WE asked Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) to give us his three best weekend Premier League bets. Here’s what he came up with.
Southampton v Tottenham | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
When I looked at this weekend’s fixtures I didn’t expect this game to be among my three best bets. But it’s all about the price. It’s ALWAYS about the price people!
I like to price up all 10 games before I look at the bookmakers odds and I got this one all wrong. With Spurs higher up the table and a marginally better side in my opinion I had them around 2/1, the fact they’re 3/1 to win excites me.
Southampton being too short in the betting has been one of the themes of the season for me, but the fact they’re in the Top 7 maybe proves me wrong. Whether that’s the case or not, I’m happy to have another pop at them here and back Spurs to avoid defeat at a handsome 17/20.
Both sides lie mid-table in the six game form table and I get the impression they’re running out of steam as the end of the season draws ever closer. Interestingly they both have the same six game record – P6 W3 D1 L2 so there’s not much between them however you look at it.
I feel a bit rude picking holes in the form of Ronald Koeman’s side but that’s what I’ll do. Since beating Newcastle on January 17th and adding further fuel to their Champions League hopes their form has dipped.
Four wins in 12 have followed and those victories have come against Burnley, Hull, QPR and Crystal Palace. Hardly the toughest of tests! Defeats have come against West Brom, Stoke, Everton, Swansea and Liverpool in the league and they haven’t beaten a top half side for over three months.
Spurs are definitely winding down for the season, but it was encouraging to see them beat Newcastle so comprehensively on Sunday. I’m willing to believe Mauricio Pochettino’s current side won’t lose to his former club and they’ll maintain their decade-long unbeaten run against the Saints.
Crystal Palace v Hull | Saturday 15:00
Oh dear Hull! Things are looking grim. Out of the relegation zone merely by goal difference they now have to face four of the current top six in their remaining six matches. This match with Crystal Palace will be billed as rest-bite to that brutal schedule, but I don’t expect them to get anything here.
Purely on paper, we’re being able to back a side at odds against playing at home who’ve won four of their last five matches and sit fifth in the form table against a side with no win since February. When you put it like that…
Remember Boxing Day? You felt like shit and your family were doing your head in? Ages ago eh! Well, that was the last time Hull won away from home.
The reason they have such a tough fixture list coming up is because they’ve had plentiful opportunities against sides around them in the table in the second half of the season. Now the task gets tougher.
Hull’s record against sides above them in the table is pitiful. It’s scary for Steve Bruce’s side that all six of their wins have come against current bottom half sides. They’ve struggled against in-form confident teams and surely Palace fit that description just now.
I wasn’t at all surprised that Alan Pardew’s side lost to West Brom last week, as I tried (and possibly failed) to intimate in this piece last week I really was keen on the Baggies bouncing back.
Pardew this week becomes Tony Pulis from last week. Looking for a reaction from his players, eager to recapture that recent winning form. Palace are too good for Hull and getting them at odds-against at home appeals to me.
Arsenal v Chelsea | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
I wonder if Sky will have the audacity to bill this as a title decider? Nah, surely that’s too absurd for even them! For the avoidance of doubt, it’s definitely not a decider, it’s a side strolling to their first championship in five years up against opponents they always bully.
I had my eye on this fixture from a betting point of view for a while back actually. I was hoping Chelsea would drop points and Arsenal’s excellent run of form would continue so we might get some plump prices on the Blues. Jose Mourinho’s side didn’t stick to their side of the bargain though although the odds are fair.
In situations and games like this my default position is to oppose Arsenal. To be fair it backfired earlier this season when I had my biggest bet of 2015 on Man City beating them in January. Looking back now, that seemed the start of City’s decline.
As well all know Arsene Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in 12 attempts. That’s 12. Not a coincidence, or a run of bad luck, that’s a deep trend.
Being the horrible guy he is you can imagine the Portuguese is incredibly proud of that record. His disdain for Wenger has been voiced publicly on a number of occasions and he’ll instruct his players to maintain that unbeaten run as much as they can.
As we saw last week against Manchester United, Mourinho is the master of crushing a game and avoiding defeat at all costs. I think there might be an element of that style on Sunday but I’m sure he’ll fear Arsenal less than Louis Van Gaal’s side.
But what about Arsenal’s form? Yeah amazing, on a great run etc etc. But I’m not having it, I can’t back them. Form book out the window and it now becomes a game of chess. Mourinho is the (grand) master of chess!
I’m going to back Chelsea +0.25 at 8/9 with BetVictor on the Asian Handicap. Half my stake goes on Chelsea +0, the other half on Chelsea +0.5.
The +0 side of the bet means if the Blues win I get a full payout, if they draw I get my stake back. The +0.5 part is simply Chelsea to avoid defeat. So as long as they do that, I’ll make a profit. Any questions on the Asian Handicap? Just comment below or grab me on Twitter (@ChrisGraham79).
Southampton v Tottenham – Tottenham +0.5 Asian Handicap (17/20 Bet365)
Crystal Palace v Hull – Crystal Palace to win (11/10 Boylesports)
Arsenal v Chelsea – Chelsea +0.25 (8/9 BetVictor)
It’s the big match of the weekend!
Huge respect to Ladbrokes who are offering new players the chance to back either side at 8/1.