PL Predictions: 22/1 Leeds can stun Man City

After nailing six winning betting angles out of nine – all at odds-against – this weekend, plus a 7/2 winning main bet, Jones Knows is back for the midweek action.

Any weekend winners for Jones Knows?

  • Man City to win and under 3.5 goals at 6/5
  • Chelsea to win and over 3.5 goals at 11/10
  • Aston Villa +2 handicap at 6/5
  • Liverpool to win 1-0 at 8/1
  • Brentford vs Watford over 2.5 & BTTS at 6/5
  • Palace vs Everton, second half most goals at 11/10
  • Newcastle +2 corner handicap vs Leicester at 11/10
  • Jones Knows weekend 7/2 double

Brentford vs Manchester United, Tuesday 7.30pm

I’m still having trust issues with Brentford’s defence without Kristoffer Ajer and David Raya, so I can’t take on Manchester United here despite their lacklustre showing at Norwich. The Bees kept three clean sheets in their first five matches but have managed a shutout just once in their last 12 matches in all competitions, conceding two or more goals in six of their last eight Premier League games. United’s quality should find a way through.

Rico Henry in action for Brentford against Watford
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Rico Henry in action for Brentford against Watford

Sometimes it’s better to listen to those with a greater knowledge of football analysis than to use my betting head to work an angle in my favour.

Over to you, Gary Neville. He said: “I do think there will be a problem with this Manchester United system when they play teams with good full-backs who have got more quality because Dalot and Telles will get exposed. Fernandes and Sancho won’t be able to get out in time by the time a Cancelo, Robertson or Alexander-Arnold has run down that wing.”

Brentford don’t have a Cancelo, Robertson or Alexander-Arnold but they do have Rico Henry, who has the attacking nous to cause a problem for United. The Brentford wing-back is given licence to drive into that back post area, firing four shots and scoring twice in his last six appearances. The 9/1 anytime scorer price is perhaps a little skinny considering the strong opposition but the 7/4 on him to have a shot on goal looks generous.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2

BETTING ANGLE: Rico Henry to have one more shots (7/4 with Sky Bet)

Norwich vs Aston Villa, Tuesday 7.45pm

When you add up all the ingredients and important match variables for this one, it could get proper tasty.

Dean Smith faces his former club knowing Norwich really have to start winning these matches if they have any chance of putting a successful survival bid together. It’s hard to make a case for the Canaries though when you factor in their wastefulness in front of goal. Just one goal in their last four means they remain the Premier League’s worst attack with just eight scored. An away win is fancied.

Dean Smith has a stiff task to keep Norwich up
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Dean Smith has a stiff task to keep Norwich up

Aston Villa’s games usually are played at a fierce tempo which leads to cards. An average of 4.24 cards per 90 minutes in their fixtures across all competitions show that. I’d expect this game to go down that route.

The man in the middle also is relevant when talking up the possibility of cards. David Coote is one of the Premier League’s strictest referees who lays down the law using cards rather than common sense at times. He has taken charge of eight Premier League games this season and is working at a gigantic average of 5.75 cards per 90 minutes, showing 22 yellow cards and a red in his last three games at the top level. Bookings are fancied here and the Evens for 50+ booking points does the job.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: 50+ booking points (Evens with Sky Bet)

Manchester City vs Leeds, Tuesday 8pm

Those taking the 1/9 with Sky Bet on a Manchester City win, I’ve got some advice for you: football betting probably isn’t for you.

Meanwhile, the 22/1 with Sky Bet for a Leeds win is simply too huge to ignore.

Remember, Pep Guardiola’s men failed to beat Leeds last season in their two meetings, drawing 1-1 at Elland Road and losing 2-1 at The Etihad Stadium.

Goals aren’t exactly flowing for City, either.

Chance creation numbers and expected goals are hitting their usual levels but three of their last four Premier League wins have come by a one-goal winning margin. In that period, their 10.77 per cent conversion rate in front of goal (excluding penalties) is the seventh worst in the Premier League. Granted, that is a small sample size and their quality can outgun a team at any point but their inability to kill teams off, in the style of Liverpool, could be a narrative to consider over the next few weeks.

Leeds arrive in good heart, too, having given Chelsea a proper scare at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

If it wasn’t for two silly challenges inside the penalty area, they could have left with three points. Chelsea created a non-penalty expected goal figure of just 1.2, highlighting how surprisingly organised Leeds were even without Kalvin Phillips.

That bodes well for this game, as does their attacking process which looks among one of the best in the Premier League on current form. Only Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and Manchester United have a higher expected goal figure over the past three games.

With such a skewed market towards a City win, there is an array of options to get Leeds on our side from a betting perspective.The 11/2 for Leeds to draw or win looks overpriced. Also, Leeds with a +3 goal handicap, meaning they can win, draw, lose by one or lose by two at 8/11 with Sky Bet is an odds-on shot that looks a winner in waiting.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2

BETTING ANGLE: Leeds to beat Manchester City (22/1 with Sky Bet)

Brighton vs Wolves, Wednesday 7.30pm

These two teams have scored just four goals between them since November 5, across nine fixtures, with Wolves failing to score in four of their last five matches and creating a combined expected goals total of just 2.55. A 0-0 has to be a runner here at 13/2 with Sky Bet.

A much better angle on offer relates to the amount of cards being shown though. Referee Tony Harrington takes charge of his first Premier League game here and if he follows the same pattern as fellow debutants at the top level, he will be a busy man with his cards.

The last six referees to take charge of a Premier League game for the first time average 5.1 yellow cards shown per 90 minutes. That is way above the average of 3.2 cards per 90 minutes in all Premier League matches in the last five years, with new referees keen to lay down the law.

Players are very aware of the referee’s inexperience at the top level. As seen with Michael Sailsbury’s debut in Palace vs Aston Villa, there were lots of occasions where he was surrounded and hounded to put pressure on his decision making. It resulted in six yellow cards being shown and an overturned red card for Douglas Luiz. The same was seen in Wolves vs Burnley where John Brooks took charge for the first time in the Premier League, showing five cards.

Both these teams are averaging around four cards in their matches this season, so the 50+ booking point angle at 5/4 looks a strong play, with the higher lines also worth a look.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0

BETTING ANGLE: 50+ booking points (5/4 with Sky Bet)

Burnley vs Watford, Wednesday 7.30pm

Burnley owe me a result. The 1-0 defeat at Newcastle hurt my wallet as I had invested in Sean Dyche’s ability to win ‘six pointers’. Burnley are usually very hard to beat in those scenarios.

In the last three seasons in 29 games against teams that finished that season in the bottom five, Burnley have lost just four of those games, winning 16 at a healthy strike rate of 56 per cent. Two of those defeats can be excused, too, as a 4-2 reverse at Fulham came early in the season and the 1-0 loss at Sheffield United at the end of last season was very much a dead rubber. When it matters, Burnley can be relied upon to deliver in a relegation scrap.

Watford are brittle in key areas of the pitch – as seen in their collapse at Brentford on Friday. They have now gone 26 Premier League games without a clean sheet – and remain the only side in England’s top-four tiers this season yet to register a shut-out.

I’m all over the 11/10 for a home win and such was Nick Pope’s form in the draw with West Ham, the 11/4 for a Burnley win to nil also makes appeal.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0

BETTING ANGLE: Burnley to win to nil (11/4 with Sky Bet)

Crystal Palace vs Southampton, Wednesday 7.30pm

Southampton remain a very positive, attack-minded team whose style allows them to progress into dangerous areas of the pitch. Once there, a lack of quality is to blame for their poor conversion rate. That makes them hard to fancy in any traditional match outcome or goals markets, hence why I’d slightly favour Palace in this match-up. However, one area where they are very reliable is their ability to win corners due to that positive style of football under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The adventurous nature of both their full-backs is helping to keep those numbers high to the extent that only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have won more corners than Saints this season (98).

Sky Bet have dangled the carrot of odds of 6/4 for Southampton to win six or more corners in this one – a price that is drenched in value. It’s a bet that would have copped in nine of the last 10 Southampton fixtures and one that is given further confidence by Palace’s average of 5.5 corners conceded per 90 minutes this season. In what should be an exciting game, full of tempo, I’m all over the Saints corner line.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Southampton to win six or more corners (6/4 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs West Ham, Wednesday 8pm

Arsenal are making The Emirates a fortress. I want to back them here at 23/20 with Sky Bet.

They have won eight of their last nine matches at home, winning the last four without conceding a goal. Thou shall not pass the axis of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and the impressive Gabriel.

West Ham were held to a goalless draw by Burnley on Sunday
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Declan Rice can hit the target vs Arsenal

Further back, they have won 10 of the last 12 home fixtures. Plus, that aforementioned axis has still yet to concede a goal before the 38th minute in any of their 13 games playing as a trio. It’s providing their team-mates a fine base to work from.

West Ham’s attack may struggle to break through. Since beating Liverpool, the Hammers have picked up just five points from the last 15 available, failing to beat Burnley and Brighton along the way.

One area of the pitch where West Ham will have an edge is in central midfield as Declan Rice’s form continues to impress. To my eye there isn’t an better all-round midfielder than him in the Premier League – he can do it all. He ranks second in the Premier League for distance carried with the ball this season (3804m) – only behind Allan Saint-Maximin.

I’m absolutely convinced he’s going to become even more of a force in the next few months. The more confident and experienced he becomes at driving into the final third, the more he’ll become overpriced in various shots and goals markets. I like the look of the 9/2 for him to have a shot on target from outside the area. He’s fired six shots on target in his last seven Premier League fixtures and went close with an off-target attempt in the draw with Burnley.

Arsenal should afford Rice plenty of space to work in, too. They are happy to defend a little deeper than most teams in the Premier League and no team has conceded more shots on target from outside the box this season (29). To expand on that further, since Mikel Arteta took over in December 2019, only Aston Villa, Newcastle and Crystal Palace have conceded more shots on target from outside the area (93).

Rice will be licking his lips. The 12/1 with Sky Bet for an Arsenal win and Rice to hit the target from outside the box is very chunky.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win & Declan Rice to have a shot on target from outside the box (12/1 with Sky Bet)

Thursday’s fixtures to follow…

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