Premier League betting : December 22nd

21 Dec
December 21, 2012

Manchester City vs. Reading

Game Markets

Back the 2nd half as the half with most goals @Evens

City bounced back after their derby disappointment with an ultimately convincing win at Newcastle last weekend. They rediscovered the ability to score 3 goals in a game which was probably crucial during the later stages of the contest, as Newcastle were applying significant pressure at 2-1. City are overwhelming favourites for this weekend’s fixture despite not being at their best and there are a number of scenarios as to how the game will pan out. Reading will aim to frustrate their hosts in the first half and will look to limit the early damage. City will probe, looking for openings and as is their style they will increase the pressure in the second half. The chances are, their pressure will tell in terms of goals late on. Alternatively, it is hard seeing Reading being able to contain City if the home side gain an early advantage. Reading have been prone to collapse against the type of pressure that City are capable of applying. City have a raft of attacking players who can be thrown into the fray in order to take advantage of a suffering foe. The memory of winning the league on goal difference will still be fresh in the management’s mind and an opportunity to maximise their advantage will not be turned down.

Tottenham vs. Stoke

Player Markets

Back Defoe to be first goal scorer (EW) @9/2

Defoe remains in decent form and while his side have been sporadic in their productivity, they find themselves 4th in the table. Away from home Stoke offer a limited threat in front of goal so the onus will be on Spurs to make the running. They showed reasonable patience against a stubborn Swansea side before making the breakthrough in the second half. Tottenham are worthy favourites for this contest and it follows that Defoe is the player most likely to break the deadlock. He continues to shoot frequently at goal, clearly with the permission of the coaching staff and his elusiveness will cause the Stoke defence problems. As is often the case the each way part of the first goal scorer bet offers better value than the ‘to score anytime’ wager, particularly as Defoe is unlikely to score the sixth goal of the game.

Liverpool vs. Fulham

Game Markets

Back over 2.5 goals @4-6

Neither side has looked watertight at the back in recent weeks and a clean sheet would be seen as a welcome bonus for the winners of this tie. Liverpool lead the division in goal attempts but are yet to receive the expected output from their efforts. Suarez could well have needed the outing against Villa following his suspension and will be sharper for the experience. Eventually some of what Liverpool are throwing has to stick and they are certainly going forward with an attacking outlook. Johnson and Enrique are being deployed further up the field than was once the case. Fulham have their own attacking attributes but since the injury to Ruiz their momentum has slowed. If Liverpool can conjure up an early goal, this contest could really open up and a total of 3 goals being scored may prove to be a conservative estimate. It is hard to imagine that Fulham will arrive with an overly defensive gameplan and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without the ball for significant periods. Both sides have the quality in front of goal to ensure that a stalemate is unlikely.

Premier League betting : December 15th

15 Dec
December 15, 2012

Manchester United vs. Sunderland

Game Markets

Back ‘Any other correct score’ @5-2

Manchester United have scored an average of 2.75 goals a game against opposition from the lower half of the division this season. Indeed, United have proven to be prolific in front of goal throughout the campaign. It remains a surprise that they are yet to score 5 goals in a single league game and it can only be by chance that this eventuality has not occurred. In other words, for a team with such impressive goal scoring stats they could have been expected to log at least one single high score this term. For the purposes of today’s wager United are only required to score 4 goals, a feat that they have accomplished 3 times already this term. This should be well within their compass seeing as they have the potential to inflict a much more devastating defeat on one of the division’s lower ranked teams.

Liverpool vs. Aston Villa

Player Markets

Back Suarez to be first goal scorer (EW) @3-1

Suarez returns refreshed following an enforced absence to lead the line against Villa. His confidence appears to have grown since last season because he is evidently finishing off a greater proportion of his goal scoring opportunities this time around. It remains noticeable that he attempts a great many number of shots throughout a game and clearly has not been discouraged from this practice seeing as this term’s figures are similar to last season’s. Liverpool have adopted the tactic of pressing forward with their wingbacks which will enable Suarez to spend a greater proportion of his time in central areas. In contrast, last season he was often seen pulling out to the left flank to initiate attacks whilst vacating the centre in favour of Carroll. He is certainly a fair proposition at evens to score one of the first 5 goals and is very much the most likely individual on the field to break the deadlock first.

Stoke vs. Everton

Game Markets

Back Everton, draw no bet @8-11

Everton have seemed to be content to bombard teams this season as compared with last. They are hugely in the positive when it comes to the difference between shots they’ve had at the opposition’s goal and those that they have conceded. A respectable 27 goals scored suggests that their efforts have been far from unfocused and in contrast Stoke have only been able to muster a total of 14 goals thus far. The Potters remain one of the more shot shy teams in the division and should Everton score it will take a huge effort for the home side to find the net twice. Furthermore, Everton appear to be particularly resilient should they find themselves behind in a game and victory for Stoke today would probably represent one of their strongest pieces of form of the season to date.

Cup Football betting : December 12th

12 Dec
December 12, 2012

Swansea vs. Middlesboro

Game Markets

Back Swansea @4-6

Swansea have been highly competitive in the Premier League this season and fully warrant their position in the table based on their play. Their situation compared to that of West Brom’s makes interesting reading. West Brom find themselves 3 points ahead of Swansea yet have scored 2 less goals. Both sides have conceded the same number of goals. What is revealing is that Swansea have both produced and conceded an average of 14 shots at goal per game during their league campaign. In contrast, West Brom have had an average of 12 shots at their opponents’ goal but have had to absorb, on average, 16 efforts per game. In conclusion, Swansea are worthy of at least their position of 8th in the table despite a change in management in the Summer. As a consequence 4-6 about them beating a Championship team in this cup tie is at least fair. Their setback against Norwich on the weekend will serve as a timely reminder that each game has to be taken on its own merits.

Cordoba vs. Barcelona

Game Markets

Back Barcelona ‘MINUS Messi’s goals’ @Evens

Barcelona had to fight hard to see off a determined Betis side on the weekend and this was another reminder to an in-form side that each game starts at 0-0 and that reputation doesn’t give you a goal head start. Barcelona are chalked up as short priced favourites to win this game in the ninety minutes against a lower division side that hasn’t won in 6 games. Messi is the most likely source of goals in this contest but despite his massive contribution to Barcelona’s league campaign, his side would have still won 9 of their 15 encounters if his goals are subtracted from the final scores. Evens is an attractive proposition about Barcelona winning this tie comfortably with an all round team performance.

Premier League betting : November 28th

27 Nov
November 27, 2012

Manchester United vs. West Ham

Player Markets

Back Van Persie to be first goalscorer (EW) @3-1

Manchester United are short odds to see off West Ham at home on Wednesday evening. There has been much debate over United’s best eleven and United backers are clear as to the desired composition of the midfield. Anderson or Cleverley have to play in the centre to lend their energy to the United cause. With a better balance to the side Van Persie is more likely to make an impact in the forward line and he is a better proposition than an even money shot to score against mid table opposition. The 3-1 about him breaking the deadlock pays well enough for a player, at his best, who requires few invitations to score.

Southampton vs. Norwich

Game Markets

Back Norwich (+1) on the Asian handicap @2-5

Norwich will again look to steal a point or more on their travels following their sterling effort at Everton on Saturday. This is the form that will see them safe from the drop zone with something to spare. Chris Hughton has his team well organised and the fact that the defence has only shipped 1 goal in its last 4 outings is testament to its efficiency. The numbers back up the visual impression of a defence in which everyone knows where they are meant to be playing. Southampton will have to post one of their better performances of the season to beat Norwich by 2 clear goals.

Stoke vs. Newcastle

Game Markets

Back Stoke @Evens

Stoke again have the good fortune to face a team that is missing key personnel and the management team will be acutely aware of the opportunity to bag another three points on Wednesday night. Cabaye and Ben Arfa are too important to Newcastle to go unnoticed in their absence. Cabaye lends as much to the defence as to the attack and his all round play will be missed. Stoke are just starting to build some momentum, especially at home, and will look to defeat a team that would have been favourites to beat them at the start of the season. Adam has re-found his scoring touch and Stoke have one or two players with the pace to worry a sometimes cumbersome Newcastle backline.

Premier League : Early Season Analysis.

09 Nov
November 9, 2012

With most sides having completed 10 rounds of fixtures there is the opportunity to review and to determine which teams are living up to expectations and which teams are not. Plenty of goals appear to have been scored in the early part of the season but it seems that things have settled down whereby there has been an average of 2.83 goals per game for the first 99 matches. The last 2 seasons have each returned an average of 2.81 goals per game. It appears, therefore, that this season is far from being atypical.

Early relegation favourites Southampton are living up to their billing largely due to their inability to prevent the opposition from scoring. If their goal scoring performance was to determine whether they escaped the drop or not, they would look a safe bet to stay up. The manner in which they have conceded some of the goals must be equally worrying. Reading are another side looking likely to ship plenty of goals but their situation isn’t as desperate as The Saints. They look as if they can match their relegation rivals for scoring goals and are on course to concede only two thirds of the goals that Southampton are likely to let in. Still, at a projected 70 goals against they need to move up a gear. Q.P.R. appear to have problems at both ends of the field. Their inability to keep clean sheets is going to prove costly. They appear to be particularly vulnerable at set pieces. There doesn’t seem to be a weekend that passes without Rangers coughing up a goal from a crossed ball. While they have only picked up one real hiding it is their consistent conceding of goals that is causing them problems. Particularly in view of the fact that the attack is scoring, on average, less than 1 goal a game.

There are four other teams in the division that have managed, on average, less than a goal per game. Paul Lambert’s present and most recent clubs face the same predicament. Aston Villa for the second season in a row are struggling to score. Darren Bent is available for selection but is currently out of favour and as a result the Villa attack is virtually non-productive. A major step forward was widely predicted for Villa but without the acquisition of any top class personnel it was always unlikely. Norwich haven’t found their scoring touch of last season and remain vulnerable at the back. To their credit they have held the opposition to a goal or less on 7 occasions this season but there have been 3 games in which they have collapsed. Goal difference could be crucial at either end of the table come the end of the season so it would be in their interest to exercise damage limitation when the need arises. Stoke and Sunderland have emerged as the division’s draw specialists. Both sides are struggling for goals but clearly are not willing to sacrifice defensive solidity in pursuit of rewards higher up the field. Sunderland have found themselves in the situation of playing ten men on no less than 3 occasions this term. They have singularly failed to take advantage of this situation and have been particularly shot-shy in the later stages of games.

Wigan seem to be doing just about enough to maintain a mid-table position. They are not renowned for scoring a large amount of goals but have picked up the habit of maximising the worth of their scores. Slightly worrying for them is that they have already conceded 2 goals or more on 6 occasions. It will be very hard to win games if you need to score three goals in order to collect all the points. Swansea haven’t folded up as expected following the departure to Liverpool of Brendan Rodgers. Goals at home don’t seem to be problem but teams have managed to work out how to shut out the Swans on 4 occasions already this term. While the defence isn’t lock-tight, it is performing well enough to secure a mid-table berth. Liverpool remain light in front of goal, with Suarez the sole credible goal threat. A projected total of 49 goals in the for column is not going to enable them to realise any short term ambitions. More concerning is that they are heading for a negative goal difference. A situation that would all but eliminate the possibility of a top 6 finish.

Newcastle remain efficient in terms of turning their goals into points. Demba Ba has again shown the form of the early part of last season and remains high on the wish-list of plenty of clubs. Even so, they are projected to be less productive than last term with a similar defensive performance, so on balance they are up against it in their bid for a top 6 finish. West Ham are clear in the race amongst the newly promoted teams and are performing up to spec at both ends of the field. With 4 clean sheets already on the board they are building a good platform to climb the table. In contrast, the attack has scored at least once in 7 games. West Brom have started the season at the Hawthorns in formidable fashion. Mid-table sides typically achieve around 9 clean sheets a season and West Brom have already collected 4. Their goal scoring performance has even more merit and has the profile of a team destined to remain in the top half of the table.

Everton and Fulham are the early overachievers in the division so far. Their 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage last Saturday was probably one of the least surprising results of the season so far. Both sides are on target to score enough goals to finish in the top 4 and are more likely to score 2 or more in game than less than 2. The net result is that both teams will be competitive in a great many games. Martin Jol has already expressed that he is finding it hard to determine which combination of Fulham forwards is the best that he has at his disposal. Everton have a very energetic left flank and Baines is providing many chances for the players in front of him. Fellaini is providing strength and skill in the forward line that is of Champion’s League potential. Defensively Everton give the impression of being more consistent but it is evident that both sides are paying a little for their attacking approach.

Arsenal have rediscovered some of the defensive frugality that they were once renowned for. The downside has been that there has been a deficit in the goal scoring department. Only on 3 occasions have they scored a brace or more and they face an uphill task in a league where it usually takes at least 2 goals to win a game. A major shift needs to occur if Arsenal are to be serious challengers for a top 4 position. A lack of clean sheets has curtailed Tottenham’s progress. Defensively they are not as secure as they were last season and there has not been an increase in goals output to offset this deficit. Sandro’s defensive performances have been an integral part of Tottenham’s better efforts. Defoe clearly has a licence to shoot on sight and has rewarded his manager’s faith in him.

Man City are not yet showing the form that enabled them to lift the title last May. Previously it appeared that they could score at will but an average scoring rate of less than 2 goals a game is going to see them fall off the pace sooner or later. The absence of their main playmaker, David Silva, has clearly affected their confidence. The lack of a top class holding midfielder is not helping the balance of the side and they can often be stretched on the counter attack. Chelsea have started the season brightly and their new signings have settled in well. Juan Mata is back to his excellent best and there are few reasons as to why they cannot continue to score, on average, more than 2 goals a game. Eighty plus goals will see them competitive at the business end of season. Defensively Chelsea have made a fair start and Terry’s more steady influence in place of Luiz’s more adventurous approach may yet yield greater dividends. If Man Utd could log the same level of performance in defence as they have done in attack, the league would be over by Christmas. The addition of Van Persie has given United an extra dimension up front and they look as if they could accumulate a hundred or more goals. Their numbers are yet to be skewed by any huge margin wins but are elevated due to a consistently high level of performance. Defensively their overall effort has not been much better than mid-table level and to resolve these issues may cost them something in attack.

As things stand, few sides are showing consistent form at both ends of the field and there remains the opportunity for a team to rapidly ascend the table. It is clear that the division will remain highly competitive at all levels.

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