Brighton v Watford: Follow the form and fly with Hornets

Troy Deeney: Has scored four goals in his last five away games
Troy Deeney: Has scored four goals in his last five away games
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Andy Schooler is taking recent form over long-term trends and backing Watford to beat Brighton on Saturday afternoon...

"The Seagulls were undone on crosses at Craven Cottage and Watford will surely look to prey on any such weakness here. They certainly have the personnel to it with both Roberto Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu astute at delivering from wide areas."

Back Watford (draw no bet) @ 2.1

Brighton v Watford
Saturday, 15:00

For punters, this game provides a classic dilemma - how much weight to give recent form compared to longer-term trends?

It sees one side who have won one of their last nine league games, losing six of them, against another who have won five and lost just two over the same period.

Unfortunately for Brighton, it is they who own the poorer record.

To be fair - and herein lies a bettor's problem - Albion have only lost at home to teams in the top four so far this season but their recent run suggest problems are mounting.

In their last five home games (all competitions) they have managed to score just three goals. Goalscoring has actually been an issue for longer than that - only once since September 1 have they scored more than one goal in a game at the Amex - but the real worry is they've now started to concede more regularly.

Tuesday's collapse at Fulham, one which saw four goals conceded in the second half as a two-goal lead was squandered, was fine evidence of that, although the problem has admittedly been largely confined to away matches.

Cross purpose

The Seagulls were undone on crosses at Craven Cottage and Watford will surely look to prey on any such weakness here.

They certainly have the personnel to it with both Roberto Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu astute at delivering from wide areas, while their full-backs, in particularly Jose Holebas down the left, like to get into such positions too.

Troy Deeney will be the man in the middle looking to profit and notably he's scored in three of his last five away games (four goals in all).

Watford, seven points better off than Brighton in the table, have been enjoying some decent away form and should head into this one with confidence despite Wednesday's late defeat at Tottenham - a game they led in the 80th minute.

They also blew a two-goal lead at Bournemouth to draw but have won at West Ham, Crystal Palace and Newcastle (the latter in the FA Cup) of late.

They've scored two or more in four of their last five away league games (it's six of seven in all competitions) and have only been kept out in three of 12.

Essentially they have the tools to trouble Brighton, even if the hosts do manage to recapture some of the defensive solidity they were showing regularly back in the autumn.

Visitors value

In terms of the match betting, it's Watford I'd prefer to side with at the prices - they are slightly bigger at [3] with Brighton [2.66].

The draw is offered at [3.35].

However, it is probably wise to take the safety net of the draw-no-bet proviso given Brighton's longer-term strength on home soil - remember no side as low as Watford have won at the Amex since last season.

Here Watford can be backed at [2.1] and their current form makes this appeal.

Will Brighton flop again?

The markets don't expect too many goals, despite that Watford statistic which shows how threatening they've been on the road of late.

If Brighton defend as poorly as they did in the final 45 minutes at Fulham, quotes of [2.24] about their being over 2.5 goals will likely be great value.

However, again the long-term trends explain why the market is set as it is - under 2.5 is [1.78].

Just 45% of Brighton's home games have seen over 2.5 goals, while in Watford's away games it's down to 36%.
As for both teams to score, it's [1.95] yes and [2.04] no.

More Murray magic?

In terms of other potential bets, Glenn Murray is always a name in the frame for games at the Amex.

He hadn't scored since December 4 before midweek but netted a brace at Fulham and it would surely be harsh for him to be one of those axed by Chris Hughton, who will surely make changes.

Six times Murray has netted the opening goal of a Premier League game this season - only Mo Salah at Liverpool (9) has done so more often. He's 4/1 to score the opener in this match.

However, arguably more tempting, given Brighton's defensive concerns, is 9/4 about him scoring first for his team.

Murray has managed this in six of his 10 games at the Amex which is some record. As well as having that nose for goal, often getting on the end of a cross, he's on penalties.

It's one worth considering, although given I'm keen on Watford, who have conceded only 15 goals in 12 away games, I'm prepared to opt out on this occasion.

Same Game Multi

As explained, Troy Deeney has strong recent scoring form away from Vicarage Road and he looks capable of causing Brighton problems, just as Fulham's target man Aleksandar Mitrovic did the other night.

I'll take him to score in a Watford win and will add the visitors to take most corners to boost the price.

Averages show only Burnley win fewer corners than Brighton and with Watford strong in wide areas with players happy to run at the full-backs, this part of the bet makes plenty of sense.

The overall price comes to 20.83.

Opta fact

Brighton have won just one of their last eight league games against Watford (D3 L4), though it did come in this exact fixture in the Premier League last season.

Premier League Predictor: Correct-score verdicts for all of this weekend's games

Andy Schooler's P/L 2018/19

Staked: 43.5pts
Returned: 35.9pts
P/L: -7.6pts

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