Our betting guru Jones Knows was in red-hot form with his predictions last weekend – what has caught his eye this time around?
Last weekend’s winners (+34.5 profit to level stakes):
- Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea all to win to nil acca at 22/1
- Chelsea to win to nil at 10/11
- Manchester City to win to nil at 15/8
- Wolves to win more corners than Watford at 5/6
- Leandro Trossard to score first at 15/2
- Matip 1+ shots & Wolves to win corner race double at 5/2
- First goal to be a header in Everton vs Burnley 9/2
Newcastle vs Leeds, Friday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
There has been plenty of talk surrounding ‘home advantage’ this season with fans back at grounds. Well, this one could be a case of ‘home disadvantage’ for Newcastle. Leeds – without a win this season – will be circling this fixture in their diary as the one to get their season up and running in front of a home crowd that are on the turn. Just one point taken from Newcastle’s first four games has come with a dollop of positives from Steve Bruce, but the tidal wave of negativity from the fanbase is building to a crescendo. It could boil over at St James’ Park.
Bruce can point to some fluent attacking play in the defeats to West Ham and Manchester United but the numbers paint a worrying picture. They have lost the ‘expected goals battle’ in all four of their fixtures, posting a total of 4.29 xG for and a whopping 10.53 xG against. Also, Newcastle have conceded the most Premier League goals since Project Restart (June 2020), shipping 91 in 51 games. A set of numbers that screams relegation battle.
Leeds have not exactly been setting the world alight either but Marcelo Bielsa’s style will always make them a threat against leaky defences – as shown by their seven goals scored against Newcastle in the two fixtures last season. A Leeds win is fancied at anything bigger than evens and their shots line of more than 16 is worth a tickle as Bielsa notoriously demands his teams to keep on attacking whatever the match scenario.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-3
BETTING ANGLE: Leeds to have 16 or more shots at goal (6/4 with Sky Bet)
Wolves vs Brentford, Saturday 12.30pm
Wolves remain a team I want to keep on my side. They turned impressive performances into points last weekend at Watford, playing with plenty of control and confidence in the second half to thoroughly deserve maximum points against a team set for a season of struggle. The task for them this weekend will be a similar one with Brentford likely to remain playing with their no-thrills style where clean sheets are their ploy to a season of survival.
Only Manchester City have a better expected goals against record than Brentford this season with Thomas Frank’s team restricting Arsenal, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Brighton to just an expected goals against figure equating to 2.66. It is an impressive feat and makes me fancy their chances of getting out of Molineux with another clean sheet.
For a bet, though, my eyes are drawn to the chances of Joao Moutinho picking up a card at 9/2 with Sky Bet. He has escaped one so far this season, but has made nine fouls, two of which were sliding challenges that were on the borderline of a yellow. The 35-year-old is being tasked with covering lots of ground in a midfield two with Ruben Neves – a task he has accomplished very well thus far. However, it does leave him exposed during transitions from the opposition and his card-count should rocket in the coming weeks if playing in the same role.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
BETTING ANGLE: Joao Moutinho to be carded (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Burnley vs Arsenal, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 FOR FREE!
If Mikel Arteta can create a solid spine to what Arsenal are trying to do, then a top-six finish is still within their grasp despite a flaky start. The signs are there to get me on board with that prediction – which is a 9/4 shot with Sky Bet.
Gabriel Magalhaes adds plenty of steel and no-nonsense defending to compliment Ben White’s footballing ability and Thomas Partey will become an automatic starter when able to stay clear of injury. There is a talented team lurking, I’m sure of it. And I’m happy to side with them for this one in what should be a tight game.
That spine will be significantly tested at Turf Moor, though. Sean Dyche does not seem overly concerned about Burnley’s winless start to the campaign and for 60 minutes at Everton on Monday night where they were the better team you can see why. It is all about channelling that level for an entire 90 minutes and avoiding getting punished for mistakes made in key areas of the pitch.
Kieran Tierney will be seeing plenty of the ball down Arsenal’s left, as he always does. Arteta makes it pretty obvious regarding their ploy of getting him on the overload down that side and it is difficult to stop. He put in 15 crosses in the defeat at Brentford and six in the win at Norwich, officially creating nine chances for his team-mates. One of those is going to be taken soon in a game like this one where Arsenal are expected to dominate territory.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Kieran Tierney to register an assist (4/1 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 FOR FREE!
The quality within the ranks of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City is making them impossible to oppose when facing any other team in this Premier League. As Gary Neville pondered on Monday Night Football, this might be the best English domestic league we have ever seen in terms of quality.
If Liverpool take their chances in this one, then Palace will not stand a chance – a very similar defeat looks on the cards to the one they suffered at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend.
Interestingly, Sadio Mane has scored in each of his last eight appearances against Palace.
Only Robin van Persie (against Stoke) has scored in eight consecutive Premier League games against the same opponent, so Mane is set to create history if finding the net. Of course, these runs do eventually hit the buffers, but I am happy to invest in his chances. Despite his wayward finishing from his 10 shots against Leeds last weekend, he leads the way for expected goals in the Premier League this season with chances falling his way equating to a figure of 3.47 with an actual return of two goals. He can bring those two figures closer together by scoring first at 7/2 with Sky Bet at Anfield.
SCORE PREDICTION: 3-0
BETTING ANGLE: Sadio Mane to score first (7/2 with Sky Bet)
Manchester City vs Southampton, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 FOR FREE!
If it looks like a home win, quacks like a home win, then it is probably a home win. You do not need me to tell you that. And odds of 1/9 with Sky Bet certainly back that theory up.
Instead of fumbling around trying to sniff out some betting value in the outright match prices, my eyes are firmly focused on Manchester City players in the various goalscorer markets. A price that jumps out to me is the 25/1 with Sky Bet about Ferran Torres scoring with a header, something he has already done this season in the win over Arsenal. Pep Guardiola has started the Spaniard in all six matches across all competitions this season – clearly he likes the way he leads the line.
Although ripe for improvement in that position, Torres does have the instincts to get in where it hurts and should be thriving in that central role with the amount of quality ammunition coming in from wide areas. This is especially relevant for this encounter as Southampton are notoriously sloppy at defending direct ball into their box. Since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over in 2018, Saints have allowed 84 headed shots on target – the third highest of any Premier League team with 22 of those headers finding the net.
SCORE PREDICTION: 4-0
BETTING ANGLE: Ferran Torres to score a header (25/1 with Sky Bet)
Norwich vs Watford, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 FOR FREE!
On what we have seen, I would be surprised if these two are not in the bottom three come the final day of the season.
However, relegating teams in September is not a smart move. And a win for either of these two at Carrow Road could ignite a spark in results.
Norwich are not a team I can trust fully to turn promising performances into results. But I am happy to back them here at 23/20 with Sky Bet, mostly down to Watford’s tameness in attack. Since breezing past Aston Villa on the opening day, they have only created a total expected goals tally of 1.5 with their attacking patterns very lacklustre when falling behind in matches.
Those that like playing the cards market may want to check out what Sky Bet has to offer in that regard for this one. With both teams playing for the win and tension in the air, I am expecting a full-blooded battle with a potential for a card-frenzy. This fixture in the Sky Bet Championship last season was card-crazy with 11 being shown across the two fixtures. It should be spicy.
Watford, despite not carrying much dangerous attacking threat in the final third, are a team that plays with a physical edge and do draw fouls from the opposition, especially through Ismaila Sarr. Opposition teams have averaged 2.75 cards per 90 minutes vs Watford this season. That bodes well for the chances of Norwich midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou getting the attention of the referee and picking up a card at 7/2 with Sky Bet. The fiery Frenchman was cautioned in the defeat to Leicester.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Pierre Lees-Melou to be carded (7/2 with Sky Bet)
Aston Villa vs Everton, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Villa got plenty of tongues wagging with their performance at Chelsea. Yes, getting done 3-0 is not exactly a reason for cheer but the performance on show, with Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings starting in attack, looked promising. They created an expected goal figure of 1.73 at Stamford Bridge and posted 18 shots on Edouard Mendy’s goal. Since Thomas Tuchel took charge, no opposition team has amassed a higher expected goal figure in a Chelsea home game.
The question is, can they be trusted to back up that performance in a completely different match scenario? Never trust one much-improved run in isolation, a wise horse racing punter told me. That may ring true here. I have my doubts on Villa with some snoozy and lackadaisical early-season showings, defined by me as the Grealish hangover, still lingering in my thoughts. I am happy to take them on with Everton in town and then start to respect them as a force in the future if backing the Chelsea performance up.
Everton will be happy to allow Villa the ball and that will suit Rafa Benitez’s boys down to the ground. Not many teams go to Brighton and play with such control and fizz on the counter-attack. They got a result there playing that way and this could be a similar outcome.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Everton draw no bet (11/10 with Sky Bet)
West Ham vs Manchester United, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports
Should the sixth-best team in the Premier League be 100/30 with Sky Bet to beat the fourth-best with the added pull of home advantage? I would suggest that price is too big to ignore.
Manchester United remain an overrated team by the markets. Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, makes them stronger in the final third but as a team they are being rated very closely to Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. The team aspect of their play and strategy from the man at the helm falls very short when compared to those three aforementioned teams. It is basically a formula of relying on quality individuals to make match-changing interventions at key times.
All fine and dandy against most teams in this Premier League but playing that way does leave you vulnerable to fit, well-coached teams that play above the sum of their parts. Wolves absolutely played United off the park ticking all those criteria – all that was missing was the ability to score from creating an expected goals figure of 2.33. My money was down on Wolves that day. And, I am in the mood for recouping some now United are up against another excellent opponent with the counter-attacking style and finishing ability to hurt them.
The Hammers have scored in 18 of their last 20 home matches and even though Michail Antonio is suspended, their defensive organisation and skill on the counter-attack is capable of creating big chances against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: West Ham to beat Manchester United (100/30 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs Leicester, Sunday 2pm
Two good footballing teams likely to cancel one another out here. The draw is a serious runner at 11/5 with Sky Bet.
The scorching pace of Jamie Vardy remains Leicester’s main weapon of attack and he will be licking his lips at the prospect of latching onto Shane Duffy at the heart of the Brighton back three. Duffy is one of the best around at winning 50-50 balls in the air but get the ball down the side of him and he is a weakness in this Brighton side. When faced with pace he has already been cautioned twice this season for wild lunges on opposition players. I can foresee a situation of Vardy testing his ability in one-on-one situations with a last-man infringement a possible outcome. The 66/1 for a red card to be shown Duffy’s way is worth a tickle.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Shane Duffy to be sent-off (66/1 with Sky Bet)
Tottenham vs Chelsea, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Why would you fix it if it is not broken? That is my theory regarding Chelsea and the chances of them winning without conceding at 15/8 with Sky Bet. The same price as we got last week when they did the business to nil over Aston Villa.
Thomas Tuchel is a bit of a master at mastering the away day. Since he took over, Chelsea have lost just one of their 15 away games in all competitions – the only defeat being a 2-1 reverse at Aston Villa on the final day of last season, where they could be excused for having an eye on the Champions League final. Chelsea have also won four of the last five Premier League meetings with Spurs, keeping a clean sheet in four of those clashes.
Tottenham’s display at Palace did not come as too much of a shock to me. Nuno’s style is always going to make them a tough watch early on in games against so-called inferior opposition. His plan to turn the game into a 20-minute one was working until the sending-off. They will win plenty of games by one goal this season on the road. Not this one though. It is all about Chelsea to grind this one out, showcasing their excellent defensive prowess.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Chelsea to win to nil (15/8 with Sky Bet)