The unerring ability for this column to pick selections that yield anomalous results continues.
This time the culprits were Estoril, who we had backed against Moreirense with a +1.00 Asian Handicap. They had been excellent in their two victories in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, and defeats to Benfica and Porto are wholly expected in a league blighted by inequality.
Moreirense, meanwhile, had scored one goal in 360 minutes of football – barely registering a shot on target, and has lost their prior two games 0-3. Away from home, they didn’t stand much chance, did they?
You probably know the punchline to this particular joke already, as Estoril not only contrived to lose the game but by a margin of 0-2; meaning our Asian Handicap selection was a loser.
There’s little else we can do but chuckle through gritted teeth and hope that we can avoid these unexpected results for as long as possible – ideally until the kitty is well on its way to the target £1000 amount.
So let’s strap ourselves in for the next instalment of the challenge – hopefully, this is the one which brings home the bacon.
Bet 1: Hoffenheim vs Braga: Hoffenheim +0.50 Asian Handicap – £10 at 1/10
Thursday September 14, 18:00
Hoffenheim have made a positive start to the 2017/18 campaign, and despite losing to Liverpool in the Champions League qualifiers – a result which saw them moved into the Europa League – they can be confident ahead of this one.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side are unbeaten in three Bundesliga outings, are yet to concede in 180 minutes on home soil and have just taken the prize German scalp: beating Bayern Munich 2-0 on Saturday. Assuming they play a strong side, Hoffenheim will really fancy this one.
There’s no place for Braga to hide at the moment. Their formline doesn’t read too badly – W2 D0 L3 – but the point is that in their two matches against decent opposition they were well and truly beaten. Okay, so 1-3 to Benfica and 0-1 to Porto don’t look so bad on paper, but the shot count suggests those scorelines should have been even wider.
The Braga players looked beset by fear in Sunday’s 0-2 loss at Vitoria Setubal, and their task won’t get much easier in Germany on Thursday.
Bet 2: Eibar vs Leganes: Leganes +2.25 Asian Handicap – £11 at 1/9
Friday September 15, 20:00
Aside from Real Madrid’s shaky start, Leganes have been the talk of La Liga after racking up six points from their opening trio of matches. Asier Garitano has got his side looking sharp in attack and resilient at the back, and they have been rewarded with victories over Alaves and Espanyol.
And we should probably mention the 1-2 defeat against Getafe on Friday. Leganes fired in eleven shots on goal – seven of which were on target, and won the Expected Goal count by 1.75-0.56. Getafe managed just two shots on target and both were from 25+ yards….but football, being the cruel game it is, dictated that both went in and handed the visitors one of the most undeserved victories you could ever wish to see.
Eibar, meanwhile, haven’t scored since the opening day of the season, and they were soundly beaten 3-0 at the weekend by what was, in essence, Sevilla’s reserves. The hosts here only won one of their last seven games last season – failing to score in five of them – and you sense there is still something of a hangover at the Basque based club.
Bet 3: Peter Wright vs Dave Chisnall: Chisnall +6.5 Handicap – £12.22 at 1/10
Saturday September 16, 13:15
This is the Champions League of Darts, which will take place in Cardiff this weekend and be broadcast live in the UK on the BBC.
It is almost unfathomable that Dave Chisnall won’t win the four legs required to clear his handicap in this first-to-ten match against Peter Wright. Yes, Snakebite is unbeaten in five matches against the man known as Chizzy, but in all of their longer format encounters of ten legs or more Chisnall has cleared this particular handicap on each and every occasion.
In his most recent outings, Chizzy won the Players Championship 18 event in Barnsley and reached the final of the Shanghai Masters, so clearly he’s playing well enough to beat Wright let alone claim the four legs we require him to.
Bet 4: Manchester United vs Everton: Man Utd/Draw Double Chance – £13.44 at 1/9
Sunday September 17, 16:00
Football is often a game of interpretation, and the best punters are the ones who can spot value bets on the horizon before the bookmakers do. That comes from predicting improved performances or seeing something in a side that perhaps nobody else does.
Well, on the flipside of that theory, are those teams who are jut abject in every way, and unfortunately right now Everton fall into that category.
The Toffees have recorded just one shot on target in their last 180 minutes of Premier League football, have conceded five goals without reply and, worse still, have to travel to Atalanta on Thursday for a Europa League tie – giving Manchester United an extra 48 hours of recovery compared to the Merseysiders.
The Red Devils have been in exhilarating form this term, and while Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Stoke was a blip they still deserved to win the game – recording an outstanding xG figure of 2.59.
With Everton in such woeful form going forward, United may only need to score once to win this game, and with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both in cracking form that appears to be an almost certainty.