Real Sociedad v. Atletico Madrid: RSO +220 <——> ATL +140
History: These two teams have split their last five meetings with one draw mixed in as well. Typically a low-scoring affair thanks to the managerial style of Diego Simeone. La Real have actually been better away from home this season (even though they have played one less match at home) securing 14 points in six matches away from home to that of 10 points in five matches at home. Atletico have an identical away record to that of La Real this season which should make things interesting as these two sides are tied on points currently (weekend results may change this), exact same goal differential and normally that would make this game extremely exciting. The reason that this game is not as exciting a matchup as one would think is because La Real have two more games played then Atletico. La Real is a consistent side, especially if we are talking about draws as they neither won nor lost a game in their last five matches in all competitions. Atletico are also in good form recently but suffered a loss this past weekend against Madrid in which we saw the future winners of La Liga play at their best. Expect a defensive struggle and a low scoring affair just based on the managerial matchup, this game rarely ends in a draw and will provide a lot of action. One thing to think about is out of the last ten games these two teams have played the over has only hit once.
Players to Watch: La Real fans should have their eyes on Portu as he is their team’s most proficient goal scorer this season, apart from penalties where Oyarzabal has converted five of those for his team leading seven goals. La Real need to find a way back into the win column and if they do not get a penalty then Portu is their go to guy. Atletico need to rebound after their defeat to Real Madrid and will need to find a way back into the scoring column on the back of Llorente this should be possible. If the nine figure man is not performing up to standards then it unfortunately falls on the shoulders of this man who has been playing some superb footy over the last year.
YL’s Pick: Atletico Moneyline, Joao Felix Shots atleast 3
Union Berlin v. Borussia Dortmund: UNI +340 <——> DOR -125
History: It is a genuine surprise to see Union this high in the table given how far we are into the season, however it is no surprise that Dortmund are sitting in the top four as they are one the preeminent powers in German football. Union are in a slight dip in their form as of late getting only one win in their last five matches whereas Dortmund appear to be trending in the right direction having won two of their last three. Dortmund are hot away from home having secured points in four of their five matches whereas Union are 50-50 as the home side even though they have taken points from five of their six matches only two of those have been wins the rest draws. Dortmund have won four of their last five matches against Union with their only defeat coming in their first matchup last season, 3-1, and Union was the home side. Some interesting things to note: Union Berlin have drawn three of their last four home matches and in the last 12 night games Dortmund have played away from home the over of 2.5 goals has hit. You should be looking for Dortmund to exert their dominance this game and have a few of their key players get back into the scoring column and we should start to see the slide Union Berlin is bound to go on before the end of the season. I hope I am wrong about the slide but I feel it is inevitable.
Players to Watch: Union Berlin has a great player, Max Kruse, the old German wanderer, who is still a prolific goal scorer. The Germans are machines, what else can we say? He has featured in ten of the eleven Bundesliga games this season in which he has contributed to eleven goals (6 Goals, 5 Assists). If Union want to get points out of this game it must start with him at the front. Dortmund on the other hand have been struggling for goals of late but the man on fire right now is the young American, Gio Reyna. An absolutely sublime first touch and finish last week the man has three goals and four assists through eleven games this season and if he can find Haaland in scoring positions Dortmund may be able to put up a clinic.
YL’s Pick: Dortmund Moneyline, Reus to Score
Bayer Leverkusen v. Bayern Munich: LEV +360 <——> BAY -143
History: Leverkusen are streaking right now having won four in a row and are the only undefeated team left in the Bundesliga this season. Bayern Munich are still as dominant as ever but are on a little cold streak right now only securing wins in two of their last five but have not dropped a match in that frame either. Bayern is coming off a lackluster draw to Union Berlin last weekend and may have a fire lit under them to perform better, it is unlike Bayern to draw multiple games in a row without stomping on an opponent at some point. Historically, Bayern have dominated the contest with fourteen victories to Leverkusen’s five dating back to 2010. Leverkusen last beat Bayern two seasons ago in February. Leverkusen have been solid all season, but Bayern have only lost one game away from home (their only loss of the season). This matchup should either make frauds or contenders out of Leverkusen. One thing for certain this game is that both teams like to score goals so the over of 2.5 goals would be a safe bet this time around.
Players to Watch: Where has Robert Lewandowski gone? It seems like the Polish international has not scored recently, expect that to change this week and for him to find his scoring boots once again. He got cheated out of the Ballon d’Or last season and you should count on the man wanting to put that into his trophy case. Leverkusen have multiple men in form and Lucas Alario appears to be coming back from injury, he really thrived in the time Schick went down for Leverkusen netting himself 8 goals in 8 games. Leon Bailey is also performing exceptionally well contributing to 7 goals in 10 appearances (4 G, 3 A). Leverkusen will have to hope that Bailey, Alario, and Schick are at the top of their game if they want to have a chance at beating the Bundesliga giants.
YL’s Pick: Leverkusen +1, Over 3 goals
Sassuolo v. AC Milan: SAS +320 <——> ACM-130
History: Milan are one of two unbeaten teams left in Calcio this season (Juventus) and three points clear of Inter who sit in second. Milan have really come together this season after suffering through the hardships with their last manager, Gattuso, and seem to be reclaiming their place as one of the biggest clubs in Italy. Sassuolo on the other hand have really fallen off of late after their outstanding start to the season, however it appears that Sassuolo has begun to right the ship having only suffered one defeat in their last five matches. Sassuolo has not beaten Milan in Serie A play since the 2016 season, nearly five years of games, and it will be a tall task to break that run this match given Milan’s current form. Another factor working against Sassuolo this game is the fact that it is a home game for them and they have been dreadful at home this season suffering three defeats in six games played at the Mapei Stadium. Both teams have let up at least one goal per game this season on average so you should expect to see numerous scoring opportunities but be wary of hammering the over because it is the Italian league and they do not have the best track record of getting shots on target.
Players to Watch: Berardi and Caputo are the leading goal scorers for Sassuolo with five goals a piece and pretty much every chance that Sassuolo gets will most likely come from either of those two forwards. Berardi and Caputo need to have a good day with numerous scoring opportunities to give their side a shot at winning. Milan have been riding on the back of the ageless Zlatan who has ten goals already this season but you should really keep on eye on Kessie and Hernandez, second and third leading scorers, to make their mark on this game as Zlatan will be the sole focus on the Sassuolo defense. Hernandez is excellent in front of goal for primarily being an outside back and has seized his chances when they come.
YL’s Pick: Sassuolo +0.5
Atalanta v. Roma: ATA +105 <——> ROM +210
History: Atalanta have a game in hand on the Roman side but currently sit four points behind them in the table. Roma have a chance to put a significant point gap between themselves and a rival for a European spot next season should they come away with a victory. Atalanta are certainly the side trending in the right direction winning their last two games whereas Roma have squandered leads in close games leading to draws and defeats. The problem with Roma is you never really know which Roma team is going to show up and the lack of consistency will certainly be their downfall and it is what makes them extremely hard to bet. Roma have not beaten Atalanta since the 2017 season and they have put themselves in a good position to end that winless streak this weekend with Atalanta’s focus possibly being on who they selected for the round of sixteen of the Champions League. Surprisingly Atalanta have struggled at home this season securing on 7 points in 5 games but Roma have not fared much better only securing 10 points from 6 games away from home this season. Ultimately this matchup will come down to which team wants it more at this point in the season, the days are getting colder and shorter, but who will be willing to fight? Atalanta have opportunities in Europe, but what does Roma have to fight for or is this game their fight?
Players to Watch: Roma has a switch, and if that switch is flipped on then they have a good chance of securing all three points. The switch…Henrik Mkhitaryan. He has 6 goals and 5 assists in 11 games this season and is exactly what the Roman side need in the absence of Zaniolo. Jordan Veretout has also had a strong start to the season with the midfielder bagging 5 goals already this season. If Roma can find Henrik and he is able to create scoring chances or put them in the back of the net himself then they will definitely have a chance to win this game.
YL’s Pick: Atalanta Moneyline, Over 3.5 goals
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE:
Tottenham v. Leicester City: TOT +106 <——> LEI +265
History: I say this every week…Jose Mourinho effect. I am telling you he is good for one great season at every club he goes to and this is that season for Tottenham Hotspur and it drives me crazy. Tottenham are at the top of table tied on points with Liverpool and ahead on goal differential. One of the biggest matches before Boxing Day provides Leicester with the opportunity to knock the North London club off of the top spot and, depending on what Liverpool do, take the top spot for themselves. Tottenham have drawn three of their last five whilst Leicester are on a three game win streak, in all competitions. Leicester have not drawn a match in league play all season and have 15 points in 6 games away from home, Tottenham on the other hand only have 11 points in 6 games at home which would give the edge to Brendan Rodger’s squad…normally. Historically Tottenham have been dominant in this matchup doubling Leicester’s win total and these games have been absolute barn burners. Historically high scoring over the last few seasons thanks to some stellar attacking players on both squads, but this match could go differently because of the managerial style of Jose Mourinho. Both teams like to play counter-attacking football but the Spurs have it down to perfection right now. However, never never ever count out Jamie Vardy.
Players to Watch: Just a couple of questions: Can Harry Kane and Son continue their blistering pace? Should I bring Vodka and Charlie? Answer to both: YES.
YL’s Pick: Leicester Moneyline, Vardy to Score
Written by: Tyler Bond aka Charlie Tweeder (@tybond16)