What with the intrigue and excitement that surrounds the Premier League, it is easy for domestic punters to forget about the potential riches on offer in some of Europe’s other top flight divisions.
Here’s a quick round-up of the goings on across the continent thus far then, and some tempting morsels of value to sink your teeth into as we head into the second half of the 2015/16 campaign.
Spain – La Liga
Things are bubbling up quite nicely in La Liga where Barcelona, in second, are the favourites at 2/9 given that they are just two points behind leaders Atletico with a game in hand. Real Madrid, who thrashed Deportivo 5-0 in Zinedine Zidane’s first game in charge, linger ominously four points back and at a mouth-watering 11/2.
There is value to be had in the Top Four Finish bracket where Villarreal, who are currently in fourth with a huge eight point lead over Celta Vigo in fifth, are marked up at 4/6.
The Top Goalscorer market is unbackable given that messrs Ronaldo, Suarez, Neymar, Bale and Benzema are all fancied, so instead let’s turn our attention to the Relegation market where Rayo Vallecano, without a win in eight and conceding more than two goals per game on average this term, are a healthy 6/4.
Germany – Bundesliga
It’s all over bar the shouting in Bundesliga where Bayern Munich – with just one defeat in 17 games – lead Borussia Dortmund by eight clear points. It is hard to imagine Pep Guardiola’s side letting that lead slip, particularly as Dortmund look so fragile defensively at times. Having scouted around the bookies, 1/33 on Bayern to win the title is about the best that you will get.
We need to look elsewhere for value then, and one punt that stands out is Hertha Berlin to finish in the top four, which is priced at 9/2. The reason his looks great value is their fantastic defensive record; Hertha have kept a clean sheet in nearly half (41%) of their matches this season. That makes them hard to beat, and with the likes of Schalke and Wolfsburg just below them proving so inconsistent, take the price today before it tumbles.
The other bet we like in Germany is the Top Goalscorer market, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on 18 goals, currently tops the pile ahead of Robert Lewandowski on 15. But with speculation mounting as to Aubameyang’s future at the club he looks too short at 8/13, and so we’ll taking the lanky Pole to chase him down during the second half of the campaign at 2/1.
France – Ligue 1
Abandon hope all ye who enter appears to be the message from bookies here, as PSG – unbeaten in 20 games and top by a whopping 20 points – have been priced at a, shall we say, prohibitive price of 1/750 to win the Ligue 1 title.
Elsewhere perennial top three merchants Lyon are struggling down in sixth having lost seven times already this term, while many punters are waiting to see if the ‘Leicester City of France’, Angers, can maintain their fine run. Instead, it is Monaco – currently in third – who offer decent value in the Top Three Finish market at 8/11. Fans of long value will note Marseille linger menacingly in this market at 6/1.
There is only one Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and priced at 1/3 he’s unbackable in the Top Goalscorer market despite already being four strikes clear of the rest. So we’ll instead peruse the Relegation prices, where Troyes – who look doomed already – are 1/20. We’ll be taking Guingamp then, who haven’t won in six and are firmly camped in the bottom three. At 7/2 they look surprisingly long.
Italy – Serie A
On the face of it this is a league that nobody seems to want to win! The lead has changed hands between Napoli and Inter on countless occasions, and yet ironically neither of these two sides are the bookies’ pick. It’s Juventus, two points back and on a red hot win streak of nine matches, who they favour at Evens. But we like the look of Napoli in the ‘Without Juventus’ market at 8/11.
Pressure is being applied on Inter for a top three spot, but the former leaders have kept a clean sheet in nearly two-thirds (63%) of their league outings thus far, and that should just about see them secure a podium place. This can be backed at Evens too.