Mark Stinchcombe: “It could be goals galore for Spurs and City, but I’m going to bet on a bore draw in the big game this weekend”

11 min

Confidence is a wonderful thing in gambling and now we’re 14 games into the season we can be increasingly confident in our decision making. With so much more historic data we can more accurately work out if the weekly data is a true reflection of a team’s ability or is simply variance.

Being able to interpret raw numbers into usable information is such an important facet of betting. You need to be able to decide a) whether that data is useful and then b) whether it is accurate or an anomaly. Using common sense can often go a long way.

The right bets, for the right reasons

Let’s take last weekend’s games where we had a full house of winners, but crucially we made the right bets for the right reasons. Watford won 3-0 at Newcastle and it was a fair result, with Watford creating better goalscoring opportunities and based on the expected goals, they avoid defeat 81% of the time. Having backed them +0.5 at 1.80, a 56% chance, it was a great bet.

Watford’s Will Hughes (centre) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game in last weeks emphatic win over Newcastle.

It was hardly a shock that Tottenham dominated West Brom. They had 73% possession, 24 – 5 shots and 8 – 0 corners but found the target with just five of their efforts (21%). They actually convincingly won the xG 1.81 – 0.67 (2.48 total), but yet again what we learned was the right way to bet is to oppose goals rather than Tottenham.

Even with West Brom scoring, under 3.0 goals was still a winner, with the 2.48 total much more in-keeping with the 2.07 average Spurs’ ‘home’ games have seen against the ‘smaller’ teams.

It was also no surprise at the scoreline at Turf Moor with Arsenal requiring an injury-time penalty to defeat Burnley 1-0. They had 64% possession but only managed two shots-on-target, and the xG total of 2.22 was much more in keeping with the 2.30 and 1.92 from their matches last season. As a result, our under 3.0 goals won comfortably, which is always a nice place to be.

Watford to be the great entertainers?

Onto this weekend and Watford host Tottenham at Vicarage Road. Watford have been one of the entertainers under Marco Silva this season, boasting by far and away the best attack outside of the ‘big 6’, having plundered 24 goals at 1.71pg (next best is Leicester with 19).

But despite all the good things I’ve said about them they have the 4th worst defence in the league having conceded 25 goals in 14 games (1.79 per-game).

This will be the last of their games against the big six this season and the previous five have been very exciting with 27 goals at a rate of 5.4pg! It’s a small sample size but gives you an idea of the chances they’re giving better opposition with 18 goals conceded.

  • 2-4 v Man Utd
  • 4-2 v Chelsea
  • 2-1 v Arsenal
  • 0-6 v Man City
  • 3-3 v Liverpool

I’ve mentioned Watford countless times already this season, and the likes of Richarlison, Doucoure, and manager Marco Silva are going to go on to bigger and better things. But on the flip side, the likes of Gomes, Cleverley, Mariappa, and Britos are playing at the limit of their ability, which is probably middle to bottom half Premier League.

I’ve read a few people concerned about Spurs but despite losing 2-1 at Leicester, they won the xG 0.89 – 2.36 and based on that they win that match 69% of the time or a 1..44 chance (they were 1.81). They won in Dortmund in their previous away game so I think they’re doing ok and this calendar year they’ve scored 38 goals in their 17 away games (2.24 per-game).

Last season Spurs won this game 1-4 with a total xG of 4.24. They also won the 4-0 at White Hart Lane, so for me over 2.5 goals is easily the bet here. The most competitive line is 2.75 but I mentioned last week about being risk averse and I think it’s sensible to do so once again.

Going under goals at the Emirates

The big game of the weekend sees Arsenal host Man Utd and it won’t be any surprise to readers (and listeners) that I’m backing unders. We backed this on the podcast in this fixture back in May when Arsenal won 2-0 and in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, it ended 1-1, with the expected goals totaling 1.72 and 1.09 respectively.

The Jose Mourinho factor will be expected to be at play once again on Saturday with Man Utd’s defensive set up.

We all know how Mourinho is going to set up, especially without first-choice centre-backs Bailly and Jones and defensive shield Nemanja Matic.

Alexandre Lacazette went off with a groin strain last night, and I think it could stifle Arsenal with Olivier Giroud unlikely to run in behind to create space.

I’ve mentioned countless times about Mourinho record in the big matches and it’s now just one goal scored in eight away against the rest of the ‘big six’. However, he has an excellent record against Arsene Wenger, losing just once in 14 games, conceding just seven goals. As always, it’s prudent to have a small bet on 0-0 as well.

The best against the worst

Finally, Man City take on West Ham at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon.

This is essentially the best team in the league against arguably the worst. It’s the best attack, with 44 goals scored (3.14pg) against the worst defence, with 30 goals conceded (2.14pg).

At the opposite ends of the field, Man City have only conceded nine goals and West Ham have only scored twelve. Their top scorer is Javier Hernandez with four but he’s out injured, and their next best only has two. Andy Carroll is also a major doubt and I think they’ll struggle to score. Moyes played Andre Ayew on his own upfront last night, and the last two matches had the terrible Masuaku, a left-back, as a left forward.

I think this is a case of will City score over 2.5 (a 1.49 shot). Their front five of Aguero, Jesus, Sterling, Sane and De Bruyne have a whopping 36 goals between them and I’m taking a chance on the -2.5 here. City have already played West Ham twice this year beating them 4-0 and 5-0. It could be a long afternoon for the Hammers.

Recommended bets:

  • Watford v Spurs over 2.5 goals 1.7 – 1 poin
  • Arsenal v Man Utd under 2.5 goals 2.0 – 1.5 points.
  • 0-0 Arsenal v Man Utd @ 14.0 – 0.25 points
  • Man City v West Ham, -2.5 Man City 1.8 – 1 point

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