If you're betting on sport, you need the right data. With so much information bandied around in the press and social media these days, how much of it is actually useful? How do you filter out the noise? How do you quantify the absence of a key player? How does the absence of a striker, a midfielder or a centre-back translate to goals and results?
Put some stats behind your gut instincts and work out when to lump on and when to steer clear of a sucker bet. One of the very best in the business is Football Form Labs who have shared their wisdom with a preview of some of this week's action. You can also follow Football Form Labs on Twitter, @footballformlab
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Premier League Week 6
Chelsea v Arsenal, Sat 12:45
Chelsea were about 1.70 for this fixture last season but are 2.40 this time around. Have they really got that much worse or are Arsenal that much better? They have the worst defence in the league at the moment but a midweek stroll past Maccabi Tel Aviv may have given some degree of a confidence boost.
The Blues have won only five of their last 11 home matches as they’ve scored more than once on just three occasions and also kept only three clean sheets. Arsenal, in contrast, have won seven of their last eight away matches. Of course when it comes to these games we can’t ignore the Gunners record away to top-four finishers; they’ve lost 14 of 18 such trips since 2009/10 while conceding 45 goals. However, they did show some improvement last term, picking up a win at Man City and a draw at Utd, while conceding just three times in their three such matches.
To read the rest of this preview plus detailed previews of all the televised Premier League games this weekend and a round-up of the rest of the matches head over to the Oddschecker website.
PREVIEW: Dortmund v Leverkusen, Sunday 16:30
Dortmund’s excellent start under their new manager Thomas Tuchel means that they are likely to return to being Bayern’s main challengers in the Bundesliga, with the likes of Monchengladbach and Leverkusen languishing in the bottom-six. Leverkusen did however pick up a much needed home win against BATE Borisov in the Champions League, whilst Dortmund also won at home against Krasnodar, whilst managing to rest some of their players. Leverkusen won this fixture on the opening day of last season and that defeat set the tone for Dortmund’s season, as they conceded the fastest goal in Bundesliga history and while they rallied to finish seventh after 19 games they were bottom of the table.
Dortmund have now won eight of their last 10 matches and indeed eight of their last 10 at the Westfalenstadion, with seven of those wins by a margin of at least two goals. At home against top-six finishers last season Dortmund’s record was W2-D1-L3, with the defeats coming against Bayern, Augsburg, and Leverkusen. This season, they’ve beaten last season’s third place Monchengladbach at home, though ‘Gladbach have lost all of their matches this season. The outstanding Marco Reus missed the win over Hannover and the Europa League game, but he was back in full training on Friday and could play here, which will be a bonus for Dortmund as their PPG drops 30% in the 17 games he’s missed since the start of last season and they also score 22% fewer goals without him in the starting line-up.
Leverkusen also got off to a disappointing start last season that saw them win only eight of their first 22 games before a seven game winning streak pushed them into the final Champions League position. That run means they’ve won 11 of their last 16 games, though only three of their last seven. Dortmund’s start to this season suggests they look nailed on for a top-six finish this time around, and Leverkusen’s record on the road against such teams last term was W1-D1-L3, with all three defeats against the top three and the win coming over sixth placed Schalke. The departures of Son, Gonzalo Castro, Josip Drmic, and Emir Spahic have weakened the team and though the return of Christoph Kramer from a two year loan has stiffened the midfield, an injury to their main summer signing Charles Aranguiz hasn’t helped.
Though it is still very early in the season, Dortmund look to have returned to being the second best team in Germany while Leverkusen appear to have regressed with the sale of a number of important players and a subsequent slow start to the season. Since Leverkusen have lost without scoring against Bayern already this season and last, as well as losing by three goals at Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg last term, backing Dortmund -1 on the Asian Handicap looks a solid bet here at 2.3, particularly since they’ve won their last six at home and seven of their last eight home wins were by more than one goal. As Dortmund have led at half-time in their last five at home, while Leverkusen have trailed at half-time in five of their last seven away defeats, the Dortmund Win/Win double also appeals at 2.85.
Weekend Team News Analysis
Who is injured and who is suspended? Using Form Lab Black’s player analysis tool we’ve looked around Europe's major leagues to find some important players that are going to be missing this weekend. For more player analysis from our analysts or to do your own player analysis try a Form Lab Black subscription.
Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin
Roy Beerens, Winger, Hertha
Beerens is one of several injuries for Hertha and since the start of last season they’ve won none of their 12 games when Beerens has failed to start. They’ve scored just five goals in those games with nine defeats and seven of the matches have had fewer than three goals. Hertha will probably play for the nil-nil but Wolfsburg should win and are 2.60 to do so to nil.
Real Madrid v Granada
Gareth Bale, Attacking Midfield, Real Madrid
Bale has missed nine games since the start of last season and Real have won every single one. Furthermore, they’ve scored at least three goals in each match, including a 4-0 win at Granada last term. Real are 1.92 to cover the -3.0 Asian Handicap and they should at the very least get a push.
Marseille v Lyon
Nabil Fekir, Attacking Midfield, Lyon
Lyon drew nil-nil last weekend and they’ve now scored just twice in the last five matches Fekir has missed. Marseille sold several key attackers in the summer – most notably Andre Ayew, Dimitri Payet and Andre-Pierre Gignac – so don’t expect goals here. Another 0-0 is a massive 10.5.
N.B. Appearance stats relate to starting and completing at least 60 minutes