Draws enough at the bottom
Footballer-turned-bookie rep Dale Tempest says backing draws is the way to go in the Premier League this weekend.
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Former professional footballer Dale Tempest has turned bookie - he's now Sky Bet's public relations director.
A 16-year career saw him play for the likes of Fulham, Huddersfield and Colchester so he knows exactly how the game is played and these days he's very much got his finger on the pulse of the markets as both a punter and a bookie.
His regular Friday column explores the mindset of players and bookies and highlights the best bets for the weekend's action. Here's his take on this weekend's Premier League action with the focus firmly on the bottom of the table.
This weekend looks the perfect opportunity for the teams fighting relegation to detach Cardiff and Fulham from the pack. Sunderland, with the games they have remaining, would take a draw at Norwich, while draws for Palace and West Brom would take them to 29 points and four points away from Cardiff and Fulham, that's if they both lose to title contenders (they play Liverpool and Manchester City respectively). I've talked regularly in this column about how teams are happy to accept a point, maybe not at the start of the game but certainly later on if they are level going into the last half hour. Hull-West Brom, Newcastle-Palace and Norwich-Sunderland are three games which fit the criteria perfectly and I'll play a small draw trixie on those three games in the hope that they go exactly as predicted.
Those games I've just mentioned also throw up some amazing goal stats, or rather lack of. Newcastle have failed to score in eight of their last 11 games and are missing Loic Remy again for the visit of Palace, who have managed just six goals in 14 away games this season. If ever a game had 0-0 or no goalscorer - always the preferred bet for eliminating an own goal - written all over it, this has to be it. Meanwhile at Carrow Road, season-ticket holders have not been getting much excitement with just five goals in Norwich's last six home games. This weekend's visitors Sunderland will surely make sure they don't lose, while Chris Hughton knows eking out points at home is key to them staying up. I'll play very small on no goalscorer in both games. It may also be worth an under 1.5 goals double on both games which gives you some leeway for a slip or mistake by someone.
Everton have been my favourite team this season when it comes to winning by exactly one goal. They've won their last seven at home and delivered this bet last week with a late goal. I can see them doing so again this weekend against Swansea. They might not at their best right now but 35 per cent of their goals come in the last 15 minutes that shows how determined there can be. If there's one side who could drift into the relegation area at around 10/1, then it's the Swans and they won't be the worst bet in that market. They have an inexperienced manager, a team that's won just two of the last 15 in the league and a group of players who think they are better than they are. The league table tell us what they are - a team four points off relegation - and at 10/1 they are the sort of side who have been in freefall for so long that they might just continue that way.
The big game of the weekend sees Chelsea host Arsenal. For me, the Gunners always seem to have an inferiority complex against the top teams. They haven't won any of their last 11 against Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. Arsenal shipped five at Anfield, six at Man City and also lost to a poor Untied team at Old Trafford. This one feels like another Chelsea grind and if I were having a bet I'd definitely go with the hosts.