World Football: Buffalos to do the business in Belgium on Saturday

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WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) continues his quest for global value with a selection of hand-picked best bets from across the planet on Saturday.

Chievo v Perugia | Saturday 18th January 2020, 17:00

Many leagues are starting to slowly but surely get back into the swing of things following a winter break and Serie B is one of those. Most teams have played 19 games in the second tier of Italian football this season and the table is certainly extremely tight. That is proven by the fact 3rd to 11th are separating by only five points, and both Chievo and Perugia are in that mix.

Chievo are at the bottom of that respective mini-league and a run of four games without a win is why they surrendered a play-off position. The club from Verona, who are back in this league after relegation last season, are only one point behind Perugia, who occupies the final play-off position going into this round of games.

Perugia has won one more game, drew two less, lost one more, scored the same and conceded three more than Chievo. Very little separates these two!

As mentioned, it is four without success for Chievo, so the winter break probably came at a good time for them. It is fair to say that they have probably accepted that they are no longer a top flight team anymore and they’ll be determined to win back that right at the first opportunity. A lack of consistency has been their problem having not won back-to-back games since October.

Chievo were proving extremely tough to beat at their Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi base, and didn’t lose any of their first eight here this season in all competitions. However, they’ve lost their last two here, against top side Benevento and relegation threatened Juve Stabia, so they’re looking to correct this slump, too. They’ve at least scored in every home game this season, but kept only two clean sheets.

Perugia have been playing their football at this level for a little while now but this season represents a real chance at securing a spot in the big time. They too have had their recent issues with relation to not being consistent, something most teams at this level, with the exception of the top two or three, tends to have problems with. Their last six games reads two wins, two draws and two defeats. Inconsistent.

As is often the case in football betting, the home team most of the team is the favourite, especially when two relatively similar outfits take to the same field. Chievo are favourites this time, and Perugia’s away record presents the reasons why.

The away form of all teams in the league, again with the exception of a few, is quite questionable. Only three teams have won four or more on their travels, and Perugia has a 2-3-4 record, but did win away at Serie A side Sassuolo in the Coppa Italia last month.

This is generally a league where not that many goals are scored, with an average of 2.44 goals scored per game. 10/19 of Perugia’s encounters has seen a minimum of three goals, whilst Chievo’s home meetings average 2.78. There’s every reason to believe this could be a more entertaining affair than your bog-standard defensive Serie B match-up.

There is good value in Both Teams To Score across most games at this level, especially with the rather defensive perception this division has. 19/20 (888) is available on this particular encounter and I’m happy to get on-board with that. 12/19 of Chievo’s games has seen BTTS pay out; the joint-most in the division, and incredibly 7/9 at home has done, too. At the price, get involved.

Gent v Mouscron | Saturday 18th January 2020, 19:30

Another league which gets back into the swing of things is a bit of a favourite on our World Football columns and that is the Belgian Jupiler League.

Club Brugge have built up a bit of a game at the top of the standings, and Gent are very much part of the chasing pack. Mouscron on the other hand are relatively comfortable in mid-table, which is realistically the best they can hope for, but they have proved quite tough to beat this season.

In the not too distant future, Gent will resume Europa League action, and whilst we’re not at the stage where they’ll have half an eye on that, they’ll of course want to go into those battles with Roma in decent nick.

Of course, they are challenging for the title, so motivation remains high anyway. The Buffalos won only one of three before the winter break, and whilst one was a home draw with Club Brugge, they’ll be eager to go on a bit of a run.

They’re most definitely capable of doing that as they have courageously combined their league action with European football excellently so far. Considering the fact they joined the UEL in the early qualification rounds, they deserve immense credit for finishing top of a group which contained the likes of Wolfsburg and Saint-Etienne.

They remain a force to be reckoned with at home and they’re unbeaten at Ghelamco Arena all season long. Only on three occasions have they dropped points, which includes the previously mentioned draw to Club Brugge, as well as a stalemate with Wolfsburg in Europe. They love it at home and generally turn over clubs like Mouscron for fun here. The only doubt is if they’re a bit rusty after a few weeks without competitive action, but the same is said of the inferior opposition.

Mouscron are generally a small club at this level, but they are certainly the sort of team that the bigger clubs don’t necessarily enjoy playing. They play in such a manner where they prove difficult to beat and tend to draw quite a few games. They’ve drew the joint-most games in the division, only losing six times, with the top-four losing fewer.

On the flip side, wins prove hard to come by considering how they play. Four of their six victories came at home, and they’ve failed to beat any team above them in the table who they’ve played away from home (D1, L4). What is in their favour however is they’ve got a good recent record versus Gent, winning four of the last five renewals, including the earlier season encounter 2-1.

Gent are short odds to win this one, as expected, so we have to find another way of getting them onside. We’ll pass over Mouscron as Gent will be extra motivated knowing their recent head-to-head record, plus they’re so, so strong at home.

Gent HT/FT will be the play on this occasion at an attractive price of 20/23 (Coral). They’ve been winning at HT in 60% of their home games, whilst Mouscron has been behind after 45 in half of those on their travels. Gent have conceded only two first half home goals, so they’re so good defensively whilst also averaging 2.50 goals in front of their own supporters in the league.

Best Bets

Chievo v Perugia – Both Teams To Score (19/20 88)

Gent v Mouscron – Gent HT/FT (20/23 Coral)

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