Mark Stinchcombe: “We should always look to oppose the narrative and the swing to City is far too big for me”

12 min

Watford are fast becoming my favourite team to side with. A 90th-minute winner from Richarlison meant we returned a profit from the weekend, even though they lost on the expected goals count, with our bet on the Leicester v Liverpool game cruising home. But it didn’t all go to plan, and this season remains one where there are still more questions than answers.

Leicester and Liverpool served up a goal fest for our bet on over 2.75 goals, but while only one point staked might look a mistake with five goals scored it’s very difficult to factor in the number of goals Liverpool continue to concede from individual mistakes.

They were very lucky not to be reduced to ten men when Simon Mignolet pulled back Shinji Okazaki before the Japanese international poked the ball home. That piece of stupidity just goes to show the level of football intelligence some members of Liverpool’s defence possess.

Leicester v Liverpool as expected turned out to be a goal fest.

Unfortunately, our bet on over 2.0 goals didn’t come in at the Amex with only one goal scored in Brighton v Newcastle. We were a little unfortunate as Joselu once again squandered several chances, but In all honesty, the match played out more like their 10 Premier League games to date than their previous Championship encounters.

A low scoring game is what the odds suggested would happen, but with such limited data from the season so far still it was an opinion worth taking on. We should always be looking for opportunities to oppose the narrative.

The south coast should serve up a comedy of errors

One of my main aims in betting is to find sustainable bets that week in, week out the market underrates. That way if you stake correctly you should be a long-term winner well before the market eventually corrects itself. And this week looks clear cut with four bets I believe offer value.

A regular sight in recent times has been Bournemouth conceding and last weekends trip to Goodison Park was no different.

Six weeks of data isn’t anywhere near enough to be 100% accurate on prices. But we can use last seasons data with three of them, given the stability in managers and players. And the first of these this week is when 19th placed Bournemouth host 17th placed Leicester with both sides in need of points and the market underestimating the potential for goals.

I’ve already profited twice on backing overs in Leicester games and that’s where I’m heading again here, especially as neither of these sides can defend. Since the beginning of last season, Bournemouth have conceded 78 goals in 44 games (1.77 per game) and Leicester 75 goals (1.70pg).

Both of are also more than capable of scoring and I make over 2.5 goals 1.71. 12 of Bournemouth’s last 17 matches have seen over 2.5 goals (71%). So a bet on over 2.5 goals at 1.88 looks a solid play here.

West Ham cannot defend and there are goals in this one

Another game that immediately grabbed my attention when I saw over 2.5 goals was odds against was West Ham v Swansea. Since the beginning of last season, West Ham and Swansea have both conceded 77 goals at 1.75 per-game, and I’m always keen to oppose West Ham at home.

In my view it’s technically a neutral ground at the Olympic Stadium and Swansea should treat the game in this manner.

The London Stadium has not offered West Ham much of a home advantage.

I’ve previously mentioned their lack of an attack but Wilfried Bony paired with Tammy Abraham gives them far more of a threat with 33% of their season shots-on-target last week, registering an xG rating of 1.81.

West Ham’s attack also contains goals and, crucially, they cannot defend. Slaven Bilic has brought in Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta to help matters but if anything it’s made them worse.

Joe Hart’s decline has been meteoric in particular. The beauty of these odds means over 2.25 goals is also a nice price with an extra bit of insurance. I believe the goal line is quarter too short and price this at 1.61 so we have to bet it at 1.81.

Things have swung too far towards City

In the big Saturday evening clash Chelsea host Man City in a game where City start as favourites, and this is a great spot for us to look to oppose the narrative. This is a huge move in the prices from when they last met at Stamford Bridge as recently as April when Chelsea were 2.25.

The odds last April said Chelsea were around 0.05 of a goal better than City. Now the prices say Man City are 0.45 of a goal better and a 0.50 goal swing is far too big for me.

Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte celebrates his side’s first goal vs Atletico Madrid this week.

Yes City are posting impressive numbers but Chelsea have won 16 of their last 19 home games and taking them draw no bet at odds against (+0.0) is value for me.

It’s also worth revisiting the outright market with these two facing each other. My suggested plan was to lay City at this point but with them taking teams apart left, right and centre it is very difficult to justify laying them. Looking at a simulated final league table based on expected goals they’re rated a 49% chance of winning the league (2.05) so not a million miles from their current price and it’s a hold for now.

Buzzing for the Hornets on Saturday

For my fourth bet of the weekend, we are looking to profit as the best team in the world travel to the Hawthorns on Saturday. That’s right it’s Watford, and once again they’re priced too big at around 3.9.

West Brom are struggling in front of goal with Tony Pulis seemingly trying to fit ‘flair’ players such as Grzegorz Krychowiak and Oliver Burke into his rigid long ball and hope tactics.

They’ve only scored four goals and three of them have come from substitutes and their average xG is less than one per-game so Watford +0.25 looks the way to go again here.

Watford’s Richarlison celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game during their clash last weekend with Swansea.

There were some other bets I had on my shortlist this weekend, but each of them had an element of doubt attached at the prices.

I was keen to oppose Spurs -1.25/under 2.75 goals with Huddersfield’s tight defence, but Tottenham’s last six away games have seen them score 3, 3, 3, 2, 7, 6 and we’ve yet to see how Huddersfield fair against a decent side.

Arsenal -1.75 are also normally a good handicap bet against bottom six sides but with a Thursday night trip to Belarus, we’ve yet to see how this might affect them.

Finally, Liverpool always seems worth opposing at odds on but it’s very difficult to know what side Jurgen Klopp will put out. Last time after a European match he made seven changes and only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley.

If he does similarly this weekend, it’s likely the price of 1.74 will drift, so it may be worth trading that match in the hour leading up to kick-off as soon as the team is announced.

Recommended bets:

  • Over 2.5 goals Bournemouth – Leicester 1.88 – 1 point
  •  Watford +0.25 2.02 – 1 point
  •  Over 2.25 goals West Ham – Swansea 1.81 – 1.5 points
  •  Chelsea +0.0 2.11 – 1.5 points

Click here for the latest Premier League markets on Matchbook.