FFT's Joe Brewin brings you the best bets from each Premier League game this weekend – and a formidable five-fold...
Hull vs Crystal Palace (Sat, 3pm)
Right now these are two clubs heading in different directions, despite what summer projections might have looked like. Hull haven’t won since the opening day, can’t seem to pick up three points at home (they last did so on April 5) and have suffered a general malaise since the FA Cup final (winning 1 of 11 league games). Palace, on the other hand, have seen off Everton and Leicester in their last 2 games, and are unbeaten in 4 under Neil Warnock. It makes the 5/6 draw-Crystal Palace Double Chance tempting.
Best bet: Evidence so far suggests entertainment, but this may well be a frustrating one for Hull against a Palace side rediscovering their solidity. Take on the bookies with 11/10 on under 2.5 goals.
Leicester vs Burnley (Sat, 3pm)
Leicester returned to earth with a bump after defeat at Selhurst Park last weekend, but fellow promotees Burnley might just prove the perfect springboard for a return to winning ways. The Foxes were unconvincing in south London, but the Clarets were a whole lot worse at West Brom, losing 4-0 and rarely threatening to continue their woes at the sharp end. Leicester (8/11 favourites) have won 5 of the last 7 meetings between these two sides, drawing the other 2.
Best bet: Burnley were hopeless in front of goal without Danny Ings and Sam Vokes once again at The Hawthorns, failing to net for the fifth game in succession. Leicester go in search of a second clean sheet, available at an enticing 11/8, but you should go one better with a home win to nil at 15/8.
Liverpool vs West Brom (Sat, 3pm)
Champions League defeat to Basel on Wednesday means Liverpool’s early-season disgruntlement goes on, with the Reds having earned only 7 points from their first 6 league games. West Brom are in chirpier spirits, though, after building on their win at White Hart Lane with an annihilation of Burnley – both wins to nil. An unlikely repeat is 12/1, although in-form Saido Berahino (4 goals in 6 games) is a generous 4/1 to bag anytime as the Baggies go in search of a third win in 4 at Anfield. West Brom have also scored more goals from corners (3) than any other side this season. With their opponents' weaknesses from set-pieces in mind, Craig Dawson is a potential 33/1 first goalscorer worth a quid or two.
Best bet: Liverpool have won just 2 of their last 5 home Premier League games, and kept just 1 clean sheet in their last 12. With that, the 2/1 available for a draw-West Brom Double Chance offers value.
Sunderland vs Stoke (Sat, 3pm)
There is literally nothing to suggest this will be anything other than a horror show. Nada. Zilch. Sunderland haven’t won since about 2010 (OK, early May), 4 of Stoke’s 6 games have produced only 1 goal, and they’re 2 of only 4 teams whose games haven’t averaged at least 2 goals per game this season. Bah. Stoke came out 2-1 winners in this fixture when the two sides met in the League Cup last week, and seem a reasonable 2/1 shot to claim victory again here.
Best bet: Under 2.5 goals is an unbackable 8/15 – not hugely surprising when you consider there’s been only 6 in the last 5 league games between these two. Instead, ‘have a bang’ (that’s what the kids say, right?) on Stoke (0) on the Asian Handicap at a precise 47/40 – a draw returns your stake. They’re unbeaten on the road in 3 this season.
Swansea vs Newcastle (Sat, 3pm)
Swansea were last seen scrapping out an unmemorable anti-goal protest at Sunderland, and now haven’t won in 3 after defeats to Southampton and Chelsea. But all of that can be discounted when you consider they face Newcastle this weekend, the club whose fans hate anyone in a suit at St James’ Park. You can understand why, considering they’ve won only 5 of their last 26 league games stretching back to December. This season the Magpies have only netted in 2 games, throwing away a late lead against Palace before slightly redeeming themselves by rescuing a point against Hull from 2 goals down.
Best bet: Garry Monk's hosts should go in your accumulator at just under evens this weekend (17/20). For something a little more interesting, Swansea to win both halves is a chunky 9/2. They’ve got the goals in them to do it – especially against this backline.
Aston Villa vs Man City (Sat, 5:30pm)
Villa’s good start has been somewhat forgotten after consecutive 3-0 defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea (fancy it again? Yours at 10/1), but keeping up their clinical run was always going to be tough. The Villans have notched just 9 shots on target in 6 Premier League games this season, and we’ll keep trotting that out because there’s still value in a Manchester City clean sheet at 11/10. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have won 11 of their last 16 Premier League away games (D4 L1), and netted at least twice in their last 6 on the road.
Best bet: A straight City win (at 4/9) won’t do you too many favours with the champions’ patchy form in mind, but they’ll be looking to assert their authority from the off as they bid to close the gap on Chelsea at the top. Snap up City HT/FT at 11/10.
Man United vs Everton (Sun, 12pm)
Audible sighs of relief all around Old Trafford after last weekend’s 2-1 win over West Ham, even if skipper Wayne Rooney was red-carded to make things interesting. They’ll stay that way for the visit of Everton in the David Moyes Derby, though the Merseysiders have hardly started the season brightly with just 6 points from as many games so far. The goals are flowing for both sides at least – 23 have flown into nets between them, with as many going in the opposite direction.
Best bet: 15 of those 23 in the 'for' column have come in the first half of matches. If form is a guide, we’ll have the 2/1 on a highest-scoring first half.
Chelsea vs Arsenal (Sun, 2:05pm)
The most eye-catching game of the weekend comes at Stamford Bridge, where Arsenal will be hoping not to lose 6-0 this time. Thankfully for the Gunners, they’ve lost just 1 of their last 14 Premier League games since that defeat, and won’t have to contend with ankle-knacked nemesis Didier Drogba. That doesn’t seem to matter, though: Arsene’s men are a huge 17/4 to win this one after Chelsea’s formidable start, which has seen the Blues drop only 2 points and score 19 goals in 6 games. Then there’s the return of Cesc Fabregas against the club that nurtured him; 9/1 says he nets first (and doesn’t celebrate, obviously).
Best bet: It’s very easy to forget just how good Jose Mourinho’s men are at home – for starters, they’ve kept 9 clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho has never lost to Wenger (W6 D5). Chelsea win to nil at 15/8.
Tottenham vs Southampton (Sun, 2:05pm)
Mauricio Pochettino probably didn’t think Tottenham would be trailing his old side by 5 points by the time this fixture came around. Then again, the Argentine probably wasn’t expecting the soaring south-coast side to shrug off a summer fire sale quite like this. Now under Ronald Koeman’s guidance, the Saints are second after 4 consecutive victories, but face their biggest test since their opening-day defeat at Anfield. Maintaining their outstanding defensive form (just 4 goals shipped so far) wouldn’t go amiss against a Lilywhites side who drew at Arsenal last weekend but haven’t won in 4 after a string of disappointing results.
Best bet: These two sides’ games this season have averaged exactly 2.5 goals, but they’re more likely to cancel each other out here. Under 2.5 is 9/10, or both teams not to score a better 11/10.
West Ham vs QPR (Sun, 4pm)
Harry and Rio are back! And Rob Green! And Bobby Zamora! What a lovely occasion. But there’s no time for pleasantries, because QPR need a win after just 1 in their first 6, against Sunderland. The R’s aren’t scoring (4), yet conceding freely (13) at the other end – not a good combination, the mathematicians say. Redknapp has overseen just 12 goals in 15 Premier League away games as QPR boss, which bodes well for a West Ham side looking to bounce back after defeat at Manchester United. The Irons are 17/20 for the win.
Best bet: Diafra Sakho has scored in all 3 of his Premier League starts for West Ham. You can get him at 2/1 to make it 4 in a row.
The FourFourTwo five-for
Swansea (17/20) vs Newcastle
Derby (8/15) vs Millwall
Watford (6/5) vs Brighton
Rochdale (21/20) vs Barnsley
Walsall vs Bristol City (13/10)
£5 returns: £146.80
Odds correct at time of publishing