Simon Mail previews this weekend's game at Selhurst Park and expects Crystal Palace to clinch a vital win in their bid to remain in the Premier League...
"Crystal Palace look worth backing to defeat Brighton and a way of boosting their price is to combine this outcome with under 3.5 goals. All of the Eagles' victories this season have seen no more than three goals scored."
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Palace still need points for safety
Crystal Palace find themselves one place above the relegation zone with five games left. Third bottom Southampton have a game in hand on them, so the Eagles' margin for error is very slight with a month of the season remaining. Roy Hodgson's side have a favourable run-in though and do not have to play any of the top eight in their remaining matches.
Hodgson deserves credit for helping lift Palace out of the bottom three after the team lost their opening seven league matches. The Eagles have been hindered by notable injuries over the last few months and the recent return of influential attacker Wilfried Zaha is a welcome boost. The side have only won one of their last ten games, at fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town, but they have had a tough run of fixtures and were unlucky to lose against Man United and Liverpool after leading in both matches.
Brighton close to maintaining top-flight status
Brighton are in a much more comfortable position, sitting 13th in the standings, with a seven-point gap over the bottom three. The Seagulls look close to safety and may only need a couple of points to ensure a second consecutive season of top-flight football. Chris Hughton's side have handled themselves well following last year's promotion and have held their own despite starting as one of the favourites for the drop.
Their form has however tailed off slightly in the last few weeks with one point from their last three games. Brighton were beaten at Everton and at home to Leicester before being held by Huddersfield in a 1-1 draw last week. Most of their success has come at the Amex Stadium where they have taken 25 points and lost just four games.
Eagles look worthy favourites
Crystal Palace are [1.95] favourites and it is difficult to argue with this. Their lack of recent wins can be attributed to a punishing run of games and this looks a big opportunity to claim a much-needed three points. Only a late goal from Bournemouth denied them in last weekend's 2-2 draw but Palace are fancied to have too much for Brighton.
The visitors are [4.8] outsiders for this clash but there is no temptation to back them. Brighton's away form is poor with their last league victory on the road coming back in November. Hughton's side do not appear to be in peak form and have shown nothing recently to suggest an away win is likely.
The draw is a shorter price at [3.5] but only one of Crystal Palace's last seven games have ended in a stalemate. Brighton have also only drawn one of their last seven matches, in all competitions, leaving a home win as the best bet. But there are other ways to increase the price on a Palace win and potentially add some value.
Low-scoring home win looks likely
Crystal Palace look worth backing to defeat Brighton and a way of boosting their price is to combine this outcome with under 3.5 goals. All of the Eagles' victories this season have seen no more than three goals scored. Brighton have also been very solid defensively and significantly, all of their away matches during the campaign have resulted in under 3.5 goals.
Andre Marriner has sent off five players this season including two in Arsenal's win over Southampton last weekend. The referee dismissed Jack Stephens for a clash with Jack Wilshere. He also showed a red card to Mohamed Elneny for raising his hands against Cedric Soares but the Arsenal midfielder's dismissal has since been overturned.
Brighton have scored fewer away Premier League goals this season than any other side (7), failing to score in seven of their last nine on the road. The visitors are 11/10 to fail to score this weekend.
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Simon Mail's 2017/18 P/L