Premier League 3pm Kick-Offs: Back the Clarets to win crucial six-pointer

Sean Dyche's men are scoring goals, and are fancied to win at Sunderland in a crucial six-pointer on Saturday
Sean Dyche's men are scoring goals, and are fancied to win at Sunderland in a crucial six-pointer on Saturday

Six games kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm for Mike Norman to get his teeth stuck into this Saturday, and our man fancies Burnley to take all three points from their crucial six-pointer at Sunderland...

"The reason I believe Burnley will survive is because they do score goals - 12 in their last six league and cup games for example."

Back Burnley @ 14/53.8 to beat Sunderland

Crystal Palace 2/12.94 v Everton 7/42.74; The Draw 12/53.4

These two sides couldn't be going through more different fortunes right now, but surprisingly it's Crystal Palace who are the 'form' team, while Everton are seemingly struggling from one game to the next.

It's four wins out of four for the Eagles since Alan Pardew took charge, 10 goals scored in three away games and a terrific 2-1 win over in-form Tottenham at Selhurst Park. Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez's men are on a run of five successive Premier League away defeats.

So perhaps you'll be surprised to learn then that the Toffees are the favourites to win this game - I know I'm surprised.

True, Everton are a much better side than their recent form suggests but they aren't scoring many goals right now - they've registered blanks against Southampton, Stoke, Hull, and West Brom since the end of December - and if you don't score goals then you don't win games. Palace are scoring, they are in form, and at the prices they have to be the call.

Recommended Bet
Back Crystal Palace to Win @ 2/12.94

Liverpool 5/71.7 v West Ham 9/25.7; The Draw 4.1

Ignoring Liverpool's narrow loss in extra-time at Chelsea in midweek then it's 11 leauge and cup games without defeat for Brendan Rodgers' men, and many will fancy the Reds to mount a serious challenge for a top four finish from here.

But perhaps Liverpool's recent form is a little misleading. Five of those 11 games were level after 90 minutes, while from their six wins only Swansea currently occupy a top-10 position in the table.

And also worth pointing out is that Rodgers' men have won just once at Anfield - the victory over Swansea - since the end of November. The Reds have failed to beat the likes of Sunderland, Leicester, and Championship side Bolton in that time.

So while Liverpool's odds of 5/71.7 to win the game are understandable, it's not a price I want to be taking.

West Ham are enjoying a terrific season, and the likes of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing - desperate to impress on the return to their old stomping ground - and Diafra Sakho are sure to cause the home side enough problems to make it an uncomfortable afternoon.

Recommended Bet
Lay Liverpool to Win @ 5/71.71

Man Utd 1/31.35 v Leicester 10/111.0; The Draw 5/15.9

Dubbed the Gaal-acticos, Louis van Gaal's men haven't really lived up to that name in recent weeks; their last six league and cup games have produced just seven goals in total, none have gone over the 2.5 goal mark, and backing both teams to get on the scoresheet would have seen you lose your money each time.

In the same period Leicester have rediscovered their form, winning four of their last six games including that tremendous 1-2 win at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup last weekend.

But even in decent form the Foxes' games have been relatively low-scoring - three have resulted in 1-0 wins while they also suffered a 1-0 loss. So perhpas we shouldn't expect too many goals when Nigel Pearson's men travel to Old Trafford on Saturday - certainly don't expect another 5-3 scoreline!

In fact the bet I like here is Manchester United to win without conceding.

Van Gaal's men have conceded just once in their last four league and cup games and they've recorded five clean sheets from their last nine outings. They also haven't conceded more than once in a game since the middle of October - a run stretching 16 matches - so their defence perhaps deserves far more credit than whay they actually receive.

Recommended Bet
Back Man Utd Win to Nil @ 6/52.2

Stoke 5/71.7 v QPR 5/16.2; The Draw 3/13.95

It's getting to the point of no return now for QPR. Following 11 straight defeats away from home (league and cup) their next three games on the road are at Stoke, Sunderland, and Hull - all winnable yet if that run of straight defeats stretches to 14 then you'd have to seriously worry for the Hoops' survival hopes.

Harry Redknapp's men are a decent home side of course but it's impossible to envisage them picking up enough points at Loftus Road alone to survive in the Premier League.

Stoke were dealt a huge blow on Monday night when Bojan - clearly starting to adapt to life in this country and show his undoubted brilliance - was ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.

Mark Hughes' men have been far from brilliant at the Britannia Stadium this term, losing to the likes of Aston Villa, Burnley, and Leicester already, but in recent months they've become more consistent and they are currently on a good run of form - five wins and a draw from their last seven outings.

The key point to make here however is that Stoke probably won't need to be brilliant on home soil to get the better of QPR. Redknapp's men have been completely hopeless away from home this term and until that changes then we simply have to keep opposing them.

Recommended Bet
Back Stoke to Win @ 5/71.7

Sunderland 5/42.24 v Burnley 14/53.8; The Draw 12/53.4

When you look at the bottom of the Premier League table and see the likes of Burnley, Leicester, Hull, QPR, West Brom, and Crystal Palace down there then you feel sure that at least two of those clubs will be relegated. But the two clubs I fear for most are Sunderland and Aston Villa.

And the reason I fear for them is the fact that they are the two teams who are really struggling for goals right now.

I said before a ball was kicked this season that the Black Cats are too heavily reliant on three or four players - Steven Fletcher most notably - and if those players don't score regularly then Gus Poyet's men would struggle.

That's proving to be the case with the Black Cats now 16th in the table following a run of just one league win in 12 games and a miserly eight goals scored (three against Man City remarkably!). So on the flip side of that, the reason I believe Burnley will survive is because they do score goals - 12 in their last six league and cup games for example.

As for this match I'm not expecting fireworks, but I'd much rather be with the team that are grabbing the odd victory and getting on the scoresheet with regularity.

Recommended Bet
Back Burnley to Win @ 14/53.8
(best bet)

West Brom 2/13.0 v Tottenham 13/82.62; The Draw 12/53.4

As we've said plenty of times recently there's no logic at all as to why games involving Spurs keep ending 2-1, but they do - 12 of their last 24 league and cup outings have finished this way.

When you consider that to dutch the 2-1 and 1-2 scorelines each time pays out at around 4/15.0 (sometimes a lot more) then it doesn't take a genius to work out that when it's occurring every other game then you're making a very nice profit.

But as I say, there's absolutely no logic to it and I'm not a big fan of backing something just because it's happened a few times previously - although I wouldn't put anyone off following the trend at all.

Perhaps some of those Tottenham 2-1 wins, especially away from home, are an indication that they are a very hard-working team that keep going right until the death, and if that's the case then that's not a bad trait to have.

West Brom will be a tough nut to crack though now that Tony Pulis is in charge. The Baggies conceded their first goal under the new boss in last week's 2-1 win at Birmingham (there's that scoreline again!) and I fancy they'll concede again.

Spurs have been excellent on the road this term and I believe they have the class to win again now that Pulis' honeymoon period is perhaps near an end.

Recommended Bet
Back Tottenham to Win @ 13/82.62

You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 128 pts
Returned: 135.06 pts
P/L: + 7.06 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

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