Greetings all. Did you hear? You might not have heard. It’s kind of a secret, but…
It’s #DerbyDay in England! Derby fever is gripping the nation!
Unfortunately, for our betting purposes, there isn’t a lot of gold to be mined in either of the Prem’s big derbies. With both Liverpool and Manchester City being between actually-important games in Europe, it’s difficult to predict exactly who’ll be taking the field for either, or how much effort those players will put in (they’ll want to win, obviously, but their priority will be avoiding injury). These derbies are fun, but they’re more about the fans than the players; Liverpool have essentially got a top four spot wrapped up already, and City won the title months ago.
Right, I think I’ve rained on the parade enough now. Let’s get down to this weekend’s betting tips.
We’re betting 10 fake pounds this week – five on a semi-speculative accumulator, and the other five on more likely individual bets.
(Odds courtesy of Bet365.com)
It’s not the easiest betting week in the Prem. Both of the derbies are stay-aways for the aforementioned reasons, and the slate is mostly made up of hard-to-predict matchups between inconsistent mid-to-lower-table teams.
The only Premier League game I do feel safe betting on this week is Tottenham to beat Stoke away. Spurs have been on a rampage since their humbling at the hands of Juventus, beating Bournemouth 4-1, Swansea 3-0, and – of course – dispatching Chelsea 3-1. Stoke have been on the opposite of a rampage; they haven’t won a match since January 20th, and managed to lose to Allardyce’s Everton in their last home game.
That game aside, we’re branching out into Europe for the rest of our accumulator, where there are a few opportunities to benefit from big teams dishing out probable beatdowns on lowly opposition.
My first pick is Juventus away to Benevento. The Old Lady may also be between European fixtures, but realistically they haven’t got a chance against Real Madrid next week. Serie A, on the other hand, is still wide open, with Juve only holding a slim four point lead over the excellent Napoli. Benevento are rock bottom of the table and have no hope of survival, being 13 points away from safety. With Dybala eligible to play in the league, and with a point to prove after letting his team down mid-week, he’s also a decent bet to score anytime at 5/6. This one’s bolted on (and you’re more than welcome to throw those words back at me later this evening when Benevento pull off the upset of the season).
Next we have Barcelona at home to Leganes. To paraphrase Ross Geller, the pressure couldn’t be more off for their second leg against Roma, so I’d expect them to romp gleefully against 13th-placed Leganes. The league isn’t quite wrapped up yet – with Barça only being nine points clear of Atlético – and they still have their unbeaten record to protect, so motivation shouldn’t be a problem.
I don’t like these next two quite so much, but we’ve got to get the numbers for our accumulator somewhere.
I’m taking Bayern to beat Augsburg away. The Bavarians have the closest second-leg quarter final of the bunch to come next week, but they absolutely demolished Dortmund last time out in the Bundesliga, and have a deep enough squad to beat a decent Augsburg side even if they do rest some players.
Finally, we have Monaco to defeat Nantes at home. The league is long gone, but they’ll want to secure second place ahead of the chasing Marseille. Nantes are no pushovers, but I’m backing Monaco’s firepower (75 goals in 31 matches) to overwhelm them.
We’re betting £5 on this accumulator, at odds of 3.02/1, to return £20.10.
Here we have five safer, individual bets. We’re putting £1 on each of them.
1) Everton vs Liverpool over 2.5 goals – 1/1, £2 return
I have no idea what the result of this game will be, but I’m backing goals to be the overall winner. Liverpool’s attack is unstoppable, Everton’s defence is terrible, Liverpool will be tired and/or taking it a little easier ahead of the City game, and the Toffees will be looking to make a statement.
2) Vardy to score anytime against Newcastle – 6/5, £2.20 return
Vardy’s been on a nice little run of form, with four goals in his last five games (including the England match). Newcastle might not have conceded in their past two games… but they were against Huddersfield and Southampton. Before that they shipped two goals to Liverpool and two to Bournemouth. I quite like a home win for Leicester, but I like Vardy to score much more.
3) Watford vs Burnley, over 2.5 goals – 1/1, £2.35 return
Burnley have executed a stylish 180˚ in recent weeks, going from 1-1/1-0 specialists to potent attackers. They’ve scored six goals in their past three games, and come up against a Watford defence which is tied for second-worst in the league (57 goals conceded in 32 games). Each of the last three games have gone over 2.5 goals for both sides, and I’m betting this week to follow suit.
4) Arsenal to win and Southampton not to score – 7/4, £2.75 return
With their excellent home form, and their classic spring-time, pressure-off resurgence, I’d be stunned if Arsenal don’t wallop Southampton at home. They’ve got nothing to fear in the second leg against CSKA, and they’ve scored at least three goals in their past four matches. The odds for Arsenal to win straight-up aren’t great (11/20), as you’d expect, but – with Southampton not scoring in their past three Premier League games – I like them to win with a clean sheet anyway.
5) Aubameyang to score anytime against Southampton – 5/6, £1.83 return
Auba has been taking out his Europa League ineligibility frustrations on the Prem with gusto, scoring four goals in his last three games. As discussed, Southampton are terrible. Add those two factors together, and Auba is the safest bet in the Premier League to score this weekend.
Total Bet – £10.
Possible returns – £31.23.