Gent vs Seraing
Friday 18th February – 7:45PM KO
Our first game of the weekend takes us to the city of Ghent, where the De Buffalos play host to second-bottom Seraing. Seraing also featured in last week’s Friday night game, a heart-breaking last minute defeat against second-placed Antwerp who were down to 10-men. Gent meanwhile beat Eupen by a goal to nil, keeping their hopes of nicking the final championship play-off spot alive.
Gent have had some strong results lately, including a 2-1 win against third-placed Club Brugge. They have only lost against their fellow top-6 sides this season, remaining unbeaten in games against sides placed seventh or lower, and currently average 3.08 goals per game at home, producing the second highest xG of any side in the Pro League on their own patch, at 2.02 per game.
Seraing meanwhile have lost all but two of their away games this season, and having played every side in the top-8 away from home besides Gent, they have a record of seven defeats, conceding 19 goals and losing every game. Over 2.5 goals has landed in five of these seven games, the other two being 2-0 defeats, and just one goal from landing there too.
Over 2.5 goals has also landed in 69% of their away fixtures this season, and over 1.5 goals has landed in every one of their 13 games on the road. They have not kept a single clean sheet away from the Stade du Pairay, conceding 2.38 per game on average, whilst these games have featured 3.23 goals per 90.
Overall, Gent are enormous favourites in this game, and they will be hoping to put Seraing to the sword as so many other sides have done when Les Metallos have visited this season. Over 2.5 goals looks to be the best value bet for this game, and I am confident Gent will make it happen.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.73 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Cercle Brugge vs Beerschot
Saturday 19th February – 3:15PM KO
Our next game features the other side currently mired in the relegation places, Beerschot, who travel to Bruges to face Cercle, who had been on a fantastic run but have begun to plateau in recent weeks. Now winless in three games following a superb purple patch which saw eight wins in nine, the play-off challenge which had seemed on the cards at the start of the month is looking increasingly unlikely. However, struggling Beerschot could provide the shot in the arm Cercle need to get back on track and attempt to push up the table once more.
Despite their excellent form through the winter, Cercle have only kept clean sheets in 15% of their home games this season, and have seen 63% of their games end with both teams finding the back of the net. They have scored in 69% of their games at the Jan Breydel Stadion, including in four of their last five.
Both Teams to Score has landed in three of their last five fixtures, and whilst they have not won any of their last three games, they have still seen goals at both ends in two of these games, and were unlucky not to find the net in the third. Only two sides in the league have seen more games finish with both sides scoring than the Groen en Zwart.
Beerschot have, as you may expect for a team 10 points adrift of safety conceded in all but one of their games on the road, however, they have also scored in a significant proportion of these games, with Both Teams to Score landing in 75% (9 out of 12), the second-highest total in the league.
Their last three away games have all seen De Ratten both score and concede at least once, and their 3.67 goals per game away from home provides more reason to be confident in this run continuing today. Cercle are much the better side, but struggle to prevent the opposition scoring, whilst Beerschot are more than happy to commit men forwards despite an extremely poor defensive record. For how likely both teams scoring would seem, odds of 2.0 for this selection is fantastic value.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score – Yes, 2.0 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
KV Mechelen v Oostende
Saturday 19th February – 5:30PM KO
The first of two games kicking off at tea-time in the Pro League sees midtable Kortrijk face off against an intriguing Zulte Waregem side who are just three points clear of Seraing who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot. No side averages fewer goals per game than the 2.44 of Kortrijk, whilst only Mechelen see more goals per game than Waregem’s 3.44.
Despite the goals being less free-flowing in Kortrijk games than for most other Belgian sides, they tend to be very evenly spread between both sides. No side has seen more draws than Kortrijk’s 10, all of which were score draws of 1-1 or 2-2.
They have seen BTTS land in three of their last five, and in 54% of home games throughout 2021-22. In 10 fixtures against sides currently occupying the bottom-6 positions, both sides have scored in six of these (including a 2-1 loss to rock-bottom Beerschot), whilst De Kerels have scored in all 10.
The home side will be without suspended attacking midfielder Abdelkahar Kadri for this game, and will certainly miss his presence, with no player matching his five assists, however they should still have enough to score against the league’s worst defence.
Waregem meanwhile have seen BTTS land in an impressive 69% of their away games, and their 70% overall record for both sides scoring is the second-highest in the division. They have kept clean sheets in just two games on the road, whilst also scoring in 11 of 13 matches.
In 10 matches against sides occupying the middle third of the table (7th-12th), Waregem have both scored and conceded in nine. Historically this fixture has been excellent for BTTS selections, with all of their previous four meetings ending with goals at both ends.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score – Yes, 1.6 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Oostende vs Standard Liege
Saturday 19th February – 5:30PM KO
The second tea-time fixture in Belgium’s Pro League sees two sides who may not have much to play for, being all but clear of relegation but too far off the play-off spots to compete, however, a win for either side is likely to ensure their survival for another season, and whilst a loss would be far from catastrophic, both sides would certainly like the security three points here would offer.
Home side Oostende have been very leaky at the back this season, conceding 10 goals more than today’s opposition. They have kept just one home clean sheet all season long, and the 3.62 goals per game they have recorded is the second-highest in the division.
Despite also being joint-lowest for goals scored, BTTS has been a successful selection in 62% of their games at the Versluys Arena this season, and they have managed to find the net in four of their last five home games, including both of their last two games.
Les Rouches arrive in Ostend on the back of two wins, two defeats and a draw in their last five Pro League games away from Liege, however, this did include a draw at Anderlecht and a win away at second-placed Royal Antwerp, so it has not been the easiest run of games.
They have only failed to score on the road twice this season, and have also seen BTTS land in 62% of these games. With seven goals in their last five, they will be confident of scoring at least once against one of the league’s most obliging defences.
This game really could go either way, but I have little faith in either defence to keep a clean sheet, and I do think there’s some good value in a Both Teams to Score bet here. Oostende consistently find the back of the net against the teams in and around the relegation zone, whilst Liege have only drawn a blank five times all throughout 2021-22.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score – Yes, 1.8 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Sporting Charleroi vs Union St-Gilloise
Saturday 19th February – 7:45PM KO
The evening Saturday game finally sees some action at the top of Pro League table. League leaders Union fell to a shock 1-0 defeat at home to lowly Sint-Truiden last weekend, which very few would have predicted ahead of kick-off. They will be keen to get things moving in the right direction again, conscious that any dropped points will mean the gap they begin the championship play-offs with is even smaller than it seems, with points totals halved at the conclusion of the regular season.
Despite this bump in the road, Union are still far and away the best side in Belgium right now, and the Pro League title surely will be theirs come the end of the season. They have conceded just one goal in five on the road, winning four and drawing the other, 0-0 against third-placed Brugge.
Their 54% clean sheet record is far clear of any other side, and Union have allowed just 0.69 goals against them per game away from home, the lowest in the league by some distance. Even against the top sides they have maintained their dominance, conceding just four times in nine games against the rest of the top-6, (of which three came in games against 2nd and 3rd place), and have kept clean sheets in six of these nine.
Charleroi are sitting pretty in sixth-place, and may on paper seem to be a tough opponent for the league leaders, especially following such a poor performance, however their record against the top-4 sides is every bit as dreadful as Union’s is fantastic, having played six, lost five and drawn one. In these games they have scored just twice.
Only Beerschot, bottom of the league, have seen BTTS land in less games this season than the Zebras, who’s 31% (4 out of 13) is around 25% below the league average. Despite being in the top-6, they have failed to score in 5 of their 13 home games already this season, and have drawn a blank twice in their last five games.
Up against the league’s meanest defence, it would be a surprise to see Charleroi get on the scoresheet, and a repeat of the reverse fixture, a 4-0 win to Union would not be unexpected here. The odds are extremely high on this game when you look at the way these type fixtures have tended to go for both sides. At least one clean sheet seems more likely than not here, and odds of 2.3 are simply too good to miss.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score – No, 2.3 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
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