Steve Claridge has joined Betting Directory to provide his expert views and tips on the latest football betting odds and the latest matches.
Friday, 17th October 2014
Man City v Tottenham (12.45pm, Saturday 18th October 2014)
The Premier League kicks off this weekend on Saturday lunchtime following the International Break, as Manchester City host Tottenham in the live early kick-off. This should be a good game and I'm interested to see what formation Manuel Pellegrini plays. I get the feeling he prefers to play the 442 and simply outscore his opponents but he's got burned a few times against the top teams.
City have just the one win from their three home games so far this season, including a defeat against Stoke and they'll be wary of a Spurs side who are probably best placed playing away from home and can be a good side at times.
Add into the mix the pressure City are under even at this early stage of the season. They can close the gap at the top of the table to two points with a win on Saturday lunchtime, but with Crystal Palace Chelsea's next opponents later in the game Pellegrini will be keen not to drop any more ground in the title race.
From a Tottenham perspective, I don't think Mauricio Pochettino knows what his best team or system is yet and is still feeling himself into the role. It certainly doesn't look as though the high pressing game he employed with success at Southampton is suited to the crop of players he's inherited at Tottenham.
I think City will be strong enough and shade this match 2-1, but I do wonder whether they can retain the title at the end of the season. Can you really say they've improved the team over the summer? I'm not so sure and whereas I could see Chelsea winning the Champions League, I can't see City winning it and I think that's telling.
Match Result Tip: Man City to win @ odds of 1/2 with Ladbrokes.
Correct Score Tip: Man City to win 2-1 @ odds of 8/1 with BetVictor.
QPR v Liverpool (1.30pm, Sunday 19th October 2014)
Talking of pressure, I really don't know what's gone on at Queens Park Rangers. They must be in danger of being in serious trouble if they get relegated this season and the alarm bells must be ringing with just one win in seven and propping up the league table. The club lost £68 million in getting out of the Championship by the skin of their teeth last season and I really fear for them if they go down as they must have a massive wage bill at the club. I hope it isn't the case, but I don't think things will get any better at the weekend for the visit of Liverpool.
I think Brendan Rodgers's side will be too strong here and much like Spurs I think they're probably a better side on the road at the moment. I said at the start of the season that they'd struggle without Luis Suarez this year, despite the money spent trying to strengthen the side with the money from his sale. Suarez carried the side last year, with the help of Daniel Sturridge, who has also been missing for periods of this season. I don't like the diamond formation Rodgers plays, Raheem Sterling doesn't work for me in the middle just as Henderson is wasted on the right. The system is better served away from home and for all Liverpool's troubles, they should be too strong for a Rangers side who are really struggling to find a winning formula. I'll go for a 1-0 win for Liverpool, a correct score that pays 15/2 with a number of bookmakers.
Match Result Tip: Liverpool to win @ odds of 8/13 with WilliamHill.
Correct Score Tip: Liverpool to win 1-0 @ odds of 15/2 with Bet365.
Stoke v Swansea (4.00pm, Sunday 19th October 2014)
Sunday's second live match may not jump off the page, but I think it should be decent game as Stoke take on Swansea at the Britannia. Mark Hughes's side have been a touch inconsistent this season, losing 3-1 away at Sunderland in their last match coming off the back of their first home win of the season against Newcastle. Their only other win so far this term came at Manchester City to emphasise the inconsistent nature to their play this year.
I very much go by the mantra of 'If it's not broke, don't fix it' and I think for a team of Stoke's stature they would get enough points to be safe in the Premier League, be very competitive and hard to beat under Tony Pulis. I don't think mark Hughes has tried to change the way they play too much though and I can't see them doing a Fulham, who completely changed their formula under the new owners and are now struggling in the Championship. A few tweaks and trying to add a bit of flare to proceedings and I think Stoke will be just fine.
Swansea have been good so far this season, you know exactly how they'll set up and play, whether winning or losing and that probably is an advantage for the opposing coaches. Good out wide, a strong front man in Bony and Jonjo Shelvey linking play up well from midfield, Swansea aren't quite as good away from home though and I see this being a score draw, with 1-1 paying 6/1 with Bet Victor.
Match Result Tip: The draw @ odds of 23/10 with BetVictor.
Correct Score Tip: 1-1 draw @ odds of 6/1 with BetVictor.com.
West Brom v Man Utd (8.00pm, Monday 20th October 2014)
Monday night football comes from The Hawthorns in a game which should guarantee goals. There's excitement wherever United go at the moment, they're the BTTS bankers in the Premier League and I wouldn't put anyone off backing that eventuality at 8/11 with Paddy Power.
United are very lopsided at the moment which has been well documented. I don't think they've shown any signs of improvement defensively from an organisational point of view as of yet and are over reliant on their list of stars at the top end of the pitch.
Ironically, I do think that they're also unbalanced up front with the manager trying to fit too many of the same style of players in the team that can be accommodated and perhaps the fact Wayne Rooney is suspended will just give them a little more balance in that department.
I think United can have a big say in the title race, I don't see them winning it, but they're one team capable of beating Chelsea such is their attacking power and that could open up things at the top of the league. Don't get me wrong, they could also get battered, but we'll leave that preview to later in the season!
West Brom have picked up some form of late, but the way they play means that United will be allowed to play their football and I see them being too strong, with 3-1 the preferred correct score bet.
Match Result Tip: Man Utd to win @ odds of 3/4 with WilliamHill.
Correct Score Tip: Man Utd to win 3-1 draw @ odds of 14/1 with BetVictor.
This weekend's treble comes from the Championship, League One and League Two:
A treble returns just under 5/1 with BetVictor.com and a £20 winning treble returns £119.48.
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