Chelsea tough to oppose in the title showdown

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Is it too soon to call this weekend’s showdown between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge a title decider?

Well, it’s perhaps a touch premature given that at full-time both teams will still have another 15 matches to play before the season is out but as the Blues already hold a five-point advantage over the current champions, a home win would certainly leave Manuel Pellegrini’s troops with an uphill struggle to retain the Premier League trophy.

Of course, a City success, priced at 31/10 by BetVictor would open things right up again and as the visitors possess the division’s best away record, there’ll be plenty of takers for William Hill’s 11/4 about an inconclusive affair but Jose Mourinho’s men have a perfect record on their own patch, where they’ve won 10 out of 10 fixtures, so they’re tough to oppose.

Chelsea are 19/20 with bet365 to extend their lead at the summit to a daunting-looking eight points and as City have looked far from convincing so far in 2015, the Blues can ruthlessly expose their opponents to card a crucial and potentially comfortable victory.

While most punters will be expecting a tight encounter, the value actually lies in a Blues cruise.

In Skybet’s handicaps for example, Mourinho’s charges catch the eye when kicking off a goal in arrears, BetVictor rate them at 10/1 to notch twice without reply and it’s 7/2 (Stan James) for Diego Costa to bag his sixth goal in as many league games by breaking the deadlock.

Third-placed Southampton have picked up five wins and a draw in their last six league outings and they’re just 8/13 to overcome a Swansea outfit heading to the St Mary’s Stadium on the back of a four-match winless streak.

Saints don’t concede many at home and with the Swans still adjusting to the departure of front man Wilfried Bony a case can be made for the host to prevail ‘to nil’ at 7/5 courtesy of Paddy Power.

Bet635, meanwhile, price Ronald Koeman’s side up at 6/1 to record a 2-0 triumph and BetVictor offer 6/4 about them leading at the end of each half.

Also set to score a home win are Arsenal, 1/4 chances at Stan James to get the better of faltering Aston Villa, quote a marginally bulkier 1/3 about Manchester United defeating Leicester at Old Trafford and those two combine with Southampton in a tempting treble at 17/10 (BetVictor).

At Anfield, Liverpool represent solid value at 4/6 via William Hill to enhance their top four chances by accounting for the team directly above them in the table, West Ham.

And, despite their decent start to life under Tony Pulis, West Brom are 6/4 at Stan James to come unstuck against Tottenham at the Hawthorns.

Everton’s dismal run looks set to continue at the hands of rejuvenated Crystal Palace, who are too big at 19/10 (William Hill) to pick up a fifth straight victory in all competitions and betway go 3/5 about Stoke inflicting more misery on travel sick QPR at the Britannia Stadium.

Finally, bet365 chalk the relegation six-pointer between Sunderland and Burnley up at 23/10 to finish all-square and the same firm rate Hull at 9/4 to share the spoils with Newcastle.

Going on record alone, there’s not too much between Kevin Mitchell and Daniel Estrada ahead of their WBC lightweight title eliminator at the O2 Arena on Saturday but home advantage looks set to prove crucial for the rejuvenated Mitchell, who is 4/9 (BetVictor) to defeat an opponent that was stopped in his only fight outside of his native Mexico.

Glendale, Arizona hosts Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night as Seattle lock horns with New England.

Bookies are having an awful lot of trouble separating the two sides, which would immediately prompt punters to back the stalemate if it was a football match but in the NFL there’s no such thing as a draw so punters fancying a flutter will have to pick a winner.

BetVictor rate both teams at 20/21 and it’s easy to see why but it’s the Seahawks that get the nod and they look decent value in the point spread at 11/10 with William Hill when starting a couple behind the Patriots.

Those remaining unconvinced or unable to choose meanwhile, can always plump for a novelty bet by focusing their cash on the half-time show featuring Katy Perry. Paddy Power price the singer at 7/4 to kick off her set with ‘Roar’ and the song ‘Firework’ is 5/4 to be her opener.

Bet of the week: Seattle (-2) to win the Superbowl – 11/10 (William Hill).

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