Brighton vs Everton | Saturday 28th August 2021, 15:00
It has been a tough start to the season for the column but having analysed all of my bets, I don’t think there have been many huge mistakes in there.
Last week, for example, I backed Allan to be booked at 14/5, yet the Brazilian – who is one of the biggest offenders in terms of fouls – failed to find his way in to the referees notebook, yet five of his teammates did! Variance is a huge factor in gambling and it is your pnl at the end of the season that matters, not after two games.
The same thing is, of course, the same in terms of league position and Brighton – having been so unfortunate last season – have had lady luck on their side to a greater extent in the early stages of this season, gaining three points at Burnley when statistics suggested a draw would have been a fair result. The 2-0 victory over Watford was, however, thoroughly merited and it means that they go in to the game against Everton with maximum returns from their first two games.
Everton have also been impressive so far this term, deservedly beating Southampton by three goals to one before creating the better chances in a 2-2 draw with Leeds last week (eight shots on target for vs four against).
Most Toffees fans will take a while to warm to Rafa Benitez but the early performance signs are encouraging and I like the fact that their games have been so entertaining so far, with eight goals in their first two fixtures.
Last season both teams to score landed in 38 of their combined 76 matches and it is three in four this term. Brighton’s poor finishing (variance) was a big reason for only 20 of their 38 matches seeing BTTS land and they also had a more solid defence last season.
Having suffered Shane Duffy at Celtic last season, I cannot believe he is an adequate replacement for Ben White and I expect Everton to cause the home side plenty of problems. I think BTTS should be odds on so 21/20 with MansionBet is more than acceptable to me.
Elsewhere in this fixture, I will take a punt on the aforementioned Shane Duffy picking up a card at 11/2 with Unibet. I did like the look of Lucas Digne at a similar price but ultimately decided to go for Duffy as I can see Dominic Calvert-Lewin causing him a lot of problems.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Duffy has picked up 15 yellows and one red in 86 starts. That suggests a price of 9/2 would be fair, so 11/2 is more than acceptable to me.
Aston Villa vs Brentford | Saturday 28th August 2021, 15:00
I like the look of another card punt this weekend and that is Christian Norgaard to be booked in the Dean Smith Derby as Brentford entertain Aston Villa.
Brentford’s ‘moneyball’ system is the envy of the footballing world and I would never criticise it but my eyes tell me that Norgaard is not a Premier League footballer as he simply looks too slow! He seemed a bit of a liability when coming on for Denmark in the Euros (witness a penalty almost being conceded) and he has 14 yellow cards in 65 league matches since the start of the 2019/20 season.
With the likes of Douglas Luiz and John McGinn in Villa’s midfield I expect plenty of tackles flying in and with referee Peter Bankes averaging around four cards a game when fans were in stadiums, I am happy to take 4/1 on Norgaard being carded here.