We returned to the winning enclosure last week in some style with three picks and three winners after a couple of bad months.
As I said on Follow The Money this morning with Mitch and Pauly, this is my favorite time of the season as we have enough data now to step up our game wagers, and with torrential rain and heavy 100-mph winds hitting the UK, it looks like a good time to get on some Unders.
Brentford vs. West Ham
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. ET
For my first selection this week, I am doing something I don’t often do. Backing what is likely to be a popular public play in Brentford to win at +114.
The Bees made a poor start to the season, winning only once across the opening eight fixtures. However, they have looked more like the side we have become accustomed to seeing in recording back-to-back Premier League wins against Burnley and Chelsea, the latter being the one that will catch the eye of many punters.
Since getting promoted to the top flight, Thomas Frank has seen his side beat West Ham in all four league meetings between the two sides, scoring twice on each occasion. It seems to me that the Hammers just can’t get to grips with Brentford’s high-tempo style of play.
That 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge last week extended the Bees’ unbeaten run in London derbies to an incredible 13 games. Only Arsenal and Chelsea have ever been able to put together longer sequences.
Four of those games have been in the current campaign, beating Fulham while adding draws with Tottenham and Crystal Palace to that success against the Blues. I make this a good time to be taking on West Ham following their massive win over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup in midweek.
The public perception is that it’s often the case to follow up such a win with another. Not when you are as inconsistent as David Moyes’ side!
With the home side having the luxury of a week to rest and prepare, they can use that to their advantage, especially against opponents who have already played a lot of soccer and went with a strong line-up against the Gunners in the cup.
Brentford have only lost once at home this term and had the seventh-best record on home soil last season. Another London derby can bring the best out of them again, with West Ham possibly having one eye on their Europa League tie with Olympiacos in midweek.
Pick: Brentford at +114.
Burnley vs. Crystal Palace
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. ET
Anyone who knows me knows I am an Unders bettor, and this one fits the bill perfectly.
Burnley have had a terrible start to the season and particularly at Turf Moor, where they have lost all five games. They sit one off the bottom of the table and are joined in the relegation zone by the two sides that got promoted with them last season. Unless something changes quickly, they all look set for an immediate return to the Championship.
This represents a huge match not just for the club but for manager Vincent Kompany, who will be in serious danger of losing his job if his side doesn’t claim all three points here. This is their most winnable fixture on home soil to date.
It doesn’t get much tougher for an opening run of home fixtures than Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea. Clarets fans will have high hopes of seeing their team kickstart their season.
Crystal Palace were dreadful against Tottenham and how we didn’t cash a full win on the selection of a Spurs win by two or more goals last week, I will never know. The Eagles have no goalscorer, and it showed.
Prior to that strike deep into added-on time against the league leaders, Roy Hodgson had seen his side hit the back of the net just once in five games across all competitions. They badly miss the injured duo of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, who are still at least a week away from returning. Odsonne Edouard and Jordan Ayew aren’t good enough to score goals in the Premier League, while Wilfried Zaha has left for Turkey.
So, this match is all about the home side. Burnley will try to outmuscle Palace and exploit their better physicality. Kompany will get them organized and tight at the back, then nick the game 1-0 with a set piece.
For the away side. their manager is renowned for setting up defensively and taking a 0-0 with anything better than that a bonus. This reminds me of the game earlier in the season when they went to Sheffield United and came away with a 1-0 win.
Under 2.5 goals is a little shorter than the selections I put forward, but it looks like the only outcome in this dour contest between two struggling teams.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals at -142
Sheffield United vs. Wolves
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. ET
Another Under 2.5 goals selection, but I was shocked by the price we can get for this at -105.
The only reason must be because Sheffield United have been so bad that nobody thinks they can score. I was at the Emirates last weekend for their 5-0 loss against Arsenal, and I don’t think I have seen a worse side in the Premier League.
The Blades offer absolutely nothing from an attacking perspective, and although there aren’t too many better than Gunners now, United were shockingly bad. There was talk of Derby’s long-standing low points total record being in danger of being broken by Luton, but this team could easily do it.
Paul Heckingbottom has seen his team pick up just one point all season. He is surely only still in a job as nobody else wants it!
Usually, when a team comes up from the Championship, there are two or three players that stand out and look Premier League quality. There is no one on this team that you can say that about, and they all look totally out of their depth.
Wolves have surprised a few people and have taken points off Manchester City, Aston Villa, and most recently, Newcastle. However, I do feel there may be an over-expectation of how good they are.
The Old Gold do seem to play better as an underdog and raise their game against the better sides. When they are expected to do well, they seem to disappoint, and at -105 on the moneyline, they look a little too short for me.
Gary O’Neil has done a superb job, and his side have had a resurgence under his leadership now looking up the table. He has transformed them into a team that plays some nice stuff and scores goals, as shown with that 2-2 draw with Newcastle last weekend. The absence of Pedro Neto is huge, and with a player missing who has been directly involved in over 60% of Wolves goals this season, it was the deciding factor in taking the under 2.5 goals bet.
Finally, it goes back to what I said earlier in the season about a team that has a heavy defeat. Their focus is on defense and avoiding another embarrassment, so play the Unders. As was the case with the 8-0 loss to Newcastle followed by a 2-0 defeat at West Ham, the same applies here.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals at -105