When both sides are in very good form and one of them is at home and far bigger in the betting than the other, there's only one bet to be had in Everton v Chelsea, says Jamie Pacheco...
"Let’s stop looking for reasons to not back Everton and go with that big price on the Toffees doing exactly what the Hammers did to Chelsea a couple of weeks ago and making home advantage count."
Everton v Chelsea
Saturday December 23 12:30
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Big Sam doing a big job
I must admit I neither thought Sam Allardyce was the right man for the job nor did I think he'd actually get it. Just shows what I know.
Since taking over, this side is unrecognizable from the one that was overcrowded with playmakers all trying to pull the strings, lacked pace in wide areas and just couldn't defend. They obviously don't call the man 'Fireman Sam' for nothing.
One of his smartest moves was to show faith in Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He won't end the season with 10-12 goals but his pace and movement up front is what allows Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson to play off him and get into scoring positions in and around the box.
They'll probably need to bring in a top-class striker in January anyway if they're to go up to the next level but if that's the case they'd be advised to move on either Sandro or Oumar Niasse rather than the youngster, who's been excellent.
When you consider that players like Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines, Yannick Bolasie and Ross Barkley haven't even been playing and won't in this one either, you can see just how good Everton could be in a few months' time.
Conte's set game-plan
Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho don't see eye-to-eye but there's something quite similar about how they've both gone about their business in the last couple of months.
Make a clean sheet a priority, play two (or more) holding midfielders, rely on your most creative player to make something happen and shut up shop if you do score first whilst always having the counter-attack as an option to close the game out.
For the most part it's working for both. Chelsea have won four of their last five games, two of them 1-0 and two of them 3-1, the odd one out being that shock defeat at West Ham.
David Luiz continues to miss out with a somewhat mysterious knee injury but he's the only one unavailable; that's some luxury for Conte when you're playing two or three games in the space of nine days.
Conte could have done without Alvaro Morata's silly late yellow card in midweek, though. It was his fifth booking of the season and means he has to sit this one out. The Italian Manager may decide to go with Eden Hazard as a 'false nine' again which would allow him to field both Willian and Pedro just behind him.
Why the massive price on Everton?
It's not often you see a price as wrong as this one in a Premier League match, much less in the match odds market.
When you see Everton at 6.411/2 your first instinct is that the head-to-head- the most important thing any odds-complier worth his salt takes into consideration- is massively in Chelsea's favour. But here's the odd thing; it's not.
The Toffees have won twice at Goodison in their past four matches against Chelsea and lost the other two. Are Everton in a worse position in the table? Yes, clearly but that's due to their awful start first under Ronald Koeman and then under David Unsworth.
Everton version 2.0 of the 2017/18 season under Sam Allardyce are a very different beast and are in just as good form as Chelsea are. Let's stop looking for reasons to not back Everton and go with that big price on the Toffees doing exactly what the Hammers did to Chelsea a couple of weeks ago and making home advantage count.
If you're to close your eyes and imagine how this match will pan out, it could well be a waiting game decided by the single goal between two Managers who will set up their teams to be hard to break down. Making the 1.910/11 on under 2.5 goals look a pretty fair price.
But if you turn to the stats, it's overs at 2.111/10 you should go with. 66% of Everton's home games and Chelsea's away games this season have had at least three goals. As have 75% of the last four matches played between these two here in Liverpool.
Chelsea have been sharing the goals around of late with no-one scoring in more than one of their last six matches. If you're desperate to go with a Chelsea player, Hazard may be your best bet at 7/5 on Betfair Sportsbook.
It's never good to put all your eggs in one basket. So if you're going to back to Everton to win the game, you shouldn't be ploughing money into Everton players on the 'to score' market as well. But if you'd rather go with someone in this market rather than the match winner then Wayne Rooney, he of the six goals in his last five appearances, is the obvious one to go with at 3/1. Gylfi Sigurdsson, finally looking like he's back to his best, is 7/2 and is worthy of interest as well.
Staked: 26.5 pts
Returned: 25.55 pts
P and L: -0.95
1pt Back Everton to win @ 6.411/2