Southampton v Brighton
Wednesday January 31
Saints trending positively
Saints played seven games without winning in December and then kicked off the new year with a defeat, but appear to have turned a corner in recent weeks. The FA Cup has served up a pair of victories and the Premier League a pair of draws, including holding Champions League-chasing Spurs to a point at St Mary's. In truth we can add the final game of 2017 to Saints' good run - a 0-0 at Old Trafford in the first fixture following England goalkeeper Fraser Forster's demotion to the bench. His replacement, the much-travelled Alex McCarthy, has failed to keep a clean sheet in two league games since holding the Manchester United attack at bay but nevertheless looks to be the no.1 for manager Mauricio Pellegrino.
The Southampton manager signed striker Guido Carillo from Monaco last week to address a problem position at the club. The two worked together at Estudiantes back in Argentina.
Pellegrino has a near full-strength squad to choose from with only Charlie Austin definitely out. Ryan Bertrand is a slight doubt.
Shot-shy Brighton on the slide
These are worrying times for Brighton. The club is mired in poor form, and has been sliding inexorably towards the Premier League's danger zone for some time. Lacking a reliable goalscorer - Glenn Murray is their top marksman with six goals - they go into this game just one point above the bottom three having been as high as ninth before the November international break. Chris Hughton's side have won just one Premier League from 13 played since and have scored in just five games on that run.
Hughton has all his favourites available for selection as he seeks to win on the road for what would be the third time this season, and what would be a key defeat of a genuine Premier League relegation rival.
Southampton rightful favourites but is the price too short?
The Exchange is keen on a Southampton win on Wednesday night making Pellegrino's side just 1.84/5 for the three points. Brighton are 6.05/1 while the draw trades at 3.55.
While it certainly looks the likeliest outcome, it's hard to trust a Southampton side that has won just three of 13 home games, especially at odds-on. If being led by price - and you must if you are to turn a long-term profit - then you have to swerve Saints at just 1.84/5. There is a strong draw trend in both teams' results and while we can expect the home team to win the value looks to be on the stalemate.
Goals will be few and far between
A lowly 17 goals scored in 24 fixtures makes Brighton the division's second-lowest scorers and Saints average just one goal per game so it seems likely this one will be low down the MotD pecking order. The market is certainly expecting a drab affair making overs 2.427/5. Even under 1.5 goals is just 2.8415/8 to back.
Correct scores could be the route to profit
I rarely play in these markets but I am drawn to the low-scoring options. The last time these two met it finished one apiece and a repeat can be backed at 7.413/2 while 0-0 - a result that Brighton have served up on four occasions this season - is 8.88/1. You can Dutch both options at a combined price of around 4.47/2.
If Southampton win it'll likely be by a goal or two without conceding - 1-0 is 6.05/1 while 2-0 can be backed at 8.27/1. A simple home win to nil is 2.68/5 on the Sportsbook.
It could be that we see a very cagey first-half and the 0-0 half-time score appeals - it's a bet at 2.56/4 with the Sportsbook.
Mike Dean, most recently seen serving up six yellow cards in Burnley's home defeat to Manchester United, is the man in charge of this one. Dean is relatively prolific with the yellows (averaging just shy of four per game) but has only shown one red this season.