Back Watford/Draw v Bournemouth at 1.981/1
I initially wanted to put up Newcastle Draw No Bet at 2.35/4 against Huddersfield for this weekend before being told that market was exempt from the Battle (ed: world's smallest violin is on its way). I wouldn't put anyone off that bet with there being a chance the market has overreacted to Huddersfield's 3-0 thumping win at Crystal Palace. They were actually outperformed on shots and 'expected goals' in that match and it may be that the result flattered them.
Anyway, we digress and for this weekend's tip I'm plumping for Watford in the Double Chance market at Bournemouth at a shade under evens. I've bored my Twitter followers with this already, but for those who (for some reason) don't follow - I've backed Watford on the season handicap (+42) as I think they've done some shrewd business in the transfer market and will outperform those expectations.
The respective first matches of the season did little to change my mind and I don't think there as big a difference between these two teams as the prices suggests. Bournemouth lost 1-0 on the opening day of the season with Eddie Howe admitting they struggled to create chances despite dominating possession. Watford looked shaky at the back but held their own for large portions of the game against Liverpool and there's every chance they could pick up a result at Bournemouth.
Harry Phillips 2017-18 P/L: +£19.20
Back Huddersfield to beat Newcastle @ 2.56/4
I'm wary of getting on board a bandwagon and reading too much into one result but - unlike Harry - I'm happy to support Huddersfield this weekend.
The Terriers pulled off the most eye-catching result of the opening weekend when embarrassing Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
By contrast Newcastle suffered a miserable first fixture. Losing to Spurs is no shame these days, and Rafa Benitez's boys held last year's runner-up to a goalless first-half, but injuries to a few key men and Jonjo Shelvey's crazy red card really hurt them. Shelvey's subsequent suspension and the absences of Paul Dummett, Florian Lejeune have weakened their chance of a swift turnaround in fortunes this Sunday.
While Dwight Gayle was lively against Spurs, Toon were pretty toothless in attack, and they will surely show a bit more menace upfront at Huddersfield. But the home side boast two-goal debutant Steve Mounie, have all the momentum, and after a summer of transfer turmoil the Toon are already looking a bit down in the mouth.
The 2.56/4 on the Terriers is enough to tempt me in as I chase my first Battle winner of the season.
Joe Dyer 2017-18 P/L: -£10.00
Back Tottenham @ 2.1211/10 to beat Chelsea
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When the new Premier League fixtures were announced I bet a lot of Spurs fans were pretty downbeat at the prospect of having to face defending champions Chelsea in their first home (Wembley) game of the season. But as things have panned out, it might turn out to be the ideal fixture.
A win over the Blues will act as a huge confidence booster for the season ahead and Tottenham couldn't be meeting Chelsea at a better time.
The champions will be without the suspended Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas, while star man Eden Hazard is out injured along with Pedro, and new signing Tiémoué Bakayoko is rated as a major doubt. Consider also Diego Costa's unavailability and his scathing criticism of Antonio Costa earlier this week and you'd be forgiven for thinking it's all falling apart at the Bridge.
Tottenham's stars are all fit and raring to go, and that means another chance for Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane to show just why they're rated as one of the best attacking trios in Europe. I'm surprised Spurs aren't odds-on to win this.
Mike Norman 2017-18 P/L: -£10.00
Back Both Teams to Score in Liverpool v Crystal Palace at 1.9210/11
I'm not normally a fan of backing odds-on shots in the Battle but - famous last words - both teams to score at Anfield on Saturday looks like an absolute banker.
Opta tell us that both teams have found the back of the net in each of the last 10 meetings in all competitions, averaging 3.9 goals per game. And if that isn't bet inducing enough, the Reds haven't kept a clean sheet against Palace in 13 competitive matches, since a 0-0 draw in an FA Cup Fourth round tie in January 2003 (0-0).
Liverpool were all at sea at the back last weekend at Watford, conceding three preventable goals, and it didn't get much better at Hoffenheim in midweek, as they gave away a daft penalty and a soft goal late on. Frank de Boer's men were also woeful defensively, conceding three against a rampant Huddersfield, so I suspect both teams will be reliant on their forwards to get any points on Saturday.
Dan Thomas 2017-18 P/L: -£10.00
Back Christian Benteke to score anytime vs Liverpool @ 11/4 on the Betfair Sportsbook
Crystal Palace likely couldn't have imagined a worse start to the season losing 3-0 to newly promoted Huddersfield. As a result, Frank De Boer has met with some fierce criticism this week citing his drastic change of tactics as the primary reason behind that result. Tactics aside, I have little doubt the Eagles will be very motivated to get things back on track this week against a Liverpool side who themselves conceded three goals to Watford.
This isn't news to Liverpool fans who, as Harry Phillips correctly pointed out last week, endured a really tough time of things defensively last season. I don't expect much to have changed in a week and they'll have potentially heavy legs to carry into this after a midweek jaunt to Hoffenheim in the Champions League.
The best man to take advantage of such a predicament - Christian Benteke - the former Liverpool player has scored five goals in his previous three League games at Anfield and would appear to have it circled on his calendar as an opportunity for revenge on a club that cast him aside so willingly. So I'm backing the Belgian to strike fear once again into a frail Liverpool back four.
Adam Baylis 2017-18 P/L: -£10.00
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