Monthly Archives: March 2020

France Ligue 2 – Lens v Orleans Preview (9/3/20)

Match Preview

The French Ligue 2 promotion race is suddenly far more interesting than it looked a couple of months ago. It appeared both Lorient and Lens were shoo-ins for the top two spots but both have given the chasing pack plenty of encouragement. Just four points now separates five teams and a victory for Lens tonight would put them back to second in the table. A run of just 1 win in 7 games certainly put the skids on their season and it culminated in a terrible 1-4 home loss to Caen. However, Les Sang et Or seemed to re-find their mojo last Monday night by beating Paris FC 2-0 away from home. That was an excellent victory which they will hope to kick on from. Striker Simon Banza is suspended tonight but they have no other major concerns ahead of the fixture. 

For Orleans, the situation is now very bleak. They finally sacked manager Didier Olle Nicolle but I fear they waited too long to make that decision. USO had an immediate response by beating Le Havre but then lost last week at home to Troyes. There were some encouraging signs at least in that chances were created against one of the better teams in the league. Orleans have appointed a permanent manager for the rest of the campaign, Denis Troch. It feels like quite a desperate measure and they are currently 7 points behind the nearest possible spot of safety. It’s going to take a big effort to keep this team up.

I would expect Lens to win tonight and I’m tempted to back them on a -1 Asian Handicap. They are clearly the better team but there is a lot of pressure on them to succeed and Orleans have nothing to lose. Instead I’m going to opt for over 2.5 goals. I see this as quite an open encounter. Orleans can’t defend and Lens should have enough firepower to take advantage. At the same time I’m not sure I fully trust Lens to keep it tight either due to the pressure on their shoulders. 

Note:- this match is going to be played behind closed doors because of the Coronavirus outbreak

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @2.05

MLS 2020 – Round 2 Preview

MLS 2020 Round 2 thoughts & previews

New England Revolution v Chicago Fire (18:30 GMT)

Full match preview HERE

Bet: New England Revolution -0.5 @2.03

Real Salt Lake v New York Red Bulls (19:00 GMT)

Here we have two teams with contrasting styles facing each other. RSL are more of a defensive type team and all of their strength is at the back. They are well organised, have good discipline and can be incredibly hard to beat here in front of their own fans. The altitude of this location can sometimes take some getting used to and Rio Tinto Stadium has historically been quite a fortress. The Red Bulls haven’t won here since 2008 although only travel here once every two years. They certainly looked the more impressive last week, at least in the first half vs Cincinnati anyway. Tough match to call and both teams might cancel each other out so I’m going to predict a 1-1 draw.

Prediction: 1-1

FC Dallas v Montreal Impact (20:00 GMT)

Full match preview HERE 

Bet: FC Dallas -1 @2.03

DC United v Inter Miami (20:30 GMT)

I was a bit worried with what I saw from DCU last week. They lost at home to Colorado Rapids and were pretty much outplayed in the contest throughout. Inter Miami will probably represent just as much of a challenge. They are a new franchise, hungry for their first win in MLS and gave a good account of themselves at LAFC last week. DCU aren’t anywhere near that level so this should be a more manageable fixture for David Beckham’s outfit. Inter Miami win this match in my opinion but the odds aren’t that attractive.

Prediction: 1-2

Toronto FC v New York City FC (22:00 GMT)

This should be a good match between two genuine Eastern Conference contenders. NYC will be out for revenge after being knocked out of the playoffs last season by TFC. Matches between these teams tend to contain plenty of goals so I looked at backing over 2.75. But it’s early season and could be a cold day and the price isn’t anything too great. I’d lean towards TFC winning but it could easily be a draw too.

Prediction: 2-2

Atlanta United v FC Cincinnati (00:00 GMT)

Full match preview HERE

Bet: Under 3.25 goals @1.96

San Jose Earthquakes v Minnesota United (01:00 GMT)

It has to be said that Minnesota put in a very accomplished away performance last week at Portland. They played with a good tactical strategy and generally took their chances when they came. However, they were vulnerable at times in what was quite a frantic affair. San Jose came from 0-2 down to draw with TFC but weren’t exactly convincing. I thought about backing over 3 goals or Minnesota +0.75 here but ultimately reused. I don’t see the away side losing though because they seem the better overall unit at the moment.

Prediction: 1-2

Sporting Kansas City v Houston Dynamo (01:30 GMT)

Full match preview HERE

Bet: Sporting Kansas City -1 @2.17

Colorado Rapids v Orlando City (02:00 GMT)

Full match preview HERE

Bet: Orlando City -0.75 @2.01

LA Galaxy v Vancouver Whitecaps (03:00 GMT)

You would imagine that LA Galaxy probably win this match but I’m not sure I’d want to be backing them on a big handicap. The Whitecaps actually won this fixture 4-3 last season and will be up for it tonight. All of the expectation is on the Galaxy to deliver and that could suit the caps nicely. I’m thinking something like a 2-1 or 3-1 home win but nothing interests me from a betting point of view.

Prediction: 2-1

Seattle Sounders v Columbus Crew (03:00 GMT)

These two teams don’t meet very often but it should be a very interesting clash between two contenders for glory this season. Seattle at home are tough proposition but they needed a very late goal to beat Chicago Fire last week here. The Crew won’t be so easy to face and the Sounders will need to take their chances. Part of me thinks this will be an over sort of match but both could defend well if they wanted to, so there’s a chance of cancelling each other out. I also think Columbus are overpriced but I daren’t oppose Seattle at CenturyLink Field.

Prediction: 2-2

Portland Timbers v Nashville (Sunday 23:00 GMT)

Preview to be posted Sunday

Los Angeles FC v Philadelphia Union (Sunday 02:30 GMT)

Preview to be posted Sunday

MLS – Atlanta United v FC Cincinnati Preview (7/3/20)

Match Preview

Atlanta United have a massive problem on their hands with key striker Josef Matinez ruled out for the season with an ACL injury suffered at Nashville last week. The Venezuelen is for my money the best out and out striker in MLS and totally irreplaceable. Atlanta went from Eastern Conference title challengers to probably more of a playoff team chance (at best) due to his absence. I was a bit worried about Atlanta this season even before Martinez got injured. They’ve lost key players like Nagbe and Gressel and with the way Frank De Boer likes them to play lack of potential creativity and goals could be a hindrance. Obviously that problem is heightened even more now.

Travelling here today is a Cincinatti side who did well to come back and just lose 2-3 at the Red Bulls last week. For the first 45 mins they were totally run over by the bulls and couldn’t handle them. I would imagine the visitors offer a stern defensive resistance today and should look to just contain Atlanta as much as they can. The bet that catches my eye is under 3.25 goals. I just don’t see this being a very open fixture unless early goals are scored. Atlanta are going to be relying on Pity Martinez and Barco to lead their attack but there’s not much else. Probably a bigger danger to the over is FCC bagging a couple on the break. I think a 3.25 goal line is too high here and it’s not often I’d bet under in MLS but this feels like the right time.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: Under 3.25 goals @1.96

MLS 2020 – Round 1 Preview

MLS 2020 Round 1 thoughts & previews

DC United v Colorado Rapids (18:00 GMT)

The first MLS match of 2020 is inter-conference and is a difficult one to call. Both teams will hope to make the playoffs and you could argue that DCU are overpriced around the 2.15 mark. However, I’m expecting Colorado to be fairly decent this year and kick on from the strong finish they had to 2019. I could envisage goals here and thought about backing over 2.75. But the pitch condition is rumoured to be poor.

Prediction: 2-2

Montreal Impact v New England Revolution (20:00 GMT)

The Impact have been in Champions League action recently so maybe the competitive nature of those fixtures could give them the edge. However, their performances vs Costa Rican side Saprissa weren’t that great. I have a feeling this could be a low scoring game, either a draw or a tight New England win. I looked at backing under 2.75 but it’s the first game of the season, so no need to risk it.

Prediction: 0-1

Houston Dynamo v LA Galaxy (20:30 GMT)

Full match preview & bet HERE

San Jose Earthquakes v Toronto FC (22:30 GMT)

It’s a long trip out west for Toronto here which is a worrying factor in itself. They are going to be without key captain and midfielder Michael Bradley for 4 months (injured) whilst new signing Pablo Piatti is ruled out here. San Jose were blisteringly good at times last year but also awful in stretches. My instinct is a home win with goals and the bet that interested me was over 3. However, it’s the opening day of the campaign so perhaps best left alone.

Prediction: 3-1

FC Dallas v Philadelphia Union (23:00 GMT)

Dallas seem quite a settled side heading into 2020. They have a pretty solid backline containing the likes of Ziegler, Hollinghead & star right back Reggie Cannon. A big difference maker for them is in attack where Michael Barrios is a high class winger who can cause any side all sorts of problems. I think they can get off to a winning start today against a Philly team that don’t look bad but have perhaps gone backwards slightly with the loss of some players. Taking the hosts on a -0.5 Asian Handicap has some appeal to me. I think they can get the job done here.

Prediction: 2-0. Recommended bet: Dallas -0.5 @2.0

Orlando City v Real Salt Lake (23:00 GMT)

The home team are missing key man Nani who is suspended, whilst striker Dom Dwyer is injured. I think they were going to struggle to score vs RSL anyway and now the task is made much harder. The main strength of the visitors is in defence and they should be able to keep it tight enough to earn a point today. RSL aren’t usually that great on the road but I would consider them more likely to win. Temptations with backing under 2.75 and RSL +0.5 but I’ll be cautious on the opening day of the season.

Prediction: 1-1

Nashville v Atlanta United (01:00 GMT)

It wasn’t so long ago that Atlanta were the newbies in MLS but now it’s the turn of Nashville. From what I’ve heard this new expansion team will aim to be defensive and hard to break down. And that sort of tactic could work against an Atlanta side that depends heavily on its front 3. If Nashville can shut down both Martinez’s they have a chance, but you have to think the quality of Atlanta will show through in the end. I think under 2.75 goals has a chance of landing here but with too many question marks over a new unknown team it’s best to swerve.

Prediction: 0-1

Vancouver Whitecaps v Sporting Kansas City (03:30 GMT)

Perhaps all eyes will be on two strikers in this match. Cavallini for Vancouver and Pulido for SKC. The latter was the most recent golden boot winner in the Mexican league and is highly rated. The Whitecaps will probably struggle again this season but can be competitive on their day. I would personally expect SKC to win this match but their price isn’t anything too great. I’m expecting both teams to have a go and my gut feeling would be over 2.75 goals. But let’s just watch and see.

Prediction: 1-2

MLS – FC Dallas v Montreal Impact Preview (7/3/20)

Match Preview

Dallas got off to a winning start last week beating Philly 2-0. It wasn’t the most dominant performance in the world but they did enough and their extra bit of quality showed in the end. Key striker Zdenek Ondrasek (aka the Cobra) opened the scoring thanks to a rasping drive and they sealed the win late on. Perhaps the most impressive performer was new Brazillian defensive midfielder Thiago Santos who controlled his area of the park with ease. FCD have good all round strength all over the field and in Michael Barrios out wide they have one of the best playmakers in MLS. In fact, the whole right corridor is a major strength with Reggie Cannon another standout star.

Montreal also won in week one, although it was a much less convincing display vs the Revs. I felt that Montreal were quite lucky to prevail due to being second best for most of the contest. They were extremely fortunate that a New England goal got chalked off for seemingly nothing and their opponents also missed a glutton of chances. I don’t actually think the Impact are anything special at all right now. I’ve watched them in the CONCACAF Champions League in pre season where they only just managed to get past Costa Rican side Saprissa on away goals. Speaking of that competition they are in action midweek so might have an eye on a huge a winnable Quarter Final vs Honduran side Olympia.

I backed FC Dallas last week and they delivered for me vs Philly. I think they can do the same again today. The difference in this fixture is that Dallas are a -1 Asian line instead of -0.5. But that is fair enough because the Impact aren’t as good as Union. I don’t think this price is anything special but we have to consider how strong home advantage is in MLS and the gulf between the two teams. Montreal aren’t that bad or anything. I just see Dallas as the better unit right now. Throw in the potential distraction in midweek for the Impact and I’m happy backing the Texan outfit. FCD do love a 2-0 at home down the years so that is going to be my prediction.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: FC Dallas -1 (Asian) @1.97

MLS – Sporting Kansas City v Houston Dynamo Preview (7/3/20)

Match Preview

Of all the teams in round one you could argue that Sporting Kansas City looked the most impressive. Certainly from a physical and conditioning viewpoint they caught my eye. Head coach Peter Vermes appears to have given them an excellent pre season and they looked properly ready for the campaign. 2019 was a year to forget for SKC and they constantly spurned good positions. Injuries also took their toll on the team but maybe this campaign will be a smoother ride. Beating Vancouver 3-1 away might not be anything to shout about too much but I liked what I saw. New striker Alan Pulido is just what they needed, finally a top class #9 type striker who can find the back of the net. Midfield playmaker Gadi Kinda also impressed with an excellent strike from distance. I expect them to kick on from that performance here.

Houston drew 1-1 with LA Galaxy in what was actually quite a low key affair. At times it looked like the Dynamo would go on to win the game but on other occasions they found themselves under plenty of pressure. To be fair, the defence held up pretty well vs the Galaxy but on the road in recent years Houston have been terrible and it’s usually a good idea to bet against them. Of course, it doesn’t help their cause that key winger Alberth Elis is rated doubtful, whilst new signing Darwin Quintero might miss out again too. SKC are definitely the better team for me and I’m confident they can win this match, probably quite comfortably. You can back Sporting on a -1 Asian Handicap at a decent price. I think at worst a push will be the outcome for this bet, but if they play like they did last week then something like 2-0 or 3-0 wouldn’t surprise me.

Prediction: 3-0

Recommended bet: Sporting Kansas City -1 (Asian) @2.17

MLS – Colorado Rapids v Orlando City Preview (7/3/20)

Match Preview

It was a brilliant start for the Rapids as they struck with the last kick of the game to beat DC United away from home in round one (2-1). Colorado aren’t known for their away results so would’ve been absolutely delighted with that outcome. But it wasn’t just the result that was impressive. In terms of an actual performance the Rapids were excellent and fully deserved victory. Colorado don’t necessarily have any star names but have a nice blend all over the field. Experienced marksman Kei Kamara is a very good frontman and uses his physical ability really well. Out on the wings the likes of Shinyashiki, Lewis & Nicholson are very lively. Let’s not forget Nicolas Benzet who is probably still out with a broken nose, but could return here. Colorado are historically very strong at home and the altitude of over 1,500m can take some acclimatising for the visiting team.

This weekend they welcome an Orlando team who I fear for this season. They are in the easier Eastern Conference but don’t really have much going for them. The squad is weak and lacks depth. There just doesn’t appear to be much to get excited about and fans are quite down on the team. An opening day 0-0 draw at home to Real Salt Lake was a miserable affair containing very few chances. Robin Jansson at the back is quite a strong central defender but apart from Nani they offer little creativity. The Portugese winger missed out in week one due to suspension and he is banned again here. Colorado simply look like the better team at the moment and with their strong homefield advantage backing the Rapids on a -0.75 Asian Handicap appears to be the best pick to me here.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: Colorado Rapids -0.75 @2.0

MLS – New England Revolution v Chicago Fire Preview (7/3/20)

Match Preview

Both teams lost 2-1 from a winning position last week so will be keen to get back on track. New England will wonder how they ended up taking nothing from their trip to Montreal. They looked easily the better side but had a goal controversially ruled off at 1-1 by VAR and then missed some big chances to equalise. The performance overall was quite good but they couldn’t convert it into points. The Revolution perhaps lack star names but are very well coached by legendary manager Bruce Arena. He always seems to get the best out of this group of players. This year he doesn’t lack attacking talent with designated players Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa leading the line upfront. Key playmaker Carles Gil would appear to still be injured but his return can’t be far away. There’s even a chance he could suit up here. I think it’s a surprise the Revs can be backed as big as 2.03 on a -0.5 Asian Handicap. This looks a generous price considering the opposition.

In fairness to Chicago Fire they weren’t ‘that’ bad in round one, losing at Seattle 2-1. They succumbed to a last minute goal although conceded an abundance of chances throughout. Without wanting to use too much of a pun here, it looks like they might try to’ fight fire with fire’ this season based on the performance at Seattle. They are seen as a team in transition with a number of new signings to accommodate. The main core of the squad from last year have departed. New man upfront Robert Bewric scored on his debut and his sheer size and physique is going to cause problems in MLS. But the defence looked very wide open and they simply can’t be conceding that many chances on a regular basis. New England probably aren’t going to provide as much of a sterner test but this is still going to be a very challenging fixture for the Fire. I expect them to give it a go and you could do worse than backing over 2.75 goals here as well. My preferred selection is to take New England on the nose though and I think they’ll have too much for Chicago here. 

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet: New England Revolution -0.5 @2.03

France Ligue 2 – Ajaccio v Lorient Preview (7/3/20)

Match Preview

Today we see 5th placed Ajaccio face top of the table Lorient and the result here could be crucial in the race for promotion. A few weeks ago it looked like Lorient and Lens were nailed on certainties to finish in the top two, but both have given major encouragement to the opposition since the start of 2020. Lorient seemed fine but have now lost 3 of their last 4 matches. All three have come at this Saturday afternoon kick off time so they might be nervous once again heading into this affair. I can’t really put my finger on what’s gone wrong apart from perhaps a lack of goals has cost them? Every team has a bad run at some stage and this appears to be their slump stage. The question is how long will it continue for?

Ajaccio have consistently overachieved all season. Of all the teams up there in the top five they have the worst squad but they deserve to be where they are on merit. Olivier Pantaloni does a fantastic job coaching this team. ACA don’t have the greatest home record in the league, just the 12th best and have already lost 4 times in front of their own fans this season. However, they head into this match in good form and kept three consecutive clean sheets. Hitman upfront Gaetan Courtet won’t feature here as he’s on loan from Lorient and the two clubs have an agreement for him not to play. The odds are wrong for this game and Ajaccio should be favs on a DNB line. Instead, it’s the visitors who have that honour. I’m very close to backing Ajaccio but there is so much at stake in this game I think it’s probably best to swerve. Lorient are the better team on paper but I just don’t fancy them based on recent form.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Troyes v Paris FC Preview (6/3/20)

Match Preview

Troyes are all or nothing. Just 2 draws this season sums them up but it’s worked with the team currently joint second. They have every chance of automatic promotion with just 10 games left. ESTAC are on a 4 game winning streak and would appear to have their mojo back. Perhaps this is a tricky sort of fixture facing a Paris FC team who have been much improved under Rene Girard. However, a vast improvement will be needed compared to Monday night when they got easily manhandled by Lens (0-2). I expect a reaction but you can’t really oppose Troyes at the moment based on recent form. The price of about 1.80 on the home team looks about fair. They are the most likely winners although I doubt this will be a piece of cake and they’ll be forced to work hard for the win.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None