'Stattobets Dave' Football (up until 30th Nov 2019)
French Ligue 2 - Friday 22nd November
A couple of quick fancies for Friday night’s French Ligue 2, starting in Grenoble, where the shot data suggests the hosts are nothing better than a mid-table outfit this season when they welcome Nancy.
Grenoble have recorded 126-134 on the shot data this season – a 48% ratio, which is precisely the same ratio as their on-target efforts (44-47). That’s resulted in an around-par output of 13 goals for and 11 goals against. Both shot based metrics have dipped significantly on the six-game tables – showing 43% on current form and that makes them extremely vulnerable when they face Nancy – one of the better sides in the division who should be higher than their current spot in 10th.
Nancy have been huge victims of too many draws – no fewer than 10 in their opening 14 league matches, but they have been posting solid numbers all season – 55% shot ratio, 58% shot-on-target ratio, with both even better lately. With just one defeat all season – a 2-1 reversal in August in a match which saw them miss a host of players through injury and suspension – they are clearly a decent side, and should soon be heading back up the table. Nancy are 21/10 for this one.
Another interesting match is Orleans v Valenciennes, with the away side travelling with a number of key players missing. The visitors saw three players sent off in their last match against Chateauroux – Julien Masson, Baptiste Guillaume and Nicolas Kocik. The latter is the reserve goalkeeper, but the other two are key members of the first XI and their absence will surely be felt.
Our shot-based model makes them significant underdogs against Orleans regardless of the team news – around 0.7 goals per match worse on a neutral venue. Valenciennes have posted 146-199 on the shot data this season, compared to 164-151 for Orleans. While the results haven’t bourne that out – just one win for Orleans this season – I’m certain things will improve for the bottom club soon, and they can find themselves heading back up the table very soon.
If you have a Blacktype account, they will offer 11/10 on Orleans, while more likely we’ll be taking 21/20 with Bet365, RedZoneSports or BetVictor.
10pts Nancy to beat Grenoble at 21/10 (Bet365, BetVictor)
10pts Orleans to beat Valenciennes at 21/20 (Bet365, RedZoneSports or BetVictor)
Serie A - Verona v Fiorentina - Sunday 24th November
A very large part of the approach I’ve always taken to finding value has been around using shot-data to predict when the market is over-valuing or under-valuing a team’s chances of victory. Goals are so very rare in football, that it’s entirely possible that a team finds itself picking up points and wins where they have more reasonably deserved to lose or draw.
Verona are this week’s example, who should be absolutely over the moon with their 10th place in Serie A, and perhaps rather less delighted with the performances of their players and manager. Fabbio Pecchia has now lost 37 of his 65 games in charge, and lack of goals has been the real problem. So far this season in Serie A, Verona have taken just 98 shots in 12 matches – only SPAL and Brescia are worse on that table, while at the other end, the 137 against is also worse than average.
More concern though is the six-game form table, where they are showing just 48 shots taken (only SPAL are below them) and 76 against (only Lecce are below). They look in real mess.
This weekend’s opponents are Fiorentina – a side just one place above them in the table, but with much loftier ambitions. Their performance data has been solid throughout the season - their shot-ratio number of 56% ranks fifth in the division, and on-target ratio of 55% ranks 6th.
I’m happy to forgive their 5-2 defeat at Cagliari last weekend given their last ten run reads 4-4-2 and includes draws with Juventus and Atalanta. They will be looking for a reaction and the international break should allow them to return with clear heads for this one.
14pts Fiorentina to beat Verona at 11/8 (Sky Bet, Betway, Marathon, Boylesports)
Serie A - Atalanta v Juventus - Saturday 23rd November
Atalanta have guaranteed excited wherever they have gone this season, with their 16 games thus far producing a whopping 63 goals, including 10 fixtures seeing four goals or more. They welcome the unbeaten Juventus this weekend and they might just have a sniff of producing an upset if they can keep producing the sorts of performances they have done.
Looking at the shot data, Atalanta currently top the division in shots taken (181) and shot ratio (64%) and have posted equally good numbers of late as well. Their style can lead to those numbers being a little misleading, and it’s only fair to point out their xG ratio comes in a little lower (ranked 6th) due to lower quality chances created, but they are nevertheless a very decent side.
Juventus are unbeaten in the division this season so it’s bold to go against the, but of their 16 games this season (13-3-0) they have only won by more than the odd goal on two occasions. Getting the job done is a mark of a good team of course, but it does also suggest they’ve been close to not doing enough on 14 occasions.
Looking at the last three season’s, it’s also worth noting Juventus’ home vs away form. Domestically they have gone 55-6-2 at home (87%, 9.5%, 3%), while away from home they have recorded 42-11-10 (67%, 17%, 16%).
With the likes of Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic, plus the free-scoring Luis Muriel, Atalanta have a punchers chance in this one and odds of 2/1 are big enough to persuade me to take a small wager on them here.
8pts Atalanta to beat Juventus at 2/1 (Betfair, Bet Victor, Paddy Power)
Charlton v Cardiff - Saturday 23rd November
We’re a 1/3rd of the way into the Championship season now, and Lee Bowyer’s Charlton side are in the top half of the table. They would have absolutely bitten your hand off for that at the start of the season, and while it’s true to say they have ridden their luck on a couple of occasions, there is not doubt at all that Bowyer is doing one heck of a job on the resources available to him and making his side hard to beat.
They are as long as 2/1 when they face the newly appointed Neil Harris and his Cardiff charges, and that looks pretty generous from where I’m sitting about a side who have won half their home games so far this season.
Regarding Harris – there has been plenty of debate about his appointment at the Bluebirds, with the greater majority coming down on the side of surprise in that one. With Cardiff out of form it’s going to take an effort to pick them up if they are to kick on back up the table, and for the time being at least I just cannot make them favourites in this one away from home. The Bluebirds are 14th in the table and have failed to win any of their eight away days thus far this season (four draws and four defeats)
12pts Charlton to beat Cardiff at 2/1 Unibet (19/10 also acceptable with a range of other firms)
North Macedonia v Israel - Tuesday 19th November
I’m not sure I’m a great fan of the qualifying process for Euro 2020, when a side could reach the finals having collected 11pts in qualifying, while another on 17pts misses out on even a place in the play-offs. That’s exactly the scenario in Group G though, as North Macedonia and Israel both head to the play-offs , while Slovenia are knocked out despite finishing well ahead of them.
In the final matches of the group, North Macedonia face Israel in a dead-rubber, although I guess both sides would like to finish the group in winning fashion to carry that form forwards into the play-off section.
Israel have been a leaky outfit in recent years – keeping just one clean sheet in their last ten internationals – with that coming against Latvia. They have conceded 20 goals in that 10 match run for good measure - even Scotland helped themselves to three! To their credit, they do score goals as well – netting in nine of those fixtures as well – only Poland kept them out, so expecting goals in this one is the first point of order..
The second is that North Macedonia are not a bad side at all, and are probably being underrated in this one at 6/4. Their last eight home internationals have seen them win six and lose just twice. It’s true they have played some poor sides, but they have proved they are a level above the lowest Nations League level. The have beaten Slovenia (2-1), lost to Austria (4-1) and Poland (1-0) and beaten Gibraltar (4-0), Latvia (3-1), Armenia (2-0) and Liechtenstein (4-1 and 4-0). With home advantage they really should be stronger favourites against a side who concede so readily.
12pts North Macedonia to beat Isreal at 29/20 (Bet365, Betfair Exchange)
11pts Over 2.5 goals at 10/11 (General)