Everton v Southampton: Sticky start for the Toffees

Rafa Benitez takes charge of Everton for the first time on Saturday, and Paul Robinson expects their game against Southampton to be a low-scoring affair.

Big pressure on Benitez from the off

It's not an understatement to suggest that things aren't as rosy at Goodison as they were at the beginning of last season. At that point, Carlo Ancelotti was at the helm and the likes of James Rodriguez were exciting new signings.

Things didn't pan out following a promising start, and the Toffees finished down in 10th. Ancelotti departed for Madrid, and former Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez, has been appointed to succeed him - a move that had a mixed reaction, at best.

New signings have been thin on the ground, with the main two being Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray. They aren't headline makers, but they do at least add some much needed pace into the team.

Saints on a downward spiral

Southampton are another team who appear to be on a downward spiral, and after topping the table at one point last season, the Saints ended up down in 15th.

Ralph Hasenhüttl hasn't been done any favours over the summer either, as Danny Ings was sold to Villa and Ryan Bertrand left on a free to Leicester - with Jannik Vestergaard set to follow him to the King Power.

Things are that bad at St Mary's that the 4.0 on them to be relegated isn't the worst bet in the world - especially as they face both Manchester clubs and Chelsea in their opening seven games. Even if they don't ultimately go down, the 4.0 might prove to be a good cash-out possibility.

A back to lay option in the Match Odds

The Toffees are hovering around the even money mark on the Betfair Exchange - 1.99 to back at time of writing.

Those odds suggest that they would win this game basically 50% of the time, but it's worth noting that their win percentage at Goodison last term was down at 32% in the league.

On the flip-side to that though, Southampton were beaten in 11 of their 19 away matches last season, with only the bottom two clubs losing more.

They are available to back at 4.3 to reverse that trend, but even with all of Everton's problems, I just can't see it happening.

The draw is 3.7, and with Rafa's safety first approach, that might not be the worst bet in the world. Benitez can't afford to lose his first match in charge given how little credit he has with the fans, especially when they are at home against one of the lower ranked clubs.

It would come as no surprise to see this one go in 0-0 at the break, especially as Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an injury doubt for the hosts.

If you take the 3.7 on the draw, you could lay it off at the break for a profit, or just enough to cover your stake.

No cutting edge at Goodison

To the goal markets now and the layers are favouring Under 2.5 Goals. It is trading at around the 1.82 mark, with the Over at 2.16.

I have already explained how I think that this might be goalless at the break, so I can't entertain Over 2.5, even at odds-against.

The play for me is actually Under 1.5, which can be backed at 3.5 on the Exchange.

Everton may have conceded four at Old Trafford last weekend, but the Saints have lost their top scorer and a strike partnership of Che Adams and Nathan Tella hardly jumps of the page.

Bet Builder

To the Sportsbook now, where I have picked out a Bet Builder that comes in at a massive 38.58.

The first two of the four selections are already outlined above - Under 1.5 Goals and a Half Time Draw.

Romain Perraud is Southampton's new left back, having been signed from Brest. This could be a baptism of fire for the French U21 international, and he will be up against the pace of Andros Townsend. A yellow card - of which he received four last season - could be on the agenda.

Finally, Everton to have most corners completes the bet.

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