Brighton v West Brom
Saturday 9 September, 15:00
Seagulls not swooping in front of goal
The international break didn't come at the best time for Brighton as they had just recorded their first competitive victory of the campaign in the EFL Cup and then went on to pick up their first Premier League point with a 0-0 draw at Watford - albeit the Hornets played most of the game with 10 men.
Chris Hughton's side haven't had the easiest of starts, so one point from nine isn't the end of the world considering that two of their three games have been away and that the home one was against Manchester City.
Nevertheless, it will surely be a long old season for the Seagulls and they are one of the favourites to be relegated. Winning matches at the Amex will be the key to their survival and although West Brom aren't a team who will be scrapping around at the bottom, they aren't a top seven club either.
As far as the team news goes, Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray are expected to be fit, with the latter most likely to get the nod as the lone striker. At the back, the defence should remain unchanged, but Tim Krul is pushing for a start in goal.
Baggies in-form but against poor opposition
West Brom's seven points from their opening three games of the season probably came as a surprise to some, but it didn't really to me. Yes, they were largely poor at the back end of last season, but that unfortunately is a trait of a Tony Pulis team, and they had done their hard work earlier in the year.
The points are reset to zero in the close season and the race to 40 began again for Pulis on August 12th. To aid their task, their fixture list to date has been pretty kind as they have faced Bournemouth, Burnley and Stoke thus far, and after their trip to the south coast on Saturday, they have back to back home matches.
Jay Rodriguez has proved a hit since his move from Southampton and Pulis must decide whether to play him as a lone striker, or out wide to accommodate, Salomon Rondon. Gareth McAuley has returned to training but he won't be considered for a start just yet, so expect Evans and Hegazi to be partnered in the centre of defence.
The hosts are the marginal favourites at the [2.74] mark, with the visitors at [3.1] and the draw the slight outsider at [3.15]. Scoring goals is the issue for both teams as West Brom rarely score more than once - especially on their travels - and Brighton are yet to score in the Premier League.
Given those stats, I would have to make the draw the value bet in this market. It's a result that would suit the Baggies alright, and although Brighton will be disappointed not to get their first victory, it's at least something that they can build on.
It's also worth noting that West Brom drew seven of their 19 away matches last term, and eight in the year before that.
It probably comes as no surprise that this match is the shortest of the weekend when it comes to Under 2.5 Goals. It's currently trading at around the [1.54] mark and the next shortest is Burnley v Palace at [1.67].
It's hard to argue against that being the outcome given everything written above, but I wouldn't be overly enthusiastic about backing it at those odds.
I would like to make another selection that relates to goals though and that is in the Correct Score market. A 1-1 draw is [7.0] and that is just a touch too big in my eyes.
Over half of West Brom's draws last year finished 1-1 and I'd much rather take a chance on that than Under 2.5.
Premier League new-boy, Chris Kavanagh, is the man in charge for this Saturday as he officiates just his third top flight fixture. In his previous two outings he has shown seven yellow cards, which is an average of 3.5 per game.
Last year in the football league his average was 3.33 and he only sent three players off over the course of his 40 matches. As there is no fierce rivalry between these two teams, I wouldn't expect too many bookings.
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2017/18 P/L (1pt each bet)