Draw comfort this weekend
Footballer turned bookie rep Dale Tempest looks at the weekend's Premier League coupon and picks out his best bets.
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Former professional footballer Dale Tempest is now a bookie public relations man - he's very much got his finger on the pulse of the markets as both a punter and an oddsmaker.
Fulham, Huddersfield and Colchester were among his clubs during a 16-year career so he knows exactly how the game is played.
These days in his role at Sky Bet - you may have seen him on Sky Sports News - he's looking at things from a different perspective.
His regular Friday column explores the mindset of the bookies and highlights the best bets for the weekend's Premier League action.
Last weekend his draw trixie of West Ham v Sunderland, Hull v Stoke and Newcastle v Southampton came up - and he has another one of those this time around.
Here are his best bets for the forthcoming matches.
Whenever a club gets rid of their manager, a commonly-held perception is that there'll be a positive change in results under a new regime - but this isn't proven by all the research ploughed into this.
The statistics over a longer period when a new boss - interim or permanent - comes in suggests there's very little change in the team's performance.
Interestingly, I don't think anyone could argue Paolo Di Canio kept Sunderland up after Martin O'Neill left and although long-term we all saw how the appointment just wasn't meant to last, that kind of example does leave the feeling with fans that a managerial change offers a short-term fix.
From a betting perspective, unless you get a silly price, I tend to avoid siding with a team who either have no manager or playing for one who is under increasing pressure.
Cardiff, for example, are already outsiders at Liverpool despite all the uncertainty over Malky Mackay's future but one bet that stands out for me at Anfield is the Reds in the double result market.
Liverpool have been winning at half-time in all of their last five home victories while all their scoring stats this year say they are an early scoring team.
Last weekend we got lucky with my recommended draw trixie bet of West Ham v Sunderland, Hull v Stoke and Newcastle v Southampton came up, so I've got another three picks for you this time.
Ignoring Sunderland, with so few points separating the clubs in the bottom half of the table, there's still a huge incentive for teams not to lose ahead of the hectic festive period.
This motivation can only be heightened when up against opponents of similar standing so Stoke v Aston Villa fits that bill perfectly this weekend.
Another game to place in the trixie is Swansea v Everton. The Swans have drawn four of their eight home games so far while the Toffees have drawn four of their eight away games to date.
The third and final game is Southampton v Tottenham on Sunday as the visitors look to bounce back from their Capital One Cup defeat to West Ham. Spurs do have a better away record than at White Hart Lane so they should be able to pick up a point at Southampton, who have some injuries.
Often we get misconceptions about teams simply because of their results and when you consider that Hull have lost six of their eight away games so far, it's easy to assume they're a poor side on the road.
But with closer analysis you'll see this is their first away game against opponents in the bottom half of the table. They've been to Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, Southampton, Newcastle and Swansea - so it couldn't have been much tougher for them on their travels.
It's also interesting to note that Liverpool will have played seven of the bottom nine teams at home after they've faced Cardiff on Saturday - a stat which also suggests how a club can find themselves in what could be potentially deemed a misleading position.
The Tigers have conceded 16 of their 19 goals away so when they've played teams of a similar level at home, they've put up a much better fight and been hard to break down.
Their opponents on Saturday - West Brom - have been struggling for goals and defeats against Norwich and Cardiff were obviously too much for the board to take.
At the prices, the 5/2 about the draw is one to take as Hull will probably head into this clash at The Hawthorns with the aim of not losing and there's plenty of reasons to believe they can achieve this - even if their results on paper don't.
One of the punters' favourite bets is to back defenders when they come up for set-pieces to score the first goals and one player worth keeping an eye on is Patrice Evra.
The Frenchman, who is in most peoples' fantasy football teams due to his attacking instincts, is still 20/1 to bag the opener for Manchester United which is a good price considering he would have scored in their last home game against Newcastle had it not been for a Vurnon Anita handball on the line and also found the net in their 2-0 victory at Stoke in the Capital One Cup.
With Robin van Persie out injured and Wayne Rooney also struggling with a groin problem, Evra is worth a pound of anyone's money.