Aston Villa v West Brom: Villa can justify short odds against Baggies

Alan Dudman previews Sunday's Premier League fixture between Aston Villa and West Brom, and he is not getting sucked into backing the visitors...

Villa tailing off after gruelling campaign

Villa have lost more at home (seven) than they have won (six), and that's a worry heading into Sunday's fixture with West Brom. I don't like trotting out the cliched line about "hunger", just because the Baggies need the points it turns them into the 1970 version of Ajax all of a sudden, but I am concerned that the hosts are not quite as good as they were at the start of the season.

The current form backs that up, so does the fact that they have kept 14 clean sheets this term, although they haven't collected a shutout from their last five.

Good news comes in the shape of Wesley returning to the fold following a ruptured knee ligament on New Year's Day, although Matty Cash, Jack Grealish and Morgan Sanson are ruled out.

Villa with Grealish are a betting proposition, less so at 1.96 for this without him. But I still have faith.

They did give Manchester City a game on Wednesday, but they are looking to avoid three consecutive defeats in the Premier League for the first time this season.

Last chance saloon for Baggies

Playing the Villains has been something of a lucky omen for Sam Allardyce, as he has won nine of his 24 games against them - and that's with five different teams. Three points on Sunday however would eclipse any of the other victories collected as the Baggies are nine adrift of Burnley and can't afford any slip-ups to keep alive their rather slim picking of a chance of survival.

They aren't the easiest to read either, a 0-1 loss to Palace on the road presaged a thumping 2-5 win at Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel doesn't let his side concede many, and certainly not against the good teams, so that still remains something of a mystery.

The Baggies hold a woeful record on Sundays if that's your thing - winning one from 17, although some Sunday cheer is thin on the ground with both Robert Snodgrass and Branislav Ivanovic both ruled out.

Baggies just not tempting despite the odds

Winning just twice on the road all season, the Baggies are rightly chalked up pretty big at 4.6. On the Chelsea victory alone it's interesting, but what if we get the Palace performance? I can't quite convince myself this is the bet to be had. While they won their last two away at Villa, only once have they succeeded in winning three in a row there.

Villa at a tick under the odds are looking to complete the double over West Brom for the first time since 2008-9 following December's 3-0 victory at the Hawthorns.

If the hosts can replicate the levels they produced on Wednesday, I am happy to take the 1.96, and their 4-3-3 that Dean Smith employs might lack the creative buzz of Grealish, but I am looking for Anwar El Ghazi to provide some magic. He ahs scored more goals against WBA than any other side since he arrived in England.

Watkins can deliver

El Ghazi features a fair bit in some of the specials on the Sportsbook. He alongside John McGinn to have one or more shots on target each has been boosted to 3/1, but there's a more exciting option of using the Bet Builder and playing the Villa win 10/11 and First Goal at 5/1 to give a near 8/1 double.

Ollie Watkins has recently become a father for the first time and he's on a roll with seven of his 12 Premier League goals on a Sunday. I like him at 9/2 to score first to add to our Villa win bet.

Eagle-eyed viewers will be aware that West Brom have had a player sent off in each of their last three meetings with Villa, Jake Livermore being the latest in the reverse fixture. The 'Yes' in the Sending Off market must be considered.

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