Crystal Palace v Tottenham: Hit the goal trail with Kane
Andy Schooler is seeking out the value for Crystal Palace v Spurs on Sunday and he's got 4/1, 5/1 and 16/1 picks for the final-day Premier League game...
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Sunday July 26, 16:00 Live on Sky Sports Action
It would be easy to write this preview in the expected way: out-of-form hosts with nothing to play for lose to strong-finishing visitors with a prize at stake - namely Europa League football.
Frankly I'd find it difficult to argue with those prepared to back Spurs at a short price (they are 1.57to win the game) but that's not the avenue I'm going to walk down.
Problems for Palace
Yes, Palace (6.40) have struggled since the lockdown and they come into this one having lost their last seven.
They've been beset by injuries, particularly on the defensive side. Gary Cahill, James Tomkins and Patrick van Aanholt will again be absent here, while Mamadou Sakho joins them after picking up an injury in Monday's 2-0 defeat at Wolves. Martin Kelly, whose last game came in January, has at least been on the bench in recent games and could be forced into a start.
Up front, Christian Benteke is suspended, while in midfield Luka Milivojevic is doubtful with a knee problem which forced him to sit out the Molineux trip.
Kane flying for Spurs
Tottenham, who have won their last nine league games against the Eagles, have no such problems with Jose Mourinho favourite Eric Dier now available again after suspension and Dele Alli fit once more.
Harry Kane has been an eyecatcher in the past couple of games. He caused Leicester all sorts of issues last weekend, a game Spurs won 3-0. He netted twice in that contest, just as he did against Newcastle the previous week.
The England captain may well be eyeing a personal milestone - a hat-trick in this game would take him to 20 league goals for the fifth time in the last six seasons - and his final-day record is another reason to suggest he'll go well here.
Kane scored two against Leicester in 2018 and three against Hull in 2017. He was injured at the end of the 18/19 campaign.
Up against a makeshift defence, Kane looks worth backing to score two or more at 4/1. For those interested, three or more is offered at 18/1.
The case for goals
It might not just be Kane among the goals either. Most games at Selhurst Park this season have been low-scoring but I'm not convinced this one will.
Palace have generally been pretty solid at the back but those injuries in recent weeks have put paid to that foundation - they've now conceded 17 in their last seven games.
Spurs have been better defensively since the restart but they have still kept only two clean sheets on their travels this season and those came against two of the bottom four - Bournemouth and Watford. And the Hornets missed a penalty in that game.
Palace may not have been finding the net too often of late but they've looked lively enough going forward at times, particularly at home where they netted twice against Chelsea (it could easily have been more) and were unlucky not to score against Manchester United.
Both teams like to soak up pressure and try to counter and while some may suggest that could lead to something of a stand-off, it also opens the possibility of a change of tactics which could result in goals. Mourinho is certainly a coach who regularly adapts his gameplan to an opponent.
Again, a look at final-day history also suggests goals could flow.
Spurs' last four games on the last day have brought 4, 9, 8 and 6 goals, while last season Palace's goal-shy Selhurst record was thrown out of the window as they beat Bournemouth 5-3.
The pressure is off them again here and even Spurs know they will still be favourites to make Europe even if they fail to leapfrog Wolves - seventh place will be good enough if Chelsea beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
Over 2.5 goals is offered at 1.83 but it is the bigger prices which may be worth chancing.
Over 3.5 is at 2.98, over 4.5 at 6.00 and over 5.5 a whopping 14.00.
Preference is for the middle option which landed in Palace's recent home game with Chelsea.
Lenient ref can keep it clean
Finally, I'm also going to take a punt on a clean game with 16/1 about there being no cards simply too big given Andre Marriner is the man with the whistle.
Of the officials who have taken charge of multiple Premier League games this season, Marriner is the most lenient when it comes to cards - he averages just 2.30 yellows per game with the league figure 3.37.
While he's had only one no-card game (in 23) so far, four of his six post-lockdown matches have produced only one card.
The final day is one which has regularly seen no-card matches. You have to go back to 2013 to find the last 'matchday 38' without a no-card game, while there were two in both 2016 and 2018. In 2017, Marriner showed no cards in his final-day match.
Admittedly Spurs have been one of the more ill-disciplined teams this season but Marriner hasn't refereed them this term and on the two occasions he's taken charge of a Palace game he's shown just them a total of just one card.
Spurs having an EL place to chase isn't ideal for this bet but the referee is and for that reason a small play at 16s look worth a try.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored six goals in five appearances on the final day of Premier League seasons. Of the 487 players to have played in five such matches, Kane has the fourth best minutes-per-goal ratio on the closing day (one every 72 minutes).