Aston Villa [1.95] v West Ham [4.4]; The Draw [3.75]
Villa are now winning games – six from their last 10 in all competitions – and scoring goals thanks in large to the return to form of Christian Benteke. The Belgian has hit the back of the net 11 times in those last 10 matches making him the hottest striker in the Premier League at present.
Despite their recent good form Villa are still only two points above the drop zone and I’m sure Tim Sherwood and his men will be thinking that one more win will see them safe. They are odds-on to get that win at Villa Park on Saturday, and I believe they will get it, but I’m not interested in backing them at [1.95] to do so.
In recent weeks West Ham have silenced those – including myself – who have accused them of giving up for the season, and they’ll be confident of making life tough for Villa. Sam Allardyce‘s men have a top-10 finish to fight for now when a few weeks ago it looked like they’d fade down to 12th or 13th.
So while I believe Villa will win I’m also thinking that Benteke is the most likely player to get amongst the goals again. He’s available to back at around [2.2] to score at anytime and that’s the wager I’ll be having.
Back Christian Bentek To Score (anytime) @ [2.2]
Hull [2.0] v Burnley [4.5]; The Draw [3.5]
Burnley’s relegation will be confirmed if they fail to win at Hull on Saturday, and while I’d like to say ‘brave’ fight against relegation the reality is Sean Dyche‘s men have been very disappointing since the turn of the year.
The Clarets have won just one of their last 14 league games, incredibly against Manchester City, but as I’ve been saying for weeks now the goals have completely dried up. Last week’s 1-0 loss at West Ham means Burnley have now gone six consecutive games without finding the back of the net, and they’ve managed just one goal since the middle of February.
Hull aren’t exactly prolific themselves meaning there will be a lot of people wagering on seeing just a few goals in this clash, if any at all, but at least Steve Bruce‘s men have won back-to-back games recently and they have managed to hit the back of the net at least once in five of their last six outings.
I definitely envisage a low-scoring affair here but it’s priced up accordingly, whereas we’re getting even money about a home win which on current form, especially that of the Clarets, looks a decent enough bet to me.
Back Hull to Win @ [2.0] (best bet)
Leicester [2.64] v Southampton [3.0]; The Draw [3.4]
Leicester are the side with all the momentum at the bottom end of the table following five wins from their last six matches, and with games against Sunderland (away) and QPR (home) to come, plus this home game against Southampton on Saturday, then I firmly believe that Nigel Pearson’s men will beat the drop.
Whether they should be [2.64] to beat a classy Southampton side is another matter but I can understand the market being the way it is.
The Saints haven’t won on the road for three months and last week lost in disappointing fashion at Sunderland, this following defeats at West Brom, Stoke, and Everton recently, all sides below them in the table. So you just have to wonder whether their bubble has burst, are they going to miss out on a top-six finish that many people believe they deserve?
For various reasons this is an extremely tough match to call but I’m still confident that Ronald Koeman‘s men are very good at the back and that they can restrict the Foxes to no more than one goal in this encounter.
At the other end however Southampton haven’t really been firing on all cylinders for a while now and I can definitely see why Under 2.5 Goals is odds-on here. Expect a very tight game, and a low-scoring one at that.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ [1.88]
Newcastle [2.66] v West Brom [3.0]; The Draw [3.4]
A few weeks ago I couldn’t envisage any scenario that would involve Newcastle being relegated; I thought they’d be certain to pick up another point or two before the season is out but even if they didn’t I couldn’t see Sunderland overhauling their fierce north east rivals.
The above might still happen but it’s far tighter now than myself and I’m sure many others expected it to be. And after last week’s shambolic defeat at Leicester it’s impossible to see where the next point is coming from for the Magpies.
John Carver ripped into his team after last week’s loss, and the club have since announced they are fully behind the boss and his players as they try to avoid relegation. But clear the air talks and vote of confidences mean absolutely nothing if inwardly the players don’t give a damn, and unfortunately that’s how it appears with some of them.
So while Carver will be expecting a response from his men in this week’s home game with West Brom I simply don’t have the confidence to back them.
The Baggies were excellent when Tony Pulis was first appointed and following a slight dip in form they’ve bounced back with two superb away wins at Crystal Palace and Manchester United, both without conceding.
Albion might now have little to play for as a result of those wins but on what we’ve seen from Newcastle in recent weeks Pulis’ men might just need to turn up to take all three points from this match.
Back West Brom to Win @ [3.0]
Stoke [3.0] v Tottenham [2.62]; The Draw [3.5]
Tottenham are clinging on to sixth place by a single point at the moment, though I’m still not totally convinced they’ll want to stay there if it means they ‘have to’ play Europa League football next season.
Obviously Mauricio Pochettino‘s men won’t let that bother them even if it were true but there’s no doubt Spurs’ form has dipped lately, winning just two of their last seven – against rock bottom (at the time) Leicester, and hapless Newcastle. You do start to wonder whether the Lilywhites are starting to relax a little.
The same can almost definitely be said about Stoke. Mark Hughes‘ men have won just one of their last seven and will very likely finish the season either 9th, 10th, or 11th – they can effectively approach the last three games however they like.
Of all this weekend’s games – and I believe it’s an extremely tough weekend to predict in the Premier League – this is the one match that I have no interest in when it comes to the Match Odds.
In all honesty, I have no idea how the game will pan out full stop! Even the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market is a coin toss – effectively [2.0] the pair – but in the hope that both sides play in a completely relaxed fashion I’ll be having a wager that we see at least three goals.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.0]
You can follow me on Twitter – @MikkyMo73
Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L
Staked: 195 pts
Returned: 222.57 pts
P/L: + 27.57 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet