Mark Stinchcombe: “I’m not reading too much into last weekend’s result and backing Watford against a fairly woeful Swansea attack”

11 min

It’s been a quiet week for me on the betting front, despite the Champions League, Europa League and an extra matchday in Germany, Italy and Spain on topwa of the weekend’s action. And to be honest that’s a good thing.

At this point in the season, there are still more questions than answers. It’s very difficult to confirm an opinion based on five games of data and it’s important to remain disciplined and only attack the market when there’s a bet to be had. I often find myself seeing a price I want to jump on, doing all my due diligence, only to find there’s a reason for the price.

It’s important to be able to walk away from these bets despite having committed the time to examine them. There’s nothing worse taking a bet only for it to lose and then saying to yourself ‘I knew I shouldn’t have backed that!’ Discipline is an important strength to have as a gambler.

As predicted by Mark last week Tottenham once again struggled at Wembley playing out a goalless draw with Swansea.

Discipline goes hand in hand with being able to ‘let’ bets win. Sometimes after leaving a selection alone that wins you will question yourself for poor decision-making. But this is sport and everything has a chance of happening, that’s why we love the game. If the implied chance of it winning is smaller than the suggested odds, however, then it isn’t value and you just have to accept the outcome.

Perhaps there was an element you were unsure of but the way the game played out made this irrelevant. That’s fine. Chances are the next match the market won’t have significantly moved against you and you can confidently back the selection next time knowing you have all the answers. There will be another day where the odds are in your favour.

Where Eagles dare not win

One team that definitely don’t have the odds in their favour are Crystal Palace, who look like a team that has smashed up a hall of mirrors at the moment. Watching last weekend’s game they carved out the better chances and convincingly won the expected goals 2.41 – 0.98 – but a goalkeeping error from Wayne Hennessey (again), led to the Southampton winner and a loss for our bet.

My uncle is a Wolves fan and warned me about Hennessey years ago, so perhaps I need to factor that into my prices more. But either way, I’m not seeing much change in their fortunes in the next few weeks. When Roy Hodgson took control of Fulham in a similar situation back in 2007, he lost six of his first nine games, winning just once. With Man City (A), Man Utd (A) and Chelsea (H) coming up, it could be a similar start here for the 70-year-old.

Crystal Palace Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is a definite weak link for the Eagles.

Tottenham and Swansea finished goalless for our under 3.0 goals bet to cruise in although in truth Spurs battered them. They had 75% possession, 11 corners, 26-4 shots and 8-0 shots on target, but no goals, and although you can look back and wonder if you should have opposed Tottenham with those stats the unders was the better option. The xG finished 1.12 – 0.20 in the home side’s favour, which makes under 3.0 a 95% chance of winning so we had a great bet at 1.87.

Our bet on Chelsea was more frustrating as they failed to beat Arsenal in what looked like an under par performance. Maybe they suffered a European hangover despite all of Conte’s changes, and it was disappointing their best player in Eden Hazard didn’t start. Antonio Conte is very much a ‘team’ man and maybe he suffered here as a result. Still as previously stated, we’re only five games into the season and caution was advised for a reason.

Mark’s only losing bet last week came at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were held goalless by Arsenal.

Hornets not Swans for value this week

This weekend looks another tough one, and I initially noted Bournemouth as a team to oppose and was looking forward to seeing who they were up against. Unfortunately it’s Everton, another side I have reservations about! So with negatives against both, I’m happy to heed my own advice and analyse the data afterwards.

Instead, I’m happy to oppose Swansea’s attack again and once more side with Watford as outsiders. I’ve mentioned Watford’s underrated performances before in this blog and I’m happy not to read too much into last week’s result against the Man City juggernaut. In contrast, Swansea managed just four shots last week, which is fairly pathetic.

Everyone knows about Tottenham’s struggles at Wembley, yet Swansea didn’t even try to nick a goal late on in last weekend’s game. They had just one shot in the second half. Their attacking stats simply don’t make for good reading and they sit bottom of the league for both shots-on-target and xG differential. They look good to take on again and backing Watford +0.25 on the Asian handicap market allows us to keep the draw on side.

Going over and over again

I profited by backing goals when Leicester entertained Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, and it makes sense to do so once again this weekend as they take on Liverpool. The goal line has increased from 2.5 against Chelsea to 2.75, which is understandable based on Liverpool’s incompetent defending, but I still think it’s a bet as these two games featured nine goals last season. I make the price 1.86, so we’ve a small edge here at 1.97.

Finally Brighton host Newcastle on Sunday, and in a league which has averaged 2.69 goals over the last three seasons, I’m always keen to support a goal line of just 2.0. We’ve only ten Premier League games between them to analyse and the goal expectation looks to have been calculated based on this. However, with both sides mostly unchanged from their successful Championship campaigns, it makes sense to look at their meetings from last year.

In both games last season the most competitive goal line was 2.25, with over 2.0 goals priced around 1.69. It’s 1.84 here and there looks to be more upside to taking overs at the prices.

Recommended bets:

  • Watford +0.25 1.88 – 1 point
  • Over 2.75 goals Leicester – Liverpool 1.97 – 1 point
  • Over 2.0 goals Brighton – Newcastle 1.94 – 1 point

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