Bettors are always looking for an edge. How does the weather effect matches? Do big clubs get worse results after international breaks or playing in Europe? Are one team deliberately trying to lose by five goals?
One question there isn’t much data for, though, is: How does having an NFL game at the stadium less than 36 hours before the match affect things? Will the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars tear chunks out of the Wembley pitch and leave Manchester City to play like Pulis-era Stoke?
They won both meetings last season by an aggregate score of 7-2, though interestingly Tottenham had won the two meetings on home turf prior to that.
However, those games were at White Hart Lane, a ground which older readers will recall was where Spurs used to play.
While the odds aren’t as inviting, this is a match where the ‘Draw No Bet’ market is worth investigating. Tottenham are 23/10 here, with City at 2/7. Only two of the last 28 league meetings of these sides has ended level, so bear it in mind.
Spurs have played 10 league games at home against other teams from the big six since they last drew one.
City may have picked up a point at Anfield recently, but it was only their second away league draw when facing one of the big boys since Pep pitched up. One way or another, it looks like one of these sides will be taking all three points on Monday night.
History suggests there will be plenty of goals too. In the last five years, these sides have shared three 4-1s, a 5-1 and a 6-0. I say shared, but City have won four of those five matches.
Even so, when wading through the waters of the ‘Over/Under Goals’ market, you don’t care which team scores, as long as one does enough times.
Eight of the last 10 clashes between Spurs and City have seen at least three goals. Only five of Tottenham’s 11 home league clashes with other top sides in the last two years have paid out on over 2.5 goals, but that tally does include four of the six since the start of last season.
With City in free-scoring form, I’d expect that trend to continue. Get on over 2.5 goals at 4/7.
The above stats tend to apply when looking at the ‘both teams to score’ numbers as well. The eight games where these clubs have clashed and scored at least three goals between them have also seen both teams find the net.
Similarly, four of Tottenham’s last ‘big six’ matches at ‘home’ have seen both teams celebrating a goal. Plus, City attack with considerably sharper weapons than Wenger’s Arsenal or Mourinho’s United, who are the two sides Spurs have kept to nil.
A ‘yes’ in the both teams to score is priced at 1/2, and should be in your thoughts when making your selections.
So which millionaire is going to score all of these goals then? There’s no shortage of firepower on either side, after all. But instead of starting with the obvious names, I’m going to suggest an interesting longer price option: Christian Eriksen.
As he’s only just returned from injury, it will be prudent to wait until the teams are announced before placing your bets. However, consider the following facts regarding the Dane.
Harry Kane is the only player on either side who has scored more goals in league games among the big six than Eriksen has since the start of last season. Tottenham’s number 23 has had the most shots – 18 – without scoring in the Premier League in 2018/19, but he has bagged goals in the Champions League and UEFA Nations League this season.
Leaving him aside, there are five players in the division who are tied on three opening goals this season, and a trio of them will be appearing at Wembley on Monday night: Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.
It’s interesting that Aguero is the shortest priced first scorer, as it’s Kane who has the better pedigree in this field. The Magic Chin is the only player from any team to have claimed three openers in league games among the big boys since the start of last season.
He also has 14 in total in the Premier League in that period, which is again the most. Kane to score first at 5/1 looks a sensible, if blindingly obvious, bet.
Or is it? Manchester City have scored first in five of their seven trips to face top six sides since the start of 2017/18, and one of the other two was their recent 0-0 draw at Anfield.
So, should we get on the favourite, Sergio Aguero, to score first at 10/3 then?
It’s obviously not a terrible idea, and you get your money back as a free bet if he scores, but Raheem Sterling is the one to watch here.
He’s scored more goals than his Argentine team mate against the big six in the league since the start of last season, and has more away goals in total too.
But then best laid plans can be laid to waste by NFL games. Perhaps your money will be safer betting on Philadelphia at 4/7.