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Our best bets for the Champions League1

Wednesday's Champions League tips

The final matches of the 2018/19 Champions League group stages take place on Wednesday evening. George Pitts has four best bets.

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Free betting tips: Premier League

Marko Arnautovic
Marko Arnautovic

David John is backing Marko Arnautovic to net for West Ham against Watford as Sunday's best Premier League bet.


Watford v West Ham (1600GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League)

David Moyes gets the opportunity to relaunch a career that became tarnished badly last season at Sunderland as he takes over the reins for the first time at struggling West Ham.

The notoriously erratic Hammers have turned to the Scot in a bid to find some stability and consistency and they are a best price of 3/1 to get off to an ideal start with three points at Vicarage Road.

It is quite tough to be hugely optimistic about Moyes after playing his part in sending the Mackems spiralling out of the Premier League in such spectacular fashion but having witnessed that club then sack a subsequent manager, perhaps Moyes had an impossible task from the off.

The suits upstairs in the West Ham boardroom will be praying they have signed up for the manager who did such a good job at Everton and can get a talented squad assembled for a reasonable sum of money to start playing up to its full potential.

Before we are all get carried away with "new manager" syndrome and pile on, Moyes quickly clarified this week that "it is going to take time" to get to the levels of Everton in their pomp under him.

He was also keen to stress as well it is very much up to the players to start taking responsibility for their output - or lack of - which ended up with the previous manager being shown the door.

They do need results relatively quickly though as they start this brave new era in the bottom three but if they can replicate anything near the second-half performance when dramatically ousting Tottenham from the Carabao Cup last month then Moyes will keep them in the section at the very least.

If this was the Watford of a month ago then I would not give West Ham a great deal of hope while they get sorted out but the Hornets have suffered three defeats on the spin, starting with a galling effort at Chelsea when they should have been out of sight early in the second period.

Tom Cleverley’s 11th-hour missed penalty robbed them of another point at Everton having led 2-0 but perhaps a bigger concern over the longer term is speculation swirling around the future of manager Marco Silva, who was clearly interested in the vacant Toffees job but has been told to stay put.

This is exactly the sort of unwanted distraction that could derail such an excellent start by Watford and I would not be in any hurry to entertain a quote of around 11/10.

The Hammers are clearly a shot in the dark too so I might just opt for an anytime scorer bet instead on Marko Anautovic.

He has not impressed so far since his record-breaking summer move to the London Stadium but was prepared to give his critics both barrels this week and said: "Most of them have no work, probably no life and no idea."

All the West Ham players will be keen to convince the new manager they should be part of his plans but the volatile Austrian might just appreciate more than most a change at the top.

Prediction: Watford 1-1 West Ham - Sky Bet odds: 5/1

Recommended bets: Sunday Premier League

1pt Marko Arnautovic to score anytime v Watford at 7/2

Click here for our transparent tipping record.

Posted at 1310 BST on 17/11/17.


Arsenal v Tottenham (1230GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League)

The Premier League reconvenes with a spiky derby tussle and the chance to edge closer towards a more definitive answer as to who is the biggest player currently in north London.

Tottenham bested their closest rivals last season in the final standings for the first time in 22 years but Arsene Wenger fired his own broadside this week with the old "it’s all about winning trophies" chestnut having bagged his third FA Cup in four years back in the spring - so a point each then?

The Frenchman had been in particularly feisty mood anyway having accused Raheem Sterling of diving in the 3-1 loss at Manchester City but they looked some way off the overall quality of the current pacesetters despite a couple of fairly dubious officiating decisions going against them.

The public perception seems to be swinging more towards Spurs being the better of the two moving forward and it might be something Wenger has to accept for the time being if they come up with a victory at the Emirates.

That possibility seemed less obvious earlier in the week with a host of Maurico Pochettino’s big names on the treatment table but some intensive work by the medical staff means Harry Kane, Harry Winks, Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli will all be available for selection.

That news is probably the reason for them being trimmed up in the betting by a couple of firms while a sensational away record this season - slightly derailed at Old Trafford at the end of October - also gives them great prospects of picking up all three points.

That said, Arsenal may have dropped a couple of pretty horrid clangers on the road but remain unbeaten at home and I would be pretty surprised if they didn’t manage to find a way through Tottenham’s backline at some stage.

Key to that will be Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who have been on the periphery at times in 2017 but will surely be firing on all cylinders in the most important game of the season for the fans. If not, it is seriously time to give up on the duo.

This has finished all square in the last three meetings and I doubt picking that outcome will be far off the mark once more in a fair reflection on the two teams’ relative merits but not a great deal of help when it comes to making up some ground on Pep Guardiola’s City.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham - Sky Bet odds: 11/2

Bournemouth v Huddersfield (1500)

It is another dreaded away trip for the Terriers and for those who need a quick refresher, their record since spanking Crystal Palace on August 12 in all competitions reads zero wins and zero goals in five attempts.

David Wagner is probably not keen on trying to replicate the record on the road of Burnley from last season but some sort of respite would be a relief, even a goal in a losing cause on the south coast would be a minor step in the right direction.

Perhaps another wonder strike from Rajiv van La Parra can turn the tide or Steve Mounie’s return up front could help after the injury-hit striker got an hour of playing time under his belt for Benin during the international break.

He will push Laurent Depoitre for a starting berth as they tackle an improving Cherries defence that has conceded just three times in their last five Premier League outings.

They have still managed just one victory this season in the top flight at the Vitality Stadium but confidence at last seems on the up for Eddie Howe and his side following back-to-back away triumphs.

Whether they deserve to be odds-on chances is very much up for debate when you consider Howe has issues of his own in attack with the participation of Josh King, Benik Afobe and Junior Stanislas all in doubt on some level.

That leaves an out-of-form Jermain Defoe and Callum Wilson to shoulder the load but the latter was extremely close on Tyneside last time out in terms of getting back on the scoring trail and is worth a second glance to become the game’s difference-maker.

Prediction: Bournemouth 1-0 Huddersfield - Sky Bet odds: 5/1

Callum Wilson can find the target for Bournemouth
Callum Wilson can find the target for Bournemouth

Burnley v Swansea (1500)

I am sure there will be a few punters ready to row in on the Clarets given their odds-against quote and they should be good enough to justify favouritism if the international break has not interrupted momentum too much.

Sean Dyche remains at the helm while Everton drag their feet as a search for a new manager at Goodison Park goes on so it is a case of "as you were" for one of the season’s surprise packages, who sit just four points off second place.

I doubt we are going to be blown away by any displays of attacking verve from Burnley but Dyche actually won���t give a hoot, his foundation is based on defensive solidity with a back four that has played all 990 minutes of top-flight football this season and recorded five clean sheets along the way.

While the home side’s confidence is very much on the up, Dyche’s opposite number Paul Clement may not be in gainful employment in south Wales come the end of the weekend if he does not get a result of some description.

Five defeats from six outings makes for gloomy reading, leaves them second bottom and patience at the Liberty Stadium is running increasingly short.

A confused brand of football (not helped by injuries) has seen Clement make change after change in a bid to get a team that has taken a big step backwards since last season moving in the right direction.

Assistant Claude Makelele has jumped ship for a management opportunity in Belgium so perhaps adding Leon Britton to the coaching staff can help revitalise a situation that could soon be beyond Clement’s control.

Wilfrid Bony and Renato Sanches are in line for a recall after a spell on the sidelines to hopefully liven things up but it takes a hefty leap of faith to think the visitors have found something good enough to upset a particularly well-oiled Burnley machine.

Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Swansea - Sky Bet odds: 15/2

Crystal Palace v Everton (1500)

Saturday afternoon’s car-crash fixture takes place at Selhurst Park, full of all the lurid ingredients that should make for compelling viewing.

There have been sneaking signs of life from both prior to the international break but hardly enough to suggest they are about to suddenly emerge from a turbulent opening three months of the season.

The layers can’t make up their minds particularly either way with Palace 6/4 and the visitors around 2/1 as the latter’s immediate fortunes still remain very much up in the air as the search for a new manager continues.

The job at Goodison has been coveted by so many down the years but the owners seemingly can’t give it away at the moment so incumbent David Unsworth remains in the hot-seat and has taken training again this week.

He managed to drag a display out of his players last time as they put a vital three points on the board from 2-0 down against Watford but a huge scoop of good fortune was needed as Tom Cleverley dragged his last-gasp penalty attempt wide of the target.

It was some sort of start but here is a team that has managed one away triumph all season - at Ruzomberok – and if Unsworth can work the oracle once more then Everton’s solution to their vacancy issue could be right in front of their eyes without having to pursue Carlo Ancelotti or Diego Simeone.

Palace under Roy Hodgson have not really emerged from their tailspin despite beating Chelsea a month ago although the quality of performances has improved bar one desperate effort at Bristol City in the Carabao Cup.

The fortnight break has given the former England manager a chance to get some more work into his charges while there is a chance Christian Benteke could be back from injury, even if that is the case, the home side still remain woefully short on firepower as four goals in total suggests.

They are unbeaten at home in three outings though so will probably show some gumption with the visitors also capable of hitting the target in a low-scoring stalemate.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton - Sky Bet odds: 9/2

The Foxes' wily new operator Claude Puel
The Foxes' wily new operator Claude Puel

Leicester v Manchester City (1500)

Everton and Wolves are the only two teams this season to get something over 90 minutes against Manchester City and Leicester’s turn has arrived to try and halt, or at least slow down, Pep Guardiola’s rampant outfit.

The latter are already 1/10 in places for the title and the book could be closed at this rate by Christmas if they march any further clear than their current advantage of an extremely healthy eight points.

Not too many problems are expected to be posed by the former Premier League champions at the King Power with them in the region of 1/3 for another maximum but I would like to proffer a word or two of warning.

Guardiola has great riches to select from but one option up front could be missing after striker Sergio Aguero suffered a dizzy spell whilst in action in midweek and a safety-first policy is on the cards for the Argentine.

Defender Nicolas Otamendi serves a suspension so that could mean a chance for the fragile Vincent Kompany to make his umpteenth return to the starting line-up.

The one genuine calming influence at the back, it is a guessing game in terms of how long the Belgian lasts so Guardiola could still be forced into a mid-match reshuffle if something snaps despite Kompany reportedly enjoying a good week of training in the build-up.

I am still not convinced by goalkeeper Ederson either and his tendency for an inopportune rush of blood to the head so there are potential openings for the Foxes to exploit.

Thoughtful new manager Claude Puel has made a very promising start and was almost two from two only to find Stoke on one of their going days as they fought back twice to force a 2-2 draw.

As Tony Hayers memorably explained to Alan Partridge, it is evolution not revolution for Puel and his minor tweaks here and there have been effective so far and already got a big thumbs-up from veteran Jamie Vardy.

This represents a first real test for the Frenchman as Leicester’s four defeats this campaign have all come against teams from last season’s top six but there seems to be a bit of swagger returning to this part of the east midlands and they are not without hope of giving the champions elect a good workout.

Prediction: Leicester 2-2 Manchester City - Sky Bet odds: 14/1

Liverpool v Southampton (1500)

Liverpool have performed well since their humiliating effort at Wembley when given the utter run around by Tottenham with some momentum as a result to move up to the fringes of the top-four.

It is time then to try and pick up where they left off but it is never that straightforward for the Reds in their preparation with Jurgen Klopp spending a night in hospital this week while in-form Sadio Mane tweaked a hamstring playing for Senegal and is far from certain to be a full go.

There was better news in terms of the other international absentees on their return and even the silky Adam Lallana could be involved this weekend at Anfield – remember him?

I am not entirely sure they deserve to be quite such strong favourites as a quote of 4/11 suggests as they host a team who will try and squeeze any life out of the game in a bid to avoid some sort of shootout which they probably have little chance of winning.

Oriel Romelu and the excellent Mario Lemina are well capable of breaking things up in midfield but the latter has missed two games with an ankle problem and potential replacement Sofiane Boufal just isn’t the type of player who can be deployed in the same way in the middle of the pitch.

There will be plenty of focus too on Virgil van Dijk following his on-off Anfield switch saga over the summer so it will be fascinating to see whether he rises to the occasion or it all turns out to be a bit too much trying to keep an eye on slippery characters like Mo Salah and Philippe Coutinho.

The Saints are unbeaten in their last five against Liverpool and this is the start of a tough run of fixtures until the end of the year with half-a-dozen of their next 10 outings against top-six outfits and I think they will make the hosts work harder than expected for all three points.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Southampton - Sky Bet odds: 7/1

West Brom v Chelsea (1500)

Patience seems to be running thin among Baggies fans with Tony Pulis’ increasingly dull regime so can the Welshman earn himself some time with a surprise three points against the champions at 11/2?

Pulis has made a habit down the years of getting his sides to raise their game against loftier opposition but looks to be on a very short leash at The Hawthorns as he wades deeper into the mire on a run without a victory that stretches back to Accrington of all places on August 22.

The fans voiced their feelings in no uncertain terms in the 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield following a particularly feeble second half effort and although they laid a late siege to the home side’s penalty area, there was no way past an inspired Jonas Lossl.

West Brom are a side well versed when it comes to getting a result when facing the lesser lights and matches against this quality of opposition tend to be seen as a bit of a free hit.

A loss here and at Spurs next week though could spell big trouble for the Pulis and it is no shock to see some interest in the 2/1 about him being the next Premier League gaffer out of the door.

Interestingly, his opposite number Antonio Conte is also in that conversation with the Italian national job now vacant to go with one or two rumblings inside the bowels of Stamford Bridge that he may not want to stay around much longer following the heavy Champions League defeat at Roma.

They quickly got back on track by beating Manchester United but still look some way off their best form from last season although I think the situation will be helped by an extended run in the side for N’Golo Kante, who is arguably developing into their most important player.

We should get a good idea how much stomach Pulis has left for the job with this club or whether he and the players truly have given up the ghost and time has come for a change.

The visitors have a nine-point deficit already to make up on leaders Manchester City so can’t afford to mess around here so should punish a very moderate team as would be expected.

Expensive summer recruit and top-class exponent of multi-coloured hair styles Tiemoue Bakayoko, somewhat seething having been left out of the French squad this week, missed a hatful of chances against Manchester United and could be worth an anytime dart to be among the scorers.

Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Chelsea - Sky Bet odds: 15/2

Manchester United v Newcastle (1730, BT Sport 1)

Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez have had their moments down the years when it comes to a difference of opinion but I am sure both will be all sweetest and light now time has had the chance to mellow them a little.

Their respective sides definitely have something to prove as the Red Devils attempt to bridge the gap at the top to Manchester City following a narrow defeat at Chelsea while Benitez bids to arrest a two-game slump that has seen them suffer 1-0 reverses against Burnley and Bournemouth.

Toon certainly had their chances early on against the Cherries as Matt Richie saw a couple of cracking long-range drives thwarted but it was the visitors on Tyneside who finished the strongest to nick all three points, very un-Rafa like from his teams, who are usually clued up when it comes to concentration beyond the 90th minute.

A trip to Old Trafford provides their toughest test so far since returning to the top flight and the bookmakers don’t seem overly optimistic about their chances at 12/1, considering as well their sole away victory came at struggling Swansea over two months ago.

The hosts were undone by one slice of magic between Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata after the latter planted a classic header past a rooted David De Gea a fortnight ago at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho got a good response from his current team against Chelsea as a result but some collective huffing and puffing could not find a way through as clear late chances from Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford came up shy.

There is no need to push the panic button just yet but two defeats in five outings will have a few of the faithful on some sort of low alert and the likelihood of kicking off here 11 points behind leaders Manchester City does pile on a little bit of additional pressure but we all know Mourinho relishes some of that on the touchline.

This should be a great chance for Romelu Lukaku to rediscover his knack in front of goal having drawn a blank in seven games so I will chalk this one up as a pretty routine home victory.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Newcastle - Sky Bet odds: 6/1

Recommended bets: Saturday Premier League

1pt Callum Wilson to score anytime v Huddersfield at 9/5

1pt Leicester/Draw Double Chance v Man City at 13/5

1pt Tiemoue Bakayoko to score anytime v West Brom at 15/2

Click here for our transparent tipping record.

Posted at 0705 BST on 17/11/17.

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