Soccer Picks: Napoli vs. Borussia Dortmund

Nila Amerova

Monday, September 16, 2013 1:05 PM GMT

Arguably, the most-anticipated match on the Champions League table this week is the clash between Napoli and Borussia Dortmund. So let’s break it down for you with some value soccer picks thrown in for good measure.

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Napoli and Borussia Flying High in Domestic Action

Napoli is flying high in Serie A action after recording a 100% mark in three laps, which includes two clean sheets. However this run of form is on the back of wins over Bologna, Chievo and Atlanta – three middleweights in Serie A and that’s maybe being a tad bit generous.

Nonetheless, Napoli fans are enjoying life with new coach Rafa Benítez and a significantly improved side that boasts star quality such as Higuaín (two goals) and Pepe Reina to name a few. Only Slovakia’s Marek Hamsik has more goals than Higuaín (four goals).

If Napoli are flying high, Borussia Dortmund are soaring, flying higher than many pundits expected they would at the start of the season. They are enjoying a 100% start on the season comprised of five straight wins, eight straight across all competitions including a 4-2 win over Bayern Munich in Super Cup action.

Indeed, they’ve taken the Bundesliga by storm and if their 6-2 win at the weekend over Hamburger SV were any indication, they look all but intent on carrying the momentum into Europe’s top-flight competition.

Napoli vs. Borussia Dortmund Markets and Picks

Betting on the winner

The overarching soccer odds market on this delicious clash is nestled on a rather tight betting line,  with the home side Napoli listed as the underdogs at +200 at Bet365. Visiting Borussia meanwhile is considered the favourite albeit on the long side of even money at +150 at Bet365.

Because odds makers are tipping this game so close there is value on both sides of the coin. Also, the accepted opinion is that the result could go either way, a fact that has some pundits suggesting this is a game best not to touch as far as betting on the winner is concerned.

But what if it isn’t as close as markets are suggesting? What if those pundits suggesting we shy away from this one have it all wrong? Granted, this game could go either way, especially since Napoli has the home ground advantage; but, then again, aren’t we underrating Borussia and their pedigree?

Put another way, Borussia Dortmund practically leaps off the page as the best sports pick to win this match. Let’s not forget, the Bundesliga side finished second in domestic action last year and reached the Champions League final by beating some worthy opposition. It was no fluke!

More importantly, they’ve seemingly picked up from where they left off last season, bursting out of the gates with a verve and swagger that is both stunning and extremely convincing. This is a well-established outfit with plenty of attacking potential and a team that is simply flourishing under coach Jurgen Klopp and his tactics. Unlike Napoli (though off to a solid start) that still has to go through inevitable growing pains with Benitez.

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Soccer Pick: Borussia Dortmund to win outright at +162 at Ladbrokes

Picking the Correct Score or Total

Borussia Dortmund isn’t goal shy if the new season were any indication. Across eight games, spanning several competitions, they’ve tallied 25 goals – that works out to a 3.125 goal average per game (of course, this number is skewed by the 6-2 routing of Hamburger SV at the weekend). Offense is not all that is clicking for the free-scoring Germans. Defense has been solid as four of their eight games ended on a clean sheet. In total, they’ve conceded just seven goals in eight games.

On the flipside of the coin, Napoli’s defense has earned praise. Notably for the two clean sheets in three games, both of which came on home ground. In fact, Napoli are notorious for being tough to beat at home – last season they went 14-4-1 at home in Serie A. That is not to suggest offense hasn’t impressed as well. On the contrary, they’ve scored 9 goals over three domestic games – what also works out to a 3 goal average.

Clearly, both teams are sound on both sides of the pitch and that could lead to them cancelling each other out, a notion that has some pundits advancing the draw outcome. Speaking of which, the draw is listed as the largest bet at +240 (larger than a win by either side) in the overarching soccer betting market and odds makers are offering the 1-1 draw at +600.

However, we’re of the school of thought that attacking football leads to a goal fest and it appears the bookies agree. Given that offense is clicking, averaging three goals per game, we’re plumping down to the Over 2.5 at -125 at Bet365.

Predicting the exact score is one of the most difficult things to do but for those that are inclined, a 1-0 win or 2-1 win by Borussia is going for +800 respectively. A 1-0 win by Napoli is tipped at +900 while a 2-1 win is listed at +1000. For the bold pick, a heftier score line such as a 3-1 or 4-2 win is going for +1800 and +5000, respectively.

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Soccer Pick: Bet the OVER 2.5 goals, tipped at -125 at Bet365

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