It's a busy Bank Holiday Monday in the Premier League, including Chelsea v Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Football betting tips: Monday's Premier League
0.5pt e.w. Kurt Zouma to score first e.w. at 20/1 (e.w. terms - first 99 places at 1/3 odds)
0.5pt e.w. Thiago Silva to score first e.w at 35/1 (e.w. terms - first five places at 1/3 odds)
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Chelsea v Aston Villa betting tips
- 17:30 GMT on Amazon Prime Video
- Match odds: Home 4/7 | Draw 10/3 | Away 17/4
Joe Townsend/Michael Beardmore
It’s fair to say the mention of the name ‘Chelsea’ brings a fair bit of trepidation to Aston Villa fans after their experiences of facing the Blues over the past decade. Chelsea have won the last six encounters between the sides and have triumphed in 12 of the 16 head-to-head meetings dating back to 2010. Villa have won two, with two draws.
Early on in that run, the Blues dished out 8-0 and 7-1 hammerings at Stamford Bridge - a ground Villa have won at just twice this century. I suspect the level of impact that superior record will have on Monday’s meeting will be minimal given just how much of a new team Aston Villa look this season.
Their away form has been nothing short of sensational, winning five out of six on their travels and keeping clean sheets in all of those victories – but it would be a push for them to repeat that here.
Chelsea have been excellent at the Bridge, brushing aside West Ham 3-0, Leeds 3-1, Sheffield United 4-1 and Crystal Palace 4-0 as well as holding Spurs to a goalless draw.
Their only real blip, other than losing their home opener to Liverpool, was letting slip a 2-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Southampton – and I fancy a similar goal-fest here given the attacking talent on parade.
Villa, who were on fire in the opening weeks of the season, rediscovered their shooting boots after a lean spell in front of goal by winning 3-0 at derby rivals West Brom last weekend, and by the same score against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day - despite playing the entire second half with 10 men.
While I think it will be just beyond them to add the Blues to their list of scalps on the road, I fancy Dean Smith's side to push them all the way. Combined with the very short odds in the home side's favour, an outright punt just isn't worthwhile.
If you were to lean that way, Villa would surely be the bet given Chelsea's terrible showing at Arsenal last time out, where Frank Lampard's team were swatted aside 3-1 by opponents in crisis. Beware the wounded animal, though.
So instead, we're looking to somewhere we've profited twice already this season; Aston Villa's prowess in the corner market. They delivered at 3/1 for 7+ at West Ham and at 31/10 in the -4 handicap against West Brom.
Those punts were based on their astounding tally of 91 corners from 12 games, comfortably higher than the already plentiful 75 from 14 for Chelsea.
Only once in an away match this season have Villa failed to win the corner count. Those seven 'away wins' have all been by a margin of at least three. Chelsea average 5.2 corners at home with Villa averaging 6.7 away, so for the visitors to have most corners at 5/2 (William Hill) is superb value.
Sticking with the set-piece theme, backing a home defender to score from one looks like a sensible option when there will be plenty of opportunities.
No-one has scored more than Chelsea's eight set-piece goals in this season's Premier League, with Frenchman Kurt Zouma accounting for half. Thiago Silva, his centre-back partner, has notched twice as well.
They are a respective 20/1 and 35/1 to score first, 13/2 and 13/1 anytime. There is a strong possibility that having started against Arsenal, Silva will be rested. The 36-year-old has been used carefully this season, with Antonio Rudiger the man who tends to come in.
It's going to be extra difficult for Villa to stop Lampard's side at set-plays without the suspended Tyrone Mings, who was sent off against Palace.
That's the extra push to back both Chelsea's regular centre-backs each-way to small stakes. It's with the expectation that Thiago won't start, but if he does then 35/1 must be gobbled up.
Score prediction: Chelsea 3-2 Aston Villa (Sky Bet odds: 16/1)
Chelsea v Aston Villa: Best bets
Crystal Palace v Leicester betting tips
- 15:00 GMT kick-off on Amazon Prime Video
- Match odds: Home 5/2 | Draw 5/2 | Away 21/20
Crystal Palace are a funny team this season, perhaps summing up the erratic nature of 2020/21 better than anybody.
Whether by design or not, Roy Hodgson's side are no longer a rigid, defensive unit looking to nick a game by the odd goal. From being involved in the fewest over 2.5 goals fixtures in the Premier League last term, they're well on their way to matching that tally of 11 already.
Eight of their 15 games (53%) have involved at least three goals; last season it was 29%.
Playing pretty well for half a game but losing 7-0 at home, as they did to Liverpool a little over a week ago, was an extreme example of Palace's odd inconsistency. That result followed a 5-1 win at West Brom, and superb performances in 1-1 draws with Tottenham and West Ham.
Like I said, funny team.
But there was clearly a hangover from their beating by the champions, as despite a man's advantage for the entire second half against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, they collapsed to a 3-0 defeat. Thirteenth in the table is a fair reflection of their campaign.
Leicester sit firmly in the top four and while they may have had a few ups and downs this term, their away performances have been as consistent as you'll find.
Brendan Rodgers' side have won six from seven on the road, with their sole failure coming at Anfield. The only team with a better away record are Manchester United, who they drew 2-2 with at the King Power on Boxing Day.
There is a perception that the Foxes tend to keep things tight on their travels, and tactically that is most certainly the case. Goals-wise, though, it isn't.
Four games have seen three goals, they won 5-2 at Manchester City, and there were 2-0 wins at Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.
Given the evidence we have on Palace's over 2.5 goals record, it's sensible to factor that in to any staking plan. There is no way I'm opposing away specialists Leicester against out-of-form Palace either, so Leicester/over 2.5 goals at 9/4 feels like the play.
Guessing team selections during the festive season is near enough impossible, but what I like about this next price is that even if the man in question is left on the bench then I still fancy him to score once summoned from it.
Jamie Vardy is undoubtedly enjoying his best season since the Foxes' triumphant 2015/16 having already bagged a mightily impressive 13 times.
Boxing Day's draw with Manchester United was only the sixth occasion in all competitions that the former England striker has failed to score, and he may very well end up credited with Leicester's second; it has initially gone down as an Axel Tuanzebe own goal.
Let's hope he starts, but prepare for the fact he may not. Vardy has appeared as a substitute twice this season, introduced after an hour against both Arsenal in the Premier League and Braga in the Europa League; he scored both times.
Boylesports are offering a superb 7/4 for the Vardy to score/Leicester to win double. You'll be lucky to find better than 5/4 anywhere else.
Score prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Leicester (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
Crystal Palace v Leicester: Best bets
Odds correct at 21:58 GMT 26/12/20
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