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European notebook - including Leverkusen tonight...

Wednesday 16th December 2020

In Across the Leagues today:

  • European notebook…
  • Sassuolo and Leverkusen…
  • Bailey and Pukki…

European notebook – including Leverkusen tonight…

When I was at school, one of my favourite subjects was Business Studies.

One week, a girl called Becky brought her Dad in to talk to the class.

Becky’s Dad ran his own business. I can’t remember what his company actually did. But I remember he put this slide up on the wall:

‘Good enough is never good enough’

I’ve just searched for the phrase online, and one of the first entries that comes up is Steve Jobs. The man who founded technology giant, Apple.

This phrase is about high standards. About details. About relentlessness.

It could be that good enough is never good enough is deeply engrained in me. A seed planted in a wide-eyed schoolboy many moons ago. Or maybe I’m just greedy…

Last night, all four of my selections clicked for a Both Teams to Score acca at 8/1. But I wasn’t entirely happy. Because only one of them ticked the box for Win & BTTS, at the bigger odds.

That’s not to say that I’m disappointed. Aiming high is one thing. Expecting a 286/1 jackpot to come along very often is something else…

Now, if we get one of those Win & BTTS combos over the line during the course of the season, then I would be happy. And it’s that hunger that keeps me looking.

The quest will continue on Friday, with the weekend Football League fixtures the hunting ground.

Across the Leagues member Chris was certainly a happy man last night:

“Hi Oliver, fortunately for my blood pressure, I did not check the scores during the evening, but waited until the games were over!! Wow, what a beaut from Swindon … I cannot wait until we go again!”

Tuesday-night takeaways…

Here are the four results in question from yesterday:

Doncaster 2 Swindon 1
Oldham 2 Walsall 3
Exeter 1 Harrogate 2
Crawley 1 Bradford 1

Takeaway points from last night’s featured games:

  • 5 of Doncaster’s 6 home wins this season have paid out on Win & BTTS
  • Oldham are the only team in League Two yet to keep a Clean Sheet (18 games)
  • Both Teams to Score has paid out in 7 of Exeter’s last 8 games
  • Both Teams to Score has paid out in each of Crawley’s last 6 games in all competitions

And on the Scorers front, after Ivan Toney scored a penalty in Brentford’s 1-1 draw at Watford:

  • Toney has now landed Anytime Scorer in 6 of his last 7 games

Plenty of pointers to keep in mind there, with stacks of games coming up over Christmas & New Year.

European notebook…

On to today’s action now – and there’s plenty of it…

The Wednesday fixture list includes games in the Premier League and Championship in England.

As well as across our featured European leagues, including the Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in France, and the Russian Premier League. And in Spain, Barcelona take on league leaders Real Sociedad in La Liga.

You can log-in to view & use our stats for all those leagues and games on the website:

Here are the games, players, and prices on my radar:

Fiorentina v Sassuolo

Serie A, 7.45pm

On Monday we discussed whether anyone could ‘do a Leicester’ this season, and win the Premier League at outsider odds. In Italy, Sassuolo are one of the sides making a surprise early run, attempting to break Juventus’ 9-year grip on the Serie A title.

As it stands, Sassuolo are 5th in the table, 5 points behind AC Milan in 1st place, and only a point behind Juventus. In the Outright Winner market, from 750/1 on day one in September, Sassuolo are now 125/1.

With a third of the season played, it’ll be intriguing to see if the underdogs can keep it up. So far, they’ve only lost once in 11 matches, and that was against 2019/20 runners-up Inter Milan.

Their away form has been particularly impressive:

  • Sassuolo are unbeaten on the road in Serie A this season, with 4 wins and a draw from 5 away games 

This evening’s hosts Fiorentina are in the bottom half of the table, in 17th place. The men in the violet shirts have managed just 2 wins in 11 league games so far, with no wins in their last 6.

  • Fiorentina have failed to score in 5 of their last 6 Serie A games

At odds touching 2/1, the away win appeals this evening.

In the Bundesliga…

Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg is a big match (7.30pm, BT Sport).

Champions Bayern are currently 2nd. While Wolfsburg have made a great start and sit 5th – and unbeaten (W5 D6 L0).

The home win is 4/11 (1.36). The away-day upset is 7/1 (8.0). Although the head-to-head history says not to get too excited for the outsiders…

Bayern have beaten Wolfsburg 5 times in a row since February 2018, with score-lines of (most recent first): 0-4, 2-0, 6-0, 1-3, 1-2.

The last Wolfsburg player to score against Bayern – over two years ago now – was Wout Weghorst

The big Dutchman has featured in our Scorer notebook in the last couple of weeks. Weghorst is on a 5-game scoring streak in the Bundesliga, and has landed Anytime Scorer bets in 7 of his last 8 appearances.

Tonight’s Scorer betting is bossed, as usual, by Bayern’s star striker, Robert Lewandowski. The Polish goal machine is top scorer in the league, and has struck in 3 of his last 4 games in all comps.

  • Lewandowski is 4/11 (1.36) to score tonight. Weghorst is a best-price 2/1 (3.0) with BetVictor

Hoffenheim v RB Leipzig (7.30pm, BT Sport) is another one where we can expect some goalmouth action…

  • Hoffenheim’s last 3 matches in all comps have ended: 4-1 (lost), 4-1 (won), 3-1 (won)
  • Leipzig have scored 2+ goals in each of their last 5 games

Andrej Kramaric has been on the radar for Scorer bets this season. After starting like a train, a month off due to coronavirus slowed him down. In 7 appearances since returning to the Hoffenheim team (4 starts), he’s got 3 goals – 2 of which were penalties.

In his last 5 outings, the Croatian forward has managed just the one goal. It would appear he’s not yet back to full steam. Kramaric is around 15/8 (2.88) to score tonight. We’ll keep an eye on him over the next few weeks.

FC Koln v Bayer Leverkusen

Talking of surprise packages in the European leagues this season, Bayer Leverkusen currently occupy top spot in the Bundesliga…

From 80/1 at the start of the campaign, Leverkusen are now 20/1 in general and 40/1 with BetVictor to go all the way.

  • Leverkusen are unbeaten in the league (W7 D4 L0). They’ve won 4 out of 6 away games

FC Koln are 15th of 18 teams in the Bundesliga. They’re yet to win at home, with 2 draws and 4 defeats.

As the League Stats on our site show, one thing Koln have done though, is Scored In every home game (6 out of 6). And in 10 out of 11 league matches overall.

With no Clean Sheets in their own stadium, that means Koln also boast a 100% home record for Both Teams to Score bets (82% strike-rate overall).

Add in the fact that Bayer Leverkusen are the No.1 team in the division for Win & Both Teams to Score, with 5 of their 7 wins seeing goals at both ends. And odds of 9/4 (3.25) for that option make greater appeal than 4/6 (1.67) and 8/13 (1.62) for the away win.

With goals anticipated, Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey catches the eye too, with odds of 13/5 (3.6) looking value right now in the Anytime Scorer market:

  • Leon Bailey has scored twice in each of his last 2 games. He’s landed Anytime Scorer bets in 4 of his last 6 starts in all comps

The Jamaican looked razor sharp when netting a brace at the weekend, scoring one with each foot. On last-10-games form, taking odds of 13/5 each time would show a 116% ROI for Bailey.

In Spain and France…

  • Barcelona v Real Sociedad (8pm) – Sociedad are joint-top of La Liga. They’ve drawn each of their last 3 league games – and 6 in a row in all comps. The bookies make it 7/2 (4.5) for yet another draw tonight
  • PSG v Lorient (8pm) – champions PSG are currently 3rd. They lost 0-1 at home v 4/1 outsider Lyon at the weekend (Lyon are now 2nd). PSG have beaten Lorient 11 times in a row in all comps. Another win tonight is very short odds-on, at just 1/7 (1.14). Lorient are 18/1 rank outsiders

Meanwhile, in Russia…

Earlier this season, we had nice 5/1 Anytime Scorer payout from 35-year-old Christian Noboa in the Russian Premier League.

The Sochi man ended a 4-game drought with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Spartak Moscow on Saturday.

  • 5 of Noboa’s 8 goals this season have paid out on First Goalscorer. He also takes penalties

Sochi v Dinamo Moscow is a 3pm kick-off this afternoon (UK time).

Not many bookies are getting involved here, but Bet365 have Noboa at 11/4 (3.75) to score Anytime, with Betway offering 5/2 (3.5). In the First Goalscorer markets with those firms, he’s 7/1 and 6/1, respectively. Noboa is certainly one to look out for this season.

Pukki on the road…

Last but not least, my focus on the English action takes me to the Championship this evening…

Reading v Norwich (8pm)

After 2 goals on Saturday, Norwich striker Teemu Pukki is up to 9 for the season.

A pre-season favourite in the Championship Top Goalscorer list, the Finnish forward is now 4th in the scorer charts.

With odds of 6/4 (2.5) available for tonight’s game, Pukki is one to follow right now. He’s scored in 5 of his last 7 appearances for club & country.

And on the road, he’s been particularly prolific. Finding the net in each of Norwich’s last 3 away games.

Today’s picks

From the analysis above, here are my picks for this evening…

Fiorentina v Sassuolo (Serie A, 7.45pm)

  • Sassuolo to win @ 2/1 (3.0) with BetVictor, William Hill, NetBet, 10Bet, 197/100 (2.97) Marathonbet, 19/10 (2.9) and 15/8 (2.88) in general 

FC Koln v Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga, 7.30pm)

  • Bayer Leverkusen to Win & Both Teams to Score @ 9/4 (3.25) with Bet365, 11/5 (3.2) BetVictor, 21/10 (3.1) Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betway, Betfred, Boylesports 
  • Anytime Scorer: Leon Bailey @ 13/5 (3.6) with Coral, Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Skybet, 9/4 (3.25) Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, 11/5 (3.2) Betway, 2/1 (3.0) William Hill

Reading v Norwich (Championship, 8pm)

  • Anytime Scorer: Teemu Pukki @ 6/4 (2.5) with Coral, Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Betway, 7/5 (2.4) William Hill, Betfred

I’ll be back on Friday with a weekend preview. There’s another huge fixture list coming our way. I’m off to do my homework…

Want to get in touch? Got something to share? Email me at:

Enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues