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The bets you should place at the start of the Premier League season

12/8/2016
The bets you should place at the start of the Premier League season

The opening weekend of a new season can often be a difficult one for bettors, with no recent competitive form to draw on. Transfers, managerial changes and time spent working on new tactical ideas can make it difficult to read into the back-end of the previous season (Leicester City’s 2015-16 campaign aside of course). Therefore, we will focus on historical elements of fixtures and some season-long stats from last season to determine what may happen in selected Premier League fixtures this weekend. The odds provided are from Bet365.

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur (Goodison Park, Saturday, 3pm)

Bet: Under 2.5 goals (4/5)

Both games between these two teams last season produced low-scoring draws (0-0 at White Hart Lane in August and 1-1 at Goodison Park in January). In fact, only one of the last six matches where these two teams have come up against each other has produced over 2.5 goals.

Despite the fact that Everton (Romelu Lukaku) and Spurs’ (Harry Kane) top scorers last season scored 18 and 25 league goals respectively, with Kane finishing as the league’s top scorer in the process, Lukaku may not have shaken off a heel injury and Kane has not scored in his last six competitive appearances when including the four games he played at Euro 2016.

Further, the visitors boasted the joint-best defence in the league last season, conceding 35 goals, and Everton’s newly-appointed manager Ronald Koeman, a defensively-savvy coach whose Southampton team went on a run of making six consecutive clean sheets in the early months of 2016, has had a whole pre-season to work with his players.

Manchester City vs Sunderland (Etihad Stadium, Saturday, 5:30pm)

Bet: Manchester City to win, handicap -2 (13/8)

The home team, coming into their first competitive match with new manager Pep Guardiola, have scored 18 goals in their last six home matches against their Wearside opponents (three per game), including a 4-1 win in December last year.

City’s home record against teams that finished in the bottom half last season, including Sunderland, who finished 17th, reads as won nine and drew one, including wins over Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Aston Villa of 5-1, 5-1, 6-1 and 4-0 respectively.

Sunderland conceded 19 goals away to teams in the top six last season (over three per game), but much could depend on what impact new manager David Moyes could have on the team going into this season.

Arsenal vs Liverpool (Emirates Stadium, Sunday, 4pm)

Bet: Draw (5/2)

Historical form suggests Liverpool’s chances of winning are small, having won once (August 2011) on their last 20 visits to Arsenal in all competitions, be it at the Emirates or the Gunners’ former stadium, Highbury.

This could be offset by the fact that Arsenal are not known for hitting the ground running in recent years. They have won only one (August 2014) of their last six opening Premier League games and even that came from a stoppage-time winner at home to Crystal Palace. That run has included a 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland in 2012 and a 1-3 home loss to Aston Villa in 2013, games where Arsenal would have been likely to have been shorter-priced than they will be on Sunday.

Both games between the teams last season ended in draws, as the game at the Emirates finished 0-0 in August and a stoppage-time equaliser from Joe Allen earned the Merseyside team a 3-3 draw in the fixture at Anfield in January.

David Cook
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