It’s another mixed bag of midweek fixtures with matches in the Champions League, Europa League, Championship, League One and League Two. Chelsea and Manchester City face tricky Round of 16 ties with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid waiting for them respectively. Elsewhere, there is a full programme of fixtures in the Championship while League One and Two sides have re-arranged matches to fulfil. Charlie Mullan has done the homework for you highlighting some of the games worth considering for BTTS and over 2.5 goals accumulators based on historical data and recent trends.
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BTTS: Chelsea v Bayern Munich, Millwall v Birmingham, Braga v Rangers
Chelsea (3/1) and Bayern Munich (5/6) meet for the fifth time in European action with two of the previous four ties ending all square including their Super Cup encounter at the start of the 2013/14 season. Fernando Torres opened the scoring in the eighth minute while Franck Ribery levelled early in the second half to take the game into extra-time. Eden Hazard restored Chelsea’s lead before Javi Martinez equalised in the 120th minute to force a penalty shootout which the Bavarians won 5-4. Another score draw is trading at 33/10 with SportPesa while a draw of any kind is available at 3/1. In all four previous meetings there have been goals for both Chelsea and Bayern and odds of 10/17 are available for both teams to score in this first leg tie at Stamford Bridge. At the Bridge on Saturday, Frank Lampard got the better of his former manager Jose Mourinho for the third time as the Blues beat Tottenham 2-1 in what was their fourth game in the last five where BTTS has landed.
Chelsea’s last two Champions League ties at home have seen a total of 11 goals with both teams scoring each time. Against Ajax, Chelsea rallied from a 4-1 deficit to draw 4-4 with their visitors, who ended the game with nine men. Bayern warmed up for their trip to London with a 3-2 home win with Bundesliga basement side Paderborn who levelled twice in the match before Robert Lewandowski snatched an 88th minute winner. It was the fourth time in their last five games in which there have been goals for both Bayern and their opponents. If the group stage is any indication as to how Bayern will approach this game, there could well be plenty of goals scored at the Bridge. Bayern’s six group games produced a total of 29 goals with BTTS landing in three of them including two of their three away ties. SportPesa are offering odds of 39/20 for Bayern to win with at least one goal for Chelsea who are 21/4 to win with BTTS landing.
Birmingham (53/20) travel to Millwall (6/5) knowing their chances of making the play-offs are fading fast with every game they fail to win. And in a way, they only have themselves to blame for not winning more games in recent weeks. Twice they led at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday but the visitors turned the game on its head to lead 3-2 as the game entered the closing stages. That’s when Scott Hogan struck an equaliser for the Blues. It was the 10th time in Birmingham’s last 11 Championship matches in which BTTS would have paid out. This week they face Millwall, who they drew 1-1 with at the end of November when Jake Clarke-Salter cancelled out Shaun Williams’ opener at St Andrew’s.
Millwall’s last home game was also a 1-1 draw when they shared the points with Fulham in a game that fizzled out after an explosive start. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored after just three minutes but Fulham’s lead lasted four minutes as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson levelled for the Lions. Millwall won’t have given up on the play-offs just yet and they will be confident of closing the seven-point gap between them and Preston in sixth place. SportPesa are offering odds of 20/21 for this game to have goals for both Millwall and Birmingham. Millwall are 15/4 to win with at least one goal for the visitors who are 13/2 to win with BTTS paying out.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard must be cursing the winter break in Scotland. In their final game before the break, Rangers recorded arguably their best win of the season when they beat league leaders Celtic 2-1 at Celtic Park to ignite a title race in the Scottish Premiership for the first time in a long time. Rangers closed the gap on their bitter rivals to two points with a game in hand. However, since their return to action, Rangers have been less than convincing and the gap between them now and the champions is currently 12 points but they still have that game in hand. On Sunday, Gerrard’s side dropped points for the fourth time in seven league game since their return to action when they drew 2-2 at St Johnstone who denied the Glasgow side a win when Steve May equalised 10 minutes from time. It was the fifth time in their last six games in which BTTS landed in games involving the ‘Gers.
It would take a brave man to back Rangers to win the league title given the gap between them and Celtic and with the pressure beginning to increase on their manager, Gerrard really needs to find success elsewhere to ensure his time at Ibrox does not come to a premature end. That makes this week’s Europa League Round of 32, second leg at Braga all the more important for Rangers (29/10). If the second leg is as dramatic as the first, then we should be in for one of the best games of the week. Rangers were facing defeat trailing 2-0 with a quarter of the game left to play at Ibrox. Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian star Gheorghe Hagi, started and completed the comeback with goals either side of Joe Aribo’s goal as Rangers take a slender one-goal advantage to Portugal for this week’s second leg. Braga (10/11) bounced back from their defeat to Rangers with a 3-1 home win over Vitoria Setubal on Sunday which was the third time in their last four games in which BTTS has landed. SportPesa are offering odds of 5/6 for this game to have goals for both sides while Rangers are 25/4 to win with at least one goal for the home side who are 14/5 to win with BTTS landing.
Over 2.5 goals: Napoli v Barcelona, Coventry v Rotherham, RB Salzburg v Eintracht Frankfurt
If you are looking at previous meetings for an indication as to how Barcelona’s trip to Napoli will pan out, then you are wasting your time. Remarkably, these two sides have never met in European football before, but it will evoke memories of Diego Maradona in his prime. Maradona joined Napoli from Barcelona in 1984 and helped the Naples side win their only two Serie A titles. Napoli (11/5) won’t be adding to those domestic titles this season, but there is still plenty for them to play for. And that includes a place in next season’s Champions League. Napoli are nine points off the top four places which will make qualification for Europe’s elite competition a mammoth task. Another route to qualification would be to win this season’s competition. Beating Barcelona (6/5) in this week’s first leg would go some way to achieving that, but they know it won’t be easy.
Barcelona go into this tie top of La Liga after beating Eibar 5-0 with Lionel Messi scoring the first four goals. Barcelona have scored 12 goals in their last four matches while Napoli have netted in seven consecutive games. SportPesa are offering odds of 20/27 for three or more goals to be scored in this tie with BTTS and over 2.5 match goals trading at 1/1. Napoli, who were beaten 3-2 by Lecce in their last home game, are 15/4 to win with at least three total goals scored. Barcelona are 41/20 to win with three or more total goals scored at the Stadio San Paolo.
It’s top against second in League One on Tuesday night when leaders Rotherham (41/20) take to the road to face Coventry (6/4) who are level on 60 points with the Millers but have an inferior goal difference to the Yorkshire side. Coventry still have a game in hand on Rotherham so even a defeat at the New York Stadium would not end City’s title hopes and a win for Mark Robins side will see them installed as favourites to win the League One title. Both teams registered 2-1 wins away from home on Saturday. Coventry were in the lead after just four minutes at Rochdale when Michael Rose opened the scoring before Matt Godden doubled that advantage in the 71st minute. A minute later Aaron Wilbraham pulled a goal back for ‘Dale but Coventry hung on for the three points.
It was the fourth time in their last six matches in which a minimum of three match goals were scored. Rotherham left it late to get the job done at Accrington when Freddie Ladapo scored his 12th goal of the season in the 64th minute. A minute later Jordan Clark equalised for Stanley before Ben Wiles popped up with a last minute winner for the visitors. It was the third time in Rotherham’s last four league games in which three or more goals had been scored. SportPesa are offering odds of 6/5 for this fixture to produce a total of three or more match goals and odds of 6/4 are available for both teams to score and combine for three or more goals. Coventry are 3/1 to win with over 2.5 total goals paying out while the visitors are 9/2 to win with three or more goals scored.
We tipped last week’s first leg meeting between Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Salzburg to see goals for both sides and that’s exactly what happened as the German side edged closer to the next round with a 4-1 win. Daichi Kamada helped himself to a hat-trick as Frankfurt led 4-0 with five minutes to play. Hee-Chan Hwang pulled a goal back for Salzburg which could turn out to be an important goal, but only if the Austrian side can score the next goal in this tie. If they do, then it is certainly game on knowing a 3-0 win will see them through. If Frankfurt score the first goal of the second leg, then it would be difficult to see how Salzburg could advance. The five goals in Germany last week should not have surprised too many people as goals tend to be a common theme in matches featuring both sides.
Five of Frankfurt’s Europa League group games saw three or more goals scored while four of Salzburg’s Champions League group games produced a minimum of three goals before they dropped down into the Europa League. Frankfurt’s last five league and cup matches have seen a minimum of three goals scored and that includes their 2-1 defeat to Union Berlin at their Commerzbank Arena home on Monday night. Salzburg lost more ground to league leaders LASK in the Austrian Bundesliga following their 2-2 draw at Austria Vienna at the weekend. It was a game that saw Salzburg lead twice but they were unable to stop Erik Palmer-Brown from scoring an equaliser a minute from time. The draw was Salzburg’s fifth successive match in which three or more goals were scored and leaves Salzburg three points behind leaders LASK. SportPesa are offering odds of 10/23 for this tie to produce over 2.5 goals and odds of 2/3 for both teams to find each other’s net and combine for three or more goals like they did last week. Salzburg, who have nothing to lose in their home leg, are 5/4 to win with over 2.5 goals paying out while Frankfurt are 15/4 to win and over 2.5 goals landing.
A £10 bet on the BTTS accumulator has potential returns of £56.80
A £10 bet on the over 2.5 goals accumulator has potential returns of £54.80