Premier League Stats Preview: Saints to push Newcastle closer to edge
Stats analyst Andrew Atherley says Southampton can score a decisive win over Rafa Benitez's relegation-haunted side on Saturday...
"Two factors are significant here: Newcastle’s porous defence, which has not kept a clean sheet in their last 10 away games, and Southampton’s home record when scoring against lower-class teams."
This weekend's Premier League programme looks tricky for punters, but it might be worth looking for bigger odds on Southampton hammering another nail in Newcastle's coffin on Saturday.
Motivation can be the imponderable on the run-in, especially for teams in the middle section like Southampton, but Ronald Koeman's team are still in the hunt for a Europa League place and were unlucky against leaders Leicester last Sunday.
Koeman certainly seemed to be still up for the fight after the Leicester game as he outlined the series of penalty decisions that have gone against the Saints, and that sense of injustice could act as a spur against Newcastle.
The visitors have every motivation in their battle for survival, but they have managed only one point out of nine under Rafa Benitez and now face one of the Premier League's form sides.
Southampton rank fifth over the past 12 games and two of their three defeats in that period came against teams above them in that form table. Against the rest their record in that period is W6 D2 L1.
That indicates odds of [1.6] for a Southampton win are about right, but there could be some value in backing the hosts in a market associated with a clear-cut win.
Backing Southampton off -1 on the Asian handicap is one option, but a bet that grabs the attention is Southampton at 17/20 in the First Team to Score 2 Goals market on Betfair Sportsbook.
Two factors are significant here: Newcastle's porous defence, which has not kept a clean sheet in their last 10 away games, and Southampton's home record when scoring against lower-class teams.
Southampton have scored in seven games at home to teams from the bottom half of the table and have won five, with each of those victories coming by at least a two-goal margin.
The weakness in Southampton's game is that they can be conservative, but they are one of the most dominant teams once in front and the stats give them a good chance of pressing home an advantage unless Benitez can somehow conjure a new-found resilience in the Newcastle defence.
Leicester still good value
Finally Leicester's match odds are starting to come into line with their status as Premier League leaders and favourites, but [2.24] still does not look short enough for Sunday's visit to Sunderland.
The simple fact is that Leicester have won seven out of nine (with two draws) away to bottom-half sides and this final match in that category gives them another good chance to maintain or even stretch their lead over Tottenham.
Crucially, they have scored in all nine away games against bottom-half opponents and the same can be expected against Sunderland, who have kept only four clean sheets in 23 matches under Sam Allardyce.
Sunderland's record when conceding against top-half teams is W1 D2 L8 (W1 D0 L3 at home), which indicates great difficulty for them if Leicester maintain their scoring record.
Back Southampton in First Team to Score 2 Goals v Newcastle at 17/20 with Betfair Sportsbook (1pt)
Back Leicester to beat Sunderland at [2.24] (1pt)
Staked: 94 pts
Returned: 80.43 pts
P/L: -13.57 pts