Having landed seven of his last nine best bets, and two from three last week, renowned football tipster Mark O'Haire returns with his weekend column.
3pts Over 2.5 Goals and BTTS in Verona vs Atalanta at 5/6 (bet365)
1.5pts Over 2.5 Goals and BTTS in Sassuolo vs Lazio at 4/5 (Sky Bet)
0.5pt Lille to beat Lyon and BTTS at 16/5 (William Hill)
I’m also going to follow the same OVER 2.5 GOALS & BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE angle of attack from Sunday evening’s Serie A clash between Sassuolo and Lazio at 4/5.
Sassuolo have made eye-catching strides in recent weeks and deserve to be taken seriously this weekend. The Neroverdi took their time to adjust to the departure of highly-rated head coach Roberto De Zerbi in the summer but are beginning to flourish now under Alessio Dionisi’s watch. The Emilia-Romagna club have certainly clicked into gear of late.
Dionisi’s charges have turned over table-toppers Milan at the San Siro, beaten Juventus in Turin, held high-flying Napoli, and given defending champions Inter a stern examination during Sassuolo’s upturn in form since the start of October.
Beaten only twice in that sample, the Neroverdi have provided opposition outfits with plenty of problems.
Sassuolo have scored in each of their last 12 Serie A outings, striking twice or more in eight of their past nine.
However, the hosts haven’t yet been able to find the magic formula at the back and that’s led to 10 consecutive BTTS winners with the Neroverdi recording only two clean sheets across the whole campaign.
Lazio arrive with the same paltry tally of shutouts under Maurizio Sarri’s management in Serie A this season.
The capital club have conceded multiple goals in nine of their 16 league fixtures and appeared particularly vulnerable after Europa League duty (leaking twice or more in four of their five league fixtures immediately after continental action).
The Biancocelesti could be without Ciro Immobile here yet Sarri’s squad boast enough quality in forward areas to suggest they’re capable of playing their part in an entertaining encounter. And again the raw numbers point towards a high-scoring shootout.
Sassuolo and Lazio have combined to score in 26 (81%) of their 32 Serie A assignments, posting just four clean sheets in the same sequence.
Both Teams To Score has clicked in 23 (72%) of those tussles, whilst Over 2.5 Goals has paid-out in a huge 29 (91%) matches thus far. Even the higher Over 3.5 Goals line has delivered in 18 (56%) of their combined dates.
Lille produced a counter-attacking masterclass in midweek to consolidate their position at the top of Group G in the Champions League, securing qualification to the Last 16.
Les Dogues were considered the outsiders in an intriguing pool but deserve immense credit for their efforts on the continent with Jocelyn Gourvennec earning plenty of plaudits.
It was a difficult start to term for the defending Ligue 1 champions, although Lille are undoubtedly trending in the right direction.
LOSC have now pocketed three successive victories and head into the weekend with a solitary loss in 11 across all competitions – the defeat arrived at PSG where Gourvennec’s group deserved at least a share of the spoils.
So Lille look a touch underrated for Sunday’s match-up with Lyon. The visitors’ haphazard defensive displays and inconsistency in performance under Peter Bosz has seen Les Dogues hovering around mid-table all season with away displays coming under particular scrutiny; OL have returned W2-D2-L4 on the road, conceding two goals or more on five occasions.
The high line that Bosz insists upon has proven to be Lyon’s Achilles heel and could play straight into the hands of Lille here.
The guests have managed only three domestic clean sheets and all five of their Ligue 1 defeats have featured a minimum of three goals, as Les Gones have managed to get on the scoresheet themselves in every game since early August.
With nine of Lille’s most recent 10 banking for Both Teams To Score hunters, I’m happy to include BTTS ALONGSIDE A HOME SUCCESS for a 16/5 shot.
Despite posting a series of impressive defensive data sets, the home team have only silenced one of their 17 opponents in league football this term, with five of their six victories including BTTS.
Thirty-eight goals were plundered in Serie A on MD16 and another goal deluge could be on the cards from the peninsula this weekend.
The Italian top-flight is already averaging a bulbous 3.09 goals per-game this season – bang-in-line with previous campaigns – with Over 2.5 Goals paying-out in 62% of fixtures and Both Teams To Score landing in 59%.
Remarkably, 40% of the 160 matches to take place in Serie A in 2021/22 have produced Over 3.5 Goals profit, a percentage hit-rate that would imply average odds around the 6/4 (2.50) mark.
It’s been tremendous fun and Sunday afternoon’s encounter between Hellas Verona and Atalanta has all the ingredients in place for another humdinger.
Verona have proven to be fantastic fun under Igor Tudor’s tutorship. Hellas have fired only two blanks this term, have notched twice or more in 10 of their 16 outings, and despite sitting in mid-table, are the division’s fifth top goalscorers. The Gialloblu will expect to get on the scoresheet again here considering Atalanta’s defensive deficiencies.
The visitors from Bergamo disappointingly exited the Champions League on Thursday evening and come into this contest with only four clean sheets to their name across domestic and continental duty.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s charges are famed for their fluent, attack-minded football and that carefree attitude tends to result in (lots of) goals.
Indeed, Sunday’s showdown pits together two of the top four teams in Italy for total goals per-game – Verona sit second in the rankings with a hefty 3.75 goals per-game, with Atalanta in fourth having returned 3.38 goals per-game. And the case for an entertaining encounter grows stronger when we continue to dig into the raw goal trends.
Crudely combining the duos Serie A fixtures this season, we can see the pair have found the back of the net in 29 of 32 collective contests.
However, the two teams have managed only six clean sheets in that sample, leading to 25 (78%) successful Both Teams To Score wagers, and 24 (75%) Over 2.5 Goals winners. In fact, 18 (56%) dates also saw Over 3.5 cop.
Therefore, the 5/6 (Bet365) for OVER 2.5 GOALS & BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE has to be considered as a strong selection from the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday.
Odds correct at 0745 GMT (10/12/21)
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