Chelsea 1.351/3 v Sunderland 11.521/2; The Draw 5.49/2
(please note, Mike's preview was penned before Jose Mourinho's sacking)
As I've been saying for a number of weeks now it's time to forget that Chelsea are Premier League champions - that's just a tag that they hold but on everything they have shown this season they are a million miles away from being at that level.
Jose Mourinho's men have won just 25% of their league games this term, and two of their four victories were against clubs currently occupying the relegation zone - Aston Villa and Norwich. They beat another bottom-half side in West Brom, meaning their only win of any note in the Premier League this season is the 2-0 victory over Arsenal, which was achieved three months ago!
The Blues have now lost five of their last seven league games - some of their conquerors being West Ham, Stoke, Leicester, and Bournemouth - so if anything, Chelsea's form is actually getting worse.
Mourinho's post-match comments on Monday night might spark a positive reaction on Saturday, but we've seemingly been saying that all season. Chelsea are simply not turning the corner, I believe something is seriously wrong at the club that we're not aware of, and right now you just don't know where their next win is coming from.
Reports on Wednesday that suggested a board meeting has been held to discuss Mourinho's future won't help a tad either, but I think one thing is certain, if Chelsea don't win here then the Special One will be gone.
Okay, Saturday's opponents are Sunderland, a poor side that has just one away victory to their name all season. But Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce has gotten under Mourinho's skin a few times in the past and he'll be relishing the prospect of setting his side up to frustrate Chelsea again.
Put simply, the way the 'champions' are performing at the moment we just have to stick a lay in on the home side.
Lay Chelsea to Win @ 1.364/11
Everton 2.0811/10 v Leicester 3.7511/4; The Draw 3.8514/5
Forgive me for my Leicester love, but the first thing worth mentioning is that once again the Foxes look a very decent price to win this game at 3.7511/4. In fact, that's going to be my recommended wager.
We keep reading and hearing that Leicester continue to surprise. Surely it's time for us to stop being surprised. They are a very good side, leaders of the Premier League after 16 games, they are the leading goalscorers, they've lost just once all season, they are unbeaten away from home for nine months, and they've scored at least once in all 20 league and cup outings this term.
Admittedly Claudio Ranieri has been helped by being able to field a very settled side - the spine of the team has been ever present and seven of Leicester's usual starting XI have been involved in all 16 of their league outings. But perhaps that's just one reason why they are so good.
Everton are unbeaten in eight league and cup outings, and given that they are the home team then that's why they are such strong favourites to win this game. But in that eight-game unbeaten run they've drawn with Norwich (twice), Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and West Ham - hardly world beating form is it?
The Toffees should have had three or four in the first half at Carrow Road last Saturday, but they missed chances and were punished, and against a Leicester side who always score, who haven't lost away from home for so long, then I think they're too short at 2.0811/10 to win.
This game may boil down to Romelu Lukaku v Jamie Vardy, two strikers in tremendous form, and it might end up being a very entertaining affair with lots of goals. In some ways I hope it is, because the way Leicester are playing right now I'd fancy them to outscore any side in an open, free-flowing game.
Back Leicester to Win @ 3.7511/4
Man Utd 1.51/2 v Norwich 8.415/2; The Draw 4.67/2
Manchester United's record at Old Trafford over the last three months makes for interesting reading. They are actually unbeaten (inside 90 minutes, though they did lose on penalties to Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup) but it's their scorelines that stick out like a sore thumb - 0-0, 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 0-0, and 0-0.
You don't need to be a mathematical genius to work out that United's last six games in front of their home fans have averaged exactly 0.5 goals per game, yet Under 2.5 Goals is available to back at 2.01/1 here.
The thinking with that price is obviously based on the fact that United are massive favourites to beat a poor Norwich side, and therefore goals are likely, and that's understandable. But Louis Van Gaal's men have played on home soil against the likes of Boro, CSKA, West Brom, West Ham, and Newcastle without running riot already this season.
And the reason for that is because they don't have a quality striker who can stick the ball in the back of the net regularly, and that they attack in such a pedestrian style.
Since their 0-0 derby draw with Man City at Old Trafford United have scored nine goals in 11 outings (home and away, all competitions), but it probably won't come as a surprise to anyone who has watched them that their top goalscorer in that time is Own Goals. OG has two to his name, the other seven were scored by seven different players.
So apologies for not mentioning Norwich in this preview as I expect them to go to United and set their stall out to frustrate the home side, like the last six away teams have done. Under 2.5 Goals has to be the call.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.01/1
Southampton 2.727/4 v Tottenham 2.915/8; The Draw 3.55/2
After last week's defeat at Crystal Palace it's easy to give up on Southampton for this home game against Tottenham.
As I've said a few times, it's easy to go from being a confident side on an unbeaten run to suddenly being a team that can't buy a win. And that's seemingly what has happened to the Saints. Ronald Koeman's men have gone from being unbeaten in eight to a side that has lost four and drawn one of their last five outings, including a demoralising 1-6 home defeat in the Capital One Cup.
This current poor run of form for Southampton also means that they have defeated only Bournemouth in the league at St Mary's since September.
In fact, as Andrew Atherley points out in his excellent stats preview, all of Southampton's league victories this term have come against clubs in the bottom seven of the table.
Spurs aren't in the bottom seven, they're just three points off the top four despite a disappointing home defeat to Newcastle last Sunday. That was Mauricio Pochettino's side's first league defeat since the opening day of the season however, and can easily be forgiven.
As Andrew also points out, Tottenham have a great record on the road against teams outside of the top six, losing only two of their last 18 such games. They're arguably playing Saints at the perfect time, and I fully expect Pochettino to guide his side to a victory over his former employers.
Back Tottenham to Win @ 2.915/8
Stoke 2.546/4 v Crystal Palace 3.211/5; The Draw 3.412/5
I'm struggling to form a strong opinion on this game because both teams are very capable of being set up in an extremely organised fashion, intent on frustrating the opposition.
So the instinct is to wager on a low-scoring game, but with Under 2.5 Goals being available to back at just 1.75/7 I will reluctantly pass that over given the amount of flair players that should be on show - Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Yannick Bolasie to name just three.
The wager then - without a huge amount of confidence I have to admit - will be Stoke to win.
Mark Hughes' men started the season in much better form on the road then they did at the Britannia Stadium but that seems to be swinging the other way now - the Potters have failed to win (or even score) in their last two away games but on home soil they've won three on the spin without conceding a single goal.
And it's not a too dissimilar profile for Crystal Palace. The Eagles have won just once away from home - albeit at Liverpool - since September, while their home form has picked up slightly, recording back-to-back wins over Newcastle and Southampton.
So with Stoke's home form on the up, and Palace's away form not as good as it was earlier in the season, a chance is taken on Hughes' men to move level on points with Saturday's opponents.
Back Stoke to Win @ 2.546/4
West Brom 2.546/4 v Bournemouth 3.211/5; The Draw 3.412/5
It just goes to show how tough this league is. Bournemouth have just defeated Chelsea and Manchester United no less, and rightly so received huge amounts of praise and media coverage. But take a look at the Premier League table and you'll see The Cherries sitting just two points above the drop zone.
Lose this game in fact, and Chelsea beat Sunderland, and Newcastle beat Villa (as the odds suggest they will), and Eddie Howe's men could suddenly be back just fourth or fifth bottom, even in the relegation zone themselves if Norwich spring a surprise at Old Trafford.
I'm not suggesting for one minute that Bournemouth will lose this game, I'm just trying to highlight the fact that wins over the likes of United and Chelsea will count for nothing come the end of the season if you don't pick up sufficient points elsewhere.
Will Bournemouth take anything from The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon? I'm not so sure, it's a very difficult game to call.
The Baggies have been performing well at home this season, including beating Arsenal and drawing with Tottenham in their last two games in front of their own fans, so I think Tony Pulis' men will be very difficult to beat.
I prefer to wager on goals here however. The Cherries will be very confident after those two magnificent wins and are sure to give it a real go at West Brom. But the Baggies themselves have been scoring goals - two at Liverpool, two against Arsenal, Everton, and Leicester for example - and I'm expecting this to be a very entertaining affair with the net bulging at least three times.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.35/4 (best bet)
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