We’re a month away from Christmas now, and already managers of Premier League clubs across the land are starting to draft their letters to old Saint Nick.
From Pep Guardiola requesting a defender that can actually defend to Jose Mourinho’s search for a bigger bus, the man in red is likely to have his hands full this Yuletide.
A good way to start the festive season would be three points; or, in some cases, simply avoiding defeat. Here is the pick of Saturday’s Premier League betting tips.
Burnley vs Manchester City (12:30pm)
An intriguing fixture is this, and one from which you fancy some eagle-eyes punters will make plenty of money!
On the face of it this looks like a straightforward Manchester City victory, and – of course – that might just be the way it pans out. But there are a couple of sub-plots lurking in the shadows which are worthy of consideration.
Firstly, there’s Burnley’s excellent form at Turf Moor. They have beaten Liverpool, Everton and Watford on home soil already this term, and suffered a narrow 0-1 loss to Arsenal to boot.
Pep Guardiola has finally massaged his City players into form, but just look at their record immediately after playing in the Champions League: they were beaten by Spurs after drawing 3-3 with Celtic in midweek, and played out 1-1 draws with Middlesbrough and Southampton just four days after their dust-up with Barcelona. They have less recovery time here as well seeing as though they play in Germany on Wednesday night and then must be on the road to Burnley in time for Saturday lunch.
So, this selection is speculative at best, but sometimes you just have to follow your hunches.
Burnley +1.25 Asian Handicap (27/20 with bet365)
Hull City vs West Brom (3pm)
The diagnosis for Hull City fans is rather bleak, unfortunately: injuries and a lack of investment in the summer really starting to catch up with the Tigers. Seven defeats in their last eight starts speaks volumes….
Defensively they are a mess, with an average of 3.00 goals conceded per 90 minutes in their last eight, and with the form of key men such as Robert Snodgrass just tailing off a little, Hull’s bright start to the campaign is but a distant memory.
West Brom, in contrast, are buzzing at the moment. Just prior to the international break they carried out a fantastic smash-and-grab raid on Leicester City in a 2-1 win, and in truth they deserved something from their prior away day at Anfield. They returned from the lay-off with a 4-0 thumping of Burnley; a side who most have struggled to put away. Just call him Tony Pulisinho!
As smart punters we often get a sense when to teams are heading in opposite directions, and the bombast in the Baggies camp should see them over the line here.
West Brom to Win (13/8 with Paddy Power)
Leicester City vs Middlesbrough (3pm)
The cat is out of the bag: Leicester City are terrible in the Premier League. Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but explaining how they can go unbeaten through their Champions League group but can be beaten by the likes of West Brom and Watford – no offence – well, it’s takes some doing.
Often it can be hard to put your finger exactly on what the problem is: perhaps Claudio Ranieri is expecting too much from the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez, who very rarely get a rest? Either way, the Boro will fancy themselves come Saturday.
Aitor Karanka’s side have been excellent in recent weeks, and last time out they looked genuinely good value to end Chelsea’s winning streak. Points gained against Arsenal and Manchester City confirm that the North East outfit aren’t afraid of mixing it with the big boys.
Are Leicester a big cheese these days? That’s open to debate, but their form suggests otherwise – Champions League progression or not.
Middlesbrough +0.25 Asian Handicap (13/10 with bet365)
Chelsea vs Tottenham (5:30pm)
Saturday’s tea-time teaser brings together two London clubs in rather contrasting states of flux at present.
Maybe all managers should just switch to a 3-4-3 formation….it has certainly worked for Antonio Conte. The Italian’s tactical tweak has led to six consecutive victories and half-a-dozen clean sheets; he’s certainly earned his corn there. If we were being hyper-critical of what has gone before, this is perhaps their biggest test to date since Conte switched to three at the back.
It’s hard not to have sympathy for Tottenham, whose Champions League dream has become rather nightmarish, and it is tough to conceive that their lack of form on continental shores hasn’t affected their Premier League performances in some way. One win in five suggests that’s the case.
The key here is that neither of these sides concedes many goals; expect a fraught, tactical battle to ensue here in the quest for three very important points.
Under 2.5 Goals (21/20 with William Hill)