European Football expert @MarkOHaire shares his Asian Handicap value bet from La Liga action this weekend….
For the first time in 27 years Las Palmas are sitting top of the La Liga table with Quique Setien’s men having made a blistering start to 2016/17.
The Canary Islanders have picked up maximum points from their first two fixtures against Valencia and Granada, notching nine goals in the process. In both contests, the Yellows have looked superb on the counter-attack with the minnows also strikingly clinical on the break.
Las Palmas’ clinical finishing
Las Palmas’ nine goals have arrived from just 11 shots-on-target this term – that includes five goals from five shots-on-target against Granada in their last outing. Last season it took the club until December to score as many goals but Setien’s side have created plenty of outstanding opportunities and certainly aren’t top of the tree due to luck.
Nabil El Zhar and Jonathan Viera have continued where they left off in 2015/16 but so too have the Yellows as a whole. In 32 fixtures under Setien’s watch the visitors have W13-D6-L13, which turns to W9-D2-L4 when viewing the most recent 15 matches.
Kevin-Prince Boateng’s made a very positive contribution since signing in the summer and Roque Mesa is impressing in midfield. There is a steely, lethal purpose to Las Palmas’ play, with Vicente Gomez and Roque Mesa’s tidy resolve in midfield allowing for their side’s front four to play with relative freedom as soon as possession is turned over.
No changes are expected for Saturday’s trip to Seville and a similarly offensive approach could and should contribute to an enjoyable encounter from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and it would take a brave punter to bet against Las Palmas adding to their excellent return of scoring in 11 of their last 12 on the road.
Sevilla’s hot home form
Sevilla’s atmospheric home ground has proven a real fortress for the hosts in recent seasons, winning 52 of 77 (68%) La Liga outings at home since 2012/13 but it may pay to focus on goals when Los Rojiblancos welcome the early pacesetters.
The Andalusians beat Espanyol 6-4 in their first home fixture under livewire Jorge Sampaoli before a rather meek 0-0 draw against Villarreal before the international break. Goalkeeper Sergio Rico was the Man of the Match last time out as Sevilla didn’t manage a single shot-on-target.
Still, I’d be surprised if this match didn’t return to the haphazard ways of the opener as Sampaoli declared he’d be “very offensive” in his approach following his appointment to replace Unai Emery as head coach.
Sampaoli’s attack-minded approach
Against Espanyol it could and probably should have been more, particularly for Sevilla, as the former Chile boss left his defence exposed and encouraged his ridiculously attacking midfield to get forward at every opportunity.
Under Emery, Sevilla were largely a counterattacking side and averaged marginally less than 50% possession in each of his three full seasons at the helm.
In contrast Sampaoli, who led Chile to success at the 2015 Copa America, wants his teams to dominate their opponents with a high share of possession, clever movement and a stifling high press.
Sampaoli has experimented with various formations and configurations and while there are still a few quirks to be ironed out, there have been positive signs that the players are adapting to the demands of their new coach.
Goals on the agenda
Sevilla’s home form suggests Las Palmas’ stay at the division’s peak will come to a close this weekend but with the hosts still not 100% attuned to Sampaoli’s style, it should pay to back a high-scoring encounter.
Over 3 Goals is available at 1.83 and looks well worth an interest. Sevilla have seen at least three goals in 49/77 (64%) of their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan dates over the past four seasons whilst 17/32 (53%) of Las Palmas’ matches under Setién have also crossed the Over 2.5 Goals barrier.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Over 3 Goals at 1.83
Prices correct at time of writing.
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