Monday 1st February 2021
In Across the Leagues today:
It’s transfer deadline day.
Despite what Sky Sports’ flashing banners and BREAKING NEWS info-bars will tell you, this is really not a big deal.
Deadline-day ‘drama’ has been on the wane for years. This season, with coronavirus restrictions making it a lot harder for players to jet in left, right & centre, it’s going to be even quieter.
Now, if Lionel Messi ends up signing for West Brom tonight via a last-minute fax and a pub-carpark medical, I will gladly eat my words.
But for me, this day now exists only to take joy from the spoof ‘I saw Ronaldo at Greggs at the M6 services’ stories doing the rounds online.
My betting advice here is plain and simple, loud and clear: stay away.
Unless you’re in Kieran Trippier’s WhatApp group, I would strongly urge you to ignore and avoid the bookies’ Deadline Day Specials…
As I write, ‘the money’ is apparently coming for Dele Alli to leave Tottenham for PSG. Who knows? Not me. There’s absolutely no way for the everyday bettor to get an edge in markets like these.
Don’t let the bookies get any free money today. For example…
Skybet’s ‘To sign for before 2nd February’ list includes Angel Di Maria at 25/1 to go to Tottenham, and 33/1 for Arsenal. No other options are offered. Not even a short odds-on price to stay at PSG.
If Di Maria – famously homesick when at Manchester United, remember – doesn’t sign for either of those two clubs, then Skybet pocket 100% of the stakes taken in that market. No payouts.
But what’s that, I hear you cry? The Daily Mail reported last week that Di Maria ‘looked unhappy’ in a training session in Paris? I can’t emphasise this enough. Leave. It. Alone.
It’s hard enough to try and predict the future when armed with a formbook, a mountain of stats, and years of experience studying the sport. Let alone on the back of a rumour, in a market dreamed up by and solely for the bookmaker.
Okay, sermon over. Let’s get back to that business of attempting to predict the future on the pitch, and gathering information…
We already know 2020/21 is a strange season. The weekend saw plenty of shocks. With a few big-odds results in the Win-Lose-Draw markets. Including defeats for these three defending league champions:
In the English top flight, there were 20 matches in the Premier League last week – and just 4 home wins. Away-day payouts included Sheff Utd winning at Man Utd at 10/1… Newcastle taking all 3 points at Everton at 5/1… and Leeds winning at Leicester at 3/1.
With another double-dose of Premier League action this week, starting from Tuesday night – those away results are something to keep in mind.
Some things never change, though. Back from a career-first club sending off, Lionel Messi has scored in 2 out of 2 games since returning to the Barcelona line-up. Including the first goal in a 2-1 win in La Liga last night.
In the Bundesliga:
Here’s how the top of the Anytime Scorer chart for the Bundesliga looks on our website:
The stats on our site also flag up a couple of strong Corners trends that we discussed last week:
And on the Match Result front, we can’t let Manchester City’s winning streak go unmentioned…
Man City beat Sheffield United, 1-0. Pep Guardiola’s side have now won 12 games in a row in all comps (8 in the league).
And City are a defensive machine at the moment. The Premier League leaders have the highest number of Clean Sheets (12 from 20 games), with the most Wins to Nil (11). And the lowest Goals Against figure, with just 13 goals conceded.
At home, Man City have Won to Nil 6 times in a row. Next up on the fixture list – three away games: Burnley on Wednesday, then Liverpool on Sunday. Followed by an FA Cup trip to Swansea.
There’s a big game in Portugal this evening. The Lisbon derby is always hotly contested. Even more so when it’s crucial to the title race…
The latest instalment of Sporting v Benfica (9.30pm, live on Free Sports) sees the hosts Sporting 4 points clear at the top of the league. Porto are 2nd, and also play tonight. Benfica are 3rd, 6 pts behind their Lisbon rivals as it stands.
Benfica have been hit by coronavirus in recent weeks. But can take heart from a great record against Sporting in recent seasons – beaten just once in 13 meetings in all comps going back to November 2015. Benfica have triumphed in 5 of their 6 most recent encounters.
The oddsmakers can’t choose between the sides today. Sporting are 17/10 (2.7) to win, with Benfica very marginal favourites, at 13/8 (2.63). The draw is 23/10 (3.3).
Two men to watch out for up front are our pal Darwin Nunez for Benfica (we’ve been tracking the 21-year-old Uruguayan this season). And the league’s top scorer for Sporting, Pedro Goncalves, who is due back from suspension tonight.
Nunez has scored in 3 of his last 7 appearances for Benfica; he’s 2/1 (3.0) to score Anytime. Goncalves has netted in 3 of his last 6 for Sporting, and is 13/8 (2.63) to score.
I’m drawn most of all to the historical form in the disciplinary stats:
A fierce local derby, a title race, and a history of cards? The go-to bet has to be to take the ‘Over’ option in the Total Cards and Booking Points markets.
If you fancy things to really kick off, William Hill are a best-price 2/1 for a Sending Off.
From the analysis above, here is my pick for today…
Sporting Lisbon v Benfica
Portuguese Liga, 9.30pm – live on Free Sports
Also available: 70+ Booking Points @ 4/5 (1.8) with Skybet. Over 65 Booking Points @ 8/11 (1.73) with William Hill. Over 6.5 Yellow Cards @ 4/5 with Marathonbet.
Cards & Booking Pts markets explained here.
There’s another frantic week of football coming up, with games every day. I’ll be in touch throughout the week to offer a helping hand. With my latest analysis, standout stats from our website, and my take on the match-day markets and prices.
I’ll be in your inbox tomorrow, with a full midweek Premier League, English Football League, and Scottish Premiership fixture list for us to look at.
Enjoy the football…