ANOTHER busy Saturday in the Premier League, Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) picks out his three best bets.
Crystal Palace v Sunderland | Saturday 15:00
This looks a horrid Premier League betting card on Saturday. I’d go as far to say it’s the toughest of the season so far and I’m finding it hard to find an edge over the prices.
This match looks the pick of the 3pm games as 18th place Crystal Palace host bottom of the table Sunderland. I’m drawn to Palace to be honest, but to seem them as short as 8/13 in places feels absurd.
This is a side with just seven Premier League wins in the last year of course. They’re hardly steady enough on their feet to be quoted at those prices.
But anyway…I’m supposed to be pro-Palace. Why? Well, Tuesday night’s 2-0 away win at Bournemouth offered fans of the South London club real hope.
They grabbed the three points, they kept a clean sheet, they won the Shot count and they won the Shots On Target count. It wasn’t enough to take them out the bottom three but it was a big positive.
Sunderland look meek to me. Perhaps sculpted in the soul of their manager David Moyes. They take very few hammerings but don’t seem to have much grit and grime about them.
They can certainly keep it tidy enough to take points from big clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham, while also going down to narrow defeats to Man City and Chelsea but in games against their peers they’ve struggled with defeats against three of the five sides directly above them.
Newly promoted Middlesbrough got the better of them in an early season clash at the Stadium Of Light while struggling Swansea tore them apart in December. They’ve already played Crystal Palace this season and lost 3-2 on home soil late on.
There have been wins against fellow strugglers of course, but these have come against the enigma that is Leicester and a Hull side losing their way against Mike Phelan.
This match pits two different types of managers together. The ugly, brutish, couldn’t give a fuck figure of Sam Allardyce against the decent but sometime floundering David Moyes. In a street fight between the pair I’d be 1/10 Allardyce.
And in some ways this match is a bit of a street fight. A battle for breathing space at the bottom of the Premier League table. Dirty Allardyce might just crush meek Moyes.
Betting wise there ain’t much value if you hold my view. 4/6 on Palace just doesn’t feel like a brilliant price. Therefore I’ll fatten it up a little by backing them to win in an Over 1.5 Goals match.
Five of the last six Sunderland games have gone Over 1.5 while in the league it’s the same figure for Palace.
Hull v Liverpool | Saturday 15:00
Despite Hull being 15 places below Liverpool in the table, you’d have to say they’ve had a better 2017 so far than their more illustrious Saturday opponents.
Plaudits have been heading in the direction of Marco Silva since he took over at Hull last month and it’s very much deserved after three wins from his seven matches in charge.
Not only did they put up a fight against Manchester United in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, but they also took a point off them in the league on Wednesday night.
That away point (their first since September) supplemented a home win over Bournemouth last month and the Humberside outfit are still in contention to avoid the drop.
After ending 2016 on a high with victory over Manchester City, Liverpool had a hellish January with elimination in two Cup competitions and no win in four in the Premier League.
Wounds are raw at the club as people dare to question manager Jurgen Klopp and they make no appeal at odds of 1/2 to win this match on Saturday.
Hull have won their last three matches at home and have suffered defeat there just once in their last nine matches. Those are seriously good figures.
The Tigers are 7/1 to win on Saturday, which means they become appealing on the handicap. I’ll back them +1.25 on the Asian Handicap at odds of 41/50 with Marathon Bet. A one goal defeat would see half my stake pay out and the other half returned. It looks a fair bet.
West Brom v Stoke | Saturday 15:00
Hardly the most glamorous pair this bunch but I’ve got enormous affection for them both. West Brom and Stoke tend to be unfashionable and overpriced in the betting most weeks. I’ve chucked them in my column on a number of 2016/17 occasions.
Outside the Top 6 and rightful seventh place side Everton, it’s West Brom and Stoke sitting next in the table in 8th and 9th place respectively.
West Brom haven’t lost to a side outside the Top 6 since September and at The Hawthorns have dropped just one point to a side beneath them in the table (a 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough in August).
Stoke boast a similar kind of record with only one defeat to a non-Top 6 side since mid-September and like West Brom they’ve struggled against the elite sides.
This looks far from the most exciting game of the weekend and I can see it being a tactical, tepid affair with neither side looking to taste defeat.
Entertainment may be at a premium but I’ll take a chance on Both Teams To Score. I think it stems from my deep respect for both of these sides and their managers. I think they’re both good enough to bring something to the party.
I’ve already mentioned Albion’s brilliant record against non-elite sides and it’s also worth mentioning that Stoke have scored in their last nine away games.
That run has featured away trips to Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, so there’s lots to be enthusiastic about when it comes to them scoring. Evens on BTTS suits me.
Crystal Palace v Sunderland – Crystal Palace to win and Over 1.5 Goals (6/5 Marathon Bet)
Hull v Liverpool – Hull +1.25 (41/50 Marathon Bet)
West Brom v Stoke – Both Teams To Score (Evens Marathon Bet)