Football writer Ed Acteson takes on the Rollover Pick 8 on Friday evening and think there could be shock on the cards at the Etihad Stadium. Check out his football betting tips preview and join his Syndicate.
Football betting tips
Huddersfield vs. Cardiff
Over the last ten matches, no Championship side has been in better form than Cardiff City, who have taken 24 of the last 30 available points, with no defeats. Mick McCarthy has turned The Bluebirds’ season round and they are genuine promotion contenders.
Huddersfield are at bottom of the form table during that same period, with a meagre six points earned (one win, three draws, six defeats). Based on form alone, Cardiff should have no issues here and are an automatic inclusion in our football betting tips.
However, my one concern is that Huddersfield’s home form has been solid this campaign. They actually sit eighth in the home table, with 27 of their 37 (73%) points, won at The John Smith’s Stadium.
It’s worth noting that Cardiff have been exceptional away from home and are second in the away table so may well blow Huddersfield away here. Regardless, I’ll take a bit of additional cover in the opening leg, though, by picking the draw as well.
Selections: Draw, Cardiff
Burnley vs. Arsenal
I’m not going to lie, I hate betting on Arsenal games. Whenever you assume that they’ll batter someone, they embarrass themselves. But when you finally give up on them they go and beat high-flying Leicester. It’s a nightmare.
On paper this should be a straightforward win for The Gunners. They were impressive at the weekend against Leicester and take on a Burnley side whose form is plummeting and were abject in a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham.
I have a truly horrible feeling that Burnley might snatch a point but I need to save selections for later legs so I’m going to foolishly put my faith in Arsenal’s resurgence continuing.
Sheff Utd vs. Southampton
A couple of months ago this would have been straightforward. At the start of gameweek 18, Southampton were sixth in the Premier League, having just beaten Liverpool. Sheffield United were bottom with two points from 17 matches and were on course for the worst ever Premier League season. However, that early January weekend was a turning point for both sides.
Sheffield United would win three of their next five games, providing hope in a dismal season. Southampton, on the other hand, would lose to Leicester, kickstarting a run of nine games in which they took a single point. The run is ongoing.
Southampton’s collapsing form, including a second 9-0 thrashing of Ralph Hassenhuttl’s tenure, has been shocking to watch. A season that promised a European push has ended with The Saints looking warily over their shoulders at 18th placed Fulham who are mere seven points behind them now. Ultimately, they end up comfortably safe but their form is extremely concerning and that’s why I can’t trust them here.
Sheffield United have been abject at home and away but two of their three wins did come at Bramall Lane. Southampton are 16th in the away table, bottom of the form table and desperately low on confidence. It’s a leg which could go any way and will surely carve up the pool units accordingly.
Selections: Sheffield United, Draw, Southampton
Aston Villa vs. Wolves
Another tricky game in our football betting tips preview. Villa are five points ahead of their Midlands rivals with three games in hand and remain an outside bet for the Champions League places if they can win them.
Wolves’ season was effectively ended by the terrible head injury to Raul Jimenez against Arsenal in November, which started a dreadful run of one win in 11 games. They’ve returned to some sort of form since then, with wins over Arsenal, Southampton and Leeds, but a draw with Newcastle and heavy defeat to Man City last weekend have prematurely ended their revival.
For me this game hinges on one man, Jack Grealish. Should he recover from injury in time to take on Wolves then you’d have to fancy Villa to beat the 14th best away side in the division this season. However, if he is missing from the starting line up, then I think it’s a much more even affair.
The Grealish situation is a huge variable and the uncertainty over it makes me want to take no chances here so I’ll cover all bases in this leg of my football betting tips.
Selections: Aston Villa, Draw, Wolves
Brighton vs. Leicester
To say last week was one to forget for Brighton would be an understatement. Against struggling Crystal Palace and West Brom, The Seagulls contrived to have 40 combined attempts on goal, scoring once, whereas they conceded three times from nine shots against, losing both games.
I’m not generally a fan of xG but Brighton’s stats for the season really are something to behold. Having scored 26 goals, their xG suggests that they should have scored 40.98, an additional 15, which highlights their struggles in the opposition box. It needs to click sooner rather than later if they are to survive.
They take on Leicester this weekend, whose mounting injury crisis finally cost them last weekend as they lost to Arsenal. The Foxes are missing several key players, including Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet, Jonny Evans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Wes Morgan and James Justin, severely impacting their defence and midfield.
Inevitably most will still back Leicester in this leg of our football betting tips but, given their injuries and my suspicion that Brighton click in the end, I see it this fixture as a potential banana skin for Brendan Rodgers.
Leicester collapsed last season and missed out on the Champions League. I’m not suggesting the same will happen this time but, given their injury problems, the thought must have crossed their supporters’ minds. I’m willing to cover all bases for the third consecutive leg here and use up my final selections.
Selections: Brighton, Draw, Leicester
West Brom vs. Newcastle
With no more selections to play with, we need to be decisive in the final three legs of our football betting preview. Fortunately Newcastle are playing in the first, which makes things much easier.
The Geordies are sliding towards the Championship, having taken just seven points from their last 11 games, and injuries to Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron don’t bode well for their attacking hopes going forward, especially against an increasingly resilient West Brom.
It’s taken Big Sam longer than usual to implement his typical steel in the West Brom defence but, with just a single goal conceded in their last three games, he may finally have managed it. The Baggies have taken five points from those three games and, although a nine point deficit to Newcastle suggests that a miracle escape is still unlikely, if they win here they’ll fancy their chances.
West Brom are the third lowest scorers in the league and, with Newcastle’s attacking woes factored in, there’s a chance this could end up a tame goalless draw. However, I think West Brom are on the up and Newcastle are declining. I’ll take a Big Sam smash and grab for West Brom to nick a scrappy single goal win.
Selections: West Brom
Liverpool vs. Fulham
Fulham have already taken one point from the champions this season, following a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in December, but I don’t see them taking another here.
It’s another game that, given Liverpool’s recent woes and Fulham’s improving form, you could argue has the potential to be an upset but I have to believe that Liverpool are too good not to turn this season around and finish in the Champions League places.
As much as Scott Parker has given Fulham hope, they are still 12 places below Liverpool in what has been a terrible season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, outlining the class difference between these two sides.
Following a four game losing streak, Liverpool returned to winning ways last weekend and they should follow up here with another win.
Man City vs. Man Utd
Finally we come to the Manchester Derby, a fitting end to our football betting tips preview. First in the table take on second and what a battle it promises to be.
I’ll happily admit that I didn’t think Man City would win the league this season and, after 12 games, when they were ninth I had fully written them off. However, Pep Guardiola remains a world class manager and in Ruben Dias he has a player who has had a similarly transformative effect on Manchester City as Virgil van Dijk did for Liverpool and Bruno Fernandes for United.
Since their 1-1 draw with lowly West Brom on the 15th December, City have embarked on a remarkable run of 15 consecutive Premier League wins, conceding just four goals. They are three wins from tying the longest ever Premier League winning streak, which they set, and Manchester United represent the toughest hurdle to reaching that milestone.
United, of course, are enjoying a fine season themslves and have a history of ending record-breaking streaks, having famously defeated Arsenal’s invincibles and preventing them from reaching 50 games unbeaten. That was a different United side but I’m going to predict history repeating itself and take City on.
The opening 30 minutes will be the key to this game. City start games incredibly quickly and 24 of their 56 goals this season came in the first 30 minutes. It’s as many as they’ve scored in the entire second half.
In the seven league games which City failed to win, they only scored two goals in that opening half an hour so, theoretically, if you can stifle them early, you can get at them.
This is especially true for Manchester United, whose 31 second half goals is three more than anyone else in the division. So, City start strong and United finish strong which sets up an intriguing encounter.
Away from home United will unquestionably sit deep, soak up pressure and counter-attack as the game goes on. They’ve drawn three of their last five games, including the last two, and I think they can frustrate City and snatch a draw here to round off our tips and conclude our football betting preview.
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