The international break FINALLY ends as we return to club footy for the final stretch of the season. The two title races are heating up as the Premier League will come down to City and Liverpool (Liverpool with a 2 point advantage but City has a game in hand) and in the Bundesliga between Dortmund and Bayern who are tied on points. It’s been a while so let’s see where I stand and how I did the last time out.
This Season’s Record: 168-144-39 (+2.9 Units)
Matchweek 31/FA Cup: 5-2-1 (+2.9 Units)
Due to the fact that we’ll be coming off of an international break and there may be some players resting, some injuries, rust from two weeks off and more, I’m only going to find a few lines across Europe that I like/pop out to me. Let’s see if we can find some value.
Saturday, March 30th
10:30 am EST
Wolfsburg @ Borussia Dortmund – Earlier this week I wrote a piece on Dortmund’s chances of the Bundesliga title (LINK HERE) and mentioned how this match could be a trap game for them. Historically at home they have beaten Wolfsburg but not by comfortable margins. They’re also not the only ones fighting for something in this match as Wolfsburg have their sights on their first European birth since ’15-16. Adding to that, Wolfsburg have been more than comfortable away from home, going 7-2-4 and ranking 4th in away points this season. I think that a goal is too big of a spread for this match and I can’t resist taking the underdog. Wolfsburg (+1, +105).
Borussia Mochengaldbach @ Fortuna Dusseldorf – Two egregiously long-named clubs will face off on Saturday morning with a pickem as the spread. Although it’s heavily juiced towards ‘Gladbach, I can’t fade them since their only chance of losing the bet is if they lose outright to a 12th place Dusseldorf team who has been way too inconsistent at home. This Dusseldorf team has had two home wins in this calendar year, both against relegation squads, and they’re coming off of two bad losses before the international break. I don’t see them beating a ‘Gladbach team who hasn’t lost an away match since Dortmund in December. In fact, ‘Gladbach haven’t lost away from home to a team outside of the top four since October. ‘Gladbach (Pick, -130).
English Premier League
11:00 am EST
Bournemouth @ Leicester City – Leicester are starting to play some really good ball right now under new manager Brendan Rodgers. Yes their last two wins came against Fulham and Burnley, but prior to his arrival they went winless in seven with six of those being losses. Also, their win against Burnley came from being a man down for 86 minutes and away from home, showing that they can get it done facing adversity. They’re getting more and more productivity going forward from Vardy, Tielemans and Maddison which is exactly what this team needs if they want to succeed. They’ll face a Bournemouth team who has one win in their last seven (against Huddersfield) and one win away from home in their last nine away league matches (against Huddersfield). I like Leicester at home where they have thrived under Rodgers so far in his tenure. Leicester City (-0.5, -115).
Wolves @ Burnley – I’m shocked they have this one as a pickem considering how Wolves were playing prior to the international break with a draw at Chelsea in the league and a win against United in the FA Cup. Outside of their shocking loss at Huddersfield and their expected loss at City, they’ve been brilliant since the turn of the new year. Burnley meanwhile have lost their last four matches before the break (A. Newcastle, H. Crystal Palace, A. Liverpool, H. Leicester) and have the 17th best home record this season. They even lost to Leicester last matchweek with an extra man for 86 minutes. Wolves are far and away the better team and I’ll never shy away from them on a pickem line especially against a team like Burnley who will have serious trouble against this Wolves team especially in the midfield. Wolves (Pick, -135).
Sunday, March 31st
Spanish La Liga
8:00 am EST
Real Betis @ Rayo Vallecano (beIN Sports) – Rayo Vallecano are in big big trouble as they sit six points below the relegation zone and have lost their last seven matches. They’ll face a Betis team who are not only better than them quality-wise but they’re also coming off of two away wins before the international break. Although they did lose the match before the break to Barcelona, they haven’t lost back-to-back La Liga matches since October and it’s another match where I can’t fade the better team on the pickem line. Real Betis (Pick, -120).
Italian Serie A
9:00 am EST
Napoli @ Roma (ESPNEWS) – The second best match of the weekend brings us to Rome where the city’s namesakes will be taking on second-place Napoli. Roma have had an up and down season and recently have been poor against good opposition. In their last eleven matches against similar-quality opposition (similar on points in the league or Champions League matches), they’ve gone 0-5-6. They’ll be facing a Napoli team who sit in second in Serie A and have been great away from home, going undefeated in their last four in the league away from the Estadio San Paolo. Napoli have also won their last two matches at Roma and I love the value on their Moneyline and pickem here to do it a third time in a row. Napoli (+135), Pick (-130).
English Premier League
11:30 am EST
Tottenham @ Liverpool (NBCSN) – The second best match of the weekend leads us into the best match of the weekend as Spurs travel north to face league leaders Liverpool. This match can really set the tempo for Liverpool’s title chase as this is one of their two matches against top six sides that they will likely need to win if they want to raise their first Premier League trophy in almost three decades. Spurs came into the international break in bad shape with only one win from their last five matches while Liverpool have gone 4-1-0 in that same span. But Liverpool haven’t covered in their last three Premier League matches, showing that their last few wins have come in a tighter margin than expected. With the spread being a goal and since I can’t get a great read on this one due to Liverpool’s recent non-convincing wins and Spurs’ bad form/inconsistency, I’ve decided to make a play on the total. Liverpool’s last three league home matches have averaged 4.6 total goals while Spurs’ last three away matches have averaged 2.7 (a combined average of 3.65). Another reason why I like the over is that often after international breaks, top six clubs who have a lot of players on international duty need some time to get their chemistry back especially in a match that occurs so quickly after they get back to camp. I think this will be a high-scoring match and I’ll take the over at 3 goals even with the likelihood of a push. Over 3 goals (+110).
That’s all for this weekend’s preview! I hope you can get back in the swing of things with club soccer returning and maybe throw some coin on some matches before the Elite Eight starts on Saturday and Sunday.
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Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.