Five matches, one favorite
The remaining matches of Group 1 in Football League will be held today. Apollon Smyrnis won Fostiras on Friday (1-0 at home, very doubtful win), Panachaiki is the free team and the rest of the clubs are all looking for a positive start in the new season. Once again, I will disagree with the sets of odds that I see from most bookies as the only strong favorite today is AEK. The previews and value bets for Group 1:
Analysis: Iraklis Psachnon – Kallithea
Iraklis Psachnon made it to the Play-Offs last season and their goal is to repeat it. Their new coach, Georgios Koutsis, passed his first test in the two matches for the Cup against Episkopi (1-1 at home, 0-2 away) and his team qualified to the Group Stage. Their next match against an experienced Super League opponent like Atromitos (0-1 at home) was a strong test for them and my impression was they could have avoided the defeat. Kallithea looks like an easier task but their history is not exactly positive (0W-5D-1L).
Injured: Vassilis Patsatzoglou (DEF), Christos Patsatzoglou (DEF), Chimodzi (MID)
Other: Kotitsas (DEF)
Kallithea was left out of the Cup after the two matches against Apollon Smyrnis (1-1 at home, defeat 2-1 away). Stavros Iliopoulos watched his players giving their fight against a club that is considered a favorite from promotion. Now they can give their full energy in Football League and they do have the experience to stay away from problems. There are three absences reported.
Banned: Piccolo (DEF)
Injured: Dimitriou (DEF)
Other: Rojas (MID) was left out because of a disciplinary misconduct
Betting Pick: Both to score @ 2.15
After a look at the history of the two clubs (1 win for Kallithea and 5 draws in 6 matches) I cannot accept odds like 1.60-1.65 on the home win. Especially when the best performance of the home team was away and Kallithea scored on both matches against Apollon Smyrnis.
Analysis: AOT Alimos – Paniliakos
The two defeats for AOT Alimos from AO Chania for the Cup (4-0 away, 2-3 at home) were the end of Mr. Ilias Kalopitas at the bench of the club (mutual consent). His record in Football League 2 was impressing (18W-9D-0L) and gave the promotion to Alimos but the seven goals they received in only two matches alarmed the officials of the club. He was replaced by Sokratis Ofrydopoulos who will have his debut in the opening match of the new season.
Injured: Bong (MID)
Other: Lecco (GK), Papadimitriou (DEF), Darras (DEF), Dimitriou (FWD)
The two matches of Paniliakos against Panachaiki for the Cup (defeat 3-0 away, 1-1 at home) showed that their new coach, Luca Cavallo, will need to improve his team if they really want to stay away from relegation. The financial problems still hold and the officials of the club are under a lot of pressure. The players decided to take action last Wednesday and they did not attend the scheduled training. At the same time the supporters of the club did not accept the defeat from Panachaiki (domestic rivalry) very well.
Banned: Maziotis (MID)
Betting Pick: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.20
The odds are ridiculously low but the poor morale of Paniliakos is not enough to make me bet on the home win. They are more experienced than Alimos in Football League and the home team was too weak in defense in their two Cup matches. I believe it would be safer to stick with the option of many goals. After all, it pays a lot better.
Analysis: Episkopi – Acharnaikos
Episkopi had a positive start in the first Cup battle against Iraklis Psachon (1-1 away) but they lost the rematch at home (0-2) and stayed out of the competition. Kostas Anyfantakis will be at the bench for a second consecutive season and the main goal of the club will be to stay away from relegation. They are among the weak clubs of Group 1 but they should not be underestimated when playing at home.
Injured: None, full roster
Acharnaikos did not score in the two Cup matches against Fostiras (0-0 at home, defeat 1-0 away) and they were left out of the competition. Their performance in both of them was average but their experienced coach, Georgios Vazakas, is still at the bench. In his second consecutive season he will try to keep the team away from relegation.
Injured: None, full roster
Betting Pick: The draw at halftime @ 1.90
The performances of the two clubs in their two official matches for the Cup make me believe it will be difficult to see a winner here. I expect them to be stressed in their opening match and this is the main reason behind my pick.
Analysis: Ermionida – Chania
Ermionida punished Panaigialeios in the Cup (0-1 home defeat, 1-2 away win although Panaigialeios had scored first) and qualified to the Group Stage. The new coach of the club, Roberto Bolano, had a promising start but his players did not avoid the defeat in their next match against Veria (4-1 away). Considering the superb start of their opponent in Super League, I do not think they had any hopes for that match. After all, their main goal is to stay away from relegation placement in Football League.
Injured: Rahiotis (GK), Kiosses (MID)
Doubtful: Litsis (DEF), Stoimirović (FWD)
Soulis Papadopoulos has a superb start at the bench of Chania. His players have won their three matches so far for the Greek Cup. Their two wins against an inexperienced club like Alimos (4-0 at home, 2-3 away) were expected but I cannot say the same for the away win against Panetolikos (0-1). Let’s not forget that Panetolikos is a Super League club especially at home. Chania are among the group of teams that will be after the Play-Offs and their results so far are quite promising.
Absences: None, full roster
Betting Pick: The win of Chania @ 2.30
Chania have the experience and the quality to win this match. The bookies are afraid of Ermionida because of their spectacular come back against Panaigialeios but my opinion is the home team will be too stressed today giving an extra advantage to their opponent.
Analysis: Panaigialeios – AEK
Panaigialeios underestimated Ermionida in the Greek Cup and they were left out of the competition. The players of Mr. Seropyan thought their away win (0-1) and the fact they scored first (8’) in the rematch at home would be enough but they were not. Ermionida scored the equalizer at (46’) and with a second goal at 53’ they became the huge surprise of the first round. Panaigialeios will now concentrate on Football League and their goal will be to enter the Play-Offs.
Injured: Miljević (FWD)
AEK is a huge favorite for promotion this season. Mr. Traianos Dellas continues at the bench and he has the luxury of many quality players as AEK has the most expensive roster in Football League. They had no problems in the two matches against Fokikos (4-0 at home, 0-1 away for the First Round of the Cup) and the draw against Panthrakikos (0-0) for the Group Stage of the Cup was a positive result against a difficult opponent from Super League. They are expected to be offered in very low odds all season.
Injured: Soleidis (DEF), Brečević FWD, Tsevas (FWD)
Betting Pick: No Bet
AEK will probably win this match by 0-1 or 0-2 but most bookies prefer to offer the fixed win options. Odds like 1.25-1.30 are way too low for my taste so early in the season.