World Football: Malaga too good to turn down on Sunday


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.

Fenerbahce v Galatasaray | Sunday 23rd February 2020, 16:00

The Intercontinental Derby takes centre stage in Turkey this weekend as Fenerbahce welcomes Galatasaray in Istanbul. Whilst this is third versus sixth, it is still a game involving two genuine title contenders. Going into this round of matches, these two were two and six points off league leaders Trabzonspor respectively. It therefore places extra significance on getting the wins in this grudge match.

It has been a turbulent few seasons for Fenerbahce, of that there can be no doubt. Last season they were involved in a relegation battle for quite some time, before ending the campaign strongly to get out of trouble. They’ve blown hot and cold this time around, too, and they’re currently winless in their last three in the league, including defeats to Trabzonspor lowly Ankaragucu.

They’ll be happy to be back playing at Ülker Stadyumu as they’ve only lost once here in league action this season. That was all the way back in October, too. Therefore, it is nine unbeaten at home in all competitions, and this includes eight victories, and a notable scalp versus Besiktas. Quite simply, they’re tough to beat at home and very, very rarely do opponents leave with three points these days.

A look at the form guide will see Galatasaray in excellent form themselves. In fact, since a 5-0 loss away to PSG in the Champions League in mid-December, they’ve only lost twice, and that includes a domestic cup tie. They’ve enjoying a six-match winning streak in Super Lig action, and having the best defensive record in the division certainly helps.

Something that they haven’t been able to come to terms with over the years is their trips to Fenerbahce. In fact, we have to go all the way back to December 1999 for the last time Gala won away in this respective head-to-head encounter. Let me tell you, that was a long, long, long time ago now! It is worth noting that the last five overall have ended as draws, including three 0-0s.

Traditionally this is a game both teams are generally quite fearful of losing, and so it often turns into quite a defensive game. There should be a few cards dished by the referee, but few goals are expected.

Only 12 of their 42 league encounters combined this season contained at least four goals, and only one of the last 18 H2H meetings has done so.

Fener are strong at home, and that gives them an edge in this, but this game is so often a draw. Fenerbahce Double Chance and Under 4 Goals is a selection I thoroughly expect to pay out at 4/5 (Bet365).

Malaga v Racing Santander | Sunday 23rd February 2020, 17:15

It seems as though we so often make a trip to the Spanish second-tier for a betting recommendation, so why change the habit of a lifetime! It really is one of the craziest leagues imaginable, and although Malaga are 15th in this 22nd team division, they’re certainly not out of the play-off picture.

Racing are bottom of the standings but did recently win away at third in the table Almeria to afford them hope of possibly producing a great escape. However, they backed that up with a more than disappointing home defeat to mid-table Gijon to remove all of the momentum they had gained from their shock win.

Malaga, on the other hand, are a team that are the definition of momentum at the moment having won their last two matches. Play-off chasing Numanica were defeated, and most impressively Malaga went away to league leaders Cadiz and departed with a 1-0 victory.

Too many draws has been Malaga's main issue this season; 13 in total, so their last two wins has taken their overall win tally to only seven. Still, they’re in their best place of the season and now is probably the time to ride with them.

Considering this league is quite tight across several positions, it means that the odds from game-to-game always appear quite attractive if indeed there is one team you especially fancy.

Racing are another team that loves a draw; 15 from them! The issue with them is that they’ve only won three times, so that is clearly why they’re bottom of the standings. Only five other teams has conceded more and five teams have scored fewer, so all-in-all they’re just not doing enough to get out of trouble.

Malaga has only lost twice at home all season, and that came to Cadiz and Almeria who are both in the top three. They generally have a good record over teams in and around them in the table, with four of their wins coming to opponents below them, and that includes won winning away in Racing earlier in the campaign. That remains one of only three away wins for Malaga.

I think it is pretty obvious that Malaga are the way to go on this occasion. Odds of 9/10 (Marathon) are too good to turn down considering they’re playing as well as they are and Racing quite simply are not.

The only issue with this league is when the bigger teams face the smaller teams and take them lightly, and can fall victim to a shock. The difference here is that Malaga are playing catch-up and can’t afford to have many more off days is they want to get into the play-off picture.

Best Bets

Fenerbahce v Galatasaray – Fenerbahce Double Chance and Under 4 Goals (4/5 Bet365)

Malaga v Racing Santander – Malaga to win (9/10 Marathon)

About Author

Since leaving university I've worked as a Research/Football Performance/Betting Analyst. I live and breath all things football. This has gradually helped me with my betting when looking for value and ultimately, winning selections. I've experienced both the bad, and more recently, the good supporting Lincoln City, with whom my weekends aren't the same without.

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