Top Picks Under Consideration*
Recommendations as a percentage of total bankroll
2.5% - CHE v Ful - BTNTS - 1.8@Betfair
2% - Sou+1 v LIV - 2.45@Bwin
1.5% - CRY v Swa - Over 2.5 goals - 2.1@BetVictor
1% - MCI v Mnu - BTNTS - 2.36@Betfair
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Sat 21st Sep 3pm - LIV v Sou
A typical opposition stance to Liverpool. Whilst an improved squad has brought their prices closer to statistical likelihood of winning games this season, there remains a mismatch - their win rate at home over the past 3 seasons against premier league sides finishing on less than 55 points is only ~ 51%.
In addition, this week Liverpool are without Coutinho which now means Southampton's main focus will be on stopping only one key player: Sturridge. Liverpool's second half display against Swansea after Coutinho was withdrawn (following an intentional mauling from Ashley Williams went seemingly unnoticed) was a good demonstration of their lack of ability to create chances and retain possession without the Brazilian playmaker. Gerrard meanwhile now appears to have instructions to cross the halfway line only in exceptional circumstances, and to take set pieces.
Conversely, whilst Southampton's early season prices implied some overhype following their summer transfer spending, their recent blanks against Norwich and West Ham are a misrepresentation of their attacking threat which they not only possess from a variety of players (Lambert, Osvaldo, Lallana, Rodriguez), but also from a range of situations (open play, direct and indirect set pieces, and crosses).
The pick above is a straight handicap bet, and is the equivalent to a Liverpool lay. However, Southampton + 1 is also available on the Asian line handicap at ~1.85 across the board, which provides a refund if Liverpool do win by 1 goal - which has been their maximum winning margin in 90 minutes this season.
Sat 21st Sep 5.30pm - CHE v Ful
In what is being billed by some as a 'a must win game' for Chelsea, there is strong support for the pick not only from the modelled and historic statistics, but also from the team selections as Fulhams attacking options potentially being dented with Bent and Berbatov likely to be unavailable. In addition, under Mourinho and particularly given recent results, Chelsea look like they will be setting up the team to concede as few goals as possible but score fewer than in previous seasons. This week, Cahill and Terry are expected to return in defence and Mata has been omitted from the entire squad, apparently until he can learn to work harder when his side don't have the ball.
Sun 22nd Sep 1.30pm - CRY v Swa
It will be very interesting to see how Swansea respond to the current fixture congestion from a betting perspective, since (as mentioned in previous emails) betting returns on opposing teams with thin squads playing in European competitions over the past 5-7 year have been high, although prices have corrected slightly in the past couple of years.
It remains to be seen whether Holloway will change his approach to that during his time with Blackpool in the premier league where 75% of their matches finished with over 2.5 goals. Since he has been in charge at Palace, over 65% of games have been over 2.5 goals (albeit mainly in the Championship but it's worth noting that the average total goals per game is lower in the Championship than in the Premier league). There were clear remnants of the Blackpool era in Palace's first game of the season against Spurs though, as 3 forwards were simultaneously thrown on with 30 minutes remaining in an attempt to get something from the game.
The key blocker to this pick is Swansea's defensive competence and general approach away from home, however there are doubts regarding the fitness of Ashley Williams, which would obviously significantly disrupt their backline if he is omitted. The fixture congestion impact could depend on how the game plays out. If Swansea have a lead of the game is tied, they may be more inclined to use their ability to keep possession to play the result out. On the other hand, fatigue will now start to play a factor in Swansea's players having been involved in the 2 games already this week which lends itself to a higher frequency of defensive mistakes, and subsequently a more open game.
Sun 22nd Sep 4pm - MCI v Mnu
Lastly, the highest variance of the picks, and based purely on price as the market does seem to suffer from short-term memory syndrome on games between the top teams and derbies by forgetting about the low scoring affairs. Both teams do appear to have all their main attacking options available, with Silva even potentially available, however the return of Kompany for City does offer some support to the 'Both Teams To Score - No' bet.
*All bets subject to review of price movements, team announcements and in play trading opportunities on gamedays. Gameday news may be shared via Twitter account.