Sheffield United v Burnley
Saturday November 2, 15:00
Simple but effective from the Blades
Sheffield United certainly aren't afraid of playing to their strengths. Chris Wilder has worked out that his team's best chance of Premier League survival is to keep things tight, view each match as a separate war of attrition and make conceding as few goals as possible the top priority.
It's worked so far with the Blades out to 4.67/2 for relegation, making them just sixth favourites for the drop after they went into the season as 1.84/5 jollies.
There are no real stars in this side and given their tactics and emphasis on defending and (occasionally) attacking as a unit, that might be a good thing.
Simple but effective from the Blades
If Burnley can keep on doing what they're doing, they may stay in the Premier League for a while yet. The big danger for them is that one of these days Sean Dyche decides he's had enough and wants a new challenge but till that happens, their tried and tested gameplan should mean relegation is for others to worry about.
Just six different Burnley players have scored in the league this season and don't expect that number to grown significantly but the men who really matter have among the goals.
Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood each have four goals and as ever, between them, they're Burnley's best chance of registering here.
Swerve the match odds market
The short(ish) term results show that Burnley have had the upper hand in this fixture, winning three of the last four. But before that, they'd won just one in 11 so as is often the case with these Opta numbers, there are some mixed messages there.
The one conclusion we should reach though is that Burnley would be somewhat unlikely winners here; they haven't won away in their last seven in the league, so the 3.65 they choose Saturday to stop the rot makes little appeal.
It's 2.3211/8 on the hosts but then again, they've lost two of their last three at home in the league so that's hardly a price to get excited about, either. Sitting on the fence and going with the draw would see you paid out to the tune of 3.3512/5.
Another example of stats painting different pictures is this: the last four league games (including a Championship final play-off) between these two ended 4-2 to Burnley, 3-3, 1-0 to Burnley (twice) and 3-2 to Burnley. Yet a look at United's games so far suggest goals should be at a premium here.
As highlighted in the Something for the Weekend column earlier in the week, United are 4/5 both home and away for under 2.5 games, with 8/10 the highest of the division for 'unders' matches.
Burnley games have had a few more goals with the Clarets losing 4-2 at Stamford Bridge last week and drawing 2-2 at Villa just under a month ago.
I'd rather focus on the low-scoring matches that have been the hallmark of United's campaign and you'll see far worse bets this weekend than the 1.674/6 this match produces less than 2.5 goals.
If a game doesn't have particularly good betting opportunities available, it's not worth trying to create them, much less firing three or four bullets and hoping one hits the target.
So I'm turning to the same game multi section of the Sportsbook for this game and taking the somewhat unadventurous view that United won't lose it, which is a mere 1/4 chance in the shape of Sheffield or Draw on the Double Chance market.
The Blades have been your archetypal 'hard to beat' sort of side and will have taken great confidence from their 1-0 win over Arsenal last time they were at home.
The obvious option to complete the double would be under 2.5 goals at 8/13 but I'd rather take the slightly bigger 4/5 on 'no' in the 'both teams to score' market. This could very easily be 0-0, 1-0 or 2-0 to the Blades and all those options are covered by the double.