World Football: Eredivisie strugglers to be swatted aside on Sunday

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WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) looks to continue his fabulous form with a selection of hand-picked best bets from across the planet on Sunday.

Heerenveen v Willem II | Sunday 3rd March 2019, 13:00

It has been quite an up and down return to action following the winter break for Willem II. They won their first three, lost the next three and their last two matches has seen them defeat AZ, once in the league and the other in midweek on penalties to progress in the KNVB Beker. Confidence therefore is high, and they’ll be looking to make the most of that this weekend.

One thing that connects both Willem II and Heerenveen is that they are positioned in mid-table within the Eredivisie. Consistency has generally been the problem for both teams, but they will still hold some ambition of breaking into one of the last few Europa League play-off positions. They have a gap to overcome, but it is possible.

Heerenveen are unbeaten in their last four (two before the break and two after), however three of those have ended in draws. They came from behind to win away at Sittard last time out, scoring four goals in the process.

One thing we do picture from this contest on Sunday afternoon is a goal or two. Neither side are necessarily known for their strong defensive prowess. If goals are your thing, then following Heerenveen is recommended.

Along with free-scoring Ajax, Heerenveen has the highest goals per game average in the Eredivisie at 4.40. That being said, only Excelsior have conceded more than they have as well. Expect an open game, as all of them are.

Heerenveen are the third-highest scorers in the Dutch top flight, so they know where the back of the net is. A concern is that they have the worst home record in the division, securing only eight points. That is extremely disappointing. Still, Willem II at home is the sort of game sides in this league expect to win. Anything less would be another blow, and no other side has drew more than Heerenveen.

Goals is the way to go here, and I am pleasantly surprised to see we can get a quote of 8/13 (BetBright) on Both Teams To Score. I’d be amazed if this didn’t pay out. Truly amazed.

BTTS has occurred in 78% of Heerenveen league matches this season. This number increases to 82% focusing purely on home games. They have a total of one clean sheet all season, whilst only failing to score in two at home, those being against Ajax and AZ.

Willem II has seen 57% BTTS, which is still significant, albeit not in comparison to their weekend opponents. Only once have they failed to score away from home, that coming versus Ajax.

Sturm Graz v LASK Linz | Sunday 3rd March 2019, 13:00

We have an attractive contest from the Austrian Bundesliga this weekend as Sturm Graz, who sit fifth in the table, entertain LASK Linz, who sit second but are some eleven points behind runaway league leaders Salzburg.

Both teams therefore are positioned in the Championship Group as things stand, so three points this weekend are important, especially in the case of Sturm Graz, who have several challengers hunting them down.

It has been an excellent campaign for LASK. They are actually unbeaten since October, and they’ve only lost the twice all season long. Salzburg were the only other team to defeat them. They are simply a well-drilled unit, who are very tight at the back and do more than enough going forward to keep the points ticking over.

Having said that, Sturm Graz have only conceded two goals more. They were on a good spell prior to the winter break, and if anything they probably didn’t want that break to come when it did. They have resumed action with an away point at Mattersburg, which means they are unbeaten in seven. Whilst they’ve lost only the four all season, they have drew nine times, which is extremely frustrating and the reason why they aren’t higher in the table.

This has been a low-scoring fixture in recent times, with five of the last seven ending below 2.5 goals. We’ve already touched upon the fact that these two are strong defensively; possessing two of the best three defensive records in the Austrian top flight. LASK have the joint-best with Salzburg.

Goals don’t generally flow in their games either. It is 2.70 for LASK, whilst for Sturm Graz it is only 2.40. LASK away games that reduces to 2.30, with three of the last five ending U2.5. 10/19 of LASK games has ended under, and 12/19 for Sturm. With many similarities between these two teams, a case can be made for a tight contest on Sunday.

Under 2.5 Goals is available at 7/9 (188BET).

Copenhagen v Vejle | Sunday 3rd March 2019, 15:00

Every point is vital in the race for the Danish Superliga title, with Copenhagen and Midtjylland fighting it out for the gong.

It was therefore disappointing for Copenhagen to only manage a draw at home to third from bottom Vendsyssel on Monday, having to come back from behind to secure a 1-1 score. That was undoubtedly two points dropped, but they still have what could be a precious one point advantage at the summit.

Velje, on the other hand, find themselves bottom of the table, although only by a point. Following the winter break, they’ve returned to action with one win and two defeats, and the reality is that come Sunday night it is expected to be a third defeat when making the daunting trip to the Telia Parken. The may take heart from the fact Vendsyssel earned a point here, but they could be about to feel the Copenhagen backlash.

It could just be that Vendsyssel are a bit of a bogey team for Copenhagen. They were the last side to defeat them in the league, and that came all the way back in September. The only losses FCK have had since then has come in the Europa League and a domestic cup competition. Velje have the second-worst scoring record and joint-second worst defensive record in the league. It is no surprise to see them struggling.

Velje have collected a mere four away points all season, which surprisingly is not the worst, but it almost is.
Copenhagen will certainly be hurting after only drawing in an extremely winnable home game last time out.

As I touched upon above, I can really see Copenhagen taking this out on what is currently the worst team in the division. FCK have scored the most and conceded the least in the league, and whilst they looked a little rattled on Monday, lightning is unlikely to strike twice in another winnable home contest.

They should be winning this at a canter, especially as Velje lost won in Copenhagen all the way back in 2000. FCK won the away meeting 3-1 back in October, and if anything they improved since then.

FCK have scored in both halves in 82% of their home league games, whilst Velje has failed to score in 64% of their road matches too. Copenhagen Half Time/Full Time is a nice 4/6 shot (Spreadex) and considering they dropped points earlier in the week, they’ll be eager to get this one down as early as possible.

In the home games before Vendsyssel, they beat fourth in the table Odense 6-1, and were 3-0 up after 45 minutes.

Feyenoord v Emmen | Sunday 3rd March 2019, 15:45

Feyenoord aren’t in their best moment right now.

Certainly if recent results are anything to go by – they beat Ajax 6-2 earlier in the season in a league game, but there was no repeat showing in midweek as they fell to a 3-0 home defeat to end their quest to retain the KNVB Beker. That will undoubtedly have hurt as this was their one shot at winning a trophy this campaign. Since returning from the winter break, they won’t three, lost three and drew once.

Whilst they will be on a low, it would be fair to say that a home game to Emmen if probably the perfect sort of test for them to really pick themselves up this weekend. They face a side who are battling for relegation, and have conceded 52 times this season. That’s an average of 2.26 per game.

Emmen won promotion into this level and whilst they are finding it tough, they are also proving competitive, even if results don’t necessarily suggest so. However, they’ve won twice since coming back after winter, whilst also earning a spirited home draw to league leaders PSV.

A big reason for Feyenoord not being involved in the title race this season is their disappointing away record. They’ve only won three times on the road. Despite their struggles, they still managed to win 4-1 in Emmen back in December. That suggests the gulf in quality between these two outfits going into Sunday. Having said that, Emmen may feel this is a good time to face the Rotterdam side.

That however could be wishful thinking, as Feyenoord do generally put the lesser teams to bed on home soil. Emmen are the only team in the bottom six that they failed to play at home. Of the other five, Feyenoord won 4-2, 4-0, 3-0, 4-0 and 5-1. They do tend to ‘let rip’ in matches like this. Scoring the first can sometimes be a struggle, but then the floodgates tend to open.

Feyenoord to score 3+ goals is available at 8/13 (Skybet) and has to be of consideration.

Only PSV have a stronger home record than Gio van Bronckhorst’s side, and whilst Emmen have a very respectable away record for a side in their current predicament, they do tend to find life tough away at the better sides. They lost 6-0 to PSV, 5-0 in Ajax and 5-0 in Alkmaar.

Best Bets

Heerenveen v Willem II – Both Teams To Score (8/13 BetBright)

Sturm Graz v LASK Linz – Under 2.5 Goals (7/9 188Bet)

Copenhagen v Vejle – Copenhagen/Copenhagen (4/6 Spreadex)

Feyenoord v Emmen – Feyenoord to score 3+ Goals (8/13 Skybet)

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