West Brom and Burnley are in action early on Monday evening in the Premier League, with Joe Townsend backing the Clarets defenders to be a handful.
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West Brom v Burnley
- 5.30pm BST kick-off on Sky Sports Box Office
- Match odds: Home 29/20 | Draw 23/10 | Away 15/8
This isn't a fixture that particularly whets the appetite; hopefully it focuses the mind when searching for value.
For West Brom, it's a draw and three defeats so far, while Burnley have played a game fewer but lost all three so both teams are certainly in need of points. It's a contest I would have to lean towards being low-scoring, despite the newly-promoted Baggies' defensive issues, but I find it difficult to predict which way it will go.
What I prefer to look towards is something I detailed in our most recent Punting Pointers.
As demonstrated by the 13 goals they've conceded already we know Albion cannot defend; ahead of this weekend no team in the Premier League and EFL had let more goals in. But what sticks out even more is their lack of organisation at set-pieces.
At a staggering 2.5 expected goals, Slaven Bilic's side also top the table for xG conceded from set-plays. They now face a Clarets team with a reputation for being well-drilled - despite a poor start, they rank second in that same category.
Sean Dyche's men are also pretty handy at the other end when given a free-kick or corner, so small-stakes punts on Burnley defenders is a smart play in this fixture. Ben Mee remains absent, so James Tarkowski will be partnered at centre-back by Kevin Long or Jimmy Dunne.
Tarkowski has scored five goals across the past two Premier League campaigns, and came close against Newcastle last time out by forcing a save from Karl Darlow. Long also had an attempt that night, but missed the target.
Long has been an understudy at Turf Moor for a decade, and as a result barely has a goal to his name. It means he's priced as a 25/1 anytime scorer with Betfair and Paddy Power - that doesn't stack up against this West Brom defence. He shouldn't be much different to Tarkowski, who is 14/1.
Dunne scored in Burnley's opening game at Leicester, and having started the week at 22/1 his price has shortened slightly. I'd be surprised if he started ahead of the experienced Long, who has 14 Republic of Ireland caps to his name.
What about something that feel a little more reliable? There's been at least one shot on target landed by an opposition defender in all four of West Brom's league matches this season, with 12 attempts on goal by defenders in total.
Paddy Power has Tarkowski at 4/1 to have a shot on target, with Long at 9/1. What is utterly bizarre is that they then price the England man at a slightly odds-against 11/10 to merely have an attempt, with Long 4/6 - you can get 11/8 with Sky Bet though.
There is definitely extra value in the Irishman, but it's a real 50/50 call because the long-term stats have these players pretty even when you factor in that Long has rarely had a consistent run - they both manage roughly a shot every other game.
I don't like the general shots market when 11/8 is as good as we can get, but I think the opportunity is too good to not spread across both players elsewhere.
The clincher in backing both is that having returned from international duty there is no guarantee Long won't miss out in favour of Dunne, and I would hate to see us miss out on being in the game.
Score prediction: West Brom 1-1 Burnley (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
Odds correct as of 1130 BST on 16/10/20
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