Saturday & Sunday’s Pro League Best Bets

Andy

Eupen v Oostende

Saturday 9th April – 5:30PM KO

The first of two Pro League games to be played on Saturday is a clash between two sides for whom the season is over. Both sides could have had things to play for today, but results last week have ensured that neither Eupen nor Oostende can now be dragged into the relegation play-off places. Of course, such a game makes predictions difficult, however it cannot be avoided that these two sides have some of the least effective attacking lineups in the division.

Even last-placed Beerschot have managed more goals than visitors Oostende, who are one of only three teams to score at a rate of less than a goal per game. Eupen are not much better, having scored just 37 goals in 33 games this season. Even with both sides not particularly needing to keep it tight and secure points, it seems unlikely that this will be a goalfest. In the previous 6 meetings between these sides, 4 games have seen less than 3 goals.

Eupen have only scored more than once at home in one game in their previous eight at the Kehrwegstadion, a run that stretches back to November 2021. They have failed to score entirely in half of these eight games, and under 2.5 goals would have landed as a selection in five of these eight games.

Oostende have scored more than once only three times all season long when playing away from home, two of which came in the first two games of the season, whilst the other was a 2-0 win away at a Beerschot side who were relegated almost a month ago and sit 12 points adrift of their nearest rival. They have failed to score in 9 of their 16 away games throughout the season, including in three of their last five games.

This does of course need to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially knowing that Eupen may wish to try and put on a show for their home fans who have been through it this season, and an unmotivated Oostende may not show much fight in return, yet goals still do seem unlikely, and the odds sitting at evens makes this an appealing selection.

Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 2.0 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐)


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Royal Antwerp v Cercle Brugge

Saturday 9th April – 7:45PM KO

The other Saturday game in the Pro League is not as inconsequential as the first, with Antwerp still having some reason to push for the win, and whilst Cercle Brugge are now out of contention for the play-off positions, Antwerp will want to minimise the gap to the league leaders heading into the championship play-off. A win will ensure they will start the play-offs no more than 6 points behind Union Saint-Gilloise, as their 12-point lead will be immediately halved.

Antwerp may have won just 3 of their previous 6 games, however, this run has included away games against fourth-placed Anderlecht, second-placed Club Brugge and sixth-placed Mechelen, all of which were games that a loss would not be unexpected. They have won all of their previous 7 games in the Pro League against bottom-half opposition, and though Cercle Brugge are not the easiest side to be facing from the bottom-half, they no longer have any hopes of achieving anything this season, and should not put up too much resistance.

Antwerp have failed to score at home just twice this season, once in their first home game way back on the 1st of August, and the other occasion being a 2-0 defeat by league leaders Union. In their remaining 14 home ties, they have scored twice or more on 9 occasions. They have also posted a superb record against bottom-half sides across the whole season, winning 13 of 17 games both home and away.

Cercle Brugge have been struggling away from home recently, with their last away game seeing them thrashed 5-0 by seventh-placed Charleroi. Although there was a red card early in the game, they were already 2-0 down by this point, so they were well on their way to being soundly beaten before this. They have failed to win any of their previous four games on the road, recording two draws and two defeats.

Across 15 games against sides in the play-off places, they have won just 3 times, and just once away from home in 7 attempts, a 2-0 defeat of Anderlecht that was again assisted by an early red card. This result at the end of January was the last time Cercle won away from home.

Even if they had something to play for, an away trip to one of the division’s best sides would’ve seemed a tough task, but now they will surely have very little motivation to perform. Antwerp meanwhile must win to give themselves the best possible shot at the championship, and the potential to play Champions League football next season. A win for the hosts in front of their own fans would be the perfect way to cap off a strong regular season, and to ensure momentum continues heading into the play-offs.

Prediction: Royal Antwerp to Win, 2.0 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Cercle Brugge players celebrate a goal in the Pro League

Charleroi v Zulte-Waregem

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

Sunday is the final day of the regular season in Belgium’s Pro League, and this game is another of the many ties in which one side has something to play for, while the other does not. Charleroi host Zulte-Waregem, who are now safe from the prospect of a relegation play-off. Waregem are unpredictable at the best of times, but even more so here, now that the result of this game will have no material impact on their season. At times they have produced excellent attacking football, but they have been far too often defensively exposed.

The hosts do still need to take points where possible with the play-offs to come, and a place in next season’s Conference League up for grabs. They have really struggled against the top teams this season and need to go in as close as possible to the top of the group as they don’t look likely to pick up many more points once the mini-league gets underway.

Against sides outside the play-offs however, they have been fantastic, losing just once all season in these 20 matches. They have drawn 6 and won the remaining 13, a superb record that they will be hoping to enhance this weekend. When narrowed to just sides in the bottom-5, those who have been in the relegation fight until last weekend, they have won 8 and drawn 1 of their 9 games.

Zulte-Waregem meanwhile have needed results for some time now as they drifted towards the relegation zone, yet their away form has remained woeful throughout this second half of the season. They last won away from home on Boxing Day, and the only game in the six away matches played since the winter break they have not lost was a 3-3 draw against bottom-of-the-table Beerschot.

They have lost all but one of the seven away games they have played against sides in the play-offs, the one exception being a 2-2 draw against Mechelen. With just three away wins all season, it seems unlikely that they will suddenly turn this form around now, with nothing to play for.

Charleroi really need the 3 points here to retain any realistic hopes of being competitive in the play-offs. Not only this, but they do have an outside shot of missing out on the play-offs entirely if they were to lose and both Sint-Truiden and Genk won. They would miss out on the basis of games won, and with both those sides also facing sides they should beat, a loss for the hosts could be catastrophic, with them having occupied a spot in the play-offs for the majority of the season.

Prediction: Charleroi to Win, 1.36 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)


Club Brugge v Mechelen

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

The reigning Pro League champions, and the current form team in the division, Club Brugge have the most difficult tie of any of the five sides still in contention for the championship. Visitors Mechelen sit sixth in the division, and could prove a real banana skin as the hosts aim to go into the play-offs with a 100% winning record in their last 8 regular season games. They have narrowed a 12-point gap to Union Saint-Gilloise to just 5 points across the last 7 games, and they will not want to let standards slip now.

Mechelen though are in their own battle, sitting in sixth-place, they are already seven points adrift of fifth-placed Gent, and another defeat could see them starting the play-offs up to five points behind whichever of Gent or Anderlecht finishes fifth. Their own form had dropped off in recent weeks, with four draws in a row preceding their narrow 3-2 win over Kortrijk last time out.

Mechelen have played 7 games against top-4 sides this season, with over 2.5 goals landing in 5 of these ties. The hosts have a similar record of high scoring ties against sides in the secondary play-off group with over 2.5 goals in 5 of their 7 games. Only in games against Charleroi have they not seen three or more goals when facing the sides in 5th to 8th position.

Despite the fact that Mechelen are amongst the better sides in the division, this is no reason to expect a tighter affair here. Club Brugge’s two previous home games have been against top-8 sides in Genk and Antwerp, and these ties have seen an average of 4.5 goals per game, with Brugge scoring three and four times respectively.

The away side are also likely to contribute towards the goalscoring, having now found the net in each of their last 5 away Pro League games. The last game in the league in which Mechelen’s opponents were able to keep a clean sheet was all the way back on January 23rd, their scoring streak now extending to 10 Pro League games.

Club Brugge’s scoring streak is even more impressive, it is now six games in a row in which they have scored three or more goals. That’s not for both teams combined, just the Blauw en Zwart alone. Whichever way this game goes, over 2.5 goals seems almost nailed on, and if you wanted to increase the odds, Brugge to win and over 2.5 goals together would be my choice.

Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.4 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)


Gent v OH Leuven

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

Hosts Gent looked like they had stolen the final championship play-off spot from under the nose of Anderlecht by snatching a 1-0 win at home against the Paars-Wit two weeks ago. However, their failure to beat Cercle Brugge has allowed Anderlecht to climb back above them, and now Gent must win to stand any chance of finishing in the top-4. Opponents OH Leuven saw their season come to an end in the last couple of weeks, with their last hope of sneaking into the top-8 being extinguished two weeks ago after failing to beat Seraing.

Gent are in great form besides last week’s draw, having won all of their previous seven before that game. They have kept 5 clean sheets in their previous 7 games, an outstanding record in such a high scoring division. Meanwhile, OH Leuven have failed to score in 3 of their last 4 games against top-half opposition. With little to play for and having already played their final home game of the season, Gent should be able to grind out another clean sheet in this one.

Gent have kept more clean sheets than any side besides Union Saint-Gilloise, who are also the only side to have conceded fewer goals throughout the season. Only Charleroi and Seraing have seen fewer games this season finish with both sides scoring, Gent having seen BTTS land in 15 of 33 games this season, meaning at least one clean sheet has been kept in over half of their fixtures.

The hosts have conceded just 1.17xGA per game this season, amongst the best in the division. Leuven meanwhile have failed to score 3 of their 4 matches on the road against the sides in contention for the secondary play-off group, losing 2-0, 2-0 and 4-0 to Mechelen, Sint-Truiden and Genk respectively. With nothing left to play for, Leuven are guaranteed to finish 11th no matter what result they get here, and Gent could not really ask for better circumstances in which to be facing their opponents.

Leuven are certainly capable of causing damage to most sides in the division, but with so much riding on this game, Gent should be able to keep the game tight and secure the win. Anything less will mean their slim title hopes are ended, and the best they can hope for is a chance to play in the Conference League again next season, the competition they were dumped out of by PAOK just last month.

Prediction: Both Teams to Score – No, 1.87 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐)

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Kortrijk v Anderlecht

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

The other side of the championship play-off equation takes place in Kortrijk, where Anderlecht have the opportunity to claim fourth-place entirely within their own control. A win here will ensure they qualify for the right to fight for another title to add to the enormous collection this illustrious club has amassed over the years. It seemed as though they had thrown it away, but Gent’s unexpected slip-up last week has given them a reprieve.

Kortrijk meanwhile have been on the beach for some time now, they have lost five games in a row, and 9 out of their previous 10 Pro League fixtures. They have failed to score in 5 of these 10 games. Across the season they have played 7 games against the top-4, failing to score in 4 of them. These seven games saw both sides scoring just twice.

In their last six home games, BTTS would have landed only twice, with both Antwerp and Club Brugge arriving to face Der Kegels and comfortably preventing them from scoring. This bodes well for Anderlecht, with Kortrijk clearly struggling against the top sides.

The visitors meanwhile have seen both sides score in just one of their previous six games. Their record reads four wins, one draw and one defeat. The one game in which both sides scored was a top of the table clash against Antwerp, and their loss was against Gent. The last side outside the play-offs to score against Anderlecht was Zulte-Waregem on February 12th.

After struggling defensively all season, it seems that Vincent Kompany has finally been able to inspire his players to replicate his own performances and actually keep some clean sheets. They couldn’t ask for a better opponent on the final day of the season, and another shutout must surely be the aim for the Paars-wit.

With both teams to score landing just once in their previous six, there is a real chance the run will extend to one in seven against what is clearly a demotivated Kortrijk who simply want the season to end. Anderlecht know the win is likely to be crucial with Gent more than likely to beat OH Leuven, and they should give their all here today. Anything other than a comfortable away win would be a huge surprise, and there is a great chance they will win to nil.

Prediction: Both Teams to Score – No, 2.1 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)


Seraing v Genk

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

Last week finally confirmed that Seraing would be the side to face one of Belgium’s second-tier sides in a relegation play-off. They had struggled throughout their first Pro League campaign back in the big time but ultimately they were not quite able to hang on. They are unbeaten in three games, but their two draws in their last two are what ultimately doomed them.

They looked to be taking it to the final weekend last time out, but Oostende’s last minute equaliser was a dagger through the hearts of Seraing fans everywhere, and they now have little to play for besides pride. Although this looks on paper to be an easy enough game for Genk, Seraing have really stepped it up and they will want to put on a show for the fans who have stuck by them all season.

Genk arrive having failed to win all of their previous three games away from home, and though this was admittedly a tough run of games, their away record this season is poor. After going unbeaten through their first three, they have now lost 10 of the 13 they have played since then, including losing 2-0 to Beerschot.

They know a win here, to a side which will surely have one eye on their relegation play-off will ensure a top-8 finish, but little about this game looks certain besides the high likelihood of goals. Genk have seen over 2.5 goals in five of their last six away games, the one exception being a 2-0 defeat. Across the whole season, they have conceded 1.81 goals per game on average, which is very poor for a side contending for the play-offs.

Throughout the season, seven of their nine fixtures against the bottom-5 sides have seen over 2.5 goals, including 5-0, 6-2 and 4-0 thrashings alongside a 4-3 defeat. They are more than capable of putting teams to the sword on their day, and they could be fortunate enough to run into a Seraing side that knows this game is pointless and would rather be anywhere else.

Seraing for their part have played 15 games against the top-8, losing 13. Of these 15 games, 10 have seen over 2.5 goals scored, even more impressive when you consider Seraing failed to score in over half of these games. However, with nothing to lose and no real reason to sit back and defend, they look likely to create a few presentable chances against a Genk defence that has been poor on the road all season long.

Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.5 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐)


Sint-Truiden v Standard Liege

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

The other side in play-off contention is Sint-Truiden, who are also Genk’s great rivals. They need score more points than Genk, or if Genk win, they must hope Charleroi lose. If Charleroi lose and Sint-Truiden win, the Genk result is irrelevant as they will finish above Charleroi thanks to winning more games through the season. Standard Liege are yet another team who’s season is already over, and in all honesty it has been for some time.

Sint-Truiden have won three in a row, and surely will make it four in a row against a Liege side that has scored only one goal in their last four away games. Sint-Truiden are unbeaten in eight games now, efficiently putting teams away with little to no fuss for the majority of this run. Liege meanwhile have been the most dull watch in the Pro League in the closing months, with nearly all of their games finishing either scoreless, or being decided by 1 goal.

Liege were soundly beaten last weekend by Union Saint-Gilloise, 3-1, but before this it had been eight Pro League games in a row where under 2.5 goals would have come in. In this run of eight games, two goals were scored between both sides just twice, the remaining six seeing 1 goal or less.

Sint-Truiden have been similarly stingy, with three or more goals in just 2 of their last 10 Pro League games. The hosts have scored three goals or more on just three occasions all season at Stayen, whilst the visitors last scored more than once in any Pro League game way back on January 26th.  They have only scored more than twice once in 16 away games in 2021-22, and have averaged just 0.6 goals per game across their previous 5 games on the road.

The hosts will not risk throwing men forward if they take the lead, and Liege also have little to gain by throwing men forwards, so this game should ease towards a conclusion without much further incident if this does happen. Liege scoring could throw a spanner in the works, but this does seem unlikely considering the form of both sides.

Considering the complete lack of goals from both sides in recent months, evens is a fantastic price for under 2.5 goals and I would strongly consider backing this selection.

Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.9 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)


Union Saint-Gilloise v Beerschot

Sunday 10th April – 5:30PM

The last game in this guide seems an appropriate one, the tale of two sides having unexpected seasons in different ways. Newly promoted Union are guaranteed to finish as ‘regular season champions’, meaningless of course but still in a great position to claim their first title since the 1930s. Beerschot meanwhile only just missed out on the play-offs last season, but this season never really got going and have been bottom since the beginning. They briefly threatened to make a fight of it, but ultimately despite the odd encouraging performance, they have never looked likely to pull off a great escape.

The hosts have allowed an imperious lead of 12 points to slip down to just 5 over the course of the last two months and cannot allow any further erosion of their lead here. They will surely remain at least 5 points ahead by the conclusion of this game however, with Beerschot now winless in seven games, their joint-worst run this season.

Four of Beerschot’s previous six games have seen over 2.5 goals, and despite being relegated weeks ago, they have continued to score and occasionally pose a threat to the opposition, finding the net twice in a game on three occasions in this run. Despite being bottom by 12 points, they have very rarely been thrashed, and have scored in 11 of their 16 away games this season. They have however conceded an average of 2.36 goals on the road, making wins difficult to come by.

In 15 games against the top-8, they have won one and drawn one, losing the remaining 13. Against the top-4, their record is even worse, having lost all 7 games. Only one of these 7 did not see over 2.5 goals. Away from their Olympisch Stadion, they have seen over 2.5 goals land in all eight games they have played against top-half opposition.

Union have been held to draws twice in their last six games, but all four of their wins in these six games have seen over 2.5 goals. They are currently averaging just under 3 goals per game in their last four, and their last four wins have seen at least three goals for the league leaders.

They will want to put on a show for the fans in their last home game, having now failed to win any of their previous three, and they are facing off against the worst team in the division. However, despite my confidence that they will surely win, their shaky home form over recent weeks means I can’t justify this being a four or five-star selection.

Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.45 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐)


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