Chelsea v Sheffield United | Saturday 31st August 2019, 15:00
This game represents a renewal between Frank Lampard and Chris Wilder. Despite Wilder having a better season at his Championship club, it is Lampard who has got the big move and his Chelsea side go in to this encounter as overwhelming favourites. That will be little surprise to anyone but I wouldn't risk Chelsea in any accumulator at 1/3. Instead, it is the goals angle I like here.
As mentioned in previous columns, Lampard's Derby side were a lot better offensively than they were at the back and I've seen little evidence that it will be any different in West London. In four competitive games to date, Chelsea have scored seven goals but conceded nine.
They face a Sheffield United side who have scored in all three of their Premier League matches this season and while that is a small sample, I am confident that longer-term trends point to the fact that a Chelsea win and over 2.5 goals is value at 11/10.
As Derby manager, Lampard won 21 competitive league games (including the playoffs). 15 of those saw three goals or more scored. Additionally, five of Sheffield United's nine league losses last term (and their solitary one this) saw such a bet land.
Chelsea will probably win this game but I don't see it being overly easy and if it is we are still likely to be paid out. Take the 11/10 with Coral on a Chelsea victory and over 2.5 goals to be scored. It's a lot more attractive a price than you see in the outright market.
Newcastle v Watford | Saturday 31st August 2019, 15:00
Both these sides failed to gain a point from their opening two fixtures yet while Watford's losses barely raised a column inch, many were already willing to write off Steve Bruce. That may be representative of the relative size of these two clubs and I also think it may have influenced the prices.
Yes, Newcastle beat Tottenham last weekend but they were hardly without fortune while Watford have had nothing but bad luck this term. The Hornets have just one goal this season despite producing 43 shots on goal, with Expected Goals (xG) suggesting they should have scored three more goals and conceded two fewer.
I opposed them at home to West Ham last weekend and while The Hammers were worthy winners based on the second half there is little doubt that the Hertfordshire outfit bossed the first 45 and missed some gilt-edge chances. The scorelines in defeats to Everton and especially at home to Brighton didn't tell the full story and it feels like a matter of time before Javier Garcia's men record a comfortably victory without seemingly being in the asadency.
Newcastle have recorded some memorable victories at St James' Park in recent years – including beating Manchester City last season – but it is worth noting that Brighton, West Ham and Crystal Palace all recorded victories there last season and a limp display at home to Arsenal does little to convince me that Newcastle will be a fortress on Saturday afternoon.
The Hornets won 3-0 here a couple of seasons ago and while a scoreline like that may surprise a few I have seen little to suggest that Watford aren't value here.
I will take the 49/50 on Watford in the Draw No Bet market and kick myself if they simply win!