Last week was a good week of selections, with 4 of the 5 picks winning and a profitable week overall. Hopefully, this can continue in the final blog post before Christmas. 6 picks are made this week, with the analysis below.
The biggest news out of the Premier League this week is the appointment of Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti at Arsenal and Everton respectively. Both managers will hope to turn round their club’s fortunes. Coincidentally, they face off in the early kick-off at Goodison Park. Although Everton appear good value at around 13/10 to win, given Arsenal’s frailties away from the Emirates, the 2 new managers throw enough doubt into the contest that no selection is made.
Wolves travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich. As mentioned in previous blogs, Norwich have struggled in their return to the Premier League since causing a massive shock against Manchester City. However, their form has improved slightly with some key players returning from injury in recent weeks, by winning at Everton and taking a point from Leicester last Saturday. At home, they have won 3 games but only earned 1 point since September. They unquestionably have talent but have to put together a whole 90 minutes to avoid defeat.
Wolves have recovered from a slow start to the season. Although they have drawn half of their matches this season, they have not lost away from Molineux since September. They are resilient defensively as they have the fourth meanest defence in the Premier League; they have only conceded 9 goals away from home in 8 games. Their organisation should allow them to blunt Norwich’s attack, and give them ample opportunity to attack on the counter.
Overall, it isn’t straightforward to see Wolves failing to record a win. They are available at 10/11 for this, and anything above 3/4 would represent good value.
In last week’s selections, Millwall turned one of the picks over by winning away at Derby. This continues their excellent form under Gary Rowett, and are unbeaten in X games. Rowett has overseen a shift to a more expansive style of football than when Millwall were managed by Neil Harris. This is seen by the number of goals scored; in each game, since Rowett took over, they have scored 2 goals.
Although Barnsley recorded an exciting 5-3 win at Oakwell against QPR last time out, they still sit at the foot of the table. Away from Oakwell, they have managed 2 draws, and no wins from 10 games. Barnsley have conceded at least 2 in 5 of their last 6 away games, conceding 16 in total. Overall for the season, they are averaging conceding 2.1 goals per game.
Taking all of the trends into account, there appears an excellent chance that Millwall will score at least 2 goals in the game. They are available to do this at around 5/6, and anything above 1/2 would represent good value.
Burton have settled into their second season back in league one in midtable. Their games at the Pirelli Stadium have been amongst the lowest scoring in the entire football league, with only 9 goals across the 8 matches there this season. Burton has only picked up 9 points from those matches, considerably less than the 15 they have picked up on their travels. Burton has lost their last 2 games 2-0, and only recorded a draw against Southend in their match before those.
Rochdale currently sit in 18th, 3 places and 2 points below their opponents. They have completed a gruelling 6 match run against teams in the top 10, winning last time out away at Rotherham. Prior to those matches, they faced 3 teams in the bottom half, winning all 3. Similar to Burton, they have fared much better on their travels, picking up 9 points at home, and 13 on the road.
Given Burton’s struggles at home, and Rochdale’s successes away, the odds of 5/1 on a Rochdale win appear far too large. A low scoring draw seems the most likely scenario, so a selection is not made for Rochdale to win. However, a double chance bet is available at 13/10 and is taken as a selection. Any odds available over 3/4 would represent good value on Rochdale to avoid defeat.
Oxford host Wycombe Wanderers at the Kassam Stadium. Wycombe have been a regular in this column; they were featured around a month ago with the belief that they would remain competitive for the automatic places. They have not disappointed, as they have not conceded a goal in 6 league matches, and 2 months. They have won all these matches except for a 0-0 draw at Ipswich.
Following a slow start, Oxford was the form club in the league, going 3 months unbeaten until their run came to an end last weekend. They caught the eye with several eye-catching wins, including 6 by at least 3 goals. However, crucially, all of these were against teams in the bottom half of the table. They have struggled against teams in the top half, only recording wins at Rotherham in October and against Peterborough in August. However, Oxford’s form has also slipped lately. They have only recorded one win in their last 4 matches, against relegation certainties Southend, before losing at MK Dons last time out.
The odds don’t reflect the trends, with Oxford being firm favourites, and Wycombe continuing to be undervalued by the market. Wycombe are available to win at 5/2 and is taken as a selection. Anything longer than 6/4 would represent good value on Wycombe to win.
Bradford host newly-promoted Salford. Salford have struggled in their return compared to market expectations; despite being amongst the favourites for promotion, they currently sit in 14th. Their form has been weak recently, they have lost 3 of their last 4, and have not scored in their previous 3 matches. Furthermore, there is a distinctive split between their results against top 7 teams and the rest of the league; against the current top 7 in the league, they have played 6 and lost all 6 matches. Against teams outside the top 7, they have only lost 2 of the 15 games they have played.
Unfortunately for Salford, their opponents are the only team in the top 7 they have yet to play. Bradford has made a solid start following relegation and currently sit in 5th, with 10 wins, and 5 draws from their 20 games. They have done this with a very tight defence, only 3 teams have conceded fewer than Bradford’s 18. At home, on a goals per game basis, surprisingly only Macclesfield have conceded fewer than Bradford. Bradford have won 7 of their 10 games at Valley Parade, and have the best home record in the division on a points per game basis.
Bradford is available to win this at 5/6, but the likelihood of them winning appears much higher than that. Salford resemble a decent mid-table team but are highly likely to struggle today. Anything over 3/5 would represent excellent value on Bradford, and Bradford are taken as a selection.
Finally, Mansfield host Northampton in a mid-table clash in League Two. Although this does not look like the most appealing match on paper for a BTTS, it does hold value. Both teams have seen BTTS in 5 of their respective 10 home and away games this season. However, Mansfield’s home matches have seen the joint-most goals of any ground in League Two, showing their strength in attack and susceptibility in defence. Their 10 home games have seen 34 goals scored. Both teams have scored in 3 of their last 4 home matches.
Away from home, Northampton’s 10 games have seen 26 goals, scoring at an above-average rate. Both teams have scored 2 goals in their last 2 away fixtures, with at least 2 goals scored by both sides combined in their previous 5 away games.
Overall, the odds available of 3/4 appear too high for BTTS in this match and is taken as a selection. Anything higher than 1/2 would have value in backing.
The prices quoted in the analysis are from Sportingbet. Sportingbet is the world’s leading Sports betting, Casino, Poker and Games provider. Sign up today with this link to get a risk free £10 bet. As always, the prices quoted were correct at the time of writing and may have fluctuated since.
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