Crystal Palace v Sheffield United | Saturday 1st February 2020, 15:00
Sheffield United have been a welcome addition to the Premier League this season. With their al- action style, overlapping full backs and opinionated manager they’ve been far from the stereotypical promoted club. Chris Wilder’s men have recorded impressive victories over the likes of Arsenal and Everton and probably deserved more in draws at home to Manchester United and away to Tottenham.
Their away record this season is excellent. They have only lost in two of their 12 encounters – away to Manchester City and Liverpool – which makes my actual bet seem slightly remarkable: Crystal Palace Draw No Bet, which is available at 6/5 with Marathon.
Simply put, as excellent as Sheffield United have been this season, I can’t have them as outright favourites in this game. While Crystal Palace’s attacking options are limited and their Expected Goals (xG) statistics suggest their relative mid-table comfort is slightly fortuitous, their home record at home to sides outside the top four is excellent. This season it reads won four, drawn four and lost one.
Moreover, while Sheffield United have only lost twice away from home, they’ve only actually won three. Given that they’ve therefore drawn seven, I think my additional bet is fairly straightforward: backing the 1-1 draw at 11/2 with Bet365. Three of Crystal Palace’s four home draws have been by this scoreline, as well as five of Sheffied United’s seven away from home.
With few goals expected I did consider backing the 1-0 home win alongside the 1-1 scoreline but feel this is the safer option. The home side are the slightly more likely winners but keeping stalemate on side is the safe play.
Newcastle v Norwich | Saturday 1st February 2020, 15:00
Despite being seven points clear of the relegation zone with just 14 games to play – and with a reasonably good run-in – Newcastle are a best price of 15/2 for relegation.
The reason is simple: the underlying data suggests that a return of 30 points from their 24 games to date is almost double what their performances have deserved. Their last two fixtures support this quite clearly as they were completely outplayed by both Chelsea and Everton yet three goals in injury time across the two matches enabled them to gain four more points than they merited.
Neither side have many notable additions in the transfer market (at the time of writing) although Danny Rose does appear to bolster Newcastle’s backline. That isn’t enough to change my view of the game but it is obvious why many would look to oppose Norwich.
The Norfolk side have just four wins and 17 points from their 24 Premier League games to date and while they may be pleasing on the eye their away performances results may make many fans wince. They have just one win and two draws from their 12 away matches to date.
Given that the Canaries are facing a side with a home record reading won five, drawn four, lost two it may seem illogical that I am backing Daniel Farke’s men at 11/8 with BetVictor in the Draw No Bet market but that is exactly what I am doing.
Jonjo Shelvey is missing for Newcastle this weekend and in his absence Newcastle’s top scorer this season has just two goals. Moreover, every logical rationale suggests that Steve Bruce’s side cannot continue to have the margins fall in their favour, while Norwich’s recent performances give me a lot of encouragement.
The visitors played well in defeat at Tottenham, dominated Bournemouth and every statistic available would suggest that they deserved more than two points from the home matches with Tottenham and Crystal Palace and away games against Manchester United and Aston Villa.
The fact that Newcastle are a best price of 27/20 in the outright market shows how little faith the bookies have in this over-performance being sustainable and I definitely like having the East Anglian outfit on my side.
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United – Crystal Palace Draw No Bet (6/5 Marathon Bet)
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United – Crystal Palace 1-1 Sheffield United (11/2 Bet365)
Newcastle v Norwich – Norwich Draw No Bet (11/8 BetVictor)