Andrew Atherley says Everton struggled to win derby matches under David Moyes but new boss Roberto Martinez looks capable of a good result against Liverpool on Saturday
"Everton are already showing more versatility under Roberto Martinez and do not seem so dependent on keeping a clean sheet. Even when they have conceded this season, they have won three out of five, with only one defeat (away to Manchester City)."
For many years, during David Moyes's reign at Goodison Park, the Merseyside derby came down to a simple question: will Liverpool score?
The old patterns may be about to change, however, under the influence of new managers. And that makes Everton interesting outsiders at 3.052/1 with home advantage in Saturday's derby, with the Toffees especially attractive at 2.26/5 on draw no bet.
In the past, if the answer to 'will Liverpool score?' was yes, as it invariably was, the Reds were a strong bet, winning 12 out of 15 league derbies in that scenario against Moyes's Everton sides.
If the answer was no, that was the best and only chance for Moyes to secure local bragging rights. Everton's three derby wins during his reign came when they shut out Liverpool (along with four goalless draws).
In essence, looking back at the Moyes period, there was a 68% chance of Liverpool scoring against Everton and an 80% chance of winning when they did so. That made the Reds a profitable team to back in derby matches.
Everton are already showing more versatility under Roberto Martinez, however, and do not seem so dependent on keeping a clean sheet. Even when they have conceded this season, they have won three out of five, with only one defeat (away to Manchester City). By contrast, last season under Moyes, Everton's win rate when conceding was only 33%.
The defeat at City was Everton's only loss under Martinez and now it is they who are putting the pressure on opponents to produce a clean sheet or suffer the consequences. Everton's record when scoring in the Premier League this season is W5 D1 L1, whereas their win rate when scoring under Moyes last season was little better than 50%.
The concern for Liverpool, and the biggest negative surrounding their ability to mount a concerted challenge at the top, is their low win rate against the better teams under Brendan Rodgers. Their record against top-half sides since the start of his reign is W5 D10 L8 (a win rate of 22%) and even when scoring their win rate in that category is only 33%.
Rodgers has yet to win a Merseyside derby (2-2 at Goodison last season and a goalless draw at Anfield) and Everton look worth backing at 2.26/5 on the draw no bet. Backing them at 0 on the Asian handicap amounts to the same bet, but at the time of writing the odds are somewhat shorter at 2.1211/10.
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The best bet in the English divisions is Hartlepool, who may be in a false position in League Two after their dreadful start to the season and are attractively priced at 2.265/4 for a home win over Northampton.
Hartlepool are only 14th but they have risen fast since having to wait 543 minutes for their first league goal of the season. At that stage they had only two points from six games and were second bottom, but in 10 games since then they rank third on form in League Two with a record of W6 D1 L3.
Two of the teams to have beaten Pool during that run were leaders Oxford and sixth-placed Newport, which indicates Hartlepool are overpriced for a win against bottom club Northampton.
Hartlepool have won four out of five at home since ending their goal drought, while Northampton are the worst away team in the League Two with six defeats out of seven.
Everton on Draw No Bet v Liverpool at 2.26/5
Hartlepool to beat Northampton at 2.265/4
2013/14 P/L (1pt per bet)