EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is heading to Czech Republic for his next best bet from the continent.
Viktoria Plzen v Banik Ostrava | Sunday 26th May 2019, 14:00
Viktoria Plzen relinquished their Czech title crown last weekend despite registering a 2-0 triumph at Slovan Liberec. The five-time champions have chased down Slavia Prague for the majority of the 2018/19 campaign, although a damaging 3-1 defeat against the eventual champions a fortnight ago eventually proved decisive.
Head coach Pavel Vrba believed the West Bohemians could be proud of their season, saying, “We accumulated a huge number of points – more than we earned last season. We took seven points in the group stage of the Champions League, which happened for the first time in three years in the competition. So I would rate this season as a successful one.”
Plzen are now keen to sign off in style on Sunday when they welcome Banik Ostrava to the Doosan Arena. The hosts boast a terrific recent record in front of their home supporters, dropping points just once in their 17 league outings here this term (W16-D1-L0). Meanwhile, in 32 home fixtures under Vrba’s watch, Viktoria have registered an 81% win rate.
With the title no longer on the line, Viktoria have been eased in the betting for Sunday’s showdown and that gives us an opportunity to throw our support behind the hosts at generous prices. Visitors Banik Ostrava suffered Czech Cup final heartache on Wednesday evening against Slavia Prague, playing with 10 men for almost an hour in a 2-0 defeat.
The Moravian-Silesian outfit’s failure to score means Banik have now fired blanks in each of their past six fixtures – nine hours of action – and arrive at the campaign concluder having returned just W3-D3-L10 across league and cup contests since mid-February, a run of results that includes seven straight losses on their travels.
In the First Division, Ostrava have registered W0-D1-L4 against the leading three teams in the division this term, failing to score in all five encounters. And if we exclude the bottom-five from the top-flight, Banik have leaked at least twice in six of their nine away days.
Despite coming unstuck regularly against the Czechs leading lights, Banik Ostrava haven’t shipped more than four goals in any 2018/19 contest with games averaging just 2.35 goals per-game – the third-fewest in the league. Viktoria’s tussles have seen 2.56 goals on average with the pair combining for only 4/38 (11%) successful Over 4.5 Goals selections.
With that in mind, I’m happy to support the even-money offering from Bet365 on Viktoria Plzen winning in a match featuring fewer than five goals.
Viktoria Plzen v Banik Ostrava – Viktoria Plzen to win and Under 5 Goals (1/1 Bet365)