Correct Score – Toffees to give Big Sam a solid start

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OUR Correct Score man Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) delivers his best bets of the weekend.

Everton v Huddersfield | Saturday 2nd December 2017, 15:00

Backing two sides with four clean sheets between them from 28 games to keep their opponents scoreless may initially appear to fit into the ‘mug punting’ category but statistics can be easily manipulated without applying some context.

Everton face Huddersfield on Saturday in what will be Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of The Toffees. With just two clean sheets in the Premier League so far this term it is easy to see where the Merseysiders issues lie.

‘Big Sam’ is famous for his ability to improve a sides fortunes by making them more defensive-minded but I am conscious that he is not a miracle-worker. It took a while for him to turn things around at Crystal Palace but I believe this weekend’s opposition, Huddersfield, offer him a perfect opportunity to start with a victory and a clean sheet.

The Yorkshire outfit have not scored away frkm home since their opening day victory over Crystal Palace and have looked fairly impotent all season. Huddersfield may have conceded 11 goals from their last three fixtures but I think it’s fair to say that Arsenal and Manchester City have greater offensive weapons than Everton offer whilst Bournemouth’s goal tally of four was three more than the expected goals stats suggested.

I struggle to see anything but a tight encounter here. Everton may have beaten West Ham 4-0 just a few days ago but that result was hugely flattering and I feel that irrespective of recent results Huddersfield are set up better defensively than the East Londoners It’s a small sample size but in his 10 home matches at Crystal Palace, Big Sam managed two 1-0 home victories and I believe 13/2 with Marathon is plenty big enough here.

I was tempted to back 2-0 as a saver but I don’t think 15/2 offers enough value for me to hedge my bets.

Stoke v Swansea | Saturday 2nd December 2017, 15:00

Slaven Bilic lost his job at West Ham because he seemed to lose his ability to win precisely this kind of match and whilst Mark Hughes’ job does not appear to be at immediate risk, failure to win on Saturday will surely see his job come under greater focus.

I do, however, believe that they will overcome a Swansea outfit who had less shots on target in November than Stoke’s own Kurt Zouma.

Stoke may have lost their last two matches but I don’t believe either scoreline was a fair reflection on the game. Unfortunately for them they came up against two sides in Crystal Palace and Liverpool that were due a change of luck and I believe the latter – due to the referee’s inexplicable decision not to send off Liverpool ‘keeper Simon Mignolet – were particularly fortunate.

Stoke may have conceded 29 goals this season but 48% of those came against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, all of whom have attacks that are incomparable to an impotent Swansea side.

Paul Clement’s team have had just seven shots on-target away from home this season – seven less than any other side – and since the start of last season, Stoke have won 4/26 home games by two goals to nil and given the quality of opposition they face on Saturday, I believe the 8/1 BetVictor offer on them making that 5/27 excellent value.

In my view this is final result far more than the implied probability of 11% suggests.

Best Bets

Everton v Huddersfield – Everton 1-0 Huddersfield (13/2 Marathon)

Stoke v Swansea – Stoke 2-0 Swansea (8/1 BetVictor)

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