Swansea v Arsenal

Wednesday January 31, 6:45am AEDST

Swansea recorded a morale-boosting win over Liverpool as they’ve made an encouraging start to life under Carlos Carvalhal. They host another ‘Big Six’ side in Arsenal who received their own confidence booster after beating Chelsea to reach the final of the Carabao Cup as they look to improve their league form now that the Alexis Sanchez saga is over.

While there is no denying the Swans have improved, they were fortunate against Liverpool as the visitors spurned numerous opportunities. The success was also their first at the Liberty against a top-six side in 15 attempts as they lost 11 of these previous matches with nine defeats by at least a two-goal margin.

Furthermore, due to a broken nose, the hosts will be without Federico Fernandez who was a crucial part of the back-three that were so impressive against the Reds, and without the Spaniard Swansea have a terrible record. Since the start last season, they’ve gone W2-D3-L12 in his absence with the two victories over bottom-four clubs and defeat in all six meetings with the ‘Big Six’ where they conceded an average of three goals a game. While the Gunners haven’t been prolific on the road this season they should have enough about them to secure all three points in this one. With just three clean sheets on the road though we’ll back them on the handicap rather than to win to nil.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal -1.25 Asian Handicap at 2.2

West Ham v Crystal Palace

Wednesday January 31, 6:45am AEDST

A disastrous opening quarter gave Palace no hope at the Emirates as they found themselves 4-0 down following some slack defending. It was uncharacteristic of the well organised-unit they had become under Roy Hodgson but it’s a game they will just put a line through and if we exclude Arsenal then the Eagles are unbeaten in 11 matches where they’ve conceded just twice in five away games.

West Ham are in fine form themselves with just one defeat in their last nine. However, the catalysts for their turnaround – Arnautovic and Lanzini – have both picked up injuries which is a cruel blow to Moyes. The former is their top scorer while the latter has the most assists and the Hammers have lost six of their last 10 without the Argentine. With Carroll and Ayew also sidelined the hosts are short of options up front and so we’re keen to take them on. Prior to the defeat at Arsenal, Palace had won at the likes of Leicester and Southampton and we reckon they can get back to winning ways with the opposition’s two best players absent.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Crystal Palace Win at 2.82

Huddersfield v Liverpool

Wednesday January 31, 7:00am AEDST

Huddersfield’s poor form continued with a third straight defeat stretching their unbeaten run to six games. However, at home they’ve been a far more competitive outfit going W4-D4-L4 this term with three of these defeats against top-five opposition and even condemning Man Utd to one of their three losses this season. They rarely fail to score at the Kirkless as only a stubborn Burnley have shut them out in their last eight here and so the Terriers will fancy their chances of breaching Liverpool’s susceptible defence.

The new £75m man Virgil Van Dijk was at fault for Swansea’s goal in their 1-0 defeat at the Liberty. It’s very rare that Liverpool don’t score on the road, but they did everything but put the ball in the back of the net in South Wales. Even so, the Reds remain a major threat having netted 21 times in their previous six away matches. Both teams have scored in eight of their 12 road games this season and under Klopp they’ve kept just one clean sheet in eight trips to promoted sides with both teams scoring in the two this campaign.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – BTTS – Yes at 2.1

Chelsea v Bournemouth

Thursday February 1, 6:45am AEDST

Chelsea comprehensively beat Brighton last time out with a 4-0 win making them unbeaten in their last eight league games. Opponents Bournemouth are on a good run of form too having gone unbeaten in their last five with wins over Everton and Arsenal. The Cherries on the road have not been quite as successful though, failing to win any of their last six while they’ve lost and failed to score in all four trips to top-six sides this season – a result that’s occurred in 10 of 16 such matches since their promotion.

The Blues at Stamford Bridge this season have won all five of their games against bottom-half opponents, keeping four clean sheets with only Newcastle being able to find the net once. It is clear at home they’re very strong, winning seven of their last eight games, and we don’t think a Bournemouth side that have conceded 16 goals in their last seven have enough here to cause an upset. Like last season, we’re going for another a Chelsea win to nil.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Chelsea Win to nil at 2.15

Everton v Leicester

Thursday February 1, 6:45am AEDST

Everton managed to salvage a point against bottom-three side West Brom last time out with their new signing Theo Walcott providing the assist, although this doesn’t hide from the fact that it’s been a poor run for new manager Sam Allerdyce who is winless in his last six games. Leicester have kept a clean sheet in all their last three games winning two of these, both of which were at home, and so come into the game as the bookies favourite.

On the road this season the Foxes have only managed to win three times all of which have been against bottom-six sides and if we exclude these then they’re D4-L4. The Toffees have won six of their last eight home games excluding the ‘Big Six’, scoring 16 goals in the process and with the new signings re-energising the side we feel they are over-priced with the home advantage.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Everton 0 Asian Handicap at 2.11

Newcastle v Burnley

Thursday February 1, 6:45am AEDST

Both teams come into this game on a poor run of form with Newcastle playing their usual defensive tactics losing 3-1 to the league leaders and Burnley playing the other Manchester powerhouse just going down in a very tight affair.

The Magpies have lost five of seven winless matches at St James Park, firing a blank in five of these while Burnley have lost three games on the bounce and are winless in seven, but four of these fixtures were against top-six opposition. Benitez’s men against top-half teams have lost all their last nine games, conceding an average of over two goals per game, so we’re surprised to see the Clarets at such a big price here.

With Dyche’s team winning four and drawing one of their last five versus bottom-six teams like Newcastle, keeping a clean sheet in all of these, we’re looking to keep the visitors onside.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Burnley 0 Asian Handicap at 2.73

Southampton v Brighton

Thursday February 1, 6:45am AEDST

The Saints hosted Spurs last time out holding them to a 1-1 draw in what was a positive performance for the home team showing some great desire and attitude in a tight encounter. Further along the coastline Brighton were up against a very strong Chelsea side who comprehensively beat them in a failed attempt by Chris Hughton to select five defenders at the back.

The Seagulls come into this game with just one win in their last 13 games, failing to score in any of six road matches in this period, and to make matters worse Glenn Murray their leading goal scorer has been arrested this week on suspicion of tax fraud. Pellegrino’s men haven’t had it all their way either, winless in their last 11 and have failed to score more than one goal in 10 of their 13 encounters at St Marys this season, but they remain unbeaten against fellow bottom-six sides.

There have been fewer than three goals in five of the Saints last seven games as well as all of Brighton’s last seven away matches, so we can’t see this south coast relegation battle being an exciting affair. Southampton have just brought in a new striker but it’s a big ask for Guido Carrillo to hit the ground running so under 2.5 goals looks banker material.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 1.67

Man City v West Brom

Thursday February 1, 7:00am AEDST

West Brom have improved of late, only losing one of their last five and registering their first victory under Alan Pardew but Man City are a different kettle of fish compared to their previous fixtures and we give them little hope of causing an upset. Indeed, City have been blowing sides away at the Etihad, winning their last 11 league matches there while scoring an average of 3.7 goals per game. Guardiola will be disgruntled by the mistakes creeping into his defence though as his side are without a clean sheet in six in all competitions and at the Etihad it’s only one in their last eight.

All this means that Over 3.5 Goals has landed eight times in the 11-match winning streak at home, which looks a generous price here. The Baggies are getting better going forward, failing to score in just one of their last seven league outings. They also have a decent enough scoring record against the Citizens, but they’ve conceded at least three times in eight of their last nine meetings with them, resulting in six of these having four or more goals.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 3.5 Goals at 2.2

Stoke v Watford

Thursday Feburary 1, 7:00am AEDST

Paul Lambert made a winning start as Stoke manager although he couldn’t have asked for a much simpler opener than a timid Terriers side at home. They now host another side suffering from the away day blues as Watford have lost seven of their last eight on the road, the latest of which saw the curtain drawn on Marco Silva’s short spell at the club. Javi Gracia was bought in just a matter of hours later but there’s still a lengthy injury list to deal with that has plagued his new club for most of this season. Out of those absentees, Tom Cleverly is the most significant as without him the Hornets have lost four of five winless matches since he joined a year ago.

Pieters, Martins Indi and most importantly Shawcross are all fit and available for Lambert, something that was a rare occurrence during the latter stages of Sparky’s tenure. The Potters only away win this season came at Vicarage Road meaning they’ve won their last four league encounters with Watford. Moreover, if we exclude top-eight opposition then they’ve won 11 of their last 18 at the Britannia and we’re backing them to pile more misery on the visitors.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Stoke Win at 2.18

Tottenham v Manchester United

Thursday Feburary 1, 7:00am AEDST

Much to Pochettino’s frustration, Spurs missed their chance to go level on points with Liverpool in 4th after they were held at Southampton. Adding pressure to this fixture is the fact they’ll then face Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus in the next two weeks. Given their inconsistencies this season it’s difficult to judge whether the hosts deserve their current price. On the one hand they’ve torn the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Dortmund to shreds at Wembley, but those teams have all had well documented defensive issues. On the other, Spurs have lost to Chelsea and been frustrated by sides that have sat deep and not allowed them space behind the defence. We’re not suggesting Man Utd will put all 11 men behind the ball, but Jose Mourinho certainly has history in keeping these types of encounters as cagey as possible.

‘The Special One’ recorded his first away victory over a fellow ‘Big Six’ side as United manager at Arsenal recently but the Gunners are currently the weakest of the top teams and they gifted two early goals from shocking defensive errors. Prior to that, Mourinho had lost four of seven winless matches travelling to their main rivals where they scored just one goal. Five of these saw fewer than three strikes and even now with better attacking players at his despoil, we don’t expect the Portuguese to change tact and we think their main aim will be to avoid defeat. With this in mind, the draw represents the best value in the match outcome market.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Draw at 3.28


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