Mark Stinchcombe: “The price of 8.5 looks to be an overreaction and I think there's scope that Arsenal will shorten”

9 min


Betting isn’t really about results, it’s about value. Once you’ve got the value you can sit back and relax regardless of the outcome because you’ve done the hard work and you know that long-term you will come out on top. But it’s nice to see things go exactly your way for once.

Our Wolves bet last weekend, for example, was absolutely fantastic. Having advised them at 2.04, come kick-off they were 1.69, almost spot on the 1.70 I envisaged, and it really was cruise control for the Molineux lads going 4-0 up in just over an hour. And the result was fully deserved.

The match played out exactly as anticipated, with Wolves having 58% possession, outshooting Bolton 21-9, convincingly winning the xG 3.13 – 0.84.

What makes this look even more of a rick from the market is that Wolves are 1.55 away at Sunderland on the final day of the season. Any odds against again, please?

Wolves Diogo Jota scores his side’s third goal of the in last weekend’s 4-0 win vs Bolton.

Despite Wolves thrashing Bolton 4-0 last weekend, it was a weekend of only a 0.5 point win as Watford v Crystal Palace finished 0-0 and the over 2.0 goals bet in Stoke v Burnley was void with it finishing 1-1. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the bets, but Crystal Palace didn’t really turn up in what was a winnable game and Stoke tried to lock up a 1-0 win with 79 minutes to go.

Palace give up and Stoke lose their minds

It was a dour affair played at Vicarage Road that made a mockery out of Crystal Palace being favourites. Watford made more of the running, outshooting their opponents 14 – 4, but the longer the game went on the less likely it looked to be heading in any other direction. This was summed up with a total xG of just 1.04.

While on Sunday, if you weren’t already concerned about going down as a Stoke fan, you should be massively worried now with Paul Lambert as your manager. I highlighted his shortcomings last week and the way he played out this must-win game against Burnley was nothing short of abysmal.

Stoke City manager Paul Lambert is feeling the heat just 13 games into his tenure.

Attempting to see out a 1-0 scoreline after just 11 minutes with the worst defence in the league against an overachieving defence was ridiculous. They let Burnley, yes Burnley, out possess them, outshooting them 16-8 and win the xG a whopping 1.89 – 0.39. A shocking approach. But at least our bet didn’t lose, and if Stoke had tried to attack for the remaining 79 minutes the bet had a very good chance of winning.

This weekend’s bets and three good trades

Onto this weekend and you can catch my two best bets on the Matchbook betting podcast where I take a look at the goals line for some value in the Premier League in the Burnley v Brighton and have a strong view on the old firm derby in Scotland. You can listen to my thoughts below:

But on this week’s blog I wanted to focus on something different and three matches for good potential trades, although if you prefer you can make them normal bets, and the first is in the Premier League game where Arsenal visit Old Trafford.

Arsenal are 8.5 to beat Man Utd and straight away Arsenal look too big despite the fact this comes sandwiched between their Europa League semi-finals.

It’s Arsene Wenger’s last game in charge at Old Trafford and any team with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in is a massive threat.

Arsenal were 3.14 in this fixture last season. 3.14! Immediately there looks to be an overreaction to the quality of Arsenal’s perceived rotated team and I think there’s scope that Arsenal will shorten at some point.

There are a couple of trading strategies here. I’d favour taking them now and trading out, but you could also wait for the teams to be announced at 3.30pm and back Arsenal or lay United if the Gunners name a stronger team before levelling up.

Napoli to rollover Fiorentina and Porto up against it

My second trade is in Serie A where the title race is hotting up with Napoli cutting Juventus’ lead down to just one point after winning in Turin last weekend. Napoli face Fiorentina away and La Viola absolutely hate Juve so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them roll over and let Napoli win given the nature of Italian football.

There’s an element of this already happening in the odds with the Naples side opening up at 1.72 and now only 1.50. There’s still potential for them to go shorter and taking them now could be a shrewd move.

Finally in Portugal, as the title race goes down to the wire, leaders Porto face a trip to 6th place Maritimo. Despite the home sides league position, Porto are just 1.22.

This looks short, particularly given their struggles against Maritimo. Porto have failed to win over 50% of the last 13 between the sides – W6 D3 L4 – and away from home, it’s zero wins in six.

Maritimo are enjoying a successful season and have lost just twice in 15 home games. They’ve already held Benfica at the Estádio do Marítimo as well as at Sporting in the cup, while Dynamo Kiev couldn’t find a way past them either. Porto were 1.44 in this fixture last season and their ‘need to win’ looks like it’s gone too far.

I’m not sure they’ll drift much pre-match, so this may be one to trade out in-play if Porto are struggling.

Recommended bets:

  • Back Arsenal 8.5
  • Back Napoli 1.50
  • Lay Porto 1.22

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