Nuno Espirito Santo's newly-promoted Wolves host Marco Silva's Everton at Molineux on Saturday evening and Steve Rawlings fancies the hosts to bag their first three points...
“I’m looking forward to seeing Wolves in the Premier League. I suspect they’ll have a good season, I think they’ll beat Everton in their opener on Saturday evening and I fancy we’re going to see goals too.”
Wolves v Everton
Saturday 11 August, 17:30
Live on BT Sport
Molineux men can get off the mark immediately
Wolves were on a different level to the rest of the Championship last season, winning the league by nine points, with a tally of 99, and that really should have been higher. They ended the season in bizarre fashion with a drab 0-0 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday and a 3-0 defeat away to the already relegated Sunderland but those two results shouldn't in anyway detract from how utterly dominate they were last term.
They're returning to the Premier League after an absence of six seasons and they'll want to improve dramatically on their performance the last time they won the Championship (in the 2008/09 season) when they finished 15th in the top flight. They just avoided the drop the following season but a meagre tally of just 25 points in 2011/12 meant they finished bottom. Their troubles didn't finish there, as they dropped down to League One a year later.
Things look very different this time around. Since a Chinese conglomerate group, Fosun International, purchased the club two years ago, significant investment has seen Wolves go from strength to strength and there's no sign of the spending stopping yet either.
Under the guidance of Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolves play an attractive brand of football that should prosper in the top flight and this looks like a great chance for them to get off the mark.
Trends set to end with new man in charge
Everton haven't lost to Wolves in six league meetings (W2 D4) and we have to go all the way back to May 2004 for the last time the Toffees were beaten by Saturday's opponents. They're unbeaten in their last six Premier League opening weekend fixtures (W2 D4) and they've won each of their last five matches against newly promoted sides. And they've done so without conceding a single goal in any of the five encounters.
Add to that the fact the Toffees have won two of their last four games on the road and the stats suggest the Merseysiders might just give the Premier League new boys a lesson. But I'm far from convinced.
Everton may have won five in-a-row against promoted sides but they've never before made it six on the trot. They may have won two of their last four on the road but they'd won just two of their previous 25.
Ignore the stats and get with Wolves
Historical stats don't always count for much but if credence is to be given to Everton's six year unbeaten record on the first weekend, then how about Wolves' record of one opening weekend defeat in eight years?
They lost 1-0 away to Leeds in the Championship back in 2012 but in the five seasons since, Wolves have won three openers and drawn two. In the two seasons prior to their loss to Leeds, Wolves were unbeaten in the first three games in the Premier League - even though they ended the seasons in 17th and dead last. And they won both their opening matches 2-1. At home to Stoke in 2010 and away at Blackburn in 2011.
The Toffees managed just three victories away from home last season and with Marco Silva overseeing his first Premier League game in charge, they look worth opposing. Everton finished eighth last year and that was largely due to their strong record at Goodison Park, where they won ten of the 19 games played. On the road, they lost 10 of 19. There's been money for Wolves during the week and I can see why.
Goals on the agenda in exciting seasonal opener
I'm looking forward to seeing Wolves in the Premier League. I suspect they'll have a good season, I think they'll beat Everton in their opener on Saturday evening and I fancy we're going to see goals too.
There was an average of 2.83 goals scored at Molineux last season with 57% of their home matches producing over 2.5 goals. Both teams found the back of the net in only 43% of their home games but both teams scored in 58% of Everton's away ties and there was an average of 2.74 goals when Everton took to the road last season, suggesting that an industry wide best of 6/5 about Over 2.5 Goals represents value.
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining a couple or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. My particular favourite for this match is Wolves to win, Diogo Jota to score at any time and over 2.5 goals at just over 6/1.
Staked: 1 pt
Returned: 0 pts
P/L: -1 pt
Staked: 42.5 pts
Returned: 52.34 pts
P/L: +9.84 pts
2pts Wolves to win @ [2.40]
1pt Over 2 ½ Goals @ 6/5 Sportsbook