In-form Man City should beat Brighton but, with a series of low-scoring matches at the Etihad of late, you need to bet accordingly says Jamie Pacheco.
"City really should win and, given they haven’t been handing out beatings at home and have been good in defence, they look likely to win this say 2-0 or 3-0, though a 2-1 win for us would work as well."
Manchester City v Brighton
Wednesday January 13, 18:00
Live on BT Sport
City enjoying a fine run
As things stand, Man City are fifth on 29 points. But what that doesn't tell you is that they have two games in hand on leaders Liverpool (33 points) or that the Blues are going through an excellent period right now. They've now won their last three in the league and with a couple of Cup wins thrown in there as well over the past few weeks, you can see that this a team in form.
Part of the reason for their success has been a much-improved defence where Portuguese duo Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias stand out. Cancelo has become a firm favourite of Pep Guardiola this season to the extent that the Spaniard prefers to play him on both sides rather than not play him at all. As for Dias, he's quickly becoming the leader of the defence and is looking a good buy.
Despite all this good form, there are problems up front. Gabriel Jesushas just one goal in his last nine appearances and Sergio Aguero never looks fit these days. It would be a surprise if City offer him a new contract.
Tired Brighton in familiar position
Different season, same situation. Brighton are 17th, four points ahead of Fulham, who have two games in hand on them.
But in some ways, it's a been a slightly different sort of season for the Seagulls. Traditionally a candidate for being involved in low-scoring games, they've scored more (21) and conceded more (28) than usual.
At the weekend they were involved in a penalty shootout win over Newport. Though the victory means a few more quid in the bank and something to look forward to, the fact that some important players like Neal Maupay and Lewis Dunk played the full 120 minutes isn't ideal preparation for a trip to the Etihad.
Graham Potter may just decide he's going to get nothing from this game anyway and rest a few regular starters.
It's 1.182/11 on City and that price makes sense given City have won each of their six matches against Brighton in the Premier League, scoring 20 and conceding just twice.
But that was the sort of price they were against WBA a few games ago and, having taken just one of their many chances that night, they ended up drawing 1-1. You can get 9.28/1 on them drawing with Brighton.
City should win, of course they should, but it's not a price that interests us.
It's 1.51/2 the match has over 2.5 goals.
A massive 75% of Brighton's away games this season went over 2.5 goals which underlines what I said about the Seagulls' games being more entertaining than in previous years.
The surprising bit is how low-scoring games have been at the Etihad.
Bar a shock 5-2 defeat to Leicester and a 5-0 hammering of Burnley, every other game at home had two or fewer goals: five out of seven, or 29%. Part of the reason for that is how well City have defended, especially at home. The other part has to do with the fact that players like Jesus, Aguero and Raheem Sterling haven't been at their best in terms of scoring. With that in mind, a punt on 'unders' at 2.89/5 on Wednesday night could be worth it.
We may have a slightly better option than backing under 2.5 goals. City really should win and, given they haven't been handing out beatings at home and have been good in defence, they look likely to win this, say, 2-0 or 3-0, although a 2-1 win for us would work as well.
A home win featuring under 3.5 goals, giving us just that extra safety blanket of another goal, pays evens and that looks the sensible option.
If you want to go for a same-game multi-bet, this may not be the best match for it. I normally like to go with an anytime scorer alongside something else but none of Sterling, De Bruyne or Aguero have a scoring record this season that justifies such short prices.
Take De Bruyne, for example: he's 6/5 to score yet only has four goals in 24 matches this season for club and country.
I'd rather go with Ikay Gundogan (13/5), who's in seriously hot form with three in his last five games.
Combine that with under 0.5 goals away goals (Man City clean sheet at 4/6) and the double comes to 6.25.
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JAMIE PACHECO'S 2020-21 PREMIER LEAGUE P AND
Points wagered: 26
P and L: +1.95.