Bet Butler betting logic, Dec 6
Hold off on those weekend accumulators, folks. Before tearing your hair out as Jeff Stelling breaks the news that you're still working for at least another week, take a peek at the advice below.
Kicking off with three key clashes on Sunday, we've got Aston Villa's trip to Fulham and Arsenal up against Everton at Emirates Stadium covered.
There's also a big game in Serie A as high-flying Roma look to preserve their unbeaten record against Fiorentina at Stadio Olimpico.
We'll also give you the lowdown on the sides missing key men and begging to be taken on - featuring Norwich, Genoa and Atalanta.
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Fulham maintained their record of scoring in every home game this season by netting against Tottenham on Wednesday. But two late goals consigned them to a ninth defeat in 11 matches at Craven Cottage. Aston Villa, meanwhile, won at Southampton despite having just 23% of the possession.
Interestingly, Villa have earned six more points on the road than at home since the start of last season. However, they failed to score at West Ham and Hull earlier in the campaign and may find they don’t get as many opportunities on the counter-attack against Fulham as they’d like. The Cottagers have lost only one of their six meetings with Villa since 2010/11 and won 5/9 home games against bottom-half finishers last season. There were positive signs in midweek against Spurs, and this looks like a good opportunity for a win – back them at 2.75.
Over-goals was always worth backing in Fulham’s home games under Martin Jol but with Rene Meulensteen now in charge, and Villa having failed to score in five of their last eight matches, there could be more value in under 2.5 goals. This has occurred in seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams, with the last four encounters seeing just four goals in total. Back it at 1.9.
Arsenal continued their impressive form with a comfortable win over Hull in midweek, but Everton trumped the Gunners with their first win at Old Trafford in 21 years. That followed a superb performance against Stoke last weekend and, having lifted one hoodoo, they must now try to end another - they’ve not won at Arsenal since January 1996. You have to go back to 1987 to find their second-most recent away win against the Gunners, when they went on to win the league.
Arsenal have won 10 consecutive halves at home, and while Everton have lost just once this season, that did come in their only trip to a current top-eight side (although it’s slightly harsh to not credit them for their Old Trafford win). It’ll be hard for the Toffees to repeat their midweek feat so soon, and Arsenal should be well rested after two comfortable wins. Arsene Wenger's side look worthy of backing at 1.75.
However, Everton should create chances given their quality, and with both teams looking dangerous going forward, there should be plenty of goals. Arsenal have conceded in 17 of their home games since the start of last season and, when they have, it has led to at least four goals on 12 occasions. Six of the Toffees' 14 games under Roberto Martinez have had four or more goals and that looks good value at 3.0.
The Roma train has ground to a halt recently as a four-game drawing streak – all against bottom-half teams – has followed their 10-game win streak. Given that they play four of the current top eight in their next five games and there is a real danger of them falling away dramatically.
Roma have scored just five goals in their last six games. Fiorentina, meanwhile, have lost only once on the road when they have conceded fewer than two goals since the start of last season, as the Viola rarely fail to net themselves, scoring in 23/26 away games. Their road form was a big problem for a lot of the last two seasons, but Vincenzo Montella's side have won eight of their last 11. Roma have taken maximum points in just five of 15 home games since the start of last season when conceding. Fiorentina are a tempting price to end Roma’s unbeaten record at 4.33 and are great value at 1.91 in the Double Chance market.
Roma’s success this season has been built on their defensive record rather than impressive scoring stats. This has led to 17 of their last 24 matches having fewer than three goals. In contrast, 10 of Fiorentina’s last 15 matches have seen three or more strikes. With four of Roma’s last nine home games against top-half teams having over 2.5 goals, though, we’d be inclined to take the overs here, which has paid out in seven of these sides' last nine meetings. Over 2.5 goals can be backed at 1.91.
The Republic of Ireland international has a hamstring injury, and missed 12 away games since the start of last season. Without him Norwich have picked up just two points with a net goal difference of -21, and they look set to struggle once again against West Brom. The Baggies can be backed at a very tempting 1.91.
Genoa are unbeaten in eight games with Matuzalem this season but have lost 5/6 without him. This trend goes back to the start of last season - the Serie A side have lost 2/22 with him but 9/12 without, while conceding 182% more goals per game on average when he has been missing. Cagliari have a decent home record and are a tempting 1.95 to improve it against the weakened visitors.
The midfielder has missed 14 games since the start of last season, and without him Atalanta have lost nine times. While just 37% of the team's away matches with him have had more than two goals, this increases to 71% in the seven away games he’s missed. Hellas Veronas look good value at 2.05 to take the three points.