Having opened up at close to even money in some places, you really have missed the boat on Manchester United, with the price now around 3/5 (1.60). Granted, three points for The Red Devils is the most likely outcome, but the value has long gone. In fact United have only won 3 of the last 15 when favourites on the road. It is a very different United right now though, as we shall explore later in this preview.
When pondering other ways to get Manchester’s second team onside, I’m bhoyed by the fact they’ve scored in 15 of their last 20, and Brighton have conceded in 17 of the last 20. I’d be very surprised if Brighton manage a shut-out, which makes one consider the most likely goalscorers for United.
Antony Martial to score anytime is around 2.75 on both Betfair and Smarkets exchanges. Even if we ignore his hattrick against Sheffield United, he had scored in 10 separate games from 23 starts this season. That would imply odds of 13/10 (2.30) being a fair price (43.4% strike rate). Obviously to understand if we’re getting value, there are multiple factors to consider.
Brighton are a team that concede pretty much bang on the average number of shots, which surprised me a little as I mistakenly thought they were quite good at limiting opposition shots. The stats highlight the reality here and perhaps Chris Hughton’s Brighton defence of Bruno, Dunk, Duffy and March are stuck in my mind. Afterall, matches involving Graham Potter’s Brighton are averaging just under 2.5 goals, which is only slightly below the league average of 2.6ish.
With nothing in Brighton’s data to put me off backing United’s top scorer to bag at anytime, we should look at Martial’s shot data. Expected goals is a much masturbated over statistic that has some relevance, up to a point. Ignoring last time out vs Sheffield United, the fact he has 9 or 10 expected goals depending on which boffin records the data, means that he’s not a player who is having a spell of good luck. He’s pretty much scoring the amount he probably should.
In terms of shots themselves, Antony has got off 3 or more in 16 out of 24 starts, meaning the 1.66 on offer on over 2 shots is worth a follow too. Given half of Martia’s shots this season are on target, I reckon if those supporting him can create enough for him to have 4 shots today, we’ll see a goal from Martial.
Now let’s bring an ever growing extinct variable to the equation: this columnist’s human eye. With 3 of Matic, Fred, McTominay, Pogba and Fernandes likely to start, United’s central midfield is starting to look a lot more fluid which should mean their strikeforce continue to be presented with opportunities to get shots off. They can go from defence to attack much quicker than in the early part of Solsjaer’s management this season, and James and Rashford’s exploding pace on the wings only help get the ball into promising positions quicker.
Brighton certainly aren’t mathematically safe, but would no doubt settle for a point. I can’t see that being the case for the away side; United need all 3 to keep the Champions League charge going.
In yesterday’s winning 3 bets (from 4), one was U3.5 cards. Unfortunately my sources tell me that Andrew Marriner has a little soft spot for the Seaside life, and given the squid-stuffing Marriner gives even less yellow cards than yesterday’s men in black, Simon Hooper, it could be a low booking point tally. With the line set at 2.5, I’d either avoid, or back the unders and then get with the overs in play in the first half if you like a trading opportunity.
In the card match-up, my model makes Brighton 5/4 (2.22) chances to win the cards market, with United 21/10 (2.1). That’s despite United averaging 1.9 cards compared to Brighton’s 1.58. One to avoid perhaps, although the Brighton DNB on Asian cards with 365 could come into play depending on starting line ups.
Martial to score @2.75
Martial 02.5 shots @ 1.80 PaddyPower
under 3.5 cards at 1.83Monday Night Football sees Crystal Palace host Burnley, in a game that shouldn’t top the television viewing figures. Not only are both sides relatively unfashionable, they both have nothing concrete to play for.
Roy Hodgson may have Palace’s highest ever points tally (7 more to gain) in his sights, and as previously mentioned by this columnist, he’s not a manager to stand for taking your foot off the gas. One could argue the same of Sean Dyche though, and his barbed comments at the owners in this week’s press conference discuss the subject of funds to improve the squad. A man who isn’t happy with his lot; Dyche always looks to improve.
Sitting 10th and 11 respectively, only goal difference separates the sides and I’d expect the scoreline to be equally as tight. In fact, my first wager in this game comes in a first half stalemate, at 11/8 (2.37) with Betfair.
Do The Stats Support?
In the last 40 league games involving either club, 19 have seen a draw at HT land. If we look specifically at Selhurst Park, or on the road for The Clarets, this would be have landed in 20 of the last 40. Adjusting the sample size to only include middle third Premier League teams, the strike rate again remains around 50%. Given the odds imply this landed closer to 40% of the time, we may have ourselves a little value at a price of 2.37 compared to 3.
Palace average 1.61 cards per game, with Burney picking up 1.94. Interestingly Palace’s games see 3.90 cards, meaning their opponents tend to get just over 2 cards. Burnley’s average 3.13, meaning their opponents get around a card. This would support Burnley winning the card count today, something they’ve done in 55% of their games, with Palace also losing the card count in 55% of games. If Zaha starts, I’d be a backer of Burnley most yellows at 1.96 with Marathonbet. The Ivory Coast star has drawn a whopping 98 fouls this season, a figure only bettered by Jack Grealish (144). Jordan Ayew sits at 4th on this list, so if both start it’s a decent bet.
Simon Hooper officiates, and has a record of 2.8 cards given per game.I’ve observed increased leniency from Premier League referees post-lockdown. The stats back that up with a significant drop from 3.64 cards per game to 2.71! Given Mr Hooper shows half a card less per game than his colleagues (league average of 3.4), if we ignored the teams playing, the most likely card count would be 2. With the line set at 3.5, that could provide some value. There’s been 4 or more cards just 8 out of 24 since the resumption, but again the sample size is small so do apply caution.
0-0 at HT @2.37 Betfair
Draw at HT @1.91 Widely available
Burnley most yellow cards @1.96 Marathon (team news dependent)
Under 3.5 cards at 1.83
Friday night football is back, and arguably the marquee fixture of the weekend sees Jose Mourinho host his former club, Manchester United.
At 2/1 I’d rather be on Spurs than United, but I’m not involved in the 1x2 as there’s too many unknowns about players' fitness for me to be comfortable taking a price where I see maybe 5% of value. If they were say 9/4 then maybe I’d get involved.
What interests me more is the cards market here.
Jonathan Moss officiates in what will be his first game between the traditional big 6 this season. He refereed each of these sides once this season, giving United 2 cards and Spurs 4, in games involving 4 and 9 cards respectively. However these numbers are pretty meaningless as a sample size of 1 is just irrelevant.
What is relevant is that he averages a shade under 4 yellows per game this season, from a sample of 20 games refereed. He has given 42 home yellows and 37 away yellows, so not a big disparity. And if the Bunderliga return is anything to go by, games behind closed doors tend to mean slightly more fouls and yellow cards given against home sides than if a partizan crowd was present. The reason I’m saying all this is to highlight that I’m not scared of backing the home side to pick up most yellow cards, despite the average success rate being 32.29% in the PL this season.For those that care, and if you do, you might need to go and get a beer and live a little, the away side wins the card count 43.06% of the time this season in the PL. Again, I suspect these two numbers to level out slightly whilst we’re seeing attendances of 30-50 staff and cameramen!
Looking at games involving The Lilywhites, and by the way the younger audience may not know that was a Tottenham nickname due to the colour of their shirts. Tottenham have won the card count 45% of the time this season, drawing 21% and losing 34% of the time.
United, have won the yellow card count just 21% of the time, drawing 24% and losing 55%
If we combine those average we’re looking at Spurs winning the card count tomorrow 5 times out of every 10 times this match was played, a draw a couple of times, and United winning the card coin the other 3 times.
Given that, I’m happy to make a play based purely on the price of 7/5 for Spurs to collect most yellow cards. The odds are implying it happens 41.7% of the time, so 4 times in 10, but I’ve got this closer to 5 out of 10.
If we get more specific and look at card counts against other traditional top 6 teams, United have won the card count twice, losing 5 times. And since Mouinho came in, in November, Spurs have won 3 out of 5. So again, both just extra pieces of data that offer a little support.
Obviously we want team news to be onside and if 3 out Sissokko, Winks, Davies, Aurier and Kane aren’t starting, I’d probably be worried.