FOOTBALL analyst Ben Levene (@benlevene96) delivers his best bets from Saturday’s 3pm kick-offs in his new specials feature.
Longshot – Cardiff win to nil (22/5 Bet Victor)
David Wagner’s Huddersfield were the Premier League’s lowest scorers last campaign and the same issues look to have carried into the new season. The Terriers have failed to score in eight of their last 12 league matches. Their only goal this season came via a scrappy long-throw.
Saturday’s opponents, Cardiff, will fancy themselves to hold strong from the home-side’s set-plays – No Championship team conceded fewer set-piece goals than Cardiff last campaign.
The Bluebirds won 11 away games last term, with seven of those coming to nil. They kept a clean sheet versus Newcastle last Saturday, too. Only six sides have allowed fewer shots than Cardiff so far this season.
On home turf, Huddersfield have scored just one goal in their last six and have lost four of those to nil.
We’re searching for a long-shot here, and given a low-scoring affair is on the cards at the John Smith, there is mileage in backing a Cardiff win to nil at 22/5 (Bet Victor)
Corners – Over 5.5 Brentford corners (11/10 Bet365)
No team won more corners than Brentford last season, with the Bees achieving a whopping 326. To provide some context, Sheffield United achieved the next most, with 290.
Dean Smith’s side averaged 7.1 per game last season and have kicked the new campaign off in similar fashion, winning at least six corners in all four of their games.
Over 5.5 Brentford corners is priced at 11/10 here yet they’ve this achieved this mark in eight of their last ten Championship away trips. Like already mentioned, it’s landed in all of their games this season, too.
Blackburn have restricted opposition to low corner counts in three of four league games this season, but I’m happy too look past that. Rovers have hosted Millwall and Reading, and travelled to Ipswich – three quite negative sides, who aren’t comparable to Brentford in style.
Rovers midfielders Bradley Dack and Kasey Palmer are doubts, so Tony Mowbrary’s unit could be more negative by design, and look to play on the counter, allowing the Bees to dominate the game.
At 11/10 (Bet365) I’m happy to back over 5.5 Brentford corners. It has more of a shot than the implied 48% chance.
Corners – Over 3.5 West Ham corners (1/1 Bet365)
Arsenal and West Ham, both pointless after two games, are vying to kick-start their season at the Emirates this Saturday.
The Gunners were open defensively against Man City and Chelsea, admittedly tricky opposition, but there’s no reason West Ham can’t have some joy.
The Hammers are at their best when countering down the channels, whether it be Felipe Anderson, Michail Antonio, or main-man Marko Arnautovic.
Full-backs Arthur Masuaku and Ryan Fredericks like to get to the byline, and so it’s no surprise to see West Ham have accumulated at least four corners in both games so far this season, including their trip to Anfield.
The Hammers’ corner line here is set at 3.5. No team averaged under 3.5 corners across the entire 2017/18 season, whilst just opponents at the Etihad and Anfield averaged less than that mark.
We can get Evens (Bet365) on four or more West Ham corners, and that’s value.
Cards – Southampton v Leicester: Over 3 Asian cards (19/20 Bet365)
Southampton struggled last season and results have fared little better in the new campaign.
The pressure is already seemingly mounting on Mark Hughes, so a big performance will be the order on Saturday when Leicester come to town.
Claude Puel will be leading the Foxes to his former side, so there is a narrative here, but that’s not the reason I’m backing cards.
Three of four games at St Marys’ under Hughes have seen four of more cards and the Saints picked up five of their own at Goodison Park last Saturday.
Since the start of last season, referee John Moss averages 3.5 yellow cards per game. He’s shown at least three in 20 of 31 (65%) Premier League matches during that time.
Over 3 Asian cards is a generous 19/20, and sees our stake refunded if exactly three are shown.
Given Moss’ numbers, and the fact both sides will view this as winnable, I’m happy to take that price. It landed in both team’s matches last Saturday.
Huddersfield v Cardiff – Cardiff win to nil (22/5 Bet Victor)
Blackburn v Brentford – Over 5.5 Brentford corners (11/10 Bet365)
Arsenal v West Ham – Over 3.5 West Ham corners (1/1 Bet365)
Southampton v Leicester – Over 3 Asian cards (19/20 Bet365)