Big Match Weekend: Betting Tips for 5 of the Best Matches
By Leonard Solms
With the big European football leagues back in full swing, let’s face it — they have not become any easier to predict.
Fortunately, there are some trends we have picked up in the first few fixtures that might help you bet on the first weekend of October.
Furthermore, with several fixtures between evenly-matched top sides taking place this weekend, there is plenty of value in the draw market.
Crystal Palace v Chelsea (Saturday 3 October, 13:30)
Timo Werner scored his first competitive goal for Chelsea in their Carabao Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs had fielded a strong side, so this was a feat worth celebrating.
Bearing in mind that this is a player who scored 28 Bundesliga goals last season, second only to Robert Lewandowski, now is the time to begin backing him to find the back of the net again.
Werner needed time to settle, but after several near misses, he now appears ready to truly hit his stride. He is paying 4.00 for First Goalscorer and 1.95 for Anytime Goalscorer.
Atlético Madrid v Villarreal (Saturday 3 October, 16:00)
Los Rojiblancos pulled off a major coup when they signed Luis Suarez from Barcelona. The Uruguayan started in fine fashion, scoring twice in a 6-1 win over Granada. After a 0-0 draw away to Huesca, a return to the Wanda Metropolitano will suit the team.
Atlético have a reputation for being a defensive team under Diego Simeone, but their squad is now brimming with attacking talent. In this sense, they are not totally unlike Villarreal, who outscored them with 63 goals last season and have seen four goals in each of their last two games.
Atléti have consistently finished above Villarreal in recent seasons and have the wind in their sails at the moment. They are worth backing for the victory but expect lots of goals.
Lazio v Inter Milan (Sunday 4 October, 15:00)
Only four points separated Inter and Lazio in Serie A last season. There is very little between these sides on paper. The Nerazzurri began this season with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Fiorentina and a 5-2 drubbing of Benevento.
Lazio started the season with a 2-0 win away to Cagliari but were then left smarting by Atalanta in a 4-1 defeat. Still, do not write them off against Antonio Conte’s notoriously unpredictable outfit. There definitely will be goals in this fixture.
Manchester United v Tottenham (Sunday 4 October, 17:30)
Another fixture where a draw is offering top value for money is Manchester United v Tottenham. Spurs’ last two fixtures have finished as 1-1 draws within 90 minutes, while their most recent meeting with Manchester United in June was also a 1-1 draw.
Jose Mourinho’s men have seen goals at both ends in each of their last five fixtures in all competitions, while this has been the case for United in their two opening league games this season.
BTTS is worth a look at 1.71, but the teams might adopt cagey approaches out of respect to their opponents, thus making this slightly risky. In a fixture where the margins are so fine in terms of quality, a draw at 3.65 is our suggested bet.
Juventus v Napoli (Sunday 4 October, 20:45)
Two old team-mates go head-to-head as Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus host Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli. Juve are the defending champions and Napoli one of Italy’s most in-form teams.
Napoli are flying high after a 6-0 victory over Genoa, having beaten Parma 2-0 in their opening league fixture. Juve beat Sampdoria 3-0 but then drew 2-2 to Roma.
Neither team will want to make a mistake in a fixture which is usually decided by fine margins and could have implications in the title race. There is thus superb value in backing a draw.