It was two out of two for me in the midweek games with goals, goals, goals at both Craven Cottage and Molineux. Fulham came from two goals down to defeat Brighton 4-2 and Wolves easily won 3-0 at home to West Ham to give us two winners for the week.
I mentioned it was very much must win for Fulham on Tuesday, so it’s admirable the way they were able to comeback from 0-2 down at half-time and what an end to end game it was! I outlined how both these sides concede a lot of shots, and there were a massive 37 shots between the two with 13 on target! As a result the expected goals returned a total of 5.54 to make a mockery of the the 2.25 line and provide a fully deserved 2.5 points winner at odds against.
At Molineux it was a bit more of a struggle as it needed an 86th minute Raul Jimenez goal to get us a winner, after his 80th minute goal had given us some security on the over 2.25. It was a tough one on the goals market with West Ham managing just four shots in the match and none on target. Their xG was a pitiful 0.13. Wolves did the business, however, managing 20 shots of their own with nine on target. With the overall xG totalling 2.64, we just about deserved to get the bet over the line.
And we’re off to the South Coast…again
Onto this weekend, and it’s more goals, goals, goals on the agenda for me. First up Brighton host Watford at the Amex Stadium where the goal expectancy is just 2.45, meaning we have a goal line of only 2.25. But I think the potential is there for a more open, attacking game than the market suggests, and the raw data backs it up.
Brighton’s matches have seen 63 goals this season (2.63pg) and Watford’s 67 (2.79pg). And arguably those goal averages should be higher, with Brighton overachieving defensively given they are conceding the second most shots-per-game, and their matches overall average xG is 2.90. Watford’s is also higher at 3.0.
Watford have improved hugely away, and having failed to score in their first seven games outside of London under Javi Gracia, they are now the second top scorers outside the ‘big 6’ on their travels this season. With the average goals this season seeing 2.84, and the five season Premier League average returning 2.72, you can see why I’m always keen to find an angle with a 2.25 goal line.
This fixture last season only finished 1-0 but that didn’t tell the whole story with the overall xG finishing at 3.26 and this feels like a good spot for a 2.5 point bet.
Back to the well at Bournemouth as they head to Wales
The next game I’m betting on is the evening kick-off on Saturday as Cardiff entertain Bournemouth in Wales. Here we have a goal expectancy of 2.70, so a goal line of 2.50 and while we all know what Bournemouth are like, let’s concentrate on Cardiff. Their matches this season have seen 66 goals (2.75pg) with 14 of the last 21 seeing over 2.5 goals (67%). Their total average xG is actually 2.90 and it may surprise it’s in front of goal where they are underperforming. You only have to look at Tuesday for a taste, where despite firing in 19 shots at the Emirates they only scored one goal.
Regular readers of the blog will know my affinity with Bournemouth matches and goals, and we’ve had very, very good success with them this season. There have been 79 goals in their 24 matches at an average of 3.29 per-game, and the expected goals is on the same lines, returning 3.20pg. A whopping 35 of their last 45 matches have gone over 2.5 goals and yet we are getting close to even money here.
We know how good they are going forward as we saw on Wednesday night when they stuck four past Chelsea but we also know how leaky they are the back with just nine clean sheets in their last 49 games. In short this is the perfect recipe for goals. It finished 2-0 when these sides met on the opening day of the season on the south coast but Callum Wilson missed a penalty and the overall xG totalled 4.02, so I’m very happy to take over 2.5 goals here for 1.5 points.
Get on the goals Ole!
Finally I want to test goals at the King Power as Leicester City play Man Utd on Sunday afternoon. Leicester have been performing well against the top 6 of late, holding Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday and recording back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Man City over Christmas. But generally there’s always been goals in their games against the big sides, so I’m slightly surprised at a goal line of 2.50 here, especially with the swagger Man Utd are showing going forwards under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
There’s no doubt Solskjaer has got Man Utd going again offensively, having scored 19 goals in his seven games, but they are still struggling at the back with just two clean sheets. The average expected goals for his games in charge is at 3.46 and tally’s up with the 3.30 for the season. And it’s worth noting that in the Leicester’s last 30 games against the big six, 22 have seen over 2.5 goals (73%), with the likes of Jamie Vardy seeming to relish the challenge.
It finished 2-1 on the opening day at Old Trafford (3.09 xG) and 2-2 in this fixture last season (3.46), but I’m just going to keep things sensible with a small bet here of 0.5 points. There is no longer Riyad Mahrez in tandem with Vardy and only a short spread of data for Utd under their new manager, but it still feels like a bet worth making to finish the weekend on a high.
- Over 2.25 goals Brighton – Watford ~1.98 – 2.5 points
- Over 2.5 goals Cardiff – Bournemouth ~1.95 – 1.5 points
- Over 2.5 goals Leicester – Man Utd ~1.87 – 0.5 points