Numbers Game: Hornets best
Our facts-and-figures-based football preview, The Numbers Game, returns with Watford headlining this weekend's picks.
- Related Content
Watford to win at Barnsley at 11/8
Gianfranco Zola's Watford have been terrific away from home in the Championship this term with 10 wins from 18 games - including five wins from their last seven away trips. They were beaten by Blackpool at home last time out and will want to get back on track at Oakwell against a Barnsley side, who gave themselves some breathing space in midweek with a win over Brighton which lifted them out of the bottom three. The 11/8 on offer looks well worth taking.
Sky Bet: Manchester City have gathered support of the punters since our initial offering of 6/5, and are now a shade of odds-against at 21/20. This can possibly be attributed to Everton's morale-sapping blowout in their FA Cup tie against Wigan, which has in turn led to speculation about the future of long-serving manager David Moyes. When you combine this with City's relatively easy cup tie against Barnsley it it easy to see why the market has moved in such a way.
Stoke have been a team to fear at their home the Britannia Stadium in their tenure in the Premier League, but this season they are enduring a tough time getting over the magic 40-point mark. With just one win since New Year against lowly Reading, they have opened at 11/8 against West Brom and we have barely seen a penny on them at the price. The Baggies look to have stopped their mid-season blip and have picked up nine points from their last 12, and punters are siding with the Albion in this clash.
Paddy Power: It has been a quiet enough week for movers. We have seen a bit of support for Man City up against Everton - on the back of Everton's humiliating FA Cup exit last weekend.
Tottenham have also shortened up a little since they got a debatable confidence boost of going through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, despite a sound beating from Inter Milan.
Betfred: We've seen plenty of money for Aston Villa (v QPR) in the big game at the bottom of the league table. They are currently 11/10 but that price could change before 3pm on Saturday.
bet365: Punters don't seem too concerned with Man City's recent record against Everton, and with last week's performance against Wigan probably in their minds, there's considerable opposition to David Moyes' side.
Liverpool are another side that punters want to be with and we're still happy to be against at odds-on despite their recent run.
Cardiff are being opposed in the Championship, as are Colchester in League One.
Man Utd (2/11) won last five in Premier League and host Reading (20/1) (1730 GMT)
Liverpool (19/20) won last three in Premier League and travel to Southampton (10/3).
Bolton (9/5) won last five in Championship and travel to Ipswich (9/5).
Nottingham Forest (14/5) won last five in Championship and travel to Hull (5/4).
Reading (20/1) lost last four in Premier League and travel to Man Utd (2/11) (1730 GMT).
Stoke (31/20) lost last three in Premier League and host West Brom (11/5).
Blackburn (8/5) lost last three in Championship and host Burnley (2/1) (Sun, 1230 GMT).
Sky Bet: Tottenham faced a much harder test in Milan this Thursday than they would have liked and they had to do it without Gareth Bale. Whilst Spurs have a good record at White Hart lane this season, blots on their copybook include home clashes with Stoke, Wigan, Norwich and West Brom - all games where they were comfortable favourites. Martin Jol has an almost fully-fit squad, who are well rested and while Fulham aren't the most trustworthy team on the road, we'd take them to cause Spurs some problems and we will be happy to take on the hosts at 1/2.
bet365: I certainly don't need a history lesson in Stoke v West Brom games and although the Baggies won at the Britannia last season, it's the Potters who are attracting the money. I've checked and double checked the Wigan (11/8) price to beat Newcastle and it's right apparently - the hosts have to be a lay, despite the midweek Europa excursions.
Betfred: Our football traders are looking to take on Man City at evens this weekend - mainly due to their two main players Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany both being out. Everton need to put up a performance in front of their home crowd this week after last week's disappointment in the FA Cup. They do also have a good record in this fixture at Goodison Park. We are also happy to take on Chelsea at 4/11 who come into their game with West Ham on the back of a tough game in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Paddy Power: Hearts have a very good habit of turning up when it matters in cup finals. Recent managerial and financial difficulties can be put aside for one big push to beat a very average St Mirren side over 90 minutes in the Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park. In the English Premier League I wouldn't be against taking Liverpool (at Southampton) on at the current prices.
Everton (29/10) have won five of their last seven Premier League encounters v Manchester City (11/10).
Southampton (10/3) have won three of their last four Premier League home games v Liverpool (19/20).
Leyton Orient to beat Carlisle at 21/20
Orient have been in good form of late at home - winning four of their last six at Brisbane Road and they look a decent price to chalk up another home win. Carlisle have struggled away from Cumbria - losing five of their last eight on their travels and they look set for another long fruitless trip to the capital.
West Brom's Romelu Lukaku has four in three and is 5/2 to score at Stoke.
Peterborough's Dwight Gayle has four in four and is 15/8 to score at Blackpool.
Brentford's Clayton Donaldson has two in four and is 21/20 to score v Preston.
Hartlepool to beat Coventry (draw no bet) at 11/4
Coventry will be without key striker Leon Clarke against Hartlepool. The Sky Blues are already without departed frontman David McGoldrick, while Stephen Elliott is missing for the rest of the season.
Oldham to beat Bournemouth at 9/4
Bournemouth's victory over Stevenage on Tuesday came at a cost with three players sustaining injuries at Broadhall Way. Matt Ritchie had to be withdrawn after 33 minutes with his replacement Ryan Fraser then having to come off midway through the second half, while Harry Arter was substituted in the final minute of the 1-0 win.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
Peterborough to win at Blackpool DNB at 85/40
After the midweek draw at Leeds, Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson said: "It's not a good point. It's really disappointing that we dropped two points. It was a great opportunity to get three points and out of the last three draws I would say tonight was the biggest opportunity. We had seven or eight chances to get the second goal and we've not taken them."
Colchester to win at Bury at 2/1
Speaking after the midweek 2-2 draw at Coventry, Colchester manager Joe Dunne admitted mistakes cost his side: "We were comfortable and Coventry got booed off at half-time. We dealt with their threat and got two goals into the lead. But we then made two clinical errors - we got caught out with the first goal and then we gave a silly free-kick away. But we will take the point and move on and it could have been worse, we could have lost. Everyone will be saying that it was two points dropped but that's not necessarily the case."
Brighton to beat Crystal Palace at 13/8 (Sun, 1200 GMT)
Speaking after the midweek defeat to Barnsley, Brighton manager Gus Poyet said: "We knew we would have to fight and compete and I got the feeling that we gave the game away with the goals that we gave away, but that is how it has been for a while so I am not surprised. Unfortunately I am getting used to this, we have played three games away from home in a week. The first game was terrible, then we were by far the better team at Bolton and lost 1-0 and today if anyone said Barnsley deserved to win then I should retire."