Hull City vs. Watford: Hull HT/FT (2/1, Ladbrokes)
The bookies have cottoned onto two facts: 1) Marco Silva’s Hull are really good at home, and 2) Watford’s season is done and dusted. This saddens us immensely.
It means a home Hull win – so often a banker in this column – is no longer that attractive as a bet, with the odds out at 17/20. You have to dig deeper for value, and put your faith in a fast start from the Tigers who should know that things are getting pretty desperate down there.
Hull HT/FT is an attractive 3/1. If you’re feeling unsure about, just remember Oumar Niasse is a world-class footballer now. Watford don’t stand a chance.
Swansea City vs. Stoke City: Swansea Win (23/20, with Ladbrokes)
From one relegation-threatened side to another, Swansea City host Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium this weekend in a game which is almost certain to be rubbish.
Swansea have lost steam of late, with Fernando Llorente’s injury blunting their attack and fatigue reducing Gylfi Sigurdsson’s effectiveness. But playing Stoke at home right now is one of the simplest tasks in football; they’ve lost five of their last six away from the Britannia Stadium, according to WhoScored.com, and have failed to score in the last five. That’s legitimately embarrassing.
Potters fans have become increasingly irritated with Mark Hughes’ awful gameplans away from home and some have even gone as far as to call for his sacking. Paul Clement couldn’t have asked for a better fixture, so to see the hosts at near evens to win should bring a grin to your chops.
West Ham vs. Everton: Both Teams To Score Yes (4/7, with Ladbrokes)
I always like to include a “safe” bet in amongst the pack (note: by “safe,” I mean the one that will literally always blow your acca to smithereens) and this week it’s BTTS Yes between West Ham and Everton.
The Hammers are flawed from almost every angle, and even with Winston Reid back in contention to play, he can’t solve all the issues in that back line. Further up the field they boast a multitude of attacking weapons, but they’re often forced to work overtime for any result gained.
Everton are clearly stronger, but they’re an imperfect side – make no mistake about it. Their form on the road is very different to their form at Goodison Park.
AFC Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough: Over 2.5 Goals (10/11, with Ladbrokes)
Steve Agnew has asked this Boro side to exit their shells and attack more. They’re trying, bless them, but seven months of defending stoutly has created a mentality issue in the squad that’s proved tough to fix.
As they open up more, they leave holes to take advantage of. Bournemouth will delight in obliging there, but question marks must be asked of what kind of team Eddie Howe sends out this weekend, as injuries have genuinely crippled his midfield options.
Both quite flawed, but both with something very important to play. Expect chaos, errors and at least three goals.