Sunday’s Pro League Best Bets

Andy

Royal Antwerp v Beerschot

Sunday 6th March – 12:30PM KO

Our first Pro League game on a bumper Sunday featuring five matches is likely to be the most one-sided. High-flying Antwerp may have stumbled in recent weeks but they are still too strong for their city rivals Beerschot. The first Grote Derby of the season saw Beerschot lose narrowly at home, a Radja Nainggolan goal enough to see Royal Antwerp take all 3 points.

This time however. I wouldn’t expect it to be as close. Despite 3 defeats in their last 6 games, The Reds have had to face both of the sides occupying the top-2 spots in the division in that run, and won’t be too disappointed to have lost either game. Since top-flight football resumed in Belgium following the winter break, they have only failed to win twice against sides that aren’t in the top-2.

Against sides in the bottom-4, Antwerp have played 6, won 5 and lost just the once, an unfortunate 2-1 defeat away to Zulte-Waregem. Knowing that every dropped point means their chances of taking home a 5th title become that much slimmer, they will be keen to fire back here and take all 3 points, having dropped behind Club Brugge following two consecutive defeats. 

Beerschot meanwhile will be hoping that they can ride the passion of the derby and somehow escape with some points. However, they have lost seven games in a row away from home, scoring just 4 goals and conceding 17. They have also lost four of their last 5 Pro League games, and seem to be absolutely doomed. They will certainly give their all in this game, but I can’t see it being enough to win.

De Ratten have not won away from home all season, managing just 3 draws from 14 matches. Their record against sides in the top-4 is appalling, having lost all 5 of their games against them, and is similarly poor even when extended to cover all play-off positions (the top-8), playing 12, winning once, drawing once and losing on 10 occasions.

This game being a famous and well-contested derby game does throw a slight spanner in the works, and is presumably why an Antwerp win is such high odds, considering the strength of both sides, but I simply can’t see anything other than a home win in this one.

Prediction: Royal Antwerp to Win, 1.6 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)


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Anderlecht v Oostende

Sunday 6th March – 3:00PM KO

Our next stop is over to the capital for Anderlecht vs Oostende. Home side Anderlecht have seen the gap above and below them close somewhat over the last few weeks, and will know that wins are crucial to ensuring they remain in the championship play-off spots. They will be confident of dispatching their visitors here, Oostende sit 14th in the Pro League table, and have tended to struggle against top sides, not least when they were dispatched 7-1 by league leaders Union.

This game should be good for goals, with over 2.5 goals being scored in all of the previous 5 meetings between these two. Anderlecht have form for high-scoring games against the division’s worst teams, with over 2.5 goals being seen in 7 of their 11 games against the bottom-6. They are the division’s second highest scorers, with 62 goals in 29 games, and will be hoping to put last week’s 0-0 draw with OH Leuven behind them.

Producing 1.86xG at home, the fourth-highest in the division, they look good for at least two goals in this game, and previous form suggests they may do even better, as they are currently averaging 3 goals per game when playing at home against sides in the bottom-6, the most recent of which saw them beat Eupen 4-1.

Oostende meanwhile have one of the worst defensive records in the division, conceding 52 times in 29 games, and having the worst goal difference of any side not in the relegation places. They have seen 1.7xGA across all away games this season, and have really struggled to defend against the top teams in the division.

So far, in 5 games home and away against those in the top-4, they have seen over 2.5 goals land in all of them. They did manage to score 4 times in these 5 games, including scoring twice against Anderlecht in the reverse fixture, so they are definitely able to contribute to the 3 goals we require here.

Their record against the top-8 tells a similar tale, with 10 of 13 games seeing over 2.5 goals, whilst from six away games against these top-8 sides they have conceded an average of 2.33 goals. 

Overall then, this should be a relatively simple win for Anderlecht, and as much as Oostende will try and keep their attack at bay, their defence isn’t going to be good enough to keep a clean sheet here, which should hopefully lead to an open game with both sides having plenty of chances to score.

Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.53 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)


Sporting Charleroi v Standard Liege

Sunday 6th March – 5:30PM KO

The teatime Pro League clash sees seventh-placed Charleroi face off against Liege who are down in 13th. Charleroi had a fantastic comeback win last week against Beerschot and will be hoping to claim another three points here and move back above Mechelen after their 1-1 draw with Sint-Truiden on Friday night.

Don’t expect a goalfest in this game, Charleroi have a poor home record considering their lofty position in the table, both scoring and conceding 1.14 goals per game at the Stade du Pays. In their last seven league fixtures, under 2.5 goals would have landed on five occasions, and this does not improve when you look at just their home games, with 4 of their last 6 also seeing less than 3 goals in the match.

They have seen both sides scoring in just 4 of 14 home games this season, the least of any side in the Pro League. They have kept clean sheets on 6 occasions, and have also failed to score themselves 6 times in these 14 matches. They are the lowest scoring side in the play-off positions, having managed just 45 goals, and are currently on a run of 3 goals in 5 home games, which is very poor for a side hoping to qualify for European competition.

Things aren’t much better for the visitors Liege either, who have seen under 2.5 goals in all 5 of their last 5 league fixtures. Away games meanwhile have seen over 2.5 goals in just 1 of their last 5. Both sides have scored in 13 of their 29 Pro League matches, the third lowest in the entire division.

They are the fourth lowest scoring side in the league, finding the net 30 times in their 29 games, and averaging 1.14 goals per game on the road. The goals tally of games involving Les Rouches is not even boosted by the opposition, with no side in the bottom-6 conceding fewer goals than their 44, with their games often tending to be tight, low-scoring affairs.

Goals will be hard to come by in this game, and as much as I dislike backing under X goal bets, in this case this is by far the most obvious choice. Neither side is in great form, and both have struggled to find the net, with 3 goals in 5 for Charleroi at home, and 3 in 5 for Liege on the road.

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

Standard Liege celebrate scoring a goal in the Jupiler Pro League

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Gent v Zulte Waregem

Sunday 6th March – 8:00PM KO

One of two 8:00pm kick-offs sees what could be the exact opposite of the Charleroi-Liege game, with fifth-placed Genk welcoming 15th-placed Zulte Waregem to the Ghelamco Arena. Five of the last six meetings between these sides have seen over 2.5 goals, and after last week’s tip of over 2.5 goals for Genk was smashed with three first-half goals in 7 minutes, let’s hope for more of the same here.

Genk’s home fans have seen over 2.5 goals in just over half of their home games this season, with 8 of 14, the sixth-most in the division. Against bottom-half opposition, the record improves to 5 in 7, and with four wins in a row in the Pro League, the hosts will be confident of scoring at least a couple of goals against the worst defence in the division (61 goals conceded in 29 games).

The numbers suggest Genk’s goalscoring record at home is no fluke, with 1.99xG per 90 converting into 2.07 goals per game on average. They are not fluking results but are performing about as well as you would expect, and thus against weaker sides they should be exceeding this number. With 3.14 goals per game at home so far this season, and the hosts in great form, they should hopefully meet this threshold again here.

Waregem meanwhile have seen more goals in their matches than any other side bar KV Mechelen, with 99 total goals scored in their 29 games this season. On the road, 9 of their 14 games have seen over 2.5 goals, the 3rd highest tally in the division, whilst their 19 in 29 over 2.5 goals record overall is the most of any Pro League side.

Specifically against current top-8 clubs, Waregem have seen over 2.5 goals in 12 of 14 matches, with the two matches without over 2.5 landing both finishing 2-0. Both teams have scored in 10 of these 14, showing that despite the leaky defence, they can still score even against the best sides in Belgium. Indeed their 38 goals is bettered only by the 39 that OH Leuven have scored amongst sides in the bottom-half.

Goals look to be a near certainty in this game, with a reliable and well-drilled attack facing off against an unsettled and frequently exposed defence. Waregem were comfortably beaten 5-0 by an unspectacular mid-table side in Kortrijk in their last away game, and now must face a side just three points off a place in the championship play-offs. There can surely only be one winner, and there should be plenty of goals to go along with that Gent win.

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

Eupen v OH Leuven

Sunday 6th March – 8:00PM KO

The final game we are looking at this Sunday sees what must be the worst side in the division right now, Eupen facing off against OH Leuven, who are sitting comfortably mid-table. This will be new Eupen manager (and former assistant) Michael Valkanis’ third game in charge, and though he has been handed a tough start to life as head coach, playing both of the current top-2, they have not looked much better.

Though Eupen did hold the leaders to a 0-0 draw last weekend, the entire game was played in their half, with Union squandering a golden opportunity in a comical goalmouth scramble (you’d think it was from a Crap 90’s Football tweet if the footage wasn’t so HD), and a string of good saves from Eupen’s Nurudeen in goal being the only things keeping Eupen in the game.

The fact remains that Eupen have now won just once in their last 19 Pro League games, and even that was only a 1-0 win against Beerschot. They have lost all 5 of their last 5 games at home, scoring just once and conceding 12 in those games. 

With only three goals in their last 5 games home and away, and also the league’s worst home record, taking just 12 points from an available 42, and scoring just 14 goals in the process, (the worst in the division), this Eupen side really are fortunate they built a good cushion in the first 10 games of the season, or they would almost certainly have been relegated.

Leuven meanwhile have managed two wins and a draw in their last 5 games on the road, scoring 8 goals in those 5 games. Overall they have managed an impressive 5 wins and 2 draws in their last 9 Pro League matches, and secured a creditable 0-0 against Anderlecht last time out, in which they could easily have nicked all 3 points.

They have scored in 11 of their 14 away matches this season, and in their 10 games versus sides in the bottom-6, they have only failed to score on one occasion. Prior to their last two fixtures, they had scored in every game since December 4th, a run of 9 games in a row, and they will be confident of finding the net again here, in what looks to be the most inviting fixture they have remaining this season.

Prediction: OH Leuven Double Chance, 1.44 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

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