored to win something. I’ve got an overall feeling Sochaux will take the game in what might be a more exciting affair to what most expect.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 1.75 goals @ 1.76 (minimum odds acceptable 1.65)

Tippeligaen – Bodo Glimt v Start Preview (28/8/16)

BODO-START

Bodo Glimt preview

Bodo at least managed to pick up a point last week away against Valerenga. They defended well for a change and probably just about deserved a draw. But things are still far from rosy for the northern outfit. It’s been a while since they last won a game and position wise, Bodo are precariously placed just above the relegation zone. They aren’t a very good team but maybe some new recent signings can make a difference. They looked a bit better last week and this is an ideal chance to pick up three points. Centre back Brede Moe is going to be out for a while due to illness, whist midfielder Thomas Jacobsen is suspended.

Start preview

For two consecutive matches, Start have managed to rescue a point in games thanks to a late equaliser. They still haven't won a Tippeligaen match for over a year, but at least are showing some fight recently,. They'd dearly love to end their shocking run, but I sense they are maybe due a poor performance again. Some players who have shown some improvement in recent weeks, Dulle Johnson and Denny Antwi will both miss this match because of suspension and injury respectively. Start can be an annoying away side because they have drawn 5 of their 10 road affairs, and rarely get blown out.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Bodo need to win, should win and probably will win. However, there’s an awful lot of pressure on their shoulders and failure to pick up three points at home to Start would really dent their survival chances. It’s quite simply a must win occasion for them, but that doesn't always lead to a good performance. Start are a poor outfit but every match is pretty much a free pass for them now. Relegation is all but confirmed and all they have left to play for is a chance to try and end their winless record. I don't expect this’ll be a particularly appetising game of football. Something like a 1-0 or 2-0 home victory is likely, But I see no value on Bodo at such a short price and the goal line is set too high as well. This isn’t one to get involved in, or even watch. I’m expecting a poor affair.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet: None

Tippeligaen – Rosenborg v Tromso Preview (28/8/16)

RBK-TIL

Rosenborg preview

RBK suffered more European disappointment in midweek, losing to Austria Vienna 1-2 at home. In truth, they were second best on the night and deserved to lose. They seemed to lose heart a few weeks ago when they went out of the CL qualifiers against Cypriot side APOEL. Domestically, they have a massive 12 point lead and it’s just a matter of when, not if they’ll win the league. Rosenborg have a superb 100% home record, having won 10 out of 10 at the Lerkendal Stadion. The coach often rotates players a bit following European games, and it looks like key winger Pal Andre Helland will miss out today. But Rosenborg have done full rotations in recent times and had absolutely no issues claiming comfortable wins.

Tromso preview

The northern outfit claimed a massive three points last week when they beat Viking 2-1. It gives them a little bit more of a cushion above the relegation zone and Tromso probably deserve this considering how they've played since the winter break. I have noticed a more proactive Tromso, willing to gamble more to win matches. I expect them to go back into their shell today though. Usually when they face a really big team away from home, the main objective is to stay as tight and compact as possible. Tromso actually have a fairly good record against Rosenborg in recent years. They haven’t lost any of the last seven H2H meetings by more than one goal, and last season a couple of 1-1 draws were obtained facing the champions. Left back Kent Arne Antonsen is suspended, whilst first choice keeper Gudmund Kongshavn is still injured.

Conclusion & betting analysis

RBK have a superb home record and are clearly the best team in the Tippeligaen. Even with rotated squads they've been hammering sides, an example being the stunning 6-0 vs Haugesund. I just have a feeling sooner or later they will lose their intensity. This is a team 12 points clear from their nearest rival so it might be natural for them to ease up a little bit. Rosenborg have been playing a lot of matches recently and yet again have encountered European disappointment. Tromso will likely park the bus and make themselves hard to break down. RBK should be able to manage this but the visitors might also have a different gear to move into should they fall behind. The RBK handicap is -1.75, which is far too big. There’s no way I could back this line, but on the other hand you’d have to be incredibly brave to take Tromso too. I’m going to predict a closer home win but I don’t really want to get involved here.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bet: None

Tippeligaen – Viking v Lillestrom Preview (28/8/16)

VIK-LSK

Viking preview

The Stavanger side continued their mid season slump last week when they lost at Tromso. Viking have now only won 1 of their last 7 games and I just have a feeling their season will eventually fizzle out. Too many off the field problems have been a distraction, and they've been losing important players in recent months transferring away from the club. I just sense a flat atmosphere around the place and it’s transferring to the pitch as well. Viking actually have the fourth worst home record out of anyone in the league and they haven't played particularly well in front of their own fans this season. Injuries and suspensions aren’t an issue today at least.

Lillestrom preview

It’s just 1 win in 11 games now for Lillestrom and they continue to hover dangerously just above the relegation zone. Last week they obtained a barely deserved equaliser at home to Haugesund. In all truth, they were second best for most of that game and the only real positive was that they avoided defeat. Maybe they can kick on from that late goal but I wouldn’t bank on it. Since the summer break, LSK have generally looked awful and shown very little in all areas of the field. There’s still plenty of time for them to get back on track, but right now they are totally unconvincing. LSK have no injuries or suspensions to worry about today.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This just isn’t an appealing match to bet on. I don’t rather either right now, especially Lillestrom who have been poor for a while. I don’t think this’ll be a particularly exciting game and probably going to be low scoring. Under 2.75 was maybe a temptation but at the end of the day anything can happen. Viking are generally priced @ 1.80 but who could trust them right now? Then again, who would want to back LSK +0.5. This is just a horrible fixture and I’d personally advise to avoid it in all areas!

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

Tippeligaen – Odd v Valerenga Preview (28/8/16)

ODD-VIF

Odd preview

The Skien outfit have really let their season slip. During the first half of the campaign they were a legitimate challenger to Rosenborg for the title, but a poor mid season slump has seen their form really drop. Fagermo’s men have shockingly only won 1 of their last 6 games, and the victory was against lowly Start, so doesn’t really count. A combination of factors have been to blame, but for now Odd seem to have lost their spark and desperately need it to re-ignite. They still sit second in the table but a number of challenges like Brann & Sarpsborg are starting to line up below. The heat is on and Odd need to respond sooner rather than later. Injuries haven't helped them recently, but at the time of writing the situation is expected to be better than it has been in recent weeks.

Valerenga preview

VIF’s winning run came to an end last week when they were held by Bodo. The Oslo club are still unbeaten in their last six matches though and picked up a whopping 14 points during this period. It’s been a great run for Kjetil Rekdal’s men and looks to have sent them clear of relegation. There’s still some work to be done but ‘Enga can breathe a lot more easily compared to a couple of months ago. They do have to cope with a double suspension blow at the back for this fixture, with both Waehler & Larsen ruled out. Valerenga have had a very settled team recently so this could cause some defensive issues. However, the most impressive thing about them of late is how they've dominated games and looked dangerous going forwards.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Both teams are in contrasting form ahead of the game. Odd are in a bit of a slump, whilst Valerenga are flying. Therefore, I’m surprised Odd are as short as 1.75 on a -0.5 asian handicap. I personally wouldn't be backing them @ that price and this is more because of reputation rather than current form. The Valerenga double suspension at the back does have to be considered though. Therefore, my preferred pick for the game is over 2.75 goals. Odd can be a bit hit or miss with overs and their offense isn’t doing anything great right now. But I sense this will be an end to end, open type game which contains quite a few goals. Valerenga might have to rely on their own attack force to bail them out of trouble. Over 2.75 is available around the 1.75 range here and there should be at least three goals for the pick to prevail.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.75 (minimum odds acceptable 1.65)

France Ligue 1 – Monaco v PSG Preview (28/8/16)

ASM-PSG

Monaco preview

The south coast club should be really buoyed by their Champions League victory against Villarreal in midweek. This now means they are into the CL group stage, quite impressive when many people suggested that Villarreal were the favourites in that tie. Perhaps Monaco along with Lyon are the only team who could potentially beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title, so it goes without saying they need to beat them right tonight and lay a marker on the champions. Les Monegasques don’t have a bad record against the capital club in the ‘QSG’ era, so I don’t think they’ll fazed too much here. It’s been a good five days since their CL match so recovery shouldn’t be an issue. There’s a few injuries here and there within the squad with the most notable absentee being striker Falcao.

PSG preview

The defending champions have a 100% record, but it’s fair to say they haven't looked that convincing yet under Unai Emery. They laboured to a -10 win against Bastia, and whilst the 4-0 success facing Metz was relatively comfortable, there was a 10-15 min spell when Metz actually created some good chances against them. This is the first really big game for Emery so it’ll be interesting to see how their do. Key defending Thiago Silva is still injured, whilst new signing Jese recovers from an appendicitis operation. I would expect an XI similar to the one which beat Metz, although maybe Hateem Ben Arfa might get the nod upfront instead of Edinson Cavani.

Conclusion & betting analysis

PSG are the favourites on a -0.75 handicap tonight. Whether that’s fair or not I’m not totally sure. The visitors are easily the best side in France but they are perhaps facing their closest rival and a team which has to be respected. Monaco are Champions League team who just beat off Villarreal over two legs and their confidence is really high. We’ve yet to see PSG in a big game under Emery, so there are a few too many doubts for my liking. Monaco are always well coached by Leonardo Jardim and he’ll come up with a good tactical gameplan tonight. Monaco beat PSG in Paris towards the end of last season, and in the previous campaign Jardim has managed to get results against them. The over/under line is set at 2.5 and I’m really not sure what’s going to happen here. Anything is possible and maybe both teams will cancel each other out. I’m not going to bet on the game, just watch.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 1 – St Etienne v Toulouse Preview (28/8/16)

ASSE-TFC

St Etienne preview

Les Verts could be quite tired heading into this fixture. They played in the Europa League midweek against Beitar Jerusalem, prevailing 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a second leg stalemate. They had to play all of the second half with 10 men and really grind out a result. Sainte have started the season alright and will be pleased to make the group stages of the Europa League. But they've suffered a ton of injuries and a lot of guys are affected in some way. They really need the upcoming international break to get certain players back fit. So far, it hasn’t affected them too much and I was actually quite impressed how they beat Montpellier last week. Bit it might be they are running on fumes come the second half here.

Toulouse preview

It looks like TFC have carried the momentum they had and the end of last season straight into this campaign. Pascal Dupraz’s men have four points after two games and totally hammered Bordeaux last week 4-1. On paper, this certainly isn’t a particularly talented group of players, but Dupraz has a way of getting the most out of everyone. There’s a great team spirit , determination and emotional drive within the squad. Key striker Martin Braithwaite is rated doubtful because of injury, but should suit up. The team generally seems quite settled and should be bubbling with confidence after last week’s win. In their only previous away game TFC drew 0-0 at Marseille and it will be interesting to see what sort of tactical approach the manager uses today.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This fixture ended 0-0 last season but only thanks to the heroics of Sainte goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. He made a ton of great saves in that match so I’m sure Toulouse would love to gain some revenge today. It looks like a great time to be facing Les Verts. The hosts could be a bit flat, tired and maybe lacking a number of regular starters. So I don’t think Toulouse will suffer defeat, but I respect Sainte’s home record enough not to bet on this outcome. My feeling is that this will also be an open contest, in a similar way to how Sainte vs Montpellier was last weekend. But it’s going to be a really hot afternoon, the hosts might not have much in the tank and it’d probably be too dangerous to back over 2.25. So this is another match I’ll leave alone.

Prediction: 1-2
Recommended bet: None

Tippeligaen – Sogndal v Stabaek Preview (28/8/16)

SOG-STAB

Sogndal preview

The hosts’ mini slump continued last week when they held to a 1-1 draw away against lowly Start. Sogndal led for the majority of that game but paid the price for being too negative and just trying to hold onto a slender advantage. Start equalised late on which was a blow to Eirik Bakke’s men, who have now only won 1 of their last 6 games. Sogndal went on a great eleven match unbeaten run but I have noticed a gradual decline for a while, they just haven’t been at their best. That’s not to say they are that bad, just not playing at the same level they were a couple of months ago. I’ve said this for a while, but ever since they lost key midfielder Babacar Sarr to Molde, they haven't had the same driving force in the middle of the park.

Stabaek preview

Toni Ordinas’ men obtained a massive three points last week against Aalesund (3-1). The visitors are now third from bottom and have steadily been moving upwards since BIlly McKinlay got sacked. In some ways, winning last week was the big monkey off their back. Their better performances under Ordinas have actually been away from home where he’s produced some good tactical gameplans, utilising the attacking strength of his team. Stabaek have only lost once in seven games since their new manager took over and they are a different outfit compared to what they were in the first half of the season. During the transfer window they both lost and gained some players, but seemed absolutely fine last week during their victory.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Sogndal beat Stabaek 1-0 in the reverse fixture but I sense the visitors can gain some revenge here. I just think both sides approach the match in contrasting form. Sogndal are in a mini-slump period and not what they once were. Let’s not forget; on paper this isn’t the most talented outfit and maybe they overachieved a bit during their long unbeaten run. Stabaek are a much improved outfit and the general atmosphere at the club is far better than it was under McKlinlay. I’d be surprised if they lost this game and I’m also surprised the bookies are offering a +0.5 asian handicap. Overall, I actually think there’s a good chance Stabaek can collect all three points, but we only need them to draw to cover this handicap. They should be able to manage that, so this looks like a good value pick.

Prediction: 1-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Stabaek +0.5 @ 1.88 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)

France Ligue 1 – Bordeaux v Nantes Preview (28/8/16)

BORD-NANT

Bordeaux preview

Les Girondins won on the opening day, but suffered a humiliating setback against Toulouse last week, losing 1-4 against their Atlantic rivals. Now again, they face a team from the Atlantic coast, so they have a chance of redemption. Bordeaux have a new manager this season, Jocelyn Gourvennec. He achieved great things at Guingamp but this is a club with higher expectations and he’ll fully understand what a bad week is like here now following that loss. Centre back Nicolas Pallois is suspended today, whilst a few injuries are affecting the squad elsewhere. At the moment it’s really difficult to predict Bordeaux because they’ve shown two different faces.

Nantes preview

The visitors have opened up with a 1-0 win and a 1-0 loss. The hope for Les Canaris is that they’d be more entertaining now that Michel der Zakarian has departed, but not much seems to have changed under Rene Girard. Nantes really lacked in the final third last week, hardly creating anything against Monaco. It's clear the big strength of this side is going to be defensive solidity. Nantes have a few injury doubts to attacking players, but defence and midfield should be completely unchanged. I expect them to line up quite negatively and make themselves hard to break down.

Conclusion & betting analysis

The bookies look pretty spot on with their lines here. Bordeaux are on a -0.25 handicap and this seems pretty fair to me. Likewise, the over 2 goal line is exactly how I’d have set it too. I don’t expect this to be much of a classic. Both Bordeaux games have been high scoring under Gourvennec, but Nantes are a much more defensive team and are unlikely to want to get sucked into a shootout. They just haven't shown much offensively, whilst at the back also look hard to penetrate. It’s been noticeable how difficult it’s been for opponents to create clear cut chances. This match has the feeling of a draw and I expect a pretty close encounter, with not much between the two teams. From a betting point of view I see no edge and this game is best avoided.

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None