PL Predictions: Why Luton can topple Chelsea

Our resident tipster and betting guru Jones Knows makes the case for 12/1 Luton Town to beat flaky Chelsea on Friday Night Football.

Chelsea vs Luton, Friday Night Football 8pm, live on Sky Sports

Chelsea vs Luton Town

Mykhailo Mudryk cost Chelsea £88.5m.

Luton have spent approximately £30m on players since 1992.

In terms of financial muscle, trophies won and global reach, this might be the biggest mismatch in Premier League history. Roll the clock back 10 years and Luton were 14th in the Conference while Chelsea were Europa League holders and top of the Premier League.

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Ron Walker is joined by Joe Shread on ‘The Question’ to examine the early days of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at Chelsea.

The biggest mismatch it might be – but I think Luton, who posted some impressive attacking metrics in their opening weekend defeat at Brighton, actually have the tools to do some damage at Stamford Bridge. I’ve seen worse 12/1 shots for the away win. Stay with me.

Luton play direct and are proud of it. Away at Brighton, 25.6 per cent of their passes were long – the highest proportion of any team of that weekend. If they continue at that average for the remainder of the season, they would be hitting Burnley levels of direct – we are talking peak Sean Dyche era. This is the style of football that can give Chelsea serious wobbles, especially with the human battering-ram Carlton Morris leading the line. He’s got the game – very akin to the way Callum Wilson plays – to make his mark at this level.

Chelsea’s flaky nature since the start of last season – that showed no signs of being rectified at West Ham – has seen them struggle when playing the four most direct teams in the league. In eight matches against the Hammers, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Dyche’s Everton, Chelsea have a record of P8-W1-D4-L3. They went off favourites in each of those matches, too, meaning it’s a huge underperformance on market expectation. Mauricio Pochettino is the right man for this project but while they remain a work in progress, full of inconsistencies in both boxes, taking them on at short prices feels like the right method of attack.


Any winners last week for Jones Knows?

  • Under 2.5 goals in Man City vs Newcastle (5/4)
  • Tottenham draw-no-bet vs Man Utd (11/10)
  • BTTS & over 2.5 goals in Wolves vs Brighton (11/10)
  • Bournemouth 4+ shots on target vs Liverpool (11/8)
  • Wins for Forest, Spurs, Brighton, Brentford, Villa & Arsenal

Bournemouth vs Tottenham, Saturday 12.30pm

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola must have skipped the part of the pre-season dossier where there was a big red ring around their defensive set piece record last season. Bournemouth conceded 21 goals from set pieces (excluding penalties) last season – the most of any team. They are crying out for some help. But the early signs under Iraola are not positive.

Iraola’s Rayo Vallecano side also conceded 23 goals from corners and free-kicks in his last two seasons in charge of the club – again, the worst record of any side. This suggests to me he does not spend too much time worrying about being organised from defensive set pieces situations – and Liverpool exposed that on Saturday.

Virgil van Dijk hit a post and headed two other efforts wide while Ibrahim Konate also posted a shot at goal. It took Bournemouth’s tally to 1.04 worth of expected goals already conceded from set piece situations this season – the highest in the Premier League.

How do we profit then? Cristian Romero that’s how. Already with a goal to his name this season and a shot at goal in both appearances, Romero is an aggressive attacker of a set piece and looks overpriced in an array of markets when factoring in the Cherries’ obvious weakness. The Evens with Sky Bet on offer for Romero to have one or more shots at goal stands out – as does his outright anytime scorer price at 16/1.

Cristian Romero heads Spurs in front
Cristian Romero scored for Spurs vs Brentford

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Cristian Romero to score (16/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Arsenal vs Fulham, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Fulham are in for a tightrope walk of a season. After the loss of Aleksander Mitrovic and his 57 goals over the past two campaigns, big decisions are required to steer them away from falling into a scrap. Have they planned for the Mitrovic exit? It does not seem so, which sets alarm bells ringing for me.

They have a week now to scramble in the transfer market to bolster up an attacking outlet that simply cannot based on the fading powers of Raul Jimenez if Premier League safety is the aim. I am very tempted to take the 4/1 on offer for Fulham for relegation – a classic case of overachievement and a club standing still might be at work here. For this match, Arsenal to win and under 3.5 goals looks a safety-first play – but a likely winning one.


Brentford vs Crystal Palace, Saturday 3pm

Vitaly Janelt’s late equaliser last season ensured the last four meetings between these two sides have ended in draws. It is not a surprise when you factor in how defensively robust and how risk averse the two teams are. When two teams that are hard to beat meet, then the draw is the best place to start in the outright market. The 12/5 with Sky Bet on the stalemate will go close, surely.

I have got my eyes on a player to be carded, too. Matches this season have already led to 14 yellow cards being brandished for timewasting in the opening 19 Premier League games of the new campaign. Of those 14 cases so far, the majority have come at throw-ins – which have previously been viewed as a common way of eating up time to slow down a game to suit a team’s interests. Seven of those cards have gone to full backs.

So, with foul-winning king Jordan Ayew, who has drawn 31 fouls in his last nine matches, lining up against Brentford left-back Rico Henry there must be an interest in the 6/1 with Sky Bet for Henry picking up a card. Not a bad price for a player who has picked up a yellow card in five of his last eight appearances.


Everton vs Wolves, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Home advantage is not at play here in what is a big fixture for both clubs. In fact, Everton may find Goodison Park to be a disadvantage.

Just two matches in and the doom is already circling around Sean Dyche. No points, no goals and no hope of that trajectory changing on the horizon. Things may get worse before getting better. Everton’s squad is thin and lacking in Premier League quality, especially without injured trio Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Dwight McNeil and Alex Iwobi – three influential figures that carry genuine ability to make a mark – missing for this one.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was forced off by injury before half-time
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was forced off by injury against Aston Villa

Wolves, who somehow are both pointless and goalless after two respectable performances based on the key data, have racked up an impressive 4.48 worth of expected goals in their two matches – the fourth highest of any side. Matheus Cunha has been responsible for 1.02 of that bulky figure as he’s started the season in destructive form in the heart of the Wolves frontline.

He’s made 18 runs into the opposition box, the fourth highest of any player in the league, whilst recording an impressive tally of four progressive carries that ended in a chance being created. Only Phil Foden has posted more. I’d be surprised if he isn’t a major factor in the result of this match. The 7/1 on him scoring in an away win certainly rates as a bet to consider.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2 JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Matheus Cunha to score in a Wolves win (7/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

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Ron Walker is joined by Peter Smith on ‘The Question’ to assess how concerned Manchester United will be about their early-season midfield problems.

After a top-four finish and cup final win, there was little pre-season worries for Manchester United and their ability to kick-on under Erik ten Hag. Well, perhaps the evidence for a potential regression was there staring us in the face all along in the form of their overperformance when assessing last season’s performance data. When calculating quality of chances created and conceded, morphed into expected points the results had them overperforming by almost 13 points on the formula.

That type of modelling had them actually finishing as the sixth-best team.

Teams who overperform by such a figure do usually regress to that mean in the following season. Maybe United are.

So, without an obvious improvement to the quality of their first XI and some key players who could be on the downgrade due to their age, there is a strong possibility United are completely overrated when it comes to the market assessing their chances. That was certainly the case at Tottenham last weekend, where they went off favourites but were beaten fair and square. No team have conceded more shots in the box (31) or touches in their own box (88) than United so far this season either, albeit the sample size is a small one.

Ten Hag may find a solution such is his ruthlessness and problem solving skills, but until I see evidence of this improvement, laying United at their current prices should be a profitable strategy. You can back Forest here to win or draw at 5/2 with Sky Bet which seems a sensible play.


Brighton vs West Ham, Saturday Night Football 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Brighton are at it again this season. A pure joy. They are, however, no means perfect, especially when teams turn the ball over quickly.

Luton and Wolves, despite going down 4-1 on both occasions, posted some encouraging numbers for opposition teams breaking into the final third against Brighton, who are missing Moises Caicedo in that area. They have shipped 3.62 worth of expected goals and seen 19 shots faced from inside their own box, suggesting Wolves and Luton found ways to create quality chances within Brighton’s defensive territory.

Jarrod Bowen remains West Ham’s key attacker with their counter-attack game based around him finding pockets of space.

West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen (centre) celebrates scoring their first goal of the game
Jarrod Bowen celebrates his goal against Bournemouth – he is 9/2 to score this weekend

Bowen should find space down at the Amex in what is shaping up to be a goal-frenzy game to my eyes. His danger is seen through his return of 14 shots on target in his last 13 games across all competitions with six of those efforts resulting in goals. The 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to hit the target and the 9/2 anytime scorer price both rate as bets to attack.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-2 | Jarrod Bowen to have at least one shot on target (10/11 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Burnley vs Aston Villa, Sunday 2pm

Opposition offsides against Aston Villa remain a sustainable angle of attack.

The Villa trap has caught 63 players offsides in their last 12 games in all competitions, including a remarkable nine in their 5-0 win over Hibernian on Thursday. It’s a key weapon that Unai Emery loves to utilise and it’s averaging out at 5.25 per game over that 12 match period. I would be fully expecting Burnley to threaten that average here.

They averaged the most offsides in the Sky Bet Championship last season with an average of 2.2 per game. Unfortunately, the fancy prices of last season are no more but the 6/5 with Sky Bet for Burnley to be caught offside four or more times still rates as a workable figure to play with.


Sheffield United vs Manchester City, Super Sunday 2.00pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Sheffield United vs Manchester City

Two games played and three centre forwards have scored against Sheffield United – all from crosses into the box. And here comes Erling Haaland, who is as short as 2/5 with Sky Bet to score and just 7/1 to bag what would be his seventh hat-trick for Manchester City.

There is a smarter way, involving a bulkier price, to support Haaland in this encounter though.

Of Haaland’s 36 Premier League goals last season, seven of them came via headers. He is a terrific finisher aerially – hardly surprising when you stand over six feet tall and are being served up so much delightful service from some of the world’s best.

Man City are no longer the perfect passing goal gurus. They like to mix it by playing more direct into the box where possible. A no-brainer really when you consider the monster in the middle.

Haaland is 11/2 to score a header and 3/1 to have a header on target. Use your head, back it.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-3 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Erling Haaland to score a header (11/2 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Newcastle vs Liverpool, Super Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Newcastle United vs Liverpool

This has the ingredients for game of the season. It could get a bit wild out there.

When a barnstormer of a game is expected my eyes are always drawn to the total shots on target market rather than the goal-line as you can sometimes take advantage of a disparity in the market. It’s a fun bet to follow, too, as you have a pure interest in both teams attacking.

When there is a high goal expectancy, shots on target numbers should mirror that but there looks an edge in the pricing here with 11 or more match shots on target priced up at odds-against at 6/5 with Sky Bet. When Liverpool are not quite functioning their shots on target numbers always spike above market expectation due to how exposed their defence and goalkeeper is from the lack of balance in midfield.

Newcastle should be capable of posting their market expectation of around six on target while Liverpool’s attack has looked deadly in periods of their first two matches. There were 15 match shots on target in Liverpool’s win over Bournemouth – this one should go down the same path.


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