Saturday 5th December 2020
Chelsea: Played 10, 3rd position, 19PTS, 18.89 xPTS, 22 goals for, 16.16 xG, 10 goals against, 8.53 xGA
Leeds: Played 10, 12th position, 14PTS, 14.71 xPTS, 15 goals for, 16.89 xG, 17 goals against, 16.16 xGA
The North London derby will draw the attention of most this weekend, but my pick of the card is this match-up between two dynamic teams. Leeds have been hailed as the best of the promoted bunch, with many expecting them to push for a top half finish in their first season back in the top flight for 16 years. While their current position doesn’t quite match up to these expectations, we are barely over a quarter of the way into the season, and they have been relatively unlucky in their meetings with teams such as Liverpool and Arsenal. Remarkably, they have dominated possession in all of their games so far this campaign, including against Liverpool and Manchester City, who average 59.6% and 62.6% respectively. This embodies Bielsa’s philosophy and exemplifies Leeds’ approach – they are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with even the best teams in the league and impose their game plan.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea have got off to a strong start this season after investing heavily in the summer – with distinct focus on the recruitment of exciting attacking talent. Interestingly though, their 5.84 difference between expected goals and actual goals scored suggests they may have been over-performing at the top end of the pitch. While this may suggest some reversion to the mean at some point down the line, it may also simply indicate the quality of their forwards; not to mention the fact they have also won four penalties so far this season in the league.
While I think there’s some value in a goal head-start for Leeds on the Asian Handicap market, my main play for this fixture will be Leeds shots. They rank 3rd in the league in this particular stat, only behind Liverpool and Manchester City, with an average of 15.3 shots per game. While Chelsea only concede on average 9.5 shots per game, it’s important to note that they have played the 5 weakest teams in the league in terms of shots taken. One other vital factor to consider with this specific type of bet is how often a team goes behind and has to chase the game. Given their attacking talent, I expect Chelsea to get on the score-sheet, and they have taken the lead in half of their games thus far; while Leeds have fallen behind in half of their games up to this stage.
I think 11 Leeds shots is an adequate starting line, and you can get this on SkyBet, Betfair, PaddyPower and Bet365. This line opened at 1.91 on Betfair/PaddyPower but unfortunately this has since shortened, with the best price now 1.83 with Skybet. I also like to take a few of the higher lines; if the game state is right, Leeds can really motor and rack up huge numbers, as seen in recent games against Everton and Arsenal. Stakes should be staggered in order to cover most/all of your total outlay if the first line is hit.
Leeds 11+ total shots – 1.83@SkyBet
Leeds 13+ total shots – 3.1@Betfair/PaddyPower
Leeds 15+ total shots – 6.0@SkyBet/Betfair/PaddyPower
Leeds 17+ total shots – 15.0@Betfair/PaddyPower
My first bet comes at Turf Moor, and I’m backing Sean Dyche to mastermind another tight victory for what has become an unfashionable team to back recently. And that’s after Burnley had a period of being quite the favourites of bettors. They face a Sheffield United team who appear to be going one way.
The Blades had quiet ambitions for a Champions League qualification place before Premier League football resumed. Now they will be more concerned with merely finishing in the top half. My selection yesterday, Everton, carried my money proudly to close the gap on the Sheffield side to 2 points. Admittedly, United have a game in hand, but I’m hoping they lose that on Sunday, ideally in a boring, low scoring 1-0 late Burnley set piece.
Burnley do concede 14 shots per game, which is above the league average of 12.5, but that ratio doesn’t convert into goals conceded as much as for other teams. There’s still 7 sides in the league that have conceded more, and In Nick Pope there’s a very solid keeper, -who worryingly is probably due a mistake!! Save that for next gameweek please Nick.
News inside the camp is that The Clarets have concentrated on going back to basics after the demolition at the hands of City. They’ve followed that up with 2 clean sheets in 1-0 wins, and if results go their way, they could go 7th.
Obviously I’d love Barnes and Wood to be available. The former certainly won’t start, and the latter has just an outside chance of 90 minutes. Rodriguez needs to be back for this one to pull the trigger on the bet with more than 1 point.
I’m backing them on the Asian Handicap at -0.25, at odds of 6/4 (that’s 2.50 in decimal pricing). That means if the game is a draw, I only lose half my stake.
Obviously Sheffield United will be very keen to bounce back from their recent poor results, but I think Wilder has got the best he can out of this squad and Sunday will be their 2nd match in 4 days. Whereas Burnley have had a bit more of a rest.
The other bet I like is the 0-0 at half time at 11/8 (2.37), and the draw at half time at 1.95 (19/20).
I can see the game being slow starting, feeling each other out, not over-committing and both sides being more than happy with a draw at HT. For those that like their current seasons stats, it’s landed in 12 and 13 times respectively, which would imply you’d want odds of 2.56. We’re only getting 2.37 but it’s more the match up of teams that I find of more interest here.
For my 2nd bet of this game week, I’m going for a match between the team that I’ve backed against the most and it’s cost me, and the team that I’ve put my money for the most and it’s cost me. What could possibly go wrong? Can you guess the game?
Burnley -0.25 @ 2.5
0-0 at HT @2.37
Draw at HT @1.95
My second selection this weekend, at odds of 1.73 is West Ham +0.25 Asian goals v Newcastle. A draw means a half win and I’d like to keep that onside.
The main reason I’m betting this is because Newcastle are the biggest over performers on my own metrics. If I look at the places they have their shots, where they concede them, and the decisions they make in the final third, I just can’t get them onside. They are a -4.3 on my own proprietary ratings, which is awful.
I don’t think either side would feel too hard done by if the game was a draw so it’s not a game I’m expecting to be open from the off. Recency bias may dictate that some punters want to get goals in Newcastle games onside but they only scored 1 against a porous Aston Villa and it wasn't until John Egan was sent off that they scored against Sheffield United. The game against Bournemouth was a must win for the Cherries, so it was inevitable that chances would come.
David Moyes has had enough time for his beliefs t be instilled into the players at West Ham It’s whether they buy into his magnerial philosophy or not. Luckily he’s got a good captain in Mark Noble who will be a role model in that dressing room and be a great conduit for Moyes.
They’ve got Fabianski back who is one of the best keepers in the league. Antonio is a menace up top, but only worry is goals for him and the team. But if the Hammers do get an early strike, I can see them getting a few due to Newcastle needing to come out and attack more, knowing they can afford a cavalier attitude with Premiership football guaranteed for next season. Of course, we’re going to need Ryan Fredricks to have a very good game against Saint Maximim here.
West Ham + 0.25 @ 1.73
The Foxes travel to Merseyside in a bid to kickstart their post-lockdown fortunes. Even going further back, Leicester’s record in all competitions over the last 15 games reads W4 D5 L6. Those wins came against Aston Villa, Brentford, Birmingham and West Ham; hardly a quality level of opposition.
In the same time period Everton boast a record of W7 D4 L4. The defeats coming against traditional big 6 clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City.
Despite these contrasting samples, Everton are 14 points off Brendan Rogers’ side in the league and the most important metric in football would suggest the gap isn’t due to good fortune. Leicester have a goal difference of +30, compared to Everton’s -8. Given this, why are Everton (2.64) favourites to win today?The answer, unfortunately for the old-school punters, lies in the expected goal data.
Leicester’s expected goal difference is +12; they are scoring more than xG predicts they would, and are conceding less than xG predicts they would. That can happen when you have a top-class finisher like Jamie Vardy and a decent shot-stopped like Kasper Schmeichel. Whereas Everton aren’t scoring as many of the chances they should, and are conceding more than they should given the places they tend to give up shots on their goal.
If we adjust the sample for Everton games where Ancelotti has presided, the data would say smooth Carlo has The Toffees performing better:
I’m going to take the 42/50 (1.84) on Everton +0 on the Asian Handicap. That’s also known as the ‘Draw No Bet’. An Everton win sees us profit as close to doubling our money, with the safety of a void bet if it’s a draw.
New manager bounce is exaggerated by the untrained pundit. However, we’re dealing with a world-class, incredibly experienced manager. And there shouldn’t be a motivation problem for Everton players. Not only can they qualify for Europe (as low as 8th should see Europa League qualification), but players like Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Digne are in the shop window.
In terms of team news, Everton can welcome Yery Mina back to the squad. Leicester should once again be without James Maddison which is a significant loss. Not to mention longer term absentee Ricardo Pereira who is probably the 2nd best right back in the league. Leicester have played twice since the restart, against two of the poorer teams, Watford and Leicester, with the respective 1-1 and 0-0 draws being a fair reflection of those matches.
Let’s hope Leicester continue to struggle today. My one worry is Everton’s central midfield. I’m yet to be fully convinced that Sigurdsson and Gomes are the right combination, and I question their mobility. Tom Davies was pretty poor last time out against Norwich so I would imagine he’d be on the bench.
Everton +0AH (draw no bet) at 44/50 (1.85) with Bet365
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.
1pt O2.5 Mansfield v Colchester @ 2.36 Marathon Bet
Last year Mansfield were dominant at home, losing only three games, scoring 42 goals in the process, writes ALEX EVERSON, who made a winning debut at Evens in the Blackpool v Portsmouth game.
The average goals per game at Field Mill was 2.96. 52% of all league games went over 2.5 goals, with 43% going over 3.5.
Colchester, last season, were a mid table side, finishing 13th. Their away matches had a total of 52 goals in 23 games, an average of 2.26. Although this is a low total, 48% of their matches went over 2.5 goals.
When we aggregate this with Mansfield O2.5 from last year, we have a 50% hit rate on O2.5 goals, yet we are being offered 2.36 representing only a 42.3% chance on this landing, showing we should have some value.
This season so far, Mansfield have blown sides away going forwards, scoring 11 goals in 3 games (Including a 6-1 win against newly promoted Accrington Stanley in the EFL Cup). The price we are being offered suggests that Colchester are a defensive side. They have kept 2 clean sheets in their league games so far. They have given up 8 shots in both games (Away to Notts County and home to Port Vale). They have only had 3 shots on target against them though - though we think the chances of this changing v Mansfield represents value at the price.
Mansfield have registered 25 shots across their two league games (9 on target) following that up with 16 against Accrington (10 on target) in the EFL Cup. There is no reason to suggest they cannot continue this chance creation at home v a mid table side.
Up front for Mansfield is Danny Rose, a striker who jointly topped the clubs goalscoring charts last year with 14. Szmodics, who scored 10 last season for Colchester will be hoping to score from his attacking midfield role.
Colchester also playing their number 2 -Dillion Barnes- from last year in goal now because of losing Sam Walker to Reading. Barnes was in fact was on loan in the conf south last season to Welling and Hemel.
Monaco sit top of Ligue 1 and have a chance to extend their lead over PSG to 6 points this evening with a trip to Bastia.
With their 7-3-2 record away from home (averaging 2 points per game, the 2nd best away record in Ligue 1) Monaco have every chance of adding to the 29 goals they have scored on the road. My confidence is in spite of Bastia not being thrashed at home this season, and conceding less than a goal per game (10 in 12). The problem has been I Turcini (The Blues, Bastia) have only scored 11 at home in that same period.
The odds on a straight Monaco win of 1.50 are of no interest to me unless I was sat across the table from a beautiful lady who was promising me an evening of 100% satisfaction based on a correct selection in the W-D-W market.
Monaco have attempted almost 270 shots this season, and they are actually the most clinical team, scoring with 27% of them. The clinical nature is partly due to getting close to 60% of their shots on target this league campaign. One major stats provider had them down as 42% for this stat. However, I watched the games I have recorded and reruns I have access to, and even though the sample size was not complete, I’m pretty sure that the stats are wrong and I am right. Monaco do get a ridiculous amount of their shots on target, and this is NOT sustainable over the course of a season and has to come to an end eventually. Though, we can still expect them to score more of their chances than most teams. Consequently, even if Bastia’s defence don’t give away much tonight, Falcao (16 goals 19 games), Germain (8/23) and company can still find a way through.
Bastia score with less than 10% of their shots, although they have hit the woodwork more than anyone else in the league (13 times). Hitting the woodwork is not misfortune. The goal doesn’t change in size.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Leonardo Jardim’s side have scored more than 1 goal away from home in only 50% of their away matches this season. His opponents, Bastia, have conceded more than 1 goal in only 17% (2/12) home games this season. This would point to a low scoring affair.
Worryingly for my selection, Francois Ciccolini has presided over only 3 home defeats in 16/17. Nevertheless, I cannot see Monaco not winning this game. We’ll be reliant on them keeping a clean sheet for only the 5th time on the road. Bastia have scored in 9/12 home matches, which is just below mid-table for that particular statistic. Let’s give this some relevance. Monaco have only conceded 185 shots all season (only bettered by PSG). That average of 7.4 shots per game isn’t split by opposition time. We can safely assume they will concede less against bottom 6 teams and we know that Bastia have a very low conversion rate.
Pleasingly, there have been -2.5 goals in 8/10 Bastia home matches and Monaco have won 10 of their last 11 away matches against bottom 6 sides.
My original gut instinct bet was Monaco & O1.5 goals. Hence the title of this write-up. However, when comparing the odds of 1.83 (implied probability of 54%) to the statistics, I’ve been overwhelmingly shot down by the numbers. Further Bastia only concede about 7 shots per home game and even if league high Monaco continue to belie belief, converting close to 30% of shots, the result would be 1.9 ‘expected’ goals (not to be confused with ‘expected goals’ ;)) So this should not be a mauling. If you’re thinking Monaco and U3.5 is a much safer bet, you’re right. The odds of 2.4 reflect this. 1-1 at 10.0 is also value.
I’m aware Monaco have a trip to Manchester, but that match is 4 days away and it’s not exactly an arduous journey across the channel. Bastia will be without captain Cahuzac (suspended) and Saint-Maximim (winger).
If you do not have an account with BetStars, you can dutch the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scores with other firms and get the same odds, and maybe even better due to late variances.
Again, we’re going well against the odds at 4.33, which implies a 23% chance of hitting. I have this at closer to a 30% chance of hitting. I’m not asking for luck, I’m just asking for fortune :)
Split your stake between Monaco & Under 2.5 (4.33 betstars) and Monaco & Under 3.5 (2.4 betstars)
Doncaster to win @ 2.1 with Paddy Power
Nottingham (currently 8th in the RFU Championship out of 12) play host to Doncaster Knights (3rd). Nottingham are in a poor run of form and haven't picked up a point at home or away in the league since 27th November when they drew with fellow strugglers Rotherham at home. To find their last win, you would have to go even further back to the 17th November when they beat a weak Ealing Trailfinders side at home. This does not bode well for the struggling Nottingham team, with their only saving grace being that this year, due London Welsh's financial problems, there is no relegation to worry about. I think this has played a part in the lack of wins that Nottingham gained and am expecting the result to go one way.
Doncaster, unlike Nottingham are on a good run form in the league. They possess the 3rd best away record in the league, only behind London Irish and Leeds Carnegie, two teams that are far too good for this league.
Last weekend, Doncaster only just lost to fellow play-off contenders Ealing (4th) last week. Doncaster captain Michael Hills has been quoted saying he 'expects a reaction' following this defeat and I believe this should happen this weekend. Doncaster lost due to silly errors and have made a number of changes, bringing back a number first teamers who were injured for last weeks clash.
In terms of the league, with no relegation this year, Doncaster will want this more as they are at the opposite end of the table pushing for a play-off place. At 2.1 to win away from home, I think this represents value as when I first saw the fixture, I was expecting Doncaster to be around 1.6 considering how poor Nottingham have been.Tuesday 7th February.
Below is a betting preview of the Darts Premier League, Round 2, taking place on Thursday. The preview is written by our new darts contributor Adam @dartsbybabedi.
Premier League Week 2
Lewis v Chisnall
This game will be a close one in my opinion. Chizzy hasn't showed his full potential in the last week and, his finishing was slacking, as always. He had some nice high finishes, but struggled to hit the easy ones. If, he improves on that, he's able to beat Lewis, who bottled a 4-1 lead against Raymond van Barneveld. I'm expecting Lewis to win this game, but wouldn't advise to bet on, as this game could go either way. It solely depends on whose form will be better on Thursday.
Another market has caught my eye here. As we all know, Chizzy is a great 180 hitter. However, Lewis isn't too bad in it either, though his 180 figures have dropped in recent years. Chizzy most 180s @1.66 looks very good!
Wade v Taylor
Wade did what he does best against Huybrechts. He got the job done and nothing more. Whilst that sort of performance can claim victory in matches against the likes of Huybrechts, it will need much improvement to beat Phil 'The Power' Taylor. The Power displayed immense finishing last time out against Chizzy. I think Taylor will nick it and win the game. However, I won't bet on this game, as I hate to bet on or against Wade. My followers will know that he's cost me many accas and singles in the past, he's on my "c*** list".
Klaassen v Anderson
The Cobra (Klassen) showed some quality in his clash against Peter Wright, but failed to take the opportunities he had and it won't be easier against Anderson. In fact, it'll be tougher. He won't get as many chances against The Flying Scotsman, who is in great form and managed to get a draw off of MvG. He's playing great darts at the moment and, you just can't see past him to win this game. There's no value on him to win at 1.40 though/
I think Anderson has the quality to beat him by 3 or more legs. Anderson -2.5 handicap @1.83 is my bet here.
Wright v MvG
If Wright performs like he did over the weekend (won 2 out of 3 UK Open Qualifiers and beat MvG once), then we've got ourselves the best game of the week here. I'm expecting Wright to be able to keep up with MvG, as long as he doesn't change his darts. Again! His darts changing has cost many bettors in the past. BUT, and here comes the big BUT, in my opinion MvG's game has been slacking in the last few weeks, he wasn't able to get past the quarter finals in any of the three recent events. You'd expect more from the World No. 1. He's not as concentrated as he should be. If Wright takes his chances he's able to beat him.
I'm expecting a draw here, and at odds of 6.50 it's certainly a value bet. However, instead I'm going with the safe bet here, Wright +3.5 legs @1.61. If you want better odds, Wright +2.5 at evens is an option, but I personally won't risk it in case MvG goes beast mode.
Huybrechts v Barney
Kim didn't deserve to lose against Wade last week. He played well, but got unlucky. However, I think he'll take another L this week against Barney. The Dutchman is just too good. He won against Lewis last week in his usual way, a comeback, but that probably won't be needed against Kim. For this game I've got two fancies, Barney to win @1.72 and Barney to hit most 180s @1.95.