Stats prompt Capital investment
Ben Coley previews Wednesday's matches in the Capital One Cup and expects both favourites to progress.
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When a club establishes trends as strong as those on display via a glance at Tottenham's results, it's important to justify before banking on them.
So when we see that both teams have scored in just one of Spurs' 15 games in all competitions this season, we need to understand why this might be - thus ruling out freak coincidence - before choosing the right market to capitalise with.
Fortunately, in this case the answer is clear. Andre Villas-Boas has hand-picked the core of his squad, and it's one he wants to dominate possession. Such dominance often leads inferior teams to adopt an approach so effective against Spurs' rivals Arsenal in recent years - that is, to frustrate them by packing midfield and retreating deep.
This provides two scenarios which make both teams scoring unlikely.
The first is the one which has paved the way for 12 Spurs wins to nil - that is where they dominate to the extent that their opponents find it impossible to create enough chances to score.
The second is more rare. It involves Spurs becoming frustrated at their inability to break their opponents down and occasionally suffering on the break as they did when West Ham won 3-0 at White Hart Lane.
On Wednesday, Spurs welcome Hull for the second time in four days, having just about managed to work the first scenario on Sunday when Roberto Soldado's penalty ensured a 1-0 win.
You can have 8/11 about at least one team failing to score in the rematch and for odds-on punters that's a generous price, even allowing for the vagaries brought about by League Cup competition and the changes likely from both line-ups.
Hull have failed to score in each of their away games at genuine Premier League title contenders - Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City - and have found the net just once in regular time through two games in this competition, and that was against Huddersfield at home.
Instead of take 8/11, however, I'm more drawn towards two odds-against quotes - Spurs to win to nil and under 2.5 goals.
The former makes perfect sense on account of Spurs' aforementioned record. Every victory this season has been to nil, so if you like them at 4/11 you must consider 11/10 that another win comes without the concession of a goal.
Under 2.5 goals has paid out in both of Hull's League Cup games plus seven from nine in the league. And while Spurs beat Aston Villa 4-0 in the third round of this competition, two-thirds of their games have seen fewer than three goals scored including five of their last six.
However, the fact that this is the Capital One Cup keeps nagging away at me so I'm going to combine some of these facts and figures which would ordinarily pave the way for a straightforward bet and a healthy stake, and back Spurs to win either 1-0 or 2-0 at an effective 5/2.
Spurs have won by one of these scorelines in eight of 15 games in all competitions this season, including of course on Sunday, while Hull's three defeats to those aforementioned Premier League contenders have been via 1-0 and 2-0 scorelines.
Rarely is football as straightforward as a consideration of statistics but I am certain that 5/2 about Spurs winning by either scoreline is too big.
The night's other tie sees Newcastle host Manchester City, and the wounded visitors should be more than good enough to advance to round five.
City were a mixture of unfortunate and careless on Sunday as they lost 2-1 at Chelsea, and it must be noted that they've now been beaten away from home three times in the Premier League.
However, Newcastle were extremely poor in defeat to bitter rivals Sunderland and while Manuel Pellegrini has the squad depth to name an exceptionally talented side here, Alan Pardew simply does not.
Again, the straightforward bet here is a City win at 4/5 but it may be worth boosting that to 2/1 and asking them to concede a two-goal start on the handicap.
City have done so successfully in each of their last six clashes with Newcastle, including a 4-0 hiding earlier this season, and should make their class advantage tell.