English Premier League

Jones Knows Notebook: How to profit from Tottenham's set piece fragility

Ange Postecoglou's Spurs are shipping shots galore from set pieces
Ange Postecoglou's Spurs are being exposed at set pieces

Sky Sports' betting expert Lewis Jones - aka 'Jones Knows' - is back with his weekly notebook, plotting ways at how to profit from Tottenham's weakness at defending set pieces and Chiedozie Ogbene's livewire performances for Luton...


Spurs' set piece woes: Big-price winners on offer

I've been swimming against a tide with my stance on Tottenham this season. The markets rate them. High profile pundits rave about them. And although they are the most exciting team to watch in the Premier League, I'm remaining forthright in my view that defensively they are simply not secure enough to win enough points to finish in the top four.

The 1.9310/11 on offer to lay through the Betfair Exchange still has bags of potential for those that haven't boarded the lay Spurs train yet.

At Everton on Saturday, their weakness at defending corners and free-kicks was exposed to the world as Sean Dyche's men scored both their goals via that method to a backdrop 2.09 worth of expected goals from set piece situations.

This level of generosity to the opposition isn't a one-off - it's been happening all season under Ange Postecoglou's watch.

Tottenham have conceded 99 shots this season from corner and free-kick situations - only Sheffield United have shipped more in the Premier League.

Of those 99 efforts, only four have resulted in goals but the underlying data paints a different story with 7.87 expected goals conceded from set pieces, pointing towards a high probability of chances being offered up.

This overperformance according to the metrics mirrors their overall expected goals against record, which stands at 40.59 - the fourth highest return in the Premier League. Even with first choice pairing Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven back at the heart of the defence, Spurs have conceded six goals in their last three Premier League games to a backdrop of 4.85 worth of expected goals against.

There is a clear vulnerability - and it's no surprise considering Postecoglou's only had six months to implement his radical risk-reward football strategy. There remains teething problems. Opposition teams don't have to work that hard to counter attack, create big moments and expose Spurs from set pieces.

My advice would be to keep opposition centre-backs in your thoughts for the next set of Tottenham fixtures with particular focus on their shots and headed goal prices.

Jarrad Branthwaite was available at 33/134.00 to score a header. Another biggie will go in soon enough. Make sure you're on it.

Oggy, oggy, oggy!

Luton are becoming the story of the Premier League season.

They touched 3.3512/5 on the Betfair Exchange's relegation market when 4-2 up at Newcastle on Saturday - their price has settled now at 2.56/4. It's a remarkable feat considering they've been matched at 1.021/50 in that same market this season. The survival mission is on.

Livewire performances are taking opposition teams by surprise. They are in your face. They take you places you don't want to go.

A player that epitomises that is Chiedozie Ogbene.

With Issa Kabore on international duty, Ogbene has been handed his chance as the right wing-back and is causing carnage that down flank.

Although capable of mucking in and doing his duties without the ball, his strengths are when the play turns over and he can stretch his legs.

And boy can he stretch his legs.

He carries the tag of being the fastest player in the Premier League this season according to Opta, who have recorded a top speed of 36.9kmph.

This direct running and lightning change of pace has had a huge influence in both the 4-0 win over Brighton and the draw with Newcastle, where he made a combined eight successful dribbles and won seven fouls.

Of those seven fouls, two of those against the Toon resulted in Dan Burn and Jacob Murphy picking up a booking, taking Ogbene's tally to eight in terms of how many players he's got carded this season.

This means he's drawing a card every 160 minutes. A mind-blowing rate.

However, it is a consistent ratio from his time at Rotherham. In his last 84 league appearances for the club, he was responsible for 42 yellow cards being dished out to the opposition.

With him and Luton in such rip-roaring form, keeping an eye across the opposition left-back's fouls committed and card prices across the Betfair Sportsbook should prove to be a profitable tactic in the coming weeks. It's Sheffield United next up on Saturday.


Now read Mike Norman's Monday Night Football preview of Brentford v Manchester City!


Follow Lewis Jones' Premier League tips and predictions across Sky Sports each week.


Claim your completely free Acca or Bet Builder!

Available to new and existing customers. Betfair are giving you a completely free Acca or Bet Builder on each of the first five days of Euro 2024! Make sure you opt-in and find all the details here! T&Cs apply (value of free bet varies).

Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.