Alan Dudman previews Everton's Easter Monday clash with Crystal Palace, and he is backing the hosts to bounce back to form on home soil...
"According to the Opta Stats, the Merseysiders are unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with Palace."
Everton v Crystal Palace
Monday 5th April, kick-off 18:00
Live on Sky Sports
Home form a sticking point for Toffees
Everton's home form is in serious danger of derailing their chances of European football. It's nine wins away compared to just five at Goodison this season and subsequently their price in the Top Four market is now out to 15.5. Even I would raise an eyebrow in Carlo Ancelotti style with that bet at the moment. They last finished in the top four in 2004-5.
Ancelotti has been gracious in defeats against Burnley and Chelsea recently. He admitted that the Londoners possessed more quality while he said of the Clarets they simply played better, but he couldn't put his finger on why they lacked a spark. The fact Burnley scored twice was a worry as they had failed to score in a league-high eight games.
Those two fixtures aside; the Toffees have lost seven of their last 11 at Goodison Park having previously lost just one in 15. The creative juices haven't been flowing of late so it's vital that James Rodriguez returns to the fold, although Jordan Pickford remains on the sidelines having missed the international games with a muscle injury.
Eagles closing in on 40 points
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson recently spoke of reaching the magical "40 point" mark, and on 37, the south Londoners are closing in on achieving Premier League safety, although the price of 50.049/1 in the Relegation market tells you all you need to know there.
Twelfth position can probably be deemed something of a success, and they were excellent defensively in the recent 1-0 victory against West Brom - dealing well with everything Sam Allardyce's side threw at them. Their organisation again was to the fore in the 0-0 with Manchester United. The post-match interviewer on the BBC was rather kind in saying it was a great defensive performance, as it truly was one of the poorest ever Premier League matches. Ninety tedious minutes.
Although I reckon Hodgson would take that. You can back the 0-0 at 9.417/2 in the Correct Score market.
Tyrick Mitchell could return, while Nathaniel Clyne, Cheikhou Kouyate and James McCarthy will be assessed.
A back of Everton was the gut instinct here despite all their troubles, but the 1.865/6 price for a team that have lost seven of their last 11 at Goodison Park tempers the enthusiasm slightly. But on the flip-side, a returning James Rodriguez could make the difference and around 4/5 could look wonderful if he inspires a win. According to the Opta Stats, the Merseysiders are unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with Palace.
Hodgson's teams have the hallmarks of one that will be organised here and try to limit Everton to as few chances as possible, but they do lack a threat going forward. The visitors are priced accordingly at 5.69/2, with the Double Chance at 2.26/5.
It seems as though the layers are taking no chances with the potential lack of a goal threat in store, as the Under 2.5 price is a ridiculous 1.68/13, that almost is laying territory, especially as Everton have been averaging just 9.8 shots per game - their second-lowest total in a single campaign.
Looking at a potentially tight game with Palace aiming to shackle the hosts, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has rather generously pumped up by the Sportsbook to 4/1 to Score First with the Oddsboost. His 14 goals this season has been the most by an Englishman for Everton since the days of my hero Tony Cottee. Six of his 14 have been headers - most un-Cottee like.
Or you could play the Same Game Multi with Calvert-Lewin 11/10 as Anytime Scorer and Everton to win in a double that pays out 2.85.
DAILY OFFER - GET A £5 FREE BET ON MULTIPLES
Place £20 worth of multiples over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 to use on multiples. Bets must settle before 23:59 on the day they're placed. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.
Alan Dudman's 2020/21 Premier League P&L