Saturday Premier League 3pm Tips: Reds to lead at interval in another win
After a full midweek programme of Premier League fixtures there's no time to rest with the 20 teams quickly back in action this weekend. Mike Norman has four bets for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs...
Reds can lead early and produce repeat win
Bournemouth 7.80 v Liverpool 1.46; Draw 5.00
It's been three years - almost to the day in fact - since Bournemouth produced a famous 4-3 win over Liverpool in one of the Premier League's best ever games. It's fair to say that was as good as it got for the Cherries when facing the Reds.
The last four meetings between these two sides have finished 4-0, 3-0, 4-0 and 3-0 all to Liverpool. The two 4-0 wins came at the Vitality Stadium. There are arguments both for and against a similar scoreline on Saturday.
The arguments for another easy 'Win to Nil' outcome is that Liverpool are miles clear in the Premier League table, they've won won 14 of their 15 league games this term, and they warmed up for this clash by scoring five in midweek against Everton. And that was with the likes of Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino rested!
What's more, Bournemouth have been extremely poor of late, losing four straight Premier League games and failing to score a goal in 50% of their last 10 matches. Another 3-0 or 4-0 win for Liverpool has a lot going for it based on what we've just said, and it can be dutch backed at 11/2 on the Betfair Sportsbook. It's worth a punt.
The reason - notice no plural - against a Liverpool win without conceding is simple; Jurgen Klopp's men haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last 13 games now, conceding an alarming 20 goals in that period.
You'd have to think that sequence is going to end sooner rather than later - hopefully on Saturday - but given Liverpool scored 35 goals in those 13 matches including 16 in the first half, then it's easy to envisage the league leaders leading at half-time before going on to claim another valuable three points.
More early goals for Tottenham
Tottenham 1.44 v Burnley 8.80; Draw 5.20
Like Liverpool, Tottenham are another team to score their fare share of first half goals since Jose Mourinho arrived. Five of the Lilywhites' 11 goals scored under their new boss have been before the interval, while eight of the 11 came in the 50th minute or sooner.
And again, like Liverpool, Spurs just can't seem to keep the goals out at the other end. Incredibly, you have to go back to the early half of September to find the last time Tottenham kept a clean sheet in the Premier League, a period stretching 10 games.
Wednesday's defeat to Manchester United came as a big shock to me, not so much in the defeat itself - although I did fancy Spurs strongly to take all three points - but more the manner in which Mourinho's men just sat off United, conceding around 10 shots (half of which were on target) before the interval to a Red Devils team not exactly in sparkling form.
Their second half performance was better, but I sense Mourinho will have his team really fired up for an instant reaction on Saturday.
Burnley have lost five of their last seven games, and the only away victory they have to their name this season is against rock-bottom Watford, so Sean Dyche's men are definitely there for the taking one feels.
The type, and amount, of goals that the Clarets are conceding is the big surprise. Usually so organised and hard to break down Dyche's men conceded four in midweek, two at home to Crystal Palace last weekend, three at Sheffield United, four at home to Chelsea etc - all those games coming within the last five weeks or so.
When Burnley are out of form you expect to see a few 1-0 defeats next to their name and the occasional 0-0/1-1 in there, but right now, when they lose they are losing by conceding three and four goals.
If Tottenham can get on the scoresheet early then I can see them scoring at least three themselves, and hopefully they can lead at the interval before quickly getting back to winning ways.
Stalemate the obvious call
Watford 2.42 v Crystal Palace 3.35; Draw 3.40
There are only three games kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm on Saturday, and initially I thought about swerving this one as I found it really hard to call. But then my old theory of backing the draw came into my head.
That theory, if you don't mind me mentioning it again, is that if you simply can't split two teams in the Match Odds market, then backing the draw as the biggest price option of the three makes perfect sense.
It's always difficult to give convincing reasons why a game might end in a draw because if you decide that two teams are evenly matched, then it's just as likely that one of them could win by a slender margin. But notice I said 'just as likely' rather than 'more than likely'.
So ask yourself this. If Watford host Crystal Palace three times under the exact same circumstances as they will on Saturday, can you envisage at least one of those outcomes being level? If your answer is yes, then you back the draw at 3.40.
And the circumstances that we definitely know ahead of Saturday's kick-off is that Watford are bottom of the table but defended quite well at Leicester in midweek. And before the home defeat to Burnley they weren't exactly dreadful at Vicarage Road, drawing three of their four league games and only losing by a single goal to Chelsea.
Palace have won back-to-back league games against mid-table sides, but they have mounting problems in defence ahead of this clash and I think that brings the teams much closer together.
Consider also that there hasn't been more than a single goal between these two in every one of the last 13 meetings, then it's not difficult to envisage this encounter ending all square.
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