Burnley [2.62] v Leicester [3.1]; The Draw [3.4]
Undoubtedly the biggest game of the season for both sides, and probably the biggest six-pointer we’ve had anywhere in the Premier League this term. The reward for victory is massive.
Leicester, with what will be their fourth win on the bounce should they achieve it, will almost certainly move out of the relegation zone for the first time since they lost to Southampton in early November, while a win for Burnley will bring those five clubs at the bottom of the table even closer together.
Nigel Pearson’s men have literally taken the bull by the horns in recent weeks, scored goals for fun, and are now reaping their rewards. I feel they have to stick with that approach, and if they do then I can see them winning this game.
The Foxes have scored in nine of their last 10 away games including two at Liverpool, two at Everton, five at Tottenham across two games, and last time they scored three in registering a win at West Brom. I have to give them a chance of scoring one or two at Turf Moor on Saturday and that will give them a great chance of securing victory.
It’s the complete opposite for Burnley with goals completely drying up. Sean Dyche’s men have won just one of their last 13 games but alarmingly they’ve managed to find the back of the net just once in seven outings. They’ll need to score at least a few in this game I sense, and I just don’t see them doing so.
Back Leicester to Win @ [3.1]
Crystal Palace [2.08] v Hull [4.3]; The Draw [3.5]
On the back of their recent excellent form under new boss Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace were well-fancied to beat a West Brom side that were leaking goals for fun last Saturday. But such is football – and a prime example why football betting is never easy – the form book was turned on its head and Palace were defeated.
Although the Baggies had been in poor form for a few weeks before last week’s game you didn’t have to look too far back to find a good spell of form from Tony Pulis’ men. The same cannot be said about Hull on Saturday.
The Tigers sit just one place above the drop zone having taken just nine points from the last 36 available. Their six-game form is even worse, just two points taken from a possible 18.
Scoring goals continues to be the problem for Steve Bruce’s men who have now scored just two times away from home in their last eight matches. Palace, who had won 10 of their previous 15 fixtures prior to last week’s loss, are a bigger price to beat Hull than they were to beat West Brom. One defeat is easily forgiven and the Eagles have to be backed.
Back Crystal Palace to Win @ [2.08]
Newcastle [2.46] v Swansea [3.3]; The Draw [3.4]
Another out of form side is most definitely Newcastle; Sunday’s 1-3 home loss to Tottenham being the Magpies’ sixth consecutive Premier League loss. They have a seven point cushion over the relegation zone but you feel they’ll need at least one more win between now and the end of the season to guarantee safety.
The big question is, where is that win going to come from?
It’s impossible to back John Carver’s men on current form – six straight defeats, just nine points taken from the last 42 available – and with more protests against Mike Ashley planned on Saturday, and another threat from sections of the crowd to boycott the game, then you just have to wonder how focused the players and staff will be for the match itself.
Swansea lost narrowly to a buoyant Leicester side last weekend but Newcastle’s form and moral is completely the opposite to that of the Foxes and I expect Garry Monk‘s men to take advantage.
The Swans have won three of their last five on the road including victories at struggling Burnley and Aston Villa. They’re an excellent price to add struggling Newcastle to that list.
Back Swansea to Win @ [3.3]
QPR [2.4] v West Ham [3.3]; The Draw [3.5]
Continuing the theme of out-of-form sides leads us to West Ham, a team that has won just one of their last 12 outings, that being a last minute winner against hapless Sunderland.
The Hammers appear to be the side that everyone wants to play right now; they have nothing to play for, they’re in no danger of dropping too far down the table, and it seems that they’ve lost focus and commitment.
It’s been said many times already in recent weeks, but it appears Sam Allardyce‘s men are well and truly on their summer holidays.
Having said all that, West Ham aren’t exactly losing games by wide margins and QPR will almost certainly have to be near their best to win. Chris Ramsey‘s men have found a little bit of form however, scoring seven goals in two games before rather unfortunately losing late on to Chelsea last time.
The Hoops have had two weeks to prepare for this game so you can be sure nothing will be left behind. They have everything to gain from a victory here and you just have to believe that if the three points go to the side that wants them more then [2.4] about that side being QPR is a very attractive price.
Back QPR to Win @ [2.4]
Stoke [1.96] v Sunderland [4.8]; The Draw [3.5]
Our final out-of-form side that is very opposable this weekend is Sunderland – you can’t help but fear for their Premier League survival.
I’ve said from day one that I fancied the Black Cats to struggle this season, largely because they had a very similar team to the one that very nearly got relegated last term. And the simple fact is that they can’t score goals.
I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet – believe me, I got a lot of pre-season predictions wrong – I’m just trying to emphasise the fact that Sunderland are a poor side who struggle for goals. Just take a look at their last 10 games – four goals scored in that time, a truly awful record.
So the likelihood is that Stoke will only need to score one or two to win this game.
Mark Hughes men are a solid mid-table side who you just feel that, unlike West Ham, are fully motivated to finish as high up the table as possible. They recorded an excellent victory over Southampton last week and I think they’re a great price to win at the Britannia Stadium again.
Back Stoke to Win @ [1.96] (best bet)
West Brom [4.2] v Liverpool [2.04]; The Draw [3.6]
It’s unlikely, very unlikely in fact, that all five teams that I’ve recommended to back so far will win on Saturday, but I’m quietly confident in them all. I fully expect at least three to win and that will guarantee us a a tiny profit for the weekend at least. But in this game I have no confidence about the outcome whatsoever.
West Brom endured a difficult few weeks prior to getting back on the winning trail last Saturday, whereas Liverpool have been unimpressive recently and last weekend lost to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final.
I think the conclusion from the above is that I don’t want to be backing the Reds at near even money, but it’s also very difficult to make a case for the Baggies, though if I were forced to have a bet in the Match Odds market then the home side make the most appeal at the prices.
But it’s Under 2.5 Goals where I am going to place my cash in this game.
As I’ve already mentioned, Brendan Rodgers’ men have been far from impressive of late and a lot of their games have been low-scoring affairs, eight from the last 12 to be precise, including five that went under the 1.5 goals mark.
West Brom got back on the clean sheet trail last week so the fact that they recorded six shut-outs from seven home games when Pulis arrived gives us hope that this game will be a low-socring encounter too.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ [1.95]
You can follow me on Twitter – @MikkyMo73
Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L
Staked: 182 pts
Returned: 206.42 pts
P/L: + 24.42 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet