CARD king Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) has spotted some excellent bookings value in Spain on Monday night.
Malaga v Las Palmas | Monday 19:45 | Sky Sports
The curious case of Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez continues on Monday evening as Malaga host Las Palmas.
This referee was close to warranting a nickname such as ‘Senor Confetti’ or ‘Senor Moonpig’ given his penchant for cards.
I had provisionally earmarked him as ‘Senor Funky Pidgeon.com’ but that now looks a long way off! Why?
This is an official who averaged 7.11 cards per-game in 2015/16. In 2014/15 it was even higher at 7.78 cards per-game – that season he issued 10 reds and 159 yellows in just 23 games. However, this term he is averaging a paltry 4.63 cards per-appearance.
That is a huge drop off from the previous two campaigns but is not untypical of a young referee who wants to make it to the top.
Wrongly or rightly, prolific card issuers don't tend to get the very top games such as Champions League or high-profile domestic games.
Now retired, Carlos Velasco Carballo is the probably the only recent exception I can think of.
This season Sanchez has issued cards of 2-5-5-7-2-6-5-8-4-4.
He took charge of this fixture in September and gave four yellow cards that day.
The past three meetings have seen cards of 4-2-9 at an average of 5.00 per-game. The nine came when ‘Senor Moonpig’ was at the controls in January 2016.
This season Malaga average 3.27 cards per-game and Las Palmas 2.82. That suggests a total of 6.09 cards might be expected.
At La Roselada the hosts average drops to 2.8 cards per-game. Away from Gran Canaria, Las Palmas typically receive 3.3 cards, which again gives a total of 6.1 cards.
The betting angle
In his 11 La Liga games this season, Sanchez has only given 7+ cards twice. Eight of this 11 games saw the official dish out five cards or fewer and one game was a push with six cards exactly.
Malaga are 14th and Las Palmas are 12th so this is a mid-table and fairly meaningless match. Sanchez's patterns this season (4.6 average) for leniency makes me feel unders is the way to go. Accordingly, I'm recommending Under 6 Cards with Bet365 at 17/20.
Malaga v Las Palmas – Under 6 Cards (17/20 Bet365)