Premier League – Four Plays For Saturday’s 3PM Games

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PREMIER LEAGUE analyst Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) takes a look at the best bets available in the 3PM kick-offs on Saturday.

Saturday 3pm sees five Premier League games between sides outside of the bottom six. My perception was that this season these matches have generally been tight affairs, so I put this to the test by looking at the underlying data. Of the 140 games between sides from Burnley in seventh, to West Brom in 20th, 50 (36%) have ended in a draw.

In contrast, games featuring at least one side in the top half dozen have seen just 29/150 (19%) ending in a stalemate. Goals have also been far less frequent, with bottom 14 duels averaging just 2.31 goals per game compared with 3.05 when a member of the elite have been playing.

All of this is, of course, factored in to the markets to some extent but in my view, the draw prices are still too big. For example, the shortest price on the honours ending even in any of the Saturday 3pm kick offs is 85/40.

Based on this price, if you had simply put £10 on each of the 140 encounters ending in a draw you would be £162.50 in profit. Not a bad return for fairly blind betting!

I certainly wouldn’t put you off backing each of the give games ending in a stalemate, but there are a couple I would prefer to concentrate on.

Newcastle v Southampton | Saturday 10th March 2018, 15:00

Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle entertain Southampton this weekend in what is certainly a ‘must not lose’ game for both sides. The two sides currently occupy 16th and 17th places respectively and I struggle to pick a winner here. So do the bookies, with Newcastle currently a best price of 15/8 and Southampton 19/10.

The Geordies have drawn seven of their 20 matches against sides outside the top six, which means they are far from being the top flight’s draw specialists – that honour goes to their opponents this weekend – but still suggests that the 11/5 Bet365 are offering on this game ending in this manner is good value.

13 of Southampton’s 29 league fixtures have ended without a victor, with ten of 20 against sides from seventh down ending in a stalemate. I can’t separate these two and foresee another low-scoring draw, which isn’t ideal for either side.

West Brom v Leicester | Saturday 10th March 2018, 15:00

The cigarette paper gap between seventh and 20th in the Premier League is best evidenced by the performance data of the sides top and bottom of that table. Bottom club West Brom have had just seven shots on target fewer than seventh placed Burnley and faced two less themselves.

Indeed, xG actually suggests that they should be above The Clarets in the table. Therefore, whilst I couldn’t talk anyone out of Leicester winning by a single goal, I expect a close encounter at The Hawthorns this weekend.

At 57/25 with Marathonbet, the odds suggest that a stalemate in this game is the least likely of all the 3pm kick offs. I understand that West Brom are desperate and have lost six games in a row, but they have been desperate for a while now and under Alan Pardew they have been simply unable to preserve a lead or score a late equaliser.

The Baggies Boss has ten losses to his name in just 18 games but seven of those have been by a single goal, with only 3-0 reverses at Manchester City and Chelsea and a 3-1 loss against Stoke being by a larger margin.

Pardew has also drawn five games and Albion’s record against sides out with the top six gives me confidence that a draw is value here. Eight of their 20 matches have finished either 0-0, 1-1 or 2-2 and I think a similar scoreline is likely on Saturday afternoon.

Leicester have drawn eight of their 19 games against sides in the aforementioned mini-league and they have come from behind to claim draws with Stoke and Bournemouth in their last two matches.

With this in mind, I think they could easily add to Albion’s incredible tally of losing 18 points from winning positions and think anything above 2/1 on a draw is excellent value.

West Ham v Burnley | Saturday 10th March 2018, 15:00

Predicting which West Ham side will turn up has been incredibly difficult this season. Losing 4-1 at Anfield two weeks ago was concerning but replicating the same scoreline away to Swansea was really alarming. Having had a striking shortage in February, The Hammers now have serious defensive problems with Winston Reid and Sam Byram both expected to miss the rest of the season.

However, whilst their away games have generally been goalfests, matches at The London Stadium have been a lot more cautious, with their last nine results reading: 1-1, 1,0, 0-0, 2-3, 2-1, 1-0, 1-1, 1-1 and 2-0.

They entertain a Burnley side who have been involved in tight matches all season. Just three of their 29 matches have seen a winning margin of more than a single goal – 3-0 losses to Manchester City and Tottenham and a 2-0 win over Swansea – and their matches away to sides beneath them in the league have been particularly drab. Just ten goals have been scored in nine games on the road.

I will therefore recommend repeating the standard Burnley bet against anyone outside of the top six: back under 1.5 goals at 183/100 with Marathonbet for 70% of your stake and the 1-1 draw at 11/2 with Bet365. Combined this pays out in excess of 9/10, which I believe is excellent value when 16 of the 19 bets of this type have been winners this season.

Best Bets

Newcastle v Southampton – Draw (11/5 bet365)

West Brom v Leicester – Draw (57/25 Marathonbet)

West Ham v Burnley – Under 1.5 Goals (183/100 Marathonbet)

West Ham v Burnley –  Correct Score 1-1 (11/2 bet365)

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