Form Labs Weekender

COURTESY FOOTBALL FORM LABS

Torino v Juventus, Sun 14:00

Torino might be a long shot to win the Turin Derby this weekend but they’ve only once gone off shorter this century. That was in April 2015 when they actually won 2-1, but it came as Juve had already switched their attention to the Champions League having run away with the Serie A title. That is their only derby win in more than 20 years but there are reasons to think this could be their year.

Juventus have already lost three times on the road this season, and it’s four defeats in eight back to the end of last term. Moreover, they have some significant problems at the back with Dani Alves, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci all currently sidelined. A defence that has been so reliable in recent years is suddenly showing signs of wear and across all competitions they’ve kept just two clean sheets in their last 10 matches, and those came against the less-than-potent Pescara and Dinamo Zagreb. They’ll certainly face a tougher time here with Torino the third highest scorers in Serie A this season.

Torino are unbeaten at home this season and have already dispatched Roma and Fiorentina here. Furthermore, in their last 10 matches they’ve scored 23 times as their front three of Andrea Belotti, Iago Falque and Adem Llajic have been in superb form. The defence hasn’t been nearly as solid though, as they’ve kept just one clean sheet in those 10 games. As a result goals have been a particularly popular bet in their matches and 10 of their last 11 at home have had at least three goals while six have had four or more. It looks a great bet again this week against a significantly weakened Juve defence. Over 2.5 is a 2.1 shot while Both Teams to Score can be backed at 1.91 and both look outstanding value.

When it comes to the match outcome Juve look too short and they’re incredible record in this fixture is arguably being given too much credit. As such we fancy Torino’s attacking brio to give them an edge and if you want a longshot for this weekend the 9.6 on Turin to Win and Both Teams to Score looks a good one.

Benfica v Sporting, Sun 18:00

Benfica are chasing a fourth consecutive Portuguese title and are currently topping the standings. However, Sporting have a chance to leapfrog them with a win here in the Lisbon derby as just two points separate them at the top. There’s rarely much between these two and in the past three seasons half their six meetings have finished all-square, while there’s been an average of just two goals per game.

Having gone 23 games without defeat, and impressively winning 21 of those, Benfica’s unbeaten streak was ended by Maritimo last time out. Suddenly they’ve won only one of their last four matches in all competitions after being beaten again in the Champions League in midweek. Three of their next four league games are against teams currently in the top six so this is a particularly key period for Benfica. Particularly since they’ve won just two of their nine matches against Sporting and Porto since 2014/15 including none of their four at home.

Sporting also lost in midweek to crash out of Europe and their recent form has also been patchy. They’re unbeaten in seven in the league but that includes three draws, two of which came against the current bottom two. Nevertheless, they’ve kept three consecutive clean sheets and having lost just twice on the road since the start of last season have proven very tough to beat. They’ve scored more than once in just one of their five away matches this season, but once could well prove enough here.

Since the start of last season Sporting have won four of their five matches against Porto and Benfica while conceding just three times and they’ve embraced their position as underdogs in these clashes. We expect to see a competitive performance from Sporting and Benfica look too short given their recent form and struggles in the biggest matches in recent times. There is certainly every chance of the spoils being shared so we’ll keep the draw on our side and back Sporting on the Double Chance at 1.7. In what promises to be a tight game Under 2.5 at 1.73 is also worthy of serious consideration as seven of Benfica’s nine matches against the rest of the Big Three since 2014/15 have settled as ‘unders’ while six have been level at half-time.

Weekend Team News Analysis

Bastia v Metz
Simon Falette (CB), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (LB) and Mevlut Erdinc (FW), Metz

Metz have two first choice defenders suspended. Falette is their best centre-back and they lost the only match he missed this season. Meanwhile, at the other end Erdinc is still struggling for fitness and is a major doubt. He’s their top scorer this season, with none of his teammates finding the net more than once so far. Metz are significantly weakened right now and Bastia can pick up a much needed three points at 1.95.

Nantes v Caen
Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (CB) and Adrien Thomasson (CM), Nantes

Nantes have conceded 17 times in their last 10 matches without Vizcarrondo as their only clean sheet came against Troyes last season – one of the worst ever Ligue 1 sides. They ended up losing seven of those 10 games. Meanwhile, they’ve gone from scoring 0.97 goals per game in the 32 matches Thomasson has played since the start of last season to exactly 0.5 gpg in the 22 he’s missed. Nantes have scored none and conceded 10 in their last four matches and Caen are 4.2 to take full advantage with the win.

Inter v Genoa
Leonardo Pavoletti (FW), Genoa

Pavoletti has played exactly half of Genoa’s matches since the start of last season and they’ve scored 38% more goals per game when he’s been in the side. 17 of their 26 without him have had fewer than three goals, including 10 of 13 on the road. Inter's defence has been fairly woeful this season but Genoa have scored just three times in their last six away matches so we're going to take a chance on Inter winning to nil at 3.2.

We got two out of three last weekend and its a 25/1 shot we land all three this time around. Good Luck!

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