It's been another weekend without the Top Four hopefuls winning while West Ham kept up their very good recent form and Aston Villa stretched their welcome unbeaten run. Joe Dyer picks out the trends to follow in this week's betting pointers...
"In 18 games in all competitions this season the Swans have gone ahead on 14 occasions. That might be a trend to follow next Sunday when Spurs pay a visit to Liberty Stadium - 2.6213/8 Swansea being a perfect back-to-lay perhaps?"
1. Go West for goals
Sunday's come-from-behind defeat of Swansea sent the Hammers into third place, above previously high-flying but suddenly faltering Southampton, and the east Londoners are 20.019/1 to finish the season in the leading quartet. We've noted the Claret and Blues' very encouraging play already in this column, but what was notable about Sunday's win was the emergence of Andy Carroll as an alternative to the Hammers' already formidable strikeforce.
The England striker scored once in each half before setting up Diafra Sakho for the third in what was a dominating performance. The Irons boast one of the Premier League's most exciting frontlines with three genuinely dangerous strikers. Saturday sees Sam Allardyce's team in the north-east to play draw specialists Sunderland - the market is struggling to split the pair but if it's close late on we know which attack we fancy to break the deadlock.
2. Fast-starting Swansea the best back-to-lay bet in the Premier League
There was an inevitability to Swansea taking the lead but eventually losing to West Ham - it's happened in three of their last four away games in the Premier League. In fact, Swansea taking the lead in matches (regardless of the final result) is an extremely strong trend. In 18 games in all competitions this season the Swans have gone ahead on 14 occasions. That might be a trend to follow next Sunday when Spurs pay a visit to Liberty Stadium - 2.6213/8 Swansea being a perfect back-to-lay perhaps?
3. Can City sustain scoring run without Aguero?
After Manchester City's 1-0 defeat of Everton, Manuel Pellegrini proclaimed that City were not a one man team. The next few matches will give us a true indication of that - though the test could be stiffer. Thankfully for the champions, Sergio Aguero chose a good time to suffer his latest injury setback with the next five matches all against teams placed 14th or lower in the Premier League table, with three of those games at home.
There might be an opportunity for punters to profit from an Aguero-less City during this relatively easy run. Early prices make Over 2.5 Goals 1.68/13 to back in City's trip to Leicester next weekend. The champions are clearly going to miss their 14-goal star striker, and will surely lose some fluidity without him, so the short price backers going big on goals in games featuring City might get their fingers burnt.
4. Streaky Aston Villa searching for sixth game without defeat
After enduring the nightmare of a six-match losing streak Aston Villa made it through a fifth game undefeated (and their second win on the trot) to confirm their current wellbeing.
Backed at a low of 3.052/1 to go down, Paul Lambert's team are now 9.08/1 in the market with a six-point cushion between them and the bottom three. With hindsight punters were probably always over-reacting to that painful sequence of results - Villa were up against five of last season's top six and the odd match in the sequence out was an away game at QPR, a club whose home results contrast sharply with those they pick up on the road.
Lambert's side now go to West Brom searching for a third consecutive win and it's certainly interesting to see they are as long as 3.814/5 to do so. The Baggies have picked up one win in eight Premier League matches at the Hawthorns this season.
5. Leicester's losing run shows value in taking the long view
There is no club in worse current form than Leicester and it's surprising to note that though they were widely considered to have enjoyed a bright opening to the season they've won just two games. Though the Foxes sit dead last, two points off Burnley, it's the Lancashire side who are favourites in the Rock Bottom market at 2.226/5.
With Sean Dyche's team showing bits and pieces of form and QPR among the wins of late, Leicester look pretty decent value at the 4.57/2 currently available. And all credit then must go to the punter(s) who took 44.043/1 about Nigel Pearson's side ending the season in 20th.
As we have seen with Aston Villa it's a real skill to take the long view in this game and not over-react to short-term runs of form.