Monthly Archives: September 2016

France Ligue 2 – Amiens v Troyes Preview (30/9/16)

am-estacAmiens preview

  • Top of the table and unbeaten in seven consecutive Ligue 2 matches.
  • Conceded late on Tuesday night away against GFCA and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
  • Playing a midweek match just three days before is hardly ideal preparation, especially as they travelled all the way to Corsica.
  • The coach did rest some players though, so the physical impact will be lessened to some extent.
  • Amiens continue to defy expectations and are playing well above the level which most people expected of them this season.

Troyes preview

  • Victory at home to Tours last week (3-1) was their first in four attempts. ESTAC have now only lost 1 of their last 7 games.
  • Troyes have had some teething problems this season but things seem to have settled down following the horror of the previous campaign.
  • There’s still a sense of vulnerability with this team though and they are rebuilding.
  • Virtually the same squad retained from last week and their injury situation is favourable.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Amiens are absolutely flying at the moment and nobody would’ve expected them to be top of the table after nine matches.
  • Team spirit, organisation, discipline and good coaching has been the key to their success. Certain players like striker Jonathan Tinhan have raised their level too.
  • Everyone is waiting for their bubble to burst, but until it happens then I think Amiens need to be given a lot of respect.
  • This is their third game in the space of seven days so a victory might just be beyond them, but who can bet against them right now??
  • Troyes have kept just one clean sheet all season, but only failed to score in one fixture as well.
  • This has the feel of an open game of football and may well contain a few goals. Over 2.25 goals catches my eye around the 1.95 mark.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.95

France Ligue 2 GFC Ajaccio v Amiens Preview (27/9/16)

gfca-ascGFC Ajaccio preview

  • Now lost 2 of their last 3 games following defeat at home to Nimes on Friday (0-2)
  • Have only scored 5 goals in 8 games which is one of the poorest returns in the entire league.
  • Matters aren’t helped by injuries to three starting attackers who all miss tonight’s game - Boujedra, Cisse & Maah.
  • Midfielder Jerome Lemoigne also remains sidelined, and left back Jerome Mombris is rested out.
  • Le Stade Ange Casanova is usually a fortress but GFC have yet to win in front of their own fans this season.

Amiens preview

  • The newly promoted team continue to ride high and have now won 5 of their last 6 games.
  • It’s starting to get the to the stage when they might have to be taken a bit more seriously.
  • On paper they have one of the weakest squads in the ligue but they are performing brilliantly together.
  • Injuries are few and far between with only long term casualties ruled out. The squad is in very good health.
  • Seem to have no problem performing on the road and have won 3 out of 4 away games.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This match was postponed a few weeks ago due to a waterlogged pitch, hence why it’s being played on this unusual date.
  • That GFCA are as big as a -0.25 favourite at home to Amiens shows just how well the visitors have performed this season.
  • If this was an opening day match, GFC would’ve been about a 1.65 just to win straight up!
  • Amiens have to be given some respect. Their bubble will probably burst at some stage, but until it does then I won’t bet against them.
  • Their team spirit, determination and great tactics from the coach just prove you don’t always need to greatest ability to succeed in this ligue.
  • Nevertheless, a trip to Corsica is never easy and GFCA usually play well at home.
  • This is a difficult match to predict and it might end a draw. One point would be enough for Amiens to regain top spot.
  • I’m not interesting in betting on the game. I have learnt my lesson before not to bet against sides like Amiens, who defy logic.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

Tippeligaen – Stabaek v Bodo Glimt Preview (26/9/16)

stab-bodoStabaek preview

  • Have lost just 2 of their last 10 games but still occupy the relegation playoff position third from bottom.
  • Only a victory tonight would give them a chance of overtaking their nearest rivals Bodo Glimt.
  • Stabaek have scored fewer home goals than any other team in the league, netting just 9 times in 11 games!
  • Squad in good condition with no major injuries.

Bodo Glimt preview

  • Last week’s defeat at home to Brann ended a four match unbeaten run.
  • Bodo are generally playing well and celebrated a superb cup win against Sarpsborg (4-0)  last Tuesday night.
  • Right back Daniel Edvardsen is suspended but they have no new injuries to deal with.
  • Can be a very dangerous away team and possess strong counter attacking potential.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Stabaek are slightly odds on to win this game which feels short for a team that’s lost 7 out of 11 home games this season.
  • Having said that, they have been an improved outfit under the management of Toni Ordinas.
  • Even he’s had issues at home though and Stabaek haven’t been very strong here this season.
  • This is a crucial game between 3rd and 4th bottom so there could be some tension and nerves around. Both have been playing well though, so it’s difficult to call.
  • The goal line is set at 2.75 and this seems fair, I’m not sure if this will go over or under.
  • It’s going to be a fascinating clash but not one which I have a strong feel about. So I’m more than happy to leave it alone.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Brest v Reims Preview (26/9/16)

brest-reimsBrest preview

  • Lost just once all season and sit third in the table.
  • They have become one of the favourites for promotion, although have slipped a little bit in recent weeks winning just 1 of their last 4.
  • Everyone is available for selection apart from key playmaker Bruno Grougi who is injured.
  • Right back Gaetan Belaud returns after missing three games through injury.
  • More attack minded under new coach Jean Marc Furlan and they are unlikely to sit back in front of their own fans.

Reims preview

  • One of just two remaining unbeaten teams in Ligue 2 and currently sit second.
  • Fairly solid defence and difficult to penetrate. They have drawn all four away games so far.
  • Their injury situation has improved and the only main casualty is midfielder Antoine Devaux who has now been out of action for a number of games.
  • Coach Michel der Zakarian is an excellent tactician and they are unlikely to take too many risks here.
  • A draw would be a good result for them and they put the emphasis on Brest to force the pace.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Heavyweight clash between two of the promotion favourites and this is 3rd vs 2nd in the table.
  • Brest are slight favourites on a DNB line with the bookies, which might seem generous.
  • Reims haven’t dominated any games yet, but they are a pure result team who have a knack of getting what they need.
  • Reims aren’t the sort of side who you ever want to bet against and will come here with an appropriate gameplan.
  • Brest struggled and lost 0-2 at home facing a robust and well organised Clermont team a few weeks ago and something similar could occur here.
  • I’d say a draw is probably the most likely outcome and this isn’t the sort of match which makes great betting appeal. Both sides might cancel each other out.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

MLS Columbus Crew v New England Revolution Preview (25/9/16)

cc-ne

Columbus preview

The Crew breathed new life into their threadbare playoff hopes by claiming a shock 4-1 win away at Orlando last week. They were aided by some horrendous defending but Greg Berhalter’s men deserve some credit for an excellent attacking performance in which they caused Orlando so many problems. That was a must win encounter for them, as is this one. In fact, they pretty much need to win all of their remaining games to make the postseason. Columbus have the worst home record in the entire Eastern Conference but historically they are strong in front of their own fans and should be buoyed by last week’s victory. A number of players are questionable because of injury, including playmaker Federico Higuain. But they managed fine without him last week.

New England preview

The Revs suffered defeat in the US Open Cup final against Dallas not so long ago (2-4). But they put up a decent fight and deserve credit for their run in the competition. In the MLS they’ve won their last three games to get their playoff ambitions back on track. Victory last week away at Montreal Impact (3-1) was highly impressive and they currently possess the last remaining playoff spot in the east. Right back JV Watson & midfielder Gershon Koffie are ruled out, but all of their main attackers should feature here. New England’s away record doesn’t make great viewing and they’ve only won twice on their travels. But considering one of those came last week then perhaps the overall statistics can be ignored slightly.

Conclusion & betting analysis

A few weeks ago both of these teams were in a real funk. However, results from last week were favourable so both should be confident heading into the contest. Columbus have to win, it’s as simple as that. So they have no other option but to gamble should they need to take risks late in the game. A draw would keep the scoreboard ticking for the Revs, but it’s only victories which keeps their destiny in their own hands. I’m surprised that the Crew are so short on a -0.5 asian handicap. It feels like the bookies are still overrating them significantly this season for no apparent reason. I think the goal line of over 2.75 is worth backing around the 1.80 mark. Both teams are highly attack minded and this should be an end to end type fixture containing a lot of chances at both ends. Surely at worst, three goals will be scored.

Prediction: 3-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.80

MLS LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders Preview (25/9/16)

lax-ssLA Galaxy preview

As per usual, the Galaxy are primed for a trip to the postseason. I think it’s fair to say they haven’t been at their spectacular best this year too often, yet once again they are strongly in the hunt for an MLS Cup triumph. Bruce Arena’s men have a tendency to draw too many games, but Bruce Arena’s men are still unbeaten at the StubHub centre in 2017. The Galaxy offense went through a quiet time mid season, but has roared back into life of late scoring 11 goals in their last 4 games. This in impressive considering key man Gyasi Zardes is ruled out for the rest of the season and midfielder Steven Gerrard has been missing in recent weeks. The Galaxy still have a lot of other great weapons like Robbie Keane & Giovani Dos Santos though.

Seattle Sounders preview

The Sounders are usually a perennial playoff team but for the first time in many years their participation in the postseason is in doubt. They have six matches left and will probably need to win most of them in order to finish inside the top six. The biggest problem that Seattle had was their form under long standing coach Sigi Schmid. Since Brian Schmetzer took over they've actually only lost one match. The form of players like Jordan Morris, plus new signing Nicolas Lodeiro has been excellent. If they can get themselves into the playoffs, nobody will want to face them. Key man Clint Dempsey continues to be out with an irregular heartbeat whilst Brad Evans is rated doubtful.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This is a heavyweight battle between two Western Conference rivals. Seattle might not be the force they normally are this year but they head into the contest in confident mood. The Galaxy are really tough to beat at the Stubhub and the Sounders would love to be the first team to walk away with victory here in 2017. I think it’ll be a good game of football. Galaxy have been involved in some real high scorers of late and the Sounders have looked much better offensively under Schmetzer. This fixture has a history of goals and it’s been a long time since an MLS encounter between the two ended 0-0. LA Galaxy are odds-on favourites on a -0.5 handicap and I feel this is slightly short in a match of this magnitude. My preferred pick is over 2.75 goals. I think both sides will attack strongly and there should be enough opportunities for three goals to be scored.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.78

Tippeligaen – Start v Haugesund Preview (25/9/16)

start-fkhStart preview

  • Now winless in 39 Tippeligaen matches.
  • Held Rosenborg for an hour last week and put up a good fight against the champions, only losing 2-0.
  • They haven’t been complete pushovers at times but with nothing left to play for except pride then you have to question their motivation.
  • Desperate to end their horrible winless streak but at the moment it looks like a lost cause.

Haugesund preview

  • Right in the hunt for a medal position and absolutely must look at this match as a massive chance to pick up three points.
  • Squad in good condition with no injuries or suspensions to worry about.
  • Performances have been good recently and they’re unbeaten in six Tippeligaen matches.
  • They possess the fourth best away record in the league so have no problems on their travels.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Start played well at Rosenborg last week, but that was like their cup final and it was expected they give a little bit more effort.
  • Their home form has been terrible this year and they’ve conceded a whopping 31 goals in 11 games here!
  • The gulf in class should be too much and it’s difficult to envisage anything other than an away win.
  • Haugesund really need the points in their battle for a medal position so don’t expect any reduction in intensity.
  • The visitors aren’t a great price, but taking them on a -0.75 handicap @ around the 1.90 mark is a fairly obvious pick.
  • Should Haugesund fail to win then it’d be a real surprise.

Prediction: 0-3

Recommended bet 1 unit: Haugesund -0.75 @ 1.92

Tippeligaen – Brann v Tromso Preview (25/9/16)

brann-tilBrann preview

  • Back up to second in the table following a 3-1 win at Bodo last week which was their first in five games.
  • Have a superb 8-3-0 home record and only conceded two goals in front of their own fans all season.
  • Have some absences all over the field. First choice keeper Piotr Leciejewski is rated doubtful, whilst centre back Bismar Acosta is suspended.
  • In midfield Kristoffer Barman is doubtful and experienced attacker Daniel Braaten is suspended.
  • Brann have had to deal with a lot of absences recently so might be used to the situation, but it’s not ideal.

Tromso preview

  • A run of 3 wins in 4 games has propelled them six points clear of the relegation zone and safety seems more assured now.
  • Have improved on the road this season but now lost 3 of their last 4 away trips.
  • Played in the midweek NM Cup and were knocked out on penalties after a valiant effort facing Rosenborg.
  • Recovery, both physical and mental will be extremely difficult for Tromso here.
  • Left back Kent Are Antonsen is suspended for this trip to Brann.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Brann are an extremely good home team and Tromso aren’t usually that great on the road so many things point towards a Brann victory.
  • The added physical and mental fatigue from their midweek cup loss will likely only hinder Tromso and has to be considered a negative factor.
  • The bookies aren’t taking any chances though and have Brann priced up between a -1 and -0.75 handicap.
  • This is awkward and annoying because the most likely scorelines are 1-0 or 2-0. How can you profit in this instance?
  • Tromso have been playing quite well recently so I’m willing to swerve this game. I’m fairly sure Brann will win but there’s no guarantees it’d be by a large margin.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

Tippeligaen – Valerenga v Aalesund Preview (25/9/16)

vif-afkValerenga preview

The Oslo outfit are unbeaten in nine league games but suffered major disappointment in the midweek NM Cup, losing against Godset 2-0. The way that ‘Enga had been playing recently they’d have had high hopes of winning that competition, or at least progressing to the semi finals. Now their sole focus is on survival and right now they have a six point cushion to third bottom. Valerenga shouldn’t go down but they still need a few more points to guarantee their Tippeligaen status before ex Celtic boss Ronny Deila takes over as manager in 2017. They might be nine games unbeaten but there have been some warning signs recently that their good form might end. Draws facing Godset and Haugesund were obtained when they were second best, and they’ve now followed that up with the aforementioned cup defeat.

Aalesund preview

Back to back thumping wins have moved Aalesund out of the relegation zone. 4-1 and 4-2 victories against Start & Godset respectively seem to have ignited their change towards survival. This will be a more challenging game for AFK but it’s been really noticeable how much better their offense has looked of late. It’s a well known fact that their backline isn’t good enough to get them points. Therefore, they are going to have to rely on their attackers to get the job done. The good news is that it’s scored eight goals in two games and brimming with confidence. Aalesund have lost a massive 8 out of 12 times on the road this season but have won 2 of their last 3, so in this instance we have to forget about the overall statistics. Captain and right back/ midfielder Bjorn Helge Riise is suspended for this clash.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Valerenga are favourites on a -1 asian handicap here which is simply too short. They are unbeaten in nine games but signs are that this good form could be coming to an end. Coupled with Aalesund’s recent resurgence, then I think it’d be dangerous and no real value backing the hosts on a -1 line. I’m not saying that Aalesund will definitely get a result, but sometimes it’s best to play safe. Instead, I’m going to side with the overs. Valerenga have been involved in some really annoying games that have ended 1-1 recently. All of them should have ended over, but somehow remained all squad. However, it’s clear with the nature of their play that an open style of football is to be expected. It’s also clear that the visitors are going to be relying on their offense to get the job done for the remainder of this season. Over 3 goals looks like a good pick in this instance. At worst, a push is highly probably, but I think this match could erupt into an explosion of goals.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet: Over 3 goals @ 1.89

Tippeligaen – Stromsgodset v Odd Preview (25/9/16)

sif-oddStromsgodset preview

Godset have endured a horrible run in the Tippeligaen. The Drammen outfit have failed to win any of their last eight games and last week things really nosedived when they got hammered 4-2 at Aalesund. However, Godset should head into this match in better spirits. They reached the semi finals of the NM Cup midweek by beating Valerenga 2-0. With a good end to the season they could still potentially finish in a medal position but realistically the fire has been extinguished from their Tippeligaen campaign. Their best chance of success and European qualification lies in the cup. Perhaps that might clear their minds a bit and they can play with more freedom and open up. Left back Mounir Hamoud is suspended.

Odd preview

Odd have been really poor since the summer break, winning just two of their last nine games. Even those victories have to be taken with a pinch of salt because they were only facing lowly Start and Lillestrom. Remarkably, they are still in a medal position and a strong end to the season would likely see them finish as runners-up. But they need to snap out of this funk which has been going on for quite some time. It’s difficult to know exactly what the problem has been, they seem to have issues in all areas of the field. The defence has become less reliable, the midfield not as penetrating and the attack force goal shy at crucial moments.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Both of these teams are out of form in the league and desperately need a win here. I think Godset will have a big weight lifted off their shoulders thanks to their cup quarter final win and should approach the match positively. This is quite a high profile clash between two of the bigger and better teams in Norway and hopefully it’ll be exciting with chances at both ends. I’m not sure who’s going to win and the bookies agree. Godset are favourites on a DNB asian handicap, or for those feeling braver you could take them on a -0.25 handicap. I’m not going to take anything in this market because I genuinely see this as a real toss up, it’s a question of who takes their chances best. The overs do interest me though, especially as the line is set at 2.75 with generous odds. I just feel both will really go for it here and it could be a more open game than some expect. Therefore, I’m happy to pull the trigger on this pick and I think there’ll be at least three goals scored.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.91