Round 17 of the Premier League is fast approaching with a number of juicy games to get stuck into. Bleacher Report UK analyst Sam Tighe is back with his top 5 best bets for the weekend.
Chelsea vs. Sunderland: Under 2.5 Goals (9/10)
Chelsea have been the epitome of unpredictable this season when it comes to results. False dawn after false dawn will have tricked many a punter into backing them for a win, but given the week’s events, and given Jose Mourinho’s comments after the loss to Leicester City, it’s impossible to forecast where this club are mentally.
One fairly consistent theme has emerged when they play at home, though: there aren’t many goals scored. With the 3-1 loss to Liverpool set aside as an outlier, one or two goals seems to be the rule—even against “lesser” clubs such as AFC Bournemouth, Norwich City and Aston Villa.
With Sunderland set to rock up and plant five defenders in front of goal and squeeze play in midfield, Under 2.5 Goals looks rather inviting at 9/10.
Everton vs. Leicester City: BTTS Yes (3/5)
Everton and Leicester City are two of the most exciting attacking teams in the league. The hosts’ trio of Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley stands one of few who can match up to Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy from a form perspective.
But further back, both teams have issues. Leicester have conceded goals to every half-decent attack they’ve faced, while Everton have just one clean sheet in six (against Aston Villa), per WhoScored.com.
If you press John Stones and Co. in possession (like Norwich City did in the second half last week) there are errors to be seized upon, and Robert Huth’s suspension means the Foxes are temporarily weakened for this match. Goals both ways beckon.
Manchester United vs. Norwich City: Under 3.5 & Home (1/1)
This is a clash between two sides in very desperate circumstances. That might sound hyperbolic given Manchester United occupy a place inside the Premier League’s top four, but that doesn’t appear to matter to the fans demanding Louis van Gaal be sacked.
As a result, expect both sides to perform with some real timidity and rigidity. The Canaries have abandoned their footballing principles in a wild panic, while Old Trafford’s screams of “Attack! Attack! Attack!” don’t appear to help the team.
A nervous game rarely produces many goals, but even a beleaguered United can nick it against this Norwich side.
Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Over 2.5 Goals (19/20)
The Mauricio Pochettino derby, they call it (they definitely don’t). It’s the sort of the game that has the tendency to buck recent form, as both sides see each other as close rivals for the same goal.
Neither team are in spectacular defensive shape, and with Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic likely to re-enter the Saints XI, their attack should be firing on all cylinders. Spurs will fight fire with fire, hoping for improved performances across the board.
Although goals haven’t exactly flowed in Southampton’s games of late, this one should open up.
West Bromwich Albion vs. AFC Bournemouth: BTTS Yes (5/6)
Both sides have netted in five of West Bromwich Albion’s last six Premier League games, per WhoScored.com; they simply aren’t the clean sheet mongers people expect of a Tony Pulis side.
AFC Bournemouth are flooding with confidence having beaten Chelsea and Manchester United back to back, and it seems as though no matter how many injuries they sustain, the next man steps up and performs.
WBA have drawn their last three and that’s an appealing market (11/5), but perhaps a little risky. Both sides should net, though.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.