Following a break for a couple of vital international fixtures, attention turns back towards the Premier League this weekend and proceedings get under way on Tyneside as Newcastle entertain Liverpool in the lunchtime kick-off.
The second-placed Reds are only behind leaders Arsenal because they’ve scored fewer goals so it’s perhaps not entirely surprising that they’re odds-on at 10/11 with BetVictor to continue their fine start to the campaign by picking up all three points at St James’s Park, where the Magpies are bet365’s 10/3 outsiders.
Alan Pardew’s men are a hard team to predict so some punters might fancy Stan James’s 14/5 marked against the stalemate but the hosts have thus fair failed to convince on their own patch and subsequently they’re easy to oppose against Brendan Rodgers’s in-form side.
Ladbrokes’ offer of 14/5 about the Reds edging it by a one-goal margin and betway’s 8/1 for the visitors to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline aren’t without appeal then while the Reds’ tendency to make the breakthrough fairly early in proceedings strengthens the case for an away lead at the end of each half (2/1, Winner.com).
Daniel Sturridge meanwhile, has made a habit out of swiftly getting on the scoresheet this term, all six of his goals coming in the first half and he’s an enticing 9/2 via bet365 to break the deadlock in this one.
Saturday’s other televised contest sees Manchester City travel to a West Ham outfit buoyed by a 3-0 success at Spurs last time out.
Manuel Pellegrini’s troops, however, can burst the Hammers’ bubble and BetVictor price them at 7/10 to emerge triumphant at Upton Park. Nevertheless, City have struggled on the road so they won’t find it easy and it’s therefore tempting to plump for either Stan James’s 7/2 about an away win on the back of a level first half or a 1-0 success for the visitors at 7/1 (BetVictor).
Arsenal can tighten their grip on top spot as they tackle Norwich, Paddy Power posting 3/10 against Arsene Wenger’s team, who are 4/5 when kicking-off a goal in arrears in Stan James’s handicaps but the Gunners’ North London rivals Spurs might have to settle for a point, at 13/5 with bet365, as they head to Aston Villa.
At Old Trafford, William Hill chalk Manchester United up at 4/7 to send Southampton packing but the champions are far too risky at that price and Saints might be worth including in an accumulator at 1/2 with Winner.com when given a two-goal start.
Safer home bets are Chelsea and Everton, who are available at 1/4 (Skybet) and 9/20 (Ladbrokes) respectively to overcome promoted pair Cardiff and Hull.
Rock bottom Sunderland look set to suffer a seventh defeat in eight attempts as Gus Poyet takes charge for the first time at Swansea, who are worthy favourites at 4/7 courtesy of BetVictor but away wins look like the value selections in the remaining two fixtures.
Skybet’s 5/2 about a West Brom success at Stoke stands out given that the Baggies have prevailed at Manchester United and drawn at Everton while Fulham are 9/5 (BetVictor) to nick it as they head to fellow strugglers Crystal Palace.
It can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that England qualified for the World Cup this week but bookies don’t rate their chances of returning from Brazil next summer with the prestigious trophy.
Roy Hodgson’s men are 22/1 shots at Ladbrokes, a quote that puts them behind seven other teams in the betting, with hosts Brazil currently leading the way at 10/3 via bet365, ahead of Stan James’s 5/1 shots Germany and Argentina, who are also 5/1, this time courtesy of BetVictor.
Offering 9/4, Stan James believe the second round is where the Three Lions are most likely to be eliminated, William Hill post 3/1 against them failing to emerge from the group stage and a quarter-final exit is a 3/1 chance at bet365.
Wayne Rooney meanwhile, who has never scored a goal in a World Cup Finals, is 33/1 (BetVictor) to be the tournament’s top scorer and one for all pessimistic punters is Skybet’s rather generous 9/1 for England to yet again go out via the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Finally in the Heineken Cup this weekend, defending champions Toulon are just 2/9 (Paddy Power) to prevail at Cardiff Blues and the French outfit look strong enough to overhaul the hosts’ ten-point start in Stan James’s handicaps at odds of 10/11.
Elsewhere, Munster are 10/11 (bet365) both win and cover a nine-point handicap at home to Gloucester on Saturday evening, BetVictor price Montpellier at 10/11 to end up at least seven points better off than Ulster and aided by a seven-point cushion at 10/11 (Paddy Power), Exeter get the nod as they visit Glasgow.
Bet of the week: England to be knocked out of the World Cup on penalties – 9/1 (Skybet).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com