United to halt Reds' winning run
Back Draw and Under 2.5 Goals in Man Utd v Liverpool at 7/2
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Liverpool are clearly streets ahead of Manchester United and, as Mark O'Haire said on this week's Football...Only Bettor podcast (see episode below), all of the available data and modelling points to an away win, but I just can't get away from the prices on the hosts to avoid defeat here.
United have been generally poor in recent seasons but they seem to find a way against Liverpool at Old Trafford, going unbeaten in their last five home league meetings with the Reds.
And given Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer's men tend to perform better against the top sides - picking up seven points from their home meetings with Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester this season - the draw looks chunky at 4.03/1 on the Exchange. With Liverpool eight points clear of Man City, they probably wouldn't see a stalemate as the worst result in the world.
But I can't see a 2-2 or a 3-3 in what is generally a tight game - two 0-0s in recent seasons- so I'll boost that to 7/2 by adding under 2.5 goals on the Sportsbook.
Dan Thomas 2019-20 P/L: +£40.20
Confident Villa can clip Seagulls' wings
Back Aston Villa @ 2.526/4 to beat Brighton
This is a meeting between two sides that produced superb results immediately before the international break. Villa were outstanding in winning 5-1 at Norwich in a game where they could easily have scored seven or eight, while Brighton were equally impressive in defeating a below-par Tottenham side 3-0 at the Amex.
Both should be full of confidence then, but my thinking is that Villa are simply a better team, and one that I'd fancy to finish well above the Seagulls in the table come the end of the season.
Dean Smith's men have scored 16 goals in their last six away games but they haven't done too badly at Villa Park either, remaining unbeaten in their last three home games, beating Everton 2-0, drawing 0-0 with a decent West Ham team, and leading twice before finishing 2-2 with a Burnely team currently sitting fifth in the table.
On the road Brighton are starting to struggle and they've now failed to score a single goal in any of their last three away matches. This represents another tough away assignment and I fancy Graham Potter's men will leave Villa Park empty-handed.
Mike Norman 2019-20 P/L: +£8.20
Norwich set for another heavy defeat
Back Bournemouth to win/over 2.5 goals @ 11/10
I disastrously got with Norwich in the battle last time out only for Aston Villa to absolutely wallop the Canaries in a 5-1 spanking at Carrow Road. Embarrassing.
This week I will be opposing Daniel Farke's sliding side.
Saturday's opponents Bournemouth look a decent enough bet at 1.768/11 and certainly one for the Saturday multiple but I will add over 2.5 goals to boost it into odds-against territory.
While I find Bournemouth to be a little unreliable, they have the edge here in terms of fitness with near enough all their first choice players available to them while Norwich are in the midst of an injury blizzard. The visitors are yet to win on the road with all four games lost and ten goals conceded.
The home side's front pairing of Callum Wilson and Josh King carries plenty of menace and they must be looking forward to facing a defence that has let in two or more in their last six fixtures.
And with Bournemouth yet to keep a clean sheet there is every chance that Norwich can get one of their own here, but it should be in a losing effort for the visitors.
Joe Dyer's 2019-20 P/L: -£3.90
West Ham can keep good form going at Goodison
Back Draw or Away Double Chance in Everton v West Ham @ 1.981/1
When you look at the the record between these two, then you would probably think I'm crazy for backing West Ham in any capacity, but with Everton having their worst run since January 2015 after four consecutive Premier League defeats, they should be there for the taking.
The Hammers, however, have exceeded expectations in the league so far. They're in eighth place, five points ahead Everton and only two points behind Chelsea in fifth. This is mainly due to their strong away form in which they are unbeaten in six games (W3-D3). Not only that but their very recent record against the Toffees shows that the tide is turning, winning their last two out of three games against them and in this fixture last season, the East London club won 3-1.
West Ham still concede a few too many for my liking so I'm not sure if they're good enough to have a straight out win, but they can definitely get a result. And at just about evens, that's good enough for me to back them or the draw on the double chance market.
Jasmine Baba 2019-20 P/L: -£11.30
Chelsea to keep a rare clean sheet
Back Chelsea to win to nil @ 2.1411/10
Chelsea take on Newcastle at Stamford Bridge, with these two sides seemingly heading in opposite directions.
The Blues continue to be extremely impressive in attack under Frank Lampard, with their xGF per game average above 2, so will have no problems opening Newcastle up here.
Defensively is where they have struggled this season, but the recent signs are that things are coming together at the back.
In their last four matches, the Blues have limited Liverpool to just 1.08 xG, Brighton to 0.79 xGF, Lille to 0.93 xG and Southampton to 1.31, so are trending in the right direction with their defensive process.
Another big positive for Chelsea's defence heading into this game, is that they play Newcastle.
Steve Bruce's side were extremely fortunate to get three points against Manchester United before the international break (xG: NEW 0.70 - 1.12 MUN), in what was another poor attacking display.
So far this season, Newcastle rank as the worst team in the league according to expected goals, and the worst attacking team by a big margin, creating an average of just 0.74 xGF per game - some 0.34 behind next worst Leicester.
Bruce's side have carved out just two non-pen 'big' chances (35% or greater) in eight games, so I'm not expecting them to cause Chelsea too many issues here.
Chelsea will get the win, but I'm backing them to do so to nil, so bad is Newcastle's attacking process, and the 2.1411/10 will do me nicely.
Jake Osgathorpe 2019-20 P/L: -£29.00
For more tips and insight on the weekend action - plus an exclusive interview with Dimitar Berbatov on the racism storm to hit Bulgaria this week - check out the latest episode of the Football....Only Bettor podcast