City fancied to continue their pursuit of Chelsea

Lewis Hamilton is among the favourites to be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Lewis Hamilton is among the favourites to be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year

For a while, Everton were something of a bogey team for Manchester City.

But on their way to the title last season, Manuel Pellegrini’s men saw off the Toffees twice and there’s no reason they shouldn’t continue that trend as the teams renew hostilities this weekend.

Bookmakers agree, BetVictor installing the champions as 3/5 favourites for the points while the visitors come in at 5/1 with William Hill and bet365 post 16/5 against Roberto Martinez’s charges hampering the hosts’ pursuit of Chelsea by grabbing a share of the spoils.

In their last travelling assignment, Everton were edged out by Tottenham and they can make City work just as hard for the victory in this one.

Stan James’s 14/5 for a home win by a one-goal margin catches the eye then and as it looks likely that both teams will get on the scoresheet (4/7, Paddy Power), Pellegrini’s troops appear generously priced at 7/1 by to prevail 2-1.

Elsewhere, the Toffees should be good enough to keep City at bay for long periods so BetVictor’s 15/4 for a home win following an even first period isn’t without appeal while in attack Sergio Aguero is the man the punters want to back, at 10/3 (Skybet), to notch first and it’s easy to see why given the Argentine’s form as well as the fact that he struck in both meetings between the two last term.

Pacesetters Chelsea are 4/7 via Stan James to plunder all three as they head to the north-east to take on Newcastle (5/1, betway).

However, the Magpies have won their last three at St James’s Park (all 1-0) and they’re decent value to frustrate the Blues by ensuring it’s stalemate, a result bet365 rate at 10/3.

BetVictor make it 10/1 to be goalless while bet365 go 8/5 about Newcastle avoiding defeat.

The tough fixtures keep coming thick and fast for Southampton, who welcome Manchester United to St Mary’s Stadium on Monday and Stan James makes Saints 7/4 to rise to the challenge by emerging triumphant.

However, the rejuvenated Red Devils are in confident mood at present and they’re an enticing 12/5 (Ladbrokes) to make the long journey home with a point.

At the Britannia Stadium, Arsenal tempt at 21/20 with Skybet to overcome Stoke and the Gunners’ north London rivals Tottenham should also secure a maximum haul at home to Crystal Palace, at odds of 4/7 courtesy of BetVictor. Ladbrokes meanwhile, offer the duo at a tasty 11/5 in a double.

It should be close as West Ham take on Swansea but William Hill rightly rate the Hammers as their narrow, 29/20 favourites and the same firm chalk 23/20 against QPR in their crucial bottom-of-the-table showdown with Burnley.

The odds suggest things are a touch more cut-and-dried at Anfield, where bet365 mark 8/15 against Liverpool defeating Sunderland, Hull are 7/5 via BetVictor to sneak it against West Brom and Stan James make Aston Villa and Leicester 12/5 to be inseparable.

With the autumn internationals now concluded, attention in Rugby Union turns back to the European Champions Cup and a packed weekend programme.

Bath’s trip to Montpellier tomorrow (Friday) opens proceedings and it’s the French outfit that are considered favourites at 4/11 (BetVictor).

That means they’re penalised in the handicaps but at 10/11 with bet365 they’re capable of overhauling the Aviva Premiership outfit’s seven-point start.

Despite home advantage, Sharks are 9/4 via Paddy Power to overcome Saracens (2/5, Stan James) but with a seven-point cushion at 10/11 in Skybet’s handicaps the hosts are worth an interest.

Similalrly in Sunday’s big game, Leicester are Paddy Power’s 8/5 underdogs as they entertain Toulon, but with a four-point advantage they catch the eye at 10/11 (Ladbrokes).

It’s almost time for the BBC to hand out their annual sports awards and the battle to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year is currently considered a two-horse race.

Having claimed the Open Championship, the PGA Championship and helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup, Rory McIlroy is the hot favourite at 1/2 courtesy of Skybet and although Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Drivers Championship victory was popular, the 2/1 shot at bet365, is unlikely to pip the Northern Irishman to the top prize.

Bet of the week: Southampton and Man Utd to draw – 12/5 (Ladbrokes).

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