3/9 Recap: While I was watching yesterday’s games unfold, I came to a realization. I harkened back to when I was doing my research and the lights that were clicking in my head. Gee, that line on Bielefeld/Nurenberg looks really off. How is Schalke not heavier favorites against a team they seemingly own? My main takeaway from yesterday to make this series better going forward is that the bookmakers know far more than I do. If something looks fishy, probably stay away or at worst go with where the money is going. While yesterday wasn’t a clean sweep of misery like the European competitions, my morning has been with Liverpool falling to Manchester United. So with a clear head, but a murky heart, let’s fight into Saturday with games from Spain and Italy.
My picks: Nurenburg 2 Arminia Bielefeld 1 (Over 2.5 total goals)
Schalke 3 Mainz 0 (Schalke -0.5, Over 2.5 total goals)
Actual Results: Arminia Bielefeld 1 Nurenburg 0
Schalke 1 Mainz 0
ITALIAN SERIE A
Chievo Verona @ Hellas Verona (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports Connect, fuboTV, Rai Italia America, iGol)
When I wake up on many a Saturday, I get my radio ready or find a stream of an English or Scottish Premier League game. They are always the first games on and get many of us football watching degenerates pumped up at far too early in the morning. Today was no exception, but now I find myself burned out by noon when there is plenty of quality football left to be played.
Take for instance the Derby della Scala in Italy. While most people know Verona from Shakespeare, the city plays host to one of the more entertaining derbies in Serie A. They share the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi and the past few years have put on some cracking matches. The fact that both are in the Serie A relegation scrap should make this one even tenser.
Hellas find themselves six points behind their stadium-mates at the beginning of the day. They also lost the reverse fixture, “on the road”, 3-2 back in October. But the Gialloblu are coming off a big win against Torino to stop a three-match losing skid. Chievo has just one win in their last 13 matches in all competitions, the farthest back being a loss on penalties to Hellas.
So everything about this match screams shootout. Both teams need to take the full three points to keep themselves safe. A draw isn’t going to help either side very much. Both are playing at their home stadium. So why is the under the better bet? Why is a draw at one of the lowest values (per Bovada) I’ve seen since beginning this series? I am not going to take the time to understand it, rather I am going to heed my advice from the opening paragraph and follow the money.
PREDICTION: Chievo Verona 1 Hellas Verona 1 (DRAW bet, Under 2.5 total goals)
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION
FC Barcelona @ Malaga (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports en Español, fuboTV, iGol)
When I looked at the Saturday schedule, I locked in on Barcelona and Malaga. Why did I? It is first versus last. There shouldn’t be any juice here. But you’d be so, so wrong.
Malaga could very well be Barca’s bogey team. Each of the past two, and three of the last six, meetings between the two have ended in scoreless draws. To find the last time the free-scoring Barcelona has only put more than two goals past Malaga, you have to go back to 2014. Add in today’s news that Lionel Messi will miss the contest (CONGRATS ON THE BABY G.O.A.T) and this is a stone cold lock under.
So why is the over the best bet (per Bovada)? My brain hurts. That could be the mead though. Nevertheless, I think Barcelona is going to go full squad rotation ahead of their Champions League match with Chelsea and their “B” team is going to be hungry to impress. Expect to see Philippe Coutinho, who is ineligible in the UCL, shine.
PREDICTION: Barcelona 3 Malaga 0 (Barcelona -1.5, Over 2.5 total goals)
If you have any games you’d like me to pick next Saturday you can contact me on Twitter @TREVORutley. In addition to the available media listed for each game, be sure to try out our Gameview service while watching as well. Also, here is a link for my results throughout and the points system. Cheers!