Football Bet of the Day: Excelsior to take big step closer to survival

 | Tuesday 21st May 2024, 10:45am

Tuesday 21st May 2024, 10:45am

This Eredivisie season may have been a disappointing one for Excelsior as they have been pulled into the promotion/relegation play-offs, but they still have a shot of maintaining their top-flight status. They enter the play-offs at the second round on Wednesday (17:45) and they will travel to face Den Haag for the first of their two legs, which will decide who shall progress to the culminating third round.

The winner of this tie shall face either NAC or FC Emmen, who are also contesting for the chance to earn promotion to the Eredivisie. There are high stakes in the clash involving Den Haag and Excelsior, and that is where my football bet of the day comes from.

Football Bet of the Day: Wednesday, May 22

  • Excelsior -1 handicap @ 9/2

After battling their way through this same system to gain promotion to the top-flight in 2021/22, it has been nothing but battling for Excelsior, whose 16th-place finish this season was just one lower than the season before.

Their biggest problem this year has been that they have been too easy to score against. They shipped 73 goals in the regular season and only three sides conceded more, including the bottom two clubs.

On the flip side of that, they have been proficient in front of goal, having mustered 50 goals, which was higher than nine of their Erdivisie rivals. And it is because of this, that I fancy them to navigate their way through this first leg against Den Haag, and can also see them going all the way to guarantee top-flight football for another year.

The market I have picked out for this clash is for Excelsior to win with a -1 handicap. Den Haag will head into this first leg believing that they have what it takes to take the advantage in the first leg, but Excelsior will show them what it has taken for them to survive in the Eredivisie for the last year.

The second-tier hosts may have scored 72 goals in the regular season, and five in the first round of the play-offs, but they are about to face a side that has netted 50 goals against some of the best sides in the Netherlands.

It is sure to be an interesting battle and I have no doubt that Den Haag can cause some problems for the visitors on home soil, but this is where Excelsior need to be at their absolute best, and while we have not seen a great deal in the Eredivisie, I believe they can deliver what they need here.

Of course there is pressure on them given their current status, but let's not forget that they navigated their way way through these very play-offs two years ago from the Eerste Divisie, having finished sixth in the league that season. And interestingly, it was Den Haag on that occasion whom they defeated in the third round t secure promotion.

The hosts will be wanting to avenge that defeat, while Excelsior will feel as though they have a psychological advantage heading into the tie. I like the -1 handicap market because although I can see Den Haag causing Excelsior's fragile defence some problems and could even get on the scoresheet, I think the visitors can end up outscoring them, and by enough to see this 9/2 shot land.

I know it is brave considering Excelsior have not enjoyed many of their trips on the road this term, losing 11 out of 17, but I think that their previous experience in these play-offs will be vital, and they could come back to haunt Den Haag once again.

One player who can help that happen is Republic of Ireland striker Troy Parrott, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. The attacker scored 10 goals in the league this campaign and he could play a huge role in this first leg. If he is on-song here, Den Haag's defence are going to have their work cut out for them, and I think he will be fired up for the occasion.

That is why I fancy the visitors to come away here with a -1 handicap victory.

Excelsior -1 handicap at 9/2 You can read all our latest Football Bets of the Day at our dedicated Betfred Insights content hub.

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