Stoke v West Ham

Sunday April 30, 12:00pm AEST

Stoke suffered their fifth defeat in sixth games as they were beaten 2-0 at Swansea and so look to have a job on their hands if they’re to record a fourth consecutive top-half finish. West Ham, on the other hand, are unbeaten in three after a run of five straight defeats and should be safe after looking like they might be dragged into a relegation battle not long ago.

After back-to-back defeats in their opening two home games of the season, Stoke have since lost only three of their last 15 on their own turf, and two of those were against Chelsea and Liverpool. If we exclude top-six opponents they’re W7-D3-L1 at home this term and it’s for this reason that they’re as short as 2.2 here, but that’s not a price we’re particularly keen on given their current form.

The Hammers should have Andy Carroll back, whilst Snodgrass and Feghouli both have a chance of featuring. Slaven Bilic’s men have managed some impressive away results this term, drawing at Man Utd and Liverpool and also beating Southampton. We’re backing the Hammers to build on their improved form in recent weeks here and pick up at least a point, as they have done in three of their last five trips to Stoke.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – Stoke at 2.24

Southampton v Hull

Sunday April 30, 12:00am AEST

After tough games against Man City and Chelsea across which Southampton shipped seven goals, Claude Puel will be grateful that his side face a seemingly easier challenge here as they bid to secure another top-half finish. They host a Hullside that boosted their survival chances with a 2-0 win at home to Watford last time out, though they certainly aren’t out of the woods as they’re just two points clear of Swansea.

Saints have struggled against the top teams this term, picking up only five points from their 11 games against the top seven, but they’re otherwise generally pretty reliable, particularly at home. They’re W8-D3-L0 at home to bottom-six sides since the start of last season, keeping three clean sheets in the five of these matches that were this season, whilst they also led at the break in five of these eight victories.

While they’ve won six of seven unbeaten home games, Hull continue to struggle on their travels as they’ve lost 14 of 15 winless road matches, netting only six goals across these and trailing at the break in the last three. With that in mind, Saints look a fair price at 1.68 and since Hull’s seven away defeats were all by more than one goal, we’re siding with Saints -1 on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Southampton -1 Asian Handicap at 2.2

West Brom v Leicester

Sunday April 30, 12:00am AEST

Leicester are virtually safe but the wind seems to have vanished from their sails since they were dumped out of Europe by Atletico. In a similar vein West Brom look like they are on the beach already as they’ve failed to score in their last four.

Though the Foxes have certainly improved under Craig Shakespeare they’ve still only won once on the road during his tenure. That remains their sole away victory this term so they don’t deserve to be shorter than 3.0 to win anywhere let alone at The Hawthorns. As has been the case for much of the season, Tony Pulis’ side are underrated. West Brom have won nine of their 17 home games this season including going W8-D1-L2 against teams currently below them in the table. Regardless of their current form that is a fantastic record. However, a fresh injury to Matt Phillips is a concern – the Baggies have failed to score in five of seven matches without the winger this season.

Barring the 3-1 win over Liverpool in Shakespeare’s first home game, when Jamie Vardy was particularly inspired, the other victories in Leicester’s five-game winning streak when he took over came against relatively weak opposition including hosting Hull and Sunderland. With nothing to play for its best to keep stakes low but despite missing Phillips this looks a great chance for West Brom to confirm their top-half status.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Brom at 2.64

Sunderland v Bournemouth

Sunday April 30, 12:00am AEST

If you lose to Middlesbrough in this league you deserve to go down. Sunderland lost 1-0 at The Riverside on Wednesday which leaves them 12 points shy of safety with just five games to go. Their fate will be finally sealed should Bournemouthwin here.

The Cherries all but secured their place at the top-table for a third consecutive season with their thumping 4-0 thrashing of Boro last weekend. That win came on the south coast where they’ve been productive this season but they’ve really struggled on the road. They’ve picked up just two wins – at Swansea and Stoke – as they’ve lost 10 times in 17. Bournemouth’s key problems on the road have been at the back where they’ve shipped at least a brace in 11 matches so travelling to a team that have failed to net in five of their last six at home is very much welcome.

This is a tricky match to call given we’ve got a poor home team versus a poor away team. After their defeat in the week it looks likely Sunderland will finish rock bottom. Over the past five seasons, teams that have finished bottom have won 42% of games hosting teams that have finished in the bottom-half. That suggests a little value in the hosts and given they’ve got more to play for here than their opponents we’ll begrudgingly side with The Black Cats to keep their dream of safety alive.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sunderland at 3.10

Crystal Palace v Burnley 

Sunday April 30, 2:30am AEST

Crystal Palace slipped up against Spurs on Wednesday as they went down 1-0 to a part-wonder strike, part-goalkeeping mistake. That result was harsh on Big Sam’s boys though as they could have quite easily taken three points against the league’s form side. Wilfried Zaha impressed again and his team’s potent attack should have no problems this weekend against the division’s worst away team. This is Burnley’s penultimate road game of the season and they are still without a win! They’ve lost 13 of 17 matches and three of their four points came against sides currently in the bottom-four.

While Palace might have been considered a bottom-four side when Allardyce took over they are by no means that any more. They’ve won six of their last nine Premier League matches to move up to 12th in the table – seven points clear of safety. They will be full aware that a victory here would guarantee their survival and this is a great opportunity to put on a show in front of their fans.

We could well see goals here and we wouldn’t put anyone off a home win and over 2.5 goals when the market gets a little more liquid but there’s great value on a Palace win against a poor travelling Burnley side.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Palace at 1.83

Man United v Swansea

Sunday April 30, 9:00am AEST

The only thing longer than the sleep that Jose Mourinho has put Man Utd fans in is his current injury list. After Wednesday’s bore-draw at City, Fosu-Mensah and Fellaini have been added to those unavailable for the visit of Swansea but many would argue the latter is advantageous for the Red Devils. Given Mourinho’s insistence of prioritising a Europa League win over a top-four spot you would expect that the likes of Pogba would be given a few days extra rest if fitness doubts remain.

United are now unbeaten in 24 in the league and they’ve kept a clean sheet in their last four despite facing the champions elect in addition to that trip to City.  Their one blemish at home this term was a loss to City in Jose’s second home game in charge but a W7-D9-L1 record is far from good enough given the money spent on this side. The hosts have drawn five of their last seven at home but now host the woeful travelling Swansea and with selection issues in central midfield Mourinho might be forced into a more attacking approach.

The Welsh side have lost 13 of their 17 away games this season including their last six. In their five trips to the other members of the top-six they’ve shipped 15 goals. Man Utd led at half-time in their win over Chelsea in their last game at Old Trafford and they’ve also been ahead at the break in six of seven home wins this term.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Man Utd/Man Utd at 2.18

Everton v Chelsea

Sunday April 30, 11:05am AEST

After two defeats in four games Chelsea bounced back with successive 4-2 wins over Spurs in the FA Cup and Southampton in the league within the space of a few days. Incredibly, they’ve now conceded in 11 Prem matches in a row but they’ve still picked up seven wins. Next up in their attempt at stopping a first-ever Premier League title for Spurs is a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton where Romelu Lukaku will be as motivated as always against the club that let him go.

Given Arsenal are two points above The Toffees with a couple of games in hand and West Brom are 14 adrift in eighth it looks certain that Everton will finish in seventh spot in Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge. Seventh would have been the modal finishing place prediction for most analysts but if ‘the best of rest’ are going to make inroads towards the Champions League spots next term they’ll have to start winning big games. In matches against non-top six teams this season they’ve picked up 2.25 PPG but that drops to 1.00 PPG when playing the teams that’ll finish above them.

Chelsea have won 11 of their 18 road games under Conte and while they’ve only beaten City in the top-six we’ve shown that Everton aren’t quite that level. The Blues destroyed Everton 5-0 earlier in the season at Stamford Bridge and they can continue their march to the title here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Chelsea at 2.08

Middlesbrough v Man City 

Sunday April 30, 11:05am AEST

Middlesbrough secured a critical win over Sunderland in midweek but they’ll need another, much more unlikely, victory to keep their dream of safety alive. That win was their first in 17 though and just their fifth of the campaign and four of those have come against fellow bottom-four sides. The task is much harder here as Pep’s boys come to visit.

Man City will be fuming they couldn’t get three points against a negative Man Utd side. Mourinho parked the bus as only he can but City’s failure to get the win means that there’s a genuine chance they could fail to finish in the top four. Anything less than a Champions League finish would be viewed as a disaster so the pressure is on here. The visitors have won 11 of their 17 away games this season including eight of nine travelling to teams currently in the bottom-half.

Though that record is impressive and Middlesbrough look bound for relegation the 1.32 on an away win looks on the skinny side. Teams that have been relegated have lost two-thirds of games hosting teams that have finished in the top-six over the past five seasons suggesting City should be nearer the 1.50 mark. Boro have lost by more than a goal in just three of their 17 home games this term so backing them +1.5 on the Asian handicap is the way to go.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Middlesbrough +1.5 at 2.00

Tottenham v Arsenal

Monday May 1, 1:30am AEST

We’ve got a mouth-watering North London derby here as both teams must win. Spurs need a victory to keep the pressure on Chelsea in their quest for a maiden Premier League title while Arsenal need three points in the race for the final two Champions League spots.

Both teams seemed to be in the midst of an FA Cup comedown in their midweek games against Crystal Palace and Leicester but late goals gave the two rivals a pair of 1-0 victories. Spurs’ win was their eighth in a row in the league but upon closer inspection none of those games were against teams currently in the top-six. However, at home they are on an even more incredible streak of 12 consecutive wins and they’ve picked up five more home points than any other team in the division before this round of fixtures.

Under Pochettino Spurs have had a decent record when hosting the rest of the league’s elite and they are unbeaten in their last five against The Gunners though that includes four score-draws. Prior to their win at relegation-bound Middlesbrough, Arsenal shipped three goals in four consecutive away games as they failed to pick up a single point at Chelsea, Liverpool, West Brom or Palace. It’s rare you’ll get a price like 1.90 on a team that’s won 12 in a row at home and is hosting a team that’s lost four in five on the road. Take advantage.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Spurs at 1.91

Watford v Liverpool

Tuesday May 2, 5:00am AEST

Watford slumped to their second defeat in three games as they were beaten 2-0 at Hull, despite the Tigers being reduced to 10 men after 25 minutes. Liverpool also suffered a disappointing defeat as they were beaten 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace, a result which could severely hamper their top-four bid, and Jurgen Klopp will be looking for an immediate reaction from his side here.

While the Hornets have lost nine of their last 11 on the road, they’re in much better form at home where they’ve won their last three. They’ve lost only five times at Vicarage Road this term, but it’s telling that three of these defeats were against Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs as they’ve struggled against the top teams. They did manage a 3-1 win over Man Utd early on in the season and there’s generally goals when they host the top sides. Four of their five home games against top-seven sides this term saw more than three goals as the Hornets netted in all of these and it was a similar case last term as they went down 2-1 to Man City, Spurs and Man Utd.

Liverpool should welcome back Lallana for this one and that should provide a timely boost as they’ve won only four of the nine games the Englishman’s failed to start this term. The Reds have won their last two on the road and while they’ve struggled at the lesser sides this term, they’re W5-D1-L0 at teams between 6th and 12th. However, they remain vulnerable defensively having kept just one clean sheet in their last seven on the road, and given Watford’s strong scoring record at home, we’re backing Liverpool to win and both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Liverpool Win and Both Teams to Score at 3.25

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