EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is heading to the Netherlands for his next best bet from the continent.
FC Utrecht v Vitesse Arnhem | Sunday 14th April 2019, 15:45
Last weekend’s European NAP featured an Over 2.75 Goals selection from the Eredivisie. The frustrating encounter at Emmen fell a goal short of the required three-goal tally and took a long time to recover from. I’ve not felt that stinging losing sensation quite so deep for a while but it hurt like hell and I’m determined to bounce back with a similar proposition.
The Dutch top-flight is the place to be if you’re looking for goals. The Eredivisie is averaging 3.43 per-game and has seen 65% of matches cross the Over 2.5 Goals whitewash, with a further 43% breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier. And two of the most potent outfits face-off on Sunday afternoon – this really does have all the ingredients for a high-scoring contest.
Before I go further, I really should declare my undying love for Vitesse. I’m one of those weirdos that supports a side in each nation (Fiorentina, Lille, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Rayo Vallecano are just a few examples) and Vitas stole my heart on one of many visits to Arnhem to celebrate King’s Day – the Dutch equivalent of St Patrick’s Day. It’s epic.
Vitesse finding form
Back to betting and Vitesse – coached these days by former Russia and Hull boss Leonid Slutsky – have been giving supporters a true rollercoaster ride in 2018/19. A slow start (W5-D3-L4) saw Vitas marooned in mid-table but the Arnhem outfit have found their range since the November international break to move into Europa League qualification contention.
Recent results will show Slutsky’s side are winless in five (W0-D4-L1) but four of those opponents (PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord, AZ Alkmaar and Heracles) are above Vitesse in the league standings and they’ve come through those encounters with plenty of plaudits. Indeed, Vitas generated over 2.00 Expected Goals (xG) in each of those five fixtures.
Unfortunately for Sunday afternoon’s visitors, keeping the back door shut has proven pretty problematic all season. Vitesse have recorded just four clean sheets, three of which were kept before early October, meaning the guests have silenced only one of their last 21 opponents in the Eredivisie. Arnhem have also conceded 1.32 xG on average per-game.
It’s fortunate then that Vitesse’s firepower is fantastic. Brian Linssen, Martin Odegaard and Matu Bero having been hogging the headlines, although the emergence of 18-year-old sensation Thomas Buitink to partner Linssen in Slutsky’s 4-4-2 system has really given Vitas the extra edge going forward. The away side have scored 21 goals in their last eight games.
Utrecht’s streaky season
Utrecht have endured a more streaky season than Vitesse and their recent eight-game unbeaten run (W5-D3-L0) that included games against PSV and Feyenoord came to a crashing halt last weekend when they were walloped 5-0 at ADO Den Haag. However, a return home to the Stadion Galgenwaard should settle nerves.
Dick Advocaat oversees proceedings for Utrecht these days and his squad are primed to play good football and create goalscoring opportunities. The hosts hit 18 goals in the five fixtures prior to their recent defeat and have notched in all bar six of their Eredivisie encounters in 2018/19. However, the data does suggest the home side have overperformed.
Goals forecast for Sunday showdown
But it’s total goals we’re chasing and as already alluded to, Over 2.75 Goals is the most appealing play with 4/5 available at Matchbook. For this bet to bank, three goals exactly would return a half-stakes profit with four or more goals returning a full pay-out. It’s encouraging to see these two have combined to average 3.38 goals already this term.
Breaking the bet down further, the duo have collectively seen 3.03 xG on average, whilst when we view their respective home/away records they’ve delivered 18/28 (64%) Over 2.5 Goals winners – nine of those matches went on to produce at least four goals – with Both Teams To Score banking on 17/28 (61%) occasions. Not bad, eh?
The case only gets stronger when taking a look at recent form. A huge 19 of Vitesse’s most recent 23 league outings have featured at least three goals with just one game being settled fewer than two goals. Likewise, 19 of those matches returned profit for BTTS backers, suggesting the visitors’ topsy-turvy tussles will put us on the right path for a pay-out.
For the record, Utrecht would have seen this selection make money in 17 of their last 21 Eredivisie dates, as well as in nine of their 10 duels with top-seven rivals. And head-to-head fans will be happy to hear that Over 2.5 Goals has been crossed in 10 of the most recent 13 meetings between the pair. Bring on the goals!
FC Utrecht v Vitesse Arnhem – Over 2.75 Goals (4/5 Matchbook)