WELCOME BACK! The Barclays Premier League as well as several other leagues around Europe will kick off this Saturday and that means a return to regular betting for us with the money making season to begin.
England Premier League
Southampton v Everton – Both Teams to Score @ 2.00 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Southampton v Everton – Graziano Pelle Anytime Scorer @ 2.90 (Bwin) – 1.5 points
Southampton playing at home will be heavy favourites to do the business against an Everton side who have struggled to deliver consistent performances since last campaign. Southampton maintain almost a similar squad to last season and showed us last week that they are a team to be reckoned with, especially in their scoring form, as they netted 2 goals in the game, with some entertaining and attacking football. Graziano Pelle netted last week, and will be favourite to do so again, along with his companions Rodriguez, Mane & Tadic.
Defensively without the no.1 keeper Forster; Southampton have had to sign up Stekelenburg from Fulham on loan; and from a keeper who played in a lower division, the step up sometimes is difficult. With Clyne also gone; they have employed more attack minded Cedric; and with Alderweirelds loan finishing; the Saints defence has gone a bit weaker as was seen from the 2 goals they leaked last week against Newcastle.
Everton have been struggling and last year finished outside the top 10 for the first time in many years. A lot of their struggles has been due to lack of a creative midfield as well as the lethalness of Romelu Lukaku. Ross Barkley who was injured most of last campaign is now back to play the no. 10 role to create opportunities for his team mates and he showed off his start to the campaign with a stunning goal. Lukaku couldn’t deliver the goods last week, but it will be just a matter of time before he is back on target.
Everton’s defence has been a bit shaky especially with the expectations that is behind their first 6 fixtures, playing most of the top teams. They conceded 2 goals against newly promoted Watford last week, and with Stones looking a bit distracted by transfer speculations, I expect Everton defines to be un-settled.
Both these teams played out a 2-2 draw against weaker opponents as compared to their sides; and one can expect goals to be scored by both teams when they face off each other during their Saturday lunch-time kick off.
Leverkusen AH-1 to beat Hoffenheim @ 1.88 (Bet365) – 2 points
Leverkusen v Hoffenheim – Over 3 Asian Goal Line @ 2.05 (Bet365) – 2 points
Leverkusen will be hoping to continue to build on a decent season from last year qualified in 4th spot and managed to secure a Champions League spot for their troubles. While they had Bellarabi and Son scoring 11 goals each to lead the team in scoring, but Kiessling who was their main hit-man only netted 8 goals in what he would consider a poor season for himself.
Leverkusen will be looking to put out their strongest team in this encounter against Hoffenheim looking forward to starting of the season with a solid victory and with Son, Bellarabi, Kissling, Calhanoglu and Kramer will be looking to both create as well as support the team on their goal scoring exploits. Defensively they have been pretty decent signing up Papadopoulos & Tah into their team to strengthen up defensively and keep things tight at the back.
Hoffenheim are a shadow of a team that they were and that was clearly seen then they were dumped out in the 1st round of the DFB Pokal by 2-0 scoreline to 1860 Munich. Hoffenheim used to be a super entertaining team, scoring lots of goals and playing lovely counter-attacking football which was a joy to watch. This year however is expected to be a tough one as they have sold off some key players like Firmino, Anthony and their talismanic captain Beck. In net, they have bought 11 players and sold off 11 players, so its going to take time for the players to gel and settle in as a solid team.
So far also in pre-season they have played some pretty average teams, and were unable to keep it tight at the back; showcasing their ability to continue to leak goals. Leverkusen have managed to win 5 out of the last 6 encounters and at worst this its been a refund on this; so its worth the price to go on the asian handicap tonight.
Russian Premier League
Zenit AH-1 to beat Krasnodar @ 2.00 (BetVictor) – 2.5 points
Russian Champions Zenit have already started the season in flying form by winning 4 out 4 games so far this campaign; and will want to continue running with that form as they entertain Krasnodar, who have just managed to win a solitary game so far this campaign.
Zenit have been led up front by Hulk and Danny who have netted 3 goals so far and they have been totally dominant as was seen in their game last week, but only sneaked out a 1-0 win thanks to a late 85th minute goal. Zenit have netted 10 goals in their 4 games so far; and that showcases how they plan to go and win games in this season, purely on the offensive end. Defensively they have shown some solidity, leaking only one goal and will hope to build on that in this game in front of their home fans.
Krasnodar so far have just won a solitary game, while drawing 2 and losing 1 game so far. They are sitting mid-way through the table in 8th spot and a lot of their struggles has been due to the offensive end where they have only scored 2 goals this campaign. Krasnador have never troubled Zenit in their last 8 encounters, losing 6 of them and drawing 2; which cannot give the team any confidence especially after this poor start to this campaign.
Zenit will look to make home crowd advantage count; and I expect them to win this encounter comfortably tonight.