Mark Stinchcombe
2 months ago - 10 minute read

MARK STINCHCOMBE: BACKING THE BIG GUNS

Mark Stinchcombe returns for the final week of the season with a trio of Premier League bets.

It was one push, one loss and one win for me last week as I broke even. Given I was opposing Man City, Chelsea and Wolves with Leicester, Watford and Fulham I was quite happy with that outcome! Backing big outsiders on handicaps can sometimes make you look silly. But it is important to remember we only see one iteration of the game, whereas we are betting as if the match is played thousands and thousands of times.

With only the Premier League title to be decided this weekend, which features two matches where I’m happy with the prices, it means I’m looking elsewhere for a value, and as a result, not 2nd guessing motivation, something very difficult to quantify, and purely betting based on the odds.

GUNNING FOR THE GUNNERS

Arsenal need to win, need Tottenham to lose, and require an eight goal swing to finish in the top four. Something which is very unlikely given Tottenham are 1.02 to lay on Matchbook to finish in the top four. As expected there isn’t any talk of this happening with Arsenal seemingly accepting their fate after their 1-1 draw at home to Brighton last weekend.

I don’t see any reason for them not to try though, especially being on a high after putting four past Valencia and qualifying for the Europa League final. Every player is going to want to stake his place against Chelsea. And the final is over two weeks away so there’s no need to rest players.

Arsenal are on a high after their midweek exploits in the Europa League

The prices are interesting here. Arsenal opened 1.95, which seems fair, but they are now out to 2.24 which has peaked my interest. They’ve only won six away games this season but five of those came against 13th and below (Burnley are 15th), with a draw and a loss against Brighton and Southampton respectively. Burnley’s record meanwhile at home against the top half reads W2 D0 L7 F8 A21 (-13). So seven defeats in nine, averaging less than a goal a game and conceding over two a game.

Why don’t Burnley fair well, particularly against the top sides? Clearly it’s the gulf in quality but it’s also the way they setup, inviting the opposition on. They average just 9.4 shots-per-game, the lowest in the league, whilst they concede the most, 17.2. Long-term they are going to lose a lot more matches than they are going to win with this approach.

Arsenal have won all seven meetings with Burnley since they returned to the Premier League in 2014 by an aggregate score of 16 – 2. They were 1.62 in this fixture last season.

CHELSEA BLUES?

Next up is another Europa League side as Chelsea visit Leicester on the final day of the season. I gave Leicester a lot of credit last week, and whilst my bet may have won, I was really disappointed with their chance creation last week. They managed seven shots, with by far and away the biggest expected goals chance just 0.26, which was the woeful miss from Kelechi Iheanacho. Jamie Vardy didn’t manage a single shot and I really question their decision making with James Maddison, for example, taking on a shot from 25 yards rated just 0.02xG when he could have developed the attack further by slipping in Marc Albrighton.

Ohhhhhh, N’Golo Kante! Ohhhhhh N’Golo Kante!

Chelsea should be on a high after qualifying for the Europa League final on penalties. Maurizio Sarri has been under a lot of pressure from the fans this season and I don’t see him downing tools here and killing the momentum gained from their success v Frankfurt. Chelsea are now 3.03 having opened at 2.04! They were 2.63 before yesterday, making them slight favourites, which seems reasonable given top four is wrapped up and the Europa League match, but I can’t have them 0.25 Asian goal underdogs now.

Their record away from home against sides 10th and below (Leicester are 9th) reads W9 D1 L1. Pretty formidable.

I spoke about how Jamie Vardy didn’t manage a shot on Monday and he’s actually scored 8 of Leicester’s 17 goals under Rodgers and at a rate of 47%, isn’t sustainable. I’ve seen a model rate Chelsea at 39% or 2.55, and slight favourites seems the correct price to me. But because of the price here we’re able to back Chelsea to avoid defeat and make money. How often can you say that against a non-big six team?

OH WHEN THE SPURS

Continuing along a similar theme, and it’s just a coincidence I’m selecting another side in Europe, and although it probably isn’t a coincidence to see what’s happened to the price, I make no apologies for betting on value. Tottenham opened at 1.83 for this match at home to Everton. They drifted to 1.99 before they played Ajax and yet for some reason they are at 2.27.

They played no extra-time and the final isn’t for three weeks. I see no reason for this gross overreaction.

Tottenham have stuttered in recent weeks but it’s no surprise when they’ve seemingly put all their eggs in the European basket given the faltering form of their top four challengers. But bar a freak result, as already mentioned top four is secured, and I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t want to continue Wednesday’s night’s momentum in front of their supporters who weren’t present in Amsterdam.

Go on my Son!

The prices here suggest if the match was played on neutral ground these two are equal in ability. I think it’s clear we know Tottenham are among the top four sides in the league and Everton part of the ‘best of the rest’. Spurs have won 23 games this season and are in a Champions League final. Everton have won 15. There is a gulf. Everton have won just five away games – no team in the top 13 has managed fewer – and their record away to the big six is one draw and four defeats.

Tottenham have a great recent record against the Toffees having won the last four by an aggregate score of 18 – 4. Here we can back them and still keep the draw onside.

I would recommend waiting for the lineups at 2 pm on all these bets. If the teams are full strength, you’ll need to be quick, but there should be enough juice to go around if you’re on the ball.

Recommended bets:

  • Arsenal -0.25 ~1.98 – 2 points
  • Chelsea +0.25 ~1.87 – 2.5 points
  • Tottenham -0.25 ~1.94 – 2.5 points

It’s the final Weekend Football Podcast of the season, and off the back of 3/4 winners last week, host Ali Maxwell keeps the same team, getting Nigel Seeley and Mark O’Haire back on the pod hoping for more of the same. Looking ahead to the weekend’s action, with four games analysed, across the Premier League, Bundesliga and Eredivisie. Nigel, a betting journalist and top tipster across multiple sports is bullish on his selections for Spurs vs Everton and Burnley vs Arsenal. Mark, the brains behind WeLoveBetting, takes a detailed look at Hoffenheim vs Werder Bremen and Heracles vs Excelsior.