So, we go again. A clean slate. Clubs start from zero – as do the tipsters.
A healthy season’s profit of +52.5 is now just a distant memory. The Premier League is back with a renewed air of unpredictably scattered across the top. Hope springs eternal that perhaps a new signing or change in the dugout can take a club to the next level.
It’s not started smoothly though for yours truly. A new arrival of my own has rather scuppered plans for an in-depth article on the best betting opportunities across the Premier League from an ante-post perspective. My progressively expanding wife is set to unleash the next great sporting talent of a generation into the world this week. Putting a plan together for lunch has been difficult enough, so committing to a long-read season preview with the chances of me swooning off into the world of paternal leave at any point didn’t seem the best decision.
However, the 2045 Open and Masters champion has decided to delay their adventure into the world. It’s either been eavesdropping on what 2020 has been like and doesn’t fancy it or – hopefully – been fine-tuning their short game in there.
This has given the father-to-be time to get stuck into the opening weekend and come out the other side with two bets for Saturday’s Premier League action.
Remember comrades, whatever I tip, I back. We’re in this together…
- Win £1m with Super 6
- Sky Sports Fantasy Football returns!
- Premier League 2020/21 season previews
- Jones Knows P+L for 19/20
Liverpool vs Leeds United: 1pt on Leeds to have 11 or more shots & to get caught offside six or more times (7/2 with Sky Bet – bet here!)
Now this should be a proper football match and it’s live on Sky Sports from 5pm on Saturday.
Newly promoted Leeds won’t be changing their aggressive, high-tempo approach for anybody this season, and certainly not for the Premier League champions. Marcelo Bielsa will send his troops out to go toe-to-toe with Jurgen Klopp’s side. I’m excited for it.
Liverpool vs Leeds
September 12, 2020, 5:00pm
This brave tactic up against Liverpool’s high defensive line will result in goalscoring opportunities for Leeds, whose fate in this game will be decided on whether they have the ruthless finisher to turn those chances into goals. I have my doubts on that front, but in terms of creating those chances, I’m happy to get them on side in the shots market.
Since Bielsa took charge in 2018, Leeds have averaged a remarkable 19 shots per game away from home, registering 114 more shots on the road than any other club in the Sky Bet Championship during that period.
They were magnificent against Arsenal at The Emirates in the FA Cup last season too, dominating proceedings, especially in the first half, to the extent they had 18 shots on goal in their 1-0 defeat.
- Leeds 2020/21: Will Bielsa inspire and thrive?
Liverpool do offer up chances to counter-pressing opposition teams at Anfield. Southampton registered 17 shots last season, Brighton 12 and even Norwich managed 12 in the opening day fixture between the two. Despite their imperious record at Anfield, taking 55 points from a possible 57 last season, Klopp’s side actually allowed 172 shots on their goal during that period. Leicester, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all managed to concede fewer shots at home.
With all that in mind, I’m happy to take Leeds to register 11 or more shots during the game. That price on its own though doesn’t get my punting pulse racing enough. It needs juice adding.
That juice comes in the form of the amount of Leeds offsides in the game.
This fixture is a match-up of the kings of catching players offside (Liverpool) and the kings of getting caught offside (Leeds). With such pace in the heart of their defence, Klopp’s men squeeze the life out of teams by playing a very high line that results in an above average figure of offsides in their matches. Last season, Liverpool made catching opposition players offside an art form, with 142 players being given offside against them, that’s 43 more than any other club managed.
Leeds will look to work that space in behind that backline with their quick transitions like they did against Arsenal in that FA Cup clash, where they were caught offside seven times in the 90 minutes. No team was caught offside more than Bielsa’s boys in the Championship last season either as they got ahead of the last man illegally 120 times.
Sky Bet have kindly priced up the shots and offsides double at 7/2 and I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t go close.
Crystal Palace vs Southampton: 2pts on Southampton/Southampton in half-time/full-time market (4/1 with Sky Bet – bet here!)
If my ante post season preview had made it to publication, then Southampton would have featured heavily.
When the Premier League returned after a three-month suspension, some teams came back stronger than before and that group was led by pressing kings Southampton, who saw a 71 per cent improvement in points-per-game form to finish in 11th. Ralph Hasenhuttl is a coach with high standards who is used to competing for big prizes and mixing it with the elite. He might just be able to take Southampton towards that top-six this season if maintaining their progression.
- Can Hasenhuttl take Saints to next level?
Their opening fixture pits them against a side with a completely different trajectory, very much looking down rather than up.
The Roy Hodgson-era at Palace seems to be meandering towards an inevitable conclusion. Not many managers can survive a run of taking one point from the last 27 available. A slow start to the season will be deemed unacceptable.
Saints look good to leave Selhurst Park with maximum points but instead of the outright win price, I’ve been tempted in by the juicy 4/1 for them to be winning at half-time and full-time. Hasenhuttl’s side are notorious fast starters and should have this one wrapped up by half-time – as they did in the previous meeting in January, running out convincing 2-0 winners after a pulsating first-half display.
Since the turn of the year, only Manchester City have had more shots on goal away from home in the first half of games than Southampton (45) which has seen them score seven times before the break – again, only City have scored more.
They can score first here, cop the 4/1 and push Hodgson closer to the exit door.
Fantasy Football returns: you picked your team yet?
Another year, another £50,000 jackpot on the line. Sky Sports Fantasy Football makes its return for the 2020/21 season.
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