Crystal Palace v West Ham: Visitors to get a point at worst
Crystal Palace look poor value for a win here based on league position and head-to-head record so we simply have to take them on, says Jamie Pacheco.
"One way to play this would be to go with the visitors on the Asian Handicap by taking them with a 0.5 goal head-start but a simpler option that’s just as good is to go with Manuel Pellegrini’s men on the double chance market at 8/11."
Crystal Palace v West Ham
Saturday February 9, 15:00
Palace finally have options upfront
There was a certain irony about Crystal Palace winning at the weekend quite comfortably, at least in terms of scoreline, despite being without their main man Wilfried Zaha. The former Manchester United man was suspended after his late and highly unnecessary sending off at Southampton the week before but should return to the starting line-up for this one.
It wasn't all positive, though. Fulham, who are 19th in the table, had 63% possession in the match and it could have been quite a different result on another day.
But these are exciting times for Roy Hodgson's men. Not only is Christian Benteke back to full fitness but they also have Michy Batshuayi on loan, meaning Zaha should be able to play out wide or behind the striker, where he's surely better suited.
Hammers are an unpredictable lot
It's been a real mixed bag for the Hammers over the last month or so. There was an FA Cup exit at the hands of AFC Wimbledon, a 3-0 defeat at Wolves and then four points taken off 'Big Guns' courtesy of a 1-0 win over Arsenal and a 1-1 draw against Liverpool.
Their own mercurial star, Marko Arnautovic, decided to stay in the end rather than go to China 'in search of trophies' (words from Arnautovic's camp, not mine) but there's surely a concern over the number of matches he keeps missing because of one injury or another.
Midfielder Samir Nasri is one of several injured midfielders alongside Jack Wilshere, Andryi Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini with the former Arsenal man the one most likely to be ruled fit for this match.
I'm extremely surprised the hosts are just evens to win this game. It really doesn't make any sense. The Hammers are six points better off in the table and have really enjoyed this fixture of late.
They won 3-2 earlier in the season at home and you'd have to go back to February 2015 for the last time they lost to them. In between those two results there were two wins for the Hammers and three draws.
Going back even further, they've played each other 35 times in the league over the years with a Palace win very much in the minority when it comes to results. There have been six victories for them, with 13 draws and 16 wins for West Ham. As I said, it's hard to understand why the hosts have been chalked up as such strong favourites.
The Hammers have admittedly tended to save their best results (and performances) for the teams higher up the table but that's not reason enough to put us off.
One way to play this would be to go with the visitors on the Asian Handicap by taking them with a 0.5 goal head-start but a simpler option that's just as good is to go with Manuel Pellegrini's men on the double chance market at 13/20.
The both teams to score market is a good example of having to decide which stats you want to believe. If you're in the 'yes' camp (to both teams to score, not Brexit) then you'll think that 4/5 is a good bet based on the fact that it would have paid out in seven of the last nine between them.
But Palace home games this season paint a very different picture. Just 16.7% of them saw both teams scoring so if you prefer trends that apply to this particular season, you'll surely be interested in the evens about 'no' on the both teams to score market.
What is it with Palace and penalties? Only Manchester United (eight) have been awarded more than their seven. Palace scored six of those.
Save a thought for West Ham, who have been awarded just one all season.
You can get 9/2 on West Ham scoring a penalty. Or on a related note, you can back their penalty-taker Luka Milivojevic to score anytime at 16/5.
Why not pick two bets from the same game and combine them in a multiple? Going with Palace to score under 1.5 goals (4/6) and a draw (12/5) comes to odds of 4.03.
Jamie's 2018/19 P and L
Points Staked: 34.0
Points Returned: 38.62 pts
P/L: +4.62 points