Punish bookmakers for loving Liverpool too much

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One has flagged West Ham as a superb value bet in Sunday’s English Premier League games but the punting opportunities do not begin and end with Sam Allardyce’s happy Hammers.

For while West Ham, available at odds of +270  with 888sport and Unibet to beat Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground, is the pick of the English Premier League punts, there are some obvious and not-so-obvious bets that are worth placing as well.

One will start with the obvious and that is Manchester City, which is trading at odds of -500  with Bwin to defeat Burnley at Etihad Stadium. Writing this article before the English Premier League program on Boxing Day, Manchester City and Burnley have had 16 common opponents. One loves collateral form analysis at this stage of a competition because it is a great way of proving the raw league ladder as either true or false. In the case of Manchester City versus Burnley, the English Premier League ladder is not telling lies. One’s view is that 15 of those 16 collateral form lines favour Manchester City, with the exception to the rule being the one involving Stoke – the Citizens lost 0-1 at home to the Potters, whereas the Clarets posted a 2-1 away victory.

Now for the not so obvious, starting with Hull, which will welcome Leicester to the KC Stadium for an English Premier League relegation six-pointer. Prior to Boxing Day, Hull and Leicester are 19th and 20th on the English Premier League ladder, with three points separating the Tigers and the Foxes. But one’s English Premier League collateral form analysis suggests that Hull is a much stronger side than Leicester. Hull and Leicester have had 16 common English Premier League opponents before Christmas and one’s view is that eight of those collateral form lines favour the Tigers, three favour the Foxes and five favour neither team. Factor in the home advantage that Hull will enjoy against Leicester and one would argue that the Tigers are attractively priced at odds of +130  with several bookmakers, including BetVictor and Boylesports, to beat the Foxes on Humberside.

Finally, there is the case for backing Swansea to either win or draw versus Liverpool in their English Premier League match at Anfield on Monday, an option that is available at the crazy odds of +138  with Bet365. The English Premier League game will attract attention because it pits Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers against his former side but, really, it should attract headlines because of the way in which bookmakers continue to treat the Reds as superstars.

Liverpool and Swansea have had 16 common English Premier League opponents before they play Burnley and Aston Villa respectively on Boxing Day. One’s view is that eight of those collateral form lines favour Swansea, with four favouring Liverpool and four favouring neither team. And the odds are that Swansea will increase its collateral form lead over Liverpool as a result of the English Premier League’s Boxing Day program because Aston Villa triumphed at Anfield.

One could argue that Swansea, two places and three points above on the English Premier League ladder, should be a slight underdog for its match on Merseyside, with odds of around +200  feeling about right given one’s collateral form analysis and the standings. Incredibly, Bet365 is offering odds of +475  about Swansea defeating Liverpool at Anfield. Those odds are wrong but so are those about Swansea not losing to Liverpool and that is the more appealing play. After all, Swansea has won only one of its last seven English Premier League away games and that was at Hull.

Tips Summary

Man City to beat Burnley
28th December 15:00 GMT
Odds:  -227
Where to Bet: Bwin

Hull to beat Leicester
28th December 15:00 GMT
Odds:  +130
Where to Bet: BetVictor, Boylesports

Swansea win/draw v Liverpool
29th December 20:00 GMT
Odds:  +138
Where to Bet: Bet365

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