The Premier League makes a welcome return this weekend and the first live game is Fulham v Stoke on Saturday lunchtime (Sky Sports 2, 12.45pm). Both teams are looking to allay any remaining fears that they might get pulled down towards the relegation zone during these final few months of the season and it is Fulham who start favourites at Craven Cottage.
Martin Jol's side are currently available at 11/10, despite a dismal run of form, while Stoke have fared little better in recent weeks and can be backed at 5/2. The draw stands out at 23/10 with Ladbrokes though and that could be the way to go as there doesn't look to be much to choose between the two sides.
Fulham are currently 12th in the Premier League and they are six points clear of relegation but they will want to extend that gap during the coming weeks. Their recent form will be a real concern as they have won just three of their last 18 league games, including only one of their last five. The Cottagers are normally renowned for being strong at Craven Cottage but a run of just one win in five on home soil hardly inspires confidence.
They will be hoping that Dimitar Berbatov can find his scoring boots on Saturday as the Bulgarian hasn't quite sparkled as expected, scoring just eight goals in all competitions. Berbatov is 5/1 favourite to be first goalscorer this weekend and it bodes well that Fulham are yet to lose a Premier League match when Berbatov has scored (won three, drawn three).
Berbatov was on target in Fulham's recent 3-1 win over West Ham which provided a welcome boost to confidence, although they have failed to score in their last two league outings and goals could be at a premium on Saturday. Under 2.5 goals is available at 3/4 with Ladbrokes and that would be worth a look, particularly when you consider Stoke's dreadful goalscoring record.
Tony Pulis's men, who are currently 10th in the league table, have scored just three goals in their last eight away league games and they have failed to score in five of their last six on their travels in all competitions. Fulham are a best price 7/4 to keep a clean sheet with Ladbrokes.co.uk on Saturday as they bid to keep the opposition out for the first time in 10 home fixtures.
Stoke's recent form has been pretty poor of late as a fortuitous 2-1 win over Reading last time out ended a six-match winless run. Their away record in particular is atrocious as they have won just one away league game all season, which extends to one win in 22 games including last season.
Saturday's match is hardly one to get the pulses racing and the draw could prove to be the value bet. Stoke have specialised in stalemates this season as they have earned a league-high 12 draws in the top-flight and there doesn't look to be much to separate two teams that are struggling for confidence.
Fulham v Stoke Form
Check the season's statistics for both Fulham and Stoke, plus the odds ahead of Saturday's match.
Fulham v Stoke Tips
Tip #1: Match to end in a draw @ 23/10 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Under 2.5 goals @ 3/4 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #3: Fulham to keep a clean sheet @ 7/4 with Ladbrokes.
Correct Score Odds
13/2 Fulham 1-0
9/1 Fulham 2-0
8/1 Fulham 2-1
7/1 Draw 0-0
6/1 Draw 1-1
14/1 Draw 2-2
9/1 Stoke 1-0
16/1 Stoke 2-0
10/1 Stoke 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
5/1 Dimitar Berbatov
6/1 Mladen Petric
7/1 Hugo Rodallega
7/1 Peter Crouch
7/1 No Goalscorer
7/1 Kenwyne Jones
8/1 Bryan Ruiz
8/1 Michael Owen
8/1 Jonathan Walters
8/1 Cameron Jerome
14/1 Damien Duff
14/1 Charlie Adam
Odds supplied by Ladbrokes.com, who offer live in-play betting for all Premier League matches.
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