With plenty of appetising betting opportunities taking place across Saturday’s football card, I have put together something of a Cheat Sheet that pinpoints the best value bets, and hopefully, I can find you a winner or two!
Celtic v Rangers
Saturday 12:30 pm
It is Old Firm Derby time again! With Celtic enjoying a nine-point advantage at the top of the table, it is clear that this is practically a must-win encounter for Rangers at Celtic Park. They last departed this stadium with three points in October 2020 under the management of Steven Gerrard. Current boss Michael Beale has overseen a League Cup Final loss and a league draw in his two meetings with their Glasgow rivals. Celtic are unbeaten in the previous seven head-to-head renewals.
A draw would likely be a decent result for Celtic in terms of the title race, but Ange Postecoglou has never set up The Hoops to settle for anything less than victory. Fast starts have been key to his success his joining the club, and especially in this particular fixture. Celtic have the best first-half record in the league, overall and specifically in home matches. Rangers have only led at the break in 40% of their away league battles. Furthermore, Celtic have been leading after 45 minutes in six of the eight Old Firm meetings under Postecoglou.
A price of 13/10 with Ladbrokes to see the hosts available at the interval looks an opportunity not to be missed.
Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt
Saturday 2.30 pm
One of the more important Bundesliga matches taking place this weekend sees 6th take on 7th as Leverkusen and Frankfurt go head-to-head in search of three points. Frankfurt hold a narrow advantage in occupying the final European qualification spot, but all is still to play for with eight league games remaining. Leverkusen still have a current European campaign to deal with as they remain in the Europa League, but they’ll want to maintain their strong form heading into their first leg clash with Royal Union SG next Thursday.
Xabi Alonso has finally started to get a consistent tune out of his team after a fairly sluggish start to life in the job, but a run of eight unbeaten, including winning each of their last six, means they’re in a pretty good place right now. This included a win over Bayern Munich in their last home match, so they certainly won’t fear Frankfurt. I’d go as far as saying they’ll expect to win this one, especially seeing how much Frankfurt have struggled on the road. They last won away before the World Cup break, and it is hard to be too confident on them resuming winning ways just yet.
The 91/100 from Midnite on a home victory here looks like the most sensible play.
Slovácko v Banik Ostrava
Saturday 3.00 pm
It looks to be a two-horse race at the top of the Czech First League, but there is still plenty to play for across the rest of the division. Slovácko now have a six-point gap inside the top-six before the league separates in five games’ time, meaning qualifying for Europe next season is still on the cards. A midweek away draw at 7th in the table Jablonec was a solid return, meaning they’ve lost just twice in ten league matches. Banik Ostrava, on the other hand, are hoping to at best finish in the 7th-10th group before the league divides, as currently they sit in the 11th-16th portion, which is defined as the Relegation Group. A win here could take them into the next group above, but that is easier said than done.
Slovácko have endured quite a tough run of opponents in recent times. They’ve faced teams positioned 1st, 4th, 7th and 8th all within their league five, so they’re likely to relish facing an Ostrava outfit sitting 13th in this 16-team division. In fact, they’ve won six of seven home matches versus teams positioned 8th or below, and six of their eight overall league losses came against teams currently 7th or higher. With Ostrava also only earning one away victory all season, there is lots to like about a home win in this meeting on Saturday.
It is therefore a little surprising we can get a fairly generous price of 21/20 with Bet365 on the home team maintaining their strong form against a team that clearly offers very little on the road.
Southampton v Man City
Saturday 5.30 pm
Churning out win after win remains the name of the game for Manchester City in their pursuit of a 7th Premier League title, even more so with top side Arsenal rarely dropping points. With the top two set to meet later this month, City must maintain perfect form heading into that contest. That therefore includes returning from St Marys with maximum points on Saturday night, and the Saints themselves are even more desperate for points with them sitting rock bottom of the standings.
One comfort for Southampton is they do possess recent experience of defeating Man City at home, although that was a cup competition and under previous manager Nathan Jones. A win would propel them right back into the survival picture, but the mood is low around the club following a recent defeat to fellow relegation rivals West Ham United. They have only claimed two points all season against teams currently positioned in the top-half.
It remains to be seen if Man City will include top scorer Erling Haaland for this one. He has resumed training after picking up an injury before the international break, and with Bayern Munich in the Champions League to come next week you suspect Pep Guardiola may either ease him back into this from the bench or rest him completely with that match in mind.
Therefore, this could present another good chance for Julian Alvarez to grab himself another goal. He has three goals across his last two club games and four across his last four club starts. The 11/8 from Unibet for him to score anytime won’t last if Haaland does not start, which I suspect he won’t. Pep has even started the pair a few times in recent games.
Niort v Sochaux
There is still nine matchdays to go in Ligue 2 and this particular game involved teams with plenty to play for at both ends of the division. As things stand, Niort sit bottom of the table, but a recent home win over fellow relegation rivals Laval has given them hope of avoiding the drop. They still have a seven-point gap to overcome to get out of the bottom-four, but winning two of their last three at home is a starting point. Sochaux are in 4th, and are four-points behind Bordeaux in second position. Losing their last game away at Bastia, who sit in 5th, ended a nine-match unbeaten run, and they’ll expect to start another positive set of scores when making the trip to Western France.
The instant reaction to this game is to expect goals to flow. If we were to devise a league table based upon respective matches containing over 2.5 goals, then this game presents 2nd versus 3rd. Both are just so used to seeing goals come and go in their matches and there is no reason for that not to continue here. Niort top the league for home clashes featuring a minimum of three goals, proving that they are prepared to have a go, but are somewhat vulnerable from a defensive aspect. Both teams need the win here and settled for a point makes no real logical sense.
Knowing the facts and the figures on the 2.5 Goal Line for these two outfits, it is therefore not a bad shout to back Over 2.5 Goals when they both collide this weekend. When we can get a price of 11/10 from Betfred for yet another 2.5 line to be beaten in a game involving Niort or Sochaux, then we have to jump on that. This was also beaten in the earlier season head-to-head renewal when Sochaux won 3-0.
Paris FC v Saint-Étienne
Our second venture into Ligue 2 and our final examination of the Saturday football card allows us to take in Paris FC against Saint-Étienne. Whilst the previous game involved two teams with plenty to play for, the stark reality is that this particular clash is probably the opposite of that. It is certainly the case for Paris FC, who are 13 points behind the promotion places and nine ahead of the drop zone. Saturday’s away team may only be five points above the relegation spots, but a run of eight without defeat means nobody at the club now expects to suffer back-to-back relegations.
It was looking rather bleak for ASSE before things turned at the start of their impressive run of results. They began the campaign incredibly sluggishly and were clearly suffering from a big relegation hangover from the season before. A stadium closure didn’t help matters in their early home fixtures, as did suffering a three-point deduction, but they’ve settled now and would have loved for the season to be more than nine games remaining.
Without a doubt, Saint-Étienne are the biggest club in the league and always have that target on their backs knowing every opponent raises their game against them. That will again be the case for Paris FC, who have won three of their last four anyway and are in a pretty good place themselves. One big concern is their home record, however, with only Rodez claiming fewer home points. The away team are favourites to leave with maximum points here, but they themselves only have three away wins to their name.
Goals is the safest angle here, especially as they both possess similar numbers to the game above that we covered. A league table putting together all Ligue 2 teams based on matches featuring over 2.5 goals sees this as 4th against 5th. ASSE actually lead the league purely based on average goals per game, and you’d suspect only poor finishing or inspired goalkeeping will stop this one going over the number. 21/20 from Sporting Index on this to feature Over 2.5 Goals is the recommended selection.
Saturdays Football Tips
- Celtic Half-Time (13/10 Ladbrokes)
- Bayer Leverkusen (91/100 Midnite)
- Slovácko (21/20 Bet365)
- Julian Alvarez Anytime Goalscorer (11/8 Unibet)
- Niort/Sochaux Over 2.5 Goals (11/10 Betfred)
- Paris FC/Saint-Étienne Over 2.5 Goals (21/20 Sporting Index)