We are, approximately, a quarter of the way through the Premier League campaign, and while matters at both ends of the table are starting to take shape we, as punters, perhaps have more questions than answers at the moment.
Are Sunderland as bad as they appear? Can Burnley’s home form keep them up? Just how good are Manchester City? And will West Ham’s poor record at their new home mean they become embroiled in a relegation scrap?
Those queries form the basis of this week’s Premier League betting tips for Saturday.
Bournemouth vs Sunderland (3pm)
Things go from bad to worse for Sunderland, and rather annoyingly they scuppered our ‘Arsenal to Win to Nil’ bet last week when they were awarded a dubious penalty about 30 seconds after the Gunners had a stonewall spot-kick appeal turned down. Still, the 1-4 defeat does little to paper over the cracks for the Black Cats.
Bournemouth’s fine recent run came to an end at the hands of an impressive Middlesbrough outfit, but we sense the Cherries will be excited to get back onto home soil against a side that is, frankly, there for the taking. Eddie Howe’s men are W3 D1 L1 at Den Court this term, and they will be looking to extent that fine record on Saturday.
Of their last trio of home dates, Bournemouth have conceded a solitary strike – and those are games against Everton, Spurs and Hull lest we forget. So their chances of keeping a clean sheet are high, and the way this Sunderland side is playing at the moment there can be only one winner too.
Bournemouth to Win to Nil (19/10 with Coral)
Burnley vs Crystal Palace (3pm)
Anybody that remains surprised at Burnley’s decent start to the Premier League campaign needs to watch the Clarets in action. Resolute in defence and with a goalkeeper in Tom Heaton capable of performing heroic feats, Sean Dyche’s side are capable of avoiding defeat against anyone.
At home, that excellence is enhanced yet further. Victories already this term over Liverpool, Everton and Watford already at Turf Moor highlights their credentials, and with Andre Gray back from suspension their chances in this chance increase exponentially.
Crystal Palace….well, it’s hard to know what you’re going to get from them. But with eight goals conceded in their last three outings, it is not hard to see why the Eagles are reeling on the back of a trio of straight defeats.
Sometimes in betting, we must simply follow our noses and go with the prevailing flow.
Burnley +0.25 Asian Handicap (6/7 with BetVictor)
Manchester City vs Middlesbrough (3pm)
Manchester City have not found it easy in the immediate aftermath of Champions League nights – W1 D1 L1 is their record in Premier League outings after a midweek encounter, and given the energy used in their fine 3-1 victory over Barcelona on Tuesday we might expect that theme to continue in this match.
Middlesbrough’s improvement has been marked in the past few weeks: a 0-0 draw with Arsenal (when they were the best team by far) was followed by a handsome 2-0 win over Bournemouth last time out, so they will head to Manchester with no fear.
Even with the likes of Sergio Aguero likely to be rested, we accept that they will still probably win this match. But even if they triumph by a one goal margin our wager here will be successful, and if they win by two then our stake will be returned.
Middlesbrough +2.00 Asian Handicap (4/5 with bet365)
West Ham vs Stoke City (3pm)
It was easy to get carried away by West Ham’s apparent rejuvenation after they went three games unbeaten, but closer examination revealed rather fortuitous 1-0 victories over lowly Sunderland and Crystal Palace. A 0-2 reverse at the hands of Everton last time out reminds us all that without Dimitri Payet playing at his best, this injury-ravaged Hammers squad is rather toothless in front of goal.
No such problems for Stoke City, and while we recognise their three wins on the spin have come against sides at the foot of the table would it be churlish to remind ourselves that West Ham are hardly pulling up any trees in seventeenth.
Add into the mix West Ham’s travails in their new Olympic Stadium home – a jammy 1-0 win over the Black Cats followed a draw with Middlesbrough and a tonking from Southampton, and we can be confident in Stoke’s hopes here.
Stoke Double Chance (4/5 with bet365)