The Premier League must’ve decided that after the thrills and spills of Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City you’d probably need a week off from excitement. There’s no top-six match-ups or tasty derbies to get your teeth into this weekend. But the fun never stops for bettors, so let’s take a look at the Sunday match up, which sadly looks anything but super: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s hard to see anything other than an away win. Spurs have only lost one of their last nine in the league, and that was away at Manchester City. Since that 4-1 mauling, they’ve won four and drawn one of their five matches.
Southampton, by contrast, have been woeful lately. The Saints haven’t won any of their last ten Premier League games. Even West Brom have won in that period, so things must be bad on the south coast. Their manager was nicknamed Mauricio Pelle-go-slow when he played at Liverpool: a bad defeat here and he might have to go quickly to the unemployment office.
But wait. What’s this? Stats and form that suggest Southampton might get something? Yes indeed.
The underlying shot stats from this season predict a 1-1 draw, and that has also been the most common score line for both of these teams in their last 20 matches. Moreover, Spurs have drawn three times against teams in the bottom half of the table at the time of writing.
That’s the joint-most by teams in the big six (along with Arsenal, in case you’re wondering). If you have faith in the numbers, and you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t, then perhaps a flutter on 1-1 at 13/2 is the order of the day.
This scoreline would also mean the game had under 2.5 goals, wouldn’t it? As both teams are at the lower end of the Premier League scale for this occurring over the last 18 months, then the 9/10 on offer that this match has fewer than three goals should appeal. It’s the same price for over 2.5 goals too, in case you think there will be goals galore (well, at least three) in this match.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that both these teams are amongst the six in the Premier League who have yet to win a match after conceding the first goal. That doesn’t necessarily point to a draw but it does suggest it’s unlikely either side will score first and lose.
Only Manchester City and Liverpool have scored first more often than Spurs this season, so a bet on Southampton to come from behind to draw at 7/1 should be under your consideration.
The main issue with predicting a 1-1 score line is Southampton simply don’t look like scoring any goals.
You never know, maybe that’s why they haven’t won in ages? With Charlie Austin injured, none of their available players has scored more than three league goals this season.
In fact, Harry Kane has scored just three goals fewer than the whole Southampton team in the league in 2017/18, and he has five more than the 18 players in the Saints’ match day squad on Sunday, whomever they select. It’s no surprise Spurs’ talisman is the 13/5 favourite to open the scoring, and just 4/5 to net at some point during the match.
Kane has also scored two-or-more goals in eight league matches this season. Mohamed Salah is the only player in the division who has achieved that even half as many times in 2017/18, so the 4/1 Paddy will give you that Kane will bag at least two in this match is worth a look.
The HurriKane has also done this 16 times in the last 50 league matches, whereas Southampton have only done it in 14 of their 61 games since the start of last season.
If you’re looking for longer odds in the scoring markets, then Christian Eriksen is perhaps the man for you. He has only bagged the first goal once in the last 25 league matches, so you might want to focus on the anytime scorer odds of 11/4, as he’s netted in 6 of those 25 matches.
The Dane has also bagged the last goal three times, and only Kane and Son (who sound like a firm of removal men) have done so more often for either side. Eriksen is 17/2 to close the scoring at St Marys, so keep him in mind there. He’s only scored once from his last 14 shots, and that was against Everton so barely counts. Another goal could lie in store for him pretty soon.
The final market which has caught my eye this week is for cards. The line is set at 30 points, where a yellow card is worth 10 points, and a red card is 25. Kevin Friend, who is the referee on Sunday and no friend of mine, averages the joint-second most points per game of the current Premier League refs.
You will notice he averages above 30 points per game. Since Southampton returned to the top flight in 2012/13, they have accumulated 16.9 disciplinary points per match, and Spurs have clocked up 19.5, so a bet on over 30 points, at evens, looks sensible to me.
The last six meetings on the south coast have only seen five bookings for the home side but 14 for Tottenham. Nathan Redmond picked up the only red in those games (the clue is in his name, after all) but if you want to bet on which side gets the first card, then Spurs at 5/6 seems the logical choice.
If you want a player in the cards market, then I’d suggest Ryan Bertrand. Only four players have committed more fouls without being booked than he has this season, so his luck will have to run out eventually. Southampton’s left back is 3/1 to be booked at any point, or 19/2 to see the first card of the match.
It’s hard to see this one being a classic, so let’s just hope we can all make a few quid. A few cards could help on both fronts.