Last weekend’s results were typically, frustratingly Premier League: comfortable wins for many of the division’s fat cats spoiled for punters by a couple of shock results that not even Mystic Meg could have seen coming.
It’s still early days in English football’s top flight of course, and as things settle down we can expect more predictable outcomes to be delivered. Hopefully, that trend will start on Saturday.
Here is the pick of this week’s betting tips:
3pm – Chelsea vs Burnley
Two games, two wins: Chelsea fans couldn’t have asked for much more from Antonio Conte. You get the impression that this Blues outfit will be a very different animal to the one that operated so meekly under Jose Mourinho last season, and with seven goals in three starts (including the 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers in midweek) the suggestion is that they won’t be backward in coming forward.
This match will be Burnley’s first on the road in 2016/17, and they no doubt caused misery for punters up and down the land when turning over Liverpool 2-0 last week. The headline from that game, as they often tend to be in this enlightened age, is that the Clarets had 18% possession and still managed to net twice and win the game. How, the naysayers cried. It’s simple: it’s not how much of the ball you have that counts, but what you do with it. Just ask Leicester City supporters.
The difference at Stamford Bridge will be stark however: if Burnley allow a Chelsea side in prime goalscoring form to have 82% possession, it could prove disastrous. But when you look at how Sean Dyche sets them up, they will surely once again look to detain the Blues. Given the way the Chelsea frontline is playing – and the option to play two up top in Costa and Batshuayi – suggests a busy afternoon awaits for Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal.
Chelsea -1 Handicap at 4/5 with Betfred
3pm – Southampton vs Sunderland
The data revolution in football has led many in the game to find new and innovative ways to measure success and failure, and some of the information that is now available would surely cause more than a chuckle from the likes of the much-missed Brian Clough and Bobby Robson.
But one data set that feels of huge relevance is the amount of shots taken per game (on average) from inside the 18-yard box; creating shooting chances in such close proximity to the goal increases the likelihood of the ball nestling in the back of the net.
Southampton and Sunderland currently sit third and seventh respectively in a hypothetical league table for ‘shots taken from inside the penalty area’, and as such we’re happy to back the odds-against chance that is Both Teams to Score at 21/20 with bet365.
Both Teams to Score at 21/20 with bet365
3pm – Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. After a tawdry start to the campaign that has witnessed them lose two in two, Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace have called upon Christian Benteke to fire the necessary goals to kickstart their season.
The Belgian can’t do it all of course, but the sheer presence of a £27m signing will surely do wonders for this Palace side. A morale-boosting midweek win over Blackpool, although clearly nothing to write home about, will also help.
Bournemouth are struggling. Completely outclassed by Manchester United in their season opener, they failed to really trouble a West Ham side for whom four key attacking talents (Payet, Ayew, Feghouli, Carroll) were all missing through injury last time out. Their inability to keep a clean sheet – that’s 14 matches now without a blank – will be of huge concern for Eddie Howe.
Expect the Eagles to finally soar and pick up their first three points of the season here.
Crystal Palace to Win at 13/10 with Paddy Power
3pm – Watford vs Arsenal
The return of Laurent Koscielny typifies just why the Frenchman has become so important to Arsenal in recent years: his presence at centre back helped the Gunners keep a clean sheet at goal-hungry Leicester last time out.
He should have a largely untroubled afternoon at Vicarage Road, as no Premier League side has fired fewer shots at goal than Watford thus far. With an average of just 1.50 per game from inside the penalty area, their chances of scoring here look slim.
Arsenal are yet to hit their stride in an attacking sense, and with Olivier Giroud still working his way back to fitness (as is Mesut Ozil), Arsene Wenger has resorted to fielding first Theo Walcott and then Alexis Sanchez as lone frontmen. The result? The Gunners sit 14th in a league table depicting most shots from inside the penalty area, and 15th for total shots.
Unless something drastic changes, this should be a low-scoring encounter.
Under 2.5 Goals at 19/20 with William Hill