Our betting guru Jones Knows thinks Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United will all fail to win as he tackles this weekend’s predictions.
Watford vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm
I’m expecting a barrage of the usual witty remarks like “you should change your name to Jones doesn’t Know – haha” at the full-time of this one – but I’m up for taking Liverpool on here at a very skinny 1/3 with Sky Bet.
For two main reasons.
The Claudio Ranieri bounce factor and Jurgen Klopp’s recent record with the Reds playing at 12.30pm on a Saturday.
One thing you can guarantee with appointing Ranieri is a positive mentality and an ability for players to increase their work-rate for him almost instantly. He has the bounce factor as seen by the fact he’s only lost one of his last eight games when taking charge of a team for the first time, including winning both his first matches in charge of Leicester (4-2 over Sunderland) and Fulham (3-2 over Southampton).
Meanwhile, Liverpool have only won two of their last six 12.30pm Saturday kick-offs. That may not sound too catastrophic, but all those fixtures came against teams that Liverpool were heavy favourites to beat. That’s a big loss if you’re backing them to level stakes, hence my willingness to take them on at odds-on here.
In that run, they drew with Everton, Newcastle and Brighton while losing 3-1 at Leicester City. Throw in the likely absence of Alisson in goal due to his international commitments with Brazil – they have suffered shock defeats to Aston Villa (7-2) and Brighton (1-0) when he’s been missing before – then, at the odds available, the 5/2 about Watford winning or drawing the game seem very reasonable.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Watford to draw or win (5/2 with Sky Bet)
Aston Villa vs Wolves, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
A fine margin game that reinforces what a tough gig it is predicting Premier League matches. Both teams are trending upwards in terms of their results but creating good quality chances and taking them seems to be an issue for both looking at their expected goals data, especially for Wolves. Despite winning two of their last three matches, they haven’t posted an expected goals figure above 1.00, which suggests a slight overperformance. On that basis, I’ll side with a narrow Villa win with no confidence whatsoever.
Since switching to a back three and encouraging their wing-backs in Matt Targett and Matty Cash to play more aggressively, Villa’s corner count is seeing a sharp increase. In their last four fixtures against tough opponents like Tottenham, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, they have averaged 7.25 corners per 90 minutes. I’d expect them to enjoy plenty of territorial advantage in this encounter and Wolves are averaging 5.5 corners against since Bruno Lage took charge. I’d be surprised if Villa don’t win at least six corners, which can be backed at Evens with Sky Bet. But for those that like a bigger price, the eight or more corners at 100/30 or even 10 or more corners a 9/1 is worth a look. They did win 11 corners at Chelsea after all.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0
BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win six or more corners (Evens with Sky Bet)
Leicester vs Manchester United, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
It’s a make or break period for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all to come in the next 45 days, this fixture is arguably the easiest Premier League opponent they’ll face in the next month or so based upon Leicester’s current form. Just one clean sheet in 13 games doesn’t read well for Brendan Rodgers, whose side are on a run of four games without a win.
But I still don’t want to back Manchester United, who are favourites for the win at 21/20 with Sky Bet. They undoubtedly have the attacking firepower to take the game away from Leicester at any point but go into battle here with a weakened defence as Harry Magure and Raphael Varane are both missing. That will give Leicester plenty of hope.
In the last five matches where Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have both started, United are winless.
Bailly filled in at full-back alongside Maguire and Lindelof in the 2-2 draw with Leicester in December 2020 but started at centre-back with Lindelof for the next four results shown in the above graphic, including the 1-0 defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. I’ll back a high scoring draw here.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2
BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (12/5 with Sky Bet)
Manchester City vs Burnley, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
My aim through these prediction/betting snippets is to try and guide you towards a potential angle of profit that is drenched with value – but I’m really struggling with this one. Manchester City are available to back at 1/11 with Sky Bet for good reason – but you didn’t need to be told that.
Sean Dyche just doesn’t know how to stop them. Burnley have lost each of their last eight meetings vs City in all competitions by an aggregate score of 30-1 with Pep Guardiola’s side winning the last six Premier League games by a 22-1 aggregate score. For those playing the accumulators this weekend, perhaps a City win to nil is a shrewder way of boosting the price to a more respectable 4/6 with Sky Bet.
However, tipping something at odds-on when it is fairly priced isn’t really my style.
Sometimes the best bet is no bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 4-0
Norwich vs Brighton, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Norwich haven’t scored in the last 235 minutes of Premier League football since Teemu Pukki’s goal vs Watford on September 18. I can see that being extended by a further 90 minutes this weekend.
Graham Potter receives plenty of admiration for the way his Brighton team play with such style on the ball but it’s their work without it that is seriously impressive. As a defensive unit, Brighton are one of the best in the Premier League and it’s hard to see how a confidence-drained attack like Norwich will find a way through.
This calendar year, only Manchester City and Chelsea have a better defensive process than Potter’s boys. That’s based on expected goals against (25.7) and actual goals conceded (26) – it’s a phenomenal achievement and has allowed Brighton to pick up points this season in games where their attacking process has failed. Norwich are bound to allow their visitors space to create chances and with the door shut at the other, I like the look of Brighton to win without conceding at 5/2.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Brighton to win to nil (5/2 with Sky Bet)
Southampton vs Leeds, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Southampton have major problems in front of goal having not scored from open play since August 28 while Leeds look set to be missing their two most attacking weapons in Patrick Bamford and Raphinha. When it comes to an outright prediction, it’s hard to separate them. When that is the case, play the draw.
A more confident shout is found in the goalscorer markets. With Patrick Bamford still missing for Leeds, there is still juice to be had in Mateusz Klich’s price to score. One of the more underrated players in the Leeds team for a goal, Klich is given a huge amount of licence to drive into the box. Klich has had 19 touches in the opposition box in his last three matches and has posted an expected goal figure of 0.69 from his nine shots on goal. I’d recommend taking the 10/1 with Sky Bet for him to score the first goal with the added bonus that he’s likely to be on penalties in the absence of Bamford.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Mateusz Klich to score first (10/1 with Sky Bet)
Winners from last round of games:
- Tottenham vs Villa over 11 corners at 11/10
- Brentford to have more booking points than West Ham at 10/11
- Manchester United 1-1 Everton at 9/1
- Michael Keane to have 1+ shot at 11/8
Brentford vs Chelsea, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham have all been buzzed by Brentford – now it could be Chelsea’s turn.
Brentford’s process in terms of their performance metrics certainly backs up that taking 12 points from their opening seven Premier League matches is no fluke. The start they have made is pretty phenomenal. Only six newly promoted sides in Premier League history have taken more points at this stage, and it’s the most won after seven games since Hull City’s fast start in 2008. I covered the Bees’ clash with West Ham and their first 30 minutes was the most complete performance I’ve ever seen from a newly promoted team. They made the Hammers – a team that finished sixth last season – look like relegation candidates.
A look at the match prices for this west London derby certainly brings forward the argument that Brentford are still being underestimated by the markets. You can almost get 11/2 with Sky Bet for a home win and 5/2 for the Bees to avoid defeat – it’s a real tempter for a team that has only lost one of their last 19 league games across two seasons. And that defeat was a last-minute winner for Brighton in a game where there was nothing between the teams.
I have decided to play a shorter price to get Brentford on my side though as the Evens for both teams to score looks too good to turn down.
Chelsea’s defensive process remains strong but certainly it’s not at the levels of last season. They are offering up good chances to the opposition. A figure of 1.45 expected goals conceded per 90 minutes in their last eight fixtures showcases that, albeit it’s included matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.
In fact, Chelsea have the biggest difference between goals conceded (3) and expected goals against (8.6) in the Premier League after the opening seven games – at 5.6. Perhaps this Chelsea defence isn’t as watertight as the actual numbers suggest? That makes the possibility of Brentford scoring in this game more likely than the odds on offer. Get on the both-teams-to-score train – it’s best bet of the weekend material.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score (Evens with Sky Bet)
Everton vs West Ham, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports
This could be a slow burner. Both these two love to counter-attack and this one might not take off until the first goal is scored. A tight encounter is expected. My eyes have wandered to the shots market for a bet.
There is absolutely no way I can let Kurt Zouma – arguably the most dangerous attacker of a set piece in the Premier League – go off 6/1 with Sky Bet to have a header on target.
You can rest assured one of the main reasons West Ham decided to fork out £30m for his signature revolved around his threat in the opposition box. David Moyes has built a very powerful team that are hugely focused on causing problems from set pieces. Zouma almost opened his account in the 2-1 defeat to Brentford but headed wide from six yards out, posting a bulky expected goal figure of 0.13.
Zouma scored five times for Chelsea last season, a feat which made him the joint-top scoring defender in the Premier League along with Lewis Dunk yet his average of 0.22 goals per 90 minutes officially made Zouma the deadliest. His shots data backs that theory up. His average of 1.2 shots per 90 minutes and 0.4 headers on target per match put him top of the shops for defenders in both departments last season. Those figures make his prices of 11/10 with Sky Bet to have one or more shots in the match and the aforementioned 6/1 for a header on target huge value plays.
Here, he lines up against his former side (he actually scored for Everton vs West Ham in 2019), knowing Rafa Benitez’s boys have shown a weakness at defending set pieces this season, conceding three goals already via that route – something Burnley exploited very shrewdly at Goodison Park earlier this campaign where Ben Mee opened the scoring.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Newcastle vs Tottenham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
With so much uncertainty surrounding the manager situation at Newcastle, this encounter is a prediction nightmare from a match result perspective. Steve Bruce or no Steve Bruce, there should still be a revitalised atmosphere at St James’ Park and they possess an attack to seriously ask questions of the visitors. At 5/2 with Sky Bet, the home win looks a backable price.
Harry Kane is taking up a huge chunk of the first goalscorer market but he heads north out of form playing in this Tottenham side. Kane has yet to score in the Premier League this season. After missing the opening game vs Man City he has not scored in any of the last six – his longest run without a league goal since failing to score in the opening six games of the 15/16 season. His price of 3/1 in the first goalscorer market has to be taken on.
Allan Saint-Maximin is likely to continue in a central attacking role and the quotes of 15/2 with Sky Bet about him scoring the first goal significantly underestimate his talents. The flying Frenchman has had the most shots (14), shots on target (6) and opposition box touches (40) for Newcastle this season and has revelled being the main source of goals since Callum Wilson’s injury, scoring in the last two matches at St James’ Park. He can make it three in a row here.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Allan Saint-Maximin to score first (15/2 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Arsenal have won five of their last six home games in all competitions. This has coincided with a much-improved defensive performance in recent weeks, keeping three clean sheets in their last four games with the defensive axis of Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel and Ben White showing some promising early signs. I think they’ll have too much for Palace here.
Following Emile Smith Rowe in various shots and goalscorer markets has been a profitable strategy so far this season and there is no reason to ditch him just yet, especially with confidence flowing having netted three goals in his last five games for club and country. Despite playing in a very advanced role for Mikel Arteta, he is still being priced up by the markets as an inconsistent wide player with little end product.
There is no way we’ll be getting prices like 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to have at least one shot on target in a few months. It’s a bet that would have won in nine of his last 10 appearances in all competitions both domestically and internationally with his only failure to hit the target coming in the defeat at Manchester City when Arsenal hardly ventured out of their own half. I’d expect the Gunners to dominate territory for large chunks of this encounter which should see Smith Rowe come to the fore in dangerous areas. He can hit the target.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0