Like the looks of NEC as well
Helmond Sport - Sparta Rotterdam
Pick: 5/10 Sparta DNB @ 2.08 (SBO)
My expectations for Helmond Sport this season are quite low. They had a great season in 2010/2011, but have lost a lot of players. First of all their succescoach Streppel has left to Willem II, taking midfielder Haemhouts (32 games, 6 goals) with him. The following guys are also gone: important striker Andrade (20 matches, 13 goals, was injured for a long period last season), key winger Höcher (34 games, 14 goals), regular attacker Veldmate (31 games, 12 goals), regular midfielder Van Leerdam (32 matches, 5 goals), regular Winkens (29 matches, 2 goals), regular GK Van WesteropS/R Esajas (23 matches, 3 goals), S/R Muhamadu (12 matches, 1 goal) and a couple of back-up players. As you can see this list is simply huge and enough reason to rate Helmond quite differently. This also showed against newly promoted FC Oss, where they showed some poor finishing and lost 3-1. They have a completely new attack now, with new signings Quekel (mediocre player), Stachnik (inexperienced), Veerman (inexperienced) and Nygaard (used to be a great player, but is very old).
If we now look at Sparta we see a very different team. They also lost a lot of players, but this was mostly deadweight. They had a dissapointing season and really had to get used to the Jupiler League style of football, finishing in a very dissapointing 9th place. This season they are 2nd title favorite behind Willem II however. They lost many many old players who simply didn't have it in them anymore and only lost 2 players that were important: playmaker Duarte and topscorer Voskamp. With Overtoom from Ajax and Mark Veldmate from Helmond they have done well to replace them however, while they were also able to really strengthen the rest of their team, signing Nieuwendaal (Den Bosch), Bruinier (AGOVV) for their midfield and Luirink (Cambuur), Jeroen Veldmate (Groningen), Pellatz (Excelsior, goalkeeper) and Varela (RKC) for their defence. In their first match they already looked much more stable at the back and even though their finishing wasn't great they showed plenty of promiss. They have no absentees today. From Helmond I don't have a lot of teamnews, but every absentee would be a nice extra for this bet. All in all I can say that Helmond seem to be rated as the title candidate here, while Sparta are rated too low, which is simply wrong. I would make Sparta favorites on a -0.25 line with odds around 1.95 the highest.