World Football: Swiss high-flyers to edge entertaining Sunday showdown

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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.

St Pauli v Hamburg | Sunday 10th March 2019, 12:30 | BT Sport

An intriguing top four battle will take place on Sunday afternoon as St Pauli look to move within a point of opponents Hamburg. Both teams very much hold ambitions of playing their football alongside the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga next season. Only the top two are guaranteed promotion, whilst the third will have to negotiate a relegation/promotion play-off, so every point is vital.

St Pauli have been a little inconsistent in recent times. Since returning from the winter break, they’ve played six games, which has yielded three wins and three defeats. Whilst they suffered a heavy loss to top side Koln in that period, they also defeated third in the table Union Berlin at home. They’re certainly a side capable of beating anyone in this league on their day. They will certainly look to raise their game on Sunday.

Hamburg have been a little inconsistent themselves in one sense. They’ve played seven times since the winter break (they’re still in the DFB Pokal), producing four wins, two draws and a defeat. However, it is worth mentioning that all four of those wins were by a solitary one goal margin, so they could easily have gone another way. They’re certainly not convincing at the moment.

The two met earlier in the season and there is every chance this match will be played in a similar manner. It ended in a 0-0 draw, but Hamburg enjoyed over 70% possession. Having said that, St Pauli had many more efforts on goal, and despite being the home side this weekend, the counter attack could be used to their advantage.

Whilst Hamburg do dominate large periods of possession in almost every 2. Bundesliga game they play, they aren’t actually big scorers. They’ve netted only 32 times, which is middle of the road in this league. A strong defence is the bedrock to their success, as they’ve shipped only 26 times; the second-best in the division.

With Hamburg seeing so much of the ball, they deny the opposition the chance to build up too many openings. Nevertheless, scoring only 32 suggests the visitors aren’t always the most creative and can have issues breaking teams down.

Hamburg have been involved in a series of tight games of late, and as mentioned, those positive results could’ve been negative, or vice versa. They just aren’t convincing enough at the moment to give them a favourite’s chance this weekend away from home to a side only two places and four points lesser off to them in the table. Hamburg are winless in their last four away, losing three.

St Pauli look a great 11/5 chance this weekend to cause what would be a shock against their great city rivals based on those odds. However, four beating second in reality shouldn’t be classed as a major upset, so St Pauli look underestimated in that regard.

Lugano v Basel | Sunday 10th March 2019, 15:00

The Swiss Super League has been a funny old league this season. It has been the top major league to top the Both Teams To Score column across the football scene. Games stand at 69% BTTS, with only the New Zealand Premiership bettering that (of leagues which have been running longer than a few weeks). Goals therefore could easily be on the agenda this weekend, and the numbers suggest that should be the case.

Nothing has been officially decided in the top-flight of Swiss football yet, but the reality is that Young Boys will soon be crowned champions. They have a 19-point lead over Basel, who should cement second considering they’re seven points in front of Thun, who they defeated at the weekend.

Lugano have a great away win at Zurich last time out, which now puts the seven points ahead of the relegation places. They’re anything but safe, but it is quite a cushion over Xamax and Grasshoppers, who only have nine wins between them all season.

Lugano have been a tricky side to predict this season. Young Boys lead the way and have only dropped points in three matches all season, a few weeks ago it was almost four as Lugano held on until very deep into added time, before going down 1-0. Winning away at Zurich, who were only recently knocked out of the Europa League, was a surprise. They’re near the bottom for a reason, but they can cause a shock, so Basel have to be aware.

Basel would have needed almost perfect form to battle with Young Boys for the title this season, who as we touched upon have only dropped points in three games all season. They’ve just had too many spells in the season where going two or three without a win which has ultimately opened up that 19 point gap. Still, they’re a good side and they’re now becoming more consistent, which increases chances of having a serious title challenge next season. Young Boys were the last team to defeat Basel, which was back in December, but they’re unbeaten in eight since then.

As we’ve said, BTTS is a good bet for any game in this league, but the odds have been reflecting that for a while now. This has paid out in 70% of Lugano and 83% of Basel Swiss Super League clashes this season. The last two head-to-head meetings has finished 3-2 and 2-2 as well.

Lugano are third from bottom because their inconsistent, so expecting them to back up a great away win could be asking a lot. Basel have momentum and should get the job done on the day. They’ve only kept 17% clean sheets however, so they may need to score at least twice.

Basel to win and Both Teams To Score is a good 13/5 (Bet365) chance. This has paid out in 35% of their league matches this season. Considering Borussia Dortmund and Sporting top this respective league with 46% in world football, this is still a significant amount.

Best Bets

St Pauli v Hamburg – St Pauli to win (11/5 Sportingbet)

Lugano v Basel – Basel to win and Both Teams To Score (13/5 Bet365)

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