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With the FA Cup Second Round taking place this weekend, the top two divisions concentrate on picking up valuable points. Liverpool start the weekend eight points clear at the top of the Premier League while West Brom are two points clear at the top of the Championship. Charlie Mullan assesses some of the games taking place this weekend.
Charlie’s Choice: Charlton (5/2) v Sheffield Wednesday (21/20)
Of all the Championship games taking place this weekend, Sheffield Wednesday’s trip to Charlton looks like being the fixture most likely to see goals for both teams and a total of three or more goals. Charlton’s 2-1 defeat at Luton was the seventh time in their last nine games that the Addicks were involved in a game that saw goals for them and their opponents. It was also the eighth time in their last nine games that three or more goals have been scored. But the manner of their defeat at Kenilworth Road will not have pleased Charlton boss Lee Bowyer.
His side took a seventh minute lead but were pegged back in the 19th minute through Pelly Ruddock’s equaliser. Izzy Brown scored what turned out to be the winner eight minute after and the loss saw Athletic slip to 17th in the table. Wednesday’s midweek game saw them host Birmingham where Kadeem Harris cancelled out Alvaro Gimenez’s opener three minutes after half-time. That was the Owls’ fourth successive Championship game in which BTTS has landed and in three of those, over 2.5 total goals landed. Both teams to score and over 2.5 total goals is trading at 27/20 with SportPesa while Charlton are 5/1 to win with three or more total goals scored. Wednesday are 9/4 to take the three points back to Hillsborough with a minimum of three goals netted.
BTTS: Liverpool v Brighton, Tottenham v Bournemouth, Birmingham v Millwall
Liverpool (1/5) missed out on securing their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League when they were held at home by Napoli who led 1-0 until Dejan Lovren levelled in the 65th minute. It continued a remarkable run of games in which there have been goals for both Liverpool and the team they have been playing. It was the 11th successive game in which BTTS has landed in games featuring Jurgen Klopp’s side. The last time BTTS didn’t occur was when the Reds won 1-0 at Sheffield United. Can they end that run at home to Brighton (14/1)?
The last two league games the Seagulls have played has seen BTTS land including their 3-1 loss at Manchester United. Brighton manager Graham Potter signed a two-year contract extension and victory at Anfield would round off a great week for the manager. It’s not going to be easy for the visitors who have taken one point from a possible 15 on the road since starting the season with a 3-0 win at Watford on the opening day of the season. SportPesa are offering odds of 1/1 for goals for both Liverpool and Brighton while a score draw is priced at 27/4. Liverpool are 29/20 to win with goals for them and Brighton who are 25/1 to win and BTTS landing.
The Jose Mourinho era as Tottenham manager has started with a bang. Spurs have won both games with Mourinho in charge and both have been high-scoring affairs. Last Saturday’s 3-2 win at West Ham was followed by a 4-2 win at home to Olympiacos in the Champions League when they rallied from a 2-0 first half deficit. Tottenham’s last five league games have seen goals for both them and their opponents so it should be no surprise to see Spurs (5/13) feature in games where BTTS lands.
Bournemouth (13/2) started the season with seven successive games in which BTTS has landed. After four games that included two 0-0 draws and two 1-0 scorelines, the Cherries reverted back to their old ways by losing their last two league games 2-1 at Newcastle and at home to Wolves. Odds of 20/27 are available from SportPesa for both Spurs and Bournemouth to score in this fixture while a scored draw is priced at 19/4. Tottenham are 6-/4 to make it three games in a row under Mourinho where they win the game but allow their opposition to score. Eddie Howe’s side are 11/1 to win with goals for them and their hosts.
Birmingham’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday (27/10) during the week was their second successive 1-1 draw. It was also the fourth time in the last five games that games featuring the Blues (11/10) that saw goals for them and the team they have been playing. Pep Clotet’s side face Millwall at St Andrew’s knowing there could well be goals for both teams again. Millwall have made it a habit to score and be scored against in games this season.
In nine of their last 11 Championship games, there has been goals for both teams which is why there is a good chance BTTS could land in this fixture. Millwall’s latest game was a 2-2 draw at home to Wigan on Tuesday night when they had to come from behind twice to secure their point. Both teams to score is trading at 1/1 with SportPesa while a score draw is priced at 7/2. Birmingham are 7/2 to win this game with at least one goal for the visitors who are 21/10 to win with BTTS landing.
2.5: Chelsea v West Ham, Man Utd v Aston Villa, Barnsley v Hull City
Frank Lampard began his playing career at West Ham and for the first time, he returns to the Hammers as a manager. Lampard has surpassed the expectations of many pundits by having Chelsea fourth in the table after 13 games, three points behind Leicester who sit second in the table. The Blues let a 2-1 lead slip at Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday night and now have to get something from their final group game against Lille at Stamford Bridge. In Chelsea’s 11 games played away from their West London home, there has been three or more goals scored in 10 of them, so it should not have been much of a shock to see goals for both them and Valencia in the Mestalla.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is fighting to save his job after losing six of his last eight games. That sequence of results began with a shock 4-0 loss at Oxford in the Carabao Cup and defeat this weekend could see a change of manager at the London Stadium. The Hammers (33/4) have conceded exactly three goals in their last three games and Chelsea (20/67) are 20/21 to score three or more goals at Stamford Bridge. Over 2.5 total goals and both teams getting on the scoresheet is available at 20/21 while Lampard’s men are 2/3 to win with at least three total goals scored. West Ham need the win and are 12/1 to take the three points home with them in this London derby with three or more total goals scored.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is another manager under immense pressure and a defeat for Manchester United at home to Aston Villa could move the Norwegian closer to the Old Trafford exit door. In United’s last four Premier League games, a total of 15 goals have been scored. Last Sunday, they were involved in one of the craziest games of the season so far. Trailing Sheffield United 2-0 with 20 minutes to play at Bramall Lane, the Red Devils (1/2) scored three times in seven minutes to lead 3-2, but their defence were unable to shut the door on the Blades who snatched a last-minute equaliser through Oli McBurnie to round off the scoring in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Aston Villa (6/1) have been involved in their fair share of game with at least three total goals scored. Seven of their last eight league games have seen a minimum of three goals scored including their last four away from Villa Park. SportPesa are offering odds of 23/20 for over 2.5 total goals with both United and Villa finding the back of the net. United are 23/20 to win with three or more total goals scored while the visitors are 39/4 to win what could be a high-scoring game with three or more goals.
After the midweek round of fixtures in the Championship, Barnsley (17/10) find themselves eight points from safety at the bottom of the table. Newly appointed manager Gerhard Struber has his work cut out to stop the Tykes from slipping through the relegation trap door back to League One after just one season in the second tier. Their only win of the season seems a distant memory when they beat Fulham 1-0 at Oakwell. While it hasn’t been fun to watch for Barnsley fans, at least they are seeing plenty of goals. Before Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough, there had been a total of 22 goals scored in their previous five games.
There has been three or more goals scored in four of Barnsley’s last five home games and the way Hull City (31/20) are playing, that total could be increased. The last two games the Tigers have played have seen exactly four goals scored in their 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough which was followed by a 4-0 demolition of Preston at the KCOM Stadium on Wednesday night. Jared Bowen scored braces in both games and he will be the man Barnsley will have to keep a close eye on. There has been at least three total goals scored in six of City’s last eight league games and the Tigers are 43/20 to win this game with three or more total goals scored. Barnsley are 13/5 to get the win with at least three goals scored in the game.
A £10 bet on the BTTS accumulator has potential returns of £73
A £10 bet on the over 2.5 goals accumulator has potential returns of £40