LB shares his two best Premier League bets for this weekend as well a low-risk double.
Tottenham v Everton
Sat 23 Dec 15:00
Postecoglou looks to have steadied the ship for Tottenham after a disastrous November saw them drop from first to fifth in the table (W0 D1 L4). Their most recent games saw Spurs swat aside a depleted Newcastle and a pinch a less-comfortable-than-the-score-suggests win over a gamey Nottingham Forest. I am not reading too much into those wins, however. Newcastle were visibly fatigued in the games prior to being dismantled by this high-energy Tottenham side, and the win over Forest was lucky if you are a believer in the Church of xG.
The Toffees would be in the top half of the table if they had not been hit with a ludicrous 10-point deduction. Combine that fact with a dismal start to the campaign that saw them collect four points from the first 21 available, and I think they are underestimated in the betting. Everton have lost one league game since the Merseyside Derby in mid-October (W6 D1 L1) and have won their last four league games on the bounce without conceding a single goal.
The smart bet here is probably Everton double chance at even money. Spurs play with an admirable never-say-die attitude under “Big Ange” and have picked up plenty of late goals this term. However, I’m not a conservative type of punter (as my PnL unfortunately shows) and I’ll take Everton to win at big odds. To get a team in Everton’s form at 3/1 is just too good to pass over.
Liverpool v Arsenal
Sat 23 Dec 15:00
I’m honestly not quite sure why Liverpool are favourites in this game. That is not to suggest The Gunners should be odds-on, but to see Klopp’s side significantly lower priced than Arsenal (11/8 v 9/5 at the time of writing) strikes me as off. I correctly predicted Liverpool would drop points against United last week and I expect more of the same here. Liverpool remain largely untested this season and have only three wins against teams in the top half of the table.
Arsenal continue to evolve from the swashbuckling entertainers of last season into a more miserly outfit this time around. That was most evident in their 2-0 win over Brighton last weekend, where The Seagulls didn’t have a single shot at all until the 65th minute and created just one decent change in the entire game. Despite an odd defensive wobble versus Luton Town, Arsenal remain the best defensive side in the league and should fare well against an injury hit Liverpool side.
This is the most high-scoring fixture in English football and it might be tempting to back goals. However, Arsenal play tight on the road with half of their away games finishing 1-0 this season. Similarly, three of their four games against the top six have finished with just one goal. Although I expect a 0-1 or 0-2 win for Arteta’s side I think there is better value elsewhere.
With that in mind, I’m reverting to the shots market to find some value. The much-maligned Kai Havertz has hit a rich vein of form and looks overpriced for shots here. Five of his six goals, and 23 of his 38 shots, have come since November, and the German internal has clearly found his groove in Arteta’s system. Arsenal’s fluid front three excel at creating space but the team has struggled with a more traditional “presence in the box”. That is now Havertz’s role and at 6/1 for 2+ SOT he is definitely worth a bet.
Premier League Smart Bets
Tottenham v Everton: Everton To Win @ 3/1
Liverpool v Arsenal: Kai Havertz 2+ Shots On Target @ 6/1
A double of Everton Double-Chance Win or Draw (Evens) and Havertz 2+ Shots (11/10) is a little under 7/2 (1U)