Pumpkins carved, fireworks let off, chestnuts soon to be roasting on an open fire: it’s getting to that time of the year folks, and that means the football season is well into its meaty bits.
In midweek the Champions League will surge into its second half courtesy of Gameweek 4, and that means that each of the groups is starting to take shape rather nicely. Some dreams of last 16 qualification have already been shattered, while more heartbreak will be dished out this week on a scale to rival any sixth form end-of-term disco.
Punters continue to snuffle through the dirt for those golden nuggets of betting value, and we might just have unearthed a few to help you on your way:
Tuesday October 31st
Three of the British sides are in action on Halloween, and it’s fair to say that the group of supporters with the biggest shiver down their spine will surely be Celtic’s.
The Bhoys welcome Bayern Munich to Celtic Park – an adversary that gave them a bit of a 0-3 tonking just the other week. The German champions have won four Bundesliga and Champions League matches on the spin since Jupp Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti as manager, with eleven goals scored and a big fat zero conceded.
Celtic’s domestic form is wholly irrelevant; we know that the Scottish Premiership is not an ideal breeding ground for Champions League class. The fact that the Scots failed to net against either Bayern or PSG speaks volumes, and the fact that the Bavarians are defending like tigers under Heynckes is good enough for us.
Bayern to Win to Nil – 6/4
Manchester United host Benfica, a side that have been dismal up until now. The Portuguese outfit have lost all three of their games at a combined goal difference of -7, and a result that really sticks out is the 0-5 thrashing at Basel.
The visitors had Andre Almeida sent off on that fateful night in Switzerland, but they were already 0-3 down by that point and that illuminates just how comprehensively they were outplayed.
United have injury problems, as Jose Mourinho refuses to let anyone forget, but this kind of European fixture suits him down to the ground. He will set up with a solid base and settle for a 1-0 victory; a result which would almost guarantee his side a place in the last 16 of the competition.
Manchester United to Win to Nil – 11/10
Punters may wat to swerve the Roma vs Chelsea game: it looks like a fixture that could give us the creeps on Halloween night. Roma have kept clean sheets in 9/13 this term, and yet the reverse fixture was a 3-3 barnburner! The return in Italy is a tough one to predict.
Wednesday November 1st
There’s a trio of English sides in action on Wednesday night, and while two of those fixtures look set to be absolute humdingers, the third, well, doesn’t.
Let’s get the Liverpool game out of the way: they are priced at 1/20 to win at Anfield against Maribor, who themselves are a short 90/1 to claim the victory – the longest odds in Champions League history, apparently. It’s a game that is almost completely devoid of value for the punter.
I’m sure Liverpool wish they could play Maribor everyday…
— Segun Agbede (@SegunThePundit) October 22, 2017
Instead, take a bite out of the Napoli vs Manchester City contest. This should be a belter between two expressive sides, and while the first encounter between the two finished 2-1 to the English outfit don’t forget that the Italians missed a penalty.
It has been implied that Napoli are focusing their attentions on winning Serie A this season, and after 10 wins in 11 starts there may be something in that. But they gave it both barrels against City in the reverse fixture, so take that with a pinch of salt.
In our minds all three results are a possibility here, so let’s instead focus on the goals route: there should be plenty of them in Naples.
Napoli vs Manchester City: Over 3.5 Goals – 6/5
And so to Tottenham, and the ‘will he, won’t he?’ saga involving Harry Kane. The England frontman has a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the game against Manchester United on Saturday, and he now appears to face a race against time to be fit for Wednesday’s clash with Real Madrid.
It’s a race he may well be winning. “We will assess him and then we will make the best decision. My feeling is good. But it’s not my feeling, it’s Harry Kane’s feeling,” were Mauricio Pochettino’s words at the weekend.
That’s hugely important because Tottenham are a much better side with Kane in the starting eleven than without.
By the way, Real Madrid lost to minnows Girona at the weekend, but you suspect they may have one eye on this game at Wembley.
There is a lot to like about this Tottenham side from a defensive perspective, however, and we feel as though the bookmakers are slightly underselling hem at around the 2/1 mark. Take advantage accordingly.
Tottenham/Draw Double Chance – 4/5