The group stage of Champions League enters the third round with a whole slew of matches slated for midweek for our soccer picks.
Olympique de Marseille are pointless in Europe’s top-flight competition, scraping the bottom of Group. Desperate to turn their fortunes around with a meaningful result, the French outfit prepares for Rafa Benitez and his Napoli men on matchday three.
Sportsbooks are unanimously tipping Marseille at the significant disadvantage, sending the hosts into this important clash as the +200 underdogs at Bet365. A draw, which would be a golden nugget for the hosts, is tipped even larger at +225.
On the flipside, Napoli are deemed the favourites albeit on the long side of even money at +138 odds at Bet365.
Marseille began the competition with a 2-1 defeat at home to Arsenal and then succumbed to Borussia Dortmund 3-0. The Italians meanwhile began with 2-1 home win over Borussia Dortmund before falling to Arsenal 2-0 in London.
This will be the first meeting ever between Marseille and Napoli at this level; moreover, this is only the second European campaign for the Italian club.
Betting on the winner
As far as betting on the winner of this match goes, form suggests the visiting Italians are the better pick and at +138 odds they would also be a value pick.
Napoli, currently second in Serie A, boast a 6-1-1 record after eight laps. They are the second highest scoring team in Italy with 18 goals (only Roma has scored more with 22) and also have the second best differential at +12 having conceded only six goals over the course of eight games.
Recently however Napoli are after a defeat to Roma 2-0 on the road, although given that Roma is undefeated this season with a perfect 8 wins in 8 games, that defeat is a rather moot point. Though disappointed they shouldn’t be too concerned about that performance.
Home advantage and experience at this level should tip the scale towards a home win but clearly, bookies aren’t putting much stock in it with large betting odds of +200 on the table. That they are without a point in Champions League action is partly responsible for this market stance but so is the quality of their opposition that from the start of the competition was held as one of the teams to spot and that could challenge for top spot.
It doesn’t help the French cause as well that domestic form is a modest 5-2-3 mark in ten games that sees Marseille in fifth place in Ligue 1. Recently however Marseille have been on a slide, losing three games in a row across several competitions – a run of form that doesn’t augur well for Marseille and includes the 3-0 to Borussia followed by a 2-1 defeat to PSG at home and a 1-0 defeat to Nice on the road.
Soccer Free Picks: Napoli to win outright at +138
Betting on the Totals and scores
If you are looking to bet on the totals market on this game here are a few things to consider. Scoring clearly hasn’t been a problem for Napoli and defence has been solid. Olympique Marseille is another story however as they’ve managed only 13 goals in ten games at home and conceded eight.
These two facts combined have the bookies favouring the Under 2.5 at -125, which is interesting if nothing else. It’s our opinion that the Over 2.5 at +100 rather than the Under is the better sports pick because given Napoli’s ability to score and Marseille’s problems on defence, surely those two key factors tip the scale towards the over.
Soccer Free Picks: Over 2.5 at +100.