Mark Stinchcombe
6 months ago - 9 minute read

MARK STINCHCOMBE – THE FINE MARGINS FOR SUCCESS

Mark Stinchcombe returns with Three Premier League Bets for the weekend.

One winner and two losers last week but given the way I staked, it meant I came out with a profit.

It just goes to show the importance of calculating your edge accurately and I’m a big advocate of staking more the bigger the edge.

Man Utd’s leaking defence was my big talking point last week and that’s exactly what came to the fore with their 4-0 trouncing at Everton to easily win the over 2.5 goals bet. Unfortunately, Man City – Spurs had the feeling of after the Lord Mayor’s show but again I kept my stakes low. Unai Emery’s team selection came back to haunt me again in their defeat to Crystal Palace with a front three of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Ozil not enough to mask their defensive issues.

WATFORD AND WOLVES TO WEIGH IN

The battle for 7th and the final European spot is really hotting up with four teams involved. The two teams in pole position face off as 8th placed Watford host 7th placed Wolves with just a point separating them in a repeat of the FA Cup semi-final. And crucially there doesn’t seem to be a hangover from the FA Cup with both sides displaying good performances in the following games.

I’m not going to try and predict a winner, instead, I’m going to back overs.

Why?

Because the goal line looks much too short at 2.25 with a goal expectancy of only 2.45.

Just looking at the raw data provides us with some scope to delve further.

Watford have seen 100 goals in their 35 games (For 50 Against 50), producing a goal average of 2.86. Wolves have seen slightly less at 87 (For 44 Against 43), meaning a goal average of 2.49. Both above the goal expectancy and as we can see both equally adept at scoring as they are at conceding.

Javi Gracia’s Watford side have been a good team for an Over of late.

The extra confidence I’m given here is looking at both sides expected goals figures. Let’s first remember that expected goals is based on the average player and I think we can accept that Watford and Wolves have above average players and deserve to be in the positions they found themselves in.

Watford’s matches are seeing an average of 3.0xG per-game and Wolves’ 2.70xG per-game.

Breaking this data down further, Watford should be conceding more goals, and Wolves scoring more. With Watford having home advantage, this should move this data in their favour. If we took an average of those two figures that would give us a figure of 2.85 which is way above the projected expectancy of just 2.45.

I think Wolves are considered to be fairly organised in their approach but only two of their last 25 matches have seen fewer than two goals. Their recent FA Cup battle finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

For me over 2.25 goals looks a great bet.

Remember the goal average in the Premier League this season is 2.82pg.

BOOM OR BUST FOR BRIGHTON

Brighton and Hove Albion sit just three points from safety with three games to go, and with two of those away to Arsenal and home to Man City, it makes this home match against Newcastle absolutely huge. Cardiff have much more winnable fixtures in Fulham and Crystal Palace, so the pressure is really on Brighton here.

And I think there’s scope to say that this should be a good matchup for them.

Newcastle post the 2nd worst possession in the league – just 43% – and conceded 15 shots-per-game away from home. Newcastle have conceded 44 goals this season but their defence is the biggest over performer in the league with expected goals rating them that they should conceded over 10 more.

Brighton themselves concede a lot of shots, also 15 per-game, which is why I think there could be a better recipe for goals than the 2.25 expectancy.

Brighton’s main man Glenn Murray will need to be firing this weekend!

Brighton’s matches this season have seen 86 goals (2.46pg) and Newcastle’s 79 goals (2.26pg). However, I’ve already spoken about Newcastle’s overachievement defensively, and the same goes for Brighton, meaning both sides average expected goals-per-game is much higher – 2.70 v 2.80. And back to a previous discussion, I think we can accept here that these two sides are both average Premier League teams.

Newcastle are now safe and may well play with more freedom. They sit 13th and it testament to the great work Rafa Benitez has done especially considering the investment other teams have made in comparison. They’re above Bournemouth and just two points off West Ham for instance. They’ve won 5 of their last 9 and may play with more freedom here.

The reverse fixture only finished with a single goal but the xG totalled 2.91 which is one of the reasons I’m backing over 2.0 goals at the Amex.

BELIEVE IN BURNLEY

My final selection comes from Turf Moor and is more of a punt than a statistical based bet as Burnley host Manchester City. It has been noticeable in recent weeks of how City have not been running rout through teams as maybe the congestive fixture list begins to catch up with them. This will be their 9th game in 30 days and in none of those matches have they won by more than two goals and only scored 3+ twice.

15th placed Burnley and Sean Dyche deserve some credit this season.

Normally massively outperforming their data, they actually deserve to be one place higher in the table based on expected points. They are still conceding the most shots in the league but xG wise they are more or less in line with the raw data, suggesting that they have learnt to be more compact in dangerous areas forcing opponents to instead shoot from harder chances.

Mark believes that Burnley manager Sean Dyche deserves more credit that he’s been getting.

They are playing well this year.

Just four defeats in 16, which includes beating Tottenham 2-1 and holding Chelsea to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. At home it’s just two defeats in eight and historically Man City do not fare exceptionally well there. In the three matches since Burnley were re-promoted to the Premier League the results have been 1-1, 1-2 and 1-0. I don’t think this will be as straight forward as the -2.25 line suggests, which is why I’ll back Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood to keep things closer than the market expects.

Recommended Bets

  • Over 2.25 goals Watford v Wolves ~1.99 – 3 points
  • Over 2.0 goals Brighton v Newcastle ~1.85 – 4 points
  • Burnley +2.25 ~1.86 – 0.5 points

It’s crunch time across European football, and for the pod as well. After a glorious effort last week, with 4/5 winning selections, host Ali Maxwell is joined by Nigel Seeley and Mark O’Haire to look ahead to the weekend’s action, with four games analysed, across England, Italy and Turkey.