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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Lille value to cover corners handicap

The soccer boffin has another great bet

Bordeaux's Younousse Sankhare
1 of 1

Bordeaux v Lille
Ligue 1, 7pm Saturday

Bordeaux are near the middle of Ligue 1 while Lille are in the relegation zone. That is one reason – though not the most important – for thinking Sky Bet may have underestimated Lille in their corners handicap market for Saturday’s game at Bordeaux.

Back Lille +2 corners at 11-8. The bet will succeed if Lille take more corners than Bordeaux, the same number or one fewer. If anything else happens the bet will fail.

The chance of the bet succeeding may be better than the odds imply. The main reason for saying this is that in other games with similar general characteristics the chance of the away team beating a corners handicap of +2 is usually better than the 42 per cent suggested by odds of 11-8.

Odds for result-related markets imply a 56 per cent chance of a Bordeaux win, a 27 per cent chance of a draw and a 17 per cent chance of a Lille win. Those estimates seem right.

In other Ligue 1 games with similar result expectations in this and previous seasons the chance of the away team beating a corners handicap of +2 was typically about 49 per cent, suggesting fair odds would normally be close to 21-20.

Bordeaux this season have fared better in corners handicap markets than is usual for a team with their won-drawn-lost record, but all of that overperformance occurred before Gus Poyet became manager in the middle of January.

Since then Bordeaux’s corners for and against have been consistent with the goals they have scored and conceded, as was the case in most previous seasons.

Lille, like Bordeaux, are on their second manager of the campaign. Christophe Galtier succeeded Marcelo Bielsa four days after Christmas. Galtier is best known for nearly eight seasons at Saint-Etienne.

Before kick-off Lille are 19th out of 20, two points below the relegation line with seven games to play. Relegation would end a run of 17 seasons in the top division.

If Lille take the lead they may try to hang on to it for dear life, and the prospect of the corners handicap bet succeeding will plummet. But a more likely scenario is that at some time in the match Lille will fall behind. The result-related odds imply something like a 66 per cent chance of Bordeaux scoring each goal that is scored.

Saturday football columns

Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

And if Lille trail, even if it is by more than one goal, they may feel that their plight urges them to keep on trying to attack for a bit longer than other teams would. And in any case, teams who fall behind generally have more of the ball afterwards than they did before. It is only a small possibility but it is in our favour.

Overall there do seem to be reasonable grounds for thinking that the chance of Lille beating a corners handicap of +2 may be better than 11-8.

Lille +2 on corners taken handicap
1pt 11-8 Sky Bet

Ligue 1 standings

Bet on this game at

Thought for the Day

Manchester City will win the Premier League if they beat local rivals Manchester United on Saturday.

City would be the first team to clinch the title with six games to spare, beating by one a record set by United in 2000-01. The average number of games left to play has been two. Seven times out of 25 the title was decided on the last day.

If City lose they might need another two wins from their last six games to become champions. And next up are Tottenham. Situations can change quickly. But sooner or later City almost certainly will become champions.

After a team have claimed the title results tend to drop off. This is understandable. Champions do not need any more points. Even with the best of intentions performances can lack some of their normal competitive edge.

Average goal difference per game – what spread bettors would call supremacy – after a team have become champions is typically about three-quarters of a goal lower than it was before they became champions.

To put that into perspective: a team can change from being the best in the Premier League to performing like challengers for fourth place and the last Champions League spot.

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After a team have claimed the title results tend to drop off. This is understandable. Champions do not need any more points
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