CORRECT SCORE specialist Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) delivers his best bets of the weekend.
Swansea v Sunderland | Saturday 15:00
As someone who plays the percentages, a 37-goal weekend like the one we have just witnessed was unlikely to yield a profit. Still, how many times has Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored from 25 yards in the Premier League?
I am confident of returning to profitable ways on a weekend that features many must-not-lose games. The most glaring of these comes at the Liberty Stadium where Swansea ‘entertain’ Sunderland.
Defeat for the home side could well spell the end to Bob Bradley’s inauspicious time as manager. The Swans have averaged just over a goal per-game (five came in a single match) and given that they have conceded nine goals in their last two, I think they will try to keep it tight, like the 0-0 they had against Watford in the American’s first home game in charge.
Sunderland themselves are not generally free-scoring. This fact did lead me to consider the No Goalscorer angle but Watford do not possess a striker of the calibre of Jermain Defoe and you cannot trust a Sunderland backline with one clean sheet all season – and that was mainly due to the brilliance of Jordan Pickford – to do so again on Saturday.
Instead, I am going to go for the 1-1. This is 13/2 with BetVictor (bigger than I expected). Two out of the last three meetings between these two sides have ended with this scoreline and hopefully it’ll be three out of four come 5pm on Saturday.
Given how tight I expect this game to be, the 1-0 Sigurdsson scorecast, available at 30/1 with BetVictor, is also no-brainer for reasons explained many a time.
Leicester v Manchester City | Saturday 17:30 | BT Sport 1
Its early days but the 2-1 and 3-1 scorelines already appear to be the most likely results for Pep Guardiola’s side. Overall, they have won eight out of his 24 matches in charge by such margins.
Based on this alone, a fair price would be 2/1. However, a careful staking plan based on bet365’s 8/1 offer for a 2-1 victory and BetVictor’s 13/1 for 3-1 gives you combined odds of more than 5/1 for either outcome.
Any side with Claudio Bravo between the sticks – attempting to keep the ball out without using any of his limbs – is going to find it tricky to keep clean sheets.
It is therefore no surprise that City have kept just one away from home this season. Still, that is more good news for this bet. Four of their seven games have finished with victories by the suggested 2-1 or 3-1 triumphs.
Any side would miss Sergio Aguero but Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal scoring record has been extraordinary and I would not discourage anyone from backing the Nigerian in the to score Anytime or First Goalscorer markets.
Leicester will be fine this season and talks of Claudio Ranieri losing his job are ridiculous. However, they are simply up against a better side on Saturday evening and I expect their poor run to continue.
Manchester United v Tottenham | Sunday 14:15 | Sky Sports 1
Perhaps unsurprisingly I am backing two of the Premier League’s draw specialists to, erm, draw.
Ironically until the start of this season I always thought of Jose Mourinho as a lucky manager and wondered what kind of career he would have had if Paul Scholes’ ‘goal’ not been wrongly disallowed during his Porto sides run to Champions League glory.
That’s all changed this season as it is an absolutely mystery how United managed just four points from home games with Stoke, Burnley, Arsenal and West Ham.
However, backing them to beat a Spurs side with just one league defeat all season is tough to justify, so I will take the 13/2 Betfair are offering on a 1-1 scoreline.
Eight of these two sides 28 league games have finished with this result. I am confident of another on Sunday afternoon.
1-1 lucky 15. As well as the Swansea and Manchester United games, add Watford v Everton and Burnley v Bournemouth to the mix. A 10p lucky 15 returns a maximum of £435 with BetVictor.
Swansea v Sunderland – Swansea 1-1 Sunderland (13/2 BetVictor)
Swansea v Sunderland – Gylfi Sigurdsson to score first and Swansea to win 1-0 (30/1 BetVictor)
Leicester v Manchester City – Leicester 1-2 Manchester City (8/1 Bet365)
Leicester v Manchester City – Leicester 1-3 Manchester City (13/1 BetVictor)
Manchester United v Tottenham – Manchester United 1-1 Tottenham (13/2 Betfair)
1-1 lucky 15 (Watford, Swansea, Burnley and Manchester United)