At 4.50pm on Saturday afternoon, I was getting ready to celebrate another good week.
Tottenham failed to show up as they lost to Liverpool, but Bournemouth and Leicester played out a goal-fest with six goals and my bet on under 2.75 goals at St James’ Park looked like it was in the bag. But betting can be cruel.
A 91st minute Ciaran Clark goal for Newcastle Utd saw me end the day with one winner, one half loss and one loss.
I feel pretty unlucky not to have come away with another winner, given there were only four shots on target between the sides and a total xG of just 1.66. This one I’ll just have to put down to variance.
I can have no complaints with the loss at Wembley and truth be told only losing 2-1 flattered Spurs. Where I can have complaints is the fact that Tottenham didn’t really turn up, and it was very strange to see Mauricio Pochettino employ a 4-4-2 diamond having won 4-1 last season using a three at the back system.
The Bournemouth gift that keeps on giving
I can also send my complaints to Michel Vorm with him being at fault for both goals. However, on balance of play Liverpool, more than deserved to win, hitting the target 10 times to Spurs’ 3, carving out the better opportunities and winning the xG 2.44 – 0.91.
Luckily Bournemouth is the gift that keeps on giving as they won 4-2 v Leicester to easily see a winner for over 2.5 goals. There were 12 shots on target between the sides with the expected goals total returning 4.15 making this a convincing winner. So why only a one point stake?
I erred on the side of caution with Leicester due to the departure of Riyad Mahrez, who contributed 12 goals and 10 assists last season. Mahrez assisting Vardy was the highest assist/scorer combination in the league, which is pretty impressive considering how many records Man City broke. And if we take out the two penalties scored at Vitality Stadium, the xG only actually returned 2.55.
As a result, I feel vindicated in my staking, and it’s important to not get too result oriented in this game. Sensible staking is a very important facet of value betting.
The Hornets to sting Fulham this weekend
Onto this weekend and I’m looking at three goal-related angles for value.
First up Fulham take on high flying Watford in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Craven Cottage and here we have a goal line of 2.50 that looks a little skinny.
For all of Fulham’s good play, the team hasn’t really settled defensively and this has been creating goal heavy games.
There’s been 19 goals in their five games so far (3.80pg) and 3.90 expected goals on average so not only do the stats bear out what we have seen so far, there could be even more to come. And it’s no surprise to see the number of goals the home side are conceding when they are facing the 2nd most shots-per-game (18.4).
Watford’s good start has seen 15 goals at (3.0pg) although they have only recorded 2.20 xG and overachieved in-front of goal by 0.8 xG pg, but coming up against the worst defence in the league should help. Having said all that, it’s only 10 games worth of data we’re discussing so in keeping with my comments earlier on the importance of caution in staking I’ll just be risking 0.5pts on over 2.50 goals.
We’re going cherry picking once again
It will be no surprise to both new and regular readers where I’m going next and that’s goals in Bournemouth games.
The Cherries head to Turf Moor to face bottom side Burnley and the goal line is only 2.25 with a goal expectancy of 2.55. The Cherries average total xG per-game is 2.96, with a whopping 20 of their last 26 games going over 2.5 goals. So I’m more than happy backing over 2.25 goals.
I’ve talked a lot about Bournemouth this season so let’s touch on what’s happening at Burnley at the moment given they finished 7th last season.
The key to their success last season was over-performing defensively as they only conceded 39 goals, with xG rating them as conceding another 13 more. They were conceding the second most shots-per-game last season and are already conceding the most this season (20.6) so it’s no surprise to see them regress.
Their matches total average xG since August 2017 is 2.58, which is higher than expected here, and given Bournemouth’s matches proficiency, we can be confident with backing overs here. So with the increased confidence, I’m having 1.5 points on this one.
The Wolves to have some bite at Old Trafford
Finally, it’s to Old Trafford for Man Utd against newly promoted Wolves.
It should be no surprise that Wolves are holding their own given their investment over the last two years coupled with Nuno Espirito Santo’s tactics. They’ve taken to life in the Premier League seamlessly, and have conceded just five goals. Defensively only Liverpool and Man City have been better in terms of xG conceded (Wolves 3.80).
But one area where I think Wolves lack is offensively, scoring only five so far and this is perfect for opposing goals, particularly a line 2.75 against a side like Man Utd who are not that fluid. United’s matches have seen 112 goals since last season at an average of 2.60 per-game and I think this will be a tight game with Wolves able to nullify Utd for large periods.
United have struggled against sides that sit deep and defend well, and a bet on under 2.75 would only have lost in one of their last 15 home games so I’m more than happy to see the weekend out with a point on this one.
Let’s hope for no last-minute heartbreakers this week.
- Over 2.5 goals Fulham – Watford ~1.88 – 0.5 points
- Over 2.25 goals Burnley – Bournemouth ~1.82 – 1.5 points
- Under 2.75 goals Man Utd – Wolves ~1.82 – 1 point