Jones Knows is here to arm you with some betting angles and insights ahead of the weekend with slip-ups predicted for Liverpool and Manchester City.
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm
A trip to Selhurst Park is never one to relish, especially when a team is expected to get maximum points – as Liverpool are with 1/2 on offer for an away win with Sky Bet. These are matches for the top teams where getting out of there with a result is all that matters.
If you offered Jurgen Klopp the scrappiest of 1-0 wins now, he’d shake your hand.
Winning on the road doesn’t come naturally to Liverpool anymore though.
They’ve landed the odds in just three of their last 12 Premier League away days, dropping 20 points in that period.
Recent draws with Fulham and Brighton fall into that category, games where the usual intense Liverpool performance levels were at a worrying low to the extent they lost the ‘xG battle’ in both matches to an aggregate of 2.13 vs 4.74.
I can’t touch them at odds-on here – there are better ways to boost your Christmas betting bank.
And, I liked what I saw from Crystal Palace at West Ham on Wednesday night. It took a moment of extreme quality from Sebastien Haller to break them down, otherwise Palace had few moments of worry with the Hammers only registering an expected goal figure of 0.49 – this was despite having a man advantage for 20 minutes.
No teams have drawn more matches 1-1 than Liverpool and Palace this season – that looks the smart play.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Southampton vs Manchester City, Saturday 3pm (Play Super 6 to win £250,000 here!)
If I had to choose which club I’d rather pay to watch, then Southampton would be getting my hard-earned over Man City at the moment. It’s not often you would pass up the opportunity to bask in the glory of a Pep Guardiola side in full-flow but apart from Kevin De Bruyne, City have failed to get my adrenaline going this season. It’s ponderous, it’s predictable.
Quite why they only started throwing the kitchen sink at West Brom in injury-time in midweek was pretty baffling – they seem to be playing with the arrogance of a Guardiola side but without the actual substance to back it up. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have managed just one goal between them in their last 700 minutes of action combined and a low expected goals figure of 2.84 suggests it’s a barren run which is no anomaly.
Maybe Guardiola is thinking that slow and steady is the key to winning this unusual Premier League title race – but City are in danger of becoming tailed off. They could be further behind by full time here.
Any sign of weakness will be seized upon by sprightly Southampton, who have won four of the last five Premier League games at St Mary’s. City look short at 4/9 with Sky Bet.
As we mentioned in midweek, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are notoriously fast starters and have now been ahead in eight of their 13 matches at half-time, scoring 15 goals – no team has scored more. They are 9/4 to score once in the first half. That fast start can lay the foundations for a positive result.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton vs Arsenal, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
If it looks like a team bang in trouble, swims like a team bang in trouble, and quacks like a team bang in trouble, then it probably is a team bang in trouble.
Yet, Arsenal remain a team priced up with huge emphasis on history rather than the here and now.
You’d be absolutely quackers to back them at 19/10 with Sky Bet this weekend. And, on current performance metrics, the 33/1 for Arsenal to be relegated is probably a slice of value.
Everton – with the advantage of having 2000 fans in attendance, yes it does make a difference – look a very solid proposition to get the job done here at 11/8.
Since Everton switched to a back four at Burnley after 29 minutes, they haven’t conceded a goal – an impressive feat.
Both Chelsea and Leicester – two of the most potent attacks in the league – continuously banged their heads against the Everton defensive wall and failed to create an expected goals figure above one (Chelsea 0.72, Leicester 0.73).
There has to be a strong probability of the clean sheet run continuing against an Arsenal attack that have scored just eight goals since their opening day 3-0 win over Fulham. Only Sheffield United and Burnley have netted fewer.
It’s a metric backed up by the attacking performance data, too. Arsenal’s chances created numbers are the third lowest in the Premier League (87) and their expected goals figure of 12.87 only puts them above West Brom, Burnley, Newcastle and Wolves. It’s relegation form.
With all this considered, plus the fact Arsenal are without the suspended Gabriel, the 5/2 for an Everton clean sheet or the 100/30 for an Everton win to nil certainly makes appeal.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Newcastle vs Fulham, Saturday 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Newcastle’s haul of 17 points from 12 games is their best tally at this stage of Premier League season since the 2014/15 season, yet, their performances remain stodgy and lacking in attacking cohesion. Only Burnley have had fewer shots from inside the box this season than Newcastle (67) – a statistic which is a great barometer of how many good goalscoring opportunities teams are creating. The Toon are clinical but it’s unsustainable.
After shipping five at Leeds, you can rest assured Steve Bruce will be setting out his stall for a clean sheet in this one.
I’m expecting Fulham to have plenty of territorial advantage at St James’ Park. With such a lack of pace in the heart of their defence, Newcastle will play with their usual deep style against a very quick Fulham attack. That should yield plenty of opportunities for Fulham danger and Sky Bet have priced up them to have 13 or more shots at 11/8.
Steve Bruce’s side conceding a whopping 25 shots in the defeat at Leeds, taking their shots faced tally for the season to 196 – only West Brom have faced more.
Against teams that didn’t finish in the top seven last season, Fulham have registered 13 or more shots seven times out of nine this season, which makes the 11/8 one of the most interesting bets of the weekend. In terms of an outright selection, Fulham can just edge what is likely to be a tight encounter.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2 (9/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs Sheffield United, Sunday 12pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
My ‘stop backing Sheffield United’ patch has fallen off my arm again. Just one more hit – this will be the last time, promise.
The form of David McGoldrick has rekindled my faith. He is instrumental in the way the Blades construct attacks. When he plays well, Sheffield United play well. Since coming on as a half time substitute in the defeat at Southampton he’s created three chances in 135 minutes and scored twice. Confidence is obviously a huge issue at the club but McGoldrick looks back to somewhere near his best. If he can inspire those around him, then the Blades are more than capable of winning this one and make plenty of appeal at 9/2 with Sky Bet.
Brighton have won just one of their last 15 Premier League home games (D7 L7) and there will be huge expectation on them to pick up maximum points in front of their fans. They’ve failed to beat West Brom and Burnley at the Amex this season and the Blades, despite their precarious league position, are to my eye at least, on a level with those two fellow strugglers. They can nick this.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (11/1 with Sky Bet)
Tottenham vs Leicester, Sunday 2.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Brendan Rodgers really needs to do something different against Jose Mourinho, doesn’t he?
Mourinho is unbeaten in seven managerial meetings against Rodgers in all competitions (W5 D2) – it’s no coincidence either.
Leicester enjoyed 71 per cent possession in the meeting between these two in July but lost 3-0 as the Foxes showed yet again they are at their most effective in games when enjoying less possession.
Mourinho is more comfortable at sitting off teams than Rodgers, who naturally is a more attack-minded coach and perhaps allows his ego to influence his tactical decision making. Spurs are a fiercer beast with better organisation than the one that swatted the Foxes aside in the summer so I can’t foresee too many problems for them if they defend and counter-attack with their usual slickness.
Harry Kane has scored more goals against Leicester in the Premier League (14) than any other club in his career with 10 in his last five starts. With Leicester vulnerable aerially at the back, the 10/1 for Kane to score a header is a fantastic value bet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Manchester United vs Leeds United, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Well this one will be fun, fun, fun.
With Leeds basing their whole game around one v ones, my whole philosophy regarding predicting a match outcome in their games is based around who simply has the better players. Leeds have beaten Fulham, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Newcastle this season – all teams you’d expect to be in the bottom half of the table come the end of the season. But they have lost to Leicester, Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea, teams very much on course for a top-10 finish.
Manchester United have the superior players in this one, so a high-scoring home win is the play.
But, a betting angle to consider is surrounding the total match shots market offered up by Sky Bet. Leeds have been involved in four of the top five games in terms of match shots this season (39,38,35,35). In fact, Leeds have created the most chances in the Premier League this season (151), which is a staggering achievement.
Manchester United are at their best when given space to work in and aren’t afraid of being involved in shot-crazy games themselves (35 vs Newcastle, 34 vs West Ham) – if there’s an early goal in this one then the game to have 29 or more shots at Evens with Sky Bet could prove to be one of the most lucrative Even money shots of all-time.
The most shots seen in any one Premier League over the past 10 years was when 52 was recorded as QPR beat Leicester 3-2 in 2014. That record could be under threat here – and Sky Bet are offering 250/1 for the game to produce 53 or more shots.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 4-2 (25/1 with Sky Bet)
West Brom vs Aston Villa, Sunday 7.15pm
When you need a bounce factor, no-one boings like Big Sam. He might just be the perfect man for the Baggies.
Backing him to make an instant impact could be a shrewd move too.
On the three occasions when Allardyce’s first game in charge of a club has been at home, he’s won every match, without conceding too.
And to stretch that out a little further, in his first home game as a new boss in the Premier League at Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, Sunderland, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Everton he’s conceded just twice in seven games. Despite just having three days to get the Baggies players organised, I’m confident he’ll make them hard to beat.
And, Villa arrive here on a bit of a downer.
Since Ross Barkley limped off in the early stages of the defeat at Brighton, Villa have lost their edge and ability to create high probability chances. Including the Brighton defeat, Villa have scored just three goals in the four matches without Barkley, taking just four points from a possible 12. With him they average 2.5 goals per game without it’s just 0.7.
I think Jack Grealish is missing his buddy too. Both are good mates off the pitch and that relationship is mirrored on it. Although still seeing plenty of the ball and looking a threat, Grealish has failed to have a shot on target in three of the four games without Barkley and has failed to register an assist without his mate on the pitch. I’m sure Big Sam will have a plan for him.
West Brom to win without conceding is a very juicy 6/1.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0 (11/1 with Sky Bet)
Burnley vs Wolves, Monday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
A Wolves shirt with Jones Knows imprinted on the back is certainly on my Christmas list. They made me look like the second coming of Jesus Christ himself in midweek when they delivered a 2-1 win – as predicted in this very column. And, the 13/2 for a Ruben Neves shot along with Wolves to avoid defeat landed in my Jones Knows betting-focused column.
You get the feeling this one will be a dour encounter with little of the way of exciting action at least for 45 minutes. Since promotion back to Premier League in 2018, Wolves have failed to score a first half goal in 63 of 89 games and a switch back to a back three only enhances the chances of a low scoring first half – as seen against Chelsea where it was 0-0 at the break.
Wolves’ quality through Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence should start to shine through as the game progresses. The 4/1 for a Draw/Wolves in the half-time, full-time market is appealing against a Burnley side, who are the lowest scorers in English football with just six goals.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Chelsea vs West Ham, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Some may have this down as another banana skin for Chelsea. Not me.
Frank Lampard has so many attacking options available to him, it’s easy for him take an out-of-form player out of the limelight and replace him with a top-quality replacement. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have looked a little jaded in recent weeks so freshening it up with Callum Hudson-Odoi or Hakim Zieych should kick Chelsea back into gear. Plus, Christian Pulisic showed moments of real quality in the defeat at Wolves – he might be about to hit top form.
This is going to sound ridiculous after what he did on Wednesday night, but West Ham won’t be going anywhere fast with Sebastien Haller leading the line. In games where they have to sit back, his hold up play isn’t anywhere near the levels of Michail Antonio, who makes the pitch so big for West Ham and takes the pressure of his defenders.
In fairness, the Hammers have won four of the last six games with Haller leading the line so I might be talking complete nonsense. However, they lacked imagination against Crystal Palace and in the win over Aston Villa – a theory backed up by a combined xG figure of just 1.08 in those matches. No problems for Chelsea expected.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (7/1 with Sky Bet)