CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) picks out his three best bets from this weekend’s Premier League card.
Burnley v Crystal Palace | Saturday 15:00
Two seasons ago after 10 matches Burnley lay bottom of the Premier League table with no wins and just four points. This time they round they’re up in 14th place and have 11 points to their name. It feels different.
10 of their 11 points have been accrued at Turf Moor and they return there on Saturday to host Crystal Palace. At the odds, I think the Clarets have been a little underrated.
I’m not sure what to make of Crystal Palace but there’s just a feeling that they’re bumbling along without making any real progress.
I backed them in the ante-post handicap market last season as I felt they’d hit the Top 6 but of course it fell apart after Christmas. This season they sit in 13th place without a win in their last five matches and looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Wins this season for the Eagles have come against awful Sunderland, promoted Middlesbrough and a Stoke side who kicked off the season very poorly.
Burnley on the other hand have lost just one game at home this season. That defeat was mightily cruel as Arsenal stole the three points in the last kick of the match.
Sean Dyche’s side are the only team to beat Liverpool in the league this campaign and have also seen off their Merseyside rivals and Watford at Turf Moor. Oh and let’s not forget about last week’s draw at Old Trafford.
Yes, the vibes feel different this time round for Burnley and I’m siding with them on Saturday. Because of their fat price I’m able to back them +0.25 at 11/13 with Marathon Bet.
This means that half my stake goes on Burnley Draw No Bet (+0) and the other half of them to avoid defeat (+0.5). I’m confident I’ll get something back on Saturday.
Man City v Middlesbrough | Saturday 15:00
My least confident pick here but I’m banking on a Man City win without too much pain for Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough.
The North East side have conceded just 11 goals,this season despite their position in the bottom six. That’s a better defensive record than 13 teams in the division including the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and champions Leicester. Impressive.
In their 10 games this season they’ve conceded fewer than two goals in seven matches and only once have leaked more than twice (a 3-1 loss to Everton in September).
It’s been a heady few weeks for the Teeside club as they managed to shut out Arsenal at the Emirates and kicked on from that to beat Bournemouth last weekend.
Manchester City will be equally positive heading into this match after a week where they smashed up West Brom 4-0 and (perhaps pivotally) saw off Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League.
It’s always dangerous presuming Man City will be conservative but their goal rate has decelerated in recent weeks. They notched 15 times in their opening five Premier League games but that dropped to nine in the following five matches.
The 4-0 romp against West Brom and the epic Barcelona win may have galvanised the club into returning to their free-scoring ways of the early weeks of the season but there’s no doubt Middlesbrough will provide a stiff test.
Boro have drawn with Arsenal and narrowly lost to Tottenham. Their defensive record deserves respect and the bet that appeals here is a Man City win in game involving Under 3.5 Goals. It’s 6/5.
Hull v Southampton | Sunday 14:15
The gap between these sides come May could be large in terms of points and the opportunity to back Southampton here at 8/11 is too good to turn down.
Hull are a bit of mess at the moment. Seven points from their opening four Premier League matches was a terrific return but since then they’ve lost six games in a row.
Alarmingly for the club they’ve conceded 20 goals in that period and taken some bad beatings against Bournemouth, Liverpool and Arsenal. Worrying times for sure.
Mike Phelan is finding it tough but to be fair to him his side have tightened up a little in the last fortnight with a 2-0 loss to Stoke preceding a narrow 1-0 defeat at Watford.
There’s just so much to admire about Southampton. I certainly doubted whether they could reach the heights of previous seasons but they’ve proved me wrong.
After a slow start manager Claude Puel has found his rhythm at the club and Saints lie in 9th position with just one defeat in their last six matches.
In this recent period they’ve beaten West Ham 3-0, drew at the King Power, shared the points with Manchester City and of course beating Inter Milan in the Europa League.
That match was Thursday night and it may be a concern that it may have taken a lot out of them but their results on the Sunday after the Europa League have been impressive.
Indeed their post-Europa League games have included the draws against Manchester City and Leicester and a 1-0 win over Swansea. All is calm on the Sunday after a Thursday night game,
Put simply, there’s a gulf in class between the sides and while Southampton will have a famous victory over Inter fresh in their minds Hull have the horrors of recent weeks to deal with.
Burnley v Crystal Palace – Burnley +0.25 (11/13 Marathon Bet)
Man City v Middlesbrough – Man City to win and Under 3.5 Goals (6/5 Marathon Bet)
Hull v Southampton – Southampton to win (8/11 Marathon Bet)