After a long but enjoyable week of Cheltenham Festival action Mike Norman is relieved to be back looking at football fixtures, and here our man provides his best bets from Saturday's Premier League action...
"The Potters are usually good for a goal on home soil too, scoring in each of their last six league games in front of their own fans including goals against Everton and Manchester United. And Hughes' men have also scored in each of their last five games against Chelsea."
As much as I think Burnley are better than Sunderland, and as desperate as I am for the Clarets to win - so that they're still not chasing that first away win of the season when they visit my club Middlesbrough in a few weeks time - it's just impossible to make the Clarets the recommended bet given their dreadful away form.
Sean Dyche's men are without a victory on the road all season, they've taken jus two points from a possible 42, and they've scored just nine goals in their 14 away games played.
It's hard to recommend a team with such poor stats on the road, but I'm sure there will be plenty wanting to back Burnley here given the opposition is Sunderland. Dyche's men have certainly been playing okay on their travels recently and keeping themselves in games; all their defeats since early December have been by single-goal margins and they've faced the likes of Spurs, Man City, Arsenal, and Liverpool in that time.
Sunderland can be very hit and miss; on their day - which admittedly is very rare - they can be very good, like when they held Liverpool and Spurs to draws in front of their own fans, and thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0 away from home.
David Moyes' men have really struggled at the Stadium of Light recently however, those draws with Liverpool and Spurs being the only points they've taken on home soil this calendar year. But those two results do emphasise how tough the Black Cats can be to beat when on a 'going' day.
These two sides met in the FA Cup in early January and that game - also played on Wearside - ended in a stalemate, and I think of the three Match Odds options the Draw has to be the call here. It's hard to be confident about a Sunderland victory at just [2.66] given their home form, and it's impossible to back Burnley at [3.0] given their record on the road this season.
Back The Draw @ [3.4]
You can split Chelsea's season to date vaguely into three parts.
The first being the 'finding our feet' months of August and September, where Antonio Conte and his players had some mixed performances, including back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, as they got to understand each other.
Then came the invincible months of October through to December, where the Blues went on a dreamy run of 13 consecutive league wins, recording 10 clean sheets in the process.
And finally came the 'getting the job done' spell. A defeat to Tottenham at the start of 2017 didn't hinder their progress, and they've since built up a 10-point lead at the top of the table without doing anything spectacular. My wager in this match is based on the Chelsea we know now, the 'getting the job done' tea.m
Because that's exactly what Conte's men are doing. They are no longer churning out clean sheet after clean sheet, but they're still winning games. In fact the Blues have now gone five consecutive league games without keeping a clean sheet, conceding goals to Burnley, Swansea, and West Ham in their last three outings.
But Chelsea rarely look in danger of getting beat, so while I don't expect them to romp to a three or four-goal victory at the bet365 Stadium, I do expect them to record another win.
Stoke have been in mixed form of late, but a first half thrashing at Tottenham a few weeks back seems to have re-focussed Mark Hughes' men as they've since won in a canter against goal-shy Middlesbrough before earning an excellent point at Manchester City.
The Potters are usually good for a goal on home soil too, scoring in each of their last six league games in front of their own fans including goals against Everton and Manchester United. And Hughes' men have also scored in each of their last five games against Chelsea. Let's wager that they score again, while ultimately cheering on an away win.
Back BTTS & Chelsea Win @ 11/4 (best bet)
Crystal Palace appear to be gathering up some much needed momentum at exactly the right time of the season, and I fancy they'll take another three points at home to Watford on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles looked hopelessly in trouble a month ago, failing to gain any sparkle from Sam Allardyce's appointment. But a 2-0 win at Bournemouth was the start of three wins in five games, and now they are confidently looking up the table under a boss who never gets relegated.
Of course, within their last five games was that shocking 0-4 defeat at home to Sunderland, and despite beating Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park recently the Eagles still have the Premier League's worst home record.
But Allardyce's men have now recorded back-to-back wins thanks to an excellent victory over highflying West Brom last week and I believe they are worthy favourites to beat Watford this weekend.
The Hornets have won just two of their last 13 league games and last week conceded four in a home defeat to Southampton. They look safe in the top flight for another season at least - just another win or two is likely to confirm their Premier League status - and I just fancy that a Palace side gaining in confidence and fighting for their lives will have that little too much for them.
Back Crystal Palace to Win @ [1.94]
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Premier League 2016/17 Season P/L
Staked: 119 pts
Returned: 133.97 pts
P/L: +14.97 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet
- 2014/15 P/L = +35.30 pts from 215 pts staked
- 2015/16 P/L = +14.99 pts from 234 pts staked