Middelsbrough v Liverpool

Thursday December 15, 6:45pm AEST

Middlesbrough were beaten 1-0 at Southampton and so they remain down in 16th, just a point clear of the relegation zone, though they have proved competitive as they’ve lost just one of their 15 games by more than goal. Liverpool have stumbled in recent weeks as they’ve picked up just one point against West Ham and Bournemouth and it’s perhaps no coincidence that those are the two games they’ve played since losing Coutinho to injury.

Boro have lost four of their seven home games so far as they’ve managed just six goals in these matches, but haven’t conceded more than twice in any of these, whilst they’ve only conceded two in their last four at the Riverside Stadium. They’ve hosted three of the current top-seven already and lost by a single goal in each of these fixtures, against Chelsea, Watford and Spurs.

Liverpool have won half of their eight road games this term but though they’ve won at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge their defeats have come somewhat surprisingly at Burnley and Bournemouth. They’ve kept only one clean sheet in their last 13 on the road and if that run continues, scoring more than one goal at the Riverside could well prove tricky, particularly without Coutinho. As such, the visitors are probably a touch short at 1.64 but with Boro perhaps lacking the firepower to trouble even Liverpool’s defence, instead we’re backing Under 2.5 Goals, which has landed in Boro’s last four at home.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 2.06

Sunderland v Chelsea

Thursday December 15, 6:45am AEDT

Sunderland headed into their key relegation clash at Swansea showing some improved form as they’d won three of their last four, but the Black Cats were thumped 3-0 and so drop back down to the bottom of the table. Chelsea, conversely, climbed back above Arsenal thanks to Diego Costa’s winner against West Brom, which extended their winning run nine games as they’ve shortened in to 2.12 for the title after Liverpool and City both slipped up.

Sunderland picked up just one point from their first five home games, but they’ve won their last two at the Stadium of Light, against Hull and Leicester. They’ve scored in all but one of their home games under Moyes, but the Black Cats have struggled when hosting the top teams in recent times as they’ve lost five of seven at home to top-six teams since the start of last season. They failed to score in five of these games, though they only trailed at the break in two while Arsenal were the only team to score more than twice against them.

Chelsea have won their last four on the road whilst conceding just one goal, with three of these victories either 1-0 or 2-0’s and that’s an outcome we fancy again here. Chelsea have scored more than twice just once on the road so far and with Sunderland improving in recent times, we think they’ll be tough to break down, but as was the case against West Brom, we expect Conte’s men to come out on top eventually.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Chelsea to Win and Under 2.5 Goals at 4.1

West Ham v Burnley

Thursday December 15, 6:45am AEST

After being thumped 5-1 at home by Arsenal, West Ham bounced back with an excellent point at Anfield to move out of the relegation zone. Burnley also picked up a good result on the weekend as they ended a run of three straight defeats with a 3-2 home win over Bournemouth and so Sean Dyche’s men are up to 13th, but just four points clear of the Hammers in what is a tightly packed bottom half of the table.

The Hammers’ last four have all been against top-six teams and they haven’t played anyone lower than 11th in their last six, but prior to that they’d managed back-to-back wins over Sunderland and Palace. They’ve struggled to acclimatise to the London Stadium, but they’ve lost just three of their seven games there and have managed to beat Sunderland and Bournemouth.

Burnley have managed only one point from their six road games whilst scoring just one goal, as there’s been a massive disparity between their home and away form. They’ve conceded more than twice in four of these games and also trailed at the break in four, with each of their defeats by more than one goal. As such, we think the Hammers look a big price at 1.7 and since they’ve tended to start well in recent times, leading at the break in two of their last four and trailing at the break in only one of their last nine, we’re going to back them to be ahead at half time and full time as well as siding with them on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

BACK – West Ham/West Ham HT/FT at 2.68

BACK – West Ham -1 Asian Handicap at 2.22

Crystal Palace v Manchester United

Thursday December 15, 7:00am AEST

Crystal Palace came from behind to salvage a point at Hull in a 3-3 thriller to make it four points from their last two after a run of six straight defeats. United, meanwhile, ended a run of 1-1 draws as they managed to hold onto their 1-0 lead against Spurs to close the gap to Pocchetino’s side in fifth to just three points.

Though they managed a clean sheet against Southampton, Palace’s defensive vulnerabilities resurfaced at Hull and the Eagles have now shipped 20 goals in their last seven. They’ve lost four of their seven home games this term while they’ve also lost nine of 11 at home to top-eight teams since the start of last season. What’s more, Puncheon’s suspended for this one and the Eagles have picked up just two points from the nine games the midfielder has missed since the start of last season, trailing at the break in seven of these games.

There was a feeling that Utd have been playing well in recent weeks but haven’t got the results they’ve deserved as both Arsenal and Everton were fortunate to pick up draws against them. The Red Devils were certainly the better team against Spurs and finally picked up the result to prove it. They’ve won all three of their trips to bottom-half teams this term, beating Swansea, Hull and Bournemouth and since Palace have trailed at the break in three of their last four at home while Utd have been ahead at the break in their last two on the road, we’re backing Jose’s men to be ahead at half time and full time.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Man Utd/Man Utd HT/FT at 2.78

Manchester City v Watford

Thursday December 15, 7:00am AEST

Man City have suffered back-to-back defeats after they were stunned by Leicester at the King Power, with Pep’s men trailing 3-0 at the break and going on to lose 4-2. After winning their first six, the Citizens have now won just three of their last nine and trail Chelsea by seven points. Watford, on the other hand, managed a 3-2 home win over Everton to move back up to seventh, having lost three of four games prior to that.

The defence continues to be the main issue for City as they’ve kept only two clean sheets this term and with Fernandinho suspended and Kolarov looking far from convincing as a centre back, we expect that trend to continue. City have failed to win in four at the Etihad as they’ve only beaten Sunderland, West Ham and Bournemouth so far at home and only kept a clean against Bournemouth.

Watford  have shipped nine goals in their last two road games, but did manage to score against both Liverpool and West Brom and have in fact scored in six of their last eight away. They’ve lost all 10 of their trips to top-eight teams since the start of last season but as they’re in good scoring form having put three past Everton and with City shaky at the back, we’re backing Man City to win and both teams to score, as has been the case in seven of their nine wins this term.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Man City to Win and Both Teams to Score at 2.62

Stoke v Southampton

Thursday December 15, 7:00am AEST

After back-to-back victories over Burnley and Watford, Stoke were beaten 3-1 at the Emirates and so drop down to 11th, but it’s nonetheless a dramatic improvement after they were 19th after seven games. Southampton, meanwhile, made it three clean sheets in their last four as they beat Boro 1-0 at home to climb above Stoke into 10th.

Stoke have won three of their last four at home after a difficult start to the season in front of their own fans as they were well-beaten by both City and Spurs. Having now found some form, we expect Stoke to once again be a tough place to go to, as the likes of Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea all found out last season as they were all beaten by the Potters.

Southampton have won just once one the road this term, at struggling West Ham, and since they’ve lost their last two on the road at strugglers Hull and Palace, who thumped them 3-0, they look far too short here at 2.52. Indeed, Saints have won just eight times on the road since the start of last season and with Charlie Austin out for the visitors and Tadic also a doubt, we’re siding with the Potters on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Stoke +0.25 Asian Handicap at 1.85

Tottenham v Hull

Thursday December 15, 7:00am AEST

The defeat against Man Utd means that Spurs have won just two of their last eight games, against Swansea and West Ham. As a result, Pochettino’s men are down to fifth, 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea. Hull, meanwhile, drew against Palace to remain in 19th, though they’re just a point off safety.

Those two wins for Spurs in their last eight both came in home games against bottom-six teams and they’ve in fact already beaten four of the current bottom-six at White Hart Lane, where they remain unbeaten this term. Indeed, Spurs have won 13 of their 16 home games against bottom-six teams since Pochettino joined the club, keeping a clean sheet in eight of these victories.

Hull are in dire form on the road as they’ve lost their last five away and failed to score in the last three. They’ve lost by more than one goal in each of their three games against top-five sides so far and with Spurs putting five past Swansea in their last home game, we think another big win could be on the cards here. We’re backing Spurs to win without conceding and we’re also going to side with them on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Spurs to Win to Nil at 2.0

BACK – Spurs -1.75 Asian Handicap at 1.9

West Brom v Swansea

Thursday December 15, 7:00am AEDT

West Brom were narrowly beaten 1-0 at Chelsea to end a run of three wins in four unbeaten games, but Tony Pulis’s side remain in eighth and in good shape. Swansea made it two wins from three as they beat fellow-strugglers Sunderland 3-0 at home to climb off the foot of the table and up to 18th.

After a defeat in their opening home game against Everton, West Brom have lost just one of their last six at home, and that was against Man City. They’ve managed a point against Spurs in that time and beaten Watford and Burnley by an aggregate of 7-1 in their last two at the Hawthorns. They’ve won half of their 14 home games against bottom-six teams since 2014/15 and given their excellent form at the moment, we’re happy to side with the Baggies at odds-against.

After a win at Burnley on the opening day of the season, Swansea have picked up just one point from their last six on the road, conceding 11 goals in their last three defeats. The Swans have in fact lost 15 of their 26 road games since the start of last term and when travelling to teams between eighth and 12th they’re just W1-D3-L3 in that period and as a result we’re backing the Baggies to continue their impressive form.

Betting Strategy

BACK – West Brom at 2.08

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