EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) heads to Switzerland on Sunday for his latest best bet on the continent.
Basel v St Gallen | Sunday 2nd February 2020, 15:00
Basel are in uncharted territory. Having conquered the Swiss Super League for eight successive seasons from 2010, Young Boys have since taken over as domestic champions in the most recent two campaigns. However, the RotBlau head into this weekend’s round of action in third following back-to-back league losses either side of the winter break.
Marcel Koller’s charges are now five points adrift of top spot and under pressure to arrest an obvious downturn that dates back to the September international break. Basel have bagged only six triumphs in 13 fixtures (W6-D3-L4) to relinquish their advantage at the summit, and now the RotBlau face a fascinating match-up with second-placed St Gallen on Sunday.
Few fancied St Gallen to pierce the apparent duopoly of Swiss football, although Espen have recovered from a wretched start (W1-D1-L3) to be taken very seriously this season under Peter Zeidler. The German coach has guided his group to a remarkable W11-D1-L2 in St Gallen’s most recent 14 encounters, and have proven to be tough operators against the Big Two.
Twice this term Young Boys have required goals in the final 10 minutes to see off offensively-minded St Gallen, whilst Sunday’s guests have already earned four points from two match-ups with Basel in league action. Those four fixtures produced 15 goals – a 3.75 goals per-game average with an Expected Goals (xG) output average of 3.33.
And that’s the basis for my best weekend bet – goals. The showdown pits together the two Super League leaders for shots attempted, on-target efforts and xG average, whilst overall their combined clashes have delivered 30/38 (79%) winning Over 2.5 Goals selections. Meanwhile, all bar four of St Gallen’s 19 games saw Both Teams To Score bank.
Putting the above two markets two together gives us an 4/5 poke at Bet365 and it’s provided profit in eight of St Gallen’s last nine outings. The away side have also paid-out with this play in eight of nine road trips, with the unsuccessful wager in that sample concluding in a 1-1 draw. Those nine contests averaged a whopping 3.89 goals per-game.
Basel have crossed the Over 2.5 Goals barrier in all bar one of their St. Jakob-Park tussles – scoring at least three goals in six of nine encounters. And their defence will need to be at their best to keep St Gallen’s vibrant collection of highly-rated young guns in-check, particularly in-form front two Ermedin Demirovic and Cedric Itten.
The Swiss Super League is one of the planet's best venues for shootouts with 63% of games producing at least three goals and 56% landing for BTTS backers – those matches averaged 3.01 goals per-game, and I'm happy to support the potential for a repeat when Basel and St Gallen lock horns on Sunday afternoon.
Basel v St Gallen – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals (4/5 Bet365)