The reigning champions will meet Roda JC in the opening game of the new season and Ajax Amsterdam is rightfully favorite to prevail. Knowing that they are about to fight an uphill battle, the visitors will field only one striker and hope to replicate their last performance at Amsterdam Arena.
Bet: Roda JC +2.5 goals
Odds: Betfair 1.85
Six months ago, Roda JC achieved a rare draw away from home and even led at half time, despite the fact that they only had Lebedy up front. This time, the visitors will have to do without their prolific striker and Hocher is the most likely candidate, due to his experience in Eredivisie. This season, Roda will have to rely almost exclusively on young strikers groomed by the club, with the aforementioned striker being the exception to the rule as he was acquired from Willem II.
The visitors enjoyed an extraordinary campaign of friendly games, but despite winning four games in a row, their performance is somehow shadowed by the name of their opponents. All of them are greatly inferior to Ajax, so it is hard to believe that coach Brood will use the same tactic and starting formation that made those victories possible. He will instead focus on strengthening the defense and hope that five defenders will be enough to contain the offensive trident used by Frank de Boer.
Ajax takes a leap of faith the season with five young strikers and although they show great promise, it is a bit risky to trust them blindly. I find it hard to believe that the hosts can cover the +2.5 goals spread, therefore I recommend a wager on the visitors not to lose by three goals or more.