4/15 Recap: So much for putting your best foot forward. Roma and Real Madrid were able to get beneficial results for themselves, but in the process screw me over. Roma and Lazio, eternal enemies, put forth maybe the most boring match of 2018 not involving Atletico Madrid with a lead. Two whole shots made it on frame and neither made either keeper work. Real Madrid got a full three points against Malaga, but shut off in stoppage time. They conceded a goal to a team that had just 19 total in 31 matches prior. Suffice it to say I wasn’t too happy. But with picks of teams in form letting me down, today I try my luck at the bottom of tables. Staying up is a big money move, especially in the Premier League. Can these clubs escape fate?
My Picks: Roma 2 Lazio 0 (Roma PICK [+105])
Real Madrid 3 Malaga 0 (Real Madrid -1.5 goals [+105])
Actual Results: Roma 0 Lazio 0
Real Madrid 2 Malaga 1
I’m most intrigued by the Premier League relegation battle, as it is going to take some true miracles to escape this season. But today’s first stop on Picks From Across The Pond is Germany where two clubs vie to not have to play their way into next year’s Bundesliga.
Freiburg @ Mainz (2:30 PM ET/Fox Sports 2 USA, Fox Deportes, fuboTV)
Germany’s Matchweek 30 ends on Monday Night Football with the two least in form teams in the country: Mainz and Freiburg.
The two clubs haven’t won in six matches and haven’t helped themselves with the teams they are losing to. Dropping points to Schalke and Bayern is expected, but when you’re doing so to your fellow relegation fodder, worry sets in.
Just one year ago, Mainz was in Europe and coming off a sixth-place league finish. But last year finished disastrously (15th) and this year may be even worse. Their inability to score consistently has been the biggest problem once again. Manager Sandro Schwarz is running out of time to find a useful combination up front. With just five games remaining including today, I don’t think he will.
But speaking of teams hurting for goals, there’s Freiburg. Yesterday I spoke of Lazio’s reliance on Ciro Immobile. It is even worse for Nils Petersen at Freiburg. Sport-Club has 34 goals in all competitions. Petersen has 17 of them. That’s insane.
But when it comes down to it, this game reeks of a draw. Freiburg can move out of the playoff spot with a point. That point will also allow Mainz to keep pace with Wolfsburg, who drew on Friday. It is a completely negative way to view the beautiful game, but sometimes survival can be ugly.
PREDICTION: Freiburg 0 Mainz 0 (DRAW Match [+220])
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Stoke City @ West Ham United (3:00 PM ET/NBC Sports Network, fuboTV, TalkSport Radio World)
Manchester City has been crowned champions of England. West Brom is fairly certain to go down, even with their win over Manchester United. Wolverhampton is the first team from the Championship to clinch promotion. Everything else about the top two tiers of English football is very much up for grabs.
While the top four may move very little, the relegation battle in England is its usually nutty self because of so many teams having games in hand. One of those teams trying to use that to provide them safety is West Ham.
The Hammers have hit many a rough patch this year, but lately, have found their expansive home confines a bit more friendly. Just two of their last ten home matches have seen the London club suffer defeat. That is huge when you are fighting the drop.
Stoke City, on the other hand, hasn’t had similar luck. The Potters have been a mid-table side since being promoted in 2007-08. However, this year has seen a flurry of injuries, managerial unrest, and inconsistency put them in a very precarious position. They are in 19th, 6 points and 16 goals worth of differential from safety. Stoke has never had a reputation for being able to get goals in bunches. But they’ll have to do that to beat West Ham.
David Moyes’ men have been better at home than away, meaning the 0.5 goals they are laying (per Bovada) makes sense. Stoke’s inability to put the ball in the back of the net makes me think this is an easy bet. Yet I don’t think West Ham can go full blast with a trip to Arsenal next week. I think they get a goal and sit on it, even though Stoke usually concedes multiple after the initial strike. That isn’t always the best strategy with Joe Hart in goal, but I don’t think Stoke can get anything past him.
PREDICTION: West Ham 1 Stoke 0 (West Ham -0.5 goals [-105], Under 2.5 total goals [-130])
If you have any picks you’d like to see made, 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!