After plenty of success last weekend, Jones Knows is back in the prediction chair and previews all 10 matches, offering up his betting insight along the way.
Southampton vs Leicester, Friday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Are Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho the new Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son? One of the most popular betting theories that cost the bookies a few quid earlier this season revolved around Kane and Son assisting each other to find the net in a game. Sky Bet’s “Return the Favour” bet revolving those two landed three times earlier in the season – at 150/1 away at Manchester United, 66/1 at home to West Ham and 50/1 at home to Arsenal in December.
Strike partnerships are seemingly a fading trend in modern day football but chemistry certainly is sparking between Vardy and Iheanacho in recent weeks as Leicester have negotiated their way to an FA Cup final and made safe of their place in the top four.
The pair have worked together to create 10 chances since March 3 with three goals resulting from their link-up. Also, although it didn’t go down as an official assist, it was Vardy’s break down the left that set up Iheanacho for the winning goal in the 1-0 FA Cup semi-final victory over Saints earlier this month. One of 12 goals he has scored in his last nine appearances.
Southampton, who have lost 12 of their last 15 games, have conceded the most goals of any team since January 1 (39) – that’s nine more than any other side in that period. It’s amazing to think they were top of the Premier League on November 6. The Foxes will have plenty to feast on with Vardy and Iheanacho to the fore in what should be an away win.
I’d say the Vardy-Iheanacho return the favour (Vardy to assist Iheanacho and Iheanacho to assist Vardy) certainly is worth a look at 80/1 with Sky Bet. It’s a bet that would’ve copped in the 5-0 win over Sheffield United, so recent data is obviously there to support it. You can play the safer option with the 9/2 for Vardy to assist Iheanacho OR Iheanacho to assist Vardy rather than both.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Jamie Vardy to assist Kelechi Iheanacho and Iheanacho to assist Vardy (80/1 with Sky Bet)
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, Saturday 12.30pm
With such a massive fixture against PSG on the horizon I’m not exactly rushing to the counter to back Manchester City here at 2/7 with Sky Bet. However, can you really see a scenario where Crystal Palace breach the best defence in Europe? A defence that has kept Harry Kane, Erling Haaland, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe quiet in recent weeks.
Palace’s return of 0.58 in terms of their expected goals output per 90 minutes over the past 12 games is the worst in the Premier League. The numbers suggest they’ve done well to pick up three wins in that run, but such is the magic of Roy Hodgson, I suppose.
All five of City’s last five wins have come by a one-goal scoreline and this could be a similar story as they close in on the Premier League title. That is a 5/2 chance with Sky Bet.
However, those looking for a betting angle should focus on the chances of Fernandinho picking up a card at 3/1 with Sky Bet.
That price certainly underestimates his chances. He has been booked in eight of his last 10 appearances in all competitions, averaging a card every 84 minutes as a combination of his ageing limbs and cynical nature is a perfect recipe for getting the attention of the referee. Palace will be playing on the break and in Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze they have players capable of drawing yellow cards. The pair have got 15 players booked between them this season.
Fernandinho plays a part in my weekend 66/1 card accumulator that needs Fabinho and Oliver Norwood also to get booked in order to land.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Fernandinho to be carded (3/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs Leeds, Saturday 3pm – Play Super 6 to win £250,000!
Brighton’s wretched home form makes little sense when analysing their numbers, yet, it’s hard to ignore when trying to assess the market for this one. They’ve won just one of their last 18 Premier League home games.
That hasn’t stopped them being all-the-rage in the markets yet again, though.
Graham Potter’s men are hot favourites for this one at 6/5 with Sky Bet, which is easily swerved. Leeds have managed to avoid defeat to Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City in recent weeks. That alone makes the 11/5 for an away win a bet to consider in what is Marcelo Bielsa’s 136th game as Leeds manager – the most games he has managed at any one club in his managerial career.
One bet I will be backing revolves around Yves Bissouma.
Not only does he have the best chant for a footballer in the Premier League (replace his name to the lyrics of Tequila) but he packs one of the most powerful long-range strikes of anyone.
Only one goal to his name this season for a player of his quality sums up where Brighton’s problems start and finish. It’s not for a want of trying, though. He’s been shooting on sight lately, registering 10 shots on goal this month with varying degrees of success.
As shown by spectacular goals vs Burnley, Everton and Blackpool over the past 12 months, one of these efforts will be flying into the net soon enough and Leeds are the perfect opponent for him. They offer little protection for Kalvin Phillips up against roaming central midfielders and space will be afforded to Bissouma from range. I like the 28/1 with Sky Bet for him to bang first. Tequila’s on me, if it lands.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Yves Bissouma to score first (28/1 with Sky Bet)
Chelsea vs Fulham, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Thomas Tuchel won’t admit it, but there could be some wandering eyes from Chelsea here. Of course, their top-four challenge is an important task but a chance to reach a Champions League final is within touching distance. You get the feeling Tuchel will be daydreaming about the Real Madrid game during this fixture, which looks sure to be a slow burner.
Despite their huge points difference in the Premier League, these two teams are actually quite similar in terms of style.
It’s all about controlling the flow of the game while being defensively sound and quick in transition. Fulham have been affording more chances to their opposition recently but over a longer viewpoint, they are actually a tough team to break down, especially in the first half of games. Scott Parker’s team have only conceded four first half goals in their last 15 matches and have gone in at the break 0-0 in nine of their last 12 fixtures. The only team to concede fewer than them in that period of the match is Tuchel’s Chelsea.
A 0-0 at the break looks a runner with Chelsea likely to edge ahead as Fulham open up after the break.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0
BETTING ANGLE: 0-0 correct score at half-time (15/8 with Sky Bet)
Everton vs Aston Villa, Saturday 8pm
I want to back Everton here.
Having advised them to finish in the top six at 8/1 with Sky Bet in last week’s predictions, I’m very interested to follow them in the run-in. There may still be a little juice in the 100/30 for a top six finish looking at their fixtures.
A home win here is priced at 19/20 with Sky Bet, which actually is easily ignored. The value certainly lies on their chances of winning this match without conceding. Sky Bet are dangling 5/2 about that scenario. That looks good to me.
Seven of their last 10 wins have been achieved with that added bonus of a clean sheet, including their last four victories over Arsenal, West Brom, Southampton and Liverpool. If Carlo Ancelotti takes Everton places this season, it will be based on expert organisation in defence. That was on show in victory at Arsenal, where they restricted the Gunners to an expected goals figure of just 0.8 and only a Harry Kane finishing masterclass stopped them from claiming maximum points in that 2-2 draw with Spurs. In fact, since November 27 when Ancelotti decided to rein in his attacking players, Everton can boast the fifth best defence in the Premier League.
Villa – stuck in mid-table after a perfectly good season – look there for the taking in this one.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0
BETTING ANGLE: Everton to win to nil (5/2 with Sky Bet)
Newcastle vs Arsenal, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports
It will take a brave bettor to back Arsenal here at Evens with Sky Bet, eh?
There is a case to argue that Newcastle should be favourites when it comes to current form. The Gunners have won just one of their last five Premier League games, at bottom club Sheffield United, and if you take it further back they’ve won only four of their last 13 league outings.
The 13/5 for a home win is very tempting with Allan Saint-Maximin in red hot form and Callum Wilson likely to replace Joelinton in attack. An upgrade of monstrous proportions.
Steve Bruce has cleverly negotiated the Toon away from danger, losing just one of their last eight games. Pragmatic football has been replaced by productive football. It’s easy on the eye, too, with lots of emphasis on getting the ball quickly into dangerous areas.
That new found attacking philosophy is painted perfectly by the fact Newcastle have created the highest total expected goals figure (8.59) of any team in the Premier League over the last four fixtures, creating 10 big chances – defined by Opta – along the way. Again, no team has created more.
That attacking emphasis should make for an exciting game. And when I foresee such a scenario, the total match shots market grabs my eyes. The 5/4 with Sky Bet for 27 or more should give you a great run. It’s a bet that would have landed in all of Newcastle’s last four fixtures.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Match to have 27 or more shots (5/4 with Sky Bet)
Manchester United vs Liverpool, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports – Play Super 6 Extra to win £5,000!
We’re owed a cracker here aren’t we? Four of the last seven meetings between these giants have ended 0-0, spoiling many a Super Sunday along the way. This one just might be different. There’s no real tension at play. Unlike previous meetings there’s no talk of titles and United are comfortably set in the runners-up spot with one foot already in the Europa League final.
Liverpool have more to play for with a top-four chase on the line but Jurgen Klopp won’t be changing his style despite the circumstances. With the shackles off, I think it will be front-football vs front-football, which goes against how the markets see this with the over 2.5 goals line set at 4/5 with Sky Bet. That looks a tempting play.
This hope of an end-to-end encounter does rest on an early goal, though. And that’s where my eyes are drawn to. Despite their high-flying season, only Crystal Palace have conceded more goals in the opening 10 minutes of matches this season than United (7). They are slow starters.
United may be jaded after a barnstorming second-half showing vs Roma and Liverpool have the tools to get at United early and score in the opening 10 minutes – as they did last weekend at home to Newcastle.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-2
BETTING ANGLE: First goal to come before the 10th minute (100/30 with Sky Bet)
Play Super 6 Extra: Man Utd vs Liverpool special!
Super 6 Extra is similar to the game we all know and love, but the beauty of our Sunday special lies in having to correctly predict the answers to six questions to scoop the £5,000 jackpot:
- Can you predict the full-time score?
- Can you predict the half-time score?
- Who will score the first goal?
- Who will receive the first card?
- How many corners will be taken?
- Who will receive the Man of the Match award?
Play for free, entries by 4:30pm Sunday!
Tottenham vs Sheffield United, Sunday 7.15pm, live on Sky Sports
If ever an outright market offered such little value, this is it. Do I want to back Tottenham at 1/4 with Sky Bet? Absolutely not. Do I want to back Sheffield United at 11/1? Absolutely not. That probably means the draw is the play but Spurs’ extra quality in the final third should see them over the line even though they were absolutely dismal in the Carabao Cup final where, to my eye, Harry Kane didn’t look anywhere near his sharpest.
The cards markets is the place to be, though. This Tottenham side are packed full of players who draw fouls for fun. No team in the Premier League this season have won more fouls leading to a booking this season with 74 opposition players picking up a card. Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele feature in the top 20 for fouls won per 90 minutes by any Premier League player to have played more than 400 minutes this season. Moura sits fifth in that list with a return of 3.05 fouls won per game.
Here, they are lining up against officially the dirtiest team in the league as the Blades’ tally of 63 yellow cards is the most produced by any Premier League side this season. Paul Heckingbottom hasn’t really changed the style too much but he does like to go with a two-man base in midfield of John Fleck and Oliver Norwood. And since he took charge, the tenacious pair have been making nearly two fouls per 90 minutes but have escaped getting booked. I can’t see that lasting another week against such an opponent like Spurs. The 10/11 with Sky Bet for either Fleck or Norwood to be booked rates as the best bet of the weekend when it comes to short prices. Get on.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Either Ollie Norwood or John Fleck to get carded (10/11 with Sky Bet)
West Brom vs Wolves, Monday 6pm, live on Sky Sports
One thing you can guarantee after a Wolves game where they’ve shipped more than two goals, is a reaction. It’s shut up shop time.
- After losing 4-0 to West Ham, next up came a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Fulham.
- After shipping three at Brighton, next up came a clean sheet in a 1-0 FA Cup win over Crystal Palace.
- After losing 3-2 to West Brom, next up came a clean sheet in a 1-0 FA Cup win over Chorley.
- Again, after losing 3-2 to West Ham, next up came a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Fulham.
If you can’t see that pattern then please head to the opticians.
Burnley spanked Nuno’s boys all over Molineux last Sunday in an embarrassing 4-0 defeat and although they are facing a team all-but certain to go down here, a clean sheet will be demanded by the boss. It will be ponderous, it will be risk-free but if we come out the other side with a 13/2 winner for the 1-0 away win, it will have all been worth it.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Back the 0-1 correct score (13/2 with Sky Bet)
Burnley vs West Ham, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Is West Ham’s overperformance, according to the key metrics, starting to catch up with them? I’ve been banging that drum for most of the season with pretty embarrassing consequences considering the results David Moyes’ side have been pulling out of the bag. They deserve massive credit for an extraordinary season.
However, back-to-back defeats have started to bear fruit on my West Ham theory. Their bubble is in danger of bursting when it comes to a top-six finish. By the time West Ham kick-off on Monday Night Football, they could’ve sunk to seventh place.
And this is the last place you want to go at the moment. Burnley are in bouncing form, culminating in a jaw-dropping 4-0 win at Wolves which was completely and utterly deserved in every department. Plus, Sean Dyche’s men are notoriously very hard to beat at Turf Moor, fans or no fans, losing just three of their last 12 fixtures.
It’s easy to forget Burnley themselves qualified for Europe two seasons ago. A lot of things fell into place that season, mostly keeping a fit group together with a consistent performance level. Judging by their last five games, they are back at that top-eight performance metrics. In that period, they have beaten Wolves and Everton and are averaging two goals a game while posting 13.8 shots per 90 minutes. It’s front-foot football being played with a purpose.
They are a massive price to register another victory. And I’m happy to throw in the chance of the game producing more than two goals. All of Burnley’s last five fixtures have gone over the 2.5 line whilst West Ham games have been very high scoring of late, averaging 4.4 goal per-game. Combine a home win and over 2.5 goals at a very juicy 5/1 with Sky Bet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Burnley to win and over 2.5 goals (5/1 with Sky Bet)