Looking for the first bomb
Five more matches are available today for the Greek Cup. Thursday did not have any unexpected results as Panachaiki and Chania got easy wins. My experience from this competition tells me it is highly unlikely to continue this way. We’ll soon find out if I am right. The previews and betting picks for the Friday battles:
Analysis: Kallithea – Apollon Smyrnis
*Attention: Neutral Venue, Municipal Stadium of Nea Smyrni (home ground of Panionios).
Kallithea had a promising start in 2013-14 but they failed to enter the Play-Offs. A lot of changes took place during the summer and their roster is expected to be weaker. Mr. Stavros Iliopoulos (coach from the academies) is confident the team will be ready when Football League will start and he has great faith in his young Greek players.
There are no problems or absences reported.
Apollon Smyrnis fought until the last minute but they did not manage to avoid relegation from Super League. My opinion is they did not deserve it but they had the most difficult schedule of all clubs involved in this battle. Not to mention the suspicious ways which kept giving points to teams like Platanias, Veria, Panionios and others. Most of the key players left but the team managed to add a lot of players with experience to Super League. Mr. Kostenoglou replaced Mr. Sanchez at the bench and the goal is the immediate return of the club in Super League.
There are no problems or absences reported.
Betting Pick: The draw @ 3.00
The transfers of the two clubs make Apollon Smyrnis look stronger but this does not change the fact it only the first official match for both sides. I prefer to risk on the draw than anything else.
Analysis: Iraklis 1908 – Lamia
The fans of Iraklis were very disappointed last season because the return in Super League was postponed once again. The club is under a new management and the additions that were made this summer have made the fans optimistic for a top finish and promotion. The coach, Mr. Nikos Papadopoulos, has every reason to be optimistic about the first match of the season. A total of 20 players were included in the roster for the Cup match against Lamia where the goal will be the win and a positive start for the new season.
Lamia is one of the clubs that were promoted from Football League 2. The additions made to their roster were impressive for a club that is supposed to be looking for a “safe” season. Furthermore, Lamia will be under the guidance of Mr. Babis Tennes, a very experienced coach in Football League. There are three absences reported for today.
Not ready: Leandro (DEF), Camara (MID)
Other: Maric (MID)
Betting Pick: The win of Iraklis @ 1.65
Both clubs have enough experienced players to make this match interesting from every aspect. I don’t like the odds of the home win but Iraklis looks highly motivated for a positive result. The option of Over 2.5 goals @ 2.30 is not as difficult as the bookies want us to believe.
Analysis: Apollon Kalamarias – Aris
This match was cancelled after a request of Aris FC to the Hellenic Football Federation because of their inability to participate.
Aiginiakos – Agrotikos Asteras
Aiginiakos made it to the Football League Play-Offs last season but they did were not able to keep up with the teams which started with bonus points. During the summer they lost important players and this explains the decision of coach Nikolaidis to resign on 25/08/14. Rumors want his decision to be connected with the denial of the officials to bring experienced players. There is one absence reported.
Agrotikos Asteras is one of the teams that were promoted from Football League 2. There are considered experienced enough to stay away from relegation this season as they kept most of their key players. In his statements for this match, coach Dilberis said his team will be as concentrated and careful as possible in order to qualify to the next round. There are three absences reported.
Not ready: Triantafyllidis (DEF), Theodoridis (MID), Krystallis (FWD)
Betting pick: The draw at halftime @ 1.90
Aiginiakos completed the regular season undefeated at home. In theory they are weaker and they are facing a club that has more experience than them in Cup matches. Logically none of the two teams will take any risks during the first 45 minutes.
Analysis: Acharnaikos – Fostiras
A brief comment here: I tried to make sense of the changes in both clubs and I am not convinced about their goals for this season. In theory any offer above 4.50 for the win of Fostiras is a value bet. They have improved over the last two seasons but still it is too soon to tell.
Analysis: AEK – Fokikos
I expected to see the low odds on the home win. AEK is a hot favorite for promotion to Super League. They added a lot of experienced and talented players to their roster and their fans cannot wait to see the team returning to where they belong. Fokikos is traditionally stronger when playing at home and I seriously doubt they will get in the way of a successful debut for the home side.
Betting Pick: No bet
Sorry guys but everything offered is too low for my taste. Just keep in mind that the officials of AEK want the team to go as far as possible in the Cup competition. The more they advance, the more the attendance number will increase at OAKA.