Dale Tempest is back for his regular Sporting Life column with some football betting insight and festive fancies for Boxing Day.
Merry Christmas from myself and everyone in the Sporting Life Football team. Let’s try and pick a few winners for Boxing Day.
Football betting is all about getting ahead of the curve. We all watch games, analyse the data and then form our opinions accordingly.
However, the important thing is we are always trying to get ahead of the market. A good example this season has been Sheffield United. If you watched them from day one in the Premier League, they were well organised and perfectly at ease in the top division, the early results were no fluke.
The market has now caught up with the reality of the Blades' capabilities and the early negative perception has disappeared.
After the last two performances I think we need to get with Watford. A friend of mine was at Anfield two weeks ago and told me how good Watford had been in Nigel Pearson’s first game.
They ripped the Liverpool defence apart in the first half, missed some real sitters then got hit on the break by a bit of magic from Mo Salah.
They backed that up with an impressive home win v Manchester United - their first home victory in 12. In fact, you have to go back to April this year for the last three points taken at Vicarage Road, when they beat Fulham.
They still sit six points adrift of safety at the bottom of the league, but suddenly they look full of energy and ready for the relegation fight (I have even backed them at 9/4 to stay up).
The catalyst has partly been a new manager but just as important is the return of Troy Deeney. A long term injury has kept him out (the Man United game was only his sixth appearance of the season) but he returned at Leicester at the start of December.
He really is the Watford talisman and leader of the squad. His strength of character and what he demands of his team mates really does change the dynamic of the team. From a group going nowhere it certainly looks like the Hornets have got their mojo back. I am backing them getting a full 1/2 goal start at Bramall Lane on Boxing Day.
Another team who I think are underrated is Brighton.
They are at Tottenham on Boxing Day and get a full one-goal Asian Handicap start. That means they have to be beaten by two for us to lose the bet.
Jose Mourinho's side were so bad against Chelsea you would think they will improve but with no Heung-min Son I want to be with the Seagulls.
Odds correct as of 1300 GMT on 24/12/19
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