Premier League: Basement battle unlikely to excite


PREMIER LEAGUE expert Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) is back to attack Saturday's 3pm best bets.

Huddersfield v Newcastle | Saturday 15th December 2018, 15:00

This game may be a short-priced favourite to be last on Match Of The Day but that doesn’t mean we cannot make money out of it and I don’t think it will surprise many that I am looking to do that by opposing goals.

Huddersfield may find themselves in the relegation zone but the Terriers will believe that they have been very unfortunate in recent weeks. They’ve lost to Brighton, Bournemouth and Arsenal in that time and could have easily had six or seven points from those games.

Against Brighton, Town were 1-0 up before a debateable first-half sending off meant they had to play with 10 men for most of the match. There were other decisions that went against them that day and their luck did not improve against Bournemouth, where despite comfortably winning the xG and having 23 shots to their opponents six, they lost the game 2-1.

Huddersfield faced free-scoring Arsenal last weekend and largely kept them in-check before conceding a relatively soft goal late on. Around six weeks ago, I believed that Huddersfield were doomed but they’ve actually impressed me. The loss of Aaron Mooy until at least February is a huge blow, however, and I struggle to make a case for backing them at 6/4.

I felt Newcastle were unfortunate against Wolves last weekend. Before DeAndre Yedlin’s sending off it looked like a 0-0 game in which somehow two goals had been scored. Both sides created very little and it was very frustrating to see my 1-1 correct score prediction lose out in the 94th minute.

Still, I believe there is plenty of reason to follow that logic again with this game. Under 1.5 Goals is available at 7/4 with Betfair.

If you look at Huddersfield’s results against their peers – so sides from seventh down – then nine of their 18 home matches have finished with one goal or fewer. Newcastle’s away record against the same sides is identical, and the Geordies have already had three goalless draws on their travels this term.

If you add the 1-1 draw to your staking plan (available at 11/2 with BetVictor) and place around a third of your stake on this result then you are getting almost evens on something that had occurred in 23 of their 36 combined matches. That’s almost 64%.

I really struggle to see either side scoring two goals. Since the start of last term, Huddersfield have achieved this in just three of their 27 home matches and Newcastle in seven of their 26 away matches.

Both games between the pair last term ended 1-0 to the home side. I think that’s the most likely result again but like the security of having the 1-1 draw onside as well.

Crystal Palace v Leicester | Saturday 15th December 2018, 15:00

William Hill are offering even-money on both sides finding the net in this encounter and that is far too generous, in my opinion.

For much of last season, Crystal Palace’s lowly league position defied their performance data and unfortunately for the Eagles, it has been much the same this term, only this time they are unable to solely blame Christian Benteke.

The South London side only have only 13 goals and 12 points to their name yet Expected Goals suggest they should have found the net 18 times and be sitting pretty on 20 points. Incredibly, they have only found the net in two of their seven games at Selhurst Park this campaign but I am certain that their league position and goals tally will improve.

To date at home, Palace have had 32 shots on-target yet only scored four times. That’s a ratio of 12.5%, with the league average being 32%. Their conversion rates are unsustainably poor so I am willing to ignore the fact that just one of their seven league games have seen both teams score.

This is – in my view – due to a combination of tough opposition (they’ve already faced Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham at home) and poor finishing. Indeed, it’s worth noting that even with the dreadful recent record, 12 of Palace’s 24 home league games under Roy Hodgson have seen both sides score.

Leicester’s ability to both score and concede is pretty impressive. Since Claude Puel became Foxes boss they’ve scored in 19 of their 21 away games. Unfortunately for the East Midlands side they’ve also conceded in 16 of those matches. Therefore, under these two bosses, these clubs home and away records combine for 28 Both Teams To Score victories in 45 matches. That’s 62% and makes a mockery of the even-money.

Finally, I have to throw in a 2-1 victory for the home side at 10/1 with Bet365. Palace have won at home by this scoreline on three occasions since Hodgson took charge and Leicester have lost in this manner on five of Puel’s 21 games on the road. The price is a couple of spots too big, in my view.

Best Bets

Huddersfield v Newcastle – Under 1.5 Goals (7/4 Betfair)

Huddersfield v Newcastle – 1-1 Correct Score (11/2 BetVictor)

Crystal Palace v Leicester – Both Teams To Score (1/1 William Hill)

Crystal Palace v Leicester – Crystal Palace 2-1 Leicester (10/1 Bet365)

About Author

I have loved numbers and sport throughout my life, so betting was a natural step. I started writing my own betting column at university and have continued throughout my adult life. I bet on football, golf and the NFL mainly but two flies going up a wall could also capture my attention. I am a West Brom fan and also follow teams in other sports but I think it's fair to say that no side compare with The Baggies!

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