Thursday 10th December 2020
In Across the Leagues today:
Last night saw a rare blank for the Championship’s top scorers…
Lucas Joao missed a penalty for Reading, who lost 2-1 at home to Birmingham.
The division’s top scoring team Blackburn failed to register, losing 1-0 at Bristol City. Promotion favourites Brentford also came up dry, drawing 0-0 with Derby…
The Championship’s two top scorers, Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong, remain on 14 goals each.
Expect those guys to feature again very soon.
As I say every week – and I’ll say again: price is king.
The bottom line is that, so far this season, backing Toney, Armstrong & Joao at yesterday’s Anytime Scorer prices, to level stakes in every league match they’ve played, would’ve produced an overall profit. And that’s the kind of area we go hunting in…
The goal-scorer value-quest continues this evening with match-day 6 in the Europa League. Play starts from 5.55pm.
Lech Poznan v Rangers – James Tavernier @ 5/2
Standard Liege v Benfica – Luis Pizzi @ 2/1
My colleague Shaun has started calling this service the Tavernier-backer. I say, if the Rangers right-back keeps on getting priced up at these kinds of odds, then we’ll keep on putting him in…
So far this season, I’ve named James Tavernier as an Anytime Scorer pick on four separate occasions. Producing two payouts, at odds of 11/5 (3.2) and 5/2 (3.5), for an overall profit.
The same goes for Benfica midfielder Luis Pizzi. Highlighted in three different matches, he’s also proved a worthwhile selection, providing a winning payout at 16/5 (4.2).
Both men don’t play as forwards. But both take penalties, and have also shown a keen eye for goal from open play. Not least in the last seven days, with both men finding the net. Here are the key stats for these two:
Both Rangers and Benfica are already qualified for the Knockouts, but both teams know a win tonight gives them the chance to top the Group. They’re currently level on 11 points each.
Finishing in 1st place with as many points as possible is important, because the top Group winners will avoid teams coming in from the Champions League in the Round of 32. There’s also important prize money up for grabs.
That’s not to say that players won’t be rested tonight. I don’t have Steven Gerrard on speed-dial. But Tavernier is the Rangers captain, and has so far played in all of their 25 (unbeaten) matches in all comps this season. Pizzi has featured in all 15 Benfica games in 2020/21.
At the prices, and against opponents with nothing to play for, too, these men are going in again.
It’s rare that you’ll see me flagging up a Europa League acca. And one predominantly made up of away teams, at that. But this final round of Group games paints a clear picture for certain teams and what results they need…
There’s a fair case to be made for backing the cream to rise to the top in this handful of Group deciders this evening:
As discussed above, Rangers and Benfica both know a win is required to give them the opportunity to finish 1st in Group D.
It’s a similar case in Group H, with Lille and AC Milan already qualified, and now fighting it out for top spot…
Those five teams to win pays 9/1 and 8/1. And with the incentive there for each side to perform, there’s the potential for this combo to provide some Thursday night entertainment.
From the analysis above, here are my picks for this evening…
Europa League – BT Sport
Lech Poznan v Rangers (5.55pm)
Standard Liege v Benfica (5.55pm)
Five-fold acca as listed above:
I’ll be back tomorrow with your weekend preview.
Enjoy the football…