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Mark O’Haires European Football Tips – Sunday’s Matches

Did you know, last season Serie A was the second-highest scoring major European league ahead of La Liga and the Premier League and just behind the Bundesliga?

Napoli v Lazio, Sunday 20 September 2015 (19.45), BT Sport Europe
It’s true. All those boring stereotypes about the Italian top tier being defensive and dull? Forget them, it’s all nonsense.

Last weekend the peninsula hit the headlines for all the right reasons. A glut of 2-2 draws stood out on Sunday and slowly but surely that perception is starting to change. However, the oddsmakers continue to overprice solid goals-based bets and that’s what we’ve been offered this weekend when Napoli take on Lazio.

It’s by far and away the most attractive fixture on the Serie A coupon and the two attack-minded sides should play their part in an enjoyable encounter. The duo harbour top-three aspirations but would have hoped to have made more of an impact during Juventus’ rocky start to the campaign. Between them they’ve picked up just eight points from a possible 18 (two for Napoli, six for Lazio) with the hosts making their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 2000/01.

The bet here is to take Both Teams To Score at 4/6 – it should be shorter. The hosts have seen their last 12 league games feature three goals or more, netting at least twice in 10 of those outings. Unfortunately, the Partenopei have also leaked two goals or more in nine of their most recent 10 Serie A battles, including each of their last seven.

At the San Paolo, Napoli have scored in all bar one of their 20 fixtures since the start of last season. However, they’ve only managed five clean sheets in that time and Over 3.5 Goals have been recorded in six of the last 10 fixtures taking place in Naples.

Lazio’s away encounters have produced three or more goals in eight of their last 13, they’ve scored in 16/20 away since Stefano Pioli took charge and the Biancocelesti have also fired in the most shots-on-target so far in Serie A.

The BTTS bet has proven profitable in 14/20 (70%) Napoli home games since 2014/15 and in 10/20 (50%) away Lazio matches.

A repeat looks to be on the cards on Sunday night.

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Napoli v Lazio – Both Teams To Score (4/6)

Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen, Sunday 20 September 2015 (16.30), BT Sport Europe
Can anyone remember the opening day of the Bundesliga last season? Karim Bellarabi scored the fastest goal in German top-flight history as Leverkusen won away in Dortmund. That result set the tone for the Black & Yellows’ disastrous season and Jurgen Klopp’s sad departure. Fast-forward a year and how things have changed.

Thomas Tuchel’s made a record-breaking start to life in the dugout at the Signal Iduna Park, guiding Dortmund to a remarkable 10 wins from 10. Their come-from-behind victory over Krasnodar on Thursday night in the Europa League included plenty of changes in personnel and you get the feeling the Black & Yellows are back to being Germany’s second best.

Their haul of 12 points and a +12 goal difference is second only to Stuttgart in Bundesliga history (+13 goal difference in 1996/97) with the side scoring at least three goals in each of their four Bundesliga games. But standing in their way on Sunday is a Leverkusen side that’s W2-D2-L0 in the previous four head-to-heads, including shutting BVB out in the last two at the Westfalenstadion.

But hey, we’ve got to be with Tuchel’s troops. Dortmund have now won eight of their last 10 league matches and indeed eight of their last 10 at the Westfalenstadion, with seven of those wins by a margin of at least two goals – so I’m immediately attracted to a bolshie bet on the hosts. Dortmund are 7/4 to beat a one-goal handicap and that appeals.

I was really keen on Leverkusen this season but the sale of Son has really dampened my appetite. Bayer did pick up a much needed home win against BATE Borisov in the Champions League but they’ve made a desperately disappointing start to their Bundesliga campaign.

Roger Schmidt’s side have suffered back-to-back league losses ‘to nil’ including a convincing defeat at Bayern Munich. In fact, their road record at top-six teams last term reads W1-D1-L3 with all three defeats at the top-three with Gladbach and Wolfsburg winning by three goals in their encounters.

The visitors are only converting one in nine clear-cut chances but it’s their backline that’ll come most under threat on Sunday afternoon

and I reckon Dortmund are a decent bet to make it 11 successive wins on the spin since Tuchel took charge.

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Sevilla v Celta Vigo, Sunday 20 September 2015 (11.00), Sky Sports 3
Midday kick-offs in Seville are never a good idea and the mercury is set to soar into the mid to late 20s for Sevilla’s fixture with Celta Vigo on Sunday. On paper the clash looks to be an exciting and intriguing encounter but it may pay to go against the goals grain on Sunday with Under 2.5 Goals holding most appeal at 23/20.

Unai Emery’s hosts are still looking for their first La Liga win this season following three false starts. Los Nervionenses recording draws with Levante and Malaga, as well as a rare 3-0 home loss to Atletico Madrid. The hosts did manage a comfortable 3-0 victory over bang-out-form Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday but with goalkeeper Beto and defenders Nico Pareja, Daniel Carrico and Adil Rami all out still, I expect Emery to set his side up to protect their patched up backline.

Only in three previous La Liga seasons have Sevilla scored just one goal after three fixtures and not since the 1982 campaign. And a further nod towards a low-scoring tie can be found in Los Nervionenses’ record when welcoming top-half clubs that aren’t Barcelona or Real Madrid – 10/13 have strayed below the Under 2.5 Goals line.

Eight of the past nine head-to-heads between these two teams at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan have delivered fewer than three goals with the side from Vigo failing to score more than once since a visit in 1995. Sure, Los Celestes are unbeaten in eight (W4-D4-L0) top-flight games for the first time since 2002/03 but Eduardo Berizzo’s troops have been aided by red cards in each of their three outings this term.

In fact, all three games have featured an opposition player receiving their marching orders inside the first 15 minutes with the Galicians playing 155/180 minutes against 10 men. Last week they threw away a 3-1 lead to draw with newly promoted Las Palmas and so whilst the 2-1, 3-0 and 3-3 scorelines don’t exactly suggest an Under 2.5 Goals punt has legs,

14/20 (70%) of Liga road trips under Berizzo’s watch have returned two goals or fewer.

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*Prices correct at time of publication.