Bournemouth v Manchester City

Saturday August 26, 9:30pm AEST

Bournemouth have had a terrible start to the campaign, losing both matches without scoring, and managing only two shots on target last time out in a lacklustre performance at home to Watford. It’s not going to be easy to improve on this against a Man City side that will dominate possession and certainly look more assured defensively with a fully fit Vincent Kompany in their ranks, limiting Everton to just a handful of chances while down to 10-men on Monday night.

The Citizens’ 1-1 draw with the Toffees was a continuation of their poor record against last season’s top seven finishers, whereas their record against the rest of the league is a fantastic W22-D4-L1 under Pep. That includes 11 wins from 13 on the road with a clean sheet accompanying each of the last seven victories.

The Cherries’ home record versus the top six is a reasonable W3-D3-L6, but both games against City ended in defeat and in their four clashes at all venues the Citizens have won by an impressive aggregate of 15-1. With the Bournemouth frontline yet to start firing, we’re backing an away win to nil.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Manchester City Win to Nil at 2.4

Crystal Palace v Swansea

Sunday August 27, 12:00am AEST

It’s been a poor start to the season for both these sides with neither finding the net thus far, while Palace are still in search of their first point. The Eagles were at least much-improved defensively at Anfield than their debacle of a performance on the opening weekend at home against Huddersfield, but they look too short at odds-on, particularly as their home record excluding games under Allardyce is a dismal W2-D1-L7 since the start of last season and their greatest attacking threat Wilfried Zaha is out injured.

Swansea’s most creative player of last season, Gylfi Sigurdsson, is no longer at the club and with Fernando Llorente lacking any sort of match fitness, the Swans also look to be carrying little threat going forward. For this reason, we’re reluctant to take the hosts on but instead envisage a dour game.

Although these two were involved in a 5-4 thriller last season it’s as short as 1.75 for under 2.5 goals this time round considering the notable absentees. However, preference is for both teams to score – no at 1.94 as at least one side has failed to score in five of Swansea last six on the road and in six of Palace’s nine home games against bottom-half teams last term.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Both Teams To Score – No at 1.94

Huddersfield v Southampton

Sunday August 27, 12:00am AEST

Huddersfield have had a dream start to life in the Premier League and find themselves second in the standings without conceding a goal. They’ve taken advantage of some kind fixtures as Palace were awful while Newcastle have shown little effort to improve over the transfer window. The Terriers overcame their fellow promoted side thanks to a fantastic Aaron Mooy strike but other than that created very little and may struggle to do so again against a Southampton side that is likely to dominate possession.

The schedule has also been kind to Southampton who after a stalemate with Swansea finally scored on home soil against West Ham, though they did so against 10 men and with the aid of two penalties. The excitement of the Hammers clash is unlikely to be regular occurrence for Saints fans as no side in La Liga had more games with fewer than two strikes than Mauricio Pellegrino’s Alaves team last term.

Southampton’s familiar failings in front of goal have led to a poor record at promoted sides in the last three seasons. They have a poor W2-D1-L6 record despite conceding just 10 times as they’ve netted only four in total. As a result, both teams have scored just twice and seven have featured fewer than three goals, so under 2.5 goals looks to be banker material in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 1.69

Newcastle v West Ham United

Sunday August 27, 12:00am AEST

Neither of these sides have register a point yet and in Newcastle’s case even a goal. They were lacklustre in their defeat at Huddersfield as their squad lacks quality in depth following the injuries to key defenders Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune in the opener – and the suspension of playmaker and captain Jonjo Shelvey. Since the start of last season, they’ve lost five of 11 games Shelvey has missed compared to just seven of the 37 he started, scoring 60% fewer goals in his absence.

We think this gives West Ham a fantastic opportunity to build on their performance at St Mary’s where they were unlucky not to get anything out of the game. Javier Hernandez struck twice despite his side being down to 10-men following Marko Arnautovic’s moment of madness. Chicharito is certainly an option to score anytime against this depleted Magpies defence.

The Hammers have a good record travelling to bottom-half sides under Slavan Bilic, going W8-D7-L4 to date. They’ve won half of their six trips to promoted sides in this time and after a tough couple of opening fixtures they look excellent value on the Asian handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Ham 0 Asian Handicap at 2.25

Watford v Brighton

Sunday August 27, 12:00am AEST

Watford have made an excellent start to the season under the tutelage of Marco Silva, winning convincingly at Bournemouth after drawing at home to Liverpool on the opening day.  Five goals in these opening fixtures is encouraging and they look as if they’ll have too much firepower for a Brighton side that have failed to convince thus far.

The Seagulls are well-drilled and organised under Chris Houghton but they’ve lacked any sort of penetration going forward. They were thoroughly outplayed by both Leicester and as you would expect Man City, but mustering just four shots on target across these games is a worrying sign.

The Hornets’ home form has never been an issue and we think they’ve been underestimated in the market when you consider Palace are about the same price to beat Swansea at home. Since returning to the top-flight they’ve won three of five unbeaten matches against promoted sides at Vicarage Road, while last term they went W8-D4-L2 when hosting sides outside the top-five and they look a far stronger outfit under Silva.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Watford at 1.94

Manchester United v Leicester

Sunday August 27, 2:30am AEST

Goals were a constant struggle for Man Utd last season but this term they’ve made a flying start with back-to-back 4-0 victories. Lukaku has hit the ground running while Pogba and Mkhitaryan seem to be fulfilling their immense potential. They’re as short as 1.3 but they’re difficult to oppose.

The first two games have been a perfect summary of Leicester over the last year – strong at the King Power but defensively vulnerable on the road. They shipped four at Arsenal on the opening weekend, the fourth time they’ve conceded at least three in their last seven trips to top-six clubs. In fact, since their promotion their record at such opposition reads W2-D4-L12 and if you exclude their title winning season then it’s W0-D2-L11. Of these 11 defeats, six were by at least a two-goal margin.

Only three times in the whole of last season did United win by more than two goals but two of these occurred against the Foxes (the other Sunderland). With plenty of firepower in their armoury this season we think they can record a third straight big win and are backing the hosts -1.75 on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Manchester United -1.75 Asian Handicap at 2.31

Chelsea v Everton

Sunday August 27, 10:30pm AEST

Everton remain unbeaten in five games across all competitions this season with Raheem Sterling’s last equaliser the first goal they’ve conceded. It was a valuable point at the Etihad as they now face another tough away day at last year’s champions. Chelsea meanwhile, bounced back from their opening-day loss at home to Burnley with a display full of character to beat Spurs.

With an array of players missing the Blues showed trademark strength of character and a ruthless winners’ streak to leave Wembley with all three points. However, given the improvements Everton have made and the money they’ve invested, the hosts look too short at 1.42, especially with the issue of suspensions and injuries still there. The absence of Eden Hazard is a particular concern as they’ve failed to win any of the last eight home matches he’s not started.

Instead, under 2.5 goals at odds-against looks the best value bet here. The transfers of Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford have introduced a steel into this Everton side that have seen all five games this season feature fewer than three strikes. With Chelsea not at their attacking best yet, they’re again going to have to rely on their own defensive capabilities that saw them beat Spurs despite only managing two shots on target.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 2.03

West Brom v Stoke

Sunday August 27, 10:30pm AEST

West Brom are two from two with both 1-0 victories coming in classic Tony Pulis style. The former Stoke manager must be delighted with the form of his back-four, whose new addition Ahmed Hegazi ensures that each tower well over 6ft. The acquisition of Gareth Barry is another shrewd piece of business with the side now set up to be very difficult to beat.

Stoke themselves have looked defensively solid so far with a trio of Jack Butland, Ryan Shawcross and Kurt Zouma an excellent foundation. They tend to struggle for goals on the road with just 17 in their last 20, while they’ve netted just once in their last three trips to the Hawthorns. If you omit trips to last season’s bottom-four then their away record is a dismal W1-D4-L11, so a point would be a decent result for Mark Hughes’s men here.

Excluding last terms top-eight then West Brom have won nine of 12 home matches since the start of last season. They averaged 2.5 goals a game across these but there are reservations about the form of their front men so far this season with their most likely source of a goal form set-pieces. We’re eager to keep the Albion onside so we suggest you split your stake between a 0-0 correct score and 1-0 correct score.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Correct Score 0-0 at 7.5

 BACK – Correct Score 1-0 at 7.0

Liverpool v Arsenal

Monday August 28, 1:00am AEST

Arsenal’s defeat at Stoke doesn’t bode well for their visit to Liverpool as trips to top-six sides has been their Achillies heel for a number of years now. Since 2012/13 their record is just W3-D7-L15 with the root of the problem often in defence as they conceded an average of 2.4 goals a game over this period. They’ve yielded 13 in their last four visits to Anfield, but have also scored nine themselves, so it’s hardly a surprise to see over 2.5 goals as short as 1.63.

In contrast, Liverpool seem to thrive in these type of encounters, especially since Jurgen Klopp took charge. Their record at home to top-six sides under the German is W5-D5-L1 where surprisingly they’ve only one conceded more than a solitary goal, keeping a clean sheet in four of the victories and with eight of the 11 clashes having fewer than three strikes. It’s for this reason, along with the Gunners forward-line misfiring last week and Sanchez remaining a major doubt, that we prefer a Liverpool win at 2.14 to ‘overs’ in the goal markets.

We also think Sadio Mane could be the difference between the two sides. This Arsenal defence has been guilty of mistakes in their opening two games and there is arguably no better player in the division to capitalise on errors than the Senegalese. He’s netted in both his appearances against Arsenal and in both games this season and looks the best value to open the scoring here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Liverpool at 2.14

Tottenham v Burnley

Monday August 28, 1:00am AEST

Spurs’ Wembley hoodoo continued with defeat against Chelsea leaving them with just one win in nine there. However, they’ve faced some stellar opposition in this time with many Champions League outfits as well as The Blues three times, so this perception of the Wembley curse may be a little premature. In the last two seasons, they’ve gone W13-D4-L1 hosting bottom-half clubs and so we’re expecting them to get over the line here.

Burnley caused a shock at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend but it was owed mainly to the two red cards Antonio Conte’s side received and their 1-0 home defeat to West Brom is perhaps a fairer reflection of where they’re at this season. They’ve bought in Chris Wood to replace Andre Gray up top, but the Kiwi is untested at this level and so we can’t envisage the Clarets causing the Spurs defence too many problems.

Burnley lost 14 of their 19 road games last term, but were level at the interval in half of these defeats, including four of the five losses at top-five finishers. Sean Dyche is unlikely to change tact here and with Spurs yet to net in the opening 45 minutes this season, we’ll side with Draw/Spurs Half-time/Full-time.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Half Time/Full Time Double – Draw/Tottenham at 4.14

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