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Derby-day notebook - and weekend picks at 7/1...

Friday 16th October 2020

In Across the Leagues today:

  • Three derbies…
  • The return of Zlatan…
  • 7/1 shot for Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund…

Derby-day notebook – and weekend picks at 7/1…

With the latest round of International Friendlies and Nations League games out the way, Europe’s top-flight domestic leagues return to action this weekend.

Three of the standout fixtures are famous local derbies – Everton v Liverpool, Celtic v Rangers, and Inter Milan v AC Milan…

This weekend’s research has taken me through the derby-day history books. Here are some standout stats and good-to-know pointers:

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in 22 meetings with Everton all comps – but 7 of last 8 at Goodison Park have ended in a draw
  • Inter are unbeaten in 8 meetings with city rivals AC Milan
  • 4 of the last 5 Old Firm derbies have seen a red card (and 6 of the last 10 overall). The bookies have a Sending Off for Celtic and Rangers on Saturday at 2/1 at best (Paddy Power, 888 Sport)

Taking a closer look at the discipline stats, and player markets…

Everton have been the best-behaved team in the Premier League so far this season, with a total of just two yellow cards received across their four games.

It could be the men in red that are more likely to pick up the cards this time, then…

Joe Gomez was Liverpool’s most-booked player last season. He’s got one yellow from three starts v Everton. Gomez is around 2/1 To Be Shown a Card in Saturday’s trip to Goodison.

Local lad Trent Alexander-Arnold has got one yellow from four starts against the Toffees. He’s around 3/1 to get a card in this latest instalment of the Merseyside derby.

Celtic v Rangers has two clear market leaders in the Player Cards betting:

  • Alfredo Morelos has been carded in 4 of his last 6 starts v Celtic (sent off twice)
  • Celtic’s Scott Brown has been booked in 5 of the last 10 Old Firm derbies

Unsurprisingly, Morelos and Brown are favourites to go in the referee’s book at Celtic Park this weekend, at around Evens (2.0) each.

The return of Zlatan…

There’s only one man I want to be on in the Milan derby, and that’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Having tested positive for coronavirus a couple of weeks back, Zlatan is due back. With a couple of big matches coming up for AC Milan – the derby against Inter this weekend, then the opening Europa League group match against Celtic next week.

He may have just turned 39, but Ibrahimovic’s recent First Goalscorer record is as good as any striker in world football right now: he’s landed the first goal in five of his last six starts for AC Milan. Zlatan is 9/2 (5.5) to strike first on Saturday evening.

No Ronaldo for Juve…

Another superstar is out with coronavirus; this time Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be sitting out a few games. That opens the door for us to go back to the man that landed us a 14/1 First Goalscorer payout in his final home game for Parma this summer, Dejan Kulusevski.

Now at Juventus, the 20-year-old left-footer set out his stall as a rising star, scoring the opener on his debut last month.

Key stat:

  • 6 of Kulusevski’s 11 career goals in Serie A (for Parma, and now Juventus) have been the First Goal of the game

The young Swede has shown a knack for scoring the first goal, making him one to look out for in the First Goalscorer markets – especially with main man Ronaldo absent for this weekend’s trip to Crotone…

The hosts are Serie A newcomers this season, and it’s been a tough start, with Crotone losing all three games: 4-1, 0-2, 4-1. Kulusevski can be backed at around 5/1 to open the scoring.

Hoffenheim look underrated…

Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund could be an entertaining one in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon…

The home team made headlines last month, bringing to an end Bayern Munich’s winning run with a thumping 4-1 score-line.

Goals have been the theme for Hoffenheim, with all three of their league games going Over 2.5 Goals. That option is 2/5 (1.4) at best for this game, and when you look at the head-to-head v Dortmund, you can see why. Eight of the last nine meetings between these clubs have gone Over 2.5.

Two men have been prolific in recent weeks. For Dortmund, teenage scoring machine Erling Braut Haaland has got four of his side’s seven league goals so far in the new campaign. And for Hoffenheim, the man we said he’d keep on the list for repeat business in the weeks ahead – Andrej Kramaric

The Croatian has scored a remarkable six of Hoffenheim’s eight Bundesliga goals so far. And in this fixture last season, Kramaric ran riot, scoring all four goals in a 4-0 away win, and the winner in a 2-1 victory at home.

Haaland is the 3/1 favourite to score first. We’ll take 7/1 Each Way for Kramaric.

The home win with goals at both ends stands out here, too, as a 9/2 (5.5) shot…

Hoffenheim are 3/1 to win the game, and they could prove a little underrated. That recent win over champions Bayern wasn’t a complete flash in the pan. Indeed, they beat Dortmund home and away last season, as we’ve just discussed, 2-1 and 4-1.

In fact, Hoffenheim are unbeaten in their last five encounters with Dortmund, with two wins and a draw at their own ground. Dortmund lost their first away game of the new season. Getting the best juice for the upset, I like the Win & Both Teams to Score option at 9/2.

Today’s picks

Inter Milan v AC Milan
Italy, Serie A
Saturday, 5pm

  • First Goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic @ 9/2 (5.5) with 888 Sport, Unibet, Betfred, Betway

Crotone v Juventus
Italy, Serie A
Saturday, 7.45pm

  • First Goalscorer: Dejan Kulusevski @ 23/4 (6.75) with 888 Sport, Unibet, 11/2 (6.5) Betfred, 5/1 (6.0) Betway 

Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund
Germany, Bundesliga
Saturday 2.30pm

  • Hoffenheim to Win & Both Teams to Score @ 9/2 (5.5) with Bet365 and in general 
  • First Goalscorer – EACH WAY: Andrej Kramaric @ 7/1 (8.0) with Bet365, 13/2 (7.5) Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook

Each Way terms: 1/3 odds Unlimited goals Bet365, 1-5 goals Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook.

I’ll be back on Monday, with the first part of our Champions League preview. Have a good weekend. And enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues