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Top Three Soccer Picks for the Champions League Final

UEFA Champions League Final Tottenham Hotspur Liverpool

In a piece I never thought I’d be alive to pen, I’m going to use this space to break down my three favorite bets for a Champions League final that involves Tottenham Hotspur, the club I’ve been following since watching David Ginola create magic at White Hart Lane in the late ‘90s.

Yes, Tottenham meets Liverpool on June 1 in Madrid to see who captures the biggest club prize in world football. There are a number of ways to bet this thing with several prop betting options on the board. Rest assured, I will be placing several wagers prior to kickoff and drinking copious amounts of alcohol as well.

As far as odds for this game are concerned, online shop Bovada currently has Spurs +315, draw +255 and Liverpool -110 in 1X2 markets. As for the total, we’re looking at 2.5 with OVER -105 and UNDER coming back at -115. Tottenham is a half-goal underdog at -110 with Liverpool -110 as the fave.

Both teams pulled off miracles in the Champions League semifinal round as Liverpool overturned a 3-0 deficit after the first leg in Barcelona with a 4-0 win at Anfield in the second leg. Tottenham lost to Ajax 1-0 in London and was down 2-0 at halftime in the second leg but a Lucas Moura second-half hat trick was enough to down the Amsterdam club and put Spurs through to the final.

So, crazy things have been happening in this Champions League campaign.

Some squad notes ahead of this one: as I sit here writing this on Tuesday, May 28, Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez have all returned to full training, so that is certainly promising for Tottenham. Naby Keita looks to miss out here and while that’s certainly not disastrous for Liverpool, it does hurt their depth in the midfield.

Before I move on to the picks, a shoutout to all of you who have been reading the column weekly. This is my last one until domestic leagues start back up, so thank you for reading and talking some footy on Twitter as well.

Tottenham vs Liverpool Game Center

Total: BTTS and OVER 2.5 (+130)

When these two teams meet, there is scoring. Always been that way for the most part.

The two meetings in the league this season would have cashed this bet as both finished 2-1 to Liverpool. Both meetings last season would have cashed this wager as well with nine goals in two games.

Tottenham has had no trouble scoring in Champions League, evidenced by the aforementioned three they put up in the second half against Ajax, the three they scored against Manchester City in that ridiculous second leg, the three they scored at home against Dortmund. The list goes on.

Plus, we all know about Liverpool’s attacking prowess, headlined by the trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool put up four against Barcelona, four against Porto, three against Bayern, three against PSG, etc., etc.

Both Jürgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino don’t necessarily sit back either. I’m expecting a pretty wide-open game with decent attacking options at both ends of the pitch. There will be lots of pressing, which should, in theory, force mistakes and create counters.

There is going to be world-class attacking talent on both sides in this one. I expect goals. With good value on a total that should probably be 3.0, I’ll be playing the OVER.

Side: Liverpool Moneyline (90 mins) (-110)

Capping this game in the most unbiased fashion I can, I like Liverpool to win this year’s Champions League final. You can get them to win the trophy at -200, which would include extra time and penalties should it come down to that, but I’m gonna play the 1X2 market at -105. This means that Liverpool has to win the game in regular time.

But yes, you may very well call this an emotional hedge.

That said, it’s been a fairly one-sided “rivalry” down the years with Liverpool winning both meetings this season and winning four of the last six, including a cup match in 2016.

Pochettino has had his issues getting wins against Liverpool’s Klopp. In nine career meetings, Pochettino has just one win to go along with four draws and four losses.

The one win was a biggie back in October of 2017. Spurs beat Liverpool 4-1 thanks to a brace from Harry Kane and strikes from Heung-min Son and Dele Alli.

Tottenham was hard done by in the most recent fixture. After going down 1-0 through Firmino, Lucas Moura equalized in the 70th minute but Spurs were undone by a cruel Toby Alderweireld own goal in the 90th minute to leave with nothing.

Look, the way this Champions League campaign has gone, I wouldn’t be surprised by any result in this game. With that in mind, this contest could cater to some great in-game betting opportunities to keep an eye on. But for me, and bear in mind I’m a massive Tottenham fan, I’ll be playing Liverpool’s 1X2 at -115.

It will be interesting, however, to see if/when Harry Kane is confirmed to play and how that will impact the three-way moneyline market. So keep an eye on that.

Prop: Heung-min Son To Score Anytime (+230)

Look, to be perfectly honest, take your pick in anytime goalscorer markets. There are plenty to choose from: Salah and Mane (+140), Firmino (+200), Lucas Moura (+290), Christian Eriksen (+400) and, if everything goes smoothly between now and Saturday, Kane (+160) are all viable candidates. But one player I’ll be putting my money on is Heung-min Son at +230.

One of Tottenham’s best players all season long, Son has bagged four goals in the Champions League, including three over the two legs against Manchester City. The guy has popped up with big goals throughout his excellent career and I’ll be backing him to get one on Saturday.

Son scored against Liverpool last season in the 4-1 Spurs win but only played a combined 38 minutes in two appearances in the league against the Reds this season. While we don’t know lineups yet, of course, you’ve gotta expect that Son starts from the outset.

The interesting note will be Kane. With Tottenham’s talisman appearing to be fit and ready to go, will Pochettino start him?

Imagine if Kane starts on the bench, comes on in a 0-0 in the 60th minute and scores the late winner? The SCENES.

I wouldn’t have cashed any of the above wagers, but I could die a happy man.

Soccer is a strange sport, man.

Archived Articles

Welcome to the penultimate edition of my soccer picks column with two more leagues wrapping up this weekend! Yes, we said goodbye to the Premier League one week ago as Manchester City was crowned champion, with the curtain closing on La Liga in Spain and the Bundesliga in Germany this weekend.

My final column of the season will be for the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool and those of you who are familiar with me or my work know that this will be a tough game to handicap considering I’m a diehard Tottenham supporter.

But I digress.

My picks went 1-1-1 in last weekend’s column and, of course, I hit my Bundesliga bet with Bayer Leverkusen cashing that first-half -0.5 bet against Schalke. I got a PUSH in Serie A with Atalanta -1 and I lost my bet in France as Rennes conceded an 87th-minute goal to Alexandre Mendy in a 1-1 game that made me want to walk into traffic.

The Leverkusen bet pushes my Bundesliga record to 9-2 in this column for a profit of around 6.5 units. In reality, I should have just made three Bundesliga plays this week as it’s been my most profitable league. Yet here I am, a glutton for punishment, going right back into Italy (my least profitable) and taking a potentially tricky game in Spain.

Why do I do this, you ask? I don’t know. I have no answer for that. To be perfectly frank, this weekend’s board sucks. There aren’t many games that I actually like. So with that in mind, follow with caution this week. The final matchdays in any domestic league are a crapshoot.

In any event, let’s get right into it. As always, odds supplied by Bovada and whatever you decide to do with your footy bets this weekend, best of luck.

Getafe vs Villarreal: Getafe -1 (+110)

It’s crazy to say this, but this is one of the biggest games of the weekend.

Little Getafe, punching above its weight all season long in the very tough La Liga, has a chance at Champions League. Getafe. Champions League. What world is this?

What has to happen? Well, it’s in Getafe’s best interest to bag three points at home and score goal after goal in the process and hope for Valencia to lose away to Real Valladolid. Azulones sit on 58 points, level with Valencia, but are behind thanks to goal differential.

Hence why I think they try to put up a three spot in this game against a Villarreal side that is playing better, but still sports a leaky backline and has little to play for, save for finishing on a high.

Villarreal had done an admirable job to secure its safety in the top flight so does this mean they’ll roll over? Well, no, but motivation in this one is at opposite ends of the spectrum for these two.

Getafe won the reverse fixture 2-1 and has won back-to-back meetings at Coliseum Alfonso Pérez by scores of 4-0 and 2-0. Furthermore, Getafe has 10 points from its last four home games and has outscored visitors by a combined 6-0. And it wasn’t just anyone. They’ve blanked Bilbao, Sevilla, Girona and Real Madrid in those four games.

Djené Dakonam is going to be a big miss in this one but with Champions League to play for, which would be a major cash windfall for this club, I think they play strong at home so I’m betting -1 at plus-money.

Getafe vs Villarreal Game Center

Mainz vs Hoffenheim: Hoffenheim OVER 2.5 Goals (EVEN)

Ah the Bundesliga. The final matchday of the season of a league I’ve turned into my own personal ATM.

For this week and the final Bundesliga bet of the column, I’ve gotta take a shot on Hoffenheim to bag more than 2.5 goals away to Mainz.

Nobody in Germany scores more goals away from home (40) and only PSG scores more road goals in Europe’s big-five leagues with 41. It’s been an insane season away from home for manager Julian Nagelsmann and his Hoffenheim side.

Hoffenheim still has the potential to qualify for Europa League as it sits eighth in the league on 51 points. For this to happen, they’ll have to hope for a Wolfsburg loss (at home to Augsburg) and for Bayern Munich to beat Frankfurt.

Hoffenheim has scored seven goals in its last two trips to Mainz, scoring three goals last season and four goals in 2016. Additionally, the OVER has gone 13-3 in Hoffenheim’s away games this season. That’s insane. The full-game total in this one is at 4.0 if you’re so inclined.

This game has the potential to be incredibly open with nothing but attacking football on the docket. Hoffenheim has been an OVER machine on the road this season and this is the last chance to bet. Take the full-game 4.0 if you’d like, but I’m gonna bank on Hoffenheim finding the back of the net at least three times.

Mainz vs Hoffenheim Game Center

Lazio vs Bologna: Both Teams to Score & OVER 2.5 (+110)

So, I really, really wanted to post “Both Teams to Score” for this one, but when I started the column, it was -155. Fast-forward to Friday and it’s -170. That’s just not the sort of value I’m looking for in the column, though I still may bet it independently.

So with that in mind, I’m gonna tackle both teams to score and OVER 2.5 at +110 in hopes of cashing a damn Serie A ticket in this column.

Lazio is coming off a Coppa Italia win over Atalanta midweek and now gets to host Bologna in the penultimate matchday in Serie A. With that win, Lazio clinched a trip to next season’s Europa League while it would have taken a herculean effort to do so via the table. Entering the weekend, Lazio sits eighth in the league, four points back of sixth-placed Roma and fifth-placed Milan.

Bologna has played really well recently and looks poised to remain safe in Serie A for 2019-20. Still, though, Bologna should be gunning for points on Monday as the club is still not mathematically clear.

I Rossoblu is 13th on 40 points with Empoli owning that last relegation spot on 35 points. It would clearly take a miracle for Bologna to be relegated, but I expect the side to play for points in Rome on Monday.

I’m just going for a win here. Keep in mind that this game goes Monday so depending on how my weekend picks go, this COULD be a multi-unit play for me.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is back in the mix, Joaquin Correa scored a lovely solo effort to clinch the Coppa and Nicola Sansone and Andrea Poli are available for Bologna. I see goals on Monday.

Atalanta vs Bologna Game Center

Archived Articles

Welcome to one of the last soccer picks columns of the season as domestic leagues wind down. In fact, this is the last week of the Premier League as Sunday features a full slate of games kicking off at the same time, as is tradition.

It was a ho-hum column last week as I went 1-1-1 and basically broke even. I’m usually not one to toot my own horn, but my excellent Bundesliga capping continued as Wolfsburg -1 cashed against Nürnberg to push my record to 8-2 in the column with a profit of +5.5 units in that league alone.

Oh how I’ll miss betting German football when that league wraps up.

My Serie A capping, on the other hand, has been terrible. The silver lining from last week’s picks is that I was able to muster a PUSH with my Sassuolo OVER 2.0 goals against Frosinone. I have been poor in Italy this year but here I am making a play on the boot once again.

My loss was in Ligue 1 as Montpellier (-140) couldn’t get the job done at home against Amiens in a match that finished 1-1.

All that said, I’m diving back into those three leagues once again this week in an effort to close the season on the plus side of things. I’ll start in Italy as Atalanta attempts to keep its Champions League hopes alive with a fourth-placed finish in Serie A. Or even third, which isn’t out of the question with three games left.

As usual, odds for these games courtesy of Bovada.

ATALANTA Vs GENOA: ATALANTA -1 (-120)

With three matchdays remaining, Atalanta sits fourth in Serie A with 62 points, just one point back of third-placed Inter. With a home game against lowly Genoa this weekend, I’m gonna take a shot on Atalanta’s -1 spread at -120.

As I said in my intro, my Serie A capping has been molto brutto this season so I won’t blame you if you stay very, very far away from this one.

Atalanta is the league’s top-scoring team with 71 goals this season and plays attractive football to boot. La Dea will be short-handed as one of their best players, Alejandro Gómez, will miss out this weekend due to suspension. Added to that list are centerbacks Gianluca Mancini and Andrea Masiello, who miss out via bans.

Even with Gómez missing out here, Atalanta is still not short of attacking options with Josip Ilicic and Duván Zapata both ready to go.

Atalanta has used an incredible 10-match unbeaten run to propel itself into the Champions League places in Italy. Over that stretch, Atalanta has won seven and drawn three and has won three straight, including huge victories over Napoli (2-1) and Lazio (3-1), both of which were on the road.

Three of the wins in this unbeaten run have come at home, with all three by at least two goals.

Genoa is winless in seven games since March 17 and has won just three games in 2019. They are even more futile away from home with just two wins on the road all campaign.

Lastly, if you believe in the whole “revenge factor” aspect, this is your spot. Genoa won the reverse fixture 3-1 back in December after two players were sent off.

Atalanta vs Genoa Game Center

Leverkusen vs Schalke: Leverkusen 1st Half -0.5 (-125)

Bayer Leverkusen has been a fantastic team to watch and a fantastic team to bet this season so I’m jumping all over them as we’ve got just two matchdays left in Germany.

Leverkusen hosts Schalke this weekend and with 54 points, a Champions League spot is still up for grabs. Leverkusen is even on points with fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt but is on the outside due to goal differential. Which is crazy to think about after Leverkusen systematically destroyed Frankfurt 6-1 last weekend.

It’s feast or famine for Leverkusen as they’ve snapped a three-game losing streak and are currently riding a four-game winning streak. During those four games, they’ve outscored opponents 13-3. Speaking of last weekend’s Frankfurt game, all of their scoring came in the first half.

That’s right, 6-1 after the first 45. While I don’t necessarily expect the same volume of scoring against Schalke, I’ll be on their first-half spread of -0.5.

The first leg was a 2-1 Leverkusen win at Schalke back in December and the visitors were up 2-0 after 35 minutes before Schalke pulled one back in first-half injury time.

It’s been a season to forget for the Gelsenkirchen club as they sit 15th in the league on 31 points. They are coming off a tough 0-0 draw at home against Augsburg and just don’t have the firepower, or the defense, to compete against a buzzing Leverkusen side.

Leverkusen vs Schalke Game Center

Rennes vs Guingamp: Rennes ML (-105)

Even though Guingamp has spoiled a bet previously in this column (3-3 away to Strasbourg back on April 13), I’m going against the Ligue 1 bottom-feeders once again and backing an easy-on-the-eye Rennes team that is much better than its 13th-placed standing in the league table.

Last-placed Guingamp hasn’t been relegated yet, but it would take a miracle to keep them in France’s top league. With just 25 points, Guingamp is three points back of 19th-placed Dijon, five points back of 18th-placed Caen and eight points back of Monaco in that safe 17th spot.

It should be noted that this will be a derby match with both teams located in the province of Brittany so expect this one to be hotly contested with Guingamp playing for survival.

Guingamp has actually won three of the last four meetings with their regional rival, including a 2-1 home win in the reverse fixture back in January. But, with the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Ismaila Sarr, Ramy Bensebaini, M’Baye Niang, Clément Grenier and more set to feature for the hosts on Sunday, the value at -105 is just too good to pass up.

Mehdi Merghem is set to miss out for Guingamp after too many bookings and it could be a big miss. He’s only started seven matches but he’s a good wide player who can also chip in defensively.

Neither side is in particularly good form with Rennes winless in eight matches (five draws, three losses) and Guingamp winless in six (three draws, three losses), but Guingamp is just so poor, especially away from home. In their last seven on the road, the club has lost five, drawn two and been outscored 20-4.

With this being a derby, it could be pretty good viewing, and backing Rennes at a decent moneyline price and cracking a bottle of Muscadet could make for a pretty good Sunday.

Rennes vs Guingamp Game Center

Archived Articles

New week, new column and, hopefully, new winnings as I’ve combed the European football board to find some of the best betting spots for Saturday and Sunday. I’m coming off a 2-1 column last week with Leicester trumping Arsenal in the Premier League and OVER 3.0 cashing with ease in the derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.

The one loss came in the Leganés-Celta Vigo game where I had Vigo OVER 1 goal and that game finishing 0-0. I was inches away from getting a push in that one as Iago Aspas came oh-so-close to breaking down that very tough Leganés defense.

Oh well. Still up for the week and we watched Arsenal lose. So we’re all winners. Right?

There is a lot on the board this weekend that I like. A LOT. There were some Premier League to consider, as well as other Bundesliga and Serie A games that didn’t make the cut this week, but those are ones that I’ll likely be backing. Bizarrely, nothing in La Liga gives me any confidence this week. So I’m down to picks from France, Italy and Germany.

Let’s start right there in the Bundesliga with that Wolfsburg-Nürnberg game. As always, odds courtesy Bovada.

Wolfsburg v Nürnberg: Wolfsburg -1 (EVEN)

With European football seasons winding down, one thing I can tell you for certain is that I’m going to miss betting the Bundesliga. It’s been my best league for column picks and I've thoroughly enjoyed watching the games that I've bet. We hit the OVER in the Dortmund-Schalke game one week ago and I’ve got a pick once again this week.

Season to date, I’m 7-2 with Bundesliga picks in the column and up 4.5 units entering the weekend. I’m quite happy with that to be honest.

Although I contemplated going with the Hertha Berlin moneyline (+135 vs Stuttgart) or OVER 3.5 between Gladbach and Hoffenheim, I’ve settled on Wolfsburg -1 at home against Nürnberg.

Nürnberg is all but relegated from the Bundesliga but, to their credit, have put together some results recently. In their last five games, they’ve won one, drawn three, and have one loss. Not bad for a side with just 19 points. But away form is what has let this team down.

This is THE worst road team in Germany with just three points from 15 games and has been outscored 39-9 in the process. Seven of those would have cashed a -1 bet for the hosts while a further five would have pushed.

Added to all this is the fact that Wolfsburg is coming off a stunning 4-1 win away to Hoffenheim last time out – after falling down 1-0! A great performance for a team that has largely impressed on the pitch this season.

There are some personnel concerns here for Wolfsburg as William misses out through suspension and No. 1 keeper Koen Casteels will miss out. Still, Wolfsburg is the bigger, better, more confident club here, so gimme the hosts on that -1 spread at even money.

Wolfsburg v Nürnberg Game Center

Montpellier v Amiens: Montpellier (-140)

I’m heading to France for my second pick and when I began putting notes together for this week’s column, Montpellier was sitting there at -125 and now we’ve got a 15-cent move to -140, but I’m still going in on this one.

Montpellier currently sits fifth in Ligue 1 and still has a chance at the Europa League with Saint-Etienne just five points up with four matches to play.

Furthermore, La Paillade have won three straight at Stade de la Mosson, including a 3-2 win over PSG in their last game and they have won three straight overall entering Sunday’s contest.

Montpellier gets the bulk of its scoring from the striker tandem of Andy Delort (14 goals) and Gaëtan Laborde (10) with the former scoring three goals in the last two games while the latter has been held off the scoresheet in his last eight games.

Amiens hasn’t won a game since beating Nimes 2-1 back on March 9. Since then, they’ve drawn five and lost just one. They’ve only won two games on the road this season and have lost four and drawn four in their last eight games.

Amiens sit 17th in Ligue 1 and is just four points clear of the relegation zone, so they still have a lot to play for. But so does Montpellier, and coming off a big win over PSG the last time out, this team is brimming with confidence. It’s a bit sad we’ve lost some of that value what with the line going from -125 to now -140 (at the time of writing), but I still think this is a strong bet on this weekend’s footy board.

Montpellier v Amiens Game Center

Sassuolo v Frosinone: Sassuolo OVER 2.0 Goals (+145)

Okay. I talked about my glee when it has come to betting the Bundesliga this year in the column. The antithesis to that has been Serie A. My bets on the boot have not gone according to plan. Which has been frustrating because the previous two seasons, I’ve done pretty decent in Italy.

I’ve taken some time off from Serie A multiple times over the last six weeks or so, but I’m diving back in with OVER 2 goals for Sassuolo in their home game against lowly Frosinone this weekend.

Sassuolo has put together a pretty good campaign in Roberto De Zerbi’s first year on the touchline. They’re coming off a 1-0 win away to Fiorentina on Monday, are unbeaten in five and sit 10th in the table on 41 points entering the weekend.

De Zerbi likes to play open, possession-based, attack-minded football and his sides especially like to please the home crowd. Results at home haven’t necessarily been up to snuff, but they’ve only lost three. The problem is that they’ve only won five and, as a result, have drawn eight times.

That said, they’ve scored the sixth-most goals at home (31) but their aggressive tactical approach can leave them exposed at the back and they have conceded 52 times overall. That number is the highest number of goals conceded of anyone in the top 14 in the table.

On paper, this all lends itself to a wide-open game and I like goals here. I think I Neroverdi will be gunning for goals and gunning to impress on home soil so I’m hanging my hat on them bagging OVER 2.0 and at +145, I think the value is great here.

Frosinone sports one of the leakiest defenses in the league (62 goals conceded), so I think we can expect the likes of winger Domenico Berardi to have some impact on the game. Sassuolo won the reverse fixture 2-0 back in December and I expect them to put together another nice performance and pad our bankrolls in the process.

Sassuolo v Frosinone Game Center

Archived Articles

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and got to spend some time with friends and family and win some bets along the way. The three column picks went just 1-2 last weekend and I have no idea why. Bournemouth, at -150 no less, loses at home to a relegated team while Hertha Berlin, at home against the worst team in Germany, plays to a nil-nil result.

Ah, the cruel mistress that is soccer betting.

But, there was Celta Vigo getting the weekend off to a flying start, cashing OVER 1.5 goals against Girona. So, as you will soon find out, I’m heading to Spain and getting a bet in involving the Célticos once more.

Producing Guys & Bets is taking up most of my week, so not as thorough a read here, and no greasy parlay, but three picks in three big games over in Europe.

And there is none bigger, from a rivalry standpoint at least, than the Revierderby. Borussia Dortmund and Schalke meet for the 153rd time and this year, the performances of these two couldn’t be any different.

So let’s start there, with one of the most heated rivalries in Europe, let alone Germany. As always, odds provided by Bovada.

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke: OVER 3.0 (-125)

One of the biggest rivalries, if not THE biggest, in Germany will have another chapter written as Borussia Dortmund and Schalke square off in the Ruhr Derby at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday.

These two teams are at opposite ends of the table entering Matchday 31 in the Bundesliga as Dortmund sits second on 69 points while Schalke is 15th with just 27 points. It’s been a season to forget for Schalke, a team that made the Champions League knockout stages, as they’ve got the fourth-most losses in the league (17) and have been fighting off relegation for the bulk of the campaign.

Dortmund is still fighting for a league title as they are just one point back of leaders Bayern Munich and have put together back-to-back wins since being dominated by Munich 5-0 back on April 6.

I’m expecting goals in this one so my play is going to OVER 3. Dortmund has bagged six goals in its last two games and is the highest-scoring home team in the league with 47 goals.

To their credit, Schalke isn’t too shabby defensively away from Veltins-Arena as they’ve conceded just 24 times in 15 away games but got absolutely shellacked by Hoffenheim at home last time out.

With Dortmund in a title hunt and this one against a bitter rival, I expect some goals. OVER 3.0 is my play here.

Dortmund vs Schalke Game Center

Leicester vs Arsenal: Leicester PICK (EVEN)

As a Tottenham fan, I’ve quite enjoyed watching Arsenal take back-to-back L’s to Crystal Palace and Wolves and with their Champions League hopes hanging in the balance in their last few games, finishing the season with the Gunners on the outside looking in would be incredible.

With that in mind, Sunday’s away game to Leicester is absolutely massive but it is going to be another tough test for Arsenal.

Arsenal is a weird team. They’ve looked fantastic at home, but their away games have been what could ultimately cost them Champions League. They are ninth in the league with just 22 points from 17 games. That puts them between Watford (23 points) and Wolves (20) in away form.

Leicester’s moneyline is tempting at +165, but I’m gonna play it safe here and take the Leicester spread of 0.0 at EVEN money. I like the Foxes to win, but I like having that push on deck in case of a draw.

In their previous 13 road games in the league, Arsenal has just three wins to go alongside six losses and four draws. And their last road game at Wolves midweek was about as bad as it can get.

Arsenal played right into Wolves’ hands by dominating possession and making mistakes, which Wolves promptly pounced on with the counter-attacking gusto that has bagged them big points against big clubs.

The backline cannot hang with pace and with guys like Jamie Vardy, Demarai Gray and Harvey Barnes out there, Arsenal’s defenders will have their hands full away from home once again.

Leicester vs Arsenal Game Center

Leganés vs Celta Vigo: Celta OVER 1.0 Goal (-105)

I wrote about the importance of Iago Aspas to Celta Vigo previously in this column and he was vital to cashing my Celta OVER 1.5 goals bet here last week with a goal and an assist against Girona. Now, I’m going right back to the Celta well and taking them OVER 1 goal away to Leganés this week.

Sure, Leganés is a tough nut to crack at home this season, only conceding 14 times in 17 games, but having Aspas in the lineup makes Celta a threat every game.

As stated, I’ve mentioned this in the column a couple of times already when talking about Celta but it bears repeating as a reminder or if there are any new readers out there: in an 11-match stretch where Aspas played just 24 minutes due to a calf injury, Celta won one game, lost nine and scored just eight goals. Since coming back, he’s played five games and has notched six goals and added four assists.

To date in La Liga, he has 16 goals and six assists in 23 appearances. He’s been putting up these kinds of numbers for some time, but he’s been immense for the club this season as he’s been just about single-handedly getting this team up the table.

Just having Aspas in the lineup makes this team flow in possession and players like Maxi Gómez, Sofiane Boufal, Ryad Boudebouz and Fran Beltrán get to enjoy a little more freedom.

The value here is great at -105 plus having the push involved is comfortable. As mentioned, Leganés has been stout defensively and it’s deserved as their xGA is basically bang on. But Celta isn’t out of the relegation fight quite yet and will be playing for three points.

And with Iago Aspas in the mix, there’s always gonna be a chance for one.

Leganés vs Celta Vigo Game Center

Archived Articles

It’s Friday and while we’ve got domestic football and bets to look forward to this weekend, I’m still on cloud 9 after Tottenham advanced to the semifinal of the Champions League.

So, "Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur".

I originally started paying attention to Tottenham Hotspur because of a player named David Ginola, who was briefly at Tottenham in the late 90s. He played with flair and passion, as did some of the other players in that side, and the fact that Tottenham was a smaller outfit that didn’t compete for Premier League titles was appealing. I liked the underdog element.

So many incredible players have worn that famous white shirt down the years that I became partial to: Ginola, Ledley King, Edgar Davids, Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale, etc, that it became easy to pour your heart and soul into cheering for this club.

Which is what makes reaching the Champions League semifinals so special. I’ve basically watched this club transform itself from Premier League also-rans into a team that not only competes in England, but one that can compete in Europe. One that hasn’t splashed Manchester City money around on the latest player du jour (or any money at all over the past year), one that has lost many players through injury (Harry Kane, Eric Dier, etc), one that has lost stars to outgoing transfers (Mousa Dembele) and one that has played without a home for a long time.

Now, we’ve got a new stadium, an upcoming date with a sublime Ajax side in the Champions League semifinal and new players that keep you in love with the club: Kane, Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, and a host of others that seemingly play for the badge.

At least the romantic in me feels that way.

No matter what happens against a young, ridiculously talented Ajax team, this Champions League run has been memorable.

But that’s what I said ahead of the Manchester City matches. And a couple heart attacks later, here we are.

Enough of the gush fest and onto the picks. Short column this week as I’ve been dedicating my work week to getting the new format of Guys & Bets off the ground. 

I couldn’t hit a Serie A bet to save my life lately, so I’m staying far away from the booth this week. As usual, all odds courtesy Bovada. Here's what's caught my eye this week.

Bournemouth v Fulham: Bournemouth ML (-150)

Yeah, it’s chalky, but Bournemouth is coming off a very strong performance in a 5-0 thumping away to Brighton in their last game has still has its eyes set on a top 10 finish in the Premier League table.

It was Bournemouth’s first win after suffering a draw and back-to-back losses in its three previous games and enters this home game in poor form at Dean Court. Winless in four in front of their home fans, the Cherries will look to keep their momentum - picked up from the Brighton win - rolling against one of the worst clubs in the league, and one which has already been relegated.

A 2-0 win against Everton was impressive, but Fulham is dreadful. In every way. The Cottagers have accumulated just 20 points this season with two of those – you read right, just two – coming away from home in 17 road games.

Fulham was able to get points via a 2-2 draw with Brighton and a nil-nil against Newcastle and brings a seven-game losing streak in road games into this one.

There’s a massive managerial advantage with Eddie Howe versus Scott Parker on the touchline here and the hosts will be desperate for a win in front of their dedicated fans.

Gimme the Cherries moneyline here.

Bouremouth v Fulham Game Center

Celta Vigo v Girona: Celta OVER 1.5 Goals (-125)

Far deeper down the table than one might have expected when the season began, Celta de Vigo continue their fight for survival as they sit just one point up on the relegation zone entering Matchday 33 in Spain.

I talked about it in last week’s column, but a big reason for Celta’s decline has been the injury to Iago Aspas.

The Celta talisman played 24 minutes over an 11 match stretch thanks to a calf injury and his club struggled. The team won just one of those games, lost nine and managed just eight goals. Clearly a different team with Aspas not in the mix.

Aspas was suspended for last week’s game against Atletico Madrid, which Celta lost 2-0, but in the three games previous, Celta won two and drew one and banged home nine goals in the process with Aspas notching five and assisting another two.

As I said last week, with no amount of hyperbole, this guy means everything to this club.

A win for Celta over Girona would be huge. Girona sits two points above Celta so a win for the hosts would put them ahead by one in the fight for survival. You’ve gotta figure that Aspas returns to the lineup and does a job in front of the crowd that adores him.

So, with Celta mired in a relegation fight and with their ace back in the starting lineup (presumably), let’s take them to score OVER 1.5 goals at -125 on their home pitch.

Celta Vigo v Girona Game Center

Hertha Berlin v Hannover: Hertha Berlin -1 (EVEN)

On to Germany for the final pick of the column and I’ll take a shot with Hertha Berlin -1 against a horrible Hannover side.

If you tail me here, know this: Hertha enters this game ice cold. The capital side has lost five-straight games, including bad ones to Freiburg and Düsseldorf, and has informed manager Pál Dádai that he will no longer be needed after the season wraps up.

So really, I wouldn’t blame you if you even went the other way and took Hannover +1. Call this a "gut play", but I just feel like they get a win at home this weekend and I like the value on that -1 against a team that is dead-last in Germany by four points.

Hannover hasn’t won a road game all season and has just four points from 14 away days in the Bundesliga. Plus, for a team that started the season very good at home, Hertha has slipped and really needs a win on home turf with a perfect remedy coming to Berlin this weekend.

Furthermore, Hertha, like many clubs, trumped Hannover in the reverse fixture by a score of 2-0 back in December. Hertha will have some players coming back into the mix this week: Vedad Ibisevic and Ondrej Duda return from suspension while Marko Grujic and Niklas Stark could return from injury and illness respectively.

Hertha needs a win. Desperately. So let’s hope that Hannover can be the cure that ails.

Hertha Berlin v Hannover Game Center

Archived Articles

Welcome to this week’s soccer picks column where I take a look at what’s on the board over in Europe and pick my three favorite bets for the weekend. I’m coming off back-to-back 2-1 records in this column so I’ve been in the black and hoping that I can keep that going, obviously, with more profit this weekend.

I tweeted this after the dust had settled on my picks last week, but in the past two columns, I’ve ultimately capped four of my picks perfectly with two a bit off the mark. Two weeks ago, it was Getafe’s moneyline at home against Leganés while last week it was OVER 3.0 in the Sampdoria-Roma game. Really annoying.

In any event, this week is shaping up to be home-themed as I’m going with three home teams on the moneyline. Not by design, just the way it ended up. Like every week, there were a few different bets that I liked, but they just didn’t make the cut.

So, with a heavy backing of home sides making this a home-themed edition of the column, I’ve named this week’s breakdown “The Good to Be Back Home Edition” after the great song by Charles Bradley.

Before we get into the picks, here are some takeaways from last weekend’s domestic action.

What is with Napoli in Serie A?: Entering this weekend’s fixture at Chievo, Napoli sits on 64 points – 20 behind Juventus and seven up on third-placed Inter. A loss against Empoli and a 1-1 draw against Genoa, which was down to 10 men after Stefano Sturaro was sent off in the 28th minute, has raised some eyebrows.

Sure, Napoli has a Champions League spot locked up for next season, but that dip in form in Serie A is a bit concerning for both fans and dedicated Napoli bettors, like one OddsShark employee who writes about and bets on soccer.

Their lead over Inter is now down to seven and if Napoli does let that second spot in the table go, it would be a massive letdown. It’s a big lead and there’s just a handful of games left, but recent performances in the league make Napoli a stay-away until they get it right.

Frankfurt Kicking it Up a Notch: Trivia time. In Europe’s “big five” leagues, Manchester City has the longest winning streak at eight games. Who has the second-longest? I’ll wait.

If you guessed Eintracht Frankfurt, pat yourself on the back. I mean, I basically put the answer in the paragraph above, but whatever.

Frankfurt brings a six-game winning streak in the Bundesliga into Sunday’s home game with Augsburg and is making a serious charge to fight Leipzig for that third spot in the table. During the streak, Frankfurt has outscored opponents 15-3 and actually hasn’t lost a league game since December 22 against Bayern Munich.

OVERS Killed it in Germany: Sticking with Germany, OVER bets cashed at a furious clip in Bundesliga over the weekend with the OVER going 6-2-1 in the Matchday 28 games.

Those nine games produced 34 goals with Mainz and Bayern Munich leading the way with five goals and Leipzig and Hoffenheim putting up four apiece on the road. The only UNDER was Stuttgart-Nurnberg with a 1-1 finale, finishing below the closing 2.5.

Iago Aspas IS Celta Vigo: Any fans of La Liga out there will know exactly how important Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas is to the team, but this season has really hammered that fact home. The 31-year-old goalscorer has missed time with a calf injury but has recently returned to action.

During an 11-game stretch, Aspas played just 24 minutes due to this injury. In those 11 games, Celta Vigo won one game, tied one and lost nine. In three games since Aspas returned, they’ve beaten Villarreal 3-2 and Real Sociedad 3-1 and tied Huesca 3-3. He’s bagged five goals and provided two assists.

Aspas’ presence in the Celta XI could very well single-handedly keep them in La Liga as the aforementioned rough patch had them in the drop zone.

What a player.

OK, on to the picks. As usual, odds courtesy of Bovada.

Athletic Bilbao vs Rayo Vallecano: Bilbao ML (-155)

Let’s go to Spain for my first, and chalkiest, pick for the weekend and grab that Bilbao moneyline at home against Rayo Vallecano. When I was putting this together earlier in the week, this was at -145, but that 10-cent move still has this at a good price.

Bilbao’s season can be summed up in two parts: pre-Gaizka Garitano and post-Gaizka Garitano. Garitano was handed the managerial role in Bilbao on December 4 and the Basque club has been a completely different, rejuvenated side now competing for a European place in La Liga under his watch.

Bilbao managed just 11 points from their opening 14 games under Eduardo Berizzo with only one win, coming in their opening match against Leganés. Since Garitano, Bilbao has collected a whopping 32 points from 17 games. Their 32 points over that stretch is fourth-best in Spain, only behind the big three of Barcelona (45 points), Atlético Madrid (37) and Real Madrid (37).

The side has transformed into one of the tightest defensive units in the league under Garitano and now welcomes relegation-threatened Vallecano into the San Mamés on Sunday. Los Ballecanos enter the weekend in 19th in the league on 27 points, three back of Villarreal and three up on Huesca, but getting points at Bilbao is a challenge in and of itself.

Under Garitano, Bilbao has posted six wins and three draws at home with impressive victories over Sevilla, Betis and Atlético included in there. Not to mention a 0-0 draw against Barcelona, which is tantamount to a win.

There is a gulf in class between these two clubs, but that is not a knock on Vallecano. On their day, they can score goals and get points, evidenced by a 2-0 win over Valencia in their last game. This could be a tough game, no doubt, but at that price for an incredibly sound defensive outfit in one of the best home-field advantages in Spain, I’m happy to pay for Bilbao this week.

Beware Rayo’s Raúl de Tomás, though. This guy can play.

Athletic Bilbao vs Rayo Vallecano Game Center

Torino vs Cagliari: Torino ML (-125)

Look, my record betting Serie A in this column has not been good. In fact, my one loss last week was on that Sampdoria-Roma OVER, which finished 1-0 Roma. But one team I’ve won with was Torino back when they were in the midst of their seven-match unbeaten run.

Now, following the 3-2 loss to Bologna that snapped that unbeaten run, they’ve started another one. Torino is now at three unbeaten in a row and hosts Cagliari in the early (very early) Sunday game in Italy.

Il Toro are still trying to lock down a spot in Europe as they sit seventh in Serie A, two points behind Roma for the final Europa League place and even on points with Lazio, which has a game in hand and has a tough one away to AC Milan on Saturday.

Torino has owned Cagliari down the years with six wins and two draws in the last eight meetings in the league. Cagliari’s last win against Torino came back in 2013 when they posted a 2-1 win in Sardinia.

Cagliari doesn’t travel particularly well with just nine points away from home this season, but did record a 3-0 win in their last road game, though that was to Serie A punching bag Chievo.

Torino vs Cagliari Game Center

Strasbourg vs Guingamp: Strasbourg ML (EVEN)

Way back when I started this weekly column, I talked about Strasbourg as a potential betting buddy. They were in the middle of a four-game winning streak in the league and things were looking great. I then backed them here to beat Angers, a game they lost 2-1 and one that started a seven-match winless streak. Call it the Ninja Jinx, I guess.

They then beat Reims 4-0 on April 3 to get back in the win column and drew PSG 2-2 last time out. Now they are unbeaten in four and host a TERRIBLE Guingamp side on Saturday.

Pick a stat, any stat, and Guingamp basically ranks at or near the bottom in all of Ligue 1. They sit last in the league and face a monumental challenge to stave off relegation. They have scored just 20 goals this season. They have a -34 goal differential. They are last in possession (44.5%), second-last in pass percentage and second-last in shots per game (10). I mean, I could go on and on, but you get the gist.

When they’re clicking, Strasbourg can be an enjoyable team to watch. They are the third-highest scoring team in France with 51 goals and get those goals from a variety of players up and down the lineup. Six players have scored at least four goals in the league while Kenny Lala and Adrien Thomasson pace the attack with nine and eight assists respectively.

At EVEN money against the bottom team in France, this looks like some of the best value on this weekend’s board. Be warned, however: as mentioned, I’ve backed Strasbourg in this column before and was left disappointed. But this price feels like a gift.

Strasbourg vs Guingamp Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

Tottenham vs Huddersfield: Tottenham ML (-500)

Watford vs Arsenal: Watford +2.0 (-1000)

Frosinone vs Inter: Inter OVER 0.5 (-800)

Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich: Bayern -0.5 (-650)

Dortmund vs Mainz: Dortmund OVER 1.5 (-305)

$100 wager returns $127.53

Archived Articles

We are coming off yet another profitable column of soccer picks last week (albeit an abbreviated version) and we’ve got another busy weekend ahead.

I finished 2-1 with my three picks, with wins coming via Frankfurt -1 and Leicester’s moneyline against Bournemouth. The loss came from an incredibly unmotivated Getafe side that fell to Leganes 2-0 at home. A truly bizarre, uninspired performance from Getafe, which was in the driver’s seat for a Champions League spot in Spain, but a couple of poor performances now puts that in potential peril.

Speaking of, we had a slew of midweek league fixtures that produced some very interesting results. Valencia beat Real Madrid 2-1, Empoli beat Napoli by the same score, SPAL beat Lazio 1-0, and Manchester United squandered a 1-0 lead against Wolves, ultimately losing 2-1.

There’s not a ton on the board in England but there are some very interesting fixtures on the continent, specifically in Germany where Bayern Munich hosts Borussia Dortmund in another edition of Der Klassiker. The difficulty on this week’s board made column picks fairly tough to choose. You’ll notice I’ve gone with one moneyline, one spread and one total this week just to mix things up.

If you tail or fade, I hope you win some cash with your footy betting this week. March Madness is still at the fore here at OddsShark HQ, so another shorter-than-usual column this week. On to the picks!

Huddersfield vs Leicester: Leicester ML (-140)

I hit Leicester’s moneyline last week against Bournemouth so I’m going right back to the well as they visit the already-relegated Huddersfield this weekend.

The Foxes take a three-match winning streak into this one while the Terriers have lost four in a row. With Huddersfield as bad as they are, they are far and away the worst home team in the league. In 16 matches, they have just eight points via two wins and two draws. Pathetic and deserving of their fate.

Leicester has been very impressive of late under new manager Brendan Rodgers and with the seventh spot in the table in sight, their ascension up the table should be a goal for the remainder of the season.

Just two points back of eighth-placed Watford and three back of seventh-placed Wolves, Leicester will look for nothing less than maximum points before a trio of extremely difficult games to close the season. With six games remaining, Leicester has away games to Huddersfield and West Ham bookending a home date with Newcastle. This comes before home to Arsenal, away to Manchester City and home to Chelsea to close the season. Nine points before that insane run-in to close the season is a must.

That all starts with Huddersfield on Saturday. Harry Maguire is back after serving a suspension against Bournemouth but the team will remain largely unchanged from the one that handled Bournemouth with relative ease.

The midfield trio of Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison has been especially good under Rodgers and that shouldn’t change here Saturday. When I saw the price on the Foxes’ moneyline, it instantly jumped out. I’ll stick with Leicester again this week and enjoy watching how Rodgers has implemented change in this previously underachieving side.

Huddersfield vs Leicester Game Center

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund: Bayern -1 (-125)

In what could potentially be the most important game in the Bundesliga this year, I’ll be backing Bayern Munich -1 against Dortmund as the title race heats up in Germany.

We’re devoid of any interesting title races in Italy and France and we could have something interesting in Spain depending on what happens between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid this weekend. But Germany and England are producing some exciting finishes to their domestic campaigns.

Dortmund enters this one two points up on Bayern at the top of the table. Bayern suffered a slip-up with its 1-1 draw at Freiburg last weekend, but it’s basically all to play for here and if history is any indication, Bayern has the upper hand.

In the last four Bundesliga meetings at Bayern, the Bavarians have won all four and outscored Dortmund 17-3. Furthermore, since a 3-0 loss to Dortmund in 1991-92, Bayern has won 16, drawn seven and lost just three in this Bundesliga fixture. Impressive, to say the least.

There are some injury concerns on both sides with Corentin Tolisso and Arjen Robben out for Bayern while Achraf Hakimi, Max Phillipp and Christian Pulisic are set to miss for the visitors. What needs to be monitored is the status of Manuel Neuer and David Alaba. Both are carrying knocks and are crucial to Bayern’s success.

Dortmund has won just one of its last four away from home, which was a 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin, while Bayern has won seven straight at home and has outscored visitors 24-2 in the process.

With so much on the line, this game could be the craziest and most thrilling of the weekend. Since running my column, this will be my first published play on a game with so much at stake. May Gamblor have mercy on my soul.

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund Game Center

Sampdoria vs Roma: OVER 3.0 (+120)

To be perfectly frank, Serie A has been my worst league in terms of published picks for this column. I refused to post a play from Italy in last week’s column, but let’s go back to the boot this week with Sampdoria hosting a really frustrating Roma.

Roma can’t stop anyone. This team’s defending is staggeringly poor and yields the most goals against of anyone in the top 10 (45). They’ve only kept five clean sheets in Serie A with the last one coming back on February 8 with a 3-0 win away to Chievo.

They’ve lost three of five in Serie A and are coming off a 2-2 draw midweek against Fiorentina while Samp is coming off a 2-1 loss away to a very in-form Torino side.

Sampdoria is right in the thick of the intense race for European football in Serie A. Currently ninth in the table, Sampdoria trails sixth-placed Roma by just three points for that Europa League spot and, although it’s a long shot, seven points back of Milan for a Champions League place.

The Genovese side is paced by the ageless Fabio Quagliarella, who leads Serie A with 21 goals. With just four goals in 17 career matches against Roma, he’s certainly not as prolific as he has been against other clubs, but this season has been his best and while he didn’t play in the reverse fixture earlier this season, I expect him to be integral here Saturday.

Roma can score. Samp can score. Roma concedes a lot and there are a lot of goalscorers on the pitch for both sides. This has all the makings of a high-scoring affair. Is it too obvious? We’ll see. But as I sit here on a Friday, this one jumps out and at +120, I’ll take a punt with a push in the mix as well.

Sampdoria vs Roma Game Center

Like last week, with March Madness taking priority, there is no parlay card for the weekend.

Archived Articles

Mercifully, the international break is now behind us, domestic football is back and so is my column. The previous column, for March 16 and 17, was a wild one as a miraculous West Ham comeback forced a PUSH on that -1 spread, Torino’s unbeaten run came to an end thanks to Bologna and the Leipzig moneyline cashed against Schalke, so my trio of picks were up slightly.

The parlay, however, was not good and a decent winning streak on parlay cards came to a screeching halt. So, 1-1-1 with the three picks and parlay card loss makes the last column 1-2-1 – ahead if you just bet all three picks, down if you added the parlay card.

I’ve been really struggling with Serie A picks in this column so I’m staying away from Italy altogether, even though there are some bets that I do like on this weekend’s board (per usual). I’ve also tried to stay away from clubs that featured a large number of players who featured prominently during internationals, so you will not find a ton of sexy clubs in this week’s picks.

In any event, I’m clearly looking for a good week to rebound from a highly stressful picks column last time out. With the previous week off for international duty, let’s forgo the “takeaways” section this week and get into some picks, shall we?

Getafe vs Leganes: Getafe ML (-110)

You’d be hard pressed to find a better story in La Liga than that of Getafe. If the season ended today, first of all, it would be weird that the season just ended after 28 match days, but if it did, Getafe would be in line for a Champions League spot.

The small Madrid club currently sits fourth in the table with 46 points – two up on fifth-placed Alaves and eight back of third-placed Real Madrid. Wherever El Geta finish in the table at this point, the season has been a successful one.

Manager José Bordalás, who is on track to become a hot commodity in the managerial world, has implemented his 4-4-2 to great effect. The team has conceded just 24 goals to date, which ranks behind only Atletico Madrid’s 19 and Valencia’s 23. So, for a managerial comparison, think Atletico’s Diego Simeone.

When it comes to goalscoring, it is 30-year-old Jaime Mata and 36-year-old Jorge Molina who get the bulk of the goals with the former bagging 13 and the latter 10 as Getafe’s two-pronged strike force.

This weekend’s fixture with Leganes won’t be an easy one, but at -110 on the moneyline, it is more than worth a punt. Leganes looks to be without a couple of key pieces as forward and leading goalscorer Youssef En-Nesyri looks to miss out through injury and defender Kenneth Omeruo won’t be available due to suspension.

Getafe vs Leganes Game Center

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Stuttgart: Frankfurt -1 (-140)

Frankfurt has been on a tear recently as it brings a four-match winning streak and a nine-match unbeaten run in the league into Sunday’s game against relegation-threatened Stuttgart. Frankfurt is -215 in moneyline markets so I’m looking at that -1 spread, which is still pricey at -140 but good enough in terms of value that I’ll be hammering that this weekend.

What should be key here is if Frankfurt can keep a clean sheet, but that is something that has been rare at home this season. In 13 home games so far in the Bundesliga, Frankfurt has managed just two clean sheets, which frankly is a bit surprising considering how good this side is.

They did post one of those clean sheets in their last home game when they beat lowly Nürnberg 1-0 and the reverse fixture here was a 3-0 thumping at the Mercedes-Benz Arena back in early November.

What’s concerning here for the visitors is that midfielder Santiago Ascacibar will miss out through suspension. The defensive midfielder is a disruptive force in the middle of the park and contributes three tackles per game, which is among the best in the league.

Furthermore, Stuttgart is abysmal away from home this season. They’ve managed just five points in 13 away games and have scored just nine goals while conceding 31. Hence why they are fighting for survival.

Frankfurt is buzzing with confidence considering their league form and the fact they recently trumped Inter Milan in Europa League and I like them to continue their winning ways this weekend after a long break.

Frankfurt vs Stuttgart Game Center

Leicester vs Bournemouth: Leicester ML (-125)

This is always a tough matchup for Leicester, for some reason. In nine career meetings with the Cherries, the Foxes have just two wins and both of those came in 2013-14 in The Championship when both clubs were toiling in the second tier of English football. Since both have been in the Premier League, Bournemouth has two wins and the pair have drawn five times.

The reverse fixture this season was a 4-2 Bournemouth win but things are different in Leicester now. Brendan Rodgers has taken over on the touchline and the team has posted back-to-back wins and climbed into the top 10 in the table. Gone are the stale, underachieving tactics of Claude Puel and in comes the free-flowing, passing approach of Rodgers’ sides.

Sure, it will take time for the players to adjust to the new style of football, but in the early going, it looks as though they’ve already taken to what Rodgers is doing and the away win to Burnley was a good test three games in.

Bournemouth poses a different sort of challenge and despite history dictating otherwise, I like the Foxes’ ML here.

Take this with a grain of salt, but in four meetings between Rodgers and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, Rodgers has the edge with three wins to Howe’s one. They’ll be without Harry Maguire, Daniel Amartey and Marc Albrighton, but Leicester possesses quality to get a W on home turf.

Leicester vs Bournemouth Game Center

Due to time limitations this week (thanks, March Madness), no parlay card. Hopefully back next week.

Archived Articles

Despite a 2-2 record in last week’s column, I was still able to come out on top thanks to the six-leg parlay that was around +140 depending on when you got it. So even though we’re just slightly in the black last week, we’re still up, and that means we’ve been turning profit for the last four with a record of 10-4-2. Furthermore, since introducing the #greasyparlay to the column six weeks ago, those have gone 5-1.

With that said, can we just take a second to appreciate Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish before I continue? In case you were unaware, Villa played in the Second City derby in Birmingham this past weekend where Grealish was attacked and punched from behind by Blues supporter Paul Mitchell in the 10th minute.

Grealish was fine and promptly scored the winner later in the second half. So that’s why this week’s column is the “Street Fighting Man” edition in honor of the great Stones song. Grealish took a cheap shot from a “fan” and hit all of Birmingham with a knockout blow to help leapfrog their rivals in the championship table.

Sweet poetic justice.

On to some takeaways from the weekend.

La Liga Relegation Battle: Relegation battles toward the end of the season can make for some exciting viewing and right now, no race for survival is hotter than in Spain’s La Liga.

Huesca holds up the league with 22 points but Rayo Vallecano has lost six straight games and is now 19th with 23 points. Celta Vigo, long missing talisman Iago Aspas, is now 18th with just 25 points. Real Valladolid and Villarreal sit 16th and 17th respectively while Levante, not out of the woods yet, has 30 points thanks to four losses in its last five games and is 15th.

For what it’s worth, Huesca is on the best form over the last six games among those bottom-feeder clubs with 10 points over that stretch. They’ve also scored the joint-third most goals in La Liga (10) in those last six games. Not bad, and it makes their +150 moneyline price against Alaves this weekend somewhat intriguing. SOMEWHAT.

Schalke Reaching New Lows: It’s crazy to think, but a team that reached the Champions League Round of 16 is actually facing a relegation threat in the league. That team is Schalke and after getting hammered 7-0 by Manchester City in their Champions League game Tuesday, they now face an uphill climb in the Bundesliga.

The Gelsenkirchen club is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga and is sitting on 23 points, one point up on Augsburg and four up on Stuttgart. While they do have a comfortable cushion on 17th-placed Hannover and 18th-placed Nürnburg, that 16th spot in the table, which would put them in a playoff, is creeping up.

Schalke hasn’t won a league game since January 20 when it beat Wolfsburg 2-1 at home. Since then, they have five losses and two draws. Just five points since calendars turned to 2019. Left on the schedule for them are tough fixtures against Leipzig (more on that shortly), Frankfurt, Hoffenheim, Dortmund, Leverkusen and a potentially massive home game against Stuttgart to finish the season.

Spurs in Serious Trouble: Two weeks ago in this column I talked about Tottenham needing to “mind the gap” ahead of the North London Derby against Arsenal. What has happened since then has certainly turned the tide of those Premier League clubs searching for Champions League football.

Spurs, getting just one point from a possible 12 in their last four games, drew Arsenal and suffered a devastating loss away to Southampton last weekend. Still in third, their lead has evaporated to one point over Arsenal, three points over fifth-placed Manchester United and four points up on sixth-placed Chelsea, which has one game in hand.

With the weekend off thanks to the FA Cup, Tottenham has time to regroup to focus on a tough run-in to close the season which includes away games at Liverpool and Manchester City.

Let’s get into the picks. As always, odds courtesy Bovada.

West Ham-Huddersfield: West Ham -1 (+105)

For my first pick, I’ll take a shot with West Ham’s spread at -1 against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Huddersfield is basically just playing out the rest of this nightmarish season as it sits dead last in the Premier League table with a measly 14 points. So bad is the relegation-bound club that they have just one win in their last 17 league games, though that was an impressive 1-0 win over Wolves.

Fulham is the only team worse on the road as the Terriers have six points away while the Cottagers have a pathetic two.

Winners of back-to-back home games, West Ham will look to further cement a top-10 finish in the league and home wins against the likes of Huddersfield are must-wins if that is indeed the goal.

The reverse fixture here was a 1-1 draw but West Ham bagged all three points in this fixture last season with a 2-0 result.

West Ham vs Huddersfield Game Center

Torino-Bologna: Torino Moneyline (EVEN)

That’s right. Like last week, I’m hitching my wagon to Torino as this is one of the hottest teams in Serie A. So at EVEN money (as of Friday) at home against Bologna, it’s definitely worth another go.

Following last week’s 2-1 win away to Frosinone, Torino improved its unbeaten run in the league to seven games with five wins and two draws. Even more impressive is their five-match unbeaten run at home. And perhaps even more impressive is that they haven’t conceded a goal at home in those five games.

Torino hasn’t conceded a goal on home turf since losing to Juventus 1-0 back on December 15. Over that five-match unbeaten run at Stadio Olimpico, they’ve outscored opponents 10-0 and have trumped the likes of Inter and Atalanta.

To their credit, Bologna posted a nice 2-0 win at home to Cagliari last weekend and will be desperate to add to their points tally and escape the relegation zone. Entering the weekend, Bologna is 18th in the league with 21 points – one behind 17th-placed Empoli and two behind 16th-placed SPAL.

Il Toro are the fourth-best defensive side on home turf with just 11 goals conceded in home games in Serie A. That puts them among the big hitters in the league as Inter is the best with six goals against and Juventus and Napoli are tied for second with nine.

Striker Andrea Belotti looks to be in a good run of form with three goals in his last two games and bagged both goals in that aforementioned win against Frosinone.

Torino vs Bologna Game Center

Schalke-Leipzig: Leipzig Moneyline (+105)

Leipzig, the best defensive unit in the Bundesliga, will look to further its positioning among the Champions League contenders with a win away from home against a dismal Schalke side that was just crushed 7-0 by Manchester City in Champions League and has lost three in a row in the league.

To repeat from the takeaways section, Schalke sits 14th in the Bundesliga with 23 points and is seven points adrift of 13th-placed Mainz. The other way, they are just four points up on 16th-placed Stuttgart for that relegation playoff spot so the Gelsenkirchen club has its work cut out in the final matches of the season.

To add fuel to the fire at the club, manager Domenico Tedesco was relieved of his duties as Schalke manager with Huub Stevens and Mike Büskens taking over until the end of the season.

Maybe all that inspires Schalke to a strong performance, but I’m not buying it against a superior Leipzig side. Die Bullen are unbeaten in seven and have outscored opponents 12-2 over that stretch. Furthermore, they’ve won four straight games away from home and they’ll look to push that to five against another bottom-feeder.

Leipzig is the much better side but with Schalke fighting for survival, it could very well be a cagey affair. But at plus-money, I’m with Leipzig on this one.

Schalke vs Leipzig Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

Genoa vs Juventus: Juventus OVER 0.5 Goals (-700)

Atalanta vs Chievo: Atalanta -0.5 (-500)

Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo: Real Madrid -0.5 (-600)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen: Leverkusen +0.5 (-600)

Angers vs Amiens: Angers +0.5 (-385)

$100 wager returns $135.15

Archived Articles

If you’ve been a regular reader of this column, which is admittedly still in its very early days, you too have enjoyed a good run over the last three weeks. Since a Huddersfield-esque 0-4 performance four weeks ago, the column picks (including parlays) have gone 8-2-2 entering this weekend. Here’s hoping we can keep that going over the next couple of days.

We won with Atlético Madrid and the parlay card last week and had a push with Lille -1. I picked Roma in the Derby della Capitale and that was a train wreck as they promptly lost 3-0 to hated rivals Lazio.

Fitting that since that game, Roma was knocked out of Champions League by Porto and then sacked manager Eusebio Di Francesco.  Now, Roma has a tough conclusion to its domestic season as it looks to hold on to its Europa League spot with a hard-charging, in-form Torino side suddenly breathing down their necks and with Atalanta, Lazio and Sampdoria right there in the mix as well.

But that’s neither here nor there for this week’s column. My beloved Tottenham advanced to the quarters of the Champions League, somehow keeping a clean sheet at Dortmund, and Arsenal suffered a first-leg defeat to Rennes in their Europa League matchup on Thursday.

In short, things are going well in the footy world for yours truly right now. Hopefully the momentum continues with a positive betting weekend for this week’s picks and parlay card.

First, some takeaways from last weekend’s domestic matches.

Remember When I Said Milan Was Back?: A few weeks ago I was raving about the pivot AC Milan had taken with the additions of Lucas Paquetá and Krzysztof Piatek in January, and now the team brings a four-game winning streak into this weekend’s game against Chievo.

Milan has conceded just two goals (Roma, Atalanta) in the last seven games in Serie A and the addition of Piatek has given them a real goal-scoring threat in the box. They’ve been a very fun team to both watch and bet since calendars flipped to 2019.

Football is better when Milan is relevant and even though the scudetto is Juve’s, some great things are happening in Milan and it’s wonderful to watch unfold.

Sevilla + Road Games = Disaster: As good as Sevilla is and has been, its performance on the road this season is of real concern to both supporters and bettors.

In terms of La Liga away form this season, Sevilla sits 12th with a paltry 13 points and has lost five straight road games, including a 2-1 heartbreaker at last-placed Huesca last weekend.

They haven’t won a road game since September 29 at Eibar. September 29. That’s 10 road games without a win. Inexcusable for a club of that size and stature.

They are at home to Real Sociedad this weekend but with away dates at Espanyol, Getafe and Atlético Madrid coming up on the schedule, look to fade these guys on the road unless they get their act together.

Fabio Quagliarella: Legend: What the Sampdoria striker is doing this season is incredible and if you haven’t been watching, you’re truly missing out.

The 36-year-old is coming off a brace against SPAL last week to increase his goal tally to 19 on the season. That’s even with Cristiano Ronaldo for top scorer in the league and equals his output for last season in 10 fewer games for Samp.

One of the weekend’s best-looking games pits Quagliarella’s Sampdoria at home against Atalanta in what could be a feast of wide-open, attacking football with two of the highest-scoring teams in Italy duking it out in the chase for European football.

If you’ve got a weekend of football watching ahead, this is must-see TV and betting on Quagliarella to score anytime is as close to a must-bet as anything.

OK, that’s enough looking back, so let’s look ahead to what my three favorite bets for the weekend are. Odds courtesy online shop Bovada.

Frosinone vs Torino: Torino ML (-110)

I raved about AC Milan earlier in the column, but perhaps no club has been as impressive in Italy as Torino has been. Not only are Il Toro unbeaten in six, but they haven’t even conceded a goal over that stretch.

Now, Walter Mazzarri and his side hit the road to face relegation-threatened Frosinone on Sunday and while it’s risky with this spot being both on the road and against a team fighting for its top-flight life, I’ll be backing the Torino moneyline at -110.

If this team hopes to achieve European football, it’ll need to start taking three points on the road ESPECIALLY against a team like Frosinone. In 13 road games this campaign, Torino has just two wins and one loss. That’s right, that means that they have 10 draws. Ten! It’s always important to take points on away days but this side is playing better than two wins and 10 draws on the road.

As explained above, there is a logjam of clubs fighting for those Europa League spots in Serie A (fifth and sixth). Roma is fifth with 44 points, Torino is sixth with 41, Atalanta seventh with 41, Lazio eighth with 41, Sampdoria ninth with 39 and Fiorentina 10th with 36 – all with a legit shot at those two Europa League places. That’s why it is imperative that Torino bag all three points in road games such as this one.

With essentially a full complement of players to pick from (save for Ola Aina), Mazzarri needs to express the importance of keeping that form going and leaving Frosinone with a win here.

Frosinone vs Torino Game Center

Crystal Palace vs Brighton: Crystal Palace ML (-115)

Crystal Palace and Brighton kick off the Premier League weekend on Saturday and with Palace in decent form and on home turf here, I’ll back them against a struggling Brighton.

Palace is enjoying its best spell of football in the Premier League this season with three wins, two draws and just one defeat in its last six games. Perhaps shockingly, however, Palace has been vastly inferior at home this season compared to its road performances.

Palace is the second-worst home side in the Prem this season with 13 points from a possible 42 and is the sixth-best away side with 20 points from a possible 45. So, again, much like Torino, this one isn’t without risk, but the way they have played, especially with that fearsome attacking trio of Wilfried Zaha, Michy Batshuayi and Andros Townsend, I like them in this home spot.

Brighton did win its last game with a 1-0 home victory against horrible Huddersfield, but that was its first win since December 29 in the league. In between those wins was a poor spell of five losses and two draws.

Palace will look to distance itself from the likes of Brighton and they’re really clicking of late. I’ll take a shot here at -115.

Crystal Palace vs Brighton Game Center

Sassuolo vs Napoli: Napoli OVER 2.0 Goals (+120)

There’s not a ton that I’m in love with in Germany, Spain or France (or elsewhere) this weekend, so I’ll go back to Serie A for my third pick here and back Napoli OVER 2 goals at the lovely price of +120 against Sassuolo.

Napoli is coming off a fairly routine Europa League win over Salzburg on Thursday and while it hasn’t been the highest-scoring team on the road in Serie A this season (18 goals in 12 games), they are coming off a four-goal performance at Parma in their last road game in the league.

Even if we see a largely rotated XI since they played on Thursday, there is enough quality in this Napoli side to do some damage at Sassuolo. Lorenzo Insigne was rested so he will likely feature here and the likes of Adam Ounas, who could also get a call here, isn’t afraid of having a go for goal.

Sassuolo’s keeper (and one of their steadiest performers), Andrea Consigli, is suspended for this one so they’ll probably lean on 37-year-old Gianluca Pegolo, who has played all of 22 minutes in the league this season. Having him between the wickets against lethal Napoli is a tall order.

To their credit, Sassuolo has performed fairly well in Serie A this season and sits in 11th entering the weekend. They are, however, susceptible to conceding (41 goals against) and with Napoli looking to rebound from a disheartening loss against Juventus last weekend in the league, I expect them to find the back of the net here.

Sassuolo vs Napoli Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

1. Manchester City -0.5 (-750)

2. AC Milan OVER 0.5 Goals (-800)

3. Sampdoria-Atalanta OVER 1.5 goals (-400)

4. Atlético Madrid PICK (-850)

5. Marseille OVER 0.5 Goals (-750)

6. PSV -1.5 (-500)

$100 wager returns $142.24

Archived Articles

“Who stopped it? No don’t stop it. Leave it going right to the end til I get...don’t do that again next time, OK?”

Sports betting has highs and it has lows and right now, with this weekly soccer column, we are on a high. Last week’s column finished 3-0-1 with a push in the Ajax -1.0 1st half in their game against ADO Den Haag. Over the last two weeks, the column has gone 6-1-1 including the two parlays.

So as we flip our calendars to March, we’re buzzing. Confidence is sky-high and, as a result, “Simply the Best” is the song of choice this week. Though I prefer the David Brent usage of the tune from this scene of The Office.

Obviously hoping for another profitable column but this weekend’s board was a tough one to cap. I tweeted out some amazing matches across Europe this weekend, but settling on three solid picks was a challenge.

Before we get into the picks, let’s have a look at some takeaways from the past week in the football world.

Solid Defending Has Torino UNDERS Cashing: If you’ve been paying attention to Serie A, you’ll notice that Torino has slowly, and steadily, climbed the table. Although the side boasts a striker like Andrea Belotti, it is not through goal scoring, but great defending, that they now find themselves sixth-placed in Italy. As a result, the UNDER is red-hot in their games.

UNDER has cashed in five straight Torino games in the league thanks to wins by scores of 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0 and a pair of 0-0 draws. Five games without conceding. Obviously very good form.

Torino has just 30 goals on the season, ranking them dead last of anyone in the top 11, but has conceded just 22 times. If they can keep this up, they’ll be worthy of the European place and a home game against Chievo is a great one to keep this excellent form going.

Little Getafe Heading to Champions League?: Being the extremely tough league that it is, La Liga is headlined by three big boys (Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid) and some good sides in the next tier (Sevilla, Real Betis, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao). But it is small Madrid club Getafe that currently owns the fourth and final Champions League spot in one of Europe’s toughest leagues.

Getafe sits fourth in the league with 39 points and is two up on Sevilla entering the weekend. They’ve got two wins and two draws in their last four league games but have a tough road game at Real Betis this weekend. But a three-point haul in the green half of Seville would do wonders for their miraculous Champions League push.

Mind the Gap: One of the biggest matches this weekend is the North London Derby and considering what’s gone on the past week in England, there is a ton to play for when Tottenham hosts Arsenal in the early Saturday Premier League game.

Entering last weekend’s games, Tottenham was comfortably in third with a 10-point lead on Arsenal. Fast-forward to today and Spurs have hit a horrible couple of performances while the Gunners are buzzing and the lead has been trimmed to four.

Spurs have back-to-back losses to Burnley and Chelsea while the Gunners have won three in a row and are coming off a 5-1 beatdown of Bournemouth. Tottenham has looked awful in those two games and if they don’t get up for this one, third place is in jeopardy.

As a Spurs fan, just thinking about this has me rattled, so let’s just go ahead and get into this week’s picks.

Lille vs Dijon: Lille -1 (-120)

Lille has been THE story of the Ligue 1 season as it brings 51 points into Matchday 27, good enough for second behind PSG’s 68. Unbeaten in seven in the league and with just one defeat and four draws at home thus far, I’ll be backing Les Dogues at -1 against lowly Dijon on Sunday.

Dijon sits 19th in the league and is being threatened with relegation and any time you have a side that is in those relegation spots, you can bank on them stepping their game up in the name of survival. But on the road to Lille, which is fighting equally hard to maintain that Champions League place, is a tough task. Dijon has lost four straight games in the league and five straight away from home.

Not only is Dijon incredibly anemic in terms of results on the road, but they rarely even find the back of the net. They have failed to bag a goal in five straight games away from home and have just 10 in 13 in the Ligue 1 season. Lille, on the other hand, scores the second-most goals on home turf (25) and concedes the joint-second fewest (nine) in home games.

Lille, paced by the electric Nicolas Pepe (16 goals, eight assists), Jonathan Bamba (nine goals, two assists) and Rafael Leão (seven goals, two assists), enter this one healthy and fully equipped to try to keep third-placed Lyon (46 points) at bay in the race for the second automatic Champions League spot in France.

Lille vs Dijon Game Center

Real Sociedad vs Atlético Madrid: Atlético ML (+110)

I like the value with Atlético to win this game, but history dictates that this one could be tougher than expected.

Atlético is one of the finest clubs in Europe, let alone Spain, and has its grip on second place in the league and is fresh off an incredibly strong 2-0 performance over Juventus in the Champions League. But San Sebastian club Real Sociedad has been a thorn in Atlético’s side in recent meetings. The Basque club has won the previous two home games against Atlético in the last two seasons by scores of 3-0 and 2-0.

There’s been a winner in this matchup each game since a 1-1 draw on February 5, 2012 and with the way Atlético is playing recently, I’m banking on another as I’ll be on the Madrid side at -0.5. It should also be noted that Atlético won the reverse fixture 2-0 back in October.

Sociedad will be bolstered by the return of defender Theo Hernández and forward Willian José but their home form has left a little bit to be desired this season. They rank just 13th in home form with four wins, four draws and four defeats at Anoeta.

Admittedly, this is the toughest of the three picks in this week’s column, but I gotta go with the hot hand here. Atlético was dynamite against Juventus and was very good in cementing another three points against Villarreal last weekend. I’ll stick with Los Colchoneros as they try to distance themselves from Real Madrid, who have the “pleasure” of another El Clásico this weekend.

Real Sociedad vs Atletico Madrid Game Center

Lazio vs Roma: Roma PICK (+110)

If you’re looking to bet on the craziest, most intense game of the weekend, look no further than the Derby della Capitale on Saturday.

Roma has had a pretty good advantage against its bitter rival in recent head-to-heads with seven wins, one draw and two losses in the last 10 meetings across all competitions. Plus, Roma is one of the hottest clubs in Serie A over the last eight games with six wins and two draws and a +10 goal differential. That’s not to say it hasn’t had its ups and downs, however.

Close shaves against the likes of Bologna (2-1) and Frosinone (3-2) in their last two Serie A games have been rather far from convincing, with the defending – or lack thereof – raising some eyebrows. Roma has conceded 33 goals to date, easily the most of any club in the European positions in Serie A.

Lazio led Serie A in goals just one season ago with 89 but they have lacked that pop offensively this time around. Entering the weekend, they have managed just 33 goals, the second-fewest of any club in the top 11, only ahead of Torino’s 30.

With Roma grinding out results thanks to inspired play from the likes of Nicolò Zaniolo, I like them in this massive fixture Saturday, but will play it safe with the pick’em (0.0) spread at +110.

This one is always a crazy game and getting a bet in will only add to the excitement of one of the weekend’s biggest games.

Lazio vs Roma Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

1. PSG OVER 1.5 (-335)

2. Bayer Leverkusen +0.5 (-750)

3. Frankfurt-Hoffenheim OVER 1.5 (-850)

4. Gladbach-Bayern OVER 1.5 (-575)

5. Genoa +0.5 (-650)

6. Osasuna PICK (-1000)

$100 wager returns $145.06

Archived Articles

Get ready for the big payback. Hit me again!

I might have been dealing with my oh-fer column by listening to some Simon & Garfunkel last week, but this time around it’s all about the Godfather of Soul and “Payback” after a profitable column last time out.

There’s nothing like coming out on top after a poor betting performance and that’s exactly what we did with last week’s soccer picks. We went 3-1 including the parlay card with the only miss being the PSV -1.5 pick which ended up a 2-2 draw at Heerenveen. Turns out the top Dutch clubs might not exactly be locks against the spread.

The Marseille -1 and Leipzig OVER 2.0 goals bets were fairly comfortable hits and the parlay card was pretty safe as well. I always enjoy a good sweaty bet but hitting picks fairly easily is good for the confidence and, probably, the soul.

Before this week’s picks, let’s look at some takeaways from the weekend.

Bundesliga Title Race is Back On: Not long ago, it looked like Borussia Dortmund was en route to a Bundesliga title. Now, as we enter Matchday 23, the lead over Bayern Munich is just three points. Dortmund has three straight draws in the league while Bayern has won back-to-back league games entering the weekend. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it’s Bayern that leads the way in Bundesliga futures at -165 with Dortmund +110 and this weekend could be telling for the fate of the title. Bayern is at home to Hertha Berlin while Dortmund hosts a red-hot Leverkusen side that is really hitting its stride.

Piatek Really Settling at Milan: While the Twittersphere overreacts by calling the Paqueta-Piatek combo “the new Kaka-Shevchenko,” let’s just try to enjoy what is happening at Milan right now. Piatek came over from Genoa in the January window and has fit in perfectly with what Gattuso is doing. The Pole has scored four goals in four Serie A matches for his new club and is coming off a brace away to Atalanta last weekend. Milan gets a home fixture against Empoli and is -290 on the moneyline and +110 as 1.5-goal faves with Piatek at -120 to score anytime.

Is Kane Ready to Return for Spurs: That rumbling of excitement you hear is Tottenham supporters buzzing about the reports of Harry Kane’s return to training and potential return to the setup this week at Burnley. Kane has been sidelined since January 13 but Spurs have survived with five wins and two losses across all competitions without the services of their talisman. Entering the weekend, Spurs sit third in the table, five points behind Liverpool and nine up on Manchester United. Away to Burnley could be tough, but if Kane even suits up for the bench, what a rallying point for Tottenham.

All right, let’s get into this week’s picks and hopefully I can keep the good times rolling with another positive record for the weekend.

Hannover-Frankfurt: Frankfurt ML (-125)

In my last column, I wrote about how I try to avoid betting teams before or after Champions League and/or Europa League games and right off the bat I’m breaking that rule by taking the Frankfurt moneyline at Hannover this weekend.

Frankfurt is coming off a Europa League fixture against Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk but played the home leg on Thursday and now makes the quick trip north to face relegation-threatened Hannover 96 on Sunday.

Frankfurt has been a draw machine of late with five draws in its last six games across all competitions entering this one. Die Adler sit seventh in the Bundesliga table entering Matchday 23 with 34 points, one point behind Wolfsburg, one up on Hoffenheim and 20 up on Hannover.

Furthermore, Frankfurt has won six straight meetings with Hannover and has picked up points in seven straight. The reverse fixture was a 4-1 Frankfurt win with goals coming from Evan Ndicka, Ante Rebic, Jonathan de Guzman and, of course, Luka Jovic.

Couple tough spots here with this being a road game and on the heels of a Europa League game on Thursday, but -125 for a far superior team is a decent wager.

Hannover vs Frankfurt Game Center

Bournemouth-Wolves: Both Teams to Score (-125)

There’s a couple of good matches on the Premier League docket this weekend, but Bournemouth-Wolves could very well be second-best after the always classic Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry.

Both teams can play highly entertaining football and both should be pretty well rested entering this one at Vitality Stadium so I’m taking a shot with both teams to score at -125.

Wolves have been an excellent story in the Premier League thus far, sitting seventh in the table entering Matchday 27, two points up on Watford and 11 back of a struggling Chelsea side. Bournemouth runs hot and cold and sits in 11th with 33 points. The Cherries are the seventh-best home team with 24 points from 13 games while Wolves are the sixth-best away side with 18 points from 12 games.

Both teams sit in the top 10 in the league for goals scored but it is Bournemouth’s leaky defending that has me on this BTTS play. They’ve conceded the third-most goals in the league (47) despite defending fairly well at the Vitality in recent games.

Of Wolves’ 12 road games, they’ve scored in all but three (at Leicester, at Brighton, at Man City) and a BTTS bet would have hit in six of their last seven away games.

I love the way both teams play the game but with this one evenly matched on Bournemouth’s turf, I’ll take BTTS here.

Bournemouth vs Wolves Game Center

Ajax-ADO Den Haag: Ajax 1st Half -1.0 (+110)

Nothing really crazy in this one, I just like the odds here for one of the best teams in the Netherlands to get off to a fast start and put up a first-half W against a Lilliputian club.

Ajax has put up a couple of stinkers in the league recently with that 6-2 whupping against Feyenoord at the end of January and the bizarre 1-0 loss at Heracles, but they played very well against Real Madrid in Champions League and then hammered NAC Breda 5-0 last time out.

The Amsterdam club won the reverse fixture 5-1 and won the first half by a score of 3-1. While ADO Den Haag hasn’t beaten Ajax in some time (2010-11), they have managed to nab some points along the way. Both games last season were draws, for example, and a lot of these meetings have been lower-scoring down the years compared to what you’d normally see for an Ajax game.

ADO has played pretty well at home with back-to-back wins entering this one, but got destroyed 7-0 at home by the only club above Ajax in the table, PSV, back in September.

I like the +110 on this one and I love how Ajax plays football. History says this one might be tougher than it looks, but I’ll take my chances with this first-half spread bet.

This Week’s Parlay Card

Juventus +0.5 (-850)

Ajax -0.5 (-750)

Benfica OVER 1.5 goals (-500)

Atletico Madrid/Draw Double Chance (-1000)

Real Madrid +0.5 (-575)

PSG OVER 1.5 goals (-450)

$100 wager returns $139.89

Archived Articles

Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.

Last week’s column was a disaster and it left me spinning Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” in a dark room as I contemplated what to do with this week’s picks. What’s important to remember is that bad periods are going to happen. In all aspects of life. Betting is not immune to slumps.

I felt like I capped Sampdoria-Frosinone fine. If anyone bet Frosinone, congratulations. But that was lucky. Where I totally erred was Borussia Monchengladbach-Hertha Berlin and Strasbourg-Angers. Those are definitely on me.

Despite incredible home form this season, Gladbach was picked apart by a game Berlin side and suffered its first dropped points at Borussia-Park. Strasbourg had two-thirds of the ball against Angers but were always on the back foot after the visitors went up 2-0.

With all those L’s in mind, I did recoup a lot of those losses in Champions League this week, which I disclose on the Guys & Bets show on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Jonny OddsShark. I had PSG at Manchester United and Real Madrid at Ajax, so that was a very positive rebound.

Live and learn. Speaking of learning, here are some takeaways from around Europe.

MORE UPSETS!: Some big upsets of note last week: Cardiff (+400) over Southampton, Burnley (+333) over Brighton, Hertha (+500) over Gladbach, Frosinone (+630) against Samp, Huesca (+335) away to Girona, Angers (+370) over Strasbourg, Nimes (+375) against Nantes and Nice (+500) against Lyon.

OVERS in the Bundesliga: Seven of the Bundesliga’s nine Matchday 21 games cashed OVER tickets. In total, there were 34 goals for an average of 3.8 goals per game. That’s pretty solid considering there was one match that resulted in a nil-nil (Leipzig-Frankfurt). Leverkusen got the week off to a strong start, banging home five goals against Mainz.

Zapata Anytime, Everytime: This guy is insane right now. If you follow and/or bet Serie A, you know all about Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata. Zapata is tied for second in Italy with 16 goals (with Fabio Quagliarella, trailing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 18) and has been pretty much automatic in anytime goalscorer markets. The Colombian has scored in nine of his last 10 league games and has 15 goals in that span. Tough one this weekend as they host AC Milan in the marquee matchup, but always worth a shot with the way this guy is playing.

It’s a UEFA Week: With Champions League and Europa League having resumed this week, I tend to try to avoid betting on clubs participating in those tournaments before and after the European games. You never know how they’re gonna line up, which games they are going to prioritize, travel plays a big factor with so many eastern European clubs in Europa League, etc. I typically avoid these spots; I will occasionally play one, but it is rare.

Let’s get into the picks and this week’s parlay card and let’s all hope for some winners after a poor showing last weekend when I should have been subbed off at halftime.

Marseille-Amiens: Marseille -1 (-145)

For a club of Marseille’s size and tradition, plus coming off a Europa League finals appearance, the 2018-19 campaign has been a largely disappointing one. Entering the weekend, L’OM sits sixth in the table with 37 points – equal with Montpellier and Nice, three behind Saint-Etienne and just one ahead of Rennes. Not great, Bob.

They do have back-to-back wins in the league but have just three in their last 10 in Ligue 1. But if this team wants to return to European football next campaign, winning at home – at the very least – is of the utmost importance. That’s why I like L’OM on the spread with that -145 price attached to it.

Amiens is in the safe zone (for now) sitting at 16th in the league with 21 points. They are a weak side on the road with just eight points from 12 games and have lost to Lille (2-1) and Rennes (1-0) in their previous two away days.

History is begging bettors to back Marseille on the spread as the pair have played five times with Marseille winning all five and outscoring Les Licornes 14-3 in the process. Now, that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the gulf in stature between the two clubs and historical “trends” should certainly be taken with a grain of sel, but Marseille won the reverse fixture 3-1 and this team needs a convincing win on home turf.

Dimitri Payet’s status remains up in the air for this one, but Marseille still boasts infinite amounts of quality compared to their opponent, including Mario Balotelli, who has a pair of goals in three league games since coming over.

Marseille vs Amiens Game Center

Heerenveen-PSV: PSV -1.5 (-105)

Here we go with another spread but this time it’s an away team and this is -1.5 with PSV away to Heerenveen.

PSV leads the Eredivisie by six points over a sublime Ajax side and has 18 wins, two draws and just one defeat all season in the Netherlands. Heerenveen, on the other hand, sits one point above the relegation zone in Holland with 23 points and of all 18 clubs in the league, this is the WORST home side. Shockingly, De Superfriezen have just seven points on home turf with their only win coming back in January in a 3-1 victory against Fortuna Sittard.

Make no mistake about it, Heerenveen will be playing for points in its struggle to stay up in the top flight, but PSV, devoid of European football and looking to take steps to win the league, will be basically fully fit and out for three points.

The reverse fixture in Eindhoven was a convincing 3-0 win that featured a Hirving Lozano brace and a single tally from Luuk de Jong. PSV owned every facet of the game with 71.2 percent of the possession, 28 shots and a further two attempts that hit the woodwork. All that said, Heerenveen spent about an hour of the game a man down after a Morten Thorsby red card, but I’m still liking the value on the Eredivisie leaders to cover that -1.5.

VfB Stuttgart-RB Leipzig: Leipzig OVER 2.0 Goals (+130)

Things have been really bad for Stuttgart and a home game against Champions League-bound Leipzig could spell more doom for the relegation-threatened club.

Nobody in the Bundesliga has conceded more often than VfB, which has allowed 47 goals this season – one more than last-placed Nürnberg. This is a far cry from the team that finished seventh in the league last year, just two points back of Leipzig for that final Europa League spot.

Leipzig is currently fourth in the league entering Matchday 22 in Germany, boasting 38 points. That number puts them four back of Borussia Monchengladbach and five points up on both Frankfurt and Leverkusen.

What’s different about this Leipzig side compared to the one that surged to second place in the 2016-17 season is the defending. Leipzig can still find the back of the net, evidenced by their 38 goals in the league, but they’ve conceded a league-low 18 this season – a far cry from the way the team played the previous two seasons.

Leipzig has been inconsistent away from home this season but has put together back-to-back wins on the road entering this one. They thumped both Dusseldorf and Hannover 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. Considering the way Stuttgart defends, or doesn’t, I like the OVER 2 goals here, especially on that flat number keeping the push in play at plus-money.

Stuttgart vs Leipzig Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

Barcelona ML (-700)

Ajax -1.5 (-700)

Benfica PICK (-800)

Roma PICK (-800)

Hoffenheim ML (-325)

$100 wager returns $116.17

Archived Articles

We’re coming off a profitable column with last week’s picks so let’s keep that momentum going and find some more winners across the soccer landscape for the weekend ahead. I’m still shocked that Udinese-Fiorentina OVER 2.0 didn’t hit. I will die firmly believing that Rodrigo de Paul was on the push (or the UNDER) after missing this wide-open chance.

But I digress.

I introduced a Joe Osborne-inspired greasy parlay to the column last week that hit relatively safely so I’ll keep that going as well. The goal with these is to return something around one unit. Plus, there’s nothing like hitting a parlay no matter what the return is.

First, however, some takeaways from the weekend.

Some Big Underdogs Cashed: I know hindsight is 20/20, or 50/50 like Cam Newton once posited, but last weekend’s fixture list featured a pretty handsome return if you bet the right side. Biggest of all was Bologna downing Inter 1-0 and cashing at +750 as Luciano Spalletti’s future at the club continues to be a talking point in Serie A.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen trumped Bayern Munich as +450 dogs, Real Betis (+260) downed Atletico Madrid, Celta Vigo (+250) beat Sevilla and Lyon (+250) upset PSG, not to mention the Juve-Parma draw cashing at +650.

Is Milan Back?: Some readers out there may be too young to realize that AC Milan was the titan of their day. Milan last won Serie A in 2010-11 and Champions League in 2006-07 and while they still might be some time away from challenging the likes of Juventus domestically, the club seems to be on the right foot after some thin campaigns.

Entering Matchday 23 in Italy, Milan sits fourth with 36 points and is unbeaten in five games (two wins, three draws). New signing Krzystof Piatek has scored three goals in three games (all competitions) after coming over from Genoa and there is hope for a return to Champions League. Tons of work left but this team looks like a play-on team and a home game against Cagliari this weekend could have some good betting potential.

Bosz Might Have Leverkusen Clicking: Loaded with talent, Bayer Leverkusen had a rough start to the Bundesliga campaign which ultimately led to the dismissal of Heiko Herrlich and the appointment of ex-Dortmund boss Peter Bosz.

It was a tough 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach in his first game, but a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg and the aforementioned 3-1 upset away to Bayern Munich has Leverkusen fans and bettors rejoicing. They’ll get the Matchday 21 Bundesliga docket started on Friday with great value at -120 at Mainz.

Ajax & PSV Spreads Will Make Us Money: Hitting that PSV -2.5 spread in this very column last week got me thinking: why aren’t we just doing this every week? PSV leads the league with 55 points and has just one loss and one draw. Of its 18 wins, five have come by one goal, two by two goals, three by three goals, three by four goals, two by five goals, two by six goals and one by seven goals.

Ajax sits second with 50 points with just two losses and two draws. Of its 16 wins, one has come by one goal, three by two goals, four by three goals, four by four goals, two by five goals, one by six goals, and one by a whopping eight goals. Keep this in mind going forward.

OK. Enough of that. Here are my three picks for the weekend ahead and my parlay card at the bottom. Odds are courtesy online shop Bovada. Best of luck with whatever you’re betting this weekend.

Sampdoria-Frosinone: Sampdoria -1 (-120)

Genuinely one of the most entertaining sides to watch, Sampdoria enters this game eighth in Serie A with 33 points but off a loss to Napoli over the weekend. Fair enough. With European positions in sight, they’ll look for a convincing three-point haul against relegation-bound Frosinone at the Luigi Ferraris on Sunday.

In the reverse fixture on Matchday 4, Sampdoria crushed the promoted club 5-0 thanks to goals from Fabio Quagliarella, Gianluca Caprari, Dawid Kownacki and a brace from Grégoire Defrel. If Samp runs up the score again, the goalscorer list will look differently as Caprari looks set to miss this with an injury while Kownacki was loaned to Düsseldorf in the January window.

Sampdoria is sixth in terms of home form with six wins, two draws and two losses and has won four straight on home turf entering this one. Frosinone, on the other hand, has just eight points from 11 away games but is coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Bologna in their last away game.

During their four-match winning streak at the Ferraris, Samp has scored 12 goals and conceded just one and would have cashed a -1 bet in each game. It’s good value at -120 (it was -115 most of the week), especially considering what they did to Frosinone in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

Plus, midfield playmaker Dennis Praet is back after serving a suspension and should slot into the starting XI.

Sampdoria vs Frosinone Game Center

Borussia M.Gladbach-Hertha: Gladbach ML (-160)

I talked about Borussia Monchengladbach’s home form in my first column a couple of weeks ago, but it bears repeating since I’m on them again here: when this team is at home, find some way to bet them with good value.

I started researching for this column on Monday and as I sit here Friday morning, the moneyline has moved 20 cents from -140 to -160 so the value has evaporated a little here. But -160 is still fine in my book.

Nine matches at Borussia-Park thus far, nine wins. They’ve outscored opponents 25-3 in those nine games. The only team better at home in Europe’s big-five leagues is PSG, which has 11 wins in 11 games and has outscored teams 41-4 in those games. It’s an amazing story that should not go unnoticed by bettors.

Hence why I’m on them again this week. This time, though, I’ll back the moneyline considering it’s at the still-decent price of -160 with Hertha Berlin in town. I wouldn’t balk at -1 like I did two weeks ago, so if that’s on offer at your book, consider it.

Gladbach has owned Hertha at home as well, bringing a five-match winning streak into this fixture. In those five previous meetings at Borussia-Park, they’ve outscored Hertha 14-3. The last time they lost a home game to Hertha was back in the 2008-09 season.

This team looks poised for Champions League and maintaining that home form right to the finish line could help them pip Bayern Munich to second in the league.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Hertha Berlin Game Center

Strasbourg-Angers: Strasbourg ML (+105)

I mentioned Strasbourg briefly last week, but this side is truly one of the better stories from the continent this season. Le Racing currently sit sixth in Ligue 1 with 35 points through 22 games and take a four-game winning streak into their meeting with Angers at Stade de la Meinau on Saturday.

In that four-match unbeaten run, which is actually seven across all comps, Strasbourg defeated Nice 2-0, Toulouse 2-1, Monaco 5-1 and Bordeaux 1-0 – a pretty good haul against some good (but not great) competition. I like the value with Angers in town, but the draw is dangerous in this one.

While not the best side in away form, Angers has managed six draws in its last eight away days, only losing a pair (at Saint-Etienne, at Nimes). That said, they’ve only won twice (Dijon, Monaco).

Strasbourg is an attacking side that has hit the back of the net in eight straight games in generally low-scoring Ligue 1. They are tied for third in goals scored in Ligue 1 with 38 (equal with Lyon) and I expect them to do enough to get three points here.

It could prove to be a tricky game, but I’m trying to jump in on this Strasbourg purple patch before the well dries up.

Strasbourg vs Angers Game Center

This Week’s Parlay Card

PSG moneyline (-400)

Napoli OVER 0.5 Goals (-600)

Arsenal/Draw Double Chance (-700)

Heracles-Ajax OVER 0.5 1st Half (-650)

Benfica ML (-700)

$100 wager returns $119.78

Archived Articles

My picks got off to a great start with Borussia Monchengladbach winning 2-0 on Saturday, but Napoli couldn’t convert against Milan and ended up sharing the points at 0-0 while Real Betis couldn’t find the back of the net after going down 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao, resulting in a 1-2 picks column.

Like any bitter sports bettor, I’m chalking those up to bad beats. I feel like I capped those games right and those were bets I’d make nine times out of 10.

Some days will be good, others will be bad, so you have to take losses with wins. Regardless, I’m back to comb over this weekend’s soccer board and find my three favorite plays in an effort to pad your bankrolls.

First, though, some takeaways from the weekend.

GOALS!: There were tons of goals in Italy as 10 games produced 37 goals. Germany also featured a slew of goals as a nine-game docket yielded another 37. You would have hit OVER 2.5 eight times in Italy and OVER 3 six times. In Germany’s nine games, you’d have cashed OVER 2.5 in eight spots and OVER 3 in six. Crazy.

I’M STAYING AWAY FROM BETTING BETIS: They might play some of the most eye-catching football in Europe, but Betis has been a real thorn in my side from a betting perspective. On their day, they look like they could beat anyone (and did win at Barcelona earlier this season) but they’ve paired that with some bad losses. A very tough side to get a read on, so I’m staying away until further notice.

ESPANYOL STRUGGLING: After winning six, drawing three and losing just two of its opening 11 games in La Liga, Espanyol has hit a major funk with one win and nine losses in the subsequent 10 games. This weekend’s game at Villarreal is a biggie – for both clubs – but with their form, they might continue to be a great fade and with the hosts at -125, it could be another spot.

GLADBACH UNSTOPPABLE AT HOME: I backed them -1 last week based purely on their dominance at home and that continued with a 2-0 win against Augsburg. They’ve now won all nine games at Borussia Park and have outscored visitors 25-3 in those games. They’re on the road this week, but always, ALWAYS, look to back these guys on home turf.

WE SHOULD ALL BE BETTING STRASBOURG: I know Ligue 1 is far from the most exciting, but Strasbourg has been a very pleasant surprise in France this season. The club currently sits fifth in the league and has won seven straight in all competitions and four straight in the league. They’ve been so profitable that you’d be up $845 if you’d wagered $100 in their last four Ligue 1 games. Let’s hope this impressive form isn’t over quite yet. They’re +315 at Saint-Etienne this week.

I could go on and on with this being the world’s game and all, but let’s get on to some picks. As always, odds are courtesy of online shop Bovada.

Udinese-Fiorentina OVER 2.0 (-150)

I started putting this column together on Wednesday when the juice was -130 but I still need to add this bet because I love it.

Since Serie A returned from the winter break, Fiorentina has played in two of the most exciting games in the league and has four points. In the first, they drew 3-3 with Sampdoria courtesy of a last-minute equalizer from German Pezzella while in last week’s thriller, they took all three points from Chievo by a final score of 4-3.

Key to those four points is the return of striker Luis Muriel to Serie A. The former Udinese and Sampdoria striker is at Fiorentina on loan from Sevilla. The Colombian bagged just one goal in La Liga this season but has three in two Serie A starts for the Viola.

With just 17 goals scored this season and nine of those in home games, Udinese owns one of the most anemic attacks in the league but has been proven unlucky with an expected goals tally of 21.21. With Muriel settling in, Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa coming off a brace against Chievo and the Fiorentina defending a bit questionable, I like OVER 2.0 even at that chalky price of -150.

Oh yeah, Fiorentina also completely obliterated Roma in the Coppa Italia by a score of 7-1 on Wednesday. And yes, Muriel scored and Chiesa bagged a hat trick. This team is on fire, though playmaker Marco Benassi misses out due to suspension here.

Udinese vs Fiorentina Game Center

Celta-Sevilla: Sevilla OVER 1.5 Goals (-110)

The La Liga relegation zone is weird right now. Celta Vigo sits 18th while Villarreal sits 19th. It will be a travesty if either, let alone both, of those teams get relegated but it is a testament to just how tricky this league can be.

Things don’t get any easier for the Galician side with Champions League-poised Sevilla visiting for Saturday’s La Liga finale. Sevilla is the second-highest scoring club in the league with 36 goals while half of those have come from 11 away games. Considering how Celta’s defending has been playing this year, I absolutely love Sevilla to bag OVER 1.5 goals at the fair price of -110.

Los Rojiblancos were a goal-scoring machine in away games earlier this season, banging home 15 goals in their first five away games. Recent away days? Not so much. Sevilla has scored, gulp, just three goals in its six away games entering the trip to Vigo. That said, those were against some strong defending sides like Bilbao (the current version), Leganes, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Alaves and Real Madrid. So, I’m banking on Celta Vigo’s defending, or lack thereof, as being the perfect cure-all here.

Sevilla’s attack is quick, wide and is poised to cause Celta’s defenders plenty of fits on Saturday. If visionary manager Pablo Machín starts both Andre Silva (nine goals) and Wissam Ben Yedder (10) up top, a bet on either of them to score anytime would be pretty decent as well.

Celta Vigo vs Sevilla Game Center

PSV-Fortuna Sittard: PSV -2.5 (EVEN)

OK, so I know in my very first column last week, I stated that I’d be paying attention to Europe’s “big five” leagues, but with the Premier League coming off midweek games and nothing really jumping out in Germany and France, I’ve got to turn my attention to the Eredivisie leaders in the Netherlands, PSV, and their home game against Fortuna Sittard for my third pick.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Dutch league, PSV leads the league with 52 points from 19 games – 17 wins, one draw, one defeat – a dominant season to be sure, especially with how wonderfully Ajax has played (last week’s 6-2 loss at Feyenoord notwithstanding).

With 64 goals for and 11 against, PSV boasts the league’s second-best attack and easily features the best defending and with this fixture at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, I think even money on this spread is doable, especially with Sittard getting throttled 5-1 in its last away game at last-placed De Graafschap.

Despite largely playing in a 4-3-3 defensive setup, PSV boasts a lethal attack featuring the deadly trio of Luuk de Jong and highly sought-after wingers Steven Bergwijn and Hirving Lozano. The three of them combined have scored 37 goals and tallied 20 assists in domestic league play.

Covering -2.5 is always gonna be tough in soccer, but the Dutch league is prone to boatloads of goals and with the way PSV defends, this bet looks like a good one.

This Week’s Parlay Card

Inspired by my pal Joe Osborne’s fantastic “Greasy Moneyline Parlays” that he was running with during football season, I figure I’ll put out a similar parlay card to return something around a unit (all of this with Joe’s blessing, of course).

Here is this week’s card:

Leg 1: Ajax -1.5 (-450)

Leg 2: Juventus OVER 1.5 Goals (-375)

Leg 3: Frankfurt-Dortmund OVER 1.5 (-650)

Leg 4: Hoffenheim-Düsseldorf OVER 0.5 1st Half (-500)

$100 wager returns $114.36

Whatever you bet this weekend, best of luck, and best good luck with your Super Bowl bets!

 

Archived Articles

With no Premier League action on the board this weekend due to the FA Cup, I figured I’d take this opportunity to start a new soccer betting column for OddsShark that I’ll use to take a look at the best bets across Europe’s top five leagues.

Now, when I say best bets, I’m looking for great betting value in anything ranging from sides, totals and spreads all the way to in-game props like anytime goalscorers or bookings.

For my first entry, I’m heading to the continent to take a look at Serie A in Italy, La Liga in Spain and the Bundesliga in Germany. I’m a firm believer that if you’re a soccer bettor and you only bet the Premier League (like many do, and that’s fine, of course), you can find some great money-making opportunities (and some great football) on the continent, so let’s hope I can get this thing off the ground with some winners.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at three bets I’ll be making this weekend. All odds are courtesy of online shop Bovada.

AC Milan-Napoli: Napoli Moneyline (+105)

Fresh off a 2-1 win against Lazio in its first game back after the winter break, Napoli looks to keep a firm grip on second place in Serie A at Milan on Saturday.

The important note about last week’s win was that I Partenopei did it without Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly and Allan, who were suspended, and all are available here and that is huge for Carlo Ancelotti.

Napoli won the reverse fixture 3-2 after going down 2-0 thanks to a brace from Piotr Zielinski and a late winner from Dries Mertens. That extended an unbeaten run against Milan that dates back to the 2014-15 season when Milan won 2-0 in December. The two Italian giants have met eight times since (all in Serie A) with Napoli winning six and the teams drawing twice.

The danger here, of course, is the away factor. Napoli is the second-best away team in the league but all three of its losses have come on the road (Sampdoria, Juventus, Inter).

Milan enters the weekend as the fifth-best home team in the league with 20 points from 10 games. They’ve lost twice on home turf (Juventus, Fiorentina) and are enjoying a fairly good run of form with three wins, four draws and just one defeat in their last eight Serie A games, but Napoli boasts superior quality all over the pitch and I’m loving the moneyline price as I put this together on Friday morning.

The aforementioned Insigne has been very good against Milan down the years with six goals in 10 games while Polish hitman Arkadiusz Milik has two in two. The former is +175 to score anytime with the latter +150 if you’re looking for Napoli players to score anytime.

Athletic Bilbao-Real Betis: Both Teams To Score (-125)

It wasn’t the best of starts to the La Liga campaign for Athletic Bilbao, but this team has really begun hitting its stride since handing the managerial reins over to Gaizka Garitano. In six La Liga matches since he took over, Bilbao has three wins and three draws for 12 points. The Basque outfit had just one win before Garitano took over.

Furthermore, they’ve scored in every game with their new manager save for a 0-0 away to Alavés in December and with the oft dangerous Real Betis coming to San Mamés on Sunday, they’ll need to find the back of the net if they wish to bag points.

Betis is a very attack-minded side that loves keeping the ball and is prone to conceding as much as it scores as a result of a 3-5-2 (or 3-1-4-2) formation. Their last five La Liga matches have seen both teams score and with Bilbao in good form, I like the look of this wager at -125.

It should also be noted here that the reverse fixture back on Matchday 5 was a 2-2 draw, adding a little fuel to my choice here.

When these two have met in recent head-to-heads, there is usually a winner and it’s usually Bilbao. In the last nine league meetings, Bilbao has won seven with one draw and one Betis win, so I wouldn’t blame you if you took the Bilbao moneyline (currently +110) either.

Borussia M.gladbach-Augsburg: Gladbach -1.0 (+105)

Third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach will attempt to keep second-placed Bayern Munich within arm’s reach as they trail by just three points and a win against Augsburg at home will be the only acceptable result in Bundesliga action on Saturday.

Augsburg enters this one in rough form away from home with three losses and one draw in its last four on the road. To their credit, however, they haven’t lost by more than one goal on the road all season. This includes some pretty close shaves at Dortmund (4-3), Hoffenheim (2-1) and Leverkusen (1-0), while they were able to draw at Bayern Munich (1-1) earlier in the season.

So why am I backing Gladbach on that -1.0 spread? Because they are absolutely dominant at Borussia-Park. They have won all eight of their home games and have outscored opponents – brace for it – 23-3 in those home games. Furthermore, seven of those home games would have cashed a -1.0 spread wager while the other, obviously, would have pushed.

Despite their 15th-placed position in the Bundesliga table entering this one, Augsburg has been a worthy opponent on the road. But with the way Gladbach has played on home turf, this is great value.

 

 

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