World Football: Don’t ignore overwhelming first-half stats in Italy on Sunday

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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 Sunday.

Tigres v Guadalajara | Sunday 9th February 2020, 01:00

When we do think of Mexican football then your Average Joe will quite often mentioned Tigres. There is certainly good reason for that as they do have seven Liga MX titles to their name, which is the joint-fifth highest of all-time. If you know your Mexican football then you’ll know Ricardo Ferretti has been the Tigress boss for ten years now, but they’re stumbling of late.

A won one, drew one and lost two record to start their Clausura campaign is certainly a disappointment, especially when expectations are so high. They aren’t necessarily the quickest of starters however, and following the mid-season break they’ll be hoping to improve the more they play. However, in the short-term, that does make them quite opposable.

There is generally a big reliance on French striker André-Pierre Gignac to deliver the goods. To his credit, he quite often has since he moved from Marseille in 2015 as he already has over 100 goals for the club and is definitely their star man. One goal in three appearances is definitely not bad, but it does further highlight how much they need him as the only game they’ve won is when he scored.

A win this weekend is anything but guaranteed considering their opponents are Guadalajara, who are unbeaten in their first four in this segment. Three of those have been draws however, which has been their last three in succession, but two of those were away from home and shouldn’t be discounted.

Chivas are just a huge club in Mexico and certainly one of the most supported among the public. Expectations therefore are always high, like in Tigres, but the last couple of years has been a step backwards having won the Clausura and Copa MX in 2017 and CONCACAAF Champions League in 2018. They’re certainly eager to return to those levels and they’ll definitely be up for this game on Sunday.

Tigres are odds-on to win here and I just cannot be having any of that. They are a team which has all the ability to win three or four nil if they want, but they so often find themselves having to work very hard for points. Nothing comes easy for them, and winning just three of their last 11 at home in all competitions is extremely off-putting.

Chivas have only lost once away from home since September and I don’t think the bookies are pricing them up accordingly. Guadalajara Double Chance at 97/100 (Marathon) is a worthy play just at the price alone.

Pisa v Chievo | Sunday 8th February 2020, 14:00

Our final play of the weekend will again see us make a trip to Italy and Serie B, and it involves a selection which actually let us down a few weeks ago!

Pisa against Chievo is a match on paper where it should be a routine away win, but there is nothing routine about this league, especially when it comes to winning on the road. There has only been 26% away wins out of 219 games played going into this weekend!

Well, we say many will expect Chievo to win this, purely on the basis of them being in Serie A for quite a few of the recent seasons, but in present day I expect this to be quite a close run affair. There is actually only one point separating these two in what really is a ridiculous league. So many clubs are separated by few points and are both in the promotion and relegation picture.

A Pisa win here would feasibly taken them from just below the relegation spots into the play-off places. The only thing which is secure in this league in Benevento are going to finish top as they have a huge points advantage, so everything else is up for grabs.

One stat which I am quite fascinated about regarding Pisa is their excellent first-half record. I mentioned they let us down not so long ago and that is when we tipped them to lead at half-time, and it was an opening 45 in which they dominated and did everything but score, which the woodwork and opposing goalkeeper costing us then.

It is very evidently a tactic of theirs to come very quick out of the blocks. Going into this latest round of fixtures, Pisa are ranked third in the league based on their first-half record. That really is quite something. Now, we compare that with Chievo, who has the second-worst first-half record in Serie B. I think you know which way we are going here!

Pisa also enter this game on a real high having scored a 93rd-minute winner last weekend, so they’re not short of confidence and will want to get back onto the pitch again. Chievo on the other hand lost at home to Venezia, who were in the relegation zone, and are just very inconsistent at the moment.

Taking everything mentioned about into account, why on earth are Pisa priced at 68/25 (Marathon) to be leading at half-time? Value, value, value if you ask me and we just cannot ignore the stats surrounding this.

Best Bets

Tigres v Guadalajara – Guadalajara Double Chance (97/100 Marathon)

Pisa v Chievo – Pisa to lead at half-time (68/25 Marathon)

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