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 …
Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
Could Manchester United’s push for a top four place be back on?
After enduring their worst start to a season in 33 years, things have started looking up for the Red Devils since the most recent international break. After getting the tactics right to hold champions-elect Liverpool to a draw, wins have followed on the road at Partizan Belgrade, Norwich and Chelsea.
With a place in the final eight of the League Cup secured midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have the opportunity to jump up to the dizzying heights of fifth place in the Premier League when they travel to the south coast this weekend.
All signs suggest Bournemouth will be quite accommodating to their guests: They have lost six of their last seven encounters with United and are also winless in their last five matches in all competitions. Some doom mongers are even suggesting Eddie Howe’s side will be in trouble come the end of the season (which makes their +650 odds of relegation worth consideration).
Bournemouth have failed to score in their last three Premier League matches, but have only conceded once during that run. Although United have scored twice or more against the Cherries in their last three meetings, a narrower margin of victory looks likely for this fixture.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0-1 Manchester United
Best Bet: Anthony Martial to score the first goal (+575 with 888sport). The Frenchman scored on his last visit to Dean Court and has scored or assisted in every league start this season. His odds are priced very generously here. United to win with a clean sheet (+300 with FOXBET) is also worth thinking about.
Levante vs. Barcelona
With Lionel Messi injury-free and scoring for fun once again, Barcelona’s early season jitters have been conveniently papered over. The Blaugrana have won their last seven in all competitions, and have scored eight in their past three league matches.
A road trip to Levante looks like a simple task: they have won their last two visits to the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium by a 4-0 aggregate scoreline, and they are the heavy favorite (at -310 with FanDuel).
However, this match represents a potential banana skin for the Catalans.
Levante nearly gave Real Madrid a scare at the Bernabeu earlier this season — they fought back to 3-2 from a 3-0 deficit — and they are coming off a very impressive midweek win away at high-flying Real Sociedad.
Crucially, Levante have beaten Barcelona in two of their last three home meetings. In May 2018, Levante famously ended Barca’s attempt to go undefeated all season with a chaotic 5-4 victory.
Perhaps this is the match where we are reminded once again of the shortcomings of Ernesto Valverde’s side? We may get some insight as to why many Blaugrana fans are still calling for the manager’s head.
Most bettors would be inclined to back Barcelona, but the odds are pretty incredible for a victory for Barca’s bogey team: Levante are at +750 for a win with FOXBET. Those are pretty good odds for a David that has already demonstrated it can fell a Goliath.
Prediction: Levante 1-0 Barcelona
Best Bet: Levante to win and under 2.5 goals (+1500 with FOXBET). There have been under 2.5 goals in Levante’s last four league home matches. If you can get behind the notion of a Barca slip, these longshot odds are too good to pass up.
Roma vs. Napoli
Saturday evening sees the latest edition of the Derby della Mole between Piedmont rivals Torino and Juventus. The biggest game in Italy, however, takes place in the capital, where Roma will host Napoli in Saturday’s early kickoff.
The Giallorossi went undefeated in October and built on an impressive victory over Milan last weekend with a 4-0 road win at Udinese midweek. Roma are undefeated in 18 of their last 19 league matches and have only lost once at home in all competitions since March.
That defeat back in March, however, was a 4-1 rollicking by this weekend’s opponents, Napoli. The Neopolitans seem to love coming to the Stadio Olimpico: They’ve won their last three trips to face Roma and their last four to face Lazio. Accordingly, they are the narrow favorites for the win with the bookmakers.
Although an away win looks tempting to back in these circumstances, a draw seems like a more likely outcome. The two sides are in similar form, they are separated in the league by only one point and, most importantly, they have each drawn four of their last six matches in all competitions.
Prediction: Roma 1-1 Napoli
Best Bet: If you can find a market to back Nicolo Zaniolo to score, take it. Roma’s young star has scored in his last three outings. Otherwise, consider backing a draw and under 2.5 goals (+400 with FOXBET). As previously stated, the sides have each drawn four of their last six — and all but one of those stalemates featured under 2.5 goals.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg
Pressure has been mounting on manager Lucien Favre in recent weeks, as Borussia Dortmund have drawn four of their last five league games. Last weekend’s derby with fierce rivals Schalke ended goalless, with BVB lamenting multiple missed chances and general poor play.
Dortmund sit in fifth right now, just one point behind this weekend’s visitors Wolfsburg. But if other results go their way, they could end the 10th round of Bundesliga matches at the summit.
The hosts will be highly encouraged by their midweek win over current league leaders Borussia Monchengladbach in the German Cup. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, were eliminated via a 6-1 rollicking by RB Leipzig.
BVB also have a favorable head-to-head in this one. They have won seven of their last eight matches with Wolfsburg in all competitions and haven’t lost to them since May 2015. Die Wolfe are also winless in their last five outings in all competitions.
This top-of-the-table clash is the perfect stage for Dortmund to emphatically return to winning ways and show their title challenging credentials.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Wolfsburg
Best Bet: Dortmund to win to nil (+165 with 888sport). BVB haven’t conceded in their last five meetings with Wolfsburg.
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