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Don’t be bullish on Pamplona bookings

The Soccer Boffin with his best bet of the weekend

Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid
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There have been a lot of cards in La Liga games refereed by Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva, and a lot of cards in encounters between Osasuna and Real Madrid, but there could be a low number when they all emerge from the tunnel at El Sadar in Pamplona.

Back under six Asian total cards with bet365 at decimal odds of 1.9 – equivalent to fractional odds of 9-10. Each yellow will count as one and each red as two.

If the make-up is lower than six the bet will win, if it is six stakes will be refunded and if it is higher than six the bet will lose.

Iglesias Villanueva is an experienced referee who has controlled more than 100 La Liga games over six and a half seasons.

The number of make-ups lower than six has been effectively the same as the number above six.

In a typical contest he refereed fair decimal odds about under six Asian total cards might be 2.0. Today we get only 1.9. Arguably, though, this contest is not typical.

Real Madrid have played away to Osasuna 14 times since the start of the Millennium.

Nine times the cards make-up was higher than six, four times it was six and only once was it lower than six. The pair did not meet during the last two seasons when Osasuna were in the second division.

It would be natural to wonder whether the large number of cards in past meetings was provoked by a rivalry between the province of Navarre and Madrid.

Bordering Navarre is the Basque Autonomous Community, and when Real Madrid have played in grounds there, average card counts have been no higher than in their other away games.

It is possible that the history of high card counts between Osasuna and Real Madrid is just a curious freak.

Generally speaking, card counts fall as the difference in ability between teams widens.

Real Madrid, even away from home, are usually a lot better than their opponents. Before today’s games they are top of the table and Osasuna are bottom.

This season neither Real Madrid not Osasuna have received more cards than we should have anticipated from their results.

Ignoring the referee for a moment it is arguable that fair decimal odds about under six Asian total cards at El Sadar would be 1.675. Iglesias Villanueva cannot be ignored altogether, however, and his presence reduces the chance of a low card count, but perhaps not by so much as to remove all value from odds of 1.9.

On Friday bet365 lowered their line from 6.5 to six. Doing that removed most of the appeal of the bet, but not quite all.

Under six Asian total cards in Osasuna v Real Madrid
0.5pt 9-10 bet365

Thought for the day

Last Saturday Arsenal lost 3-1 at Chelsea. It was their second Premier League defeat in a week and nearly everyone is predicting doom and gloom for the rest of the season.

Five months earlier Chelsea lost 3-0 at Arsenal. It was their second Premier League defeat in a week and afterwards nearly everyone predicted doom and gloom.

The BBC’s chief football writer said it would take time to “address so many problems”.

A Guardian reporter wrote: “What is becoming increasingly clear with each passing week and stuttering defensive display is that [manager] Antonio Conte cannot perform miracles with this Chelsea team. Their rearguard looks broken.”

Chelsea kept a clean sheet in each of their next six games and they won their next 13.

Since losing twice in week Chelsea have dropped points in only two Premier League games out of 18 – a defeat at Tottenham and a draw (when they probably should have won) at Liverpool.

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman said that when people are asked a hard question they subconsciously swap it for an easier one.

Predicting the future is hard, although you would not realise from the frequency with which it is attempted.

Often when people think they are predicting the future what they are really doing is describing what has just happened.

Dan Gardner, in Future Babble, wrote that books predicting the future tell us more about the time in which they are written than the time they predict. In the past, stray football results have generally proved bad predictors of the future.

It would be natural to wonder whether the large number of cards in past meetings was provoked by a rivalry between the province of Navarre and Madrid
E.W. Terms
Sky bet