After recommending two excellent away wins in midweek, at odds of 4.0 and 3.35, Mike Norman is in confident mood ahead of Saturday's 3pm kick-offs. Here is where he is placing his cash in three of those matches...
"So there's absolutely nothing in Brighton's current form or home form to suggest that they should be favourites to beat highflying Burnley, and yet when you consider the Clarets' away form it makes even less sense."
(Significant Opta Stat: Burnley have won six of their last eight Premier League matches, as many as they'd won in the previous 26 in the competition.)
It's not very often that a price in the Match Odds market stands out like a sore thumb, but that's exactly how I felt when I saw Burnley trading at [3.35] to beat Brighton on Saturday.
As I often say in football, when a price looks too good to be true then it probably is, but on this occasion I just don't see any reason why Brighton should be favourites to win the game, and why Burnley are the outsiders of all three options in the market.
The obvious starting point is league positions. The Clarets climbed into the top four on Tuesday night with a 1-0 victory over Stoke (subsequent results knocked them down to sixth), while Brighton's defeat to Tottenham left the Seagulls just three points above the relegation zone.
Chris Hughton's men are also on a six-game winless run; the only two points they collected in that time were home draws to teams below them in the table, Stoke and Crystal Palace. And their only two home wins this season were against West Brom and Newcastle, two clubs that we now know are destined to be in a relegation battle for the rest of the season.
So there's absolutely nothing in Brighton's current form or home form to suggest that they should be favourites to beat highflying Burnley, and yet when you consider the Clarets' away form it makes even less sense.
Sean Dyche's men have won at Chelsea, Everton, Southampton, and Bournemouth already this term, while they've also held Liverpool and Tottenham to draws away from home. They also have a tremendous defensive record; the 12 goals they've conceded this term is the third best in the division, just one more than both the Manchester clubs.
One way that I like to demonstrate why a price just looks wrong is by using the 'value' example. If Brighton hosted Burnley on three separate occasions, all under the exact same circumstances as when they will meet on Saturday (current form, ability, league positions, defensive records, home form v away form etc) then do you think that the Clarets would win at least one of those games (which would return a profit if betting to level stakes)?
Considering they've already won 50% of their away games against clubs arguably better than Brighton, then the answer has to be yes. And if it is yes, then a price of [3.35] about them winning on Saturday is just wrong, and offers plenty of value.
Back Burnley to Win @ [3.35] (best bet)
(Significant Opta Stat: Southampton's 18 point tally after 17 games is their lowest return at this stage of the season in five years.)
Chelsea bounced back from their disappointing defeat at West Ham last week with a solid performance on the road in midweek, winning 3-1 at Huddersfield despite not playing with a recognised striker.
Frontman Alvaro Morata should return against the Saints on Saturday, meaning the Blues will be at full strength as they attempt to cut the gap on league leaders Manchester City in what is turning out to be a fruitless chase.
Antonio Conte's men have been much improved at Stamford Bridge since early-season defeats to Burnley and Man City - they're currently on a run of seven home games without defeat while in the Premier League they've won four on the spin - and I can see them brushing aside a Southampton team not in the greatest of form.
Mauricio Pellegrino's men have won just one of their last eight outings and they go into this game on the back of a humiliating home defeat to Leicester on Wednesday night.
I like to judge the strength of a team based on the quality of sides that they defeat throughout the season, and in Southampton's case it doesn't make for good reading. True, they put four past Everton - who were in dreadful form at the time - but the Saints' three other league wins this term were by just a single-goal margin against West Brom, Crystal Palace, and West Ham - three of the division's struggling clubs.
I'm still not convinced that Southampton won't be in a relegation scrap as the season progresses; they're currently just four points above the drop zone and their next three away games are at Chelsea, Spurs, and Manchester United. The table could look at lot bleaker for them come the start of January.
As for Saturday's game I'm confident the Blues will win, and I quite like the price of them doing so by at least two clear goals, so that's what I'll be backing.
Back Chelsea -1 @ [2.2]
(Significant Opta Stat: Huddersfield have lost their last five away games by two or more goals without scoring a single goal themselves.)
We've successfully been opposing Huddersfield away from home recently and I feel we have to stick with that strategy when the Terriers travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday.
The simple fact is David Wagner's men are very poor travellers, and when a team is on such a poor run you have to keep betting accordingly until something changes. Huddersfield have now played eight away games in succession without scoring a single goal. That's a damning statistic.
And as I've said in previous weeks, it's not as if Wagner's men have had to face the top eight in the Premier League in that goalless spell. True, they've travelled to Arsenal and Liverpool, where you'd expect them to lose without scoring perhaps, but they've also had away games at Swansea, Bournemouth, West Ham, Everton, and Burnley. Not to score in any of those games doesn't read well at all.
As the Opta stat above alludes to, if anything Huddersfield's form away from home is becoming worse as the season goes on. They've lost their last five on the spin by a combined scoreline of 16-0!
So I make no apologies for suggesting Watford look a decent bet to win this at around the 4/5 mark, but to be able to back them at 9/5 to win to nil makes plenty of appeal.
Admittedly the Hornets are often involved in some entertaining games, but they did win back-to-back games without conceding recently, and as I often say, sometimes you can primarily base a wager on one team. In this case that team is Huddersfield, and their dreadful away record.
Back Watford Win to Nil @ 9/5 (Sportsbook)
You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73
Premier League 2017/18 Season P/L
Staked: 68 pts
Returned: 87.97 pts
P/L: +19.97 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet
- 2016/17 P/L = +42.63 pts from 160 pts staked (26.64% ROI)
- 2015/16 P/L = +14.99 pts from 234 pts staked (6.4% ROI)
- 2014/15 P/L = +35.30 pts from 215 pts staked (16.42% ROI)