Everton v Crystal Palace
Live on Sky Sports 1
Although Everton have started the season strongly under new boss Ronald Koeman, and currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League, they're actually coming into this game on the back of two defeats. The first a 0-2 reversal to Norwich in the EFL Cup, and the second an away defeat to Bournemouth in the league.
This is not the time to panic for Toffees fans of course, those two most recent results have been their first defeats of the season, and overall things are looking up for the Goodison Park outfit - they've conceded just four goals in the top flight so far this season, which puts them second only to Spurs in the defensive rankings, and Koeman has given them new focus, new impetus and a clear aim in the aftermath of Roberto Martinez's departure.
Romelu Lukaku is now reported as fully fit, although James McCarthy isn't expected to return from his groin injury for this one.
It took a while, but Alan Pardew was finally able to address his team's disastrous slide which started at the beginning of the calendar year. They say a week is long time in football, well a month must feel like a lifetime ago for fans of the Eagles - their team haven't lost in the league since 20th August.
It's fanciful to suggest that Palace will maintain their current position of seventh in the Premier League, but for now they look in good order. Although of some concern must be their lack of ability to keep clean sheets - not a single one this season in the league and only two since December in the top flight is a worrying statistic.
Everton are, as widely expected, big favourites for this fixture, currently trading at 1.738/11. But on closer inspection, Opta tell us that Palace actually have a pretty good record both at Goodison Park (unbeaten in their last three, W2 D1) and against Everton overall (the Toffees have only won one of their last six Premier League meetings with the Eagles), and so is all as it seems? Has the market got it wrong?
Well, Palace (5.59/2) look a big price given their recent form, but Everton are a better side than they were last season and, as we've already established, Pardew's men can't keep clean sheets. To me, this market looks priced up about fairly, but I wouldn't say there is much juice in that price on a home win.
The Draw is available at 4.1.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Opta tell us that, on average, this fixture garners 2.64 goals, so well over the 2.5 threshold. The market has Overs rated at 1.845/6 shot and I think that's about right. It's currently trading slightly bigger than Yes in the Both Teams to Score market (1.84/5), and that's interesting as I think that's an eventuality I'm quite confident will come to pass.
You can get Unders at 2.1411/10 at time of writing, but Palace won't keep Everton out and given Koeman's men's current shaky form I wouldn't fancy them to shut the away side out either.
Romelu Lukaku has scored four in the Premier League so far this season, and two more for his national side. He has struggled to shake off niggly injuries throughout 2016/17, but is rated as fully fit for this encounter under the Friday night lights and once he gets going against a team that can't defend he is pretty unplayable. In short I think he's a very good bet to score at any time, at a price of around 2.35/4 or better.
Mark Clattenburg takes charge of this one, and Clatts loves the drama of an evening game. He's dished out 16 yellows in four games so far this season, so an average of four per match - not a hugely controversial amount given the games he's officiated.
Backing 30-40pts in Booking Odds market at the best available price might well prove to be a shrewd move.
Back Romelu Lukaku to score at any time at 2.35/4 (2pts)
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