As always before we start talking science, to quickly recap for anyone who doesn’t know what the hell xG is: Expected goals (xG) quantifies the quality of any given scoring opportunity, giving each chance a probability of being scored. The higher the probability, the better the chance. xG provides a descriptive look back at individual games or over a longer period of time, helping to give an insight into future performance.
How likely is it that teams are going to be able to repeat their current form? Is the team over-performing or under-performing? xG can help answer those tricky questions.
For a more detailed breakdown, check out our Expected Goals Introduction article.
Lecce claimed a 3-1 victory at SPAL in midweek, and deservedly so according to expected goals (xG: SPA 0.98 – 2.01 LEC), although the majority of their 2.01 xGF came from two penalties (1.54 xGF). That win lifted them to 14th place in the table, but the Serie A newcomers have been poor defensively so far this season, conceding chances equating to 1.88 xGA per game.
Roma suffered a 2-0 defeat to Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday (xG: ROM 2.05 – 2.39 ATA), leaving them in seventh place in the league, but they were unfortunate to not get on the scoresheet in that game, generating 2.01 xGF. Paolo Fonseca’s side have been excellent going forward so far this season, sporting a wealth of attacking talent, averaging a huge 1.89 xGF per game in Serie A.
This looks a bad match-up for newly-promoted Lecce, who have a leaky defence, and are facing an in-form Roma attack, with the Infogol model giving a 62% chance of Roma gaining an away victory, making the 8/11 (58%) available the value selection.
Levante are winless in their last three games after losing 3-1 to Real Betis on Tuesday, and rightfully so according to expected goals, allowing 3.20 xGA at the Benito Villamarin.
Paco Lopez’s side have shown defensive vulnerability all season, but have looked very dangerous in attack, generating an average of 1.92 xGF per game, with club captain José Luis Morales and Roger in top form.
Newly-promoted Osasuna were disappointing in their midweek visit to the Bernabeu, deservedly losing 2-0 to Real Madrid (xG: RMA 1.97 – 0.20 OSA), having been unbeaten before that match. Jagoba Arrasate rested a few players for that match, with a keen eye on this winnable fixture, and his side had been impressive before their trip to Madrid, averaging 1.58 xGF per game.
Both these teams have shown they have the ability to create good chances, so goals can be expected here, with the Infogol model giving a 60% chance of their being over 2.5 goals in this match, making the 17/20 (54%) on offer excellent value.
Marseille enter this game on the back of a 0-0 draw with Dijon on Tuesday (xG: DIJ 1.60 – 1.37 MAR), extending their unbeaten run to six games, sitting in sixth place in Ligue 1.
However, André Villas-Boas’ side are fortunate to be so high in the table, ranking as the seventh-worst team in the league according to expected goals, and are struggling to create good chances, averaging 1.26 xGF per game, but do look solid in defence (allowing 1.16 xGA per game).
Rennes are ninth in the league after a 1-0 loss at Nantes on Wednesday (xG: NAN 1.50 – 1.02 REN), but they rank as the worst team in Ligue 1 according to Infogol’s Expected Table. Julien Stéphan’s men have been woeful going forward so far this season, averaging a desperately low 0.91 xGF per game – clearly missing Ismaila Sarr after his sale to Watford in the summer.
Goals are likely to be sparse in this match considering Rennes’ troubles in attack and Marseille’s strong defence. Infogol’s model thinks there is a 56% chance this game ends with under 2.5 goals and should be backed.
Roma to beat Lecce @ 8/11
Over 2.5 Goals in Levante vs Osasuna @ 17/20
Under 2.5 Goals in Marseille vs Rennes @ 8/11
*Infogol implied probability close to 7/2