Bournemouth v Everton

Sunday December 31, 2:00am AEDST

Bournemouth were involved in a Boxing Day thriller as some late fortune saw them grab a last-gasp equaliser against West Ham. They’ve looked frail at the back recently, conceding 11 in their last three, and a run of four defeats from eight winless matches has seen them drop into the relegation zone. In contrast, Everton are unbeaten in six under Allardyce as the former England manager has got them playing with far more resilience as they’ve conceded just twice during his tenure.

A couple of the Cherries recent hidings came against Liverpool and Man City and if we exclude the ‘Big Six this term, then their record is a more respectable W4-D5-L4. However, at home their only two victories have come over promoted sides Huddersfield and Brighton, making them a little skinny here.

While Big Sam has tightened the Toffees up at the back they’re less ambitious going forward, playing backs to the wall football versus Chelsea and Liverpool and settling for a point from the get-go most recently at West Brom. They’re just W1-D8-L9 across their last 18 on the road and so we prefer to back them on the handicap rather than in the outright market.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Everton +0.25 Asian Handicap at 1.8

Chelsea v Stoke

Sunday December 31, 2:00am AEDST

Chelsea won comfortably against Brighton to make it six successes in a row at Stamford Bridge as they closed the gap on Man Utd in second. A clean sheet accompanied four of these as they’re taking advantage of an easier fixture list over this hectic period. Their last four here have all been against bottom-half clubs and we expect them to breeze past a Stoke side that struggle on the road.

The Potters are just W1-D3-L6 on their travels this term and have lost 14 of 22 stretching back to last season. Furthermore, Mark Hughes has a defensive crisis on his hands with most of his rear-guard either injured or unavailable. Captain Shawcross joins Martins Indi, Johnson and Pieters on the sidelines while their best defender this season Zouma can’t play against his parent club. In the five games Shawcross has missed this term Stoke have conceded 16 times and without Zouma, Chelsea won the reverse fixture 4-0 in September.

What’s more, Stoke have already been hammered in trips to Spurs and Man City this season, going down by an aggregate score of 12-3. It means four of their last six matches at ‘Big Six’ clubs have ended in defeat by at least a three-goal margin, and again we fear the worst for those travelling Potters fans.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Chelsea -2.5 Asian Handicap at 2.48

Huddersfield v Burnley

Sunday December 31, 2:00am AEDST

After a dip in form Huddersfield have picked up eight points in their last five matches to increase their buffer on the bottom-three. At home they’ve lost just three times this term and these came against Spurs, Man City and Chelsea, but even so they still look a little short against this season’s surprise package.

Burnley caused yet another upset on the road as they came within a whisker of claiming all three points at Old Trafford. Despite travelling to just one side below 14th in the table and seven top-half sides, the Clarets have an impressive W4-D4-L2 record away from home this term and once again they seem to have been under-estimated in the market.

Sean Dyche is still without the suspended Tarkowski though, who serves the final game of his three-match suspension. Burnley conceded five in the first two of these compared to just three in the last nine the centre-back started. This puts us off siding with the visitors. Instead the draw appeals most, as it’s occurred in all of Burnley’s trips to promoted sides since the start of last season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Draw at 3.2

Liverpool v Leicester

Sunday December 31, 2:00am AEDST

A superb second-half display saw Liverpool inflict their heaviest home win of the season over a poor Swansea side. They won’t find things as easy against Leicester but they’re unbeaten at Anfield this season and rather unexpectedly, hold the best defensive record on home soil in the division. The Reds have conceded just three goals so far but with it’s still a rear-guard we can’t rely on and it’ll certainly be tested against a dangerous Foxes attack that have netted 13 in their last six on the road.

Defeat at Watford was Leicester’s first in seven on their travels but it was also their first trip to a top-half side in this run. They lost their first two away games at Man Utd and Arsenal, meaning they’ve lost seven of eight winless matches at the ‘Big Six’ since the start of last season. They did however, manage to net in five of these, whilst in their seven meetings with Liverpool since their promotion, the Foxes have score 11 times.

All the goals Klopp’s side have conceded at home this term have been against top-half opposition and under the German they’ve kept just eight clean sheets from 22 matches hosting such opponents. Therefore, we’re backing a Liverpool win and both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Liverpool Win & BTTS at 2.55

Watford v Swansea

Sunday December 31, 2:00am AEDST

Swansea are in dire straits and look destined for the drop unless they acquire players of quality in January. The hammering at Liverpool was the third time in four games they’d conceded at least three goals as well as their seventh consecutive defeat on the road. They’ve lost 20 of 29 away games since the start of last season, so even given Watford’s inconsistencies, the hosts look a generous price at 1.7.

Having picked up just one point from their previous six matches the Hornets earned a much-needed victory over Leicester on Boxing Day. While their W3-D4-L4 home record is nothing to brag about, the Hornets have already welcomed five of the ‘Big Six’ and just one bottom-six side. Marco Silva’s men won that comfortably 2-0 versus West Ham meaning they’ve won five of six unbeaten matches over such opposition since the start of last season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Watford Win at 1.7

Newcastle v Brighton

Sunday December 31, 2:00am AEDST

These fellow promoted sides are separated by just three points after 20 games. Despite scoring fewer goals than all except the bottom-two, Brighton have picked up an impressive 21 points so far though just seven have come away from home. The Seagulls have failed to net in seven of their 10 away fixtures this term including losing to nil in each of their last four on the road. While they’ve struggled going forward they’ve been pretty good at the back and as a result 15 of their 20 matches have had Under 2.5 Goals.

That married with opponents managed by Rafa Benitez means we have a strong chance of another low-scoring affair. Nine of Newcastle’s 20 so far have had Under 1.5 Goals including three of their last four (all 1-0 defeats).  When these sides met earlier this season Brighton came out as 1-0 winners and we could see a similar result here. It’s difficult to trust Brighton to get the job done on the road however so we prefer to stick with backing the alternate unders line.

Games between promoted sides tend to be lower scoring than average matches. 64% of all promoted clashes in the Premier League since 2012/13 have had Under 2.5 Goals.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 1.5 Goals 2.80

Manchester United v Southampton

Sunday December 31, 4:30am AEDST

Man Utd were held to their second consecutive 2-2 draw as they lost more ground on leaders’ City. Their defence was the strongest in the division during the first part of the season but they’ve kept just one clean sheet in their last seven with six of these featuring at least three goals and four having four or more strikes.

Southampton’s thrashing at Wembley means they’ve won just one of their last 11 league encounters. They netted in all bar three of these but failed to keep a clean sheet themselves as their issues at the back continue to mount. Key wing-backs Soares and Bertrand are sidelined while Van Dijk has finally signed for Liverpool.

The Saints have lost four of their last five on the road, all at ‘Big Six’ clubs, and since the start of last term they’ve lost eight of 10 trips to such opposition. There is no value in the win market for United so we’re happy to side with over 2.5 goals instead. Despite getting hammered at Spurs, Southampton did score twice and have only drawn a blank in four of the 10 aforementioned matches where seven saw at least three match goals.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.73

Crystal Palace v Manchester City

Sunday December 31, 11:00pm AEDST

After losing at home to Arsenal, Crystal Palace have an even more unenviable task next as they play host to Pep’s runaway leaders. Man City have gone W19-D1-L0 in their opening 20 games of the season as they’ve scored 15 times more than any other side while conceding the fewest goals too. This looks to be one of the greatest team’s we’ve ever seen in the Premier League and, as such, they are just 1.29 to make it 19 wins on the spin.

Palace have lost five of their six matches against the ‘Big Six’ this season and they’ve lost their last five against City (four L/L doubles). If anything City are getting more even more efficient as their winning streak extends. They’ve led at the break in 12 of their victories this term including each of their last four matches.

Anything bigger than 1.70 is worth taking on a City W/W as they should comfortably get past a Palace side that opened their campaign with seven consecutive defeats to nil.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Man City W/W 1.70

West Brom v Arsenal

Monday January 1 , 3:30am AEDST

West Brom went off at 2.30 at home to Everton on Boxing Day despite having not registered a win since game week 2. A dreary 0-0 – their third in their last six Premier League matches – ensured that their winless streak extended to 18 games including a 2-0 defeat at The Emirates. The Baggies have gone W0-D2-L4 facing off against the ‘Big Six’ so far this season and they’ve lost six of their last eight against Arsenal in the league (five losses to nil).

Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. They dominated the whole match and one of Palace’s goals was a late consolation. Arsenal’s defence has improved as the season has progressed. They’ve kept nine clean sheets in their last 17 matches and over the past five seasons they’ve kept shut out their opponents in 10 of their 18 trips to sides in the relegation zone.

It comes as a great surprise then that an Arsenal win to nil is as big as 3.0 particularly given West Brom have failed to net nine times already this season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal Win to Nil 3.0


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