BOXING DAY gets underway with struggling Fulham welcoming enterprising Wolves at Craven Cottage. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) picks out his favourite betting angles.
Fulham v Wolves | Wednesday 26th December 2018, 12:30 | Sky Sports
Boxing Day kicks-off with two of the recently promoted teams meeting on the banks of the Thames.
Fulham have improved since Claudio Ranieri took over from Slavisa Jokanovic – admittedly that wouldn’t have been the hardest of tasks but they’re starting to enhance performances and finally managed to secure a much needed clean sheet away at Newcastle last week.
The Cottagers created very little at St James’ Park on Saturday but their focus was on defending well as Ranieri pointed out prior to the game. They deserved their clean sheet too, they only conceded an xG figure of 0.45, probably their best so far this season.
It should be a psychological boost more than anything for the Cottagers, Alfie Mawson stepped up with a commanding performance and Callum Chambers has slotted in to defensive midfield to give the defence a bit more protection.
Whether ‘Tinkerman’ Ranieri alters his formation/starting line-up for this meeting is not known; Ryan Sessengnon might not make it for this one though. Nevertheless they will be focussing on avoiding defeat once more to try kick start some kind of run going into the new year.
Wolves, on the other hand, lost at home against Liverpool on Friday night, and I was pretty disappointed with them, in all honesty. They have been good on the data side of things this season but haven’t convinced in front of goal. They’ve only scored 19 goals so far – only six sides have scored fewer.
There was only one big chance created – which was late on in the game through Morgan Gibbs-White. Nuno will be wanting a response and the impressive Gibbs-White could come back into the fold after starting on the bench Friday night.
The Old Gold have been chalked up as 11/8 favourites here and it’s not a price I’m too keen on. Instead, I’m inclined to get with the hosts in the Asian Handicap market. We can back Fulham with a +0.25 start – it’s available at 10/11 with BetVictor. This bet would see us profit if they avoid defeat with a half-stakes win should the game end all square and a full win if the West London side claim all three points.
There’s plenty of potential to improve for Fulham and with home advantage I think they’ll be right up for this.
I’m also going to dip into the card markets and it’s a been a go-to bet of mine this season to back the left back for whoever Wolves are playing to be booked. Many will be aware of the pace possessed by Wolves’ Adama Traore, he can be a nightmare for defenders to have to cope with and many have resorted to fouling him in order stop him cantering past them. Traore usually operates on the right-hand side and therefore quite a few left backs pick up cautions.
It’s been a profitable angle so far, even if Traore doesn’t play, Wolves have plenty of quick and tricky wingers including Helder Costa and Ivan Caveleiro.
Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Charlie Taylor (Burnley), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Patrick Van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) are all left backs who have been booked against Wolves. Ciaran Clark was pretty much playing as a left back for Newcastle against them too and he was cautioned.
It’s one I’d probably wait until team line-ups are announced but it’s likely that Joe Bryan will be playing as a left back/left wing back. He’s not been a regular feature this season and hasn’t picked up a booking so far in the 18/19 campaign. However, the 17/18 season saw him pick up 11 yellow cards as well as 10 the season prior to that. Interestingly, he was also cautioned when he played against Traore last season in the Bristol City v Middlesbrough game.
I believe any left back against Wolves at odds higher than 3/1 represents value and Bryan is as short as 21/10 in places. However, at time of writing Bet365 have him chalked up at 11/2 for a card which is too good to turn down. It looks like it’s a price discrepancy that we can hopefully profit from.