International football is over for another month and if you like short priced accumulators, this is the perfect weekend for you. I however prefer to go against the crowd and place what I believe are long term value bets.
Liverpool v Manchester United
Why are Man Utd favourites here? They’ll build this game up to be a cracker, but in reality we all know what’s going to happen. Mourinho will setup his side to keep a clean sheet and maybe nick something on the counter. I’m still not buying into this Man Utd are excellent talk. As it stands they’ve had less shots (122) than Liverpool (140), Man City (135), Tottenham (134). For a comparison Arsenal have ‘only’ had 120 shots this season, but they have played Liverpool and Chelsea away. Manchester United have achieved their shot stats by playing all of their games against current bottom half sides. Another reason to be pessimistic about Manchester United long term is that they’ve scored from 44.68% of their Shots on Target, which will be lower come May.
Defensively the narrative has been set for Liverpool, however things aren’t all bad. The only side to concede less shots than their 59 shots this season is Man City, with 46. Manchester United have conceded 63 shots, against inferior sides and not playing at Manchester City with ten men for an hour. Liverpool’s defensive issues come from 47.46% of the shots faced being on target, that’s the worst in the league.
Liverpool should be favourites for this and considerably shorter in the market.
BACK LIVERPOOL -1 ASIAN HANDICAP at 4.90 (888 Sport)
Burnley v West Ham
Burnley are a side that frustrate me, the numbers point to them being awful but they keep getting results. Only Swansea have attempted less shots than their 62. No side has conceded more than the 145 shots Burnley have given up. Those shots against shots could potentially improve too as they’ve already gone to Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. Credit has to be given to Sean Dyche and the way he gets his players to put the effort in. However surely the bubble goes pop one day.
West Ham could be the side to burst the bubble but they shouldn’t be as short as they are in the market. At home and more importantly at this price, I have to side with Burnley.
BACK BURNLEY 0 ASIAN HANDICAP at 1.95 (Bet Victor)
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
When a team is odds-on away from home I’m usually going to be opposing them, history shows that it’s a long term profitable strategy. I love what I’m seeing from Palace at the moment, having been a fan for nearly three decades, this is hilarious. The complete lack of effort is something special. However there are reasons to be positive, Wilfred Zaha could be back and he is the energy in this team. Fosu-Mensah can play and Sakho should’ve had some more time to influence the defence. Chelsea are missing Morata and Kante are missing. I don’t fancy Chelsea to score three or four in this, my expectancy has them scoring 1.82.
Almost everyone will be saying Chelsea to win to nil or Both Teams To Score No are absolute banker bets here. They may win, however despite Palace seemingly wanting to equal the club record of nine league games without scoring (currently at eight), they actually are posting some good shot numbers. They managed to have 82 shots, which is only four less than the 86 of Chelsea. Chelsea have managed 31 shots on target compared to th 17 from The Eagles. I’ve given Palace a 52.52% chance of scoring in this fixture and if they do get one I’d fancy at least my stake being returned.
BACK CRYSTAL PALACE +1 ASIAN HANDICAP at 2.28 (888 Sport)
Manchester City v Stoke
Man City are the best team in the league, spearheaded by future Ballon d’or winner Raheem Sterling. I hope they win the league and Champions League this season, the scousers will be furious that he was right. However saying all that, I still want to oppose them in this matchup.
I’ll almost always be happy to take a side getting two goals. Scoring three goals is a difficult thing to do, theoretically you would need to take around 30 shots to score that number. Manchester City are averaging 19.29 shots per game as things stand. 16.30% of their shots have been on target and you’d expect that to be lower come the end of the season, which in turn would mean their 44% SOT:Goal ratio should also drop.
BACK STOKE +2 ASIAN HANDICAP at 2.47 (Bet Victor)
Watford v Arsenal
They’ll be thousands of Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea & Arsenal accas, priced up at 3.15 placed this weekend. Many with the same dream, first three win easily and then after Arsenal win I can pay for Nando’s and a pint in The Spoons. If they come in not so great for me, unless they’re low scoring affairs.
For me Arsenal have to be opposed here. I can see a case for them being odds-on, maybe 1.8x but 1.6x is just silly. Beating West Brom and Brighton at home doesn’t constitute a massive upturn in form for them to be this price. I can only assume that the bookmakers have pitched them in this short as they know they’ll be taking in millions, with them being in every single accumulator on Saturday. A side note on that, as punters we’re not betting against the bookies, we’re betting against each other. The bookies are the middlemen, who hope to cream off the top of the book they create. That’s why we have over-rounds. As punters we are betting against each other, if you back Arsenal and Watford win it’s not the bookie who’s taken your money it’s people like me on the other side of the market.
The interesting thing to note about Watford is that despite them currently over achieving, they won’t score from 50% of their shots on target throughout the season. However the flip side to that is they won’t concede from 44.44% of SOTs faced either.
I’m more than happy to get a full goal on Watford here. I don’t particularly see Arsenal keeping a clean sheet, my model gives Watford a 66% chance of scoring. If that happens then Arsenal would need to score at least three for me to lose money.
BACK WATFORD +1 ASIAN HANDICAP at 1.86 (Bet Victor)