Chelsea’s victory at Manchester City on Monday evening tightened things up in terms of the Premier League title race, keeping the Blues in the hunt in what looks like a three-horse race.
Liverpool, however, will believe they are also contenders if they manage to defeat Arsenal at Anfield in Saturday’s early kick-off and Stan James reckon the Reds can do the business, pricing them at 11/10 to send the Gunners home empty-handed.
The league leaders are 5/2 with BetVictor to complete a league double over Brendan Rodgers’ troops while an inconclusive contest at 13/5 courtesy of bet365, is bound to be well backed in light of Arsenal’s excellent away record and impressive recent form.
Indeed, in the circumstances, it’s hard to overlook the stalemate, especially as the Gunners are unbeaten in six league outings against the Reds on Merseyside, winning three of those and sharing the spoils in the others.
Bet365 quote a score draw at 10/3, BetVictor offer 11/2 about both halves finishing all-square and it’s 13/1 at the same firm for the teams to play out a 2-2 thriller, just as the Gunners did in their last away assignment, at Southampton.
In attack, Stan James, of course, make Luis Suarez the 4/1 favourite to break the deadlock but Daniel Sturridge is in stunning form having struck seven times in his last six matches and the Liverpool frontman perhaps represents better value than his strike partner, at 11/2 (Ladbrokes) for the opener.
In the battle for fourth, both Tottenham and Everton will be desperate for the three points as they go face-to-face at White Hart Lane but home advantage means Spurs get the nod from bookies, Stan James installing them as 11/10 favourites.
The depleted Toffees are Ladbrokes’s 13/5 outsiders but, again, it’s the draw that stands out, this time at 5/2 (BetVictor), given that no team has lost fewer matches than Roberto Martinez’s charges.
The pair’s Goodison Park contest in November finished goalless, a result that’s 11/1 via Skybet this time around and bet365 rate the north London scrap to be level after 45 and 90 minutes.
Manchester United will be grateful to be facing beleaguered Fulham after the loss at Stoke and David Moyes’ men are a home banker at 2/9 (Paddy Power) to pick up three points at Old Trafford, where bet365 make them 8/11 to be in front at the end of each half.
Another side set to prevail on their own patch are buoyant Chelsea, a 2/7 chance at William Hill to overcome a Newcastle side reeling from their derby defeat to Sunderland last weekend.
Meanwhile, Manchester City, at 1/3 (Paddy Power), can bounce back from Monday’s reverse by seeing off Norwich and they combine with United and the Blues in a treble at 11/10 courtesy of BetVictor.
Elsewhere, Cardiff look overpriced at 4/1 (Winner.com) as they prepare to visit rivals Swansea, Ladbrokes go 4/7 about a Southampton triumph at home to Stoke and it’s 11/10 with Skybet for Sunderland to defeat Hull.
Finally, William Hill mark 6/4 against a victory for rejuvenated Crystal Palace against West Brom and it’s 12/5 at betway for Aston Villa and West Ham to be inseparable.
In the Six Nations, England were a touch unfortunate to lose out in France but they can take out their frustrations on Scotland by landing the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield.
Stuart Lancaster’s men, however, are just 1/5 with Stan James to emerge triumphant so punters should head to the handicaps, where Skybet make them 20/21 to prevail when starting 10 points adrift of the hosts.
In Dublin, betway price Ireland at 3/4 to edge out the Welsh and BetVictor post 10/11 against the home side covering the visitors’ two-point start in the handicaps while Italy get the nod in Sunday’s match against France, at 10/11 (William Hill) when given a 20-point cushion.
Super League champions Wigan begin the defence of their crown this weekend as they take on 2013’s regular season table-toppers Huddersfield in a fixture held a week before the rest of the teams are in action because of the Warriors’ World Club Championship commitments.
Shaun Wane’s side enjoy home advantage and subsequently they’re Skybet’s 4/11 favourites while the Giants are 11/5 via bet365 to make a flying start to the 2014 campaign.
The hosts should definitely prevail but with new players bedding in for both sides it could be a close one so perhaps the visitors are the best bet in the handicaps where they’re handed an eight-point start at evens (Stan James).
Bet of the week: Cardiff to beat Swansea – 4/1 (Winner.com).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com