A new month begins in the Premier League. Who is Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) backing to get November off to a flyer.
Chelsea v QPR | Saturday 15:00
First, a confession. I've got a bit of a thing about backing QPR. I always feel they're too big in the betting and quite often get lured into parting with my cash to support them. As you can imagine, most of the time I end up ruing that decision, but on occasions like Monday night it can be fruitful. I backed them to beat Aston Villa and win to nil so I woke up on Tuesday morning with a smile on my face. I think I've found a way to side with them again this week.
Chelsea will be angry about dropping two late points on Sunday against Manchester United and we can expect them to win here. It is noticeable however that they've conceded in nine of their 13 matches this season. Goal-drought kings Burnley managed to get one past them in Week 1 of the Premier League while League Two Shrewsbury and Championship Bolton have breached their defence in the League Cup. Can QPR score on Saturday? I think so.
QPR have scored in four of their last five games and have smashed four past Aston Villa and Liverpool in the last fortnight. The team are in resurgent form after an encouraging defeat to Liverpool was followed by a comfortable win over Aston Villa. This of course is also a West London derby and means a lot to the club. To see quotes of 6/4 with Coral that QPR score at any time in this game is enough for me to get involved with.
Stoke v West Ham | Saturday 15:00
For this bet, I'm testing out a theory. The Hangover Theory. In the Premier League this season there have been a number of cases of sides winning at big odds and then flopping in their next match. Let's look at a few examples.
Stoke stunned Man City with the biggest shock of the season before losing to Leicester at home in their next match. Aston Villa beat Liverpool 1-0 before crumbling 3-0 to Arsenal (perhaps a little harsh that one). Leicester stunned us all by beating Man Utd 5-3 and then followed that with a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace. In a wider season-long sense you might want to flag up Liverpool (struggling in 2014/15 after a glorious 2013/14) and St Johnstone (won their first every trophy in 2013/14, now in the bottom four in the SPFL).
West Ham have (sort of) got in on the act as well. They beat Liverpool on September 20th before losing a week later to Manchester United. Ok, again that's a bit harsh, but I'm willing to bank on the hangover effect kicking in again for the London club as they travel to Stoke. Their superb 2-1 win over champions Man City was indicative of a very encouraging season so far, but Stoke is no easy place to visit.
Mark Hughes' team have won two on the bounce at the Brit in the league after a dodgy start and at odds of 5/4 with Ladbrokes on offer I'll take my chances. I'm always keen to remind myself that Stoke finished sixth in the Home Table last season after victories over Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. They can beat hungover West Ham here.
Aston Villa v Tottenham | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
Tottenham are having a tough season so far as they languish down in 11th with just one league win in seven to their name. It is worth noting that they've faced three of last season's top four in 2014/15 so far though. It's been a tough test for new boss Mauricio Pochettino.
If things are bad at White Hart Lane then what about at Villa Park? A strong start to the season has been followed by five straight lose-to-nil defeats and you have to go back to September 13th to track their last league goal. I was eager to take them on last weekend against QPR and was proven right when the West London side won 2-0 comfortably.
My view is simple. Villa are a poor side and if you're offering me odds-against (23/20 with Paddy Power) on a side who're currently plying their trade in the Europa League to beat them then I'm going to get involved. Villa finished 17th in the Home Table last season and it's clear the players feel intimidated with the crowd on their back. They're currently 19th in the Home Table and, lest we forget, have scored just four league goals this season. That tally is the lowest figure in the eight UK leagues.
Chelsea v QPR – QPR to score Over 0.5 Goals (6/4 Coral)
Stoke v West Ham – Stoke to win (5/4 Ladbrokes)
Aston Villa v Tottenham – Tottenham to win (23/20 Paddy Power)