Newcastle vs West Brom | Saturday 12th December 2020, 15:00 | Sky Sports
Newcastle play their first game in over a fortnight when they host relegation-threatened West Brom on Saturday in the 3pm kick-off.
A coronavirus outbreak at the club’s Darsley Park training centre meant Toon's game at Aston Villa last Friday was postponed. They returned to training earlier this week, but it still remains unclear which players tested positive to the virus so the team news ahead of this one isn’t certain.
Despite a promising victory over Sheffield United, West Brom failed to follow it up with a positive performance as they were thumped 5-1 by Crystal Palace last time out. Everything went downhill after Matheus Pereira’s avoidable first-half red card. They sit 19th in the table on six points and have one point from a possible 15 on the road.
According to the data, West Brom sit bottom in terms of Expected Points (xP), Expected Goals (xG) and xG from open play. Those metrics make for dour reading for Baggies fans and in all honesty, they are only sitting one place above bottom due to the demise of Sheffield United.
For this reason, I’m all over getting against The Baggies on Saturday. Newcastle opened closer to evens but at the time of writing they’ve drifted to 13/8 (2.63). That’s a price I’m willing to take despite the unexpected nature of the Toon’s line-up. I think the bookies are overreacting to the potential fitness and availability of some of Newcastle’s key men.
Newcastle, who finished 13th in the Premier League table last year, had a decent record against fellow bottom half teams. Of the 9 games at home against them, they W3-D5-L1 – losing to Everton. Their three wins, against Southampton, Palace and Bournemouth were all by the singular goal, and I can see The Magpies coming out on top of a tight encounter.
This year, Newcastle have won two of their last four at home, only losing to Manchester United and Chelsea where a win was never expected. They have beaten Burnley and Everton, games in which they comfortably won the xG count.
Considering West Brom are giving up 1.85 xG per game, I’m more than happy backing Newcastle at 13/8. They have played seven of the current PL Top 10, so their start to the season doesn’t really concern me. If Newcastle hadn’t had a coronavirus lockdown at their training camp this bet would be much closer to odds-on in my view.
Let’s just hope the Newcastle XI isn’t as bad as Steve Bruce has alluded to, and if not, then this side would be disappointed if they didn’t defeat what is a poor West Brom side.
As a side note, if you back with Bet365 at 29/20, you get paid out if Toon go two goals ahead, which is perfectly plausible. West Brom have conceded the first goal in 64% of their games this season. Best price on Friday evening is 13/8 though and that has to be a bet.
Newcastle vs West Brom – Newcastle to win (13/8 Unibet)