Wolves host Everton in the Monday Night Football and Mike Norman fancies the home team to continue their good run and condemn the Toffees to a third straight Premier League defeat...
"Lage's men are scoring freely right now (six goals in their last three games) while Everton's defence is all over the place, conceding seven in their last three league matches and six in their last three away games."
Wolves in decent form and fighting fit
It's been a mixed season for Wolves to this point, results-wise that is. Four wins, one draw and four defeats is their Premier League record to date; those four defeats came in their first five games however, while they've taken 10 points from the last 12 available to them.
But if truth be told Bruno Lage's men have been pretty consistent all season in terms of performances. They were creating chances for fun in those early games, and they still are now (they rank 6th in the xGF table), the big difference of course is that Wolves are now converting a decent number of those chances.
Deserved wins over Southampton and Newcastle were followed by an incredible come-from-behind 3-2 win at Aston Villa, and Wolves made it four games unbeaten with a 1-1 draw at Leeds last week in a game in which they were leading until the 95th minute.
So being within seconds of making it four league wins on the spin Wolves go into Monday night's encounter at Molineux in good form and with virtually a clean bill of health; only Fernando Marcal is rated doubtful from the squad of players Lage has used all season.
Toffees in sticky patch of form
Everton's season has been pretty much a mirror image to that of Wolves in terms of results. The Toffees took 10 points from the first 12 available, temporarily appeasing the large section of fans who were against the appointment of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, but in recent weeks Everton's form has nosedived.
A 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa was a bit of a shocker, and although they followed that with an unimpressive home win over hapless Norwich, back-to-back defeats at Goodison Park to West Ham and Watford have given the Benitez detractors a louder voice.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 1 Southampton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 0 Sheffield United
- Manchester United 0 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Arsenal 0 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 Watford
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 Chelsea
- Norwich City 2 1 Everton
- Everton 0 0 Leicester City
- Hull City 2 2 Everton
- Everton 2 3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Everton 0 0 Newcastle United
- Burnley 0 0 Everton
Conceding five goals at home to the Hornets last week, going from leading 2-1 to trailing 2-5 in the space of 12 minutes, was alarming to say the least and it already feels like that Benitez is at the stage of his Everton career where he can't afford to lose too many more games.
Unfortunately for the 61-year-old Spaniard, pivotal striker Dominic Calvert-Lewis is still at least a month away from recovering from a thigh injury, and with midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure also ruled out, and possibly defender Yerry Mina, Everton are likely to be without a key part of their spine for the trip to Molineux.
Home win looks a decent bet
The Match Odds market definitely has it correct in making Wolves 2.35/4 favourites to win the game, but is the price correct? I'm not so sure. I was slightly surprised to see that price and was expecting odds of around even money.
The obvious starting point is that Wolves are in much better form than Everton right now; they've taken 10 points from the last 12 available while the Toffees have taken just one point from their last nine.
In addition, Lage's men are scoring freely right now (six goals in their last three games) while Everton's defence is all over the place, conceding seven in their last three league matches and six in their last three away games.
The Toffees are a team I struggle to predict at times but in their current form, and without some key players for this game, I have to take them on. If you disagree then you can back an away win at 3.613/5 while the Draw can be backed at 3.412/5.
Backing goals also looks worth a bet
Similar to the Match Odds market I was also very surprised to see Over 2.5 Goals trading at 2.3411/8. That just looks wrong to me, even allowing for Wolves occasionally being involved in some low-scoring affairs.
As alluded to earlier, Lage's men have been creating lots of chances in their games and some of their matches finishing with two or fewer goals being scored has simply been down to a mixture of bad luck and some glaring misses.
Recently though Wolves have been among the goals, and their last three league results read 2-1, 2-3 and 1-1. That's 10 goals in just three matches at an average of 3.33 per game. Prior to those league games Wolves were also involved in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the EFL Cup.
As for Everton their matches are regularly entertaining affairs. Their first seven scorlines of the season read 3-1, 2-2, 1-2, 0-2, 3-1, 3-0 and 2-2 for example. And of course, last week they were on the wrong end of a 2-5 scoreline.
Strengthening the case for backing Over 2.5 Goals, since Wolves returned to the Premier League they've faced Everton six times; five of those games finished with at least three goals being scored and 20 goals were scored in total at an average of 3.33 per game.
Under 2.5 Goals can be backed at 1.748/11 here, but I'm struggling massively to understand why it's so short.
Use In-Play markets to your advantage
It's just the two recommended bets for me then on Monday night, but a final bit of advice is to always use the In-Play Exchange markets to your advantage and lock in a nice profit if the opportunity arises.
I'm talking of course in relation to my last Monday Night Football preview in which I was very confident that Crystal Palace were overpriced at 6.25/1 to beat Arsenal.
Unfortunately for my profit and loss stats that recommended bet goes down as a loser, but anyone who backed Palace that night had a great opportunity to lock in some sizeable profits. Palace were trading at around 1.42/5 when leading 2-1 with 15 minutes to go, and they hit a low of 1.021/50 before Arsenal equalised with virtually the last kick of the game.
Such late goals can be a right pain in the backside when you don't have the opportunity to cash out or trade your position, but on the Exchange you have full control of how you manage such good positions. Don't let that opportunity pass, especially in a football match.
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Mike's 2021/22 Profit & Loss
Staked: 10 pts
Returned: 17.76 pts
P/L: +7.76 pts
*Based on 2pts main bet (first listed or only bet), 1pt all other bets