A wise man once said to me ‘always be greedy in this game’ and that’s exactly how I feel despite hitting two out of three winners to return a healthy profit last weekend. Fulham and Watford only produced two goals at Craven Cottage, however, there were goals galore once again involving Bournemouth in their match at Burnley, and Wolves successfully stifled Man Utd as just two strikes were seen at Old Trafford.
So close to the sweep
I was very disappointed not to hit three out of three with my over 2.5 goals bet failing in the lunchtime kickoff at the Cottage, especially with Andre Gray opening the scoring after just two minutes. There were 26 shots between the sides with the expected goals returning a total of 3.75. So I feel pretty unlucky here but then again I erred on the side of caution staking only 0.5 points given the limited data so again vindication.
The market is not letting one result affect it’s Fulham perception though (rightly so) and the goal line for their game at Everton this weekend is 3.0!
Bournemouth are the Goal Kings
Without trying to repeat myself too much, how good is the Bournemouth goal gift that keeps on giving?
They didn’t even score and were playing against the bottom of the league who scored just 36 goals last season yet still conceded four! It was a fully justified winner too with 29 shots between the sides, with the xG finishing 2.27 – 1.03, returning a total of 3.30.
It did require two goals in the last 10 minutes for goals three and four but that’s the beauty of betting over 2.25 goals, in that the worst that could happen would be a half loss at that stage.
More Jose woe but a delight for unders backers
Finally, it was good to see my faith in Wolves repaid, that they could go to Old Trafford and keep the game tight, particularly after going a goal down early on. They actually played better than Man Utd, hitting the target 10 – 6 in their favour. Crucially though, it was goals or rather a lack of them that I was after, and 1-1 saw a winner for under 2.75 goals. Despite the attempts on target, most of them weren’t high-quality chances, and the expected goals totalled just 2.05.
More than happy to oppose the Toffees
Onto this weekend and first up I want to tackle the game at Goodison Park between Everton and Fulham. Pre-season I was quite bullish on Fulham’s chances, they were rated the 4th worst team in the league but I definitely think long-term they are a top 10 side. Not only does Slavisa Jokanovic’s side play with an aesthetically pleasing style of football, but it’s also effective and well respected by the market. If you look at the odds Fulham were going off game by game in the Championship the last two seasons.
Understandably with all their new signings, it will take time for them to gel but I’m confident they will.
Meanwhile, Everton under new boss Marco Silva, have won just one game, and on the balance of play, can consider themselves fortunate to have won any of those games. Against Huddersfield at home, arguably the worst side in the league, they managed just one shot-on-target. Looking at the shot data, they are actually only posting the 14th best shots-per-game (11.2) with Fulham up in 8th with 14.0 in comparison.
Everton are 1.82 – or a 55% chance – but I’ve had a look at a couple of models who rate them around a 46% chance (2.15), so I’m more than happy to side with Fulham +0.75 goals.
It’s only 12 Premier League games worth of data we’re discussing so I’ll be cautious and just stake half a point at around 1.97.
Goals and more goals expected on Tyneside
Next up I want to focus on goals at St James Park, as Newcastle host Leicester, where we have a goal line of 2.25 given the goal expectancy, is just 2.40. Looking at expected goals data, I think there’s a good chance we can see more. Last season Newcastle’s games averaged 2.80 xG per-game, and this season it’s 2.60. Leicester’s games were averaging 2.90 xG pg in 2017/18, and this season it’s 2.50.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times this season over my slight concerns regarding Leicester’s output without Riyad Mahrez but James Maddison looks to have slotted in perfectly behind Vardy.
And the goals in their games have continued to flow with 20 of their last 29 going over 2.5 goals (69%).
There were five and three goals in the two matches last season, and having the safety of half stakes back if just two goals are scored, this looks an excellent bet.
Keeping the foot down with Bournemouth Overs
Finally onto Monday night, and it should be no surprise where I’m going here. Yes, that’s right, goals in Bournemouth games. The goal expectancy is 2.75 meaning the goal line is set at 2.50 with overs a slight favourite.
I don’t want to repeat myself too much, so just a small reminder re Bournemouth that it’s now 21 of their last 27 games have gone over 2.5 goals (78%) and if we go further back, just three clean sheets in their last 31 games.
They face Crystal Palace who I talked about a few weeks back as having underperformed in front of goal since last season, and unfortunately for them, it’s continued as Mamadou Sakho somehow contrived to miss an open goal last week in their draw.
Crucially though, expected goals is a much better indication of a side’s goal expectancy, and it tells us that since 2017/18 their average total xG per match is at a healthy 2.99.
Indeed both matches finished 2-2 last season with an average xG of 4.54 across the two.
- Fulham +0.75 ~1.97 – 0.5 points
- Over 2.25 goals Newcastle – Leicester ~1.97 – 1.5 points
- Over 2.5 goals Bournemouth – Crystal Palace ~1.88 – 1 point