The busy festive period is almost upon us, and if you are set to be dragged around the shops by a significant other on a warpath this weekend then you have our best wishes.
That’s no excuse not to find a five-minute window to get your bets on though, and we’ve helped you out here by publishing the pick of Saturday’s Premier League betting tips right here:
Arsenal vs Stoke City (3pm)
What a coup for Arsenal to finish top of Group A of the Champions League. They took a strong squad to Basel, and hoped and prayed that PSG fluffed their lines against Ludogorets. Sometimes, prayers do get answered.
Now for the potential downside. We know that sides can struggle playing three games in a week – you only need to look at the big boys’ records straight after European adventures for proof of that, and Arsenal welcome a Stoke side to the Emirates who might just fancy themselves of completing a shock result.
It would take a brave man to bet against the Gunners completely as they are in fine fettle at present, but Stoke – armed with a one-goal headstart according to our selection – must be worth a go. With just one defeat in their last six, the Potteries side are rejuvenated now that they are back to full strength after injuries.
Stoke +1.25 Asian Handicap (43/40 with bet365)
Burnley vs Bournemouth (3pm)
There is quite the pattern emerging in Burnley’s play; quite simply, they always seem to play well at home no matter how badly they have suffered in the away game prior:
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley -> Burnley 1-1 Hull
Leicester 3-0 Burnley -> Burnley 2-0 Watford
Southampton 3-1 Burnley -> Burnley 2-1 Everton
West Brom 4-0 Burnley -> Burnley 1-2 Manchester City
So we’re not overly concerned about the Clarets’ 0-2 reverse at the hands of Stoke last time out. Instead, we’re focusing on their record at Turf Moor: four wins, a draw and three defeats (two of which were by a one-goal margin to Manchester City and Arsenal).
Bournemouth will be on cloud nine after last week’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Liverpool, but let’s for once allow facts to get in the way of a good story: for 60 minutes or so, the Cherries were completely played off the park.
Eddie Howe’s men have won just one of seven games on the road this term, and we don’t see that becoming two on Saturday.
Burnley +0.25 Asian Handicap (42/41 with BetVictor)
Hull City vs Crystal Palace (3pm)
The nod of approval and the much-underused-these-days ‘okay’ hand gesture: that was Alan Pardew’s message to the Palace board of directors after his side’s excellent 3-0 demolition of Southampton last time out.
That stopped the rot, and for a side with a habit of going on runs of form – two defeats, five unbeaten, six straight defeats already this term in sequence – the omens suggest that the Eagles may soar if only for a couple of weeks.
As for Hull, well, things don’t get any easier do they. They are competitive, determined and nobody can question their commitment, but their complete lack of quality (three goals netted in their last six) suggests they are likely to be outscored by Pardew’s Palace here.
Crystal Palace to Win (13/10 with Paddy Power)
Sunderland vs Swansea (3pm)
You wouldn’t normally associate proverbial ‘relegation six-pointers’ with being goal-fest, but with these two sides involved – Swansea especially – that’s the avenue we have to go down.
The Black Cats have improved immeasurably in recent weeks, with three wins and a draw, and after looking rather toothless earlier in the campaign they have now found a cutting edge in front of goal: netting in each of their last four.
Under Bob Bradley’s stewardship, Swansea have cleared the 2.5 mark in five of seven appearances, specifically going over 3.5 twice, 4.5 twice and – as you surely all backed – over 8.5 against Crystal Palace.
We’re not sure how many sugars the American has in his tea in the morning, but it is certainly cultivating a rather gung-ho approach from the Welsh side.
Over 2.5 Goals (5/6 with Coral)
Leicester City vs Manchester City (5:30pm)
When previewing Manchester City’s chances we can merely rinse and repeat: outstanding going forward, they are hopeless defensively. See Chelsea’s 1-3 smash-and-grab raid for further evidence, or the countless other times that Pep Guardiola’s side have conceded due to a glaring lack of conviction at the back. If the Spaniard doesn’t flip open the cheque book in January we’d be mightily surprised.
They travel to take on champions Leicester without Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho, who both lost the plot in Saturday’s defeat. The loss of Aguero can be assuaged somewhat by Kelechi Iheanacho, a more than capable goalscorer, but the absence of Fernandinho – an excellent midfield screen – is a huge blow given that the Citizen’s defence is about as solid as a Hob Nob dipped in a steaming cup of tea.
Perhaps as a signal of intent for the weekend, Claudio Ranieri has left the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Islam Slimani at home for the midweek trip to Porto, and assuming that all three start then it could be a very entertaining evening of action in both goalmouths.
Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score (Evens with Coral)