LB is hoping to build on a profitable start to February and expects home advantage will be key.
Last weekend was great for the column, on paper at least. I went 100% in my picks and landed my first acca of the season. The flip side is, of course, that due to some “draw no bet” legs my acca was ultimately just a one-fold, and my 100% record involved getting my only bet up. I am quietly confident about this weekend and fancy some home favourites to get the job done.
Luton Town v Sheffield United
Sat 10 Feb 15:00
Luton are odds-on in this game and even still that probably represents some value. Sheffield United are just dismal and unfortunately for all associated with that club, this is a team not cut out for the top flight. They have one league win since November (W1 D1 L8) and have conceded 14 goals in their last four games. Shockingly, that equates to conceding a goal every 25 minutes.
Luton, once doomed to relegation too, have completely turned the corner. If they win their game in hand they could leapfrog several teams into 15th place. Ross Barkley has been a revelation for Rob Edwards’ side, and they are purring now. They have scored 14 goals in their last four outings, beating Brighton and drawing with Newcastle along the way.
A home win here is 3/4 here but I fancy goals too. Elijah Adebayo is in flying form and United seem cut adrift. Luton Town to win and over 2.5 goals is 13/8 and I’ll take my chances at the higher odds.
Wolves v Brentford
Sat 10 Feb 15:00
I have backed Wolves multiple times this season and am disappointed to have missed out on them last weekend. Their results have not always matched performance levels but the scintillating return of Pedro Neto should see that put right. Gary O’Neil’s side were electric at Stamford Bridge and I expect them to make light work of struggling Brentford.
The West Londoners have two wins in 13 games (W2 D1 L10), and those came against Nottingham Forest and Luton Town. The absence of Ivan Toney has surely hurt, but The Bees’s defense has been their Achilles heel. They have three clean sheets in 26 games all season and I expect a revitalized Wolves to have a field day.
Once again the straight win looks decent value at 11/10. However, considering the problems with Brentford’s rearguard, I’ll take goals here too. Wolves to win and BTTS is 3/1 and is my second bet of the weekend.
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Sub 11 Feb 16:30
My third and final bet of the weekend is for another home team. This is a straightforward angle – I think United, once again, are flattering to deceive, and the absence of Lisandro “the butcher” Martinez will hurt them. Erik Ten Hag’s side are in great form (W4 D1 L1), scoring nineteen goals in that time. However, I think the schedule has been kind. Lower league opposition Newport and Wigan both offered little resistance, and United have been fortunate to play both West Ham and Tottenham during those teams’ mini-blips.
Villa suffered a dip in form over Christmas (W2 D2 L2) but a comfortable win over Championship-bound Sheffield United helped steady the ship. On form, there would be no reason to back Villa but I think home advantage will be key here. Emery’s side are almost unplayable at Villa Park (W9 D1 L1) and beat City and Arsenal without conceding a goal. United managed no wins away to any of the top nine sides last season (W0 D1 L8), and are on track to repeat that this term (W0 D1 L4).
As tempting as it is to add goals to this bet, I will leave this as a straight win. Emery is a defend-first manager and this game will be vital in the race for the Top 4. Two one-nil victories over last season’s top two should be the blueprint here. Aston Villa to win at 11/10 is my last bet of the weekend.
Premier League Smart Bets
Luton Town v Sheffield United – Luton To Win & Over 2.5 Goals @ 13/8
Wolves v Brentford – Wolves To Win & O2.5 @ 2/1
Aston Villa v Manchester United – Aston Villa To Win @ 11/10
Luton, Wolves and Villa all to win @ 13/2