There's Premier League action on Wednesday night with twelve teams getting their 2019 underway. Tom Carnduff looks at the betting.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Bournemouth v Watford
Vitality Stadium, 1945 GMT
The Cherries will be desperate for victory here with five of their last six games in all competitions ending in defeat.
That said, two of their last three at home have ended with all three points and they take on a Watford side who have struggled for consistency on the road.
Given that both sides sit in mid-table, avoiding the full-time result is probably a wise decision in this one and we're instead looking at the corners market.
These two sit in the the top-four of the Premier League for average corners per game, with Watford second only to Newcastle.
The average sits above 11, but that factors in games against those teams with a low corner count so we should expect to see plenty at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday night.
For reference, there were a huge 17 corners when these two sides met at Vicarage Road at the start of October, and that was a game in which Bournemouth comfortably won 4-0.
It should be a closer game this time around, but one that should still have that high corner tally.
We're going for a bit more of a conservative estimate and backing over 13.5 corners at a price of 3/1 with Unibet and 888sport.
Score prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Watford (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
Best bet: Over 13.5 corners at 3/1
- Five of the seven previous Premier League meetings between Bournemouth and Watford have been drawn, with both sides winning once each.
- Bournemouth won the reverse league game against Watford 4-0 in October this season; the Cherries last did a league double over the Hornets in the 1962-63 third tier season.
- Bournemouth haven’t started a calendar year with a league win since 2012, when they won 2-0 against Wycombe Wanderers in League One; they’ve drawn five and lost one since.
- Watford have lost their first league match in each of the last seven calendar years, a run stretching back to 2012.
- Since August 2013, Bournemouth have won seven penalties in 11 league meetings with Watford (scoring four), more than any side has against another in that time in the top four tiers.
- Watford are looking to win consecutive away league games for the first time since winning their opening three on the road in the 2017-18 season.
- Bournemouth have lost eight of their last 10 Premier League games (W2), shipping at least two goals in each defeat.
- Bournemouth’s Josh King has scored more Premier League goals against Watford (five) than any other opponent, and has bagged three in his last two against the Hornets in the division.
- Watford’s Jose Holebas has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than any other defender (3 goals, 5 assists).
- Victory for Watford will mean they have secured 46 points in 35 Premier League games under Javier Gracia, more than any other Hornets manager in the competition, overtaking Quique Sanchez Flores (45 points in 38 games).
Chelsea v Southampton
Stamford Bridge, 1945 GMT
The 'Ralph Hasenhuttl revolution' has taken a bit of a knock in recent weeks with consecutive defeats to West Ham and Manchester City undoing the previous good work of wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield.
It's going to be a tough task as Southampton seek to avoid defeat against a Chelsea side who were handed their first home defeat of the season by Leicester prior to Christmas.
Saints will be without captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg after he was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge in that defeat to City, leaving a gap in midfield that will need to be addressed.
The real issue for Southampton remains in their defence though with the word 'shambles' an appropriate description for the majority of their efforts at the back.
Chelsea should therefore cause problems and that should also mean goals, with Southampton capable of finding the net themselves.
The one price that caught my eye was the 7/4 available on Willian to score anytime, with the winger contributing towards ten goals in all competitions this season.
He's netted Premier League goals in comfortable wins over Burnley and Cardiff, while his total of 36 shots is only bettered by Eden Hazard in this Chelsea side.
Given those defensive issues for the visitors, Willian should enjoy plenty of opportunities and you'd fancy a player of his quality to at least capitalise on one of them.
Score prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Southampton (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
Best bet: Willian to score anytime at 7/4
- Chelsea have won each of their last seven games against Southampton in all competitions, scoring two or more goals in six of those.
- Southampton have only won three of their 19 visits to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League (D5 L11), most recently a 3-1 win over Jose Mourinho’s Blues in October 2015.
- Chelsea haven’t lost consecutive home Premier League matches since November 2011, when they lost to Arsenal and Liverpool.
- Southampton have lost nine of their last 11 Premier League matches in London (W2).
- Chelsea are playing their first Premier League game of a calendar year at home for the first time since 2013, when they lost 0-1 to QPR thanks to a Shaun Wright-Phillips strike.
- Southampton haven’t won consecutive Premier League away games since March 2017, when they won at Sunderland and Watford.
- Since keeping back-to-back clean sheets in October, Southampton have conceded at least once in their last 10 Premier League games – the longest current run in the competition.
- Southampton have dropped a league-high 15 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.
- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in six goals in his last five appearances against Southampton in all competitions (five goals, one assist), with all four of his Premier League goals against them in this time coming as a substitute.
- Eden Hazard has had a hand in seven goals in his last six matches against Southampton for Chelsea in all competitions, scoring four and assisting three.
Huddersfield v Burnley
John Smith's Stadium, 1945 GMT
With respect to the two sides involved, this isn't exactly the most exciting encounter on Wednesday night.
Huddersfield and Burnley has the feel of a real relegation six-pointer at this point in the season, although you feel the Terriers will be more desperate for a result than their opponents.
The home side have lost their last seven games, leaving them bottom of the table and five points adrift of safety already.
There are questions starting to creep in about David Wagner's future at the club, and while he did take them from Championship strugglers to the riches of the Premier League, it has to be accepted that two wins in 20 is nowhere near good enough.
The mood in the dressing room is, as Wagner admits, understandably poor, and you fear for what another loss here could do to that already low morale.
Mike Dean is the referee and cards is where the value lies in a game such as this. Dean has shown more yellow and red cards than any other Premier League referee this season.
Philip Billing has already served one suspension for five yellow cards this season, and he's worth backing to pick up another card at a price of 11/4.
Both teams know the importance of this game. Three points could go a long way in their bid for survival and that could see some players over-stepping the mark.
Billing has already shown on multiple occasions that he can catch the referees attention. Given his position in centre midfield too, he'll be involved right in the centre of the battle.
On the Burnley side of things, Jack Cork can be backed at 7/2 to go into the book which looks generous on the basis that he has committed the second-highest number of fouls in this Clarets side.
The defensive midfielder has four yellows on his tally, and given the fact he has played the full 90 minutes in all but two of Burnley's Premier League fixtures this season, he'll have plenty of time on the pitch to pick up another.
Score prediction: Huddersfield 0-1 Burnley (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
Best bet: Jack Cork to be shown a card at 7/2
- All three previous Premier League games between Huddersfield and Burnley have finished level; only three matchups have seen each of their opening four Premier League fixtures end in a draw – Arsenal v QPR, Southampton v Stoke City and Bournemouth v Watford.
- Burnley are unbeaten in their last six league matches against Huddersfield Town (W3 D3), last losing to them in November 2013 in the Championship (1-2).
- In the top-flight, the last time Huddersfield started a calendar year with a win was in 1951 – against Burnley (D3 L4 since).
- Burnley have never won an away Premier League game in January, collecting just two points in eight attempts (W0 D2 L6).
- Huddersfield failed to score in 11 of their 18 home Premier League matches during 2018 (W3 D3 L12), netting just 10 goals. Only one team in top-flight history failed to score in more home matches during a single calendar year – Sunderland in 1969 (12 matches).
- Burnley have collected just six points from their last 12 away Premier League games (W1 D3 L8) since winning three in a row against West Ham, West Brom and Watford.
- Huddersfield have lost their last seven league matches – they’ve never lost eight in a row in their entire history.
- Burnley are looking to secure consecutive Premier League victories for the first time since September, while they last kept back-to-back clean sheets in the competition in December 2017 (a run of three).
- Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie has had more shots (32) and shots on target (15) without scoring than any other player in the Premier League this season.
- Burnley striker Chris Wood has scored more league goals against Huddersfield (six) than he has versus any other side in the English leagues, although only two of those have come in his last eight league appearances versus the Terriers.
West Ham v Brighton
London Stadium, 1945 GMT
West Ham suffered a somewhat surprise defeat to Burnley last time out, while Brighton wrapped up three points in a controversial win over Everton.
The Hammers are fancied to bounce back after two wins from their last three at the London Stadium, with confidence increased by the fact that Brighton's poor away form that has seen them defeated seven times from ten.
The Seagulls remain without first-choice goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who is with Australia at the Asian Cup, although David Button did keep a clean sheet as he stepped in at the Amex on Saturday.
West Ham should find the net here though, and Felipe Anderson provides good value at 5/2 to score anytime.
The winger has scored seven goals in his last ten Premier League games, including a brace in their away victory at Southampton two days after Christmas.
He also scored in recent home victories over Crystal Palace and Burnley. Anderson is more than equipped to net his ninth goal of the season in a contest such as this.
In terms of the result itself, the home side are one to include in your accumulator at a general price of 19/20. If you'd rather go for goals, 10/11 on over 1.5 West Ham goals is also worthy of consideration.
Score prediction: West Ham 2-0 Brighton (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
Best bet: Felipe Anderson to score anytime at 5/2
- West Ham have only won one of their seven top-flight matches against Brighton (D1 L5), winning 2-1 in March 1983.
- Brighton have won all three of their Premier League games against West Ham, more than they have against any other side.
- West Ham have lost two of their last three Premier League matches (W1), having lost just one of their eight prior to that (W5 D2 L1).
- Brighton have lost seven of their last eight top-flight games in London, though their only victory in that time was at West Ham last season (3-0).
- West Ham have a 26.5% Premier League win rate in January (won 22/83), lower than in any other month in the competition.
- West Ham have conceded at least once in each of their last seven home Premier League games, the longest current such run in the competition.
- Brighton striker Glenn Murray has only started three away Premier League matches in London – he’s scored in all three, netting five goals in total.
- The only previous occasion Brighton boss Chris Hughton has faced West Ham’s Manuel Pellegrini away from home was in a Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Norwich in November 2013 – Man City won 7-0.
- Brighton’s Glenn Murray has scored four goals in the three previous Premier League matches between Brighton and West Ham, and has six goals in total against the Hammers in the competition, more than he has against any other side.
- West Ham’s Felipe Anderson has been directly involved in eight goals in his last 10 Premier League matches (7 goals, 1 assist).
Wolves v Crystal Palace
Molineux, 1945 GMT
It's no surprise to see Wolves kicking on in the Premier League, with Nuno Espirito Santo's side sitting seventh in the standings.
Rather bizarrely for a newly-promote team, their away form has been better than at home, with 11 teams holding better records in front of their own supporters.
They would expect victory here though given the fact that Palace have won just three of their ten on the road and were given a full workout by Chelsea on Sunday.
That said, their last away win was a 3-2 triumph at the Etihad against Manchester City, so it'll be interesting to see if they can build upon that at another high-flying side.
What is of interest when looking at the stats here is the fact that Palace have seen the joint-most shots against down their left-hand side in the entire division. 24% of attacks on them come down that side, that's over double those arriving from the right.
It's clear that teams are enjoying some success by going down that way, and that could present Matt Doherty with the opportunity to find goal.
The wing-back has had little issue when it comes to the step-up to the Premier League, netting three goals and providing a further four assists.
It's also worth pointing out that one of those goals came against Palace in their away encounter at Selhurst Park, that being the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
His third of the season also came away at Newcastle. That's worth considering here too given how Newcastle are the side who join Palace in that top spot for attacks against down their left.
Two of his three goals were the first in the game, and there's every chance he could do the same here.
At a price of 15/2 for a goal anytime and 15/1 on the wide man grabbing the first goal, both are worth taking in a contest such as this.
Score prediction: Wolves 2-1 Crystal Palace (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
Best bet: Matt Doherty to score anytime at 15/2
Best bet: Matt Doherty to score first at 15/1
- Wolves have only lost one of their last 12 matches against Crystal Palace in the top-flight (W5 D6 L1) and won their only previous Premier League encounter 1-0 in October this season.
- In all competitions, Crystal Palace have only lost one of their last five visits to Molineux (W2 D2), a 2-1 defeat in the Championship in September 2008.
- Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has only won two of his eight previous Premier League matches against Wolves (D2 L4), both with West Brom in the 2011-12 season.
- After drawing their first two home league games this season, none of Wolves’ last eight at Molineux have ended level (W4 L4).
- Crystal Palace are looking to secure consecutive away wins in the same Premier League season for the first time since April 2017.
- Wolves have taken 13 points from their last six Premier League matches (W4 D1 L1) after taking just one point from their six before that (W0 D1 L5).
- Wolves have scored a league-high ratio 78% of their Premier League goals in the second half of games this season (18/23), with their five goals scored in the opening 45 minutes a league-low figure.
- Coming into this round of matches, no side has failed to score in more different Premier League games this season than Crystal Palace (9, level with Fulham and Huddersfield).
- Wolves striker Raul Jimenez has been directly involved in 10 of the team’s 23 goals in the Premier League this season (six goals and four assists).
- Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has neither scored or assisted a Premier League goal in his last 11 appearances in the competition – this after a run that saw him score eight and assist another two in his previous 12.
Newcastle v Manchester United
St. James Park, 2000 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event
I don't think Ole Gunnar Solksjaer could have asked for a better fixture list to start life as Manchester United manager.
His side have played and beaten Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth and they travel to take on a Newcastle side aiming to stay in the division next.
It must be said that Paul Pogba looks a completely different player now that Jose Mourinho is gone. He is finding himself amongst the goals and netted a brace in their 4-1 win over Bournemouth last time out.
These new performances are dividing opinion though. He is clearly a quality player who has always had the ability, but seemingly was unwilling to use it under previous management.
However much he contributed to it, a change has been made and he seems to be the central figure to United's recent good form.
The stats betting is available with this being a televised game and Pogba is the one we're backing here.
Sky Bet have him at 11/8 to have 2+ shots on target, which does look good value based on that recent form.
The midfielder leads the way for shots taken in this Manchester United side by a considerable margin. His 53 in total is signficantly more than the 29 posted by Marcus Rashford in second spot.
If you're considering backing him to score again here, it's worth mentioning that Sky Bet have also enhanced him to 13/2 to score from outside the area. 31 of those 53 shots have come from distance and that price looks much more appealing than the general 17/10 on a goal anytime.
Score prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Manchester United (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
- Newcastle beat Manchester United 1-0 at St. James’ Park in the Premier League last season; they haven’t won back-to-back home league games against the Red Devils since 1987.
- Manchester United have only lost one of their last eight league games against Newcastle United (W5 D2), although that was their last visit to St. James’ Park in February 2018 (0-1).
- Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has won each of his last four home games in charge of English clubs against Manchester United in all competitions, twice with Liverpool, once with Chelsea and also with the Magpies last season.
- Manchester United have only lost their first Premier League match in a calendar year in two of the last 22 years (W14 D6 L2), but one of those defeats came at St. James’ Park against Newcastle (0-3 in 2012).
- Manchester United have won 67 of their 99 Premier League games in January – 15 more than any other team has won in the month.
- Newcastle have lost seven of their 10 home Premier League games this season (W2 D1) – only in 2012-13 (9) and 2013-14 (8) have they lost more at St James’ Park in a single campaign in the competition.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to become only the second manager in Man Utd's history to win his first four league games in charge, after Matt Busby in 1946.
- Since being directly involved in nine goals in his first five Premier League starts against Newcastle (five goals, four assists), Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku has only had a hand in one goal in his last five starts against the Magpies (one goal).
- Newcastle’s Salomon Rondon has scored three goals in his last five Premier League games – more than he had in his previous 12 in the competition (2).
- Paul Pogba is looking to become only the second Man Utd player to score two or more goals in three consecutive Premier League appearances after Cristiano Ronaldo in December 2006.
Odds correct as of 1505 GMT on 31/12/18
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