West Ham v Tottenham

Saturday September 23, 9:30pm AEST

West Ham secured a second straight clean sheet in a bore draw at West Brom having won their opening game at the London Stadium 2-0 against Huddersfield. However, they were hardly emphatic in defeating the Terriers and were fortunate with both goals and after struggling at home against the top teams last term we give them little chance here. Although they did beat Spurs last term– when Mauricio Pochettino’s men were under immense pressure with the title on the line – in their remaining five games against the top-six they lost by an aggregate score of 17-2.

As Spurs’ domestic woes continued at Wembley with a goalless draw against Swansea, siding with them on their travels could be a smart tactic this season. They’ve won easily at Newcastle and Everton with the latter one of the more one-sided affairs in recent memory and with no title run-in pressure here, we expect another comfortable victory.

Indeed, Spurs have won seven of their last eight on the road with six of these victories by more than one goal, as has now been the case in 15 of their 20 away victories since the start of 2015/16. The Hammers have yet to convince going forward this term and so we’re siding with the visitors -1.25 on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Spurs -1.25 Asian Handicap at 2.45

Burnley v Huddersfield

Saturday September 24, 12:00am AEST

These two currently reside in the top-seven, both on eight points form their first five games, but it’s Burnley’s position that’s the more impressive when you consider their fixtures. They’ve been unbeaten in trips to Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool and they’ll be happy to return to Turf Moor, where they have a very good record.

Indeed, the Clarets have won 10 of their last 13 at home against sides outside the top-six, keeping a clean sheet in six of these victories. However, this season they’ve lost without scoring to West Brom and were fortunate to beat an out-of-sorts Crystal Palace 1-0 and their lack of goals could lead to fewer home victories this term.

Huddersfield have had the easier fixture list, but nevertheless have proven to be stubborn opponents with their last four featuring fewer than three strikes and the opening 45 of each of these ending goalless. The half-time draw has occurred in eight of Burnley’s last 10 at home with a 0-0 scoreline in six of these, as well as in their four matches against promoted sides since the start of last season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 0-0 Half-time Score at 2.5

Everton v Bournemouth

Sunday September 24, 12:00am AEST

It was a tough week for Everton after they conceded 10 and scored none in Premier League fixtures against Man Utd and Spurs and a trip to Atalanta in Europe. However, after playing four consecutive games against sides expected to be fighting it out for the title, Ronald Koeman will target this fixture as an opportunity to get back on track.

Indeed, the Toffees have an excellent record hosting sides outside the top six under the Dutchman, winning 12 of 14 unbeaten matches. This would suggest there is some value in their 1.66 price, but their recent displays have been toothless and the lack of a recognised striker is a worry for us. Romelu Lukaku scored 15 goals in the aforementioned fixtures yet only half featured more than three goals. Given Everton have netted just seven times in 10 competitive games this season we think there is some value to be had in backing under 2.5 goals at around evens.

Bournemouth got off the mark after coming from behind to beat Brighton in the south-coast derby, but the Cherries failed to score in trips to Arsenal and West Brom. Furthermore, in their eight visits to middle-third teams since the start of last season, six have had had fewer than three strikes.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 2.01

Manchester City v Crystal Palace

Sunday September 24, 12:00am AEST

The Man City train continues to pick up steam as they scored 15 without reply in trips to Watford and Feyenoord and at home to Liverpool, with West Brom still to visit in the Carabao Cup. Their league form at the Etihad hasn’t been outstanding since Guardiola took charge and although they’ve lost only once there during his tenure, 12 wins from 21 is a relatively poor return. However, exclude top-eight sides and they’ve won 10 of 12 unbeaten games, though only twice did they beat a side by more than two goals. Even with their opponents in dire straits and their recent goal scoring form, we’re reluctant to back City on the handicap.

A tough job just got tougher for Roy Hodgson after Palace became the first club in top-flight history to lose their opening five games without scoring. They now visit both Manchester clubs and then host Chelsea so it’s mightily important they don’t take a mauling here. Damage limitation will be on the agenda and so far this term three of their five defeats have ended 1-0, including a trip to Anfield. That was their 14th defeat in 19 trips to top-six opposition since the start of 2014/15, with 12 of these coming to nil. Only Man Utd have conceded fewer than City over the last 20 leagues games and given the toothless nature of Palace’s front line at present, the home win to nil looks a solid prospect.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Man City Win to Nil at 1.85

Southampton v Manchester United

Sunday September 24, 12:00am AEST

Not for the first time this season a flurry of late goals put the gloss on a Man Utd victory as 12 of their 16 league goals have now come in the second half, with nine of these after the 80-minute mark. Again, they may have to rely on their dominance eventually telling as they take on a Southampton side that are not the most exciting but are certainly well-organised.

The Saints ground out a 1-0 victory at Palace after scoring early to keep their third clean sheet of the season as four of their games have seen fewer than three strikes. With Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina protecting the back four, Mauricio Pellegrino’s side look as if they’ll be a tough side to break down this term. However, they still appear to have a problem going forward, especially at home, where they’ve failed to score in seven of their last eight as just two of these games saw goals in the opening 45.

Indeed, Southampton netted only once hosting top-six sides last term but conceded just two first-half goals compared to nine in the second period and given United’s scoring trends this season the second-half to be the highest scoring half looks a cracking bet. With the likes of Rashford or Martial coming off the bench, Mourinho’s men are tough to contain for 90 minutes and as they’ve illustrated this season, one late goal often brings one or two more.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Highest Scoring Half – 2nd Half at 2.1

Stoke v Chelsea

Sunday September 24, 12:00am AEST

Stoke’s tough run of home fixtures continues as they face Chelsea having already welcomed Man Utd and Arsenal this term. Their victory over the Gunners stopped a run of seven defeats from eight winless games against top-six opposition and they were able to back it up with a 2-2 draw with United. However, Kurt Zouma, who impressed in both those matches and since he joined on loan, is unavailable here and with fellow defenders Bruno Martins Indi and Kevin Wimmer struggling last week against Newcastle, they look a little short at the back.

Eight of the Potters’ last 10 at the Britannia against top-six sides have now seen at least three goals and with David Luiz missing for Chelsea, Over 2.5 goals appears to be a generous price at 1.91. Luiz has missed just two games since returning to the club and they saw nine goals in total despite being against Watford and Swansea, two sides not known for their attacking prowess. Indeed, the Blues have kept just two clean sheets in their last 10 road games with six of the last eight featuring at least three goals, while up front they’ve netted twice in four of five fixtures this term.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.91

Swansea v Watford

Sunday September 24, 12:00am AEST

Swansea will be pleased to have come away from Wembley with a point as they put in a robust defensive display but they’ve disappointed on home soil so far. They were perhaps expected to lose to Man Utd but their defeat to Newcastle was the first time a side from outside last season’s top six had beaten them at the Liberty under Paul Clement. Their record in such games now reads W6-D1-L1 and they’ve generally been tight with five seeing fewer than three goals and both teams scoring in just three.

Watford’s unbeaten start to the season ended abruptly as they were thumped 6-0 by Man City, but it’s difficult to know how much to read into it now they face a Swansea side that have failed to score in four of their five games this term. Consecutive 2-0 victories at Bournemouth and Southampton perhaps better reflects how far the Hornets have come under Marco Silva, especially when you consider they’d lost 13 of their previous 17 road games.

With Swansea yet to get going at home this season and Watford licking their wounds after last week it’s a game where we want to avoid the match outcome markets. Instead, both teams not to score stands out at around evens.  At least one side has failed to score in eight of Watford’s last nine on the road and in their last nine trips to teams that finished in the bottom-half last term or are currently in it this season. Furthermore, BTTS – No has landed in every Swans game this season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – BTTS – NO at 2.01

Leicester v Liverpool

Sunday September 24, 2:30am AEST

It’s been a frustrating few weeks since the international break for Liverpool as they’ve lost two of four winless matches in all competitions while conceding 10 goals. The latest was a 2-0 defeat at the King Power in the Carabao Cup and interestingly there has been very little reaction in the market for this weekend’s league meeting. Leicester remain 4.14 outsiders which is certainly an attractive proposition considering they’ve beaten the Reds in their last three visits here in all compeitions.

Liverpool were very wasteful midweek, mustering 21 shots on top of 70% possession, but to no avail. This after 35 shots in their 1-1 draw with Burnley and it’s no coincidence that these poor results have occurred during Sadio Mane’s suspension. Their league record is just W5-D5-L3 without the Senegalese, scoring an average of 1.5 goals per game without him compared to 2.3 in the 30 he’s started.

Many will argue that Liverpool weren’t at full strength on Tuesday night but the likes of Coutinho and Henderson lined-up while Leicester left out Mahrez and Vardy. With Liverpool’s porous defence, their best player still missing and the Foxes returning to full strength, we’re siding with the hosts here. Leicester have won six of their nine home league games under Craig Shakespeare with their two defeats in this time against Spurs and Chelsea, sides far more well-equipped to deal with their dangerous attackers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Leicester Draw No Bet at 3.04

Brighton v Newcastle

Monday September 25, 1:00am AEST

Last year’s Championship top-two go head to head and so far it’s Newcastle who’ve fared the better, not looking at all out of place back in the big time. Brighton, meanwhile, have been well-organised but pretty uninspiring going forward and look a little short to us at 2.8, especially as the Magpies are the form side having won their last three while they also completed the double over the Seagulls last season. However, 2014/15 was the last time an away side won an all-promoted team affair as the hosts have gone W12-D6-L1 during this period, which includes a 1-0 defeat for Newcastle at Huddersfield in their opening away fixture this term.

They reversed their fortunes with a 1-0 success at Swansea in their other road game and given the nature of Rafa Benitez as a manager we’re expecting many of their trips to sides likely to be in the lower echelons of the table to be tight affairs. Indeed, there’s a fairly strong ‘unders’ trend in all-promoted team clashes as 19 of 31 since 2012/13 have seen fewer than three strikes and we’re backing there to be fewer than two here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 1.5 Goals at 2.75

Arsenal v West Brom

Tuesday September 26, 5:00am AEST

Arsenal’s draw at Stamford Bridge would have done more for their confidence than their previous 3-0 home victory against Bournemouth as during their recent troubles their form at the Emirates has never really come into question. The Gunners have won each of their last seven there, netting an average of 2.6 goals per game, whilst keeping five clean sheets. Moreover, hosting sides outside the top-six they’ve gone W14-D1-L1 since the start of last season.

After a promising start, West Brom have faltered slightly as they’ve failed to win any of their last three, scoring just twice, while they’ve also yet to face one of the division’s top sides. They were a woeful W1-D2-L9 against top-six opposition last term including five defeats from six winless games on the road where they scored just two goals. Going back further, the Baggies have lost 11 of 15 trips to top-six sides in the Tony Pulis era, failing to net in seven of these defeats.

All signs point toward a comfy home win so the Gunners look a fair price at 1.37 but at bigger odds, the win to nil appears to be the best way to get the Gunners onside. Pulis sides have visited the Emirates on eight occasions over the years and each has finished in defeat with six coming to nil.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal Win to Nil at 2.45


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