Predicting the beautiful game can be a fool’s errand, but fortune favors the bold. Yahoo Soccer has run the stats and analyzed the form books for five of the biggest games this weekend …
Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona
After a topsy-turvy start to the season, the La Liga table is starting to look more familiar. Barcelona and Real Madrid are even on points at the summit, while Atletico Madrid are three points back in fourth place.
The Blaugrana head to the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend in good health ... on paper, at least. They top the league and are on a four-game winning streak. However, their recent form belies the fact they are not actually playing very well, conceding needless goals while appearing to lack ideas and leaving a lot to be desired with their tactics.
The team are not in a positive frame of mind, which is not an ideal situation in which to visit Atleti. Although they haven’t lost to Diego Simeone’s side in their last eight encounters, Barca have failed to win in their last two visits.
Atleti are also in questionable form, with only a single win in their last six games in all competitions, but they know exactly how to prevent this Barca side from getting a result.
The Catalans barely scraped a win at Leganes last weekend, and they appear ripe for a loss that will plunge Ernesto Valverde’s job security into further disarray.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
Best Bet: Backing Atleti to score the first goal at +105 with MGM seems safe, as Barca have conceded first in four of their last seven away games. But an Atleti win with over 2.5 total goals at +375 offers much more tempting odds.
Tottenham vs. Bournemouth
Say what you like about Jose Mourinho, but he remains the only Tottenham manager in history to boast a 100% record.
Granted, the “Special One” has been in charge for only two games, but they have both provided unexpected excitement for the Tottenham faithful.
Mourinho’s debut at West Ham last weekend saw the Lilywhites tenuously hold on to a three-goal lead — demonstrating the club’s continuing problem of conceding late goals — while the midweek Champions League jaunt saw the North London side come back from two goals down to Olympiakos, thus confirming their place in the knockout stages in dramatic fashion.
Spurs welcome Bournemouth to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, knowing that their last meeting with the Cherries didn’t go to plan. In the penultimate game of last season, Tottenham suffered a 1-0 defeat at Dean Court which saw them finish with nine men.
Given Tottenham’s poor defensive record, Bournemouth might feel confident of getting on the scoresheet. However, they come into this game with a lengthy injury list and with just one win in their last seven league matches. They also have a very poor recent record away at Tottenham; their last three visits have seen them concede 10 unanswered goals.
Mourinho is playing offensive soccer, with plenty of the rapid counter attacks to which Spurs fans have become accustomed. Bournemouth should offer Tottenham the chance to find the net plenty of times, without the manager feeling the need to hold back and “park the bus.”
Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Bournemouth
Best Bet: Back the multiple of 2-1, 3-1 or a 4-1 win for Spurs at +280 with MGM. Tottenham haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league in eight matches, but have scored 10 times in their last three home matches with Bournemouth.
Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Since caretaker manager Hansi Flick took the reins at Bayern Munich, the incumbent champions have looked unstoppable. In four matches, they have scored 16 times without conceding — and can regain their familiar spot at the top of the Bundesliga this weekend with a win over Bayer Leverkusen.
But that’s the same Bayer Leverkusen who beat the Bavarians 3-1 in their most recent meeting. That game, which took place back in February, ended a seven-game winning streak for Bayern, so Die Werkself know exactly how to bring the German giants to a shuddering halt.
However, all signs suggest that Bayern will rack up another big scoreline this weekend.
Not only are they averaging four unanswered goals per game under Flick, but they have scored 16 times against Leverkusen in their last five meetings. They have comfortably beaten Bayer the last six times at the Allianz Arena, and have scored 13 times in their last five home matches in all competitions.
Despite Bayern’s predicted dominance, expect Leverkusen to get on the scoresheet — they have found the net in each of their last five meetings with Die Roten.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Best Bet: A Bayern win with both teams scoring is a solid bet at +105, but Robert Lewandowski as first goalscorer is better value at +200 with MGM. The Pole’s streak of scoring in every game is over, but he has 27 goals on the season already before December. Which is ridiculous.
Monaco vs. PSG
Not so long ago, El Cashico was the biggest rivalry in France. Since winning Ligue 1 in 2017, however, Monaco have fallen back in the pack. They narrowly dodged relegation last season and sit just four points above the drop zone as the Parisians visit the moneyed principality this weekend.
Monaco, to their credit, have won their last five home matches in all competitions and have made moves to arrest a slump that saw them go winless in their opening six matches of the season.
However, Les Monégasques have historically been no match for PSG — even when they were competing at the same level. The reigning champions have won their last nine matches against Monaco, while scoring no fewer than three goals in each of their last five meetings.
Leomardo Jardim’s fragile defensive line, which has already shipped 24 league goals this season, will likely be preyed upon by a PSG attacking line that hasn’t let loose since its 4-0 win over Marseille last month.
Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Monaco
Best Bet: A 4-0 scoreline is a perfectly reasonable outcome, but is somehow priced at an extremely long +12500! If that is too cavalier, back PSG to win at halftime and full-time at +120 with MGM. They have won both halves in five of their last six league games and four of their last five meetings with Monaco.
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