CORRECT SCORE specialist Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) delivers his best bets from Saturday's Premier League card.
Tottenham v West Brom | Saturday 12:30 | Sky Sports 1
At first sight I favoured backing solely a 1-1 draw on a data v odds logic. However, recent results have given me reason to me more cautious and back the home side to prevail via the solitary goal.
I tipped 1-1 in the reverse fixture simply because it has been such a common scoreline when these two have played in the Premier League era.
Eight of the 21 games – including four at White Hart Lane – have finished this way, including each of the last three. Moreover, results in the last five matches between these two in North London have read 1-0, 1-1, 1-1, 0-1, 1-1.
Given that the gulf between the two sides has been vast at all points during this time, I think it’s fair to suggest that Albion are somewhat of a bogey side for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, especially when you consider than last season’s draw effectively ended their title challenge.
Whilst there is no doubt that Tottenham have been in great recent form, there is also little to suggest that Tony Pulis’ side will be on the end of a pummelling. They have played both Chelsea and Arsenal away in the last few weeks and lost to both by a solitary goal.
Whilst Ben Foster was in sublime form in the latter fixture, it is worth noting that Olivier Giroud did not score the winner until the 86th minute. Chelsea, on the other hand, created very little before a rare Gareth McAuley mistake let Diego Costa in for a superbly taken goal.
I think we are in for a similar type of game on Saturday lunch time, so would suggest you split your stakes between Tottenham 1-0 (available at 6/1 with bet365) and a 1-1 draw (10/1 with the same firm).
Swansea v Arsenal | Saturday 15:00
As a general rule, I like to back Under 2.5 Goals when a new manager takes the helm. However, very few teams have a defence as porous as Swansea’s and given some of Arsenal’s recent performances, I simply do not trust either team to keep a clean sheet.
Swansea’s have faced four of the top six – Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United – at The Liberty this season. Their results have read; 2-2, 1-3, 1-2, 1-3.
Since the start of the 2013/14 season, Arsenal have won 11 of their 36 away games against sides in the bottom-half by either of these score lines, suggesting combined odds of around 9/4 would be fair. Careful stake planning provides you with odds of around 9/2.
BetStars are offering 8/1 on a 2-1 victory for the away side and 11/1 on 3-1. These prices both seem very generous in my view.
West Ham v Crystal Palace | Saturday 15:00
Sam Allardyce returns to his former club on Saturday afternoon, desperate to give his inauspicious start as Crystal Palace manager a much-needed boost.
A defeat away at Arsenal may have been expected, but he would have hoped for more than just a single point from matches against Watford and Swansea respectively.
I fully expected Alan Pardew to keep The Eagles in the Premier League and have similar confidence in ‘Big Sam’.
Whilst Allardyce eventually rescued Sunderland last term, it is worth remembering they averaged just a point a game from his first 24 matches, before 12 from their last six matches saw them finish above neighbours Newcastle by a meagre two points.
With Palace’s star man Wifried Zaha on African Cup of Nations duty for the next few weeks, I think things are once again likely to get worse before they get better.
The Hammers have been distinctly underwhelming this term but their home record against teams in the bottom-half has ensured that they have just about kept their head above water.
They have won four of their ten home games by one goal to nil and the 8/1 BetVictor are offering on said score line here is two spots better than I anticipated.