It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry when two teams completely obliterate their normal patterns of play in order to bring the Challenge to its knees, but that’s exactly what happened last week.
Ingolstadt and Regensburg were playing two divisions apart in 2016/17, with Ingolstadt getting relegated from the Bundesliga and fancying their chances of an immediate return. They had conceded just three goals in their opening trio of games this season, while Regensburg had lost both of their Bundesliga II openers after promotion from the third tier.
So, Ingolstadt, as the home side, would get the better of a low scoring contest, no?
Well, no. They actually lost 2-4, and completely scuppered our Under 4.5 Goals selection with gusto.
Ah yes, goals bets. We had made a promise to completely swerve these and instead focus on the Double Chance and Asian Handicap markets instead. A moment of weakness and here we are, starting again. We will not make a repeat of that this time around.
Bet 1: Hull City vs Bolton: Hull +0.75 Asian Handicap – £10 at 1/7
Friday August 25, 19:45
After relegation last term, Hull City have regrouped well under Leonid Slutsky, and while their points tally after four games is just four they really do deserve more given that they have won the shot count in two of those and tied in a third.
They absolutely dominated Burton Albion in a 4-1 home win, ad deserved at least a point from the 2-3 defeat to promotion candidates Wolves. They even fired in more shots on target than QPR in a losing effort, so these Tigers are performing better than their points haul suggests so far.
Bolton are doing very little, as their tally of two points from a possible twelve attests, and in attack in particular they appear undercooked at present. They’ve not managed to fire three shots or more on target in a single outing this term.
The Trotters will look to keep it tight on Friday night, but Hull’s free-flowing style – only Ipswich have scored more goals than them in the Championship thus far – should prevail.
Bet 2: Watford vs Brighton: Watford +0.75 Asian Handicap – £11.43 at 1/6
Saturday August 26, 15:00
Two games, four points and stacks of positives for new Watford manager Marco Silva to enjoy. His side were well deserving of a point against Liverpool – they were probably the better side in fact, and their 2-0 victory over Bournemouth was as comfortable as it sounds.
Brighton’s reaction to promotion to the Premier League so far has been understandable: defend for your lives and hope you can nick a goal on the counter attack. It’s a formula that has seen them come unstuck against the Cities of Manchester and Leicester, and it is unlikely to pay dividends at Vicarage Road either.
Bet 3: Amiens vs Nice: Nice +1.25 Asian Handicap – £13.34 at 1/10
Saturday August 26, 19:00
For what it’s worth, the bookmakers have got the outright prices of this match wrong, with Nice outstanding value to win the game at 7/5.
We’re hoping for a more modest return of course, but it is hugely surprising to say the least to see last season’s Ligue 1 surprise package so readily shunned by the market.
They’ve lost of their opening league games and were dumped out of the Champions League by a quality Napoli side, but last time out in domestic action they were clear 2-0 winners over a capable Guingamp outfit and completely dominated the shot data.
Amiens have lost all three of their Ligue 1 outings and recorded just three shots on target all season – all of which came from low probability areas outside of the 18-yard box. That does not bode well for the hosts.
Bet 4: CSKA Moscow vs Terek Grozny: CSKA/Draw Double Chance – £14.67 at 1/9
Sunday August 27, 15:30
The hosts have started their Russian Premier League campaign in decent fashion, going unbeaten in five of their seven outings to date. A couple of defeats have come on home soil but they have scored in all of those, and the shot data suggests they have had the upper hand in five of their seven matches thus far.
Terek Grozny have lost four on the bounce, conceding 12 goals in the process, so their fine start has been all but wiped out. Their last away outing at Zenit was their nadir: a 0-4 loss compounded by one of the most one-sided Expected Goals counts you could ever wish to see.