Our tipster Jones Knows returns ahead of Saturday’s Premier League action and wants to back Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Leicester.
Leeds vs Bournemouth, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
When Jesse Marsch teams get on a roll, it should prove profitable to follow them.
Marsch is a boss that thrives on the emotion of the game, a little too much at times for some but I’m all for wearing your heart on your sleeve. Consistency will remain an issue in the long-term, but Leeds play with a very risk-reward style when clicking and this might just be the game they go ‘bang’ against such a limited opponent. Bournemouth are regressing back to the mean of their expectations now after an early burst of results under Gary O’Neil.
They were battered from pillar to post in the second half last weekend at home to Spurs, conceding 19 corners across the 90 minutes. That’s the most conceded in a Premier League game since Opta started collecting the data in 2010.
The 4/6 with Sky Bet on the home win seems fair enough and most certainly is one for those that like to play the traditional match accumulators. But I think you can get greedier than that and take the 2/1 for Leeds to win by more than one.
SCORE PREDICTION: 3-0
Manchester City vs Fulham, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
We are living in a world where Erling Haaland is just 4/1 with Sky Bet to score a hat-trick against a team who are currently seventh in the Premier League. Sheer madness. It’s hard to be too upbeat about Fulham’s chances of taming the City beast in the match result market such is their woeful defensive record but they do have a world-class striker of their own in their ranks.
Aleksandar Mitrovic is in that bracket now, for me.
And although Fulham’s pathway to goal will be restricted, a player of his ruthless nature in front of goal – only Haaland has a better minutes to goal ratio than Mitrovic (113) this season of players to have scored five or more – has to be considered in the goalscorer markets. The 2/1 with Sky Bet makes appeal but we can do better. Mitrovic has scored three of his nine goals this season with his head and no player in the league has attempted more headed shots (21) or won more aerial duels (62) than the Serb.
City have conceded goals via headers from Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace) and Rafa Mir (Sevilla) this season and just over 16 per cent of all goals conceded by City in the Pep Guardiola era have been from headers, so to my workings the 8/1 on Mitrovic to score a header rates as a considerable value play.
SCORE PREDICTION: 3-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Aleksandar Mitrovic to score a header (8/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Nottingham Forest vs Brentford, Saturday 3pm
Fetch me my wheelbarrow, put some money in it and go and back Nottingham Forest to win and under 2.5 goals at 11/2 with Sky Bet. Obviously, market forces are worth respecting much of the time, but I’m really struggling to see why Brentford are priced up with a 40 per cent chance of victory (6/4 with Sky Bet).
If you take Christian Eriksen out of the equation, their away form since promotion in the Premier League is horrendous.
Without the Danish delight, now strutting his stuff at Manchester United, Brentford have played 20 away games, winning just twice and have conceded on average 2.1 goals per 90 minutes in those matches. With him, they won four of their five road trips, including at Chelsea. This season they are winless from their six away days in relatively soft fixtures against Leicester, Fulham, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Aston Villa – losing the aggregate score 15-6.
And then you throw the suspension of Ivan Toney into the mix. He’s their focal point, the one that releases the pressure on their defence and most importantly has been responsible for 40 per cent of their goal involvements (27 in 67) since promotion.
This is a fantastic opportunity for improving Nottingham Forest to grab maximum points in front of their own fans, who are going to prove invaluable this season.
Since switching to a more rigid, defensive-focused philosophy after the hammering at Leicester, Steve Cooper’s side are a backable prospect. Before the spanking at Arsenal, something excused for any team this season, Forest had conceded just two goals in their last four games. Plus, this is a side that have already beaten both West Ham and Liverpool at the City Ground this season. Another hard-fought win is within their grasp here.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Nottingham Forest to beat Brentford and under 2.5 goals (11/2 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Wolves vs Brighton, Saturday 3pm
Wolves are probably a little too big at 12/5 with Sky Bet but I’m bored of anticipating a change of fortune with their results. Brighton can’t be trusted as favourites, either, so a low-scoring draw makes sense from a match prediction perspective.
Time for some more Solly March madness again then. The algorithms used to price up player shot prices have eased March out to a very backable Evens with Sky Bet for two or more shots.
March has managed just three in his last three games but two of those fixtures were against Manchester City and Chelsea. His influence for Brighton and the attacking licence he is given down the right where he can cut in onto his left peg still makes him a player to follow in the shots lines when the price is right.
In 12 appearances this season, he is averaging 2.08 shots per-90 minutes and should fancy his chances up against inexperienced Wolves full-back Hugo Bueno, who looks a great technician but not necessarily one in love with defending one-on-one. The two or more shots line is worth considering and three or more (3/1) and four or more (17/2) also worth a tickle.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Everton vs Leicester, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Now Leicester have fixed their defensive issues, the Foxes can make a sustained charge towards the top half of the Premier League based on their attacking quality. The greater security – just three goals conceded in their last six games – is allowing the likes of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes to win football matches for their team. Yes, Leicester remain in the relegation zone but they are just five points off Liverpool in ninth having taken 10 points from those last six games.
Everton have improved since last season but there still is an air of overperforming on their underlying numbers when it comes to their defending. Everton have the fourth highest expected goals against this season (21.2) but have the fourth actual best defensive record (conceded 12). That’s an unsustainable metric.
I’m not sure you can allow the quality of Leicester’s forward line such high probability chance creation without getting punished. So, it’s time to roll out a staple bet at a price that remains chunky, with Barnes to score in a Leicester win at 7/1 with Sky Bet. And his 10/1 first goalscorer price should also be fully respected.
No Leicester player has had more touches in the opposition box (46) than Barnes this season. The gameplan is clear from Brendan Rodgers to get his winger into dangerous positions in the box, and it’s reaping the rewards with Barnes scoring three in his last six games helped by some wonderful chemistry with Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Harvey Barnes to score in a Leicester win (7/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Chelsea vs Arsenal, Sunday 12pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Chelsea remain a team overperforming according to the underlying numbers under Graham Potter, especially in attack.
In the six Premier League games he’s overseen Chelsea have averaged a non-penalty expected goals tally of 1.06 per-90 – that’s a disappointing return for a team that are being priced up as a top-four side and have had a soft run of games against the likes of Wolves, Aston Villa and Brentford. In comparison, Arsenal are working at a 1.82 non-penalty expected goals average per-90 this season.
That Chelsea average dropped to 0.28 when facing Manchester United – a genuine top-six ranked team – where Jorginho’s penalty came out of nothing during a very stale attacking performance. There have been moments of incisive play under Potter, who I’m sure will get it right once working out all the parts to this Chelsea machine. Yet, without the natural width and creativity of Reece James and industry of N’Golo Kante, Chelsea are looking a little lost in this transitional period.
But there are concerns for Arsenal’s attack when playing away from home, too. There has been a huge downward trajectory on their attacking numbers in their last four road trips in all competitions. They have scored just three goals and struggled for intensity against Southampton and Leeds without the added bonus of a pumped home crowd.
The outright betting has this an equal encounter with 13/8 available with Sky Bet on both teams. I’d be steering clear of that angle, although for the purposes of the prediction I’d side with Arsenal narrowly. My interest is in the under 2.5 goals line at 10/11 with Sky Bet in what could be a game where defences rule all.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals (10/11 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Aston Villa vs Manchester United, Sunday 2pm
This is how Unai Emery would want it to be in his first game. His Aston Villa side are the underdogs and will have a raucous home following roaring them on, buoyed by the exciting appointment. A quick look at the total goals return in his first competitive match in charge of a new side (Villarreal, Arsenal, PSG, Sevilla, Spartak Moscow, Valencia, Almeria and Lorca CF) shows that he can get to work quickly at setting up a team with good defensive structure. In those eight games, there was an average of just 1.87 total goals.
I’m fully expecting this encounter to follow that low goal average. Manchester United are a side going places but it’s a style built on solidity and grabbing control of games at key moments. The attacking chemistry isn’t quite at the levels demanded by Erik ten Hag as yet and it’s lending itself to some low-scoring games. All four of their last Premier League matches have fallen under the 2.5 goal line and with perhaps some heavy legs following their clash with Real Sociedad on Thursday, one goal could be enough to take this one.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals (10/11 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Southampton vs Newcastle, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Regular readers of this column (hello mum) will be aware of the pain that scorches through my body whenever James Ward-Prowse making the England squad is mentioned. His omission from the Euro 2020 squad signalled a sickening end to two years of backing him at inflated prices – some as big as 16/1 – to make the final squad.
There might be a bit of payback coming my way if Callum Wilson can keep scoring goals. He was part of my ante-post portfolio at the start of the season at prices ranging from 11/1 down to 6/1 to make the World Cup squad. All looked lost when his body failed him after a bright start but his leading role in this wonderfully robust Newcastle side after regaining fitness has catapulted him back into England contention. He is now 11/10. Don’t break my heart again, Gareth.
Wilson is a streaky striker when in the mood, and with his motivation levels sky high he rates as the most likely first goalscorer at St Mary’s even if his 7/2 price with Sky Bet is about right. In their last 10 Premier League games only three Premier League goals have been scored by Southampton attacking players, so it does make the reliability of Wilson’s finishing, despite the skinny price, stand out when assessing that market.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
West Ham vs Crystal Palace, Sunday 2pm
Patrick Vieira is a manager that for some reason struggles to inspire his teams away from home. Since taking over last season, Palace are posting relegation performance metrics when it comes to their attacking numbers and overall record. He has won just four of his 24 away games – one of those was at Manchester City, unbelievably. In those games their total expected goals return of 23.15 is the lowest total posted by any Premier League side not to have been promoted or relegated in that period.
Vieira had similar problems scoring goals on the road at Nice, where his team averaged just 0.9 goals per 90 minutes in his 37 matches managing the French side away from home. Perhaps his possession-based, controlled style is tough to implement when opposition teams play with more belief at home. Having watched them play at Leicester and Everton, I am completely against Palace this weekend against an improving West Ham side who have won nine of their last 13 games in all competitions, including their last three Premier League home games. The 10/11 with Sky Bet on a Hammers win should land.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
Tottenham vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
When assessing the quality of forward players missing across both teams, added to the relentless fixture list since October 1, it’s easy to foresee this clash not being the best version of itself. Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota are out for Liverpool whilst Heung-Min Son, Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski are massive absentees for Spurs as their ability to play quickly in transition is now severely impacted.
Spurs have been relying on second-half rallies and goals from set pieces to escape some sticky situations but Liverpool are a very tough team to score against from such scenarios – them and West Ham are only two teams yet to concede from a corner this season. I can see Spurs struggling to create many openings from open play, especially without the speed and directness of Son who scored in both fixtures against Liverpool last season.
However, Liverpool don’t exactly fill with me confidence either in the goals department away from home against a likely Tottenham low block. Jurgen Klopp spoke after the Napoli win of “having to fight through and then the real football that we can play can come back” which screams to me he’ll be playing with more security than usual in order to keep Alisson’s goal protected. The markets are foreseeing a bit of a goal frenzy, with the game more likely to go over 2.5 goals than under. I disagree. Back a low-scoring affair.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals (11/10 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)