World Football – Paraguayan mega clash takes centre-stage 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.

Basel v Lugano | Sunday 4th November 2018, 15:00

Ask your average punter to speak of Swiss Football and the vast majority will mention Basel along the way.

Certainly they are the most successful club team in Swiss Super League history (since its official name change in 2003). They’ve won the title in 11 of the past 15 seasons. However, they came off a clear second best to Young Boys last season and there is every chance a repeat will occur this time around, too.

Now under the guidance of Marcel Koller, the former Austria national team boss, they sit second, but a full 11 points behind league leaders Young Boys. This means Basel are actually closer to bottom of the table Xamax than they are the summit.

There has at least been some shoots of recovery of late, losing just once in their previous nine in all competitions. They successfully negotiated a tricky Swiss Cup tie to Winterthur in midweek, where Koller fielded a full strength starting XI.

In the case of Lugano, whilst they are in sixth position in this 10-team division, the reality is that they are only four points behind Basel in second spot. They have been the demonstration of being consistently inconsistent so far, winning four, drawing four and losing four of their 12 league matches to date.

Lugano returned to the top-flight of Swiss football back in 2015, and even took part in the Europa League group stages last season. They would finish third in a group containing Hapoel Be’er Sheva, FCSB (Steaua Bucuresti) and Plzen.

In recent times, they’ve achieved back-to-back league victories, and progressed in the Swiss Cup in midweek, albeit with the help of extra time to dispose bottom side Xamax. Back in February, Lugano won 2-1 away in Basel and also drew with them at home earlier in this campaign. Fabio Celestini has been in the job for approximately a month, and after losing his first match to Grasshoppers, they are unbeaten.

There is something which makes Basel stick out not only in European football, but world football as well, in relation to their statistics this season. There are the only side to have experienced Both Teams To Score in every single game. This is quite impressive when we are 12 games into this particular season.

Nieciecza and El Nacional of Poland and Ecuador respectively have experienced 15/16 end in this fashion, but no team can boast a 100% record of this nature such as Basel. Ironically, four of their six matches in Europe this season (including qualifiers) actually hasn’t ended with each side netting.

The pressure is seemingly off them to an extent domestically as Young Boys are so far ahead at this point. Koller has only been in charge since early August, so he is still really looking to implement his own philosophy onto this group. Going forward they remain a danger, being the third-highest scorers in the league. However, only three other teams have conceded more than they have done.

The Swiss Super League in general is also top of the pile in world football for Both Teams To Score. This has paid off in 44/60 games so far, which is a 73.33% average.

Those statistics of Basel are certainly eye-catching, but Lugano are not far behind in that regard either. They’ve now gone roughly two months since keeping a clean sheet in the league. This came during a 1-0 home win to Zurich.

Perhaps more interesting is the last time they failed to find the back of the net in any competition. This came back in July, during their second match of the domestic season. It was a 2-0 home loss to runaway leaders Young Boys, and they outshot their superior opponents 13 to 11. This was their only match this season in which they have failed to score.

Going more specific, each of Lugano's away games in the Swiss Super League have witnessed Both Teams To Score pay off. In fact, only three times in this calendar year have they failed to net on the road, and they came during a relatively late stage last season.

For all the attacking talent Basel do have, Lugano have only scored four goals fewer. They’re a danger in attack, without doubt.

Clearly, Both Teams To Score is the way forward we are going. Certainly the epic run of Basel matches where this pays off will come to an end at some stage, but it is the fact Lugano are on a similar run too why we back this to come off this weekend.

The market will pay out at 9/13 (10bet), which isn’t to be sniffed at all things considered.

Tromso v Molde | Sunday 4th November 2018, 17:00

We are very much at the business end of the Norwegian Eliteserien, with only three matches to go. It looks as though Rosenborg are once again set to claim another league title, earning them a shot at reaching the Champions League group stages.

The Europa League equivalent, for finishing both second and third, are still up for grabs. Molde are very much in that respective battle. They sit third and have a three-point lead over Haugesund, who are just behind in fourth. They very much still have something to play for.

Tromso, on the other hand, are in rather abysmal form. It is therefore something of a relief that it is now bordering on the impossible for them to be dragged into the relegation picture. For all that it is still mathematically possible, they’re eight points ahead of the closest definite relegation spot, whilst six points in front of the relegation play-off slot. There are only nine points left to play for.

Tromso retain some motivation to get that monkey off their back, but also to improve their form before closing for the winter. With Molde being one of the top sides in Norwegian football, Tromso would love to get one over them.

Norway being positioned where it is geographically leaves the nation open to some games where long distances separate the two sides. Those travelling from Molde to Tromso will get a great view of the Norwegian Sea, in a journey which one-way is just shy of 850 miles.

Tromso have had one additional day of rest compared to Molde in terms of their previous matches, which may or may not hold some significance. The form guide however places both teams in completely different light. Tromso have lost three in a row, winning just twice in their last twelve. Ironically, one of those victories came at home to Brann, who sit second in the standings.

Molde, on the other hand, are unbeaten eight, six of which ended in victory. Besides a three-game losing run in late August, including against Zenit in a Europa League qualifier, Molde have been in top form for some time under former Manchester United super-sub Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

This particular fixture has not been so kind to Tromso. The last four competitive meetings have all gone the way of Molde. Tromso last tasted a win back in 2015, and prior to that it is a further three years in a domestic cup tie when they beat Molde prior to that. Molde quite simply have dominated this fixture.

For Tromso, they have witnessed 59% of their league games result in both teams scoring. This number increases to 69% focusing purely on matches played at their Alfheim Stadion base. In fact, only twice since last November have they failed to score in front of their own supporters. It is also only one clean sheet at home since late May, too.

As for Molde, they are renowned for their offensive play, which is understandable with Solksjaer at the helm. They are actually the highest-scorers in the league with 54, with top scorer Erling Haland being responsible for 12 of those. Only two others in the league have more individual goals than he has.

It would be fair to say that they aren’t as prolific on the road. They’ve netted 36 at home, compared to their 18 away from their Aker Stadion. Nevertheless, we can still say that 59% of their Eliteserien contests have ended with each side finding the back of the net. The last time they failed to score in the league was in an away setback to Kristiansund back in June.

Clearly Both Teams To Score is the way we are going here, but we believe there is extra value to be had. This is because 85% of Tromso’s home games have beaten the 2.5 goal line. The same is said for 62% of Molde’s matches on the road. Using those numbers as they are, there should feasibly be a 74% chance this games also beats the 2.5 line.

Also, matches involving Tromso and Molde top the table in Norway in relation to the 2.5 line. Each can say 19 of their 27 games have done so. With that being the case, Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals at 97/100 (Marathon Bet) is a selection which should come in if the form continues to play out at its current rate.

Club Olimpia v Cerro Porteno | Sunday 4th November 2018, 20:00

It would be fair to say that Club Olimpia have become something of a personal favourite on this weekly segment. Once again, we are including them again this weekend, and it is a big one. They welcome Cerro Porteno, meaning it is a top two clash in the Paraguayan Primera Division on Sunday evening.

There is a seven-point gap between the two, with Olimpia leading the way, meaning it is important that El Ciclon get a result at the Estadio Manuel Ferreira.

The form guide clearly favours Olimpia going into this contest. Over the last 13 matches, they’ve won 11 of those, losing just the once. Meanwhile, Cerro were going well prior to their last three, which they have earned a return of just one point.

There is also the small matter of this being a huge local derby. This is known as the Super-Clasico in Paraguay, with the two teams being situated within Asuncion. It promises to be an intriguing spectacle this weekend.

These are the two highest-scoring sides in the top-flight of Paraguayan football, and in their combined 32 games they’ve only conceded a combined total of 25 times. Both teams are generally used to winning games, and with it also being a derby, a case could be made for this being quite a tactical contest.

We are now in the second Torneo Clausura section of the league, with the opening Torneo Apertura section being won by Olimpia. They eventually finished 11 points better off than second-spot Porteno after 22 games. Each side won the home meeting 1-0. In the second stage, the first match played at Porteno’s General Pablo Rojas Stadium resulted in El Decano emerging as 2-0 winners in the backyard of their rivals.

The head-to-head meetings are generally favoured by Olimpia. They have won the last four when they have been the home side, winning 4-2, 2-0, 2-1 and most recently 1-0. The last 13 reads eight victories to Cerro Porteno’s three, two ending in draws.

As mentioned, Olimpia are on something of a roll at present. Their last three has seen them win 5-0, 4-2 and 4-1, two of which came away from home. None of their opponents could be classed as sides in the upper echelon of this league however. Still, it demonstrates their confidence levels heading into this huge match.

Cerro Porteno are winless in three, and the concern there is that two of those were defeats versus sides around them in the standings. A 1-0 home loss to Libertad (third) and 2-1 away loss versus Sol de America (fourth), suggests that they have some struggles over the sides of greater quality at this level.

Olimpia are without doubt the best team in the league. To date, they’ve earned 41 league titles compared to Porteno’s 32. Olimpia are averaging 2.25 goals scored per-game this season. They are conceding on average less than 1, at 0.81.

Their home ground remains something of a fortress as well. They’ve only lost once in this calendar year in front of their supporters in the league. Only three times in 2017 did that happen, as well.

Cerro Porteno to their credit actually do travel quite well. They even won away at Palmeiras in the Copa Libertadores in August, a side who would reach the semi-finals of that competition. However, the venue which they’ll be playing in on Sunday hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for them.

Although literally anything can happen in a derby, we won’t get too many opportunities to back Club Olimpia at odds-against in a domestic home game, and we have to take notice.

11/8 (BoyleSports) is available on a Club Olimpia victory. With Cerro needing the win, it could open up some spaces at the back for their talented opponents, who have scored 13 goals in their previous three, to potentially expose.

Best Bets

Basel v Lugano – Both Teams To Score (9/13 10BET)

Tromso v Molde – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (97/100 Marathon)

Club Olimpia v Cerro Porteno – Club Olimpia to win (11/8 BoyleSports)

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