Boxing Day: is there any better time of the year to put your bets on and bunker down on the sofa and watch them come in? The turkey has been devoured, presents have been opened and all that is left is the mindset that ‘it’s Christmas, I may as well have another brick-sized slab of stilton’.
Having a wager or two is one way to cut through the malaise – it’s that or watch the Muppet Christmas Carol for the 1,419th time, unfortunately – so here’s a heads-up as to the pick of Boxing Day’s Premier League betting tips:
Watford vs Crystal Palace (12:30pm)
As punters, sometimes we are all guilty of looking too deeply for insight, when the obvious wager is staring us in the face. With Watford having lost four of their last five matches, and Palace going down by single-goal margins to Manchester United and Chelsea but coming out of those matches with credit, clearly the Eagles are flying slightly higher than the Hornets at present.
Palace’s goal threat is of interest – they have netted in 13/15 outings since August, and so for Watford to win this match they will surely have to score at least twice; something the likes of Chelsea and Southampton have failed to achieve against the Eagles in recent times.
The hosts here have been beaten by West Brom, Stoke and Sunderland of late, and so it is hard to have any confidence in their abilities. To see Palace available at almost even money to avoid defeat here is simply unmissable.
Crystal Palace +0.25 Asian Handicap (7/8 with bet365)
Arsenal vs West Brom (3pm)
Fun with numbers now: did you know that 16% of Premier League fixtures finish in a 2-1 scoreline? That is roughly one in five matches – or two per gameweek to be precise.
While many punters opt for Both Teams to Score or ‘Team A to Win & Over 2.5 Goals’ type markets, it can actually be far more profitable to ‘Dutch’ the 2-1 scoreline with the 3-1 result, which occurs in 10% of all Premier League matches.
Statistically we have an excellent chance of securing a much more rewarding return than those standard markets outlined above, and this Arsenal vs West Brom fixture looks a prime candidate for the model.
We expect the Gunners to bounce back from away defeats to Everton and Manchester City, while the Baggies’ performances against good teams (0-1 and 0-2 losses to Chelsea and Manchester City) rather belies their flat-track bully status (wins over Burnley, Watford and Swansea of late).
West Brom don’t concede many on the road, and will fancy their chances of netting with Shkodran Mustafi out injured. But the Gunners will be keen to get back to winning ways, and they should have too much quality for Tony Pulis’ men.
Arsenal to Win 2-1 (17/2 with BetVictor)
Arsenal to Win 3-1 (11/1 with bet365)
Burnley vs Middlesbrough (3pm)
If asked to make a snap judgement, most punters would suggest that this fixture will be a low-scoring affair, but there is enough value to entertain backing Both Teams to Score at an odds-against mark here.
It’s a line that has landed in each of Burnley’s last four outings at Turf Moor, and while Middlesbrough are rather more conservative on the road they have netted in 4/7 on their travels. Having put three past Swansea last time out, surely they will have a taste for goals here?
The Boro have failed to score on six occasions this term, but four of those were against Chelsea, Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Aitor Karanka’s side aren’t capable in the final third against weaker opposition.
Both Teams to Score (21/20 with Betfair)
Chelsea vs Bournemouth (3pm)
The Blues have now won eleven matches in a row – extraordinary given their failings at the start of the campaign – but on Boxing Day they will have to try and attempt to extend that run without the suspended Diego Costa.
Bournemouth are seemingly equally as likely to be excellent as terrible, and perhaps the bottom line about the Cherries is that they have conceded 12 goals in their last five outings.
Chelsea haven’t been blasting teams aside of late – their last three victories have all been 1-0 affairs – and so without Costa’s goal threat somebody else will need to step up to the plate. Most likely is Eden Hazard, the multi-talented Belgian who has returned to form with a bang under Antonio Conte and principally this 3-4-3 system that suits his natural instincts.
Hazard has notched six in his last ten appearances for the club, and so to see him marked at odds-against here when being entertained by a generous Bournemouth backline is excellent news for punters.
Eden Hazard Anytime Goalscorer (21/20 with Betfair)
Hull vs Manchester City (5:30pm)
Football has a habit of surprising us all, but this match looks poetically simple to predict. Hull, having hit the post three times against West Ham last time out, will surely find the net against porous Manchester City; but still ultimately fall short against a side that has netted six in three without Sergio Aguero.
Pep Guardiola has stumbled upon a winning formula at City – not that dropping John Stones was hard to see for anyone with half a brain, while Hull continue to go through the mill: playing well is one thing, but losing eleven of your previous fifteen matches is quite another.
This is a contest that appears perfect for the 2-1 and 3-1 Dutching opportunity, which has landed in seven of the Citizens’ eleven wins this term.
Manchester City to Win 2-1 (8/1 with Betfred)
Manchester City to Win 3-1 (11/1 with bet365)