Everton get their season under way by welcoming Chelsea on Saturday evening, Jake Osgathorpe previews the game and selects his best bet.
2pts Under 2.5 Goals at evens (bet365)
Everton just survived relegation last season, relying upon their home form at Goodison Park which became a very difficult place for opponents to visit.
The Toffees will be needing all the help they can get from their home field advantage here, with major absentees meaning they will be undermanned for the visit of Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel's side also have question marks around them heading into the new season, and were edged out 1-0 in this fixture only three months ago.
It is set to be a fascinating game, but I fully expect this meeting to follow the same pattern as the last, meaning UNDER 2.5 GOALS is just too big of a price at even money.
Everton played in a deep-lying block at the back end of last season, with a high energy, unorganised press meaning their games saw few chances at either end of the pitch.
Their opponents couldn't create due to the stubborn nature of their set-up and the 'in-your-face' approach that was especially evident at home, while the Toffees themselves rarely threatened as progressing the ball from such a deep starting point proved problematic.
All of that added up to a very paltry underlying process when playing at home, with Everton averaging 1.17 xGF and 1.14 xGA per home game under Lampard.
Those figures mean Everton ranked as the eighth best defensive team at home after his appointment, but the third worst attacking home team, with that overall average of 2.31 xG per home game ranking second worst.
We can expect the same here given the absence of forward players, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andros Townsend (both injured) and Solomon Rondon (suspended) and the sale of Richarlison.
Effectively, Lampard's hand has been forced. He has to play defence first as he has few forward options!
Chelsea's attacking figures don't exactly bowl me over to change my mind, averaging 1.72 xGF per away game last season, closer to the levels hit by Manchester United (1.42) than Liverpool (2.25).
Changes up top are interesting, with Raheem Sterling's arrival likely to allow Tuchel to play more direct and with a quicker speed than with Romelu Lukaku in the team, but this Chelsea team could struggle to break down a deep-lying block.
The question marks around the Blues attack only strengthens my under 2.5 goals fancy, as does the fact that six of Everton's nine home games under Lampard last season saw this bet land.
Interestingly, games against Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea featured in those six that went under the required line, so I am more than happy to chance it again here with an even money price.
Score prediction: Everton 0-1 Chelsea (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
Odds correct 1440 BST (04/08/22)
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