In the first of a new weekly column, BettingLive.com’s Jonathan Turner highlights a double, a treble, and a banker win single on this weekend’s Premier League action…
The aim of this column is highlighting the best betting value on the weekend’s Premier League fixtures regardless of whether it comes in the live TV matches or in the game hidden down at the bottom of the running order on Match Of The Day.
But this week there’s a clear overlap between high profile and decent value as both Manchester United and Tottenham look overpriced for victories on a Super Sunday which needs none of the usual hype.
United travel to bitter rivals Liverpool and looking at the prices (Liverpool 13/8, United 19/10 and the draw 12/5) you’d think there’s been clear evidence that Brendan Rodgers’ men have closed the chasm between themselves and the reigning champions.
No less than 28 points separated the pair last season, with 37 points the year before that and United have run out 2-1 winners in the last three clashes between the pair.
Liverpool may go into the game with the 100% record but we’ve had just two games so far, with the Reds winning 1-0 against both Stoke and Aston Villa. That pair were both involved in relegation battles last season so this is the first real test against not only a top-half side but the team which finished top of the pile.
And their record in those encounters last season doesn’t make pretty reading – just two wins out of nine at Anfield against their fellow top-10 teams and three out of 18 if we add in away fixtures. It’s even worse against top-four opposition, with their results reading P8 W0 D5 L3 and in four of the five draws they were indebted to goals from Luis Suarez who sits this one out as he serves the remainder of his 10-match ban.
Plenty will argue that they are now facing a very different Manchester United side but the only real change is in the dugout where David Moyes has taken over from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The squad is virtually identical to the one which cruised to the title last season and they’ve started well enough too, producing some clinical finishing to win a tricky opener 4-1 at Swansea before playing out a bore draw on Monday night against Chelsea after Jose Mourinho chose to park the bus and take a point.
United are at their most lethal when able to counterattack and there should be much more opportunity to do that at Anfield, making those 19/10 quotes look positively generous.
We’re doubling them up with Spurs to claim the bragging rights in north London by winning at Arsenal.
There was virtually nothing between this pair last season (just a single point) and despite almost certainly losing Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, it’s Tottenham who have strengthened up over the summer.
Striker Roberto Soldado has been on the spot with match-winning penalties in their opening two games while Paulinho and Etienne Capoue have beefed up the midfield.
That physical presence is exactly how Aston Villa were able to silence the Gunners on the opening day of the campaign when winning 3-1 at the Emirates and a subsequent success for Arsenal at Fulham may have steadied the ship but actually told us very little.
A lot like Liverpool, Arsene Wenger’s side have been ruthless against sides in the bottom half of the table in recent seasons but struggled to deliver against the teams around them so with no new faces at the club there’s no reason why that’s suddenly about to change.
Coral offer that top-price, with the double coming in at 11/1. Plus get a free £50 bet when you open a Coral account.
Whoever you are backing on Sunday, it’s well worth shopping around for the special offers and concessions. Just as the bookies do at the marquee horseracing festivals, they are desperate to grab your business for the blockbuster games.
Bet Victor for example will refund losing correct score, first/last scorer, scorecast and man of the match bets up to a maximum of £25 in Liverpool v United and Arsenal v Spurs if there’s a red card. And while the knee-jerk reaction is to think both matches are blood and thunder clashes, that’s not quite borne out by the stats in recent campaigns.
Jonjo Shelvey (now at Swansea) received his marching orders for Liverpool against United last season but that’s the only dismissal in the last seven matches between the pair. In the north London derby it’s two red cards in the last three but Michael Oliver is one of the more lenient referees in the top flight and he takes charge of that one.
Our second piece of advice for the weekend’s action is guided by the stats, starting with that Arsenal v Spurs showdown. It’s a match which consistently produces goals (34 in the last seven), with the over 2.5 line collecting in every one of the last nine meetings between the pair in the league and cup.
And while there’s a slight worry that Spurs tend to be more cautious away from home, this fixture appears to be the exception to that rule so over 2.5 goals at the Emirates kicks off our stats treble. Bet Victor are tops at 8/11 for those backing in singles but for the purposes of this treble we’re taking the 4/6 with Sky Bet as they are significantly bigger on the other two parts of the wager.
It’s to the Etihad next where Manchester City can be backed at 8/11 to keep a clean sheet against newly-promoted Hull.
The ground (called the City of Manchester Stadium in those days) was the scene of Phil Brown’s infamous on-pitch half-time teamtalk on Boxing Day in 2008 when Hull trailed 4-0 at the break.
They managed to grab a consolation in the second half that day but the odds are against that happening this weekend. Manchester City have been ruthless on home turf with 34 clean sheets in their last 58 league fixtures and they can add to that tally against a Hull outfit which managed just six points from a possible 57 on their travels when they were last in the top flight, scoring only 12 goals in the process.
The treble is rounded off with under 1.5 goals in Newcastle v Fulham at 11/4.
The Magpies, who have now failed to score in five of their last six games, have managed just one shot on target so far this season (they were thumped 4-0 at Manchester City and then played out a goalless draw at home to West Ham last week).
And Fulham can be expected to set their stall out for a draw, just as they did before producing a late smash-and-grab raid when winning 1-0 at Sunderland on the opening day of the season.
Back the treble with SkyBet at 9.8/1. Plus get a completely free no deposit £10 bet if you’re a new customer.
Our final piece of advice and our banker bet of the weekend comes in Cardiff’s match with Everton. The Bluebirds stunned Manchester City last weekend but it’s the corners market rather than the match result in this one which really interests us.
Cardiff scored twice from flagkicks against City but still only won three corners in total in the game compared to City’s eight and it was a similar story in their first match against West Ham.
In stark contrast the Toffees, under new boss Roberto Martinez, have dominated the corner counts in their two games so far (11-1 v West Brom and 8-6 v Norwich).
It’s therefore a surprise that we can get odds against (11/10) with bet365 about Everton winning more corners than Cardiff and that looks a decent piece of business.
Double – Manchester United (19/10) to beat Liverpool and Tottenham (13/5) to win at Arsenal, 9.44/1 (Coral).
Treble – Over 2.5 goals in Arsenal v Spurs (4/6), Manchester City to keep a clean sheet against Hull (8/11) and under 1.5 goals in Newcastle v Fulham (11/4), 9.80/1 (Sky Bet)
Weekend banker – Everton to win more corners than Cardiff at 11/10 (bet365).
Visit Betting Live for full match-by-match betting previews.