Premier League Preview - Game Week 24Thursday, January 18 2018
VAR. Huh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again.
Or over and over again, if you’re a BBC pundit. But never mind that shit, it’s tip time…
As per, the Tap Ins are short-price bankers best suited to Doubles, Trebles and Accas.
The Smart Money bets are for snaffling a bit of value out of the bookies. And in the absence of value, I’ve dropped in a few Long Shots that are worth a punt.
Suggested stakes: 1pt per Smart Money, 0.5pts per Long Shot up to 3/1, 0.25pts 3/1+.
The Scorecasts are for tackling things like Sky’s Super 6 £250k or Colossus’ £5k - £5 million jackpots
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Brighton v Chelsea 12.30
Sniff, sniff… I smell a bit of betting value here. Watching Chelsea creep (and creak) past Norwich in the FA Cup in midweek will have done Brighton’s confidence no harm. A similarly neat and tidy team, with a solid home record – one defeat in 12 – and Liverpool and Man City are the only teams to leave with 3pts so far.
Chelsea are in that ballpark, but not the same league right now. Five draws on the spin tells us that. With their big hitters back they should just have enough, but only just.
Tap in: Priced out of it.
Smart Money: Chelsea & Under 2.5 Goals at 11/5 & Draw/ Chelsea at 3/1 are both value.
Scorecast: An ugly 0-1.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Arsenal have filled plenty of column inches this week, but none of it mentioned the five games without a win. Or two horribly soulless performances at Bournemouth and Forest. They’ve always picked their matches, to be fair and don’t like playing so I fancy them to maintain the third best home record in the PL.
Palace (and Roy Hodgson)’s resurrection began by being hard to beat away from home and going toe to toe with their hosts could be their undoing here. But it’s a free hit. Their next three – West Ham, Newcastle & Everton – are bigger games in the narrative of their season.
Tap in: Home Win is too short at 1/2, even for an Acca.
Smart Money: Arsenal to win by 1 goal at 11/4 is value
Scorecast: An edgy 2-1.
Burnley v Man United
Burnley may have been the story of the season, but the last few chapters haven’t been great. No wins in six, four blanks in front of goal and two 90th minute point-dropping goals conceded tells me they are running – or have run – out of juice a bit.
United look like they have been chugging along on the wrong kind of fuel all season, but the thought/ arrival of Alexi Sanchez might get a spark out of their laidback mavericks. Which should be enough to nick this.
Tap in: Nothing tap-innable here.
Smart Money: Man United by 1 goal at 9/4.
Scorecast: The old Mourinho used to love a 0-2. This one seems happy with 0-1.
Everton v West Brom
The Big Sam effect wore off for Everton almost as quickly as it did for England. But it lingered long enough to find the comfortable mid-table obscurity that will probably lead to the same conclusion, but that’s 18- months or so away. Their perfect home record v teams below them (six from six) suggests they will end West Brom’s two-match winning streak. (And if you’re wondering if you can call two matches a ‘streak’, after 21 without a win Baggies fans are probably calling them the fucking ‘Invincibles’.)
It’s hard to see Albion taking more than a point. And it’s easy to see them leave with none. But you don’t read this for me to hedge, so I’ll grow a pair and do this…
Tap in: Everton Draw No Bet at 8/15.
Long Shot: 1-1 at 5/1.
Scorecast: Er, 1-1.
Leicester v Watford
Aside from an odd blip v Palace, Leicester have been pretty reliable at home – winning five of seven v teams outside the Top Four. They generally punch their weight and with Mahrez getting his mojo back in the last month, they are probably as close to their title winning swagger as they are going to be. Plus, they were robbed in the 1-2 Boxing Day defeat to Watford too.
It has been a bearly season so far for the Hornets. They seem to have been a couple of minutes, or the width of a post, or a red card away from a lot more points. But I can see the same again here.
Tap in: Home Win at 4/5 is fair.
Smart Money: Leicester & Both Teams to Score at 12/5.
Scorecast: Leicester to reverse the 2-1 on Boxing Day.
Stoke v Huddersfield
El Clasico it ain’t. The arrival of Paul Lambert might not have excited the Stoke fans, but it will stop them shipping the stupid amount of goals they have this season. Luckily for all concerned, Huddersfield rarely pack an away goal in their travel bags – just three times in 11 away trips in fact. But 4pts from their last three on the road will have their tails up – and thinking they can make it 5pts from four. Odder things have happened. And Stoke wouldn’t turn their nose up at a share of the spoils either.
Tap in: Under 2.5 Goals at 8/13.
Smart Money: Draw & Under 2.5 Goals at 11/4.
Scorecast: 0-0 written all over it.
West Ham v Bournemouth
Two teams on the up. Their ‘win, draw, win, draw’ records match perfectly over the last four games. Both teams played reserve teams in their midweek FA Cup ties, suggesting that they both fancy something here. And it has the look of goals, with BTTS paying out in West Ham’s last five and Bournemouth’s last four. And let’s not forget the Boxing Day slugfest that just wouldn’t quit (until the referee stepped in at 3-3. I’m struggling to see much different, but will go for a more cagey version.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 8/11.
Smart Money: Draw & Both Teams to Score at 17/5.
Long Shot: Draw & Over 2.5 Goals is value at 11/1.
Scorecast: I’ll take a 1-1.
Man City v Newcastle 5.30
Hmm, can Newcastle nick an away goal? That’s my quandary here. City will win, we know that – despite perhaps not looking quite as snappy as earlier in the season. But winning matches is not the challenge, it’s managing the workload.
Newcastle have picked up decent points in recent weeks but 1pt from a possible 30pts v Top Half teams tells you everything you need to know. And don’t be hoodwinked by the narrow 0-1 at the Etihad at Christmas. More than a third of City’s PL wins have been by a single goal margin. It’s enough to win any game and plenty in some.
Tap in: Newcastle (+3) Handicap at 1/3.
Smart Money: Man City Win, Under 11.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 11/4 (Coral’s #YourCall)
Long Shot: Man City Win, Both Teams to Score; NO, Under 11.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 6/1 (Coral’s #YourCall).
Scorecast: A steady 3-0.
Southampton v Tottenham
Throwing away (potentially vital) Premier League points in the last few minutes of a match twice in a row, after a stoic draw at Old Trafford tells me Southampton’s players are bored. Perhaps disillusioned at the revolving exit door at the club. Perhaps frustrated they haven’t gone through it. Who knows. But the latch on the trap door below is looking less secure with every match without a win. Now ten and counting.
If they players are picking their matches they might fancy this one. But didn’t look that interested in the return fixture a couple of weeks ago. If Tottenham turn up in similar mood, this could get emotional.
Tap in: Tottenham at 8/13.
Smart Money: Tottenham & Under 3.5 Goals at 10/3.
Long Shot: Tottenham Win, Over 10.5 Corners & Over 35.5 Booking Points at 13/2 (Coral’s #YourCall).
Scorecast: Standard 0-2.
Swansea v Liverpool
It would be Liverpool-like for Klopp’s lot to piss all over their own shoes and drop points here, coming just a week after tweaking Man City’s ear. But not even Johnny Cochrane could make a case for Swansea.
The ugly duckling won’t want another 0-5 hiding like at Anfield on Boxing Day, but I suspect this match has been written off now they’re in survival mode.
One stat that is niggling me is Liverpool’s habit of conceding on their travels. Just two away clean sheets from 11 on the road so far. So I’m side-stepping it.
Tap In: Away Win but 3/10 is too short.
Long Shot: Liverpool Win, Both Teams to Score: NO, Under 10.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 4/1 (Coral’s #YourCall).
Scorecast: Threesy does it 0-3.
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Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.
Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.
Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.