Southampton v Hapoel Be’er Sheva – St Mary’s Stadium at 20:05 live on BT Sport 2
My latest Asian Handicap preview focuses on Thursday’s Europa League clash between Southampton and Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
In the reverse fixture back in September, the game ended 0-0 and Southampton need either the same result or a win to make it through to the knockout stages, where they would qualify as runners-up in Group K.
The Saints are the clear favourites to win the game and although backing them on the Asian Handicap market might be tempting for some, I think there is better value on the unders side of the Asian Total Goals market.
Southampton’s fate lies in their own hands. They’re currently 2nd in the group on 7 points, but are also level on points with Hapoel below them. A win would therefore be the ideal scenario, but a goalless draw would also suffice.
After starting off the season well, The Saints have hit a spell of inconsistency and have only managed to win 2 of their last 6 games across all competitions.
They’re currently 12th in the Premier League table and are coming into this match off the back of a 3-0 defeat, which they suffered at the hands of Crystal Palace last weekend.
In the Europa League, Southampton have only managed to win 2 games and have failed to score in 3 of their 5 matches to date.
The Saints have also conceded in their last 3 European games, which will be of a concern to Claude Puel, as they need to stop Hapoel from scoring in order to qualify.
On a more positive note, Southampton have only lost 1 match at St Mary’s all season, which was a 2-0 Premier League defeat to Chelsea.
Southampton beat Sparta Prague (3-0) and Inter (2-1) on home soil in the Europa League and they are as short as 1.45 to beat Hapoel on Thursday.
Although both these games saw over 2.5 goals scored, only 3 of The Saints’ last 10 home games have seen overs land and so the unders market for me looks more of an appeal.
Hapoel are having a great season and last weekend they thrashed Ashdod 5-0 in the Israeli top flight.
They’ve currently top of the Israeli league, 10 points above 2nd placed Maccabi Tel Aviv and have won 6 consecutive games across all competitions.
In addition, the away side have not conceded a single goal in 67% of their away league matches and have proved hard to break down at times.
Most notably, last Month Hapoel came from 2 goals down to beat Inter Milan 3-2 in an incredible Europa League tie!
They lost 2-0 to Sparta Prague in their last away Europa League game however and have also failed to score in 3 of their 5 Europa League matches.
Asian Handicap and Total Goals
The Asian Handicap line is currently set at -1 for a return of under evens (1.80 best price) and I don’t make this value.
Neither side managed to break the deadlock in the reverse fixture and as both teams are solid at the back, I think there is more value on the unders side of the Asian Total Goals market.
In the Europa League, both sets of players have struggled to find the net at times this campaign, including in the reverse fixture and taking all this into account, I think backing under 2.5 goals looks a nice prospect.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Under 2.5 goals at 1.89
Prices correct at time of writing.
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