EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is heading to the Greece for his next best bet from the continent.
PAOK Saloniki v Levadiakos | Sunday 21st April 2019, 17:00
The White Tower in central Thessaloniki was ready for the party. The flag and scarf sellers and the kebab makers had set up shop from the afternoon on Sunday. The TV crews were picking their best angles from the spot where the PAOK following would converge to celebrate the club’s first league trophy in 34 years.
Similarly, hundreds of fans of the Thessaloniki giant were about to gather at Tempe, the narrow passage that separates Thessaly from Macedonia, to greet the new champions after their victory at Larissa last Sunday evening. Except that PAOK did not win after all.
The fan gathering dissolved in disappointment, the flags and the scarves were tucked away quietly and the champagne remained on ice as PAOK dropped points for only the fourth time this season in Greece’s Super League. Lowly Larissa snatched a 1-1 draw against the table-toppers, postponing the fervent celebrations for another week.
Razvan Lucescu’s men deserved top honours last week. PAOK won the shot count 22-6 and the Expected Goals (xG) battle 1.24 – 0.26 but they can finally end their long wait to be kings of Greece when Levadiakos arrive at the Toumba Stadium on Sunday evening.
The betting angle
The Double-Headed Eagle are aiming to become the first club to win the Super League title without losing a match since 1964 and so there’s plenty still to play for. PAOK are just 1/12 shots to pick up maximum points this weekend having returned W24-D4-L0 across their previous 28 league tussles already this term.
However, there’s a way to back PAOK at almost even-money. Dip into Bet365’s BetBuilder and PAOK Saloniki HT-FT and Levadiakos to score Under 1 Goal is available to support at 10/11. PAOK have W13-D1-L0 at the Toumba, leading at the interval in eight of those games and conceding just five goals in 21 hours worth of action in front of their home supporters.
In fact, since Lucescu arrived before the start of 2017/18, PAOK have W26-D1-L0 as hosts in Super League action and pocketed 16/27 (59%) successful HT-FT pay-outs. The club have kept 18/27 (67%) clean sheets in that sample, conceding nine goals in almost 41 hours of football at the Toumba Stadium. Phenomenal.
Levadiakos have already been relegated, beaten in 17 of 28 outings. The visitors have lost 10 of 14 road trips, failing to trouble the scorers on 10 occasions. Half of their 14 away days have ended in L-L double results, and since the start of 2017/18 the guests have lost 19/29 (66%) on their travels, firing blanks in 19 (66%) matches.
Levadiakos have W1-D1-L13 at top-half teams since the start of last season – in 10 of those losses they trailed by half-time – and the Blue Greens were beaten without scoring 10 times. The visitors have managed seven shots on-target in their last six away outings, averaging just 0.16 xG, and have scored seven times in 18 since November’s international break.
PAOK Saloniki v Levadiakos – PAOK Saloniki HT-FT and Levadiakos to score Under 1 Goal (10/11 Bet365)