SUNDAY DECEMBER 16TH
Two early matches here, just brief notes as I want to spend more time on the second email, which I will send out at 14.00 UK, but I like both these selections.
LA LIGA: REAL ZARAGOZA -LEVANTE
I think the early kick off is very much in Levante's favour today, we have spoken previously about how footballers are creatures of habit and dislike too much disruption to their normal schedule, they are used to afternoon and evening fixtures, but these lunch time games, mean waking and eating early on match days and take some adjustment. Zaragoza have had a tough schedule with four straight road games, all at "regular" times, including two this week, a win at Vallecano on Monday and another, courtesy of an injury time winner at Levante in the Copa del Rey on Thursday. Levante have La Liga and Europa League as a priority and rested most of their players for that game, they should strip much fresher and this is the match they have given priority to this week. Real bonus is that they are already on the morning routine, having played at this time last week, beating Mallorca 4-0 at home and will doubtless have stayed with the same training time and meal times this week. They also played in the "morning" kick off last month winning 2-0 at Deportivo, so are already well used to the change in schedule. They have no new injury problems and look in good shape to win this and the three points would take them to within one of a Champions League spot. Nine of today's Zaragoza squad played on Thursday and six of them also started at Vallecano. We spoke about the shortage of draws in La Liga on Monday (see below), Real did us a kind of favour there, but this is all about the visitors today for me, I like the straight win, but even with the lack of draws, on this occasion, feel that the mimimum handicap start is the way to go 1.75 units Levante +0.25 ball 2.16 asian line.
ZARAGOZA : Roberto, Leo Franco, Movilla, Paredes, Álvaro, Lanzaro, Goni, Edu Oriol, H. Postiga, Apoño, Montañés, José Mari, Stefan, Sapunaru, Zuculini, Abraham, Pintér, Jorge Ortí and Víctor Rodríguez.
LEVANTE:1 Munúa,13 Keylor Navas,4 Navarro,5 Héctor Rodas,12 Juanfran,15 Nikos,18 Ballesteros,22 Chris,7 Barkero,8 El Zhar,10 Iborra,20 Juanlu,21 Michel,23 Diop,9 Ángel,24 Martins,27 Roger and 29 Rubén.
LIGUE 1: NANCY - BORDEAUX
NANCY: Grégorini, Ndy Assembe, Sami, André Luiz, Puygrenier, Haïdara, Helder, Loties, Muratori, Mangani, Karaboué, Sané, Grange, Alo'o Efoulou, Mollo, Hammar, Bakar, Moukandjo.BORDEAUX: Carrasso, Keita, Chalmé, Marange, Mariano, Planus, Poundjé, Sané, Trémoulinas, Ben Khalfallah, Nguemo, Plasil, Biyogo-Poko, Sertic, Bellion, Gouffran, Maurice-Belay, Saivet.
I did look at the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano and Real Zaragoza, not least because of the scarcity of draws in Spain, with Primera games running at 18.79 % this season, of course, these are a little lopsided as the big two do not draw many, but at the same stage last season , they were running at almost 27%. In betting terms the average draw was 3.71 after 15 rounds last season and is 5.33 this time round.There are many ways you could view these or use the data, I would suggest that taking the draw out of the equation and opting for the bigger odds whenever possible would be one option. For example, if you liked the home side here, -0.5 ball 2.16 would probably offer better long term returns than -0.25 ball 1.85, if you favoured Zaragoza, the win odds of 3.60 might be better than 1.80 with the half ball handicap option, as with that you are effectively betting both the draw and the away @ 3.60.
These two have actually drawn just one match each this season and neither should have ended all square, Zaragoza's came last time out at Mallorca, where they scored early and were battered after that, with the hosts missing a penalty, before equalising late. Rayo had an early season 0-0 home draw with Sevilla, where they played circa 25 minutes with ten men, so were then playing for the draw and the visitors missed TWO penalties !
Just one cleansheet in ten for the hosts, who have conceded a massive 25 times over that sequence, Zaragoza are 2-1-4 on the road, their four defeats have come at Real Madrid, Barcelona ,Valencia and Sociedad, so not exactly an easy schedule and you could argue that they are 2-1-1 from the only winable fixtures. They have been creating a lot of chances, even averaging over 14 attempts on goal in those losses to the "big 3", they seem certain to get chances tonight and if forced to pick, I would suggest a very minimal bet on the straight away win at that circa 3.60.